Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tatting & Blueberry Muffins

One of the things I discovered about six weeks ago, was that not only were my reaction times slowed by my head injury but also my fine motor skills had been impacted.

I am exceedingly grateful that I'm regaining oral fluency (although abstract thought and organization is one of my next challenges).  However, my knitting has slowed considerably, and my ability to manage the mechanics of tatting as well as the organization of a pattern are also challenging.

Yes, this is one of the tatting shuttles I've had since the 1970s.  The thread, however, is brand new.  I ordered this thread, in Pansy, and French Country from Jessica. Jessica has a delicious tatting blog, dyes variegated thread from a very high quality six-cord, and sells them on Etsy,

Yes, I know I can hand-dye fabrics and could hand-dye tatting thread too.  In fact, in the past I even hand-dyed some of my own variegated embroidery floss.  Because Jessica does such a great job and creates such beautiful threads, I choose to buy from her. (For those of you who like red-work type embroidery or like to use chain stitch machines for this type of embroidery, Jess's threads would be perfect if you used size 40 or 80.  And her size 20 is perfect for crocheted or tatted thingees for spool pins on sewing machines--and a lot prettier than those felt pads.)
  Yesterday, while sitting at Vacation Bible School before my therapy appointments, I wound Jess's threads on spools, put the Pansy thread on a shuttle, and started this lace. (In the process, I discovered that one of my favorite ladies at church used to tat too.) Most tatting projects are built around a certain number of stitches separated by a space to make the little picot.  This pattern is based on repeats and variations of four stitches, as were most of my paternal grandmother's projects. If any tatters out there would like this pattern, I'd be glad to write it up and post it. I created this pattern myself because I wanted something that would create some yardage but not use too much thread--since I have only 50 yards. That is not to deny that sometime in the past someone may have already created this pattern.  Like patchwork, there are some limits to what a pattern can be, and there are fewer elements in tatting than in quilted patchwork.

I've noticed that most of my projects in the past were done in size 30 thread, and apparently that was my grandmother's favorite size too.  Jess dyes threads in size 20 (largest) to 80 (for years considered the standard for edgings for handkerchief lace).  My new favorite is size 40--because it's large enough to look delicate and yet works up quickly.
 This lace will go on a set of pillowcases if it turns out to be long enough.  It's been so many years since I made lace specifically for a project, that I don't even remember how far 50 yards will go.  Most of the time when I carry along tatting to keep my hands busy and to keep me from fidgeting, I just add to a project that's already yards long.  Jess's beautiful colors have inspired me to focus on something more specific.

My other satisfying project yesterday was another healthy revision to my flax-seed muffin recipe. We had to be on the road by 7:45, so this was a great way to start the day (and we took muffins along for a couple of Sweet Teen's friends, who were also helping with VBS).
 If you'd like to start your day with a healthier version of muffins, here's my recipe.

Flaxseed Muffins

Take two eggs and about 1 1/4 cup milk from refrigerator, as well as 1 to 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries.
Wash blueberries and drain in colander over paper towels.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
In large mixing bowl place two cups flour, mixed with 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
To the flour mixture add 1/2 cup ground flax seed (I use Bob's Red Mill and store it in the freezer in a large plastic lidded jar).
Place 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup coconut oil in large measuring cup along with the milk, and heat in microwave at 20% power until room temperature.  (Yesterday it was so hot that our cocunut oil was already nearly liquid, but this step was still necessary, because once it meets the cold milk, it will return to solid state.)
Add two eggs to the milk coconut oil mixture and whisk together.  Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of blue agave syrup and a large splash of pure vanilla and whisk some more. Set aside.
In a small bowl, place the now-much-dryer blueberries along with 3 to 4 tablespoons of cane sugar to coat the blueberries.  Set aside.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir with large wooden or plastic spoon just until all dry ingredients are wet.  (Do not over-mix because that would excite the gluten in the flour and make the muffins tough.)
Fill 12 muffin cups 1/2 full.  (I use muffin trays from DeMarle at Home, so I do nothing to them before adding the muffin batter.  If you don't have this type of muffin pan, you may wish to spray the muffin cups or fill them with paper liners and spray the muffin papers.)
[If you have a family member like my Sweet Teen, fill two of the muffin cups completely--because she doesn't like muffins that contain fruit.]
Drop some coated blueberries into each of the half-filled cups, add remaining batter, and then place three or four coated blueberries on top of each filled cup.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in muffin removes clean, except, in this case, for a bit of blueberry juciness.  Remove from oven, remembering to turn off the oven because it's going to be a very hot day, and enjoy your muffins with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Store extras in a ziplock bag--during hot weather like this, I put them in the refrigerator because the berries are so juicy.
 I'm off to work on a couple of doll quilts.
Happy quiltmaking........


Deborah said...

I don't tat but I loved reading about it! And the muffin recipe is definitely one I want to try!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I found some things my grandmother tatted after she died. I don't remember seeing her do any tatting, just sewing on her treadle. Nice.

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the recipe. Your tatting is beautiful! So pretty! Can't wait to see it on your pillowcase if that's what you decide to do!

Auntie Em said...

I have no experience at all with tatting, but it sure does look pretty! Good luck with having enough for you pillowcases.

Cynthia@aquilterbynight said...

I found your link at Pieceful Life Show Off Friday. I knew nothing about tatting - it was fun to read your post and learn something new! Sorry about your injury. It sounds like you have a great attitude. Cheers!

Pokey said...

Oh, I so appreciate the fine art of tatting! I have a tatted cross in my Bible made by Larry's mom. When Lydia was born, she made her a blanket with a tatted edge, it was so precious to me ~

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