Tatting by Dilly

Dilly Great GrandmaTatting by Dilly is what this post is about. My Great Grandma was half Scottish and half Indian and her name was Sedilla but everyone called her, “Dilly”. While I was growing up, we would sit around doing needlework. She did Scottish tatting, Grandma and I did embroidery, and my Mom did crocheting. Dilly is pictured in the back center row above in the early 1900s. From left to right are her sister (Beulah), her Mom (Pernetta), and her sister (Bernice) in the front row.

Dilly Tatting 01tatting-tat·​ting – a delicate handmade lace formed usually by looping and knotting with a single cotton thread and a small shuttle.

Dilly Tatting 02I should have paid better attention because as I look at this piece that she did, I have no idea about how it was actually done. I remember her sitting in her chair with a white cloth on her lap stitching away. She would finish a piece and then my Mom would sometimes crochet an edge around it she wanted it.

Dilly Tatting 03The material is that cotton that was loosely woven, maybe flour sacks, so I wonder if she clipped openings to stitch lace into the middle or did she pull threads into groups to make the lace? Her hand stitching around the edges is so totally even and I know that it was all done by hand.

Dilly Tatting 04The patterns in the center are amazing with the details so beautifully finished.

Dilly Tatting 05Very steady hands, and so much patience, she loved to chat and stitch with her beautiful white hair.

Sedilla 1960s

Unexpected Surprise

a pair of humming birds flying in close quarters

HumBird Tablecloth SurpriseI got an unexpected surprise when I put the tablecloth on our dining room table to take progressive pictures of the embroidery. It extended way over both ends of the table even with all of its leaves intact. It was actually laying down on the floor.

Pete says the material I purchased for the cloth was at the end of a bolt of material, so he assumes that I accidentally got more yardage than originally figured out because they did not measure it all? Don’t know how, but there is a lot more length than I had planned. Didn’t know I was working on two tablecloths all this time, but, it sure did seem awfully long whenever I bunched it up to put on my lap.

This is now going to be cut into two tablecloths, and a shorter one (60″ square), which is what I have been sharing blog posts with you about it is a gift tablecloth for my daughter-in-law. It needs to be done first. After I cut this big guy into two, then I need to add hummingbirds and foliage to both of the new end edges to be able to finish both tablecloths.

I plan on keeping the full-length second tablecloth for myself (dimensions?). I will share the larger tablecloth progress images later on.

Hummingbirds 09-11

A lavender and purple guy with dark blue and black on his wings and tail feathers.

Hummingbirds Tablecloth Corner 9_11aHummingbirds 09-11 are complete and here is the last corner of the tablecloth with them on it.

Hummingbird 09Number 09 is a character made with a mixture of different greens, blue on his wings, and some white spacing between the stitching to highlight his shape. He is perched on a branch for a second, staring at you. There are some considerations required to be able to correctly build believable foliage around the characters. The outline of the branch that he is perched on has to go between his claws, not through them.

Hummingbird 10_11Hummingbird 10 and number 11 are close together. 10 is the closest, and he is done in teal, aqua blue, and other blues. We are looking at him from above seeing his wings spread out on both sides of him. Number 11 is above and in a dive maneuver position and we see him from the side. He is made of mostly greens with a bright shiny orange area under his neck. His shadows and feathers have black outlines.


Hummingbirds 6_8

He is a lavender and purple guy with dark blue and black on his wings and tail feathers.

Tablecloth Corner 06_08a Hummingbirds 06_08cHummingbirds 6_8 are done now. Here they are on the last corner of the tablecloth.

Hummingbird 06cHummingbird 6 is a mixture of lavender and purples with dark blue shadows on his ever-moving wings and tail feathers. Here he is with foliage beginning around him. To be truthful, I have never actually seen a purple hummingbird, have you? Now you have.

Hummingbird 07b#7 hummingbird #7 is a character made with a mixture of oranges, reds, and dark shadows outlined in black. He is pictured in a side view and has a stark white underside to his neck as he perches. Perched hummingbirds are a rather rare sight to see in real life, so Mr. RedOrange here is a rarity.

Hummingbird 08Humming Bird 08 is mostly green but many other colors are used to round him out and add highlight or shadow.  He is a character made with a mixture of purple, green, and even orange with dark shadows done in black. He is frozen in mid-flight as we look at him from the side. Typical satin stitches fill his body area but there are breaks and changes in direction to help portray feathers.


Humming Birds 4 & 5

A busy moment frozen in mid-flight just as he reaches into a blossom for nectar …

Tablecloth Corner 4-5Humming birds 4 & 5 were just finished on this “tablecloth embroidery project”.

Humming Bird 04bFour is a green-capped dude with a green neck and black on his wings and tail feathers. He has an orange body with yellow highlights. He is busy but frozen in mid-flight just as he reaches into a blossom full of nectar.

Humming Bird 04c_05

Here are both 4 & 5 before the foliage is added between them.Humming Bird 05c Hummingbird number 05 is another orange guy with green and teal highlights on his wings. His tail feathers are orange outlines. When the foliage gets drawn he is perched on a limb ready to reach into a nectar-filled blossom.

Hummingbirds 01-03

As these tablecloths progress I notice that I try many new techniques with the needlwork to try and get different effects.

Tablecloth Corner 1-3Hummingbirds 01-03 are complete on this smaller tablecloth (60″ square). Hummingbird 01a

Hummingbird 01b

#1 is going to be perched on a limb, not flying. He is made using oranges with yellow highlights and black shadows and he has a green wing. Here he is after some foliage is added around him.

Hummingbird 02b#2 is a side view of a hummingbird in flight and he is stitched using a mixture of blues, and teal with black accents.

Hummingbird 03a #3 is an underbelly view of a hummingbird in flight and he is made using blue, grays, green, and some black along with orange for his beak and feet. There are new stitching techniques tried on both of their wing feathers in an effort to display the ever-present movement better.

Hummingbird 03bIf you compare the first image of him with the second one you will see additional stitches and more colors added as the tablecloth progresses.

Many new combinations and techniques tend to show up as the tablecloth progresses. I am always trying to get a better effect with different stitching and color choices.

Collarbone Healing

Sketches to embroider a tablecloth with.

Collarbone healing provides an exercise in patience building. As I wait for my broken collar bone to heal, 6-10 weeks seems like forever. I am able to use my right arm in limited motions close to my body so, I am starting a new tablecloth embroidery. I gotta have something for my hands to do at night. For those of you who know me you are probably saying, “Another one”? Yep, this one is a favorite subject of mine. Can you guess?
Hummingbird SketchesThat is what I do, I embroider hummingbirds on tablecloths. These are sketches I have drawn to use as patterns to stitch these little characters on this one. The sketches are drawn with an iron-on purple pencil that I bought at the fabric store. There are nine positions drawn and I plan to mix and match them around randomly.

Can’t really say how many hummingbirds will end up being on this tablecloth. I have put a bunch along the edge of this full-size tablecloth and have not yet even put the flowers and branches in the design. I may be adding more to the mix or even taking a few out as I go. It’s an artist’s heaven when the design is figured out as I go.

I am looking forward to Spring’s arrival to be able to put out the hummingbird feeders. I am also planting their favorite flowers this year too and just can’t wait to sit out on my deck drinking morning coffee and watching these little guys fly around again.