Needle Tatted Altar Lace for the Gila Valley Arizona Temple

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This altar lace is a beautiful example of needle tatting.  It was recently finished and donated to the Gila Valley Arizona temple by lacemaker Barbara Barney.  It’s a size ten thread, and took her nearly  a year to complete, with approximately 250 hours of labor.  I asked her about needle tatting and she wrote:

“I have always had a talent for needlework, crochet and knitting at a very young age.  I always wanted to learn to tat and my grandmother knew how.  The problem was that she lived in Idaho and I lived in New Mexico and our visits were never long enough for her to teach me.  I tried teaching myself from several different sources but it wasn’t until I got a copy of Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework that I figured out how to tat with a shuttle.  I added it to my list of abilities and moved on to other things.

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to needle tatting and I gave it a try.  Love at First Project!!  I can do both methods, needle and shuttle, but prefer the needle for so many reasons; much more forgiving when you make a mistake, it seems faster to me, my work comes out cleaner and I love the uniformity I can get with a specific needle and thread size.”

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Barbara already has another two needle tatted altar cloths in progress. Her goal is to make an altar cloth in honor of each of her 9 children.

I am not as familiar with needle tatting as I am with shuttle tatting and crochet, but this turned out to be just beautiful.

This is the pattern from Pinterest:

magicsquareneedletattingpattern

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Birds in Flight: From Chicken Scratch to Fruition

ImageI’ve been working on this design for several weeks now. I am really pleased with it. I’ve just had the design cleared to be used for an altar cloth in the Los Angeles temple. Progress!

There are few things as rewarding as sheer creation. It must be human nature, the bit of God in embryo in all of us.

This one is for my children. They all are. Each lace tells a story.  “Birds in Flight” is the next chapter in the story of our lives and our walk with the Lord. So much heartache brought each of our children to us. Each of them is learning to fly.  Free.  Safe.  It is joy to me. So many miracles.

My Loves. My Life.

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Faith, history, family and lace. I captured this shot today after nearly a month of lacelessness. I am finishing up a sample from my last altar cloth to remember the pattern. The Ebenezer Lace project had no written pattern, and I don’t want it to be lost. I’ll put it in a frame eventually with the story that goes with it for my children to read. The story is theirs.

Our family has been going through a growth spurt this last month with the addition of a son. He’s seven years old, and precious. His adoption will be finalized this fall, and we look forward to having him sealed to our family. This will make four adoptions and four sealings this fall if all goes well– three girls and a boy, to add to our existing three boys and a girl. Eight! And Carolyn. Nine.

This time has been nearly five years in the making. So many beautiful blessings.

We took this picture for Father’s day:IMG_469016526402605

Each spirit has a story. Each child is unique. Their paths to our family are all different, but each twist and turn is known to the Lord. How great a blessing! He has remembered his promises to us. My cup truly runneth o’er.

Time to get going on a new altar cloth.

Building Our Beautiful Temples

The Salt Lake City Temple by Robert A. Boyd

The Salt Lake City Temple by Robert A. Boyd

Recently, I saw some gorgeous pictures of our temples taken by photographer Robert A. Boyd. I love his style. It’s simply beautiful. This snowy scene is from the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the temple where my husband and I were married and sealed for time and all eternity, so it has a lot of significance for me.

If you look closely, you can see an angel in gold on the tip of the tallest spire.  Each temple is a place where heaven touches earth, and nearly all of them are topped with a statue of an angel in gold leaf, blowing a trumpet as an invitation to the world:

“The angel Moroni stand[s] atop the temple as a shining symbol of [our] faith. In a degenerate society, he remained pure and true. He is my hero. He stood alone. He stands today, beckoning us to have courage, to remember who we are, to ‘arise and shine forth,’ to [live] above the worldly clamor and to, as Isaiah prophesied, ‘Come to the mountain of the Lord’—the holy temple.” –Elaine S. Dalton

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Workers put the finishing touches on Los Angeles Temple statue of the angel Moroni — BYU Archives

I saw a clip go by on one of my news feeds that the church recently put out detailing just how the temples are built, designed and why. I love it! How are temples built? So interesting. I watched it all the way to the end. Twice. Each temple is so unique, and beautiful, with such history!

I decided to look up some of the history on my own Los Angeles Temple. History is never a bad project.

Did you know the angel Moroni that tops Los Angeles Temple is wearing Mayan garb?  He was designed specifically for the Los Angeles Temple by Millard F. Malin:

“In 1951, Malin was commissioned by the Church to sculpt the statue of the Angel Moroni for the new Los Angeles Temple. The model he designed is a more masculine figure than the Dallin statue on the Salt Lake Temple, and was heavily influenced, Malin said, by the drawings of Arnold Friberg – certainly the angel’s broad chest, muscular arms, and vaguely Aztec clothing is reminiscent of the familiar Friberg style. Torlief S. Knaphus, who sculpted his own Angel Moroni for the Cumorah monument, and artists Maurice Brooks and Elbert Porter also assisted Malin in designing and constructing the clay model.

When it came time to prepare the full 15′ 5-1/2″ statue of gilded cast aluminum, Malin constructed a temporary studio on the grounds of a concrete plant in Salt Lake City. There he erected a 1,500-pound steel armature to support the pliable material out of which he would sculpt the full-size model. A full two tons of the modeling compound Plastilina was required for the heroic-sized figure.”       —The Angel Moroni’s Secret

And I came across this gem, also from the building of the Los Angeles Temple:

A fifteen-and-one-half-foot statue of Moroni was sculpted by Millard F. Malin and cast in aluminum in New York. In October 1954, the one-ton figure, coated with twenty-threecarat gold, was hoisted to the roof and placed on the tower. At first the angel faced southeast toward the front of the temple. But soon afterwards, at the request of President McKay, it was turned to face east as a symbol of watching for Christ’s Second Coming.

The story was told of a neighbor who lived east of the temple and who was asked if she had visited the temple grounds. She replied, “No, I’m waiting until the angel turns around and faces me.” She later said, “Imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning and discovered that the angel was looking right down my street.”    BYU Archives

I love the stories! You can’t help but fall in love with these houses of the Lord.

Boise Temple: Tatted Lace Altar Cloth by Ann

Tatted Lace for the Lord, donated to the Boise Temple, with love, April 2014

Tatted Lace for the Lord, donated to the Boise Temple, with love, April 2014

I came across a sister who tats lace altar cloths. Many people ask me if what I do is tatting because my thread is fine, and crochet thread is often yarn weight. My lace is almost all crochet, but there are sisters who still tat altar cloths for the Lord.

This is a photo of her tatted altar lace. I’m so excited to find someone who tats temple lace. This altar cloth lace was made by Ann and is beautiful.  This is a mind boggling amount of work.  She writes:

It all started when I was 13 years old. I had appendicitis and while I was in the hospital I shared a room with an older lady. She was tatting almost constantly and I liked the look of it. I was so intrigued that I decided I wanted to learn to tat someday.

Three years later (while I was 16) it was 1980 and we were celebrating the sesquicentennial of the organization of the church. The young women’s leaders in my ward decided that they wanted us girls to learn something new as part of that celebration year. I told them I wanted to learn tatting.

So, they found an older sister in the ward named Ruby who knew how to tat. Three of us went to Ruby’s house to learn. I tied knots for about 30 minutes and then it clicked, and I was tatting. I started out with simple projects such as bookmarkers, and enjoyed the time I spent visiting Ruby and developing a friendship with her. I still have a pansy doily she crocheted. It has always been on display somewhere in my house since the day she gave it to me.

After about nine years, my sister asked if I could tat a baby bonnet. She picked the pattern, and I gave it a try. Up to that point I had never done anything that big. I ended up making a bonnet and matching set of booties, and the rest is history. So far I have made numerous Christmas tree ornaments and bookmarks, about 10 bonnets and a number of doilies. I am currently working on an altar cloth for the Boise Idaho Temple.

Many years ago, it used to be the case in the Denver Temple, that they would only accept tatted altar lace.  Lacemakers who tat have become so rare that they now accept crochet altar cloths also.  The standard is the best.  Whatever we can give, that is the best we can give, that is what is asked of us.  I love the history.

My favorite Ann quote:

The thing about tatting is that it is almost a lost art. Few people know how to do it anymore, but it is so delicate and beautiful. I’ve also learned that you can’t get enough money to make it worth the work. So, I never sell my tatting. I only give it away.

Ann has posted pictures of the construction of this lace also, so you can see how a tatted lace is put together. This one was made in size 30 thread, and now sits in the Boise, Idaho Temple.  What a gift.

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Tatted Altar Cloth by Ann, detail

“This altar lace has 527 larger motifs and 64 smaller ones around the edge. The large motifs took up to one hour each to make. The smaller ones took about 15 minutes each. All of them (591) had to have the ends whip stitched to hide them. All in all, I would guess I spent over 600 hours on it. The motifs line up in diagonal lines across the altar which creates an optical illusion with the angles of the altar. The motifs themselves move in and out in a way that I find very pleasing.

I often look at the lace in the temple and try to follow the lines and figure out how it is made. These motifs started on the outside edge and moved in to the center, then back out and back in until it was done. It helped that I only needed to tie off the ends once per motif, too!”  –Ann

Birds in Flight: Lacy Three Pointed Motif

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I had some time this afternoon so I modified the motif pattern from my previous design. I opened it up a little more so it is less dense. I like the balance between closed and open areas better, you can see what is going on in the lace.

A good visual design gives your eye a path to travel, and the lace begins to tell a story.

In old lace traditions, the lacemakers would use their skills as an art form, taking elements of their lives and experiences and working them into their laces. This next altar cloth lace has a story to tell. It’s a good one, and I want to get it right.

 

Six Pointed Lace Motif

I’m experimenting with lace design. This original creation is my newest try. I’m looking for a good design for my next altar cloth project.

Altar cloth patterns need to be close woven designs so buttons don’t snag on them, but they still want them open enough to be lacy and beautiful. It is a constant tug of war between beauty and durability.

So far, I like it. I don’t know if it’s the one though.

This six pointed lace motif was worked in size 20 thread. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.

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Here I Raise My Ebenezer– Hither by thy help I’m come

My Ebenezer project was named after I became fascinated a few years ago with the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, sung by the BYU Choir during the time I was at BYU.  Many of the singers in this choir were classmates and members of my ward during that time.  This is my all time favorite performance of this hymn, but I never understood the line:

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’m come”

until I read about it in Samuel.

1 Samuel 4-7

The Israelites went against the Philistines in battle, but because some of the Israelites had fallen into wickedness and begun following false gods, the Lord was not with them. With only their own strength, the battle was sorely lost. Thirty thousand Israelites were slaughtered and the Philistines took their land and many cities as well as the ark of the covenant.

Twenty years later with the prophet Samuel, the Israelites were once again fully repentant and ready to come again against the Philistines, this time in the strength of the Lord. The Israelites were victorious over the Philistines with the miraculous help of the Lord, and won back their lands and cities in the same place they had lost them twenty years earlier. As a reminder of the great victory God gave to Israel, Samuel took a great stone and raised it as a memorial “between Mizpeh and Shen.” As he raised it he “called the name of it Ebenezer [or stone of help], saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Whenever the Israelites looked at the stone, they would remember that strength of the Lord in their lives. (for more, see Music and the Spoken Word,)

In my life, I traveled a similar road as Samuel and his people, only I wasn’t going to war, I was building my family.  Like Samuel, I came upon a difficult place, and lost, tragically.  This time, as I’ve come upon the same place, I have the strength of the Lord, helping me through.  What better name for lace, symbolic of such great blessings?  I put my faith, my trust, my all, on that altar.  This gift of the heart is a monument to remember His help in my life.

 

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I’ll praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above