Some of my patterns

30 December 2006

Back again with thoughts on making tatted earrings

I couldn't get into my blog yesterday so the seahorses are what should've been added then!!!
The earrings are some I made yesterday and I'm VERY pleased with them. They look even prettier in 'real life'. I've listed all four pieces on ebay!!! The pattern is here http://tinyurl.com/yco7pv
Some of my thoughts on making tatted earrings.
Having made earrings for about twenty to thirty years I've found out by many, many mistakes that the design has to be simple and strong. By strong I mean that it has to withstand being worn!!! Obvious, I know, BUT not always easy to achieve. The really pretty lacy looking earrings don't often work for me. After a few 'outings' I find that they bend even when well stiffened. To combat this the addition of as many beads as possible can help! (See my other earrrings which are based on the 3D snowflake). http://tinyurl.com/ylrmef
Using a very tight tension and a strong six core thread helps too. A thread like Flora, Manuela etc. Earrings can be made using a fine 60, 70 or 80 but I find that these work better with an added filament - again plenty of beads. Design is the main part of making earrings. Keep them simple and with clean lines. Slim earrings no more than and inch or so wide work well - length doesn't matter. Adding a split ring (like those you find on a key ring) to hang the finished piece to the findings is also an good idea and this is best worked into the tatting itself. The earrings below have them added into the long beaded picot but with the Christmas tree earrings I actually tat over the ring.
Another suggestion and one which I've used on the white pair below, is to Scotch Guard them to prevent them getting dirty.
The above are only my thoughts on making earrings and I would be very happy to add other people's suggestions to these.
Additional ideas from the comments section and email lists.
Also, as Wally suggests - you can squidge in some PVA to make the earrings not only a bit stiffer but to also keep off the dirt!!
From Sylvia in Penarth (that's in Wales!!). I have also tatted around a four hole tiny button, these make very pretty ear-rings, I used flora and a tight tension, they ended up stiff enough as they were. So keeping clean wasn't a problem, I washed them!!
Gina has reminded me that another thing I do is use PVA glue to 'blob' the piece of tatting onto the finding if a split ring isn't used. I used to do this in the past but nowadays try to 'build in' a split ring as it makes for a safer finished item.

28 December 2006

More Seahorses!

Still making seahorses with a plan to do the last two today - life permitting!!! These two are really prettier than they look with the colours being really bright. No idea why they don't look as bright as usual - perhaps the scanner's not quite awake like me!! Just listed these two on ebay. Two more planned for later today and then I'm definitely going to make new earrings!!!!




27 December 2006

Seahorses and Tatting Shuttles for Ebay!

I'm so pleased with my latest little projects. These are the first two and I've just listed them on ebay. I'm going to make four more and then I may make some earrings that I've been thinking about! I've also listed the Aero shuttles on ebay too.

26 December 2006

Shopping Bag Finished - probably!

I made myself finish the shopping bag off on Christmas Eve. I sewed the pieces on and this part is finished. I may add more pieces around the sides but that will have to wait for further inspiration!!! I made the bag back in August but it's taken all this time to find the time to finish it!!!!


Below is the wonderful parcel I had from my Secret Santa who was Omar Bentley in Oz. Such a lot of fun - especially opening the canned Koala.


23 December 2006

T T & A

This is the final part of my bag project apart from any further 'decorations' which I will add as and when I like. To achieve this effect I've used a 'sort of' block tatting. I was playing the other day and 'discovered' another way of doing block tatting which was a progression of a suggetion of Sue Hansons. Now I'm really a lazy tatter and look for the easy way out of everything. Sue's idea of doing a SLT and turn at the end of each row to save the traditional way of changing shuttles etc really appealed to me!!! I then had a 'brainwave' which was quite a surprise as my brain doesn't often work that way and thought I'd try doing it without the SLT and turn but try going back on the second row without flipping the knots. This works a treat. Woweee, I thought. Jane's invented something. So I wrote to the tat guru - Georgia Seitz - and asked if I had come up with something new. Duh, no!!!! Georgia told me that Julie Patterson had done this in her book 2. So I wrote to Julie to tell her how funny it was that I'd come up with this too. What tickled me even more was that Julie wrote back and said that when she used block tatting in her book she thought that this was the only and right way!!!! I really would suggest getting a copy of Julie's book as the way she has illustrated and explained it is in one word - EXCELLENT. I will try and do it at some point in my own way for my pattern site.
Now the idea/technique that I've used below isn't a 'true' block tat and this will be explained too in due course.





20 December 2006

2 Finished

Here is a picture of the number 2. I've used the braid that's shown below.



19 December 2006

Making a braid

I've been playing recently and found a simple way of making a braid. As you can see in the picture below this can be shaped easily as you go along. I'm going to use it to make my 2 and T A T for my shopping bag.

18 December 2006

Last Starcatcher and New Stuff

This is number 36 of the starcatchers and has to be the last unless, of course, I go and buy some more of that sized ring. I'm going to make some seahorses to put in rings to sell on ebay and Pamela Myers in Ireland tells me that the shop called 'Claires' has them on offer at the moment. I'll try and get down town today as we have a branch here. I usually buy them from there as there's so much choice of colours and at least two sizes.

I've also started work on my 2 T A T. Below is a first tryout but I think this will be abandoned for another idea which occurred to me in the night!

17 December 2006

Techniques and Great Minds!!!!

I think I bought the bracelet rings for the starcatchers way back in August. I bought two packets of 18 each. I now have one left! I've kept very few (3) for myself and have managed to give away all the others. Mental note to myself - don't start so early in the year making Christmas giveaways as they rarely stick around until Christmas!!!
Yesterday I finished my final piece for the Palmetto Tatting days application. Mind, there's a lot more to do before I file my application. I came up with a REALLY clever idea for doing block tatting another (and easier IMHO) way. I was just SO proud of myself. I thought I'd better check this out with the tatting guru (Georgia Seitz) as she'd know if it'd been done before. Duh, yes!!! It has!!! Julie Patterson uses it in her book which I must now go and buy. The book is called 'More Crosses Than You Can Bear'. There's a review on it here http://www.georgiaseitz.com/reviews/juliep/juliepbk2.html
Looks like I'll have to keep an eye on Julie - one VERY talented lady.

15 December 2006

I am pleased to announce that a supply of 'England' Aeros have arrived home with me safely. These are the 'Rolls Royces' of the Aero bobbin shuttles and far superior (but I can never see why!) to those made in Germany. All I can think is that they changed the moulding or the quality of the plastic.
I will start listing them on Ebay and/or Etsy just after Christmas. No point now as nobody would get them before the 'festive season'. Just can't believe my luck - a few will be put aside for my 'old age' and my sister wants a few too. The rest can fly round the world to whoever wants them. Only hope they go to good homes where they will be used and loved!!!


13 December 2006

Great Tat News

The lady to whom I spoke on the Friday market two weeks ago rang me this morning to say that she can get me the Aero bobbin shuttles. YIPEEEEEE. They are straight from Redditch where they used to be made many, many moons ago so obviously they are the original ones with 'England' marked on them. My ex husband actually found two in a cupboard when he worked there many years ago and he 'set them free' to tat for me!!! About the only decent thing he ever did for me, come to think about it!!! Anyway, I will be picking them up on Friday and then after Christmas I will start listing them on ebay. I think I'll keep a few just for myself - one needs to look after the 'inner soul' at times. Oh, and my sister will get a couple too. Well, tat's all for now.

12 December 2006

Three more completed yesterday. This time I TRIED to find other colours - avoiding the bright ones. Did it work or not? Hmmmm, not sure but I'm still pleased with them. I think this is one of my favourite of all time patterns. I worked it out yesterday. I bought two packets of the rings (18 in each) and now have two left. 34 starcatchers done and 6 now left to giveaway. That's one for each of the grandsons. Nathan had his on Saturday so just Callum and Oscar to have theirs.
Now I've no excuse not to return to Palmetto work!!! I've enjoyed the autopilot tatting for two days but now want to do something new!!!

11 December 2006

More Star Catchers with a Difference

I made three more of these yesterday late afternoon and evening. It was a long evening as, for once, there was a good film on the telly!!!! If you take a careful look at these you'll see that I've changed the centres slightly. I've done them like the starfish which makes working the whole thing a tad bit easier!!!

10 December 2006

A Very Busy Time

When will it ever stop?!?!? I've been very busy, as I said, preparing my submission for the Palmetto tat days next September. I'm now mostly through it with just two more small ideas which I need to think about and do to finish it off.
I was intending to get back to my shopping bag idea yesterday but when I took my friend her Christmas tat giveaway she asked if she could buy two more off me for her daughter!! This happened the other day too. So, I've run out!! Back to the starcatchers!! I did one yesterday evening and have another 'on the shuttles' at the moment. What a lovely treat - no thinking - just tatting AND with beads too!!!


9 December 2006

I know I've been quiet lately but I have been working on lesson plans which I am going to submit to the Palmetto tatters. A HUGE challenge as it's always difficult to come up with new ideas. The hardest part is thinking of an idea where the point you want to put across to the class is included quite early on in the time allocated. This really has to be done this way as students work at different speeds. SO reminds me of being back in my classroom. Planning lessons for over thirty young children, setting the targets, getting them settled down and then five minutes later little Johnny had finished!!! Duh. Did one strangle the little beggar or find him another challenge?
As the last main pattern for the application is now almost done I'm going to 'treat' myself to a day of tatting something for myself. I really, really want to do the 2 T A T to go on my shopping bag. I've done the eye (see previous posting) and the heart will be straight forward. The 2 is not so bad as I made a start on that some time ago.

1 December 2006

More earrings!

I've got so many different colours I want to make that I've taken a break for a day or so to 'treat' myself and my daughter!!!! Here are a couple of pairs of my Christmas tree earrings too!!!!




25 November 2006

Surprised myself!

I was rummaging around in a drawer a couple of days ago looking for my old magazines. I was doing a teaching application and needed to find 'evidence' of what I'd done in the past. Anyway, much to my surprise (being a bear of short memory!) I found that I'd actually had my Christmas tree earrings (similar to the ones I've been selling on ebay) published in monthly magazines (Popular Crafts and Practical Crafts) as far back as 1993 & 1998. I honestly thought I'd got the pattern from somewhere else but obviously not!! They had probably been in a Ring of Tatters newsletter before that. I also found other patterns of mine which those two magazines had used too. I knew about the My Weekly ones which were later in the 1990's/2000.
My first ever published piece was done in about 1971 for Lady magazine. I remember waiting for about two years for them to use the piece which was about Netting. I 'spent' the money I thought I'd get for that many many times but in the end it wasn't much!!!!
In the past I used to take payment for patterns used by magazines but quickly found that if I did then the copyright then belonged to them!! As payment is so little for all the work involved I decided to just give the work to them. This is why I am now able to put those patterns onto my site once the magazine have used them (I usually wait about four months before I put them on the internet).

23 November 2006

Eye couldn't resist making another one! Just had to try this pattern out again!!!

22 November 2006

Eye've Finished - I think!

The eye is probably finished. I say probably because I always look at further suggestions. Sue, my mentor (and in some cases - tormentor!) in London, has already suggested that the shape could be modified to make one corner more 'pointy' and the other more rounded. I will look into this but am reluctant to go into 'over design mode'. This version of the eye has now got beads (well, one can't live without beads) and I've also added 'glitter' to the white by using a Madeira thread along with it. It should be ready for a trip into cyberspace shortly.

18 November 2006

Sally's Christmas Tat Bangle

My sister (Sally) has been nagging me for ages to find/make her a motif to put inside some bangles she'd bought. I'm afraid to say that I didn't quite get roundtuit!!! Blame ebay and other orders! Anyway, I was chatting to her yesterday evening on messenger and she said she'd found the solution - see below. She found a motif and adapted it. The motif was in an old Ring of Tatters newsletter. It can also be found here http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~nickeb/motif_3.htm Sally has just used the centre of the motif and added beads in places I'd not thought of!!! This is the same motif I used for the garden mat too http://janeeborall.blogspot.com/2006/07/finished-mat.html

15 November 2006

Thinking about ebay

This is a rambling post today. I've been talking to Sue Hanson (yorkiesuelace) about listing stuff on ebay as we've both got stuff on there at the moment. I'm not an expert but these are some of the conclusions we've both come to over the months.
When listing anything that is tatted you also have to get the word 'tatting' into the title as well. If this isn't possible then forget 'tatted' and stick to just 'tatting'.
Also it doesn't seem to matter if you don't have a gallery picture when selling low cost items. After all another 15 pence is a lot on a low cost piece.
Another tip that I use is to start a word document with all the items you intend to list. Gives you the chance to add stuff whenever you get time. Then when you're actually listing all you need to do is copy and paste.
Postage costs. I use kitchen scales to weigh my stuff. Always remember to allow for slightly more particularly if you live in the UK as the new postal 'regime' is not as easy to work out costings!
Very clear photos/scans and explicit descriptions are also a must and don't forget to tell the potential buyers that you are happy to make in other colours.
I am also listing on etsy
http://www.etsy.com/index.php which is a lot, lot cheaper - 10 cents per item and for 6 months and a lot, lot prettier too. Only problem here is that it just hasn't 'caught on' yet.
Well, tat's all for today. Please let me know if you have any more tips!!

14 November 2006

Eye, eye!!

It must have been two months ago that I made a new shopping bag for myself. As I live in the centre of town I do lots of 'on the hoof' shopping so to help save the environment from the relentless plastic carriers, I take a bag with me. Anyway, fabric was bought (denim), bag made and tat was the end of tat!!! I wanted to decorate it with tatting but didn't quite know what. I then had the idea of doing and eye, heart, 2 and then the letters T A T. Having spent the last month completing orders for customers and selling other bits and pieces on ebay the project has been on 'hold'. Now I'm back onto it. The eye beneath is almost sorted (probably need to sort the sides a bit). Perhaps a few beads here and there in the green and the white parts to make Irish eyes. Will explore further when the muse takes over again!! I used the small shuttle shaped motif that is here http://www.ringoftatters.org.uk/patterns/janeshuttle/janeshuttle.html and then had to start again from scratch!!! Don't worry - I know my eyelashes need trimming but I didn't finish until late last night!!!

13 November 2006

Earrings!

My eldest daughter saw the earrings I listed on ebay back in August and asked me if I'd make her a pair. Time has gone on and finally I was in the right frame of mind to make them. I've made two pairs - 1 for her and one to probably list. Not sure!! These are some of the prettiest ones I've made, I think.

10 November 2006

How did I do this?

Sometimes, just sometimes it's good to have the 'spots' showing through when using two colours. BUT how did I get them into the middle of the inside picots? This is only a very rough piece so I've just tied a knot at the end.

9 November 2006

Ta de dah - t'is done!

The dolphin is sorted!! I shall work a final one this afternoon or evening just to check my text and then he'll be ready for the great big cyber sea. In fact the split chains work well but can be omitted by cowards! In this final version I've altered the beak once more (just the odd ds here and there) to make it less swordfishy!! Hopefully over the next few days I will get the chance to do a final tat of the starfish and then with the new small fish the three can be launched into cyberspace. Next project? Hmmmmm - finish my Secret Santa and get it photographed and packed ready for mailing.

8 November 2006

Another look at the dolphin

I gave this pattern a rest yesterday evening to complete my last lot of orders but decided to look again at him in the light of day. A comment left on the blog gave me food for thought and a giggle too. Why not call it a sword fish somebody said!! Yup, it certainly was starting to look more like a swordfish than a dolphin and I put that down to altering 2 ds on the chain from SR6 to R9. I shall revert back to the stitch count on the previous version to see if this changes it back to a dolphin!!! What a difference a day makes - or even a few double stitches!!! Underneath you will see my amended drawing with faint double lines and question marks in two places. I've got to see if I can work in split chains here to make the appearance of the dolphin more pleasing. Perhaps when I've done this it may throw the whole thing out of kilter again!! So what, it's fun playing with the dolphins!!!

7 November 2006

I had another attempt at the dolphin but although the flukes are now sorted I'm not happy with the beak!!! When will I ever be happy with anything I do?

6 November 2006

Back to the Dolphin

A fairly good evening for making dolphins. I've put a link in the title to the picture I'm using and this also gives the 'proper' names for the dolphin's tail, fins etc. Interesting.
The first picture is a retrograde step going back to rings and chains after the last trial with SR's! Notice I've now tried the flippper!!

The next picture is there to show just how often I 'lose the plot'!!! Really lost it this time so had to start again!! I'll really HAVE to learn to count!

The last picture below shows my final attempt last night. It was late but I did have a final inspiration on the flukes (that's the tail to you and me!). If you look at the link in the title you will see that they should be much 'fatter' and this is what I've attempted here. They need more shaping as the lower one is trying to go the 'wrong way'!


I'm not happy with the space just below the dorsal fin. There seems to be a bit of an anomally there!!! I also need to look at the beak again and see if I can get the chain running from the actual top of the beak to the eye ring a bit more shapely! This is called the melon!!!
Right, enough rambling - time to get on with the day. Back to the dolphin (probably) this evening.

3 November 2006

Dolphin design

Now this has come about as a result of Connie's fish. While I was working on that design I suddenly 'saw' the one that I'd been thinking of for months and months - a dolphin. I saw the dolphin's beak (yes, that's what the dolphin's nose is called) while I was working round the mouth of the fish. This time I decided to start the whole process in a slightly different way. As the dolphin was to be loosely based on the fish I took the fish drawing and 'played' with it. This is the result of that play.
I also downloaded a picture of a bottlenosed dolphin which I then 'traced' over using Serif DrawPlus and the fish drawing. This gave me the 'perfect' outline. BUT!!!!
The following is my first attempt at tatting this. You will see that the beak is totally wrong!!! I thought about using a very long picot for the top fin but if I do this it will need beads added to it and - well, I'm not sure about that. The tail on this first attempt is too floppy and I just didn't bother with the lower fin as I got disheartened!!!
In the next attempt (below) I think I've resolved the floppy tail by using down picots and lock joins. The top fin is now a chain but again I'm not convinced!! I've also used split rings instead of 'ordinary' ones to try and shape the back. The beak is looking better and you can 'just' see where I've used a down picot (which WILL have a bead) for the eye. I think I may well go back to the straight rings and chains on the next version. As I write these patterns down I keep all versions of it so that I can refer back. So, this evening. I need to make one or two of the chains shorter, go back to rings and chains, sort out the fins (top and bottom) and tat, re-tat and re-re-re-tat until I get what I want!!!


30 October 2006

First part of my Secret Santa done

This is the first part of my Secret Santa done. Do you like it? I'm VERY pleased with it. I hope my partner likes the colours and the beads.



Did you REALLY think I was going to let the secret out yet?

29 October 2006

Gone Fishing!!

I was also asked by the same lady to make her three pairs of fish earrings. I immediately thought of Martha Ess's dear little fish in New Critters on the Block but found that once made it was too big for an earring. Then I decided that I was just being downright lazy and that I should make one of my own. The first picture below is the progression of how the fish developed on Friday (after the booties were finished!).
The next picture is Saturday's progression and the third is the finished results. I used a no. 20 thread with a sparkly filament added and tiny seed beads for the fins and tail. The eye is a slightly larger bead.

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