28 July 2007

Three pairs of earrings

I was sorting through my earwigs the other day and trying to work out why I didn't wear some of them. There are several reasons but first I must admit to why I have so many pairs!!! This goes back to the teaching days when it was assumed that I would wear a different pair every day. Kids can be such hard task masters!!
As I endeavoured to 'grow up' after the age of sixty (something I've not yet achieved - I hope) I reverted to being a slob! By that I mean that as I was no longer 'in the workplace' then I didn't need to wear smart clothes like blouses, skirts, shoes with heels and tights. I could revert to 'norm'. Jeans, t-shirts and trainers/sandals. What a joy! BUT the earring habit didn't go away. To 'jolly' my days I 'needed' more earrings. I 'needed' a pair to go with every t-shirt, coat or jacket I owned. Fine - until I went to America on my first trip and discovered the joy of shopping. I came home with a suitcase full of - yes, t-shirts. They were of all colours and styles. More earrings 'needed' and made. Then after a while I found that I 'needed' a choice of styles so more excuses to make more earrings. Back to my sorting the other day. As I have far too many pairs now I decided to throw some of them out.
First out were the styles that 'didn't work'. These are designs that I never published because after they'd been worn/tested a few times they rapidly began to lose shape. Thus they stagnated in my jewelery box (cheap plastic Tupperware type box). They never got out into the public arena because they were, quite frankly, naff. Nothing I did would encourage them to hold their shape.
Next out were the pairs that didn't sparkle and had none of the 'wow' factor. Others that went were just plain 'old' (by that I mean five years or more). All the findings and a few 'special' beads were re-cycled, though so I don't feel so guilty. Below are three new pairs all using the doodle f pattern again but all slightly different. With the light purple/lavender pair I have taken a very large beaded picot from the first side ring and joined it to the third side ring. I think this may well be my favourite. Sadly again the scanner doesn't do them justice as they really, really sparkle.

More invisible earrrings!

Here are some more earrings made with the invisible thread. Not the easiest thread to work with but then I do like a challenge!!!
orange ones on the left are 3D and based on a flower idea.
The other pair are using the pattern which can be found as one of my
doodles (f). This time as more of a challenge to myself I added an extra long picot at the base and inside the main long one. I also used invisible (or nearly invisible) beads too!!! In 'real life' this pair are stunning.

One thing I've found with this thread is that it's very strong and however hard I tug on it it's never broken on me. Also it's remarkably easy to undo when you make a mistake - tat's if you can see it, of course!!!
PS I've just looked at the enlarged picture of the earrings on the right and I can see two ends that need 'snipping'!!! Wonder if I'll be able to find them when I get them out and have got my clippers? It's very, very hard to find the ends after you've completed a piece with this thread!!!

27 July 2007

Daisy, daisy give me your answer, do!!!!

I'm afraid there won't be much new on in the way of on-going designs here for a while - BUT there may be a some new ideas of what you can do with some of my old stuff!!! Below is the sunflower which you can find here. I've tried to make it into a daisy just by using different colours!!! I have changed the stem too and it's now a series of split rings.

Oh, to my friend Pamela (her of the geckos!) who complained bitterly over my colour choice on the blog yesterday - I offer my sincere apologies!!!! Well it got her attention anyway!!

26 July 2007


I've had these pretty buttons now for ages. Gina Brummett sent them to me (along with lots of others - she spoilt me rotten) in a button exchange that she ran on her tatting goddess list. They are the sort of thing that you get given and just don't want to use because they are just too pretty. I've been looking at them for ages as I realised that they were too fragile to use as a 'normal' button as the paintings on them would wear off eventually. I decided that they needed to become a brooch. They are transparent (or should that be invisible!!!!) but to work with invisible thread onto an invisible shank might be way beyond my patience! So, I chose a white thread and some pink beads and this is what happened. I've scanned them with two different backgrounds to try and show them at their best.
Two work them I joined two opposite inner rings to the shank and the other four are joined to their opposites through the shank.

25 July 2007

Mermaid card

I've just finished this card for a friend. I just can't resist the mermaid that Martha Ess designed. If you want the pattern click on the title as she's kindly shared it online. Thanks very much, Martha.
I've made at least six of these mermaids over the past year or so - just for the pleasure of making them - they also make me smile. I love the way she gives a warning on her web page about this design. You have to go look at it. (Whoops, just did a typo and put a 't' in front of the last word in the last sentence - good job I spotted it before posting)!!
This mermaid was tatted in a no. 80 thread. I didn't give her a navel ring as the ones I've got would've been too big and heavy for her and she would probably have drowned!!

23 July 2007

How I started designing

Talking to SueH on the phone the other day we both realised that I had never really told anybody how and why I started designing. Well, here is the story!!!
I would have been in my early forties and had been tatting for about twenty years when I fell into designing quite accidentally. I'd always 'jiggled' with patterns but never ever thought of making my own.
Over the years I'd also learnt other laces including knitted, crochet, bobbin, hairpin, netting and filet. There were no lessons available on any of these and so I had to find out 'how' from books. I also used to make clothes for myself, do patchwork, clothing repairs etc. All this combined with a full time teaching job. Really I was just so busy and it was relaxation to just sit and follow a tatting pattern in the evenings.
Anyway, I digress!!!!
One year when I had a particularly large and difficult class of reception children to settle into school I thought hard on how I could ease them into the classroom situation each morning. I decided to wear some funny earrings. After a while those who had previously been nervous and clingy with their mums would dash in to see what teacher was wearing in her ears each morning - success!! I started off with things like dog biscuits, sweets, tea bags, bath plugs, clothes pegs and anything and everything I could find round the house which were light enough to wear. My boss hated it. The County Council Infant Adviser loved it and wanted me to write an article for a national magazine about admitting children into school life. I now
have to remind myself why I didn't do this article. The reason was that I couldn't type and didn't have a typewriter.
At this time I had two teenage daughters, a home to run and a husband who was away on business a lot of the time. All on top of an ever changing and stressful job!! The earrings continued over the next few years with the children making me their own 'versions' out of paper, toilet roll middles, Lego etc. I wore each and every one with pride although it was very embarrassing when I forgot to take them out when I went into town shopping!!!!
It then occurred to me that this was all getting a bit 'silly' and expensive as I was also buying 'daft' earrings too. The boss was getting more and more 'unpleasant' about my various ear 'decorations' so I decided to tat my own - he could hardly object to that! I've still got the old notebook somewhere that I wrote the patterns in. I made things like cats, squirrels, giraffes, elephants, horses, traffic lights and eventually a few 'pretty' ones. The kids loved them too and the boss couldn't object!

A bit more time passed and my husband went off into the mist with my friend and I was left in a bit of a 'stew' with many very big problems to deal with. One of the many was redundancy so there I was at 48 with no job, a mortgage and very few skills to fall back on and to offer to the workplace. I decided to take a crash course in basic office skills - particularly typing as it was becoming clear at this point that computers were going to become the new office skill which would be needed.
I spent hours and hours in the middle of the night taking the basics that I'd learnt during the day and expanding on them.
One day, shortly after I'd finished teaching and while I was doing the courses, I cycled into town to look through the craft magazines in W H Smith. I couldn't afford to buy them so I squatted down on the floor behind the shelf and wrote down addresses on a scrap of paper. I started sending out some of the tatted earring patterns to magazines. They were all accepted and in due course published. I found a few problems with this. If you sell to a magazine they are often 'sponsored' by a thread company who then require you to sign over the copyright to them. I found that for a pattern they would pay around £60 - £70 which isn't a lot considering how much time went into a design and certainly wasn't going to be a good 'career shift'!! Certainly NOT enough to pay my new mortgage!
Some years later when life got better and I started designing for other magazines I refused payment so I could keep my own copyright. I still stick to this principle as it also helps keep the craft accessible to the magazine world as nobody has to find money to pay me!
I had already decided that office work might just pay the bills if I was very careful so I embarked on a career of temping!!!
The internet came into my life shortly after I moved in with Nick a few years later. Woweee, there were other tatters in the big wide world. I found that people suddenly wanted my patterns (one of the first I'd done was the Tattysaurus) but on dial up and emailing them to each individual this became expensive and time consuming!!! So I had to find out how to make a web site.
Fortunately I had a long term temping assignment (3 years!) at a software company where the young lads encouraged me, gave me hints etc to make my first web site.
The designing continues as it's now an integral part of my life.

The last for a while

This is the last one for a while. Next project is to make a birthday card and then nothing for a while, perhaps!! Really have a lot on for the next few weeks.
This is another alphabet bracelet with a braid which links it to the clasps. I can manage to put these on and off on my own with this type of clasp which is an advantage!
Guess what? It's raining again!

22 July 2007

Bracelet, tag, zipper pull?

The constant and very wet rain here in the UK has stopped gardening, housework (well, I'm it as an excuse!) and shopping but not tatting. In fact it's made more time for tatting!!!
When I first went to the USA a few years ago I was let loose in Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Walmart and picked up all sorts of odds and ends which could be used for tatting. Alphabet letters were amongst my purchases. I've diddled and daddled with them in the past but never come up with anything I was truly happy with. So, trapped by rain the following are what came about!!! The letters actually rest firmly in the tatting and I'm very pleased with the results. The pink and orange one is my first attempt and doesn't have beads. I only put one split ring on it so it will be a 'dangle' - unless, of course, I cut it up and make it into something else as there's a mistake in it!! The second one has split rings added at both ends so that when I meet up with Athena I'll be able to make it into a bracelet for her.

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Happy Beaks

Happy Beaks
I beg your pardon? I didn't quite catch what you said.