31 October 2008

Memory problems!

Funny to find that other people have the same problems as me with remembering things - great idea, Carol!!!! I see I actually forgot to put the flamingo into yesterday's blog - told you my memory is bad, bad, bad!!! It gets worse when life gets stressful which it certainly is at the moment!!

So, the day before yesterday I pinned the pattern for my jacket on the fabric. Good stuff. All alterations included. Yesterday I decided to check it again and cut it out. Major problem there - it had gone missing!!! You wouldn't believe that in a relatively small house like this that an item could hide itself so well and so easily!!! In a disgruntled (with myself) frame of mind I wandered down the town. Nick found it while I was out but by then I'd gone off the idea of cutting out as I was tired -we'd been out all morning and it was now 3 o'clock in the afternoon with fading light!

When I DO eventually get it cut out I'll scan a piece and show you the colour but meantime - here's another animal to sew on when it's done!!!

30 October 2008

Animal number 2

Hmmmm, just a thought but are the animals coming into Noah's Ark or what!!!

I'm working through my own animal designs first and so at the same time I'm checking the patterns for 'understandability' and mistakes yet again!!!

It's actually great to be sitting and 'just tatting' without having to make notes all the time as I go. The way I work is still with the laptop on my lap and a tab in my browser open with the pattern on. I then move the cursor down line by line as I work. Anything I find that I think needs changing I copy and paste into an email message and send it to myself to pick up in the morning. I know that I talk to myself most of the time (although Nick does pretend to listen) so emailing myself is just another symptom of old age and senility - I guess!!!!

I did manage to pin the pattern onto the fabric yesterday and hope to cut it out later today. I have had to add 2" to the length as it's only a 'just below the hip' length jacket and take off almost the same amount off the sleeves. I suffer from short arms!!!

Here's the flamingo.

29 October 2008

New project for the winter!!

I bought myself some fabric yesterday. I'm going to make a jacket. I can't find another in the shops in the denim type weight I want so I'm going to make one. This one will be my zoo jacket and will be smothered in animals!!!

Why? Well, I'll be honest. The gecko jacket makes me lots of adult friends but I'm hoping the zoo one will find me some of the smaller kind. The kind I used to teach - roughly four to seven year olds. I do miss my tiddlers. It was them that got me started on designing so many, many years ago.

Anyway, I need something to take my mind off the hassles I'm suffering at the moment. Here's the first one into the zoo - a meercat!!!!

27 October 2008

My new brooch

This brooch has been 'in the brain' for a few days now. Finally I found time for it (ably supported by brain cell # 3) to break out and become real!!!

I've been given quite a few little charms - the sort you have on bracelets - over the years and these are real little treasures. I decided that instead of putting them on a bracelet I'd add them to one of my brooches. Well, the ones I've used here! I have others which will eventually 'suffer' the same fate!!!

26 October 2008

On a happier subject!!!

Look what arrived in the post yesterday. I really, really needed cheering up after a very difficult Friday - the results of which will be long reaching. Oh to be a tougher person and not such a great big softie.

Anyway, I digress - did I hear somebody say AGAIN?

The little packet on the left below arrived. Look what was in it. Two of the famous Teri Dusenbury turtles. The colours are amazing and the skill is unbelievable. When I showed them to Nick he couldn't believe that they were tatted either.

They are now living with the other three turtles that Teri sent me last year. Thank you SO much, Teri. These turtles will travel with me to all the tatting events I go to.

Now going back to my ramblings about selling tatting - how much would you be willing to pay for one of these dear little turtles? Each one is totally unique and I defy anybody to work out how Teri makes them. Mind, I haven't tried personally because I know full well I couldn't reproduce the quality of them - they are amazing. Each one has it's own personality too.

25 October 2008

Shot in the foot?

I posted about my opinions on pricing of handmade goods and wondered what would happen. This post is simply an update.

Before I posted my last message on pricing I looked at my 'watchers' list on ebay. I noticed that there was 1 'watcher' on one item. Fine - not unusual at that stage of a listing (2 days into a 7 day auction/buy it now). For those who are not sellers on ebay I must explain that if you sell and somebody is interested they can 'watch' the progress of a listing to see what bids are being made and decide whether they want to bid (or not) in due course.

Anyway I did think that when I went back to look again about 48 hours after my blog posting that there might be a few more watchers - people who do what I often do - 'watch' items just to see 'who does what'. That's fine and as a seller too it's something I'm used to seeing and knowing it also doesn't mean the item will sell!!! Imagine my surprise when the 'watch' list hadn't changed. The visits counters vary between 11 and 64 so folks have 'dropped in', looked and gone away!!! The same happens in Etsy although you don't get a 'people watching' facility there (well, not that I've noticed!) but you do get a 'visits' counter.

So, what does it mean? Am I trying to sell something that nobody wants? Have I upset people by being honest about my pricing OR am I living in cloud cuckoo land by even trying?!?!?!? Other thoughts are that people might be busy, I might have listed in the wrong 'category' or that I'm too early for Christmas stuff!!!!!

The worst scenario is that it's just not what people want to buy!!!!!!! So, shot in the foot? Perhaps but it's been fun doing it!!! No pain though as I am thick skinned and simply a 'mad old git in the UK'!!!!!

24 October 2008

What a difference a friend makes

As you know I was never happy with the dangly flower but thanks to Teri Dusenbury who wrote and made a suggestion, I've now changed my mind (and changed their 'stalks')!!!

What Teri suggested was bookmark hooks. I'd been searching for egg hangers but all I ever found were ones with bases. Obviously these were no good.

The only bookmark hooks I'd ever seen had little butterflies (enamelled, I think) on the ends and that was twenty years ago. So after Teri wrote I looked around and found
this site in the UK and they had exactly the right ones.

Thanks, Teri. I'm VERY grateful. They've turned manky looking gifts into super ones.

23 October 2008

Busy, busy, busy!!!

I've finally managed to squeeze in a few minutes to add some Christmas tree earrings and brooches to my ebay site. It will be interesting to see if anybody bids on these items as I've 'told it straight'.

I'm sick of people under valuing handmade goods. They would rather pay double the price for things which come off a production line! I work out my prices to try and make a bit of money but even as I've priced them on Ebay and Etsy I'm not anywhere near working for a minimum wage. I know my time is my own and that I choose to do this and don't have to make a living from it but I always feel mildly insulted about how I de-value myself in order to sell. However if I put craftsman's rates on my goods I know full well that I'd never sell a sausage. I would welcome any comments that you have on my ebay listings as that's where I've had my little 'say'!!!!

There - I've had my little 'rant' so now I'll climb back into my cave along with shuttles, threads and beads!!!!

22 October 2008

Another tatted brooch!

I thought I'd do one for myself this time. Nick bought me a new winter coat last week and it's brown. This one will go on the coat.

The pattern is VERY simple and if anybody wants it please ask - here are a few split rings involved. The button is 1" in diameter and this would work for any button of that size with four holes.

I think that over the next few days I'm going to list some more Christmas tree brooches and earwigs but this time on Ebay. Not sure, though. I'll keep you posted!!!

I MIGHT, just MIGHT have another visit from brain cell # 3 and if that happens I'll be off on another idea for my Palmetto teaching submission. I had a postcard from him yesterday saying that he might 'drop in' for a cup of tea and a chat!!!!

21 October 2008

Mother of Pearl brooch

Sherry's post on her MOP buttons reminded brain cell number 3 that a friend down the road had kindly given me a few to 'play' with ages ago so I dug them out!!! Here's the one I did for her.
So simple to do but I think it's quite pretty too. I wanted it to sort of 'cup' the button but not hide it in any way. This is the result with no 'ugly' threads covering it either. Note the blue beads which lie just on the edge although not attached in any way.

20 October 2008

Final dangly flower!!!

This is the final one. Since this I've actually stiffened them all slightly and they do look a lot better. I MAY get to like them one day!!!

Tomorrow I'll have something different to show!!!

19 October 2008

Now for a purplish one!

Again the pictures aren't too good. I blame the photographer and not the camera!!!

18 October 2008

I've been thinking

I've been thinking. Now I know I do a lot of it but having so very few brain cells it's not easy and takes a lot out of my energy cells! I've been re-visiting a pattern that I put on my web site in 2005 and found it a tad confusing!

I don't think it's particularly difficult if people had been following me (and that DOES include me) from the beginning of my 'career' (or lack of) in designing.

What really amazes me is that in just 3 years my methods of writing patterns has changed so much. Let me explain.

First of all when I looked at this pattern I realised that there was no sign of notation for right/front side wrong/backside tatting. YIKES!!!

Do people REALLY want/need the notation in italics and red for front side/back side tatting? Tat is the question!!!! (sorry Bill Shakespeare).

Next thing I noticed was that all the beads were added to the threads before starting instead of adding as you go which could be done for a lot of the beads used in this pattern.

What I really, really want to know is if I should change the pattern or leave it 'as is'? I do find this way of adding beads so much easier - BUT do others? To quote a bit from the bard (again and with apologies) - 'to load or not to load tat is the question'?

This very much makes me (and the 3 best brain cells) realise that I will never be 'ready' to put a book together as I've got what many people have called it in the past - a butterfly brain. It flits from one idea to another always hoping it's going to do better!!!

Any and all comments are very welcome.

17 October 2008

Not my best pictures!

I must warn you ahead that the pictures today are not the best I've ever taken. I can't seem to get the 3D ones quite right!! I'll try again tomorrow as my patience has gone home for the day!!

This is the dangly flower I was working on a couple of months ago. It actually looks a lot prettier in 'real life' than it does here. The small wooden 'vase' is one of three that I bought at a local craft fair and as you've now worked out - there will be two more flowers to make next!!!

15 October 2008

Yesterday's adventure

As I'm not showing any tatting at the moment (I'm doing plenty but it's been 'assigned') I thought I'd ramble on a bit about the exciting life I lead. So here's all about yesterday's adventure.

In the UK we now have subsidised public transport for 'old gits' like we are now. So we've both got bus passes. We can travel anywhere within our county after nine thirty in the morning for free with these passes. We've got a car and both drive so normally would go either 'on the hoof' (on foot) or in the car.

Yesterday we caught a bus at the end of the road and went to a town eight miles away. We wandered round and found a 'real' pub. Not one that had been modernised but one that had been left alone for ever. We had lunch there, wandered round the town and caught the bus back. Unfortunately we made a bad decision and came back on the top of a double decker and as it went round a lot of the small villages we suffered from sea sickness by the time we got home!!!!

So, that's what we call an exciting day!!!!!!!

Tomorrow I hope to have some tatting to show!!

14 October 2008


I've not got anything to show again today BUT I can tell you that I've had a major breakthrough with a design I'm working on. I will tell you, though, that I've been playing with beads and this 'item' is very 'beadful'. Roughly 145 beads but with only 2 added to the threads before starting. Also another way of . . . . . . . . . . .

Because I can't show you I'm going to have to go and do something else today or tomorrow - just so I can share. I miss not scanning or photographing every day!!!

13 October 2008

Breaking news!!!!

Ah, not a lot done this weekend. I went out on Saturday evening. On my own, without Nick.

BOY, did I have the best time. I spent part of the evening in bed with two guys. Now what could be better than that? Now aged 65 and I managed to 'pull' two guys in one evening. I was exhausted yesterday but that's the price you pay when you get to be a 'real time' old git.

I suppose you want to know what I did with my two guys on my night out? OK, I'll come clean. First of all we played with meccano and then, when we were in bed, I got the chance to read three chapters of George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dhal. My guys are aged 8 and 6!!!

When we'd finally exhausted George (and me!!) I managed another trial of one of my designs.

11 October 2008

Good jobs done

Two jobs done and dusted. 200 motifs ready to post as soon as I'm dressed and 'breakfasted' and today it will be time to go back to my other ideas.

I also finally got the TIAS finished. Thanks, Sherry, for doing this. I'm sorry I 'lost the plot' on it towards the end but my friend was rather 'desperate' for her little motifs.

10 October 2008

Netting (and tatting) - part 2

Well I found the magazine with my netting article in it and the other with the filet and netting/tatting combined. Now, how clever is that!!! I spent yesterday knocking the garden into shape ready for the winter and realised late in the evening that I'd not got anything interesting to blog so went in search of the two things below. The Lady article has been damaged but this might just be the copy that belonged to my mum. I think there are two other copies stashed away somewhere.

The Lady magazine was printed in March 1973 when I was a Spring Chicken of thirty years old. I must've written it then in 1971 which would make me a sort of stay at home mum who worked any and every job from mopping up pub floors to supply teaching as and when I could (no easily available child care in those days) in order to help stock the family coffers!!!!

The other small booklet (below) was put together by Margaret Hamer and Kathleen Waller an ex chairman of the Ring of Tatters (and of course, a tatter!). Interestingly the proceeds of this wee booklet went to the Lace Guild.

Must mention here that Kathleen Waller also published two excellent small booklets like the one below on filet. A fascinating craft and not easy to do!!! Also Margaret wrote several small but excellent instruction booklets on bobbin lace (I was very grateful to be her 'guinea pig' and learnt bobbin lace by post while she was writing her first two books!)

In the following two pictures there is a hanging which I did in filet and a doily with a tatted centre and the outer in netting.

9 October 2008


As I've got no tatting to show at the moment I'm going to show you and tell you about my adventures in netting and filet.

The reason I've been scanning my needles and meshes is because I've been talking to Teri Dusenbury about netting needles. Mine are a mixture of new (as in the 1970's) and old (bone, wood). Some of the needles shown below are very old and some are again quite 'modern'. A dear gentleman who lived in Hastings and was named Theodore Faberge made some of the needles and meshes for me. That was a loooooong time ago and I found his name in a tatting book that I bought and which had his name down on the list of suppliers.

Initially I taught myself from a very old book that I borrowed from the library. I then found patterns in old magazines and books for the filet. It was, however, the netting side that took my attention as it looks just like a spider's web when finished. Once I did combine tatting and netting in a small doily. Wonder where that is now?!?!? There's a picture of it in a book somewhere.

I remember reading an article in a Lady magazine about bobbin lace. The Lady is a very 'up market' magazine for the moneyed folks and I must've seen this in the doctor or dentist's waiting room. I remember coming home with the Lady's address and writing to them suggesting they run an article on netting. I got a letter back saying they would - if I would write it!!! The ex had got an old typewriter but I had no idea how to use it so this article was a new adventure. It eventually got published some two years later (they take their time do magazines!) and I was paid the princely sum of £8.00!

OK, tat's enough for today!! Here are the needles and meshes. I'll try to find time to photograph some of my netting which hangs in the windows instead of net curtains. Weather, shopping and gardening permitting!!!

8 October 2008

Why I am quiet!

Now I know a lot of people will be heaving a sigh of relief that I'm so quiet but for that one person who might enjoy this blog, I'm going to explain.

I said I was going to start on my Palmetto submission patterns but I've not got to that yet!!

I've had a request for 200 of the small snowflakes that I do for a friend. She's had a big order so it's all hands to the shuttles. They are very simple. Rings are just 2 - 2 and chains are 3 - 1 - 1 - 3 with the picots graded. SO glad that I'm not a gauge user as they'd drive me demented (stand up those people who said that I'm already demented)!!

These small motifs are only 5 rings and 5 chains with no sewing in of ends. I can do one every six minutes. (Just worked it out that by the time I've finished the 200 I will have spent 20 hours on them - that's also a good indication of how much rubbish there is on television!!). I had the order on Friday and already have 112 done. Hopefully by the end of the week they'll be done and I'll be back to the Palmetto designs. Mind, I did play with one the other evening as I do get rather 'bored' with the autopilot stuff!!!

7 October 2008

Yet another stroke of luck!

I know this blog is supposed to be about tatting but it is titled 'nothing much else' so I'm going to use that as my excuse!!!

During my 65 years and 2 days on this planet some odd things have happened to me. I'm sure they happen to most people so this is my story.

Yesterday I had to pick up some odds and ends from Home Base which (for those not in the UK is a DIY store) and so after I'd been out and about I popped in to pick them up. Well, first of all I arrived there dying for a pee!!! This place actually does have a loo (one of the things I MOST admire about shopping in the USA is the abundance of these facilities) so I did consider making a visit there first. However I went down the wrong aisle so postponed my visit!!! That's where and why I got lucky!!!

So, there I was standing in front of the loft insulation stuff. You can buy 2 humungous rolls for the price of 1 in two thicknesses. I stood there mathering (which I'm VERY good at) about which thickness to buy when a man further along the aisle asked me whether I was buying 1 or 2 rolls. I said my 'remit' was to buy 2. ('Im wot must be obeyed said very firmly that we needed 2). So we had a chat (me and this man) and he said he only needed a small amount of one roll. Anyway he said he was going to buy 2 (as that was the offer) and would give me one of his for free. Well, I couldn't believe it but that's exactly what happened. We went to pay and agreed to meet outside where I was given a free roll in the car park!!!!!

The funniest part was when I got home with 3 rolls. Nick was aghast. Why did you buy three when I only need two? Then it dawned on him that the offer was two for the price of one!!! Why didn't you get four, then? Boy, was I the megga star when I told him what had happened!!!

3 October 2008

A stroke of luck

I had a huge stroke of luck yesterday afternoon.

Most afternoons I go for a walk. I usually go round the river and back up through the town and yesterday I had some banking to do on my way back through the main streets. Before going out I'd noticed an article on a new shop that had opened in one of the small shopping malls so as it was near the building society I decided to take a look.

On the way there I saw another shop was closing down. It's one I'd never been into before. A balloon and party one. So, I went in and had a look around. I noticed some bolts of fabric on a shelf. I reckon there must be about 4 yards in each. Colours are white, cream, two blues, purple and green. I bought them all and paid only 50p for each one. That's about a dollar. They'll make splendid linings for roly poly bags and some will make the bags themselves (I'm thinking of the purple!!).

I finished the matching earwigs for Etsy in the evening so back to playing again!!!

2 October 2008


The muse struck in the middle of the night! I usually sleep well but occasionally go through bouts of having a 'buzzy brain'. Last night I slept really well but awoke in a sort of half sleep to find an idea (or 2) pop into my head.

I'm afraid I'll not be able to share these as I'm going to 'sit on them' for submission to Palmetto Tat Days in 2009 for a teaching position. I know it's a tad early to start thinking of this but I'm afraid I'm a terrible 'planner ahead' at times. I also want to give the Palmetto 'gals' a choice too if possible. I love to teach new ideas/techniques and something occurred to me in the middle of the night. These ideas/techniques might not always be brand new in tat land but are those that people tend to 'avoid' at all costs - rather like split chains!!!! Not that I'm saying that these will be involved but I hope you 'get my meaning'!!!!

Yesterday evening I made a brooch and hope to finish off a matching pair of earwigs this evening. They have started to sell in my Etsy store which is very pleasing as I'm trying to earn my air fair to the USA next year!!!! Here is the brooch.

1 October 2008

I'm FED UP with myself

I get very fed up at this stage of a non starter design. Yesterday I drew out the outline to this project using Serif and tracing over a picture. As it was a horrid, wet and cold day I spent a couple of hours thinking through progress and 'filling in' the outline with a possible way of working it.

In the evening I started to tat it (see below). Total and utter failure!!! IF I get time today I might try to change the diagram filling as I did think out another idea in those last few minutes before I fell asleep last night. At times like these I'd happily give up trying new stuff. Below is the day's 'waste of thread'!!!!

I then have to remind myself of past successes like the pendant and earwigs.

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Happy Beaks

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