31 May 2011

Making earwigs

So after the dismal failure of the bracelet (see the photo at the bottom for my reasons!) I decided to play again.   

Over the years I've made hundreds (and I DOOO mean hundreds) of pairs of earrings for myself and a few for selling too.  I'm going to share some of the things I've learnt about these.

First of all DON'T make them too 'lacy'.  Too lacy tends to bend and go out of shape.  Well, mine do in spite of being stiffened.  Where am I going wrong if other people's don't?

Secondly - load the earrings with beads for better 'hangability' and less (bendability!).  A bit of weight really does help.

Thirdly - be aware of how the earrings hang in relation do the head.  Either like this - facing front.
Or like this - facing sideways.
Having decided that then the method that you use to attach the findings will need to be resolved so they hang whichever way you prefer!!!

OK, lecture over for the day!!!!!!  Do you want more tomorrow?

30 May 2011

I announce a death

Well, not quite yet but soon to happen.  Sadly this is going to go under the scissors.

Yes it did look pretty. 

Yes it is a wonderful idea.

BUT it started to look 'scruffy' after being worn for a week so it's GOT to go.  I cannot be 'doing' with things that aren't right and this just isn't going to be right.  I'll take a photo of it looking scruffy later and show you tomorrow.

Obviously the tiny hearts and shell beads will be re-cycled and probably the seed beads too - IF I can catch the little stinkers!!!

28 May 2011


The first picture is the practice run for a bracelet with the shell beads. 

Can you see the wee heart shaped beads in between?  They were in the packet that Kelly sent me and I DID say here that she would lead me off the straight and narrow - well, she did!!!  Now I've allowed myself to be led astray I'm really enjoying it!!!!

They have a hole in the middle and you can put a tiny bead in that if you want to.
Well, after the practice piece came the 'real deal'.  Sadly the colours don't show up as well as the 'real thing'.  Perhaps I ought to have taken a photo instead of being really lazy and using the scanner!!!

27 May 2011

Last cross

Now this is a 'just because' cross!!!!  I've called it a flowery cross cause it starts with a flower in the centre!! 

No excuse or reason for this one at all!!!  The pattern is here and is now added to the web page. Just a bit extra here - can't believe that people are already making the Iona cross - thanks, Sandy for your pictures.  

Just had a thought as I was putting together an Etsy order.  I'm going to put the shop on vacation in a few week's time so if anybody has got their eye on anything then please take the plunge before I do!!!  I hope to be in the right 'frame of mind' when I get back to start making some more roly poly bags - but who knows!!!!!   I certainly don't!!!

26 May 2011

Second of the crosses!

Now this one is an Iona cross.

To me it looks very similar to the celtic one but with arms which are 'fatter' at the ends!!!  Here is a picture of a 'real' one.

Again this pattern is worked in one 'hit' with instructions for beads and how to make it into a bookmark.  It starts in a different way and I did later wonder if the celtic cross could've been done this way too but I was too lazy to try!!!!!  

Here's the link to the pattern on my page.

25 May 2011

First of the new crosses!

I'm spending time over the next few days making sure these crosses are OK to go on the pattern site here!!!  The main check had to be made on the quantity of thread needed for them!!!  Just hope that they're right!!!

The first one today is the Celtic cross.  Now here in tat land the word 'celtic' has become used for certain types of tatting techniques.  Originally the term was used by Rosemarie Peel back in the 1990's when she devised several patterns which each consisted of three parts.  Two of these were made and then interwoven.  The third element then 'locked' them in place.  This interweaving was why she termed it Celtic tatting.

Later on the term has been used for what I refer to as celtic KNOT tatting where a long chain is made and then this is tied to make a knot.  

My work goes back to the very simple basics of looking at 'celtic crosses' like this one here.  Anyway, in this pattern there are no 'startings and stoppings' and no knots to tie (well, except at the end)!!!  It is worked in one piece too with an unusual 'start'!!!  I've added instructions for beads too and also how to make it into a bookmark.  Here's the link to the pattern on my site.

24 May 2011

Crosses make me CROSS!!!

No, not really - just thought that made a good title and would make you all sit up and take notice - heeee, heeee.

I've seen this pattern over and over again during the years and in fact found a slight variation of it in a 1982 Ring of Tatters newsletter whilst scanning them the other day.  Oh, does anybody want them (the newsletters) or shall I burn them?  No, Trayna, I haven't forgotten you!!!  I think I've seen the pattern in another of my books too.

I made this set of coloured ones in an 80 thread and it would've been when my kids were little as, over several years during that time, I did a lot of talks and demonstrations around the area and these were some of my 'highlights'.  My kids are now into their forties (hope they're not reading this!!) so that's a loooong time ago.  

The white one is from - goodness knows where but certainly isn't my invention.  
Which reminds me - I do have 3 crosses of my own which aren't yet on the web site.  I'll be adding them to my pattern pages over the next few days.  Quick and easy to make and all in one 'hit'!!!!  

23 May 2011

Joining to clasps and 'things'

OK, as promised a week or so ago.  Sorry it took so long but other things in my life suddenly got in the way.

I must first of all issue a disclaimer on this as it's only the way I do it and it's not written in any tatting 'bible' as THE ONLY way!!!  I do it this way for three reasons.  
Firstly it gives a very secure join and the chance of it falling apart is extremely rare.  If a single join is made there is always the risk that the metal on some findings (particularly clasps) will eventually 'eat' and 'gnaw' it's way through the threads.  
The second reason is that it keeps the piece being worked on the same 'plane' as the finding.  The earring or whatever doesn't then swing around at right angles to the finding which is important to me for the final piece to hang as I want.
A third advantage is no sewing (which is again insecure) when the item is finished.
OK, here's the link to the page I've put on my web site and here is the description etc here!!!

When you get to the joining place just do a normal picot join. Pull the thread up through the finding.

Next take the shuttle thread through the loop.
Now make one half double stitch – first half.
Repeat the join as before.

Finally follow that with one half double stitch – second half. This join does not affect the pattern count.

Continue the pattern.

Almost too easy, isn't it?

21 May 2011

I'm NEVER happy!!!

Nope, I'm NEVER happy with what I've done!!!  Not sure why but I never am.  Once a thing is finished I can always see a better way to have done it!!!

The same has happened with what I 'lovingly' call the OctoStarFlake pattern which Donna is teaching at Palmetto Tat Days.  Here it is on this page.  Why that name?  Well it's not a star (five sided), nor a snowflake (six sided) so it's an octaganol starry snowflake!!!

Originally this design was 'done' on the sparkly centres of the magnetic brooches/fridge magnets that are on sale in my Etsy shop.  Unfortunately Donna couldn't get the middly diddly things in the USA so I converted it to a naked middle.  Well, not naked as there are a few more beads added!!   Well, here's my amended version!!!!  

I may make these my Christmas giveaway - but there again, I may not!!!  

Here's a teaser for you.  Next week there will be new patterns and the way I join to findings on the blog!!  That'll keep you guessing, eh?!?!?  DARN IT.  Why did I just write that?  Now I'll HAVE to get all those finished off!!

20 May 2011

More playing with beads

See the beads below?  Donna sent me these a few weeks ago.  The round black looking ones are really a very deep blue and faceted AND they have sparkles in them.  Yummy.  The tiny brown hearts are lovely - in fact they're all great.  So this is pure playtime without any end results.
Well, that's not strictly true as a few 'things' settled in brain cell number 3's grey areas - see the second picture.  This is how the bright pink and orange earwigs started off and I'm hoping to develop this idea of tatting round the beads over the next week or two.  BUT as usual I get distracted!!!

19 May 2011

Hearts a gogo!!!

Ages ago I bought these little beads.  They have 'front to back' holes at the top and the bottom.  

Anyway I decided I needed some more earwigs so out they came again for a 'play'.  I actually made two pairs but gave one set to a friend who needed cheering up. 

SO simple - beads with split rings round worked in Zarina's size 80 HDT!!!

18 May 2011

More tidying up!

Books, leaflets and newsletters!!!  Those were targeted over the past few days!!!

It came to the 'crunch' when a whole load of loose leaf files fell off the shelf onto the floor (and my FOOT) one day last week AND while I was also in the depths of tidying the tatting cupboard!!!  Immediately the air turned blue and I then gave further serious thoughts about what to do with them.  

I mentioned a week or two ago that a whole load of newsletters had to go as they were taking up room, so this 'incident' signed their 'death knell'  

Over the space of several days (well, the weather's pretty cold and dull) I scanned all the pages which had patterns on.  Now the paper newsletters are now ready to sell on Ebay (buyer collects),  or become the target of a box of matches (I favour the latter)!!!!   So further decisions have to be made.  Meanwhile - guess where they are?  Back on the flipping shelf.  The patterns are now easily found on my computer without having to 'fight the files'!!! Job DONE!!  I've been meaning to do this for ages and ages - way before they attacked me.

Whilst scanning I came across just three patterns by other people which I'd made from the hundreds in there over this time period (over 30 years) and was surprised at how many re-prints of  designs from Coats/Penelope leaflets there were and how many 'similars' too.  

Times have changed SO much and so has our craft!!!

17 May 2011

Back to beads!

Oh, joy of joys - I'm back to beads again.  

This is the result - a new pair of earrings in my favourite 'shouty' colours - bright pink and bright orange!!!  I scanned these before I put the hooks on and have since worn them.  I hope to make them in other colours too.  By the way - that's a chain around the beads - not a ring.

These are made in one 'hit' with no sewing in of ends or sewing on of findings and beads!!  I love this sort of tatting!!!  I must tell you one day how I join to the findings - that's if you really want to know!!!  I often see people 'adding clasps and findings' after they've made an item and that worries me in case they become 'un added' when they're worn.  I firmly believe in adding as you tat but NOT having the wretched things on the shuttle as they get in the way!!!

Those are Swarovski crystals in between the coloured beads - and at the bottom.  

16 May 2011

Another grand tidy up!

Well it had to happen - another day (or good part thereof) in the tatting cupboard!!!  It had got in quite a state thanks to the diamond mat!!!  

When it came to deciding which thread went with which I'd have ALL my of them out of the cupboard and then (after decisions were made) I'd just chuck them back in again.  Here are two pictures before I started the grand tidy!!!  Can you see all the odd balls just 'chucked' in there?  On the second one you can see the boxes 'bulging' with threads I DID try to put inside them.  No way would the lids go back on!!

Here's one during the process and with me trying to fit/force the balls of threads into their boxes!!!  The bead 'situation' wasn't too bad as I've not touched those while 'diamonding'.
Finally the 'after' picture.  I'm delighted to show this as ALL the threads are now in their appropriate coloured boxes.  Wonder how long I'll stay tidy this time?!?!?!

14 May 2011

Houston I have ANOTHER problem!

This is what you should've seen yesterday!!!!  No grumbles about blogger going down as I so much appreciate the free access they give me to being able to publicly talk to myself!!!

Now, you may ask (or you may not!) - what's the matter with the MOG NOW (see title)!!!  Well the problem is that this round of diamonds is finished.  All stars completed plus the infills.  

You would think that after all this I'd want a change but I'm struggling with the idea now of NOT doing more and getting it finished.  That's what's making me a Miserable Old Git!!!  Also the fact that it's Friday the 13th (well it was when this should've posted) doesn't help either.  Not that I'm superstitious - just 'careful'!!!!

Below is a diagram of the final round of diamonds which are still needed but also I need to use the triangle pattern which can be found here to fill in the last 'gaps'.  I've worked out that I only need a 'mere' 42 diamonds and 18 triangles.  

Tat's all!!!  I'll then add a border to 'get rid of' the picots.  That'll tidy the whole thing off and make it looked 'finished'.

12 May 2011

An excursion into the miniature world

This set of designs really are my own!!!  Ancient ones but mine!!!  All worked in 80 or finer thread for the 1/12th doll's house collectors and makers.

I got sucked into making miniatures when a friend had a gift shop in Henley Street right opposite Shakespeare's Birthplace.  She sold only locally made items from this outlet.  This was a venture which made me no money but kept me busy trying new things out!!!  

Tooty (this friend) also had an outlet at Anne Hathaway's Cottage where I would sit sometimes in the school holidays and demonstrate.  This gave me my first real opportunity to meet AMERICANS!!!  

Before this happened I regarded our 'across the pond' visitors to the town as loud and uninterested in much except doing the 'tourist trail'.  Sadly tour operators tend (probably not so much nowadays) to rush their 'captives' through all the properties and then back to their coaches and onwards.  It was while sitting there tatting away that I really came to appreciate our American visitors as they were SO interested in what I was doing.  It was a real eye opener for me as a YG (that's a young git!).

11 May 2011

Look what I found!

I found this little box.  It's in a pretty good condition considering!!

It was rescued from my gran's house when she died and nobody wanted it so I adopted it.  

See what's inside?  This is some of Sally and my Gran's tatting with a small piece of paper with her notes on.  I THINK I've got a wee book somewhere of hers with samples and notes in - I'll see if I can find it. 

Bearing in mind that I was 13 when we learnt the craft together and I'm now 67 (and a half!) then you can sort of date this box and it's contents.

10 May 2011

Old earrings - part 3!

Here are a few more.  

The cats are old and so are the horses.  I sort of remember doing the horses - they were relatively easy!!!

The swans remind me of an 'incident'!!!  One of those days in my life when I was particularly rebellious.  The school I was teaching in had a swan as it's symbol so those were made for that reason.  

My 'rebelliousness' was when I was cajoled (call it forced!) into taking a few of the pupils in the Shakespeare's Birthday celebrations procession.  I really, really didn't want to do that so as a sort of 'rebellion' I made those earrings MUCH bigger and with wool so they really stood out!!!  

Now revenge was wrought upon me as that year it SNOWED on April 23rd (well, the closest Saturday to that date which is Shakespeare's birthday).  It was cold, wet and horrid in the procession so it served me right for being so bad.

9 May 2011

Happy or sad?

That is the question!!!  Actually a mixture!

These are a few of my ezbobs.  They're naked and need clothing in thread!!!  Does this make me happy or sad?  I'm not sure to be honest.

The ones outside the bag are really the only naked ones as the others inside have never been 'dressed' in thread before.  Let me explain!

I store all my precious HDT and sample threads on these little gizmos and the newly naked ones are as a result of the ongoing diamond project.  That's the happy part of it as it's been amazing to have been given the opportunity by generous friends to use these.  

The sad part is simply that they are now naked - BUT it does give me a whopping BIG excuse (and hopefully with a healthy Paypal account) to order more.  I'm going to start a list over the next few weeks and will then order (mostly, I think) when I get to the USA.  That will save me on postal charges, I hope, as I'll have them delivered to Cincinnati!!!  Am I crafty, crazy or what?

7 May 2011

Old earrings - part 2

Here are some more of the earrings although there are a lot more which I can't find!!!  Gracious - I'd forgotten all about these!!!!  I've still got the old exercise book somewhere in whicih I wrote down the patterns.  In fact I saw it recently!!  I'll have a look around for it.

Seems like I've lost an 'old bat' somewhere (middle towards the bottom)!!!!  

Do you recognise the giraffes?  That pattern was re-done and is on my site under 'doodles' and is right here.  

It was doing these and using some of the white school glue (PVA) to stiffen them which led me into other experiments in stiffening.  Actually this still works best for me - mostly I dilute it with a little water first as it's easier to 'squidge' into the tatting with my fingers.

6 May 2011

Is the end near?

Maybe but maybe not!!!
Further progress but my dear old brain cell 3 is dying to try out new things he's thought of several other ideas whilst this is progressing.  I'm a determined OG and will continue!!

The figures are stacking up for me now as I'm over half way through this round.  I've worked out that I may get it finished in another week or so and will then put it to one side.  Why?  Well because I have gifts to make before we go on holiday.  

When I've finished this round I'll have to work out if I've enough of the infill thread to do the 'bits in between' the points.  This should prove easy as I know that a full Aero shuttle does four diamonds with the lighter colour.   The darker shade is a tad less.

What I did for this round was fill the shuttle and then unwind onto an Ez-bob until I knew I'd got enough 'fours' to finish.  I'll do this for the outer infills too.  If I don't have enough then I have two similar but slightly darker shades which will work.  There again I may just use the darker shades anyway!!!  I then have to decide if this travels with me to finish off on holiday!!!  IF it does it will go into my carry on luggage as I'm not trusting it in the hold of the aircraft!!!!

5 May 2011

Old earrings part 1

I'm a bit excited about this find!!!  Why?  Well this is probably the start of my trip into 'doing my own thing'!!!!  I don't claim to be a 'designer' as really I just get an idea and then stumble around until I get what I want!!  The earrings became a 'need to save money' thing.

Anyway, these were made when I was teaching and I was made redundant from that when I was 48!!  I taught four/five year olds as they were admitted into school.  To 'help' in the process of settling them in I took to wearing totally ridiculous earrings.  NO, not pretty ones - just stupid ones.  Tea bags, clothes pegs, dog biscuits (dangerous near dogs), audio cassettes, sweets and anything imaginable that could be hung from my ears!!!  The kids used to come to school to see 'what teacher was wearing'!!!!  Some of them even made earrings for me from toilet roll middles etc.  VERY embarrassing when I forgot I was wearing those and went shopping - I'd realise what had happened when people stared at me!!  

After a while I realised that I could make tatted earwigs so these are some of the ones I 'invented'.  Don't forget - these were in the days before I knew about split rings!!!!  Before the Mary Sue Kuhn books.

4 May 2011


Now I'm not sure whether to thank Kelly or cuss her for tempting me off the straight and narrow (even if the straight and narrow is diamond shaped!)!!!

See what she sent me yesterday?  That's the temptation!!!  I did a small favour for her and this was more than ample reward.  HDT from Sherry, findings to 'play' with and other threads to try out too.

See the maple leaf and butterfly?  Well they're needle tatted and are the first pieces of needle tatting I've knowingly seen that are as firm as shuttle tatted pieces (apart from Rita Cochrane's).  Having tried needle tatting (albiet only for a few days) I now realise this is down to 'fine tuning' the needles to the threads.  Part the reason I'll never take it up as I'm too lazy for that and also I found it waaaaay too slow for an OG like me.

Thank you, Kelly - this gift was above and beyond the call of friendship.

3 May 2011

Looking through old work

I found some more things in an old file that I did years ago - so over the period of the next few days (or as long as I don't get bored - or you!!) I'll show you.  

I put a lot of my work into files so that I could take it along to shows when I used to belong to the Ring of Tatters.  I'm going to try and sort things out in my tatting corner (the one in the back room - next to the tatting cupboard). It really needs doing!!  One of my tasks will be to pare down my newsletters by scanning what I really 'want' and then re-cycling the rest.  Nobody in my family would want them, I'm sure.
Again I'm not sure where this pattern came from but it's worked in an 80 Coats thread!  Actually it's probably a Mary Konior pattern.

2 May 2011

What the Royal wedding did

This is what the Royal wedding did for tatting!!!  

It gave me the wonderful excuse to sit and tat most of the day!!!!  I got sucked into the wedding before it started and sat through the lot - even the boring bits of hymns and stuff!!!   We even watched the highlights last thing at night on the news!!!

Anyway this is the progress from before that and since.  I'm about a third of the way round this round now but I'm flagging!!!!  SO pleased I've 'hidden' the threads I'm going to use in the shoe box.  I won't allow myself to peep until I need the next batch of threads!!!  Does that sound silly?  Maybe, but it works for me!!!!

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Happy Beaks

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