30 May 2015

People who thieve

Should be shot! Well, that's a bit drastic but their behaviour in this case is beyond belief. 

Do you remember this post about the lady at Crafternoon knitting an asparagus bollard cozy? Well you can imagine her disappointment (and the other knitters involved) when all their cosies were stolen.

In the first picture you can see some of the 13 original asparagus cosies in all their glory and I hope you can read the article in the local paper below. I just hope that if the cosy thieves eat asparagus that it chokes them.  Also hoping that the other nine are returned in time for the Asparagus Festival.  The Vale of Evesham farmers depend on the fruit and vegetables growing in the area for their livelihood.

27 May 2015

MAJOR warning - BEWARE

This is a warning that I hope you'll heed. I wasn't sure whether to blog about it or not but in the end decided it was in the sole interest of all tatters worldwide.

I didn't take the decision lightly. I thought about it for days (well, a few minutes, actually). So, hold tight and prepare to be - well, shocked.

This has only come about because I put on big girl's panties last year and traveled alone to the USA and enjoyed the braveness of doing it and getting home again safely. I've been 'nagged' (well asked!) for ten years to go to Canada to teach at the Fringe Element Tat Days so after last year's experience of solo traveling I offered tentatively to go. 

This is the warning - BEWARE - I'm teaching at the Fringe Element in September. Here's the link to see who else is going and what they're offering too.

Oh, I'll also be teaching Kelly to tat. She thinks she can but she uses a needle and we all know that needles are for sewing and not tatting, don't we?

25 May 2015

A quiet week!

This could be a quiet week on this blog!! 

Why? Well things are happening but I'm struggling with something I really want to get right!!! Yes, a new thingy which is (as usual) is giving me a bit of a struggle!!!! 

It's no good designing on the computer and then expecting it to work, I've found.  I've been trying that way recently and it's a total failure.  I can only 'do it' with the shuttles, thread and hours and hours of time.  Oh, plus a decent pair of scissors!!!  I do set my standards rather high as I like to be original - even if that doesn't often work!!!  I rarely base my 'stuff' on other designs and IF I do am happy to fess up (confess). OK, I use google images for critters but for other things I 'wing it'.

Another reason for a quiet week ahead is an invasion of two grandkids. Time with all grandkids is precious and I aim to make the most of it!!!

23 May 2015


Last week (not yesterday!) one of the group brought some fabric that she had leftover after making herself a skirt. Isn't it pretty? She gave it to Debbie to make 'something or other' with it. Debbie and Sarah are the owners of Bumblebeedown which you may remember they have set up to raise money for the local Alzheimer's Cafe in Alcester. 

Isn't this a pretty set? Not sure when it'll be in their Etsy shop but it'll be there soon. 

Meantime too, please take a quick trip to my shop too. It's here!!!!

21 May 2015

Another pair!

Yes another pair of scissors has arrived.  This pair has come from Axa who lives in Hungary.  Please take a look at her scissors.

There are now 114 pairs on the TIAS blog which is here.

20 May 2015

More mutterings

I'd like to continue on my thoughts again today so if you're not interested please don't read the rest!!!

Another 'trend' in pattern writing is one which uses lots and lots of photos of work in progress (WIP).  Bit like a 'still' video.  I worry about this for two simple reasons.  The quantities of paper and the amount of ink used - particularly in the colour pictures.  Surely some carefully thought out text could replace a few of the pictures?  Do we actually need everything spelled out for us or are these just very complicated patterns?  I'm not sure.

Some time ago I was asked to test tat (or maybe I volunteered) a pattern.  I do like test tatting although I try hard not to enforce my ideas on the designer - I  also learn a lot too.  The pattern I'm talking about was last year or the year before and (IF I'd printed it) it would've been 15 pages long. That's 15 sheets of paper and a lotta ink!  Not a problem IF it had needed 15 sheets of paper!!!  

The 'introduction' took 3 pages and the whole of the pattern could've been placed on around 3/4 pages.  By the way - it was for a small motif measuring just 4"/5".  Fancy fonts, great areas of white paper don't make for a good pattern in my opinion.  In fact I'm afraid I never did fully understand it in spite of the 15 pages and had to very reluctantly give up on it.  This is a pattern which is now for sale.

Now if I'd bought that pattern for a few pounds and then had to spend lots more on printing it I would've been a very unhappy lass.  I saved my printing costs by working with it on the laptop - not ideal but better than wasting a tree and ink (which, by the way, is almost as expensive as gold).  

End of mutterings!!!

19 May 2015

Thinking and pondering

Pleased to report that I'm feeling a lot better now, thanks.

I've been thinking about things while dozing in bed which has been a strain on the aged brain! 

Over the years since the internet became such a big part of my life, sharing tatting patterns and techniques has changed a lot. 

Back in the 1950's (when I took up tatting) all patterns were on paper and written in 'long hand' with lots of words. The only picture was that of the finished item.  Although symbols had been used before then (I researched this some years ago) they hadn't 'caught on' as written patterns were few and far between and sharing was slow. Once the internet came about most people seem then to have adopted the shorthand/symbolic way of notation and now use diagrams/pictures to help patterns become easier to understand and follow. 

The internet has also allowed us to be able to take our own pictures easily and then (with little effort) to add numbers, letters which has now become another way of sharing patterns. No longer is it necessary to learn how to draw on the computer or even write down the directions for some of the simpler patterns.  I feel it is necessary to still have some text with a visual pattern for dodos like me who struggle with 'just pictures'.  I like words to reinforce what I 'think' I see in a picture!

Videos of techniques are another great way of communicating too although I still cringe at the sight of many I've seen.  

A concern I have now is that some people are beginning to think that videos are the way forward for patterns.  I was asked recently if I could do a video of one of my patterns.  Well that's something which won't happen for two reasons.  Firstly I'm averse to spending the time as it would take me away from tatting/designing.  

Another reason (which I'm more concerned about) is that this may be the start of a trend towards every pattern being presented in that format.  If that's likely to happen then I feel that the skills required to read written patterns will eventually be lost.  It takes as much skill to read patterns as it does to write them.  Are we going to lose those skills?  I look back at the old 'patterns I used as a kid and realise that it's through using those and understanding them that I am now able to write my own. 

More mutterings later this week or maybe even tomorrow!!!

18 May 2015

Nothing, nada, ziltch

That's it. Thought I ought to tell you, though in case anybody had missed me and my inane ramblings. 

I have been working on 'things' but this weekend I've been 'proper poorly'. Just a stinking cold/flu thing but it's knocked me flat for two days.  I do get colds from time to time - roughly one in every six years or so!!  I'm lucky so I'm not moaning. 

Imagine me - two days and no tatting done. I've slept loads and read a bit in between. Just hoping that today will be a day of getting back to normal. Whatever normal is in my corner of Tat Land.

15 May 2015

A new associate member!

Yesterday I managed to add another new member to the Exclusive Tatting Club - see the tab above this post.

This is Stephanie's first 'babble adventure' and you can see what she says on the link here - although you'll have to scroll down the page.

14 May 2015

A new tatting bag too

To follow on from yesterday and the pin cushion I have a story to tell you about this bag.

It was a present from Debbie and Sarah (also known as Bumblebeedown) for helping them set up the Etsy shop. Instead of crafting at Crafternoon last Friday we sat and did some work on the shop on Debbie's laptop. I offered to do the logo for them (as you know I love drawing and messing around on the computer).  They were kind enough to let me play - YAY.

In the second picture you can see the pincushion which fits into the bag. Can you imagine how useful that will be when 'out and about'? Shuttles, hooks, odds and ends in the pockets and the pins, needles etc in the cushion. Then there are two little lavender bags to make the whole thing smell delightful. Thank you Debbie and Sarah.

13 May 2015


Isn't this the most amazing pin cushion? OK, probably you don't see why this is so clever and I must admit that when I bought it I didn't realise it's full potential.

I bought it from one of the ladies at Crafternoon two weeks ago. I needed a pincushion by my chair as the old one had somehow found it's way into the conservatory and my sewing area!!!

So, when I got it home I decided to gather the needles and pins that I need when tatting and put them in the pincushion - as you do. Well the penny dropped (or dollar or euro or whatever!). Each segment would hold a different type of pin or needle. Now isn't that clever? 

Do you want one? Nope, I'm not about to start making them as they're easily found in this Etsy shop. 

The shop (Bumblebeedown) has just been set up by two of the Crafternoon lasses who are working very, very hard to raise money for this very worthwhile cause.  There are lots of things in the shop to tempt you (and me too!).  Please take a look.

11 May 2015

A green day!

Well the shuttles all sold within hours as usual.   The bonus at the moment for me is that the Post Office is now open on Sundays.  This means that I can take them down there and avoid the Monday queues!!!  There are only a few tourists milling around in there on Sundays so it's really quiet.  The sort of 'downside' is that once in the actual Post Office and paid for the packages just lounge about until Monday before getting underway. 

I was surprised not to have sold one bag yesterday or Saturday - or, for that matter during the past week or so!!!  I am now wondering if it's the fabric I'm using or ??????   Anyway, to cheer myself up I've added two more of the longer bags to the shop.  More to come soon unless I lose the will to live/sew!!!!

At the moment I'm in a 'not particularly' creative mood so I'm just doing things I like. Not sure what I will be doing with the odds and ends I'm making, though!!  The earrings are the usual starry button ones.

9 May 2015

Diamonds come to life

First of all - don't forget that the shuttles are going 'live' today sometime. I will mail the sold ones tomorrow as the Post Office will be open. Least that's the plan!!!

Do you remember this post with the diamonds?  The doodads with the diamonds are at the bottom left of the picture in the link.  Well, this is what I made to go with my outfit using one of them.  It's Doreen's birthday party tonight so I will be wearing the new top, new bracelet and this as a pendant.  Since I scanned this picture I have straightened out the lock chains and gently stiffened it all with white glue.  Don't you LOVE the way the diamonds reflect the colour of the thread too?

One 'trick' I've learned over the years is to use a large metal ring at the top that will allow a chain (with fastenings) through it.  This means that I only need 3 chains to accommodate all pendants.  The three I have are various lengths so that I can use whichever is appropriate for the neckline of the top/dress (I NEVER wear dresses!!) that I'm wearing.  Now, why did I say 'dress' when I don't own one? Must be old age and senility catching up with me again!

7 May 2015

Ooooh look at this

It's lovely when people send in pictures of what they've made out of my patterns. Makes me realise that somebody actually does use them!!! 

This is the square pattern that you can find here and which Jaycee sent in to show me yesterday. It's amazing how very pretty it looks made in just the one colour - I'd not thought of that. Here's what Jaycee says:-

"Dear Jane,
I tatted your Square Motif and was fascinated that it looks even better in a plain colour - though I also tatted one in 2 colours. The one colour truly shows off your lngenious design and it looks so dainty with 4 squares joined together! I am enjoying working these squares tremendouly and I can assure you that I won't stop at 4!!!
Here it is - done in size 60, Coats 503."

6 May 2015

New technique page

The penny dropped at long last on another way of adding findings to your work.

People often mention they've finished their tatting and now have to add the findings and then I've seen them add a metal ring round a ring or a chain. Now that worried me as I always use split rings (like key rings) so that there's no chance of the tatted piece finding a gap (as there are in jump rings) and consequently falling off.  I've always added my findings as I go along - like this.

The thought of getting out the pliers (split ring pliers) to open the metal rings and then poke the tatting through them horrified me. I thought of the stress on the thread - UNTIL (as I said before) the penny dropped!!! 

As you know by now - I'm a lazy moo when it comes to tatting. I like to find easy ways round problems so this is what occurred to me - perhaps you could add findings like that without harming the tatting by forcing it through a metal split ring. So, here's what I came up with!!!

Then me, being me, realised that somebody in Tat Land was BOUND to have thought of it before so I did a quick search. I was right!!! Marilee did it here but she used a jump ring!!  Same difference at the end of the day.  Anyway - enough of my rambling - I'm off to have breakfast!!!

5 May 2015

A bit of bling!!!

This is part of my outfit for the party on Saturday. I know, it's another Starry Button Bracelet but I do love making them and any excuse will do.

I spent yesterday afternoon sewing - yes, more bags!!!  Just got another six to do as they're already cut out and have zips and then I don't quite know what I'll be up to.  I now have a good stock in the Etsy shop with a good few in the 'waiting to be listed' bag!!!

I have a 'shop box' which is where everything goes once it's listed and then I have a bag where everything goes which is waiting to be listed.  THEN I have another bag called the 'Crafternoon bag' which is where pieces go that need the lining hand stitched and those get done on Friday afternoon.  It's a weird way of working but it works for a crazy old git like me!!!

4 May 2015

Coming sooooon.

A new batch of Pop A Bobbin Shuttles. Here's the list.

I should be able to list these in the Etsy shop by next Saturday so keep an eye open then.

I've also listed another bag too. One of the smaller square bags in that lovely black with bright flowers. I'm going to make another for myself sometime but have lots of that fabric so I will get roundtoit in the end.

3 ELM (2 with hooks 1 without) £18
2 AMERICAN BLACK WALNUT (with hook) £18
4 CHERRY (2 with hooks 2 without) £18
2 ROSEWOOD (1 with hook 1 without) £18
1 EBONY (with hook) £22.50
2 PEAR (1 with hook 1 without) £18
1 SPALTED BEECH (no hook) £18
1 OAK (with hook) £18

2 May 2015

The top is finished

I completely forgot (yet again I hear you sigh!) that I'd finished this top a couple of weeks ago.

This is what it looked like when I bought it and the post tells you about my tussle with removing the original machine embroidery and what I did instead.

I'm really, really pleased with the results but now need to think about the accessories.  

I'm going to wear it to a friend's 80th birthday party next week.  Can't wait to see her and help her celebrate.  We 'grew up' our kids together half a century or more ago.  The bestest of friends who I rarely see even though she live a mere two miles away.  We both lead busy lives.

1 May 2015

We're all square together

I found it!!! I knew I'd find it in the end. This time it wasn't lurking under the scanner but under a pile of paperwork on my computer table!  Who sends in the gremlins to do this to me? OR is it one of you 'lot' out there in cyberspace?  Bet it is.  Somebody must be breaking into the house while I'm asleep.  That's what's happening.  

Anyway, here are four of the squares joined together. I love the centre pattern that they give. Maybe I'll do another set of four - or more.  Just to see what they look like in other colours!!!

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Happy Beaks

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