30 December 2021

Sidetracked from being sidetracked!

Yes it happens regularly to me.
While I was looking for the Coats book I came across this Dutch book.  Now the cover design doesn’t appeal to me at all but there are some very interesting designs inside.  I found one that I particularly like so that may be another ongoing task for me.  No, that’s not quite the truth!! It WILL be another project!!!  Maybe one I’ll get underway during the TIAS as the one I like is a doily.  I’ll show you that shortly.

28 December 2021

The Coats leaflet

Do you remember this post from last week?  Well that was going to be my task for over Christmas - to make a good start on it.  
I’ve chosen a size 40 Lizbeth thread and the first centre motif is now done.  

I have started a second but then I got sidetracked.  I know, it’s tedious but that’s what happens in the land of BC3!!!  I’ll show you what’s done that to me tomorrow.

Please note - I do NOT use a picot gauge in case anybody thinks I do.  They’d not been invented when I started tatting except probably (and I do mean ‘probably’) they were occasionally used for the occasional very large ones.

23 December 2021

22 December 2021

During the search

During my search for the Coats leaflet I came across the following which I thought you might be interested in.
Please remember that this was before the internet and that I would've had to go to the bank to buy dollars and then wait anything up to three months to get these.  

So, what have I here?  I'd heard somewhere that there was a 'thing' called needle tatting so decided that I really needed to research and try it.  I had somehow found out about Ed and Selma Morin so wrote (along with bank notes) to them to buy the necessary equipment and their book (which is somewhere on my tidy bookshelves).

So, as I've mentioned in the past, I gave this new fangled idea a whirl.  I thought it was OK for yarn but was hopeless for thread so soon gave it up.  As you can probably see from the picture below - the needles in those packets don't appear to have been opened.  

I found even back then that trying to get a good tension using needles just hurt my hands too much.  Anyway, thought you'd like to see my bit of history!

21 December 2021

Lots of leftovers

I still seem to have a lot of leftover odds and ends of yarn so I've started another of  the square blankets again.  I do like this method of joining as you knit as it means no ends to sew in or edges to sew up for that matter!!!  

I'm using the same idea as I used doing the tatted poncho in that I'm laying colour combinations together on the carpet and taking a picture so I know what goes where.  Well, that's the theory but who knows what tricks BC3 will play on me!!!!

20 December 2021

Moaning Monday

Goodness knows how I manage to get through life with the way my brain works!!!  

Last week I wanted an 'easy to do' long term project that I could sit and do without too much thinking during the 'silly season'. 

I remembered a large doily pattern by Coats that I'd made around fifty years ago but I've no idea what happened to it - the doily, I mean.  I know my gran was impressed that I wanted to do it!!!  Anyway I'm not sure whether it lay flat or not.  I did start an even bigger one from an old House of White Birches leaflet many years after that which I know didn't lie flat and it got thrown away when it was already huge!!!  Nowadays I'd have made sure that I amended the stitch count so it wouldn't happen.

I digress and apologise.

So the search for this small Coats booklet started but it led to many things.  In the end we parted with all the cookery books we owned and other odds and ends of books too (the charity shop were VERY pleased to receive them) so now I have a huge area just for my tatting stuff.  It's truly wonderful.  

Now to the stupid part of this.  I DID find the leaflet and then realised that I'd already scanned all my Coats and Penelope booklets onto my computer!!!  Now how STOOOOOOOPID is that?

Answers on a postage stamp please!!!

Here's the doily pattern I was looking for.

17 December 2021

Past TIAS games

One of the things I enjoy most is meeting up with old friends from previous games and I’m always pleased when they turn up again each year.  It’s also good to meet new people too.

One of the past participants is Patricia who always came up with some great suggestions and comments.

15 December 2021

Red earrings

After the white teeny tiny snowflake earrings I decided to make myself a pair.  I do like dangly earrings so this time I added another snowflake beneath the first one.  As you can see I also added a large bead between the two parts.  

This took BC3 a few minutes to work out!!!  On the fifth ring of the upper flake I had to add a bead to the ring and hold it in place with a safety pin/paperclip and also remember when I finished that ring not to close it until I'd joined to the bead on ring 2.  Not rocket science but enough to stop BC3 from his afternoon nap!!!

The new clear PVA glue was used on these and I'm really pleased with them.  

13 December 2021

TIAS announcement

Yes it's that time of the year again! Well it will be shortly. Time to announce another TIAS (Tat It And See).

All details are on the introduction which can be found here. Also in the document are links to the TIAS blog etc. Hope you can join the fun.

If anybody wants this in another format to translate into their own language then please contact me. I hope to see my Hungarian and Polish friends back and will happily help any others with getting the TIAS to as many people as possible.

Below are some of the past TIAS patterns.  I wonder what it will be in January 2022?

10 December 2021

Another square project completed.

Well a few more afternoons and the seconds square is finished.

I added greenery to the pond itself and flowers at the bottom.  A dragonfly and two butterflies completed the scene.  I'm hoping to contribute more before the whole project is finished and, of course, I'll be showing you when it is.  

It's been amazing how different all the squares have turned out.  There's some stunning stitchery and great imagination has been used in all of them.  

9 December 2021

An orange Ann Onnymouse

I had to make a mouse!!!  

Well I didn't 'have' to but a family member has been feeling a bit down in the dumps at times lately and her  cat is partial to mouse hunting and bringing them into the house - if she can!!!  We were discussing that and I showed her Ann and she loved the idea that this wasn't a 'live' mouse.

That was all I needed to encourage me to make one for her.   Why orange?  I asked what her favourite colour was and that's what she said!!

8 December 2021

White earrings

Well I decided to make myself a pair - only longer.   Again I added a bead to the centre of both snowflakes and also one between the two parts.  

One day soon I'll write this down and make a page out of it but I need to check first to see if it's been done before.  Anybody seen them before?

7 December 2021

Start of another square

A friend brought her ‘bare square’ back last Tuesday as she’d not got time to do one.  I jumped in and said I’d do it.  I must be mad.

I thought I’d do the pond that’s in the garden so as I’d got a few frog patterns on my site I thought I’d do them peering out of the water.  First I cut the pond shape out and crocheted the wall around it.  I then spent an afternoon trying to work a frog that would work (without a lower body) to be peeping out of the water.  That wasn’t easy so that’s when I stopped playing!!

After a couple of afternoons l had two frogs and the wall around the pond.

I cut a slit in the blue fabric and slotted the frog in, sewing the sides of the slit together again.

This was fiddly but I think eventually it'll look OK.  Time and patience will tell!!!

6 December 2021

Monday moan

I've been robbed AGAIN.
It happens every year just before Christmas.

My daughter, husband and one of the kids came over on Saturday as it had been Abbi's birthday a few days before.  I should know better but I said to my SIL that he could choose a dangle for his Christmas tree and one for his mum too.  When I looked in the box after he'd gone it was a lot emptier than I expected!!!

Now I'll tell you a secret.  I LOVE that he likes the dangles so much that he takes more than one.  In fact if I set off early enough next year I'm going to make him lots and lots.  So since Saturday I've been making more dangles so I've got enough for my Tuesday and Friday groups to choose one each.  

My own kids were brought up with tatting being done all the time so I think they're burnt out with looking at it!!!!  

Thank you, SIL for making me so happy.

3 December 2021

Ann Onnymouse sports a new hat

Well look at this snazzy Ann!!!  Dressed in her own hat too. 

Maureen sent this to me yesterday and with the following note

We spent a lot of time in the fitting room, Mouse and I, and in the end the thing that worked was size 40 thread. Mouse is 20, but the hat in 20 looked ridiculously large.”

Thanks, Maureen, for finding a hat for Ann!!!

2 December 2021

Celebration Bell

This is a pattern which I did for my aborted Palmetto submission.  I called it a Celebration Bell as it was to be for their 20th Tat Days.  Sadly, due to Covid I've decided not to travel again next year.

It's a pretty simple pattern and the only thing I'd probably add to it is beads on the two outer lower rings.  I've also made the Josephine ring using this method which I find so much nicer than the original way.  Obviously it can be worked the original way but probably more half doubles would be required and, I suppose it could be turned into 'just' a ring.

There are also two versions.  Two colours or one colour.  In the single version there are no ends to sew in at all!!!  The two threads are used to hang the bell.

1 December 2021

More dangles

This time I decided to change pattern after I'd done the top sequin one.  

I just love the look of bugle beads worked into a design like this.  All the difficult 'bit' is done after the first three rings are worked and half a chain!!  But, having said that you do need to keep an eye on the centre not twisting about when you join the next 3 or 4 chains!!!  They seem to have a life of their own those bugles!!!  

If you don't have bugles or don't like the ones you've got then you can use rice beads or several small seed beads (measuring up to the size of the bugle, obviously.

30 November 2021

Teeny tiny snowflake earrings.

My granddaughter recently had her ears pierced (she was 14 yesterday) and I decided to make her a teeny tiny pair of earrings.  

These are simple rings of 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 but with beads added as you can see.  There are four at the top of each ring (3 on the outside and 1 on the core thread) and a bead in between each ring.  

In the very centre I've added a large bead.  Now I'm not sure if this has been documented anywhere but it's quite easy.  

As you're closing the second ring you add the large bead to the core thread keeping it close to the first double made of that ring.  Secure that large bead with a safety pin/paperclip so it doesn't escape and continue with rings 3 and 4.  On ring 5 you have to join to the large bead after you've made the ring (removing the pin/paperclip) and continue to close.  It's really simple but I can write/draw it up if you think it's worth it.

29 November 2021

Stiffening tatting

Waaaay back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a primary school teacher I realised that there was one small perk to the job.  Glue!!!!  Back then I was making tatted earrings (it was that which set me off as a designer) to entice the reception children into school in the morning to 'see what teacher had in her ears'.  In fact I met a pupil last Thursday who remarked that I was still making them.  She was with her 13 year old daughter!!!!  

So I used to use the white PVA glue (as you know it takes a smidgen) to see if it would work as a stiffener.  It did and some 38 or so years later I still find it's my favourite stiffener.  

Well, that was until last week when I popped into The Works in town and spotted clear PVA glue.  Actually I am almost 'out' of the white stuff so this was my 'excuse' to buy myself a bottle.

I was totally amazed at the results (which I'll show you later in the week) as it was clear (and dried clear too) and the beads didn't stop sparkling at all.  Mind, I've never found beads were dulled by the white stuff as that does dry clear anyway.

It is different in another way though.  It gives a much stiffer finish.  I'm going to try it out on my snowflakes but the results on earrings are spectacular.  More later in the week.

26 November 2021

Finished square

I finished the square for the Lifeways project.  This is depicting the Midsummer parties we have there each year.  

Each of the family is now stitched down along with the bunting.  In the bottom left corner is a squirrel and at the bottom right are two little hedgehogs - they all live in the garden.

One of the joys of sitting in the garden in the summer is the sight of the swifts (top right) zooming across to access the loft spaces in the houses along the road.  Sadly we don't get them but I love to hear them screeching as they head at full speed towards their nests.

In the evening the bats come out to feed over the garden (top left) and they're a joy to watch too.  I wanted to put in more but when I did it started to look too cluttered.  Knowing when to stop is always difficult!  With me it's usually knowing when to stop talking!!!

25 November 2021

Finished leaves

I did start to put beads down the centre of one of the leaves but then decided it was 'overkill' and took them off!!!  

As they are able to twist and turn I thought it was daft to have them just down the one side so they're going to stay naked - except for the edges.  

This is one pattern where the reverse join is invaluable when turning around.  Here's a link on how to do that.

I'm not sure whether I'm happy with the placement of the leaves on the inner three but maybe I need to move the chain up a bit at the sides.  I'll wear it (probably) and see. 

24 November 2021

Two giveaway dangles

I realised that I didn't have many dingle dangles left to give to people so decided that now would be a good time to put that right!!
I don't make Christmassy ones as I've realise that people like to hang them up in all sorts of places round the house and then like to leave them up all year.  Or am I just speaking for myself?!?!  Probably it's just me being lazy that I tend not to take things down to replace them.

So, which pattern to use?  In the end I thought I'd use this one.  Here are the first two.

23 November 2021

There's a mouse in the house!

As it's getting towards the silly season I thought that the mouse pattern would be appropriate.  

I remembered this poem " T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." so that got BC3 thinking it would be a good idea to add her first to the pattern pages.  I've put a link to the whole poem on the first line with the explanation.  

This is Miss Anonymous and she can be found here.

22 November 2021

Monday moan

Today it's all about Covid and it's long reaching affects.
I had planned to put in my application to teach at Palmetto next year and all the patterns were ready to send.  All I had to do was get the application form done (it all has to be in by December 1st) and send it off with the patterns but before I did that I thought I'd better check with my travel agent about flights.

My dear friend, who I spend the last week of my trip with, has moved house and is now nearer to another airport so I thought I'd check if I could do the return flight from there.  That's when things went down the pan.  

The lass at the travel agent couldn't help at all.  She said they'd no idea how flights were going to be next year (looking at August) and couldn't give me any advice at all.  It seems that the airlines aren't going to be getting back to 'normal' anytime soon.  

This means that I'm not going to try to 'fly the pond' next year as I don't want to be put in the predicament where flights are  suddenly cancelled or changed or even more transfer problems too.  I think old age is creeping up and I'm not prepared to give myself the worry of taking the trip.  

I'm just so sad.  

The final leaf!

19 November 2021

The square is progressing!

Well here it is with a few bits and pieces pinned on.  
I found some fabric for the background and then went and made some Tatbeads (the patterns can be found here).  

You’ll see some hedgehogs in the bottom right hand corner and the bunting is flying for a midsummer party!!  At first I was thinking of doing a beehive and bees (they’ve been resident in the garden for forty years) but decided I wanted something colourful.  There are some more bits and bobs I want to add and they all need to be stitched down too, obviously!

18 November 2021

Bet you’d forgotten!

I’m still plodding on with my waistcoat and the second front is done so I’ve been tackling the armholes.  Here’s one of them to prove that I’m not slacking!!!

16 November 2021

More leaves

Yes I’m still working away on the leaves but I must go back over them all and add beads to the centres too.  I’ve decided they definitely need them!!!  

15 November 2021

A square!!

Not a tatted one although I do have one of those to share with you all soon.  I just haven’t had the time to settle down to a final read through.
This is a square of fabric.  It’s a thick cotton damask type of weave and it’s 5” square. 

The group I belong to which meets on a Tuesday morning is making a collage to hang in the room in which we meet.  I’ve mentioned this particular place before, I think but here’s the link if I haven’t.  It’s situated in our road and has a huge garden at the back.  We hold our midsummer parties there as well.  

The manager (James) showed us a piece of work that another group that he belongs to had done and it was exquisite so we’ve decided to make one based on the work that Lifeways does.  It’s a charity and, as the saying goes, ‘charity begins at home’ - so that’s what we’re going to do.  We’re all making a 5” square picture depicting something that takes place at the centre.  Here’s my start.,

12 November 2021

Two more leaves

Yes they're all slightly different.  Both in sizes and thread colours.  Such fun making them.

11 November 2021

I said I would!

Here we go on another adventure with leaves.  

As I've said in this post - these are based on Ruth Scharf's leaves.

I'm thinking I'll make a necklace of tumbling leaves but please don't ask me how I'll put it all together as I really don't know the answer!!!  It's a 'make it up as you go along' project!!  I love those.

I've added a split ring (metal sort) to the top of each leaf and will probably add beads down the centre split rings but I'm not sure yet.  I need to make a few more before I decide.  I've used HWT sewing threads - either two or three wound onto one shuttle.  There are tiny gold beads on each turn of the chain too.  I think I'm going to enjoy making these.

10 November 2021

The waistcoat is progressing

I forgot to take photos of the other side of the front but it would've looked just like this one if I had!!!
I've sewn up the shoulder seams and am embarking on the armhole edgings.  

This involves counting and evening out the stitches picked up which is taxing poor old BC3!!!  I'm wondering how he'll get on with the front edgings if this is causing him problems!!!

9 November 2021

The leaves have gone

I mailed the leaves for Nita's new skirt over to Tasmania last week but then found I was suffering withdrawal symptoms!! 

How about a necklace of tumbling leaves?  How does that sound?  

I think I'll use some of my sewing threads and wind some HWT (hand wound thread) and make my own colours.  I always find I get such subtle blends by doing that.  More to follow on this idea but meanwhile here are the Tasmanian leaves.

5 November 2021

Another bookmark

No I'm not fixated on these but really want to get a few done for my stash.  This is back to the Flowery one which can be found here.

Meanwhile back in the knitting corner slow progress is being made on the second front of the waistcoat.  As I've been doing bookmarks and leaves I've not had time (or inclination) to do much knitting!!!

4 November 2021

More and more!!

Having made about half of the leaves required for Nita I'm now thinking of making some for myself to turn into a necklace.  I'll use oranges and browns to make a bit of a change of colour!!!  
If I get started at about half past seven in the evening I can make two leaves before bedtime!!  

To follow this pattern I use the pdf file on my iPad and follow the lines round using 'markup'.  I rub the pencil out when I've finished and that's the end of that!!!  Also for the last chain I use this method which leaves me with just one end to sew in and no knots!!!  

I’ve been asked about the idea of converting jeans into a skirt and have found if you put in a Google search there are several Youtube videos including this one and also this tutorial on Wikihow.

3 November 2021

A thank you

Well at the last minute I changed my mind and last Friday's bookmark is still with me!!  The pattern for this one is here.

Instead I made one out of the threads that the lady gave me.  I think she was quite surprised.  

2 November 2021

More of the same

BUT different colours.  
I gave you the link to the basic pattern by Ruth Scharf yesterday but here it is again.

I've been asked for about a dozen of these leaves by a friend who lives in Tasmania.  Yes, they'll be going round to t'other side of the planet!!!  

She's converting a pair of jeans into a skirt and wants to add these to it.  I've done her a couple of leaves in the past for another project of hers but this amended pattern (thank you, Judith) is a delight to work.

Now you can guess what I'll be doing sometime in the future.  Yes, converting jeans to skirts!!!!  Well, one pair anyway!!! 

Here are the day before yesterday's leaves along with yesterday's!!!  Things are rocking and rolling along!

1 November 2021

Monday moan

Today's moan isn't so much a moan but a groan!!!  

Back in ancient history, when I learned to tat, the old Penelope and Coats booklets never told the tatter how much thread they needed to wind onto the shuttles to make the design.  In 'those' days they hedged their bets and often put 'two balls of ......' and left it at that.  

Remember that back in those days too you were never told to use two shuttles.  Why? Well because split rings hadn't come into general use so two shuttles weren't needed.  After all, what's wrong with a shuttle and a ball if that's all you actually need  Oh, one thing I might add here is that if you're going to keep dropping the ball and it keeps running away then perhaps the ball thread wound onto a shuttle will solve that problem!!!

I feel nowadays that I 'need' to put quantities on for each shuttle but I never would dream of doing that, unless asked, as I find adding in new threads is no problem AT ALL.  No knots needed either.  

So to work out how much thread is needed I usually tat a final motif (or whatever) having measured the thread onto the shuttles.  I note the quantity on the them and then make the item.  After I've finished I take the amount left over from the original quantity and that's it!!!  

BUT, of course, different tatters work at different tensions so I always allow extra for 'loose' tatters.  BUT I still don't think it always works!!  Now I'm moaning as I hate doing that last bit for a pattern!!!!

The leaves are from Ruth Scharf's design which is to be found here although there are slight modifications as suggested by Judith Connor.

29 October 2021

A bookmark!

Why did I suddenly feel the need to make a bookmark?  Simple answer is because I was running out of them in my stash!!
Why was I running out?  Simple answer is because my neighbour has bought some to give as presents to her friends!!!

I think one of my favourite patterns is this one.   I know it's popular with other people too as I found a stolen copy of it in a Russian book once.  They'd taken the pdf file off my site, whitened out the hyperlinks and my name and published it.  Flattering but it would've been nice if they'd asked first.

I've decided that this bookmark won't be added to my stash of gifts but will, instead, be given to the lady who gave me the threads last Friday.  As I'm going to see her this morning I can't think of a better way to start the day.

28 October 2021

You're not going to believe this!!!

I'm not lying  but this is the finished left front to my waistcoat!!!!  
Yes it's curled and curled into a tube like structure!!!  I've looked at numerous suggestions using Mr Google on how to straighten this up and I'm hoping that somebody can suggest the best way they've found.  

The yarn is acrylic.  

So, this is a summary of my search

"The best method to block acrylic yarn is with heat, no matter if the piece is knit or crochet. The heat makes the fibers more susceptible to straightening out. Steam blocking or blocking with a hair dryer yield similar results. Acrylic yarn can be blocked, and depending on the project, should always be blocked."

All comments welcome as I'm going to knit the other (right) front before I start straightening things out!!!  Maybe a little heat applied to BC3 may help in future projects?

26 October 2021

A lovely present

One of the lovely ladies at the Friday knitting group gave me these balls of thread last week.  
I've never used this brand before but aren't the colours yummy?

I'm going to try tatting with them but if I don't get on well with that then I'm going to use them for crochet.  

I can see some little Amigarumi creatures being created over the winter!!!  I still find mice round the house that I've made over the years.  My problem with 'stuff' I've made is that as soon as they're finished I don't want to part with them for a while.  They get put away and then forgotten.  Periodically I have a look through my boxes full of tatting in the cupboard and have a session of giving the bits away.  Trouble is I need to give a LOT more away or I'm going to get swamped!!!

I looked up Freccia to see what it was exactly and this is a quote from one site.

"Anchor Freccia 12 is ever popular within the crochet community, and it's not hard to see why. This fabulous high quality 3 ply mercerised cotton combines softness with strength, with a delicate sheen on each strand. Available in an incredible selection of over over 80 solid shades and over 30 multicoloured shades, each 50g ball of Freccia 12 boasts a generous 285 metres of yarn. Great for crocheters of every skill level, Freccia 12 is ideal for home decoration projects and accessories, as well as for delicate baby garments.

Please note - While this yarn does have a 3-plied-strand structure, this is not a 3ply yarn. Numbered crochet thread gets thinner as the number gets higher, with No.6 being the thickest while No.25 is the thinnest."

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Happy Beaks

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