23 March 2007

Looking a bit better!

Well a few ds here and there and another way of adding beads and it's looking a lot better. This evening (IF I stay awake) I shall try the very long picots again with the beads on. It's amazing the difference a day makes!!! I have tied this into the ring temporarily and would add beads to the feelers too.

22 March 2007

Not so good!!!

I had to virtually re-write the whole pattern yesterday evening after Sue and I had discussed how to do it in one 'hit' and two colours!!! This meant starting in a totally different place and working in the opposite direction and then having to re-do one of the top wings again as they are not symetrical!!! Hey, ho, finally got to the end (this time the butt end!!). I added beads to the long picots BUT will re-tat again with fewer beads (i.e. one bead instead of Vlp's with beads on). Still quite a few issues so that it lies flatter but this may have more to do with the abundance of beads than the actual pattern. Yesterday's with the 'scraggy' looking picots did at least lie flat and the stitch count was exactly the same. I need to look again at some of the chains towards the tips of the wings (they could probably do with an extra ds here and there) and also the head which tends to 'hide' behind the two top wings. The two rings at the base of the lower wings also need to be joined, I feel. I need to stay focussed on this pattern instead of wandering off onto something else. I have a deadline - self imposed - but a deadline nonetheless!!!!

21 March 2007

Goody, goody, goody!

After the hassle of the heart in the ring I nearly gave up trying to do anything more with rings. BUT as I'd bought so many from Claire's sale just after Christmas I started to feel a little guilty. I nearly fell off my chair last night when I finished another tryout and found that it FITTED the ring. Least it's pretty good for a first 'real' attempt!!! Next stage is to work out the lengths of the long picots and as Sue Hanson has already guessed - find out how many beads fit onto them. I think I'll only need 2 beads on one of the shuttles (for the ends of the top wings which are SCMR's). My only disappointment is that I can't work it in two colours without doing it in three parts. Still I'd rather do it in one hit and one colour with no ends to tie in!!!!!

20 March 2007

Another project started

I'm off again!!! Remember the butterfly that I amended and made to fit into a ring? Weellllllll I decided I 'neeed' another one to sort of 'match' but which would fit in a larger ring. I wanted it to be different too.
Here's my first and second attempts. The scraggy looking picots will eventually be 'refined' and will hold beads so that the whole thing should be surrounded by beads. The body is NOT right but I had a brainwave in the night and will try a block tatted centre this evening. Next stage will be to 'trace' over the second picture in my drawing program and then 'play' with it to see if I can do something with the body without tatting it. This also gives me an insight into different ideas. I would like to make the top wings a little more 'shapely' too.

Later in the day and I've been 'playing' with this design on the computer. I've also asked 'me old mucker, Sue Hanson, to check to see if she's seen a butterfly like this might look before!!! I'd hate to upset anybody over copyright issues. Been done to me and I don't want to do it to anybody else!!!
As a lot of people will know I use Serif DrawPlus for doing my drawings (along with a Wacom graphics pad). The way I normally work is by finding an image from the internet through searching Google images. I find a definitive picture to study and usually paste this onto a lower 'layer' of my file in Serif. This is then made transparent by 50% so that I can go back to the layer above and make a guess at how I would tat it - i.e. starting places, progression, techniques etc. First efforts are rarely any good but in the case of this butterfly I did quite well. I then tat this piece (guessing at numbers of ds etc) and scan it (see above). This again goes onto the lower layer in Serif and is made transparent. I can then 'draw' over it. This should be named the 'guestimate' stage!! Below you will see the result. I have added some more ideas to it which I now want to work on - one suggested by Sue. This is where life gets more complicated as this will throw out all the numbering on the text that I've already written in Word!!!! I've omitted the possible picots as I need a clear idea of where I need to join rings etc. I'm hoping that this will allow me to use two colours which is always difficult when working a piece in 'one hit'. Hopefully only one lot of ends to finish off too.
Hey, what's an old lady gonna do on a bitterly cold day in the UK?!?!? Tat and dream of butterflies!!!

19 March 2007

Another ring and now I don't know which is my favourite!! I've given one or two away so will have to replace them!! I want/need one to match every colour tshirt I own!! I also do the same with earrings and bracelets so actually getting all the bling on in the morning takes longer than getting the shopping!!!! Such a hard life!!!!

18 March 2007

Nearly finished

I have nearly finished putting together the meercat page, the finger ring page, a page to say how to make the braid for the ring, a page on a 'no hassle' way of block tatting, Heather's snowman and finally Heather's spinnaker tower!!!! Been a long few days plus learning new software. I could have stuck to the old software but I DO love a challenge!!!
Here's another finger ring - my favourite so far although I am making one in a variegated purply, maroon thread!!!
Right, I'm off to finish the pages and then list some more Aero shuttles.

14 March 2007

The final version

Here he/she is finally finished. I tweaked the face slightly, fought with the lower limbs and did the drawings yesterday afternoon. All I have to do now is put the page together.
I want to finish another piece which needs another evening or two's concentrated tatting and then I'll have two patterns to put on my pattern page. I'm trying not to get tempted away to another idea which is brewing until these two are completely off my hands!!!!

11 March 2007

Drum roll, please!

Finally I have a good version of the MEERCAT!!! There - the cat's out of the bag!!! Sorry, nearly bad pun there!!! This is NOT the quite final version as I may elongate the legs slightly although they do 'match' the picture I printed out and have been following. The cut picots are the claws which these funny little creatures have. I've a few tweakings to do to the face too.
I'm also working on a 'how to block tat without changing shuttles' instruction sheet too. I used this method for making the meercat BUT I'm sure the traditional way would work too.
Here's a url to the Oakland Zoo's information on meercats. http://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azmeerkat.html and there are lots of pictures if you use google images.

Oh, I've also listed some more Aero shuttles on ebay too!!

10 March 2007

Another teaser

Just finished ebaying some more shuttles and bits and pieces of tatting so I decided to MAKE myself get back to the mystery animal.
This one has been a real pain! I've almost thrown it out of the window on numerous occasions. I've spent most evenings this week 'fiddling' with it!! The main problem now is just the length of the legs - the ones at the bottom of this scan. There is only one showing here and that's too long!!! I've re-written the text to shorten it and have changed the method of working it quite a bit too. The second leg which you can just see started behind it is coming out at the wrong angle so again this needs to be rectified. I've tried the head once and that wasn't too bad but have since re-drawn it. There's no way this creature can be worked, I feel, without cutting and tying after the second lower leg.

I think I've nearly got the back legs right at last!!! I'll 'tweak' them on the next one to make them a little better. This animal has claws which is what the cut picots at the end of the feet represent. Hey, ho, off to attack the face now!! Hopefully when this is done the guesswork and teasing will be over. Just below is the latest attempt done this afternoon.

7 March 2007

The latest pattern

I thought I'd better do some 'blogging' today just to let the world (if there is anybody out there!) know what I'm up to!!! The new animal was looking very, very sad when I started back in on him on Monday evening. I'd got to the back legs and then got into one of those situations where deciding what technique and which way the back leg should bend stumped me. I did and un-did so many times that in spite of tatting, re-tatting and re-re-re-re-tatting I still couldn't get it to work. By the way, the front leg looks OK but probably needs to be a bit longer!
Tuesday evening I bit the bullet and went back to the offending leg and after several more attempts did a reasonable one!! It's not that good yet but it's good enough to 'improve' on, I hope! In the end cause I couldn't decide whether to show the other back leg or not I cut the thread and decided about half past eight to have a go at the head! Now any normal person would just do a sideways looking or full frontal head but this isn't really in the character of the animal. About three goes with several retro tats and I finally got a head. Crikey, I thought, that's awful!! I've just looked at it again in the 'light of day' and actually it's not bad. Still needs quite a lot of tweaking etc, though. I'm not going to add the picture yet as I'd like another good evening sorting out a few of the problems!! At the moment the pattern has to be worked in two parts and I cannot see a way to avoid this. I love to avoid starting and stopping so I shall take another look at this too.
Well, that's the story, so far!!! I want to finish this animal soon as it's been living in my head for about a year now!!!

27 February 2007

Now where did this tatbead angel fly in from????

Look who flew in overnight! I'm not sure where she/he's come from or whether she/he will be staying or not! Yes, an angel!!!! Fancy an angel coming near me and the tatbeads???!!!!

Today has been very, very busy. An early morning meeting with the IT lady at the local library to show me their computer system so that next week I should be able to meet up with my first student. The students will be 'silver surfers' and I'm really looking forward to helping older people get onto computers and the internet. For the past few months I've been helping a friend to get started and of course I've been helping my father for years (he started at the age of 80 and is almost a non reader). I've also been trying to get my new computer up and working. SO much easier than fifteen years or so ago when I bought my first one but even so very time consuming. No time to tat today and now I'm just too tired. I'm hoping that tomorrow will see the last of the software found and installed and then I'll be able to tat again!!!

26 February 2007

New Tatbead arrived

I am pleased to announce the arrival from across the pond of spiritual help for the family. The nun has arrived as support after my friend Mother Macaria suggested that she might be an answer to their problems. Time will tell!!!!

25 February 2007

New stuff

I'm working on a new idea so that's why I've been quiet lately. I've also been doing the odd birthday card too and listing on ebay (more shuttles to list later today!).
Here's a teaser - guess what it's going to be!!!

19 February 2007

President's Day

I am very proud to announce another arrival in Tatland. Martha Ess, poor soul, has caught the Tatland bug well and truly and has now sent her third idea to live in Tatland!!!!
Yes, I'm so VERY proud to announce the arrival of Abraham Lincoln. I bet you all thought he was dead but he's alive and well. Here's the link so you can go and visit him http://tinyurl.com/2l7ehb

17 February 2007

How I met a new tatting friend

I've been listing more items and Aero shuttles on ebay today!!
I will not be starting on a new idea for a few days as I'm doing some 'autopilot' tatting for a friend. Many, many years ago when I first moved in with Nick and was sometimes working two jobs a day to pay my mortgage and bills, I saw a plea in the Ring of Tatters magazine for help with tatting. I answered the plea and hooked up with a lady who was to become a good friend over the years. At that time she was trying to break into the wedding stationery market by making cards, place settings, invitations etc with a small piece of tatting to decorate them. This side of the business has gently pottered along over the years. As a sideline she started making similar cards for her local church and funeral directors. Through this she and I met some ten years later at the National Funeral Exhibition which is held near where I live. There we were surrounded by coffins, hearses, undertakers and all sorts of 'paraphernalia' in a huge, huge hall. It's a very unusual place to meet, I guess. Anyway, I'm doing some pieces for her for a few days so will put my own tatting to one side.

16 February 2007

A new arrival in Tatland!

There has been another arrival from Martha's shuttle. Please take a peek. http://tinyurl.com/2l7ehb Her contributions are beginning to fill the garden and it's certainly looking very pretty. They are cheering the whole family up after the last week.
More additions are more than welcome.

15 February 2007

Last Arrivals in Tatland

Before today's additions I'd like to point people to a fantastic garden ornament which Martha has donated to the Tatbead family http://tinyurl.com/2l7ehb .
All is now calming down in Tatland and this has allowed two very special visitors to be able to drop in. The King of Tatland and his missus!!! The king being a typical man didn't really want to dress up too much and has only donned a small coronet. His cloak is one of his 'everyday' cloaks.
BUT the queen has put on all her finery and her crown. Studded with rubies, saphires and other beautiful jewels she has brought out her 'posh frock'.

There will be no more arrivals in Tatland for a while as the landlady (ME!) needs a break. Unless, of course, you can add more inspiration or your own ideas!!! There's a challenge!!!!

14 February 2007

They're coming to take me away!

I'm happy to report that thanks to Riet's kind advice the policeman has gone. Thanks, Riet, the cup of tea worked just fine. The problem was that a neighbour reported that young master Tatbead had been seen throwing his mother's special and much valued Georgia Seitz shuttle at her windows.
New neighbours are now arriving in the area - http://tinyurl.com/2l7ehb Pamela Myers has arrived with her Irish brownie (well, only the Irish could have 'brownie's' that wear yellow and navy!!!). Jessica's Polly Tatbead (based on the mouse) has arrived too. That beak looks quite fearsome if you get too close. I'd love to know if Polly's a talker - is she, Jessica?
A few days ago Sue Hanson mentioned that the men in white coats would be coming for me if I carried on living in tatland. What she doesn't know yet is that the two Goths (probably still travelling to London) have been on their cell phones and reported the happenings in the family. The men in white coats have now arrived. Heeelllllppppp!!! The story could end here!!!! They're coming to take me away to the happy farm!!!

Mother Macaria has sent spiritual advice too. That's something they all need. Don't worry Mother Macaria - all is now under control.
HEY, who's that just flown in? Does she remind you of somebody? Any suggestions? Who can suggest a name? I've got one idea which begins with an 'S'!!!!!!!

12 February 2007

Oh, dear, trouble in Tatbead land!

Well, it had to happen. There's been trouble in Tatbead land. First of all the goth twins legged it off to London to spend time with Sue Hanson. I'm not sure whether Sue knows what she's let herself in for. They'd not long been out of the house when their sister arrived (minus shoes!). She'd had an argument with her mother over the way she dresses and her mum had taken her shoes away. This morning we had to go into town to buy her another pair!

Shortly after Great Aunt Philippa arrived. She's a 'hat lady'. Always wears a hat and is terribly, but TERRIBLY posh!!! She lives on the 'better' side of town. Even her handbag has gold trimmings!!

Anyway, she'd not been here long when a policeman arrived complete with truncheon in one hand and handcuffs in the other. We're not quite sure who called him out or why but I expect that all will be revealed in due course.

11 February 2007

Distant relations, friends and neighbours!

New arrivals in the Tatbead family. Today we have the Goth twins (distant cousins). They are stopping off on the way to London and Sue Hanson. These have had several head transplants and now I'm reasonably pleased with them!
Next there's the Brownie who actually lives just down the road - a challenge from Pamela Myers!
Finally there's Harry. This is for our friend's card. Let me tell you about Harry. He's featured in many cartoons by the late Larry the cartoonist (another friend, sadly missed). Harry has wild white hair and goes to the pub round the corner every day to read his newspaper. I hope the items he's carrying look like the paper and pint he's so well known for.

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Happy Beaks

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