30 April 2008

Yesterday it didn't rain much!

Well that was a busy day! A morning in the library teaching silver surfers, the afternoon working on the tat it and see and then in the evening out to a book signing and discussion.
I never, but never, go out in an evening. That's me. I'd rather sit in front of a telly (not that I watch much) and tat than go out 'on the town'. It has to be a really amazing event to get me out and this was.
A book signing and discussion session. Now who did I hear yawning?
It wasn't anything at all to do with tatting either. Who did I hear gasping with amazement? BUT when I tell you that the author is somebody who's books I read and re-read then you'll probably want to know who it was.
The author worth going out in the rain to hear was Jodi Picoult I think I've read every book (apart from three) that she's ever written. Very interesting to hear her speak about her work.
So, today's going to be another session on the TIAS, I hope once I've finished the roly poly tat bags. I think I got about half way through the TIAS yesterday. That's half way through the draft pages.

Yesterday it rained AGAIN!!!!

No progress with the TIAS yesterday as I decided to get the roly poly tat bags finished. Six now almost ready to go - but ......? I'm still mithering about how much to charge for them but have decided to try them out in my Etsy shop. They're not quite finished as I'm waiting for further supplies of split rings to arrive. They should be here today and when the handles are finished I'll photograph them for all to see!!!
Today the forecast is for - wait for it - MORE rain!!! I will be out all morning so may finish the bags off this afternoon or (if the muse hits!) will continue with the TIAS. I tatted more on it last night and progress was very pleasing. Really just need to settle down for a few more sessions and finish putting the pages together.
Ah, well, time to shower - I stink!!!

29 April 2008

Yesterday it rained!!!

So what, you may well ask!!! I decided it was 'make or break' on the next TIAS so having gone a long way towards one it was time to force myself to sit down and carry on!!! What better sort of day than one where it rained and was windy and cold too.
The main 'problem' with this TIAS is (as usual) - me!!
It won't 'just end' when the tatter completes it - there will be a bonus to finishing. Nope, I'm not saying any more than tat!!!

28 April 2008

Two more roly poly tat bags!

Just a quick post this morning as I have to get out.
Here are two more of the bags. I've got two more cut out and ready to sew and then I think I'll have had enough of these for a while. I will list the four - probably on Etsy but not sure yet when.

26 April 2008

More progress but in another direction

Yesterday I did nothing much in the way of sewing. The only thing I did was to solve a problem/worry I had. The point of the 'roly poly tat bags' is that they should be easily kept in a handbag so to have a 'handle' on them would be a darn nuisance as it would keep getting caught up with stuff in the handbag. BUT you can't have a bag without a handle - trust me!! My first thoughts on this were that I should get some of the wrist length lanyards that are sold for mobile phones and other uses.
Well that's where the first stumbling block lay!! A wandered into town in the morning and the only 'supplier' was in the Antiques Arcade. He was closed. Duh, who can afford to be closed on a Friday in a tourist town like ours?!?!? Anyway, I realised after several searches online that these weren't really going to look very nice so I put the brain back to work.
While out on my afternoon walk it suddenly occurred to me that a smallish split ring would do the trick. Then, if I made a loop out of the fabric with the split ring in it the handle would become removeable and would look very smart.
So after a gossip with 'Sam, Sam the ferry man' - I went back through the town and into Robert Dyas.
This store is the apology for the really good hardware shop that we used to have in town. The ex and demised hardware shop was run by a pair of brothers who we all nicknamed 'the glums' because it was always a challenge to make them smile and became most of the reason for shopping there. Anyway, I digress as usual. I found some split rings in Robert Dyas which appeared to be just the right size and have made a handle up. This handle will now be removeable and I can put it inside the roly poly bag while it's in my handbag. Hey, howsat for inspiration!!!
I'm hoping to make a roly poly bag today - time permitting!!! If I do I'll show you tomorrow.

25 April 2008

Sometimes I have a good idea!!

On odd occasions the light goes on in my head. I'm not sure there's a brain there - well, probably one or two grey cells left.
It occurred to me yesterday that it was all very well having this spanking new machine but the manual was getting an awful lot of use!! Although it's pretty well self explanatory (the instructions are very good on the machine itself) there are a few things I have to keep referring to. The manual is A4 size and on ordinary paper - not the shiny 'last for ever' sort, so I've set myself the task of scanning it so that I can print any 'bits' off if I ever need to. How about that for inspiration, eh?
Below is another 'roly poly tat bag' which I've made as a present for somebody who's going through a rough patch. The picture was taken before I sat down last night and sewed the lining into the bag.
I'm pretty pleased with the design. I've put a hook on a ring at the 'closed zip' end. The reason for this and not a handle is so that it can be attached to one of those mobile phone lanyards and hung from a belt. Having it separate like that means that a handle doesn't get tangled in your handbag. Well, that's the theory!!! Also having it at the end where the zip closes means you can leave a ball of thread in the bag while you've got it hanging from your belt and it doesn't run away!! I think this is going to be useful when I'm at exhibitions or even doctor's waiting rooms as all you have to do is bundle things back into the bag when you're called!! Time will tell!!!
Any comments or other suggestions are very welcome before I go into mass production!!!

24 April 2008

Progress on sewing!!

OK for the person who stupidly asked to see the cover I made (fully lined, of course!) for the new sewing machine - here it is!!!
It's ghastly. It's worse in real life than it is here!!! I put a pocket on the other side to hold the instruction manual and on this side you can see where I made another pocket to keep other 'bits'. Next to the machine is a bag I made to put the cable and foot in!! My dearest late friend gave me the fabric and if she'd still been alive we'd have been sewing together these past few days.

I've also made my first 'prototype' bag. This is going to be my 'roly poly tat bag'!!! Just the right size to go into a handbag. This too is lined. Actually you can still see the pins where I needed to sew the lining in later yesterday evening. By hand! It measures just a tad over 6" (that's a 6" zip that I've used) and I've added a loop with a 'hooky thing' so you can hook it onto your waistband or anywhere else you like while you're using it.
I might make a few more (even though they're pretty fiddly) to sell in my etsy shop or on ebay. We'll see!!!
I EVEN found time to alter a pair of trousers for Nick - he LOVES my new machine!!!

23 April 2008

Playing again!!!!

I spent nearly all day playing with my new sewing machine. I can't believe how nicely it works after my old one!!
The first thing I made was a cover for it. It came with a plastic cover which was a little disappointing but that's the only criticism I have. So, I decided to make a fabric cover to put over the plastic one purely because we have a dust problem here. The dust comes from a total inattention to housework! I admit it. When I moved in with Nick it was agreed that I'd vacuum while he dusted. Seems like both of us do neither as we are too busy doing 'important' stuff so the dust piles up!!!
While looking for excuses not to do any housework I came across some beauties on this page.
Not that I need any really!!!

22 April 2008

Yesterday I treated me!!!

I've been trying to do a bit of sewing lately and my machine has been playing up!! It didn't like winding bobbins and sometimes wouldn't do other functions. I bought it second hand about 38 years ago and have always really liked it. It does basic stuff with a few embroidery designs too. It must've been one of the first computerised ones on the market.
For the past few weeks I've been thinking about getting a new machine and today I did!!! Here it is. In many ways it's similar to the old one BUT it does automatic buttonholes which are easy to do too. The old one never ever did them very well and was a real fiddle. This new one is much quieter too. I LOVE my new machine!!!!

20 April 2008

New Tat it and See

Well it's official. There will be another TIAS. Not just yet but it's on the way.
This time I'm going to do it slightly differently. I could see lots of advantages to the way Diane did hers. I shall post this next one on the web site like she did. Two reasons for this.
1. It means that anybody who drifts into it half way through won't see the later posts unless they deliberately go looking for them!!! They can go straight to 'day 1'.
2. It will give me the opportunity to use this one as a teaching aid too.
One thing which most impressed me with the first TIAS was that lots of 'nervous' tatters actually tackled it because they weren't put off by what they forsaw as 'problems' for them. This meant that they actually learnt a technique or two which they hadn't come across before. (I learnt not to assume that people would always understand some things too!!).
So, this time I shall be using more diagrams and 'teaching' one or two things which some people may not have come across before. Another reason for putting it all on web pages. I will also cover the way I do things like starting without knots, adding beads (yup, there will be beads!) and another (not new) technique too.
So, that's the good news - tatland will have another TIAS. When? Maybe another month. Just depends on what happens in Janeland in the between times!!!!! Also depends on how cross I get with the design too!!!!

16 April 2008

Christmas is coming!

OK, I know it's not coming just yet but it is on it's way and it does happen every year so I thought you'd like to see what a friend of mine has been up to. She's Jennifer Williams and is secretary of the Ring of Tatters.
Last Christmas her tree was featured on the cover of the 'new look' (and fabulous it is too) copy of the Ring of Tatter's newsletter.
She has since then spent a lot of time writing down her instructions and has now got it saved in the form of a pdf file which she's very happy to share - for FREE. If you live abroad (i.e. not in the UK) Jennifer will print out copies and mail them at cost. You'll have to ask her how much that will be when you let her know which country you're in!!
Another idea that she has been working on for her tatting group is diagrams on how to sew in ends. I've added that to my web page for her and you'll find it under the 'tips and techniques' section.
Just in case people miss her comment I'm adding Michelle's to the page below!!
"I've seen Jennifer's tree "in person" at one of the craft fairs, and it looks amazing. Espcially with the addition of a string of teeny, battery-powered lights.
And just a note that Jennifer's tree instructions include not only the tree branches, but the candles, baubles & decoration patterns as well." Michelle
Thanks, Michelle and I so agree with you. It's a stunning tree - it's been to visit me at home here too!!!


I've gone as far as I want to on this project although I might, just might add an edging to it eventually. It's not as good as I thought it was going to be. Sometimes finished work just doesn't turn out as you'd expect. I'd love to see this done in other colours but that will have to wait until I have more time. The mat measures about 9 1/2" across which is why I couldn't quite get it into the scanner!!!
Next on the list? I'll probably go back to another idea which will be a TIAS so this blog may be quiet for a while. Well, one can hope I can be quiet although it's not in the nature of the beast!!!

15 April 2008

New book

Yesterday, after a world tour, my book from Martha Ess finally arrived!! She mailed it to me almost a month ago but it must've been round the world before arriving here in the UK.
It's a great book from the 'queen of block tatting' and has all these patterns which you can see on the front and back covers - plus more! The variations on the little heart are SO cute.
Thanks, Martha. It was an honour and a pleasure to be asked to test tat a few of these patterns for your book. I will be available for the next one - hint, hint!!

11 April 2008

How to put a bead ...........

This has probably been done before but it's something I thought might be worth 'blogging'. Hopefully I'll also get round to putting it on a web page too one day soon - along with the rest of the patchwork instructions!!!
I was making some more of these earrings yesterday and realised that if anybody was to look carefully at them they might wonder how I got the large bead between the very long picot and the inner chain. This is how I did it!!!
When I make a very long picot I put the beads onto the thread at the back of my hand and hold them in place with a safety pin - like this. I find this method gives me a long picot which is easier to make and fits the required amount of beads each time.
Anyway, with this earwig I decided I'd like a larger bead in between the part I was working on (chain) and this long picot. When I got to the middle part of the chain under the vlp I put a large bead onto the chain thread.
Figure 1 shows where I'm going to place the bead.
In figure 2 I've added a large bead to the thread again and this time I post the very long picot through the loop above that bead. See fig. 3.
Just get the thread lying between the centre beads of the vlp (see the arrow in fig. 4) and tighten and continue.

I've gone off the rails!!

I've had some earrings admired several times lately by friends and have promised to make some for them. I've made these two pairs. One for a friend and t'other - well, either for me or to sell and because the first pair turned out so well!!
The thread I've used is Oren Bayan metallic which I bought from Lyn Morton at Tatting and Design.
The pattern is adapted from the
snowflake on my site - I have the notes on this if you want them. Please just drop me a line and I'll send you the file. I'm going to make another two pairs with other sparkly threads and then I promise I'll get back to the new idea and the patchwork!!
The new idea is smouldering in the brain as I walk in the afternoons. I usually find that walking gives me the time to plan and plot things!!!

10 April 2008

More squares!!

I didn't do a lot on this yesterday as 'another idea' hit me with a vengeance. Actually it started off reasonably well and then finished up like a damp squid after five 'starts'!!! I will get back to it later today, I hope!!!
As relaxation I went back to the patchwork and this is the progress I made!!

9 April 2008

Triangles over and done with!!

Well that's the triangles done with!!!
I could've gone further yesterday but I went to blood donor (number 69) in the afternoon and just before going out I grabbed a hanky edging which I normally take with me (at the moment it's my 'on the go' project!).
I didn't have time to do very much as they now run an appointment system which means that you don't sit around and wait for hours. Great! Anyway, when I got home I realised that I was coming up to a corner and would soon need new thread added. As I have to be waiting around a hospital waiting room next week I decided to get 'round the bend' (no comments about me already being there, please!) and add new thread. So, by the time I got back to the patchwork it was well into the evening!!!

Here are the triangles done.

8 April 2008

The triangle

I spent nearly the whole afternoon on the wretched triangle design and finally finished up with the attached yellow triangle. I wasn't particularly happy with it but it does lie well and that's all one can ask!!! I thought it wasn't going to but - finally when I showed it the iron it settled in well without any 'stretching' or 'bulging'!!!! Good job done!!!! (Family joke!).
I was going to do the triangles in blue as you can see by the other 'trials' on this round (there are another six aborted triangles lying around tat corner!) but in the end settled for a yellow triangle and a blue square. I'm also showing the final layout here (not with the same colours, obviously and it's a bit of a hurried drawing too). I hope to do this while I'm not playing with other stuff!!!!
I've had an idea for another design but we'll see!!!

6 April 2008

Designing the triangle

Yesterday saw progress on the triangle. Well, as much as could be expected after finishing the last round in the early evening when the brain was already tired!!! This is the latest round finished.

Now the triangle!!!
This element is proving to be a tad harder! It sounds simple enough - after all an equilateral triangle is half a square, isn't it? So, all I had to do was 'cut it in half'. A square, I mean.
Ah, no, not that easy! As you can see I assumed I was being very 'clever' and thought I could keep half the square but work from a different start point - finishing the third side with
SR's. I just couldn't get this to work - however hard I tried. Here are three of the attempts that didn't get thrown away.

Finally I decided to go with the
original 'format' of rings, chains and SCMR's (see the first one in the above group). The final attempt of the evening was to make one in the chosen next colour and add it to the piece I'm working on. I've left it for now but I'm not happy with it. I need to sort out the SCMR and play with the stitch count. It actually fits well with the previous round and I've 'tested' it with a 'reject' square and diamond and it fits well.
OK, another close look and I HATE it!!!! I've got to re-design from scratch.
I suppose I really ought to do an 'un-equilateral' triangle too!!!! Yes, I now know it's called an isosceles triangle!!! Just being silly now!!!

Further progress!

A few more 'patches' done and it's going to get exciting now as I'm forced by myself to do the triangle!!!!
I should get to it today. I shall add the triangle to the top of the square and then, I think, I can add more diamonds. Any other suggestions or layouts would be gratefully received if people want to send them to love to tat @ gmail.com.
You know me - always open to offers of help and advice!!!

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Happy Beaks

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