6 March 2008

Happy Beaks!

OK, hold on to your hats - here is the biggie that's kept me quiet for so long.

I have been asked on numerous occasions by many people (including him wot must be obeyed) if I could do a penguin. You'll see why I've taken such a long time over this. 8 different penguins!! The collective nouns for penguins are so many (parcel, rookery, creche, huddle or colony) that I couldn't decide what to call this 'lot'. In the end I decided to call them 'Happy Beaks'. Well we've all heard of feet being happy, haven't we?

I started on the front facing penguin (large) and then decided I needed a small one. Trouble was that they needed to be able to 'look' at each other. I did these and then it was a natural progression to 'need' to do the large and small ones facing the other way! Duh, what a hassle!!!

During my searches of google images I found the sideways facing penguins were interesting but also complicated. The white and black fascinated me as it would be a challenge to use them in the 'right' amount and places with as few starts and stops as possible (well, you know how I hate finishing off ends!). Again, having done the large ones the challenge to do the small ones continued. I will admit that the final penguin (the small one facing sideways and to the left) proved to be the hardest. I think that's because I was really fed up with them all by then.

Finally mounting them all. Another story.

In our smallish town there is still a store which sells fabric. A family run concern which caters for the 'up market' people in the area. I have very little luck there when it comes to haberdashery or fabric. Still, on Tuesday morning I wandered in there on the 'off chance' that I just might find the right coloured fabric for the penguins. Imagine my surprise when on the top of the remnant bin I found the two colours and weights of fabric I needed. YIPEEEEE.

The patterns for all these penguins can be found from my home page.

First of all here they all are out and about in the snow with the stars twinkling.

Here are the two adult penguins who's bodies are facing forwards but with faces looking to the left or right.

Next are their two babies (I think they belong to those adults - but maybe I'm wrong!).

Next are the sideways facing ones. These are the adults.

Finally there are two small penguins which also face sideways!

Many thanks to Sharren Morgan for test tatting the first 'batch' - she happened to mention she liked penguins and asked if I'd thought of doing one while we were 'chatting' one day!!! As I was in the doldrums of designing this pattern she got 'chosen' to help!!!

5 March 2008


I've finished it!! Every part and there are 8 parts!! I'm mounting it at the moment. Yes, me, mounting something. If I hadn't then all the pieces would get lost. I've made it into a picture and hope to put it on the blog either later today or tomorrow.
I'm really, really pleased with the result. I asked Dom the artist who lives next door to help me arrange the bits and he just moved them slightly from where I'd put them to form a grand design. I do hope that it will be liked as it's taken such a big part of my tat life!!!
Right, off to finish it and throw an iron over it!!!!

3 March 2008

Further progress

I still have two more parts to resolve of the 'biggie'. It's driving me round the bend now!! It may be ready by the middle of the week and when it is I'll hopefully be able to post pictures here and add it to the pattern site. I've been very 'good' this time and kept up the drawings along with the text. If only I hadn't changed my mind about half of it then ........
The saying goes 'a lady is entitled to change her mind'. Trouble is - I'm no lady. Just a Jane!!!!

2 March 2008

Still here

I'm still here and still tatting. I'm 'just' over half way through my big project. All was going well until I decided to make a small amendment to parts of it yesterday. Oh, wrong, wrong, wrong!! OK, it'll look better in the end but the hassle of altering everything does make me wonder sometimes - especially as those I'd shown the first tryouts to said that it looked fine as it was!
I was 'interrupted' last night by having to go and babysit. Must admit that this is no chore and that the boys love me looking after them. Couldn't be because I let them stay up and read lots of stories to them, could it?

29 February 2008

Sharren's Angel

I've tested Sharren's angel and it's a darling to do. You need to know the split chain and the SCMR. The split SCMR is drop dead easy too. Here's my test tat.

28 February 2008

100 today!!!

100 done and tat's the end of tat for a while!!! This is what I've been tatting.
Now I can go and play with my other big project after I've done one more test tat for somebody else!!

26 February 2008

Thoughts about time and tatting

The hardest 'job' I had with time was adjusting to being retired. For all my working life my main ambition was to retire. I worked full time as a teacher (mainly the five year olds) at the same time raising two kids with an ex who was more often than not away on business or with his stupid hobby. After the teaching I then did temp office work. I rushed from place to place (mainly on my bike) sometimes working three jobs in a day.
Thus retirement was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
BUT when I got there it took me several years of self training to manage the time I supposedly had. I couldn't get it through my thick skull that I could read that extra chapter or three in bed in the morning and that I didn't have to rush around anymore. I'm there now and the only rushing I ever try to do is to appointments.
What I suppose I'm trying to tell you is that I love having too many tatting projects 'on the go'. I'm in my element at the moment although my own projects are having to wait a week or two.
Yesterday evening (no tatting in the afternoon as I was helping a couple of friends out with computers) I did another 20 of the small snowflakes - tat's now 72 completed.
Towards the end of the evening I had an email from Iris. She's asked me to test tat a pattern for her. Now, who could resist that? Well I had to at that time of the evening as I think I need a well rested brain to do it!!! Also I will have to get into my tat cupboard to find beads etc!!!

So the list is sort of not getting any longer but also not getting a lot shorter either!!!!
Isn't life good? I've never been bored in my life and as long as I can manage a shuttle I'm sure I never will be!!!!

25 February 2008


I couldn't resist making the kit that Lyn from Tatting and Design sent any longer. It's been sitting on my tat table looking at me and tempting me since it arrived so yesterday afternoon I tatted these two dear little motifs up. I'm not sure if she sells these little kits but if she does then I'd recommend them to anybody and everybody. I do so love the thread and the beads.
The list is dwindling now. 52 snowflakes done and I feel that today should break the back of them. Hope to reach 70 by the end of the day!! Phewwww.

24 February 2008

The list!

Well I forgot to add one more thing to the list yesterday - a couple of pendants.
When I was at the Lace Fair last November I met up with Lyn Morton. I couldn't take my eyes off a pendant she was wearing. I asked her what thread she had used and she told me it was some of her
Oren Bayan metallic thread. Of course that made a dent in the purse!!! Anyway the other day I realised I was running out of the colours I need for my large WIP so ordered some more from her at Tatting and Design. What did the dear lady do? Not only sent my threads very quickly but also gifted me a kit with the pattern, thread and beads for the little pendant. Now I HAVE to make those sooooooon. In fact, I might take 'time out' from my list this afternoon to make them!!! Well, you have to, don't you? I'll show them tomorrow if I get them done.
Back to the list. In spite of a relatively busy day yesterday I managed to get the bracelet done (see below). I also posted the 25 garlands which I'd completed as my friend wanted those urgently. I also got another 15 of the snowflakes done too and also 'timed' them - ten minutes each (with no interruptions). I can relax on those when I've got past the 60 mark!!!

23 February 2008

My tatting list!

The reason I've nothing to show at the moment is because I'm 'quite' busy!!! This is what I've been doing, or have left to do over the past week or two or three!!!
1. Test tatting for Martha Ess's new block tatting book or books. Done and dusted! Can't wait to see it in print.
2. Working on a very big pattern which has involved lots of 'parts'. Still a WIP!!
3. Test tatting for Hope Green (I think she's submitting it to Palmetto tat days). A smashing little butterfly which had me reviving my long lost (about 40 years ago!) knowledge of hair pin lace.
4. 25 large garlands for a friend. These are 10 rings and chains and each takes about 20 - 30 minutes each. Done and dusted and in the post this morning. That was urgent!
5. 100 large snowflakes (well, not that large - 5 rings and 5 chains) for the same friend. Still a WIP with only 10 completed.
6. Bracelet for a friend of my sister. Thread, letters, beads and bits sorted and ready to go. May take a break from snowflakes to do this today.
7. Playing with angels. Naughty of me but I needed to get the idea 'out'. Still a WIP as the pattern has to be tested again and drawings done!
8. Something else - not telling!!!!
9. Forgot - also test tatted another pattern for a friend who is going to submit it to Palmetto Tatters for their tat days. This is another little gem too. Done and dusted.
Still to come, I hope, is some test tatting for SueH. Everything else will be put to one side to do this when she sends it.
PS I forgot to say that I'm also doing Diane's TIAS too!!!!!

21 February 2008

Angels keep arriving!!

Well it might have taken me several years to do the angel for Sally but now I've started I'm finding it hard to stop!!!

Anybody who's ever tried to 'adjust' a pattern will know that it's not easy. First of all it's easy to adjust stitch count when working on a small motif like this. BUT this doesn't always make a big enough difference to the finished size. On this angel I've not only adjusted the stitch count but also knocked out entirely some of the split rings. To keep it balanced was then another consideration.

This one will fit into a 2 1/4" bangle so eventually people who want to make it will have a choice. You'll also see that in the centre of this angel there is a teardrop bead (plus two seed beads). This will give an alternative way of working BOTH angels without necessarily meaning people have to find and buy the heart shaped beads. An ordinary round bead will do just as well and I still have to work the larger version with the round bead and put the text for that into the pattern. Alternatives, that's what it's all about - alternatives. By doing this I hope that the pattern can be worked by anybody with 'normal' tatting supplies!!!! By that I mean a lot of beads, threads and bangles!!!!

Meanwhile this blog just MIGHT be quiet for a while as I have a lot of motifs to make for a friend. I'm still working on a big, big project which is nearing completion and which I'm very excited about. The angels were just a sidetrack from my 'real' projects!!!

20 February 2008

Another angel

Thanks to all for explaining HDT (hand dyed thread). The penny dropped as I got into bed last night!!! I'll have to get me some - one day soon.
I feel another angel like Sally's 'coming on'. I would like to do a smaller pocket sized one and also another like the first one but with an 'ordinary' bead inside!
While I'm nattering on about angels I must show you this.
Remember me playing with the split SCMR? Well Sherron Morgan and I are still discussing this as she 'got there' before me last year. I've managed to persuade her to do a !!! to submit to Palmetto tat days and she's also sent me the following angel that she did. She said that she'd only played with it and used thread that was on the shuttles to make it. Hmmm, I know the feeling, Sharren!!! I think this is going to make a lovely angel so showing you (with Sharren's permission, I might add!!) might 'force' her into writing it down!!! Hey, Sharren, get the hint?!?!?

19 February 2008

Sally's Angel - finished

The angel is finished. I realised the night before last just as I was falling asleep that I'd done the first half of the notation all wrong. Not a lot wrong but all wrong. I'd looked at doing it from the backside point of view when it could easily be front sided!! Took all of five minutes to sort out in yesterday's allocated 'tat time'.
I asked Sally what colours angels were but she said she'd never met one!
I also haven't a clue as to whether they are women or men so I decided to not make up my mind!! I do have such huge arguments with myself so tat's why this one is mixed gender!!!!!
If anybody does have the answer, please let me know as I'd like to make some more and list them on ebay.

16 February 2008

Sally's Angel - Eureka!!!

I think it's finished. Well, apart from more testing and tweaking. I've only shown a few of the trials I've done of this but it's been a nightmare. Finally I started in another place to get this one!!! Sally suggested that the wings coming out by the neck were probably half the problem!! SO right. This meant a whole re-write. Thank goodness for copy and paste in word processing and a long cold day here in the UK!!!
I've only roughly tied her into the bangle but I'm so much happier with her. Not sure whether to do the wings differently. Again Sally and I discussed whether to make them rings and chains. I may try that as an 'alternative' idea although I do love the effect of these lock stitch chains in two colours.
Oh, I also left off the fingers too on this one!!
I've scanned her twice so that if you look at her carefully you'll be able to see all the little faults that may need correcting. I'm not sure about the halo either. Should it be bigger/smaller, come from another place or what?

15 February 2008

Sally's Angel - part 3

Well this relatively simple angel has caused a lot of problems! I wasn't at all happy about the neck/head/body region so thought I'd start from a different place!!
Originally I'd started with the body ring which was attached to the bead and then worked the arms, first wing, skirt, second wing finishing with the head.
Next I tried starting with the head, following with the same order as before. Nope, tat didn't work either.
This time I started with the arms then the body ring (joining to the bead as before) followed by the head, first wing, skirt, second wing finishing back at the neck. I think this gives a much better look to the whole design. I now am happy with the head and the skirt (apart from a little more tweaking) and the arms (still wondering whether to 'do' fingers or not). The only thing I'm not entirely happy with is the wings. I like the lock stitch chain but I'm not totally happy with it yet .............
Ah, the surprise is that it will fit snuggly into a 3" bangle. Sorry, Sally, is that too big for you? I will try for another smaller angel when I've got this one sorted out!!!
All suggestions will be welcome!!!
Now I'm happy to go back to my big project for a while!!!

14 February 2008

Sally's Angel - part 2

Life has been hectic the past few days. I've got the last few Aero shuttles listed on ebay and have a stinking cold too.

The angel is progressing in forward and backward leaps! I am also working on another large project too - no, sorry, not another TIAS yet but that is rapidly approaching on my list.

Back to the angel. This is the latest version. The head of the last one was too small but I've a feeling this one is too big. The halo is OK, I think!!! I've made the body above the bead smaller and also added two more SR's to the arms so that they have more 'definition'. Not sure that the hands really need fingers either. The lower wings have gone and that's made the whole thing better by a long way.

The skirt is slightly wider with an interesting further addition of anther ring and beads. I shall add beads to the bottom corner SR's too and maybe make them (the SR's) a little larger!!

The wings are dreadful. I mean - truly dreadful so I may have to resort to another long think about them. Not sure they need to be small SR's but maybe just a zig zag chain as opposed to a lock stitch chain. Maybe even an 'ordinary' chain with a picoted ZZ one in the middle. Goodness knows. I may take another shot at this tonight. I think the size will be fine for the bangle which I threw onto the platten with this sample. Whatever - it will be a quick and easy one when it's finished and I hope to be able to suggest other types of beads to use too (like teardrop ones)!!!

12 February 2008

Sally's Angel

My poor sister has been 'nagging' me for a year or more for an angel to fit in a ring!! I've tried 'adjusting' several other designs but couldn't quite get them right!! The only thing to do was to start from scratch myself!!! I've already got a good supply of these little heart beads so that seemed a good place to start!!!

Below is the first 'real' finished angel (scanned on both a white background and a black one). Not sure that I really like it yet. The lower wings are (I think) a bit 'too much' and will probably be left out in the next version or adjusted to come lower. The arms and hands which go round the bead are also not 'quite right' so probably they need adjusting too - maybe it's just the colours are the wrong way round. I like the head and the skirt. It's a reasonable start and I will get back to it so that we've both got a Christmas giveaway in plenty of time this year!!!

11 February 2008

More on the split SCMR

This is an attempt (and a very good one too) that Gina Oschmann who is one of Riet's guild sent in. Riet said the following.

Gina Oschmann , one of the members of the guild tatted chalenge number three she mailed it to me on saterday afternoon, but there was a problem with the picture, this morning she mailed the picture for the third time and now I could open the picture and could see what she did.
She started with a splitring, in the first part of the splitring an inwards picot (2 firsthalf ds - 2 second half ds) in the second half throw of rings and a join with bead the join is made with the shuttle thread by tatting first 2 second half ds make the join and 2 first half ds.
To write down the pattern is difficult, but I will try
Sp1 is dark blue,
Sp2 is light blue.
Sp1 SR: 3ds, 2(firsthalf ds), - 2(second half ds), 3 ds /
4ds, [R1: 4-4], 3ds, 2(second halfds) +b 2(first half ds), [R2: 6-6], 4 ds [R3: 4-4], 4ds cl RW
Ch1: 7ds RW

SR: 7 / 7 cl. RW.

Ch 7
go on with second eye in mirorlook of first eye and the hair are chains with long picots.

I'm not sure if this is the way that I did it as there doesn't appear to be a split self closing mock ring here but it certainly gives the same result.

10 February 2008

Split SCMR

Katie Verna had a look at Sharren's bookmark and decided to 'have a go' from just the picture. Well done, Katie. This is what she said and her picture too.

"I tried the Sharren's flower that you posted yesterday on your blog. When I read about it, I didn't think I could do it, but in trying I understood. Thanks to you and to Sharren for exploring this crazy, lovely little technique. I always have trouble figuring out how much thread to leave for the
split chain, but this one worked out. I think the secret is that you can always stretch the thread a little, but you can't shrink it."

8 February 2008

The answer - part 2

Sharren Morgan (one of the Palmetto Tatters) mentioned the other day that she'd played with this idea. She sent in one of her pieces this morning for me to see. It's SO neat it makes me hang my head in shame. Anyway, I couldn't work out how she'd done hers so the following is her explanation. Do hope she writes this pattern down and uses it as it would make a really good lesson.

"I started opposite the tail with a small split ring. I did the red side as an SCMR, throwing off rings that I joined together, then did the split part in white and mirrored the throwing off rings and joining them together. I finished with another small split ring, then did the tail. I had one that's been long since given away that I did in a single color. "

7 February 2008

The answer

It's a split SCMR? At least I think that's what I'd call it.
I found myself in the situation the other day when I needed a split SCMR!! Now we all go through phases, I'm sure, when we really, really, really need a split SCMR!! I wondered if this was feasible and it certainly is.
This is how it would work.
You make the SCMR as you would normally but when you come to close it you pull the loop up as usual BUT leave a gap at the base. You need to be sure to hide the loop back near the base of the left hand side but this is really easy.
Next you work back over the space you've left using a split chain. Is this a new idea or am I re-inventing the wheel once more!!!
Below are two drawings that I've done to show what I'm talking about!!!!
I know this isn't 'rocket science' but I think it may come in useful - one day!!

6 February 2008

Another suggestion!!

This is from 'Dani the geek'.

It looks like the eyes on the face and the top bead on the middle motif were done the same way. I'm suggesting that first you made a split ring with a bead on the core thread. then you took your core thread and (taking it off the shuttle, if, indeed, you had a shuttle to begin with) pulled it through the bead again in order to make a second split ring. I tried to make it look like a more complicated technique, but this brute-force ways seems the most fitting. (bigger pictures would help!) Thanks for the brain food, I need all I can get about now!

Tomorrow I will 'tell all'.

5 February 2008

Babette's way of working the doodle

The following is how Babette worked the little doodle on the left. It's not the way I did it but it's another way. Thanks for taking up the challenge Babette. Anybody else got any ideas?

Using your colour scheme: Started first green chain using a safetypin to leave vsp made chain of 3ds p 3ds, then turned and made white chain with picots and the centre thrown ring. Joined white chain to starting vsp of green chain. The rest was straightforward chains, split rings and normal rings, making sure the lower two rings were joined to the same picot. Perhaps you could put these notes into a more comprehensible set of instructions.

Once I had enlarged the picture of your doodle enough to see exactly where the picots joined the rest was quite simple, only the actual stitch count eluded me as the picture was not clear enough for an accurate count.

Another message from Babette on the third one (the face). She says -

Bearing in mind it’s 35deg C outside, England v NZ 20/20 is on television and we are almost through the 2nd bottle of wine (a woman after my own heart!) and supper has not even begun yet.

I roughly made motif in two parts. The first with two colours, the split ring, four small rings and 5 downward picots, the 5th also the join/finish. Second part with two shuttles wound with pink thread, joined at finish of first part, then chains and joins up to the first two small rings. Then split chain with split ring joining next split ring and split chain before finishing second side to match first, joining beads where shown. Very rough and ready description of method and probably more complicated than your original but it worked. The motif is not worth scanning in primarily because I was not particularly accurate on stitch count, picot size, tension and finishing off the threads.

4 February 2008

Some ideas about how I did tat!

This is what Babette Garman sent me.

I'm waiting to hear from her again to find out how she did hers as it looks so very close. It must be remembered that there are always many ways to 'skin a rabbit' and that sometimes the same results can be achieved by other methods.

There have been lots of suggestions about how I did it and the only one to get it right so far has been Sharren Morgan. She's already played with this idea before and I'm hoping she'll send me copies of what she's done.

3 February 2008

How did I do tat?

Three examples of something I've been playing with.
Challenge - how did I do tat?!?

1 February 2008

Riet's comments on red and italics

The following is from Riet but there are also two comments on yesterday's post which I'll copy and paste into today's blog too.

Hi Jane,
Just something we had a discussion about , not only the frontside backside, but what had to be in a pattern and in the diagram.

Well I think when you write a pattern just like you did it is the best way, everything you had to know is in the notation, when you wouldn't use the frontside/backside no problem just ignore the red colour or the italics.
The same if you don't want to tat SR or SCh just ignore it and cut and tie.

A pattern is a good pattern when it gave you everything there is. Honestly I wrote in my workshops until now: For those who want to tat frontside/backside they know where to change the ds. I will from now on use the italics and red tekst even while I know that some of the members off our guild say I dont need all this horns and bells (a Dutch saying for all the extra's in not such a nice way), ok ignore them, others want them and you are not alone in the tatting world.

When you gave a workshio you have the responsibility that every tatter can do your pattern. So Jane thanks for the Italics and the red text my 2 cents

Riet the B-engel

This is the comment from wickedtats.

When I first learnt to tat, my teacher taught me the difference between F and B tatting. It does make a difference especially with the larger patterns like doilies. However most patterns don't differentiate and it gets quite confusing and extremely saddening when there's only 1 row that done wrongly- I thank Ms Eborall for her extra effort in differentiating!

Lastly the one from Tattycats

Jane, I am glad that you posted this. It reminded me that I did not tell you how much your notations helped me with the back-side front-side instructions. It was great! I think this is a perfect way to highlight it and yes, we do need it. In fact, I need to do more of my tatting this way. It looks so nice. Thanks for all that you do.

31 January 2008

Barbara wrote during the TIAS.

I really LOVE the notational convention you have invented to distinguish back-side instructions from front-side instructions!! I am one of those older traditional tatters who completely quit tatting for 25+ years and "awoke" suddenly in 2006 to find the tatting world a new and wonderful place replete with split rings, split chains, front-side/back-side tatting and such. I find myself going through patterns and writing "F" or "B" in front of every line because I am now trying to achieve the consistent-front-side look. Your notation allows the pattern-writer to provide this very helpful information without adding to the length of the patterns. Ingenious!!!

I am wondering if anybody has any further suggestions on this type of notation. Are there better or alternative ways to do it? Do we need it, even? All comments gratefully received either in the comments on this blog or as an email to my regular email address.

29 January 2008

Further thoughts about notating the SR and SS!

This is a message I had from Riet. As English is not her first language I think she's VERY brave and very articulate in explaining her thoughts below. Thank you, Riet. Also thanks to SueH for her comments in the comments below too.

it is the first time, I hear of this problem, but who am I and how much do I hear.
I always saw the shuttle, you use for the second half of the split ring, was just a thing that comes in and goes out, before you close with the working shuttle. There is also not a SS before starting the second half of a split ring. I think you you should try to learn the new ones to look at the working shuttle, woooow what is this difficult to explane in english.
OK try it again the shuttle that is in your right hand is the working shuttle, so ring closed, you go on with that shuttle normally it doesn't need a SS because you just go on, It only needs an SS when something differents than normal happens

Look at the first SS in day 2 , to compleet the flower and close the flower in the way you want, you have to do ss you have to go on with the other shuttle I think this SS can't be difficult than the second after R 17 is again making a new R take the orher shuttle and make a SR. I think this is also clear. Than the next day. After SR 20 it is more difficult, but still normal, when you look with the technique in your head, When you should go on as normal, you should RW and tat the Chain, the chain will go the wrong way , so to go in the other way, you need a SS and that includs that you don't need the RW.

I can inmagin that for starters this is difficult, but when you learn your starters that the shuttel that makes the ring, in other words that closes the R is the working shuttle, the shuttle in your right hand. When they learn and understand this it will no longer be difficult. I , but again who am I, would prefer it to go on in the way we are doing, think about it you also don't say ss in a pattern after the first part off the SR. Again try to let your starters understand what they are doing, it makes them much more understand the way a pattern is written

My, I hope , understandeble 2 cents
Riet the B-engel

Thoughts about notating the SR and SS!

This message came from Barbara Hevener and has given me food for thought.

I got involved in trying to help someone else with this project (TIAS) at the Palmetto Tatters Guild meeting last Saturday. That person (an experienced tatter) had gotten confused about what shuttle should be in her right hand after completing "SR20: 4 / 4 - 2 - 6 Cl SS".
Because of the shuttle-switching that occurs whenever one makes a SR, it occurred to me that it IS somewhat confusing whenever "SS" immediately follows a split ring.

This morning, I looked up several purported definitions of "SS" (including the old first edition of Judith Connors' "Illustrated Dictionary of Tatting"--I don't have the second edition yet), and found that nobody ever really seems to say how "SS" should be interpreted in conjunction with a SR. I'm betting that tatters (and perhaps even pattern writers) might interpret it in different ways. For example, if I started making the SR with Sh1, do I "SS to Sh1" (because Sh2 made the final stitches of the SR)--or do I "SS to Sh2" (because I just pulled the SR closed with Sh1)? So it might be helpful if pattern writers were to specify "SS to Sh __" in such a situation. Another alternative would be to provide a more complete explanation for "SS" within the pattern instructions.

This is a good point and I would appreciate other people's comments. In the past I used to stipulate which shuttle the worker should be using at each stage but have recently dropped this in favour of SS. Having read Barbara's points and being a tatter who assumed that everybody who finished a SR would pull it up with the original working (core) thread this didn't occur to me to be a problem until now!!!

Please email me with your comments and I will add them to this post - if you wish.

27 January 2008

Excellent Comments on the TIAS

These comments were sent in by Kate Sharp and I thought they would be useful not only to me but to others too.
Day 1
I haven't encountered joins on the second half of a split ring and although I managed to keep the ring sliding, the picot is twisted so I probably need some extra tuition on how to resolve this.

2nd Part I've done it and it works! I don't think I've done split ring in and out of a flower to travel along in a line, so it was a good experiment! Turning ove the work and reversing the stitch order is also new but I reprogrammed my brain and achieved it. Didn't quite pull the two upside down rings (10 and 11) fully closed. Last two stitches in each ring seem to ping the other way a little, probably because the stitches and ring are a little loose. Good intro to the technique though! Very clear notation and good corresponding diagram.
Day 3
Still struggling with twisted last two stitches of opposite way round ring, and joining to second half of split ring, but I've done it. How much is 1/8 inch?! No guesses as to what it will become!
Day 4 and 5 Forgot to do the 'front side back side' tatting technique for the tiny ring 21 in part 4 but as its so small it doesn't show too much. Tied on a new shuttle as ran out the two yards I'd put on working shuttled to start with. It seems to be a nicely spaced pattern without straining to join up. Got fractionally confused as to which shuttle I was on but found that it all made sense if I just went with it! Still no idea what the motif is!
Days 6 and 7 Still going well and the notation is clear to follow. I find it much easier having instructions and a diagram for reference rather than a diagram bespeckled with numbers. My joins on the second half of a split ring are neater and becoming easier to work, although they still don't always look quite right. The front side/back side tatting is clever and impressive! I am pleased at how stable the piece is. I think I might be tatting a little pig! Its tail went a bit short though. I wondered if the circles bouncing along its back might make it a woolly sheep, but I think its legs look more pig-like. I hope it will be cute! I have found it most intruiging to witness the construction of the design and where uneven split rings end up!
Day 8
Got a bit confused about which shuttle to start with, so had to unpick a giraffe neck I'd made! Forgot front-side-back-side tatting for the second chain of block tatting, but never mind! The block tatting is fine though, not something I'd done before but the instructions were nice and clear. Wound another two yards onto the second shuttle as I'd run out the two yards that were already on there. I reckon it's going to be a hippo now.
Days 9 and 10
I have tatted a hippo! The lock stitch seemed to go fine - so many reversals and different stitch combinations that I haven't tried before! The eye bead went on very well - before when I've tried this it's twisted and not worked very well, so I was pleased about that!
I had expected him to have an open mouth with two little rows of teeth - maybe this could be an adaptation! I also think he looks a bit rhino-shaped so maybe another version could have a horn! I was pleased to see he looked like the picture!

In my experience, the 'main' working shuttle needs about 3 1/2 - 4 yards and the secondary one about 2 1/2 - 3 yards - if I'd put this much thread on at the start I'd have had less ends to finish when I'd completed it so I think a thread estimate would be a useful addition to any similar future project.
The process has been fun and I've looked forward to the instalments, which were in very achievable sized chunks. I have learnt a lot about the construction of a tatted animal and I think his feet are really cute! Thanks Jane!

25 January 2008

New necklace

The first picture here is of a necklace/bracelet which I bought while in America last year. It has magnetic beads so that you can wear it as you like. When I saw it I instantly thought 'tatting' but when I got it home I decided to wear it as it is. Now this was fine for about ten minutes when I realised that the non magnetic beads were sharp little beasties and jabbed into my neck or wrist. You can probably see that in the picture below.

Well I found some more of these in a local hardware store in town. Hmmmm, why that sort of store I don't know. They were in their sale so I bought two more.
Having thought about the unpleasant feelings of being stabbed constantly in the neck by the beadsvvI decided to go back to my original plan and replace the ordinary beads with tatting.
Here's one done and dusted. SO comfortable to wear. I will spray it with Scotch Guard to stop it getting mucky and will try to remember to wash my old turkey neck more than once a year!!!! Oh, the neck really is mine and not a turkey's. I daredn't show the face - too frightening!!!!

21 January 2008

Neglecting this blog!

I'm afraid that this blog has been a bit neglected over the past week. I've been ebaying more of the little hearts and realised that last week the prices were probably a bit high. This week I've reduced them. I do hope that some wedding planners will see them as they'd be ideal for place cards, invitations etc.
The 'tat it and see' has taken over my life. That's good news to me as I do hate these winter months where there's nothing but rain, darkness and cold and this has really cheered up my days.

What has really surprised me most has been the way this idea has been so popular. I did think about a dozen people might take it up but .........
The really good thing is the relative new tatters who are also having a 'go'. As they didn't see the completed piece before starting there was nothing for them to look at and think 'that's too advanced for me'!!! I have had a few people ask for extra help which has also been good as I've learnt a lot about how to write/draw things too.
On Sunday after day 7 went out, my mail box just kept filling up with guesses. I've (hopefully) managed to keep up with them and have got a 'summing up' post to release at the 'close of play'. I'm hoping too to be inundated with finished pieces but even one or two would be good.
Finally the only really negative thing that's happened is that progress on a new pattern has staggered to a halt!! I am not really blaming the TIAS but my brain!!!

19 January 2008

Tshirt edging finished AND sewn on!

Now it's one thing for me to finish a piece but it's another when it comes to sewing it onto fabric! I made this edging for the neckline and sleeves of a tshirt. I've devised a way of coping with myself in these situations. I will NOT allow myself to start something new until the whole project is complete - and that includes the sewing on!!
This is the edging which I've got almost ready to upload onto my pattern pages. Mary Jarvis has very kindly tested the pattern out for me and given me feedback on it. I will check this out in a day or two as I really would like to use it again to make a handky edging.

I'm very pleased with this edging as it really seems to 'flow' well from the lower to the upper part. I may well tackle something more difficult in the future.

17 January 2008

Tatting Talks

Yesterday I went to a small village just outside of town to give a talk on tatting. (Last talk I did was in November - at another village).

I had the feeling that this might be an old age pensioners group and having done a few of those some twenty or more years ago I must admit to not being that enthusiastic. I used to find that the men weren't interested and dozed off and that there was always one lady who 'knew how to do it' and who conducted her own version of the talk in a loud 'whisper'.
Anyway, I arrived with my suitcase to find that we were in a small (and VERY cold) side room off the main hall. Anne, who had booked me, took me in and sorted some tables out for me and put the heating on. Heating in village halls is notoriously 'iffy' but this was magnificent and the room warmed up very quickly.

The 'victims' arrived and were mostly eldery (heck, Jane, so are you!) BUT and this is a VERY BIG BUT, they were very, very interested. I enjoyed every minute and was SO glad I'd taken all my best pieces with me. One lady had brought her own piece of tatting which she'd done many years ago. It was a cream doily in a fine (guess about 40) thread and had been done extremely well.

Another lady admitted that when she heard that the talk was going to be about somebody's hobby she wasn't all that keen to come but had really enjoyed hearing about 'tatting today'! I think they were most surprised at how many people were doing it worldwide.

Oh, I told them about the 'tat it and see' and I told them it was going to be a £$^%&*"!£%^&£ but I'm not telling anybody who reads this blog!!
One of the group was talking with me afterwards about being nervous of her computer and the internet. I told her about a scheme that the local library runs for 'silver surfers' to have an hour with a volunteer tutor. She may well go and ask for an hour and as I'm one of the volunteers we may well meet up again. I do hope so as she was such an interesting lady.

After the talk they had sandwiches, cake and tea. I was very good and only had a cup of tea - until I saw the chocolate cake!!! Now how many calories is that?!

15 January 2008

Another little heart

Yesterday I decided to make another little heart.
Sadly I appear to have upset a dear friend with the other design which she says is very like one she designed some years ago. I have apologised and have been very upset to think I inadvertently upset her.
This is the new one.
Having ordered lots more of the crystal hearts for the centres I felt I needed to use them when they arrive. I think these hearts would make very pretty accessories to wedding place settings, cards etc.
I have revised my listings on ebay and do hope that this will resolve the matter. I lost a night's sleep over this as I hate to think that I upset somebody that I respect and admire so much.

13 January 2008

Hey, ho, a quiet day

Yesterday was a quiet day so I sat and made a few more of the hearts I showed on this blog yesterday. I got four done to list on ebay. I also listed four more Aero shuttles too. I must check the bag to see how many I've got left as I need to keep a few to replace mine as they break - not that they do very often. Perhaps I lose one every year or two but they certainly put up with a lot of wear and tear from me.
Here's one of the little hearts I listed today. They're here on ebay.

12 January 2008

An ancient pattern!

I remembered that some years ago I did a heart pattern. The two intertwined ones below are what I made for my youngest daughter's wedding. We used them on the place settings.

A few weeks ago when I was out at the local garden centre (they also have a craft department on site) I found some very pretty heart shaped beads. They have a hole at the top and one at the bottom which go from back to front (or, front to back!!). I took a guess and found that they fit the little heart.

I'm wondering if I ought to put this pattern on my site. I must go and check to see if anybody's done it before!!!!

Well I've checked with one of my tatting gurus - Georgia Seitz (didn't want to bother Sue Hanson as she's so busy with HBT at the moment) and she's not seen it before. So, now I must put a page together and get it into cyberspace!!! Tat'll keep me quiet for an hour or ten!!!

10 January 2008

Been tagged again!

Two people have now tagged me for the 'You Make My Day Award' so I'd better sort out my ten favourite blogs.
I love Teri Dusenbury's The Lover's Knot
I love her wacky sense of humour and her fantastic commitment to whatever she's doing at the moment.
Another of my favourites is Gina Brummett's Threads from a Tatting Goddess
I like this one as Gina always has something to say most days and it's always interesting to see what she comes up with.
Next is Pamela Myers as hers is just so pretty. I love her animals especially the camel. Can't wait to see more.
I love the 25 motif challenge and am forever grateful to Sharon for all the hard work she does on this. I've never joined in but do follow the progress of all the participants.
I did have another favourite which was walkingthestreets which has now dissapeared. This was an account of the daily life of a traffic warden. Wish he'd come back online.
There's another blog which I go to every so often but I'd rather not list the url as it's a family member (though not related). An interesting insight into a modern young mother's way of life.
Mark Myers blog makes me nearly pee my pants when he posts. I can't believe what he does with 'bits of string'.
I've only got seven so far so will come back to this later. There are way toooo many to choose from and I love them all.

9 January 2008

A lovely motif

Yesterday morning a small packet arrived from America. Always great excitement when packages - or anything arrives for me that isn't a bill!! When I opened it there was the dearest little motif that looks SO like bobbin lace it's amazing to think that it fell off a shuttle!

Guess who it was from? Nah, too easy - just take a quick look and you'll know straight away. It's from my adopted son, Mark Myers.

Well I had to adopt him as I'm way too old to be his mistress and, sadly, he's far too happily married to Kim anyway. Sigh, sigh, sigh!!!!

7 January 2008

Yesterday was a 'play day'!

I've given up on the little tree I've been working on for a few days. Frustration set in!!

My sister's been around this weekend and she gave me some magnetic clasps. I'd bought some in the USA so wanted to test both for myself. I feel better for having a 'play day'. I must do some autopilot stuff today - an order from a friend and then after tat? Who knows!!!

Here are the results of yesterday's play.

6 January 2008

Late, sorrrryyyyy

I know that Christmas has come and long gone but time seems to rush by. Something to do with getting older, 'they' say!

Anyway I haven't spoken yet about the gift I received in the Secret Santa exchange that Giina Brummet ran on the tatting goddess list.

My huge jiffy bag arrived about ten days before Christmas and the address looked familiar. Me, being me eventually got curious and looked it up in my address book. Ah, Carol Lawecki. Now Carol's been a great tatting friend for years. She used to test tat my 'bits' in the early days. Now she's working and raising two teenagers she's got a very busy life.

I was very, very good and waited til Christmas Day. Very difficult as it was sat in front of my armchair all the time!

Anyway, what was in the bag?
Inside were lots and lots of goodies. A lovely picture - framed beautifully - of Pam Palmer's partridge in a pear tree. Then there were sweets and chocolates (looooong gone!). The tins are now being used to store things (the emotitats live in one to stop me losing them!).

Also in the packet was a ring pull thing that you have on name tags in offices. On this was a tag with my name beautifully tatted attached. There were also notelets (made by Carol's mum), tea bags (yummy), beads in a dear little sachet, a key ring (with more tatting in the clear part), three spools of quilting thread (which I've already 'test tatted' and found superb especially for jewellery), flossing 'thingies' and finally needle pullers (best things since sliced bread - LOVE them).

Nick and James sat and watched me open each little packet and oooh and aaah. They were quite a lovely shade of green by the time I'd finished!!!

5 January 2008

Denim purses

Just before Christmas these two dear little denim purses arrived from Grace Kock - another tatter I've met via my dear friend the internet and our associated passion, tatting. Aren't they cute?

3 January 2008

New edging

This is an edging I've been working on for a month or two. It's worked in one pass (no second row to go back and 'do'!).
There is also a corner which could prove useful when doing a hanky edging. Currently I'm using it with a number 30 thread and making neck and sleeve edgings for a new tshirt. I call this my 'autopilot' tatting as it's relaxation when I've finished playing with new ideas!
I'm hoping to add this to my web site in a few weeks time along with the Palmetto patterns for 2007 and one or two other 'forgotten' pieces that I've found lurking on my computer.

2 January 2008

Last ring of the season!

I just HAD to find an excuse to use the thread that Carol Lawecki sent me in the Secret Santa exchange so what better 'test' than to make a final finger ring. These need a firm thread and, like the Dual Duty that I showed t'other day, this one has that quality. It's a Coats quilting thread.
I had three colours to choose from. Green, pink and brown. Just lately two of my favourite combinations are pink and brown. I've tried photographs of these but they didn't work too well. These are scans and still don't give a true idea of this stunning colour combination.

1 January 2008

Ring in the New Year

Corny, or what? This is what I was playing with last night. Two new finger rings. The pattern is here if anybody wants it. The green is worked with the Dual Duty thread which my friend TatBit sent me. The gold is worked with the 'new to me' Oren Bayan which I got from Tatting and Design. This is a metallic thread which works up beautifully and is easy to use.

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

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