3 October 2008

A stroke of luck

I had a huge stroke of luck yesterday afternoon.

Most afternoons I go for a walk. I usually go round the river and back up through the town and yesterday I had some banking to do on my way back through the main streets. Before going out I'd noticed an article on a new shop that had opened in one of the small shopping malls so as it was near the building society I decided to take a look.

On the way there I saw another shop was closing down. It's one I'd never been into before. A balloon and party one. So, I went in and had a look around. I noticed some bolts of fabric on a shelf. I reckon there must be about 4 yards in each. Colours are white, cream, two blues, purple and green. I bought them all and paid only 50p for each one. That's about a dollar. They'll make splendid linings for roly poly bags and some will make the bags themselves (I'm thinking of the purple!!).

I finished the matching earwigs for Etsy in the evening so back to playing again!!!

2 October 2008


The muse struck in the middle of the night! I usually sleep well but occasionally go through bouts of having a 'buzzy brain'. Last night I slept really well but awoke in a sort of half sleep to find an idea (or 2) pop into my head.

I'm afraid I'll not be able to share these as I'm going to 'sit on them' for submission to Palmetto Tat Days in 2009 for a teaching position. I know it's a tad early to start thinking of this but I'm afraid I'm a terrible 'planner ahead' at times. I also want to give the Palmetto 'gals' a choice too if possible. I love to teach new ideas/techniques and something occurred to me in the middle of the night. These ideas/techniques might not always be brand new in tat land but are those that people tend to 'avoid' at all costs - rather like split chains!!!! Not that I'm saying that these will be involved but I hope you 'get my meaning'!!!!

Yesterday evening I made a brooch and hope to finish off a matching pair of earwigs this evening. They have started to sell in my Etsy store which is very pleasing as I'm trying to earn my air fair to the USA next year!!!! Here is the brooch.

1 October 2008

I'm FED UP with myself

I get very fed up at this stage of a non starter design. Yesterday I drew out the outline to this project using Serif and tracing over a picture. As it was a horrid, wet and cold day I spent a couple of hours thinking through progress and 'filling in' the outline with a possible way of working it.

In the evening I started to tat it (see below). Total and utter failure!!! IF I get time today I might try to change the diagram filling as I did think out another idea in those last few minutes before I fell asleep last night. At times like these I'd happily give up trying new stuff. Below is the day's 'waste of thread'!!!!

I then have to remind myself of past successes like the pendant and earwigs.

30 September 2008

Advice on how to waste thread

Easy. Become a sort of designer like me!!! I've just started out on another idea. Starting is sometimes very hard. I want this to be another TIAS so it has to be 'devious'. Not only that it has to be balanced in skills and looks too. I now have about half a dozen 'false starts' in the first evening. Hopefully this idea will eventually work but at the moment it appears to be the best way on earth to waste thread!!!! By the way, this is SO normal for me. The reluctance to start and the inability to get under way!!!

Before settling down in the evening I did the next part of the TIAS.

29 September 2008


Yesterday I felt 'delicate'. The wedding on Saturday was fantastic. The bride was beautiful, her boys were (as ever) extremely well behaved (they even slept for me when I baby sat on Friday evening!) and the champagne flowed freely throughout. The food was amazing and the sun shone and shone (extremely unusual for the UK this year) . The whole occasion took place in our Town Hall which was built in 1643 and which provided an amazing venue.

So, Sunday was spent in a 'coming down to earth' mode! No, not a hangover as such but I was tired.

As I'd sold the only pair of Christmas tree earrings I'd made on Etsy while we were out, I replenished that meagre stock during the afternoon. I also made another pair with red 'lights/beads' which I will list today when I've done my dad's shopping etc.

27 September 2008

Don't even bother!!!

Don't bother to check the blog tomorrow. I won't get anything done today. We're off out to a wedding. This is why I made the horseshoe.

I did finish the earrings yesterday and they're below. Also tidied up 'tat corner' but 'im wot must be obeyed said (and quite rightly) 'that'll never last'. Still, for a few hours, it does look reasonably tidy!!!

26 September 2008

Poor tatting day!

I have nothing to show. Totally and utterly nothing!!! That's not to say that I didn't tat yesterday but I think all the brain cells had returned to Martha!!

I'd decided to check out the medium sized earring that I made the other day. That is, do it again checking the text etc. First of all I need to learn to read my own stuff!! Next I need to follow what I've written!! In the original I'd done a hanging bead in the centre but decided that it would be easier for anybody working it to have it attached at the opposite side. What I'd neglected to tell myself was to change the bead order on the shuttle thread before starting and then the order things were worked!! Got that done eventually and on to the outer part.

I started off badly by missing a bead out at the first join to the inner section so had to undo lots. Then I put in too many ds's/beads all the way round. Actually this didn't matter and probably improved the design as I'd changed threads to a 40 rather than a 20. I will look again at it today. So, I got one done and I need to do the other today with (hopefully) a lot fewer hiccups!!!!

25 September 2008

Etsy, Christmas trees and another pendant!!

Boy, did I do a lot yesterday!!! I finally managed to squeeze a couple of hours in the afternoon to list the new Christmas tree brooches (and earrings) in my Etsy shop.

I also managed to 'tweak' the pendant yet again and this time I used blue no. 40 thread. This is the final version - not that you'll see a lot of difference between this and yesterday's pink one!!!

24 September 2008

I've finished the pendant!

I've done it at last!!! In the end the simplest way to get round the stitch adjustment was to 'cheat'!!! Well, not really cheating as such. I just changed threads from a number 20 to a number 40 and tat did the trick!!!

Oh, another thing. We were out and about yesterday and went to a new bead shop I'd heard of. It was right out in the 'sticks' and at a craft centre. The centre has small outlets in old farm buildings so I wasn't that bothered about going there as many of these places are a dissapointment when you finally find them. Also I don't NEED anymore beads!!!

Well I thought I'd gone to bead heaven when I walked in the door. Did I buy any beads? What do you think?

The owner told me they're expanding threefold next year and are currently setting up a web site so I think it'll become a regular haunt - corse I won't need anymore beads, will I? I'll just go there to look, won't I?

23 September 2008


Yesterday the postman came. IF he ever brings me anything it's usually a household bill!!!

There was a packet for me from the USA. I was SO excited as I wasn't expecting anything. When I opened it I found the shuttle below tucked inside a Palmetto tshirt. I was going to model the tshirt and then lie on the scanner to show you but for some weird reason I couldn't get myself to fit on the platten!!

Best of all was the letter inside which was from Barbara Hevener. She's the lady who won the competition for the tat days logo which you can see on their page. Apparently she thinks I did a lot to help her but I'm not sure I did!!! She has a copy of the drawing programme I use and all I did was nudge her along into using it - she's a VERY fast learner. I honestly don't think I did much but I'm SO pleased with my presents. Thank you, Barbara from a VERY happy bunny in the U.K.

22 September 2008

Good points and bad points

I've been working on the pendant and you can see progress below with at least two ideas trialed in the outer round. Looks good BUT it isn't really! The way I've added the central teardrop bead looks really good and is very easy but it's not in the right place. I need to get it dropped from the bottom of a ring and then re-joined later. I did this in this bracelet design so it's just a matter of changing things a little. Either that or I change the centre completely.

I'm reasonably happy with the outer round but it does need a lot of tweaking with the stitch count or a change to a number 40 thread. I'll decide later today!!!

I had fun yesterday adding all the blogs that I follow to my dashboard. Still not totally sure how this works but I'm gradually understanding it. I've now got 11 followers - yipppeeee.

I forgot to add that I've re-listed the remaining tatting leaflets in ebay.

20 September 2008

All sorts to tell today!

A boring, boring, megga boring evening on the telly and several false starts on the next earring which has now been upgraded to a pendant because I feel it's a tad toooo big as an earring - even for me!!! Also, of course, it gives me more scope to play. I've put two of my false starts down below with the third better one (with a hanging bead). I shall continue with this later. Also 'down below' are the finished medium earwigs which don't look half as good as they do in 'real life'. Nick says they look like expensive Victorian antique jewelery.

Goodness knows how but I was fiddling around with the blog and found a new gadget - followers!!! So I added it to the top left of the page. I was totally gobsmacked when I put it on to find that immediately I'd got five followers. Can't tell you how brilliant that feels. I use google alerts for blogs but I'm going to have a look at the gadgets again to see what others are being offered. I shall be looking to add myself to other people's blogs too!! BEWARE - daft old git at large!!!

Thanks to Sherry (celticdreamweaver) I have now added the Spanish couple to my site. I'd completely forgotten them. Sorry, Sherry but thanks for reminding me!!!

Earrings again!

This earring 'phase' is set to last a little longer, I think!! Doing these isn't as easy as it would at first appear. Adjusting stitch counts and making a very small (very beaded!) motif for the centres is also very hard.
Anyway, below is the progress on the medium sized hoop.
On the left is a central motif that just 'didn't work'. This attempt has now been 're-cycled'!!!! The middle one - this has a new inner but I wasn't happy with the outer part. I needed to adjust the stitch count and use better beads. The final attempt on the right is fine - for now!!! I love the hanging bead in the centre and hanging below the hoop. Looks 'classier' than the long beaded picot on the first trial.

18 September 2008

Fun with earrings

I finished the other earring of the pair I was making the day before yesterday (the brown ones) which means that I have yet another pair to choose from in the mornings!!! I really MUST clear out some of the darn earwigs - they're taking over my bedside table - in fact I'm sure they're breeding!!

Anyway yesterday morning I sat down and did the drawings for this pair. This is a fairly big task even though it's only a small piece as I want to be sure that people can follow my perverted way of working it easily.

In the evening I started working on the medium sized hoop. This one measures 1" in diameter so I don't want to make it any larger than that if I can help it. I've solved this problem by working beads into the covering over the ring.

The inner (as you can see below) is sort of OK. I shall work the central large bead into it in another way. I really fancy a 'dangly' something in the middle there. In fact I've been experimenting with ways to do that (the pink 'bits' at the bottom). All I've done is take ......... heck, I'll explain it on the pattern and do a drawing but it's really easy.

If you look really closely at the scan you'll see there are definite variations as I've worked round the ring. I was trying to work out how many ds's to do etc. I think I'll add another large 'dangly' bead at the bottom instead of the LBP. Anyway, that's this evening's task sorted!!!

17 September 2008

The new brain!

First reports on the new brain suggest it's a clumsy one!!! I hardly ever spill beads nowadays as I use those lockable bead containers. I managed to drop a small container that isn't lockable yesterday morning so had to get the small handheld hoovery thing out (with the piece of 'hosiery' that I keep for this purpose) and put this over the end to retrieve them. So, an hour or so later they were all back where they belonged.
Blow me down - I dropped more beads two hours later and they were some of my favourites - 3 blues all mixed up! So I reckon it's a clumsy brain that Martha sent me!!! I'm still sorting those!!
Still I managed to get started on my big project. Let me explain.
I've got two sorts of earring hoops and want to start using them. One sort is open (easily closed with a pair of pliers - on the left below) and the other is closed with a small ring at the top (easily removed with same pliers!!).
There are three sizes of one and two of the other so yesterday I scanned and measured them all. I've started on the smallest one first and this is what I've come up with (along with the pictures of the hoops I've been talking about). The blue and white is my first attempt, then there was another brown one which I wasn't happy with and haven't shown. The brown one below is fabulous and I'll make another to match.

16 September 2008

A NEW brain - at LASTl!

I think brain cell # 3 can go into retirement now because I have friends out in tat land who think of me and offer help in an entirely unexpected way.
Yesterday morning I received a letter from Martha Ess. Now this struck me as sort of odd as we usually email each other. So I opened the letter and there was a card. The note in the card read like this -
"Dear Jane. This all started when Beth Sims (of the Tennessee Southern Belle Tatters) made an off hand comment that she wished there was a tatted brain for her neuro-scientist boss. Well, I couldn't resist that ...... But everyone who saw it, including Beth, instantly said 'Jane needs more brain cells'. So here you are"
I read the card and wondered whether Martha had 'lost the plot' until I opened the folded sheet of paper inside the card. On this sheet was a pattern for a brain!!! Yes, honestly. That AND a brain included (see the picture below). Now I've NO excuse for not getting on and doing stuff. I'm now 'over brained'!!!! I don't think I'll ever become a genius but I'm certainly on the way now thanks to Beth and Martha. Thanks, Martha.
By the way - I nearly peed my pants when I saw my new brain.

15 September 2008

Christmas colours!

Yesterday I drew up the diagrams for this little earring/motif. I could do with a good name for it. I always struggle with naming my stuff. At the moment it's called a 'ring on ring in ring earring' but that's a bit of a mouthful and I don't think it should necessarily be 'marketed' as an earring either. All suggestions welcome. I am wondering if anybody would like to try this out to see if they can follow the instructions. I have them in a Word document so would happily take on a volunteer or two.

I also managed to do part 3 of the TIAS 4.This game is proving to be very good practice at doing block tatting!!!! I've sent Sherry my three stages this morning so she can blog them when she gets time. I've solved the mystery of what it's going to be but you'll have to wait until later when it's blogged here!!!

14 September 2008

I'm warming to this one!!!

I'm really beginning to love this earring. YES, I will wear them as earrings. Somebody mentioned making them in Christmas colours - that's this evening's 'task'!!! I'm currently drawing up the stages so it should be 'out soon' at a cinema somewhere near you. Sorry, I mean web site!!!!

Having made a few of these now I'm finding them fast to make.

I've been forgetting to mention my student at the antiques arcade in town. Remember that I was teaching her to tat? Well I pop in about three times a week for a fast lesson. She's managing rings now with picots and is ready to go onto the next stage. I think I'll have to stop calling her a student as she's become more of a friend!!!

13 September 2008

A girl has to do what a girl HAS to do!!!

Now most people know I'm not married but live happily in a muddle with my dear partner.  This means that the threat of divorce doesn't hang over me - once bitten twice shy in both our cases.  BUT this doesn't mean that a relationship doesn't have 'those moments'!!!  So in order to avoid one of 'those moments' arriving I felt obliged to tidy up my tatting stuff yesterday!!!  It does tend to migrate somewhat!  I decided to put the books (well over 100) tidily on the shelf as I tend to take them out, look at them and put them back on top of the others!!  I came across the leaflets (about 50) that I've collected too and then decided to dispose of the duplicates.  As the title says - a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  So I spent yesterday afternoon listing them in ebay.  The reason I've got so many duplicates is because people tend to list them in clusters and sometimes there are leaflets in a 'cluster' that I want so the others become duplicates.  

I also got part two of TIAS 4 done and I know what it's going to be.  It's a miniature Eiffel tower (or Blackpool tower!!!).

I got the earring finished too and a rough draft of the pattern.  I'm not sure if folks will want to wear this idea as earwigs as they are rather large!!  I know I will but if not they could make them as zipper pulls, decorations for handbags, brooches - almost anything.  

12 September 2008

Brain cell # 3

Well he (brain cell # 3) finally got a result late last night.  I don't totally like it yet so will take # 3 to one side and have a word with him later!!!!

It took all evening to achieve this one sample!!  The reason?  Brain cell # 3 kept wandering off into the other room so by the time I went to bed I'd decided that this was something that was going nowhere!!!  Looking at it again in the 'cold light of day' I can see that it has great potential.  Let me explain.

The centre motif is easy.  You do have to tie and cut but that should be the only one in the whole thing.  Actually covering the brass ring and including the central motif is easy but it took several attempts to get this right.  I've now got the 'recipe' for that sorted.  

What I should've done is put 1 bead onto the pink thread on the shuttle so that I could include a bead before the bottom pink split ring.  Then all you do is leave threads dangling.

The next round is just SO simple - rings and chains.  What I should've NOT done here is try to be so flipping clever.  I don't like that long beaded picot at the bottom.  It sucks big time.  I shall miss that one out on the next attempt.  I will have to add more doubles to the chains too.  Another mistake I made (and had to retro tat) is where I put the hanging LBP.  The first time I did it I put it on a chain instead of above a ring - dugh!!!  I think I'll probably use a second shuttle here and make a ring with the jump ring added.  

IF brain cell # 3 works properly this evening (and it is a wine drinking evening!!) then I should be able to get him to fathom a way of finishing the motif without sewing ends!!  That's the plan anyway.

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Happy Beaks

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