3 August 2008

These are my choices!!!

The first three are the bags I really, really love at the moment.  I keep dithering about which set to keep.  Anybody else want to help me choose?!?!?

The paisley and black print ones are waiting to be listed too.  I love those too.  

Once I've made up my mind which I want to keep then I'll list the others.  Although I've got two of each sort I still need to make up my mind.  I'm such a full time ditherer!!!! Isn't life hard at times?



I'm having a problem. My problem is the roly poly tat bags and pouches. I have in my handbag the first one I made. It's fine - a bit 'rough round the edges' but it was the prototype. Then I gave my sister my pouch last weekend (another prototype!!) so I decided to make myself a whole new 'set'. Great.
I looked through the fabric I have left. I've used all the nice stuff that Sue sent so decided that I'd have to make one out of BJ's kind donation. I made her order up and loved both of those. Would I make one like hers? Then I found a very pretty rose printed piece amongst the FQ's so made that up. Lovely - that's mine!!!  Well, that was on Friday!!!
Aileen's fabric then came along and in it there's this fabulous bright coloured butterfly print. Whoooopeeee, that's the one. I made that yesterday. Boy, is it bright - no chance of missing that in my handbag!!!!
Then I had a look at the other fabrics and found a lovely beige floral print which says 'Jane' all over it too. I'm going to make that up today. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll be able to list anymore in Etsy as I fall in love with everything I make!!!! The pretty yellow and brown floral sets already in Etsy were favourites once I'd made them.  I didn't have much of a feeling for the fabric as it lay ready to cut out but once it was made up - WOW!!!!
I must be a funny old git but I do find it hard to part with these bags but it's great when people say they've got them and love them!!!!

2 August 2008


That Was The Week That Was - also known as TW3.  For those not in the UK this was an iconic 'alternative' news programme donkey's years ago.  It looked at the news in a satirical manner.

Well I've had one of 'those' weeks too.  I can't remember another like it but I'm glad it's over and settled now.  Do you ever have one of those times when everything you touch or do causes more problems?  Well that's what happened.  Just one of those times happened to my friend Aileen who had connection problems with her computer and that took me nearly a day (separate days, too) to fix.  Ended up by having to access her wan and lan settings and being talked through it all by the help line in South Africa.

In payment for this (which she really didn't have to do as I learnt a lot from the experience) Aileen gave me a lot of fabric for roly poly bags.  This is a woman who is THE most fantastic 'crafter' and some of the work she's done over the years is mind boggling.  Recently she's bought a computer and now is heading towards opening an Etsy shop.  Her sewing and quilting is just perfection.  I'll show you when she's up and running.

Me?  I've done very, very little this week but did get some bags done yesterday afternoon for a special order and some tree earrrings designed and finished in the evening. 

Hmmm, I thought I'd taken pictures of the bags but didn't!!!  I'll take them later and add them to this post - or put them on another!!!

Here are the bags.  BJ sent me the fabric as she wanted a set made of the paisley (middle picture) and a set made of the black fabric too.  I started them last weekend and have finally finished.  Well ..............................that's my story!!!!!!!  I will tell the whole of it sooooon.

31 July 2008


Well, tat was the day tat was!!! Or rather tat was the day I didn't tat!!!
This week I seem to be chasing my tail. I started on the sequin pattern page and the Christmas tree page but both got nowhere fast!!!
Interruptions galore also not helped by the electric man coming to change the meter. So while he was here I thought that it would be a grand time to cut out more roly poly tat bags - no electricity needed for that!!!! Forgot that after the visit all clocks etc had to be re-set!!! BUT things have a way of stopping even a dedicated sewer cum tatter.
The windows needed cleaning. No problem until it comes to the outside of the living room. These need 'planning'. It's not a good idea to tackle these during daylight hours. People tend to walk past and it's 'imperative' on an old git like me to speak to them and pass the time of day. How much time did they take to clean? I'm not telling. They did eventually get done but the back needs doing now.
The day before yesterday I had an appointment to help a friend with computer stuff in the morning. Setting up a Paypal account, online banking, changing passwords etc. Took longer than I thought. When I got home at lunchtime another friend had called for help so I bumbled round to her house to sort her out!
Hopefully today I MIGHT get something done although this morning I'm chasing round getting our utility supplier changed too!!!!
I promise myself an evening of tatting!!!!

30 July 2008

Two separate subjects today!

It's always very flattering to find that people can understand my patterns. Specially some of the 3D ones!! This message and picture came to me a few days ago from Judy.
"I am currently tatting one of your patterns- the diamond motif. In 2006, I did your 3- bear in size 80 thread. I am pleased to say that it won a first at the NC State Fair - see attached picture. He is sitting on a bottle cap."

Now below is another Christmas tree. BUT it's in development 'mode' at the moment (wrong bead for the trunk so the threads aren't cut yet). This one is smaller - an earring size.  I think the top still needs some more work too so this particular effort might get the 'Jane recycles' treatment.  Cut up and beads re-used!!!

A matching set of brooch and earwigs!!! How's tat?

29 July 2008

Two to show today!!!

Now from famine to feast in one day!!!!
First of all is Sunday's motif. This one was worked using a variagated Coats and Clarks thread in a number 70.  Single thread.  
The second is the same green variagated thread with a plain green C & C quilting thread (the same as this one.) The orange is the same combination too. I like the second one best, I think!!!

Mind, a lady can always change her mind!!!!  Ah, Nick's just pointe out yet again that I'm NO lady!!!!  Cheeky man - but as usual, he's right!!


28 July 2008

Not a lot!

All I have to show today is another tree!!!  There is another dangle done but not mounted on the bracelet yet!  

Janny sent in her lady for the last TIAS and that can be seen here.

I spent some time yesterday listing roly poly bags and pouches in Etsy.  I really like this set - the prints are so summery.

So, that's about all for today.  I'm gradually getting bored with trees and dangles so hope to move on to something really new soon.  It's too hot to design right now but the 'need' is beginning to hit me!!!  I've also started drawing up and making web pages for the trees and dangles too.  Again, when it gets cooler a lot more will get done!!!

27 July 2008

Another experiment

This time I used a number 80 thread and it worked out slightly smaller than yesterday's combo!!!  At least I got to use this fantastic bracelet from the 'SueH' collection!!!

25 July 2008

Another day - another dangle!

First of all - thanks to everybody who left comments on yesterday's blog.  I've decided that I will share the tree pattern (and, of course, the sequin one) with the hope that I can sell a few trees online.  It occurred to me that I might just wake up dead one morning and then nobody would quite know how to make them and that would be a shame.  Anyway, I love them SO much that it would be hard to not share.  All I need now is the time to do the web pages for both (the pattern for the trees is very simple and short but will need some careful diagrams to explain how to make the branches).  

I'm still making roly poly bags and they are selling as fast (almost!) as I can make them with special 'private' orders arriving every so often too.  I think I've done about 58 now!!!!  These are taking precedent over the computer during the day!!!

So yesterday evening I tried a new thread combo!!! This time I used the 20 thread for the inner round which contains the sequin. Then I doubled up some Coats & Clark Star Machine Quilting & Craft thread that I bought in Cincinnati last year. The colour range in this thread is great. Some lovely bright colours. It's a size #50 (which is not a 50 as in crochet thread) and is an Egyptian cotton.

Well I doubled this and used it for the dangle below. To double this I wind an Aero bobbin about a third of the way and then make a loop without cutting the thread and wind back onto another bobbin from the original one and the spool. This means that when I've finished I've a continuous thread left on the bobbin to wind back onto the ball - IF I want to. There is so much yardage on a spool (1200 yards) that I doubt I will ever run out!!!  

Oh, this motif did fit one of Sue's bangles - EUREKA.  This evening I will see how a number 80 (or thereabouts!) works out!!!!

Same - but different!

Now, I've got loads and loads of bracelets that SueH sent me and the reason for this year's dangle was to start using those!  Well that didn't work out as the dangle is a tad too big for any of them.  It did force me to sort them and grade them into 'bundles', though!!!  

Anyway, it occurred to the aged brain cells (#1 & #2) that it might be an idea to use a size 40 thread inistead of 20.  Ah, but this would throw out the holding row for the sequin.  

Solution is below.  I used a 20 for the first row to hold the sequin and then 40 for the outer row.  It works a treat.  Then I went to choose one of the pretty rings that Sue sent.  It didn't fit any of them.  The relief is that it does fit the same size as all the others do but better.  I would've thought that going down to a 40 would do the trick but no way!!!  I think  I may experiment with other thread sizes too.  Perhaps a doubled up sewing thread?  Hmmm, watch this space!!!

Now for the rest of my tat life in tat land.  I made another Christmas tree brooch too.  I really need to draw this one up and get it on my web site.  I'm sort of reluctant to part with this pattern as I want to try selling them on Etsy and/or Ebay (need to start saving in earnest for flights to get to Palmetto next year).  I think I'll let the pattern out with the 'rider' that people can make as many as they like but ask that they don't use these two outlets to sell through.  Anybody got any comments on this?  It's just too good a pattern to keep to myself.


24 July 2008

More of the same!!

I'm still playing with dangles and trees and am going to be stuck in this 'rut' for a while until the weather cools down or the muse returns to tell me to try something new!!!


22 July 2008

Christmas tree suggestion

I had this message from Jeff who has given  me permission to share.  It's a very clear message with his thoughts on how I worked the tree.  Thanks, Jeff.  

He's got it partly right and I would welcome any further suggestions but will only 'blog' them with permission!!!

"Since no one has posted how they think you did the pin, I'll try.

Starting at the top, you did a series of split rings with beads in the centres and long picots on both sides in which beads can be threaded onto. Next, you start a chain along the bottom (which will continue around), joining to the long beaded picots. Along the chain, you add beads that are a) on the shuttle 2 thread and b) threaded onto picots that are joined back to (similar the TIAS lady) at the widest part of the tree. Once at the top, you join into the star button, and continue back down the other side, again joining to the long picots of the centre split rings. Once you are back at the beginning of the chain, you add the beads that become the trunk of the tree, either just threaded onto the ends of your threads before finishing or joined on in some other 
fashion (I can't really tell how exactly). I'm pretty sure I see a knot at the top of the trunk so I know you ended there.

Hopefully you can understand what I'm trying to say. I'm not sure (obviously!) if this is how you did it, but that's how I would tackle this project. If thats not how you did it, I look forward to hearing your method.


21 July 2008

Now this is SO much better

I made a sequin motif yesterday and also a final Christmas tree.  I also managed to list the final lot of roly poly bags and pouches in Etsy.  Well, final for now as I've got to weed the garden - again!!!!

I must admit that I did play with an alternative tree but only landed up discovering something else which might be useful in the future!!!  

The tree below is OK now that I've adjusted the bead and stitch count - I've put a picture of yesterday's next to it (that's the first one on the black background) for comparison.  With this final version I've got a pointier top whichi s more 'tree like'.  I'm SO pleased with it.  

I wonder if anybody can work out how it was made?  The only clue is that there are no ends to sew in (well, there are but I have just tied a knot as it's at the back of the tree itself.  


20 July 2008

New arrival in tat corner!

In the wee small corner of tat land in which I sit tying knots in bits of 'string' there are sometimes new arrivals which mean a lot to me!!!  I'm just SO happy to announce that yesterday evening brain cell # 4 turned up to keep # 3 company!!!!  Somebody should point out to those scientists that not everybody's brain cells die off with old age and that one or two do survive!!!!!

As you know I've been playing with a Christmas tree brooch and the start point was going to be a braided trunk so that I could 'hide' a pin behind it.  Fine - but I wasn't happy with that.  Then I moved onto a split ring trunk which would leave the pin showing.  So, in between making roly poly tat bags yesterday afternoon I went searching for something to sew or stick behind the SR's so I could add a hidden pin.  Eureka - I found some green bias binding which (folded over) was 'just right'.  Problem solved!

So, after a glass (and a bit!) of red wine which I feel I HAVE to drink for the sake of my health, (who am I kidding?) I settled down to tat!  

AH, # 4 popped up beside me!!!  She pointed out that I really, really should writed down what I was doing this time (I usually do but hadn't bothered as it was so late on Friday when I'd decided on the SR's) and suggested too that I add beads to the centres of the SR's to hide the bias binding.  Great idea!!!   THEN I (yes, me on my own!!) wondered if the pins I'd got would go through these beads with the thread.  It worked!!!!  See below.

Now, if you think this is the end of the story then think again because I have another idea to work on too - still working with the tree!!!!!

19 July 2008

I think I'm going daft

OK, those who know me or read this blog will probably say I'm already daft!!

I've been making roly poly bags and pouches during the daytime for weeks now (not every day as the Hawthorne and other jobs 'got in the way') and then tatting in the evening.  Well, you know that as I've been blogging what I've been doing!!!

As I sew then I often think about the tatting part of the day and how to resolve 'problems'.  So, by the time we've had our main meal and I've settled down in tat corner it's usually about seven o'clock.  I'm raring to go with tatting by then and have a clear idea of how progress should continue.

So, why, oh why doesn't brain cell # 3 'click in' until nearly nine o'clock?  

Again I tried another couple of versions of the tree yesterday evening and at 9 (ish) decided that I'd just change the start of it and give it 'one last fling'.  

Below is that final 'fling' and I think this is going to work!!!  I can see that the bead count and stitch count on the bottom chains need 'tweaking' and I'll have to mount the trunk onto something to hide the pin but I think it's going to be a winner!!!  I didn't add the star on this one or finish it off.  I think I'll add a large bead to the bottom for the tree base tying off the ends below.

18 July 2008

Just played yesterday!!!

The battle of the Hawthorne tree is over at last!!!  A week long battle trimming the tree in the garden has now ended so I can get back to more serious tatting, I hope!!!  

Having said that, I think I will have to make more roly poly tat bags and pouches.  I sold a matching pair in Etsy yesterday - the fastest sales I've ever made after listing.  I was sort of secretly hoping that the red bag and pouch wouldn't sell as I'd earmarked those for myself!!!  Good job I've got some more of that fabric left!!!

Anyway, yesterday evening I managed to do another sequin in colours which I wouldn't normally look at together!!!!  

I also finished off the other small dangle too.  

The blue ring is one of many, many that SueH has sent to me over the past year or two.  I did find time to sort them all out the other day and have now put all the sizes together in groups.  Not an easy task when some are 'slightly' larger/smaller than others.  Many thanks to Sue for all the rings - this blue one was just perfect.


17 July 2008

I started this in January!!!!

Before I start my morning ramble I must mention that I listed some new roly poly tat bags and poke proof pouches yesterday in my Etsy shop.
OK, that's the sane bit over and done with. Now back to 'normal'!!!!!

Daft, I know but I did start this new idea in January (well Christmas was still in my mind!!!) but then made no progress. In fact this is as far as I got.  It's going to be a Christmas tree brooch.  Well, in theory!!!  What I really, really want to do is make a brooch.  I'm just SO fed up with earrings!!


I decided to have another go again during the last few days. 
The first problem, of course, is how to 'hide' the fastening at the back so I set off again with a 'braid' trunk thinking that would do it.
I got slightly further than that in January as you can tell from above, but really gave up as I realised that whatever I did the fastening would show through and the branches were so ghastly.
Then, a few days ago brain cell # 3 suggested a way of hiding the fastening behind the braid. Mind, she hasn't EXACTLY worked it out but ..........
So I've been playing. Below are the results and all worked without stopping too!!! Actually, while I was dropping off to sleep I realised that it might be better to reverse the order of working so - back to the drawing board later today!!!!

16 July 2008

Playing with an old motif!

This is a motif I did years ago and it's on my web site. 

The reason for yesterday's 'play' with it was twofold.  I wanted to see how sizes worked out using a quilting thread I bought in America last year.  This thread would be fine used singly for a handkerchief edging but used double it gives a lovely firm result.  In fact, come to think about it, I'd probably always use it double or even treble for everything!!

I wanted to see if the motif would work out for an earring in this thread.  I don't think it does as works out a bit too big.

I've scanned both sides of the motif and then below those pictures is a scan comparing it to an earring worked in a number 80 thread.  (Don't like the colours on that one, though!!!).


15 July 2008

I wonder how many I'll do before I get bored? 

Yesterday I used another sort of sequin which is a hollogram one. I'm hoping it doesn't look quite so 'grey'.

Just before going to bed I picked up a couple of shuttles and started to play with something that I'd been trying to sort out in January!!! Within a space of ten minutes I'd got it sorted. Least, I think I did. I reckon I'd better play with that 
today rather than more tat dangles!!!!!

14 July 2008

Christmas is round the corner!

Well, not really!! I like to start early on my Christmas giveaways so that I can do them as and when I feel like it!!! This year I wanted to use a sequin as the basis but this has proved a long winded design as the end result has to pretty fast to work or I get fed up!!!!
I finally came up with the idea below. I may add more beads to the outsides of the SR's but that's all.
Oh, do have a close look at the points of the motif. Can you see how every other one is repeated? Having discovered that new way of adding beads to a picot has made this possible without all the hassle of counting the beads onto a thread and working out the other beads to fit in with these.
Life with beads is good in tat land - long live brain cell # 3!!!!!

12 July 2008

I think it's finished - the horseshoe

I went down the town yesterday in yet more rain (our roof's leaking even faster!) and bought some ribbon for the horseshoe. An exact match to the gold thread I used.
Then I sewed some more of the gold beads into some of the spaces on the outside. Now's the time to put it away for a few days and then take another peek!!!
Next I'll probably play with some earring rings that SueH sent me a couple of weeks ago and also play with the sequins again too. I want to make something pretty fast for the sequins so they will be my Christmas giveaways. I have to do roughly 30 so they do have to be FAST!!!!!

11 July 2008

Talking about tatting

Before I start talking about my tatting talk at Loxley I've been asked what the W.I. is so here's a link.

What a hoot the evening was!!! I arrived and immediately found myself in a time warp!!! It seemed that nearly every lady who arrived was a face from the past!!! There was the lady who'd bought a 10 year old freezer off me twenty years ago who took great pleasure in telling me that it was still working!!!! Then there was the lady who's hubby had taken a garage away for us on a 'free to whoever will collect' basis and then converted it into stables. Next there was a friend I was at school with and another lady who's kids went to the school I taught at! Aileen was also there who is a friend from the past and who I help nowadays with computer stuff.

I started the talk in a 'serious mode' but this soon developed into the usual hilarity that seems to accompany me wherever I go. I think it went well and out of about 15 people I got two started on the basics and they will hopefully get in touch for more help.

Ooooh, there was supper afterwards and THE most delicious lemon cake - homemade, of course.

10 July 2008

Horseshoe - nearly done!

Well last night I thought it was done but now I'm not so sure!!
Obviously it needs some ribbon to carry it or even a tatted cord but now looking at it today it still needs something more.
Nothing will get done today as I've a busy morning followed by (hopefully) some more sewing on the bags this afternoon.
This evening I'm giving a talk out in one of the villages to their local W.I. group about - guess what?
'How to plant your potatoes'.
No, seriously, tatting!!!

8 July 2008

Horshoe again

Simply MUST tell you about yesterday.
During the morning my neighbour came round to use our internet connection (she's having trouble with hers) and I put on my laptop where she sat with it on the sofa. I was pleased that the horseshoe wasn't lying around and whispered that to Nick.
After a while she said 'darn' and I asked what the problem was. She'd generated something which then told her to print off the email receipt. No probs, says I - we can print it off from the main computer and I toddled off upstairs followed by neighbour!!!
Fortunately I got into the 'office' before her and noticed that I'd left the scanner open (remember the black background to yesterday's picture?) and quickly closed it before she noticed the horseshoe lying there on the platten. Phewwwww, a narrow escape!!!!
In the afternoon I went to give my 70th donation at blood donor. I kept getting the feeling that one or two of the staff were watching me while I was donating. Afterwards I sat and had the usual cup of tea (darn, no bourbon biscuits this time) and then went to leave to walk home a few minutes later. As I was nearing the door three or four of the staff descended on me. Was I still doing that ........ you know, making butterflies?
So out came the tatting again (I'd had a quiet tat as I was waiting for my 'turn') and away flew a few more butterflies. I made my next appointment and left. When I got home I started thinking about what to do instead of 'boring butterflies' and have decided that next time I go (in November) I'm going to take them some beaded hearts like these.

I finished the outer trimming to the horseshoe last evening and started on a narrower one for the inside. This is definitely a 'make it up as you go along' project!!!!

Horseshoe in progress

In case anybody was thinking I'd packed my bags and left tat land well, no, I haven't!!! I'm giving brain cell # 3 a break at the moment and just 'playing'.
We're going to a re-wedding in September and I wanted to make something special for the bride (our neighbour) so I'm making a horseshoe. This is it 'so far'. I want to decorate it lots and am currently working on a gold (beaded, of course!) edging which I'll show in a few days time. Meanwhile here it is mounted on fabric and stiffened.
Oh, this is the reason I found the way of adding beads while working - too lazy to decide ahead which ones to load onto the shuttles!!!
Ah, so does this make it truly a lucky horseshoe?

6 July 2008

Katie's man and turtle!!!

This is from the bonus button family and came from Katie. I'm going to share what she said -
"I wanted to send you also the man from the button family that I made. When our little tatting band met at Janie Armstrong's for Mark's workshop, we all brought some little tatties to make a b-day and thank you card for him. I took the red-headed man with a shuttle and Mark's turtle. I don't have a scan of the final card."

4 July 2008

Results brought by my visitor!!

Remember my visitor? Brain cell number 3? Well, she's finally fulfilled all her promises!!
I've been playing around with the idea that I showed last time when the visitor arrived.
I wanted to have beaded picots on this design but just couldn't work out what colours I wanted or where I wanted them. I thought I'd have different colours on each picot but working out how to thread them onto the shuttle or chain threads was more than the other two brain cells could cope with!!
So I played and eventually came up with another way of doing it without having to add the wretched beads to the shuttle thread first. Everybody knows what a pain it is to have so many beads on a shuttle - not fun.
So I devised a way of 'cheating'. I've run it past the tatting gurus who live in tat land and neither have seen it written down anywhere. So, I thought I'd do it.
Here's the link to this technique.
I'm just so pleased with it as it's going to save a lot of trouble in the future. I do hope brain cell # 3 stays around a bit longer or even invites friends to join the others!!!!

2 July 2008

I've had a visitor

Yes, it's true. Guess who? OK, I'll tell.
It's brain cell number 3. Don't think it'll stay long and I'm very excited about what he brought with him. Actually, make that a female brain cell. It could only be a woman that thought this idea up!!!!
I'm actually not going to share it today as I'm running it past a few of the gurus in tat land to see if they've seen it done before. It's certainly revolutionised my tatting.
Ah, before I go. Another puzzle for you. What AM I making now? Below are the rough and first attempts.

1 July 2008

Roly Poly Tat Bags

OK, here's the new 'range' of integrated tatting accessories which I'll be listing shortly on Etsy. Least I'm hoping some of these (there are only the three so far) will make it to Etsy as I've been selling privately now for weeks and nothing has got into the shop!!! First of all there are the 3 new bags.

These are followed by the 'poke proof' pouches (no hook or pick will get through these!!!) with separate bobbin holders which fold into the pouch.

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

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