22 November 2008

71 done - 4 to go!

71 blood donations and 4 to go until I may 'retire'!!!!

On Thursday I lost the little tatted hearts I made to give to the nurses at blood donor. I'd taken them to the talk I gave last Saturday and when I unpacked after that I 'put them somewhere safe'. As you do!!! They were so safe they were totally lost!!!

After two hours of searching I pulled my chair forward in tat corner and there they were - lurking on the floor. The nurses were pleased with them.

BUT the bonus of this visit wasn't the hearts but the fact that I met up with a friend I hadn't seen for over 20 years. I see her husband occasionally as he's my doctor but she's always been at another GP practice. It was a lovely, lovely surprise to see her. We made our cup of tea last well beyond the usual 'rest' time and have made appointments together for our next session.

20 November 2008

I gave myself a treat yesterday

A treat to me is giving myself time to tat something really, really nice. I've had a major stressful time this last few weeks and it's not likely to end that soon. I even ended up taking an afternoon nap on Tuesday which only happens once every two years or so!!

Anyway, after the relief of sorting the pendant set out and sewing loads of animals onto the jacket I decided it was time to treat myself.

Due to some of the stuff going on at the moment I'm having a 'cautious' Christmas spend!!! One of the things I've bought is a dressing gown (in American that's 'robe') for one of the grandsons. I saw lots of jazzy ones with the usual 'themes' of Spiderman, Ben Ten, Batman etc but in the end saw a better quality plain one for a lot less money (M & S). So, I bought a plain grey one.

As soon as I saw it in the store I thought - ah, Martha Ess!!!! See, Martha, I do think of you in the oddest places!!! One of my favourite books is Martha's New Critters on the Block and I love the dinosaurs in there. I've made them for boy birthday cards in the past too. So, grandson's dressing gown will have two of these critters on it. Maybe more.

Another of my favourite patterns to tat is Martha's 'naughty' mermaid.

19 November 2008


Finally and after many, many 'tweaks' of the stitch count the pendant set is sorted. Yipppeeeee, I can now allow myself to do something else. Perhaps a good tidy up of tat corner should be a priority!!!

18 November 2008

Rest of pink 'set' and more

I finally got the pendant 'sorted' so that it can be worked entirely in a 20 thread. I showed the earrings a few days ago and now here is the matching pendant.

This set will be off to my friend's daughter in law who lives in Dublin.

The black and white earrings are also for my friend to give as Christmas presents. I just HOPE I don't 'mislay' (lose!!) them before I give them to her!!!!

17 November 2008

Well I'll be ........ jiggered!

I found this little purse that I made from my original Mrs Beeton's Book of Needlework. I would've tatted this some probably thirty/forty years ago!!

I found it when I was 'tidying up' Well, not really tidying - more rummaging through stuff, don't worry!

As you can see the thread has yellowed. I may, just may re-do this again one day as I remember that it was tatted with a Twilley's thread and I don't and never did like that thread. It was probably all I could get at that time.

The clasp is probably very old as my gran gave it to me and it was old then.

16 November 2008

Talking the tat!

Talking the talk. Walking the walk. Whatever!!!

My suitcase and I set out on the wander through the town to the venue of the Widow's Club.

A smashing bunch of people with an avid interest in everything. I arrived in plenty of time and got out my tatting. The talk went very well and I found it difficult to stop!! Now, now, who said 'what's new'!!!!! Well, my favourite subject is tatting as you've probably guessed!!!

More progress on the pendant in the evening so I'll be able to show you the results tomorrow - I hope!!!

15 November 2008

At last!!!

Finally I've got a good result on this earwig. I started back on tackling it late yesterday afternoon. My main 'problem' is that I'm trying to make it simple enough to do a lesson with it.

Now a lesson is totally different from a design that I put on my web site. I like to get most of the 'new' stuff in the first part of a lesson so that a student can go away with the item probably not complete but in a state that I know that they'll be able to complete the task. This makes for a lot of t
hought which isn't easy when you keep 'losing the plot' like I do!!!

Anyway, below are the earwigs finished - well, apart from the hooks!! Next will be the pendant.

When I last worked on that I used a number 40 thread for the centre and a 20 for the outer part. I later realised that this could be a problem for students and/or people who pick it up from the web. So I've got to tweak the stitch count on the centre and use 20 throughout.

This afternoon I'm doing a talk at the Widow's Club in town. I did a talk f
or them two years or so ago and they want me to do another! I said that I would only be talking about the same thing but they seemed keen to have me back! I think they're desperate for speakers!!! Mind I've got some new stuff to show and I have had a few adventures in tat land since then. Ooooh, I could tell them about brain cell # 3, couldn't I?

Actually I enjoy doing these talks. I do have a sort of 'agenda'/notes (which I usually manage to forget to take) but find that once I get started I have a job to stop!!!!
I bumped into one of the club members in town two days ago and she said she was looking forward to Saturday - should I send for the 'men in white coats'?

14 November 2008


I did some more sewing on the jacket yesterday afternoon. It rained most of the day so it was a good excuse (after the morning 'chores') to do something relatively useful.

In the evening I decided to re-visit one of the patterns I am working on. I have an order from a friend to make a pendant/earring set for her daughter in law and I'm intending to submit this as a lesson for 2009 so a good 'excuse' to test the pattern yet again!!!

What a wasted evening!!!! I decided that I could possibly make the start a little easier for the lesson idea so changed it. Well I spent the entire evening working with just one ring!! Yes, one ring!! Various ways of constructing a ring or a mock ring and also many combinations of beads - small seed ones and slightly larger ones. At the end of the evening I'd achieved two rings which I was marginally pleased with for the earring part but I was not totally happy with them. Why aren't I showing you the 'mistakes' or 'test' rings? Because I snipped the bigger beads out of them (they were 'special' ones) and threw the resulting mess away!!!

I'm hoping to get this sorted properly today with an idea which occurred to me in bed this morning. When/if this works I will show you all!!! Gives meaning to the saying of being 'tied up in knots' - the mind is as well now!!!

13 November 2008

TIAS 1 - Richard the Welsh hippo

The sewing on of the animals is going well. Occasionally I 'lose the plot' AND the invisible thread I'm using but that's just because my concentration goes!!!

I had to save the best until last. Not sure if it will be the last animal as I may do a lot of small crittery/buggy ones to fill up spaces. I'm not sure either how much longer my committment to this project will last!!!!

Anyway, here's the hippo!!

12 November 2008

Now for dolphins and another visit from # 3

OK, so I've started adding the animals to the jacket. My artistic adviser (aka Nick) is SO good when it comes to telling me that things 'don't work'. Not the words he uses but I've sworn not to swear on my blog!!!!
The thing is, it's difficult to hold these critters in place with pins AND sew them on at the same time. So, brain cell # 3 was sent for. Thankfully he'd not gone back to 'brainland'!!!
It occurred to me (with the help of # 3) that it might be an idea to 'stick' the animals on first of all so I thought of 'wonder web' which you can see here.
The problem with wonder web (I actually think it's fabulous for most enterprises) is that you need to dampen the work.
When we were at Ikea last Spring we bought some curtains. These came with a some iron on hemming tape a lot like wonder web. The main difference is that you have to use it 'dry'. Great stuff. So I have 'started sticking' the animals onto the jacket using this tape. Next I can sew them on by hand using invisible thread and they won't fall off and the pins won't 'jab' into me. EUREKA!!!

11 November 2008

I've been badgered

Not only that but 'seahorsed' too. You can tell that it rained all day yesterday and that I decided to sit down and tat in the afternoon as well as the evening (shock, horror - must be getting old!!).

Must pin these onto the jacket today and check if it needs more!!! Brain cell # 3 struck me in the middle of the night and I might be able to share a 'good idea' tomorrow. If it doesn't work out then it will be 'a bad idea'!!!! Keep all fingers crossed, pretty please!!

10 November 2008

I'm feeling decidedly crabby today

I made this one straight after the lobster for obvious reasons - those being that I was too idle to get out of the chair to source (that means rumble in my tatting cupboard!) other threads!!!

I also had a stroke of luck yesterday as I was sorting through my drawer. I found a whole load of penguins!!! I'd made them while I was working on the pattern so I'm not sure they're totally 'perfect' but they'll certainly 'do' for the jacket. In fact I've looked at them really closely and the reason they got put aside was because I'd used different beads for the eyes. How silly is that!!!

I've started pinning on the animals now - SO depressing as it just shows me how many MORE I need to make!!! So, back to the shuttle, eh?

9 November 2008

Brain cell number 3 has returned!!

I'm a little bit excited!! Number 3 has turned up again!!!

Two weeks ago we had our bedroom decorated and have downsized a tad on furniture. This means that the 'mess' I used to keep on my bedside table had to be downsized too!!! The mess (or should that be muddle!) consisted of containers of earrings. Yup, I DO love my earrings!! I'm not very good at putting them away at night so they remain in a huddle on the surface of my bedside drawers whilst also spilling out of the containers!!
Something HAD to be done about this.

I've thought about the storage of earwigs for years and years but suddenly brain cell number 3 arrived back home and I had the idea of making a wall hanging to put them on. Below is my first and very rough trial.

Improvements I need to make.
1. Space the lines out vertically a tad.
2. Choose prettier fabric!! I think I need plain colours.
3. Make a 'curtain' to fall down over them to keep the enormous amounts of dust (which we also collect in this house) off them!!
4. Add some sort of stiffening to the top.
5. Add a hanging loop.
I'll get a better one done later today and probably make a travelling one too. I wonder if anybody else would like one? I can see making these becoming addictive - like making roly poly tat bags!!!

SUCH excitement to have number 3 back again.

Later in the day!!!

Here's a completed hanger!!

8 November 2008

Thermidor anybody?

Another animal for the jacket. A lobster this time. I'm finding this a good way to check out my older patterns for little typos and for some improvements too. In fact I've added another way to make the lobster's feelers to the page.

I also want to show you this link. This is the way I feel that we should all treat each other in tat land. Wally sent me this link which was very kind of her.

I sit here in my little corner of tat land and make up new designs. Why do I do it? Not sure but it's mainly to amuse myself and I still find it a challenge - even after all these years.

What I love dearly about Wally and people like her is that she's taken the time to not only tat the pattern (which was originally for a flower fairy) but has changed the character of it to suit her ideas. BUT having done all that she has respected me according to my Creative Commons License - as the original designer. That makes me happy. It flatters me and (just as importantly) allows the craft to progress.

7 November 2008

A present

I simply MUST show you part of what came to me in the post two days ago. These fat quarters were part of a birthday present from Bev.
I'm showing you three of the pieces which were in the packet.

I love the delicate blue one with music on it. I don't actually like music myself but do appreciate that most people do!!! I'm a strange type of person!! This fabric piece is just so delicate. I will be making roly poly sets with these after Christmas but am happy to take orders beforehand if people particularly want them made from any of these three designs. The reason for not making the bags is because I have lots for sale in Etsy anyway and also (and the REAL reason) is because I'm too mean to heat the room (the conservatory) where I sew!!!

6 November 2008

Ta de dah!!!

I am pleased to announce the 'almost finished' jacket.

Hmmm, well, hmmmm. When I say almost finished it just needs the pockets sewn on. I've deliberately not done that as I want to add a critter to each of them first - you can see them roughly pinned into position, though. The pattern doesn't have pockets but I love pockets on and in my clothes.

I used the buttonhole attachment on the machine for the first time yesterday and it was BRILLIANT. I've never liked doing buttonholes before but now I'm addicted. Please send all your buttonhole requirements to me (with matching thread and button) and I'll do them for you!!!

Tatting? A few more hearts and then back to the animals!!!

5 November 2008

A break from tatting animals!

Do you remember me telling you about my last visit to blood donor? Well, if you've forgotten or if you weren't watching I'll tell you briefly.

It was my 70th donation (which I'm very proud about) and I really, really want to make the 75th when I'll retire. Anyway I normally take along my tattting bag (now, of course it's a roly poly one!!) and sit and make butterflies while waiting my turn. The nurses sometimes come over to see what I'm up to and I give them one of the critters. The last time I was there I didn't have time to get my tatting out before I was called. I did the 'finger test' and again didn't wait long until I was called to give. As I lay there I had an odd feeling that I was being watched. Couldn't quite put my finger on it but it was 'odd'.

After I'd finished I went over for a cuppa tea and a biscuit and that feeling went. BUT when I got up to leave the church hall where all this happens, four nurses bore down on my from several directions!!! 'Are you the butterfly lady', one asked. Boy, was I relieved!!!! I got the butterflies out and handed them out!!

So I've decided that as they all seem to like the critters then I'd give them the 'hearts for Christmas' as the blood donor service has a heart for it's logo - see my tatted ones below. My next appointment is at the end of the month so I've got plenty of time to make them!!

4 November 2008

A large, fat seahorse!

Now it's time for the first seahorse!!! I remember the whys and wherefores of this design which in itself is a miracle!!

It must have been about ten years ago (if not more!) when I was working for a software company as a temp. Actually I worked there for three years on a week by week basis.

Anyway, there were three young lads and two older 'bosses' who were the mainstay of the company. At one point they had a lot of work on so employed a subby (sub contractor) to install software and hardware. He came into my little office one morning and we were talking about building web sites as the young lads 'upstairs' had been telling me that I ought to do one (they did give me an idea of what the files should look like on the web site etc). I said to Neil that I was stuck for an idea for a new pattern and he suggested a seahorse. I will be forever grateful to this guy - wonder what happened to him - hope he's happy and got a permanent job now.

I also recall that my first attempts at publishing a web site were a bit 'ad hoc'!!! I actually 'met' Mark Myers at this time as he wrote to me and so sweetly told me what I was doing wrong. What a kind soul.

3 November 2008

Yet another!

Am I boring you yet? The jacket itself is well on the way to completion although with a busy week ahead there's no guarantee that's going to happen in the near future.
I don't think I've got any words of wisdom today. Who was that I heard saying 'that'll be the day when you have'?
There seems to be some problem with my 'feed' and this blog. Goodness knows what's caused that or how and IF I can fix it - but I will reassure anybody who's interested that I'm here and still talking about my life spent tying knots!!!
Here's today's critter!!!!

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Happy Beaks

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