14 March 2009

A day at the NEC

In my last post I mentioned that that I spent Thursday at the National Exhibition Centre with the Ring of Tatters. Here are some pictures for you to see.


13 March 2009

Talking old and time again!!!

Well to all those who wrote in about my ramblings yesterday - thanks!!!

I did actually get the better of time yesterday!! Why? Well I was lucky enough to be chosen to help out at the NEC (for all you foreigners - that stands for the National Exhibition Centre) by the Ring of Tatters. Each year there is an exhibition called the Sewing for Pleasure held there in one of the enormous halls. For any Americans reading my ramblings - we can do 'BIG' in the UK at times!!

The Ring is given a stand there to show the public how to tat if they are interested. We always get a lot of attention and this year we were visited by a lot of youngsters (ie younger than ME!!).

Time flew by (yet again) but this time I think I was on the same wave length as time!!! Boy, did I feel old by the end of the day, though. Another great buzz to this day at the NEC is meeting fellow tatters in the Ring. We talked for England and tatted for the universe when there were quiet moments.

Hopefully I'll show some photos tomorrow. I took a few! I did have a few problems when it came to packing up. The tattysaurus decided to stay - he loves the attention!!! He (and my other mobiles) are staying until Sunday when I spend another day there.

Big surprise when I got back was the award that Sherry left for me. Blog Queen? So pleased to see the letter 'l' in that word!!! Now, when do the golden carriage, silver slippers, ruby ring, footmen, private aeroplane etc arrive, I ask myself? I'm waiting, Sherry!!

12 March 2009

As you get old

As you get old.

Now, I'm not the only one getting old - I have it on good authority that it happens to everybody.
BUT as I get old life tends to get 'silly'.

Where does that commodity 'time' go to? I wake up in the morning and the pot is full of time.

I have things to do, time to do them in and life looks good. I get to lunchtime and I realise that things are 'slipping'.

By the evening that commodity has long gone and I'm looking back over the day and wondering where it all went.


Ah, I know, I've been robbed!!! Robbed of MY time.
What can I do about it?

PLEASE, if anybody's got the answer do let me know.

11 March 2009

Bookmarks from Jane in South Africa

A few days ago I had the following sent to me from Jane. Remember Jane from a few days ago?

She said

The original pattern is from Anna Burda magazine, May 1984, page L14.
I 'converted' another braid on the Anna page, but this one was very easy, as you can see. Also much easier and neater using split rings. I used size 10 thread and turned it into bookmarks by adding a tassel.

The pattern for the bookmarks looks like this:
SR 1: 6/6
R each side: 4-2-2-4
SR 4: 6/6
R each side: 5+5-2-2-5-5

Repeat, with the next small ring each side joining to the large ring, 4+2-2-4.
I ended with a split ring after two small rings, and attached a tassel to the bottom, and used size 10 thread.

10 March 2009

Christmas baubles

My sister was in town last weekend and we went out for the afternoon on Saturday.

She showed me her Christmas baubles which I managed to sneak a photo of!!! Aren't they gorgeous? They look even better in real life.

Now, before you ask, she hasn't written the pattern down!! I've given her a ticking off about that and am hoping that with a bit of 'nagging' from me she'll eventually write down the pattern!!!

9 March 2009

Still playing with buttons!!

Although I've officially 'finished' with buttons somebody suggested purple and red!!! So, here we go - purple and red!!! I've also added the t-shirt which I've sewn them onto. I didn't put them 'in a line' or 'round the neck' as I wanted something different. When I get the time (and inclination!) I'll take a picture of 'the old git' wearinig it!!!

I managed to upload the pattern page yesterday although I spent nearly two hours trying to get the link working back to the home page. I was almost ready to throw the computer through the window and it still doesn't work!!

I couldn't spend any longer struggling with it as I had arranged to go and try to help a lady who lives round the corner from me. We first met at Silver Surfers and she popped into the library last week to ask if I could help set up her computer on broadband. I did warn her that I'd never done that before but heroically set off to try. Before I got to her house I'd got soaked and hurt by a terrific hail storm.

I am over the moon. I managed with no bother at all to set up the broadband connection, do all the necessary downloads (virus signatures, windows updates, java, Firefox, etc). Does a new career await me?!?!?!

8 March 2009

Back to normal!

Yesterday evening I got 'back to normal' on the tatting. I needed to sort out tat corner and see what needed finishing off!!!

I'd been asked to test tat a small teapot for Martha during the past week and (I'll admit it!) happily abandoned the black tatting for an hour or so to do that. Problem was I 'lost the plot' on Martha's pattern. I can tell you that it was nothing at all to do with the pattern - it was entirely MY fault. I left the teapot 'as was' with the mistake but read through the rest of the pattern to check it for her. I wasn't too far from the end.

So a priority was to retro tat and finish off the teapot yesterday evening. I was then tempted to finish off my TIAS but the purple buttons called louder. I'd got a shuttle with enough thread on to make up one. Well, I thought I had but ran out just as I got to the last ring!!! That rarely happens but will get resolved today!!!

See the teapot below. Well you didn't think I was going to give the game away, did you?!?!? I can't wait to see this book finished - it'll be another gem from Martha.

6 March 2009

I've finished!

Finally, and after about a month, I've finished the black motifs.

Now I do occasionally enjoy this type of mindless tatting. I've enjoyed doing these but found that I got obsessed by them. I couldn't stop until I'd used all the thread that Nicole sent!! Here you can see 'almost' 12 strips of 10 per strip. Each square took around 40 minutes to make.

Today I will post them to Nicole.

Next? Well the purple buttons are calling for pure relaxation. After that? Who knows? Not me!!!!

5 March 2009

Look what I found when I went to the shop by the tip!!!!

Aren't they just gorgeous?

Remember the mother of pearl buttons I've been working on? I'm going to have to see if one of the patterns 'fits' this size!!!

The one at the very top which is paler than the rest is one I tested for 'washability'. Well, I cheated. I poured boiling water onto it and the surface sort of started minutely to peal off. I scraped it all off with my fingernail and the result is probably even more pleasing than the originals!!!!

4 March 2009

Two pretty pieces from across the seas

These were sent to me a few days ago. Aren't they pretty? A tatter called Jane sent in her daisy picot pictures with the pattern below too.
Now, a bit about Jane in her own words-
I'm a Zimbabwean who has been living in South Africa for a few months. I learnt to tat 30 years ago, mainly from a teach-yourself pamphlet. When I became entirely immersed in spinning and knitting, I didnt tat for many years. But when I had to close my spinning business, it was a good chance to tat again. I discovered the world of tatting on the internet - wonderful! Since then I've really learnt a lot and had a lot of fun.
Yes, you can include my e-mail address if you like.

Her email address is ikorro@vodamail.co.za
I love her comment at the bottom about writing it all down!!

Small motif
Daisy ring using yellow thread as core: 1([8 white]2), repeat 5 times, 1, Cl. 1[8]2[8]2[8]2[8]2[8]1
Using green thread and encapsulation method, 6, ring 4-4, 6
Make another 4 flowers, with 4 chains between, joining the rings 4+4. Make final chain and join to first flower.
Bigger motif
Same method, but I used 12 ds for petals, and chains were 8[r 6-6]8

Goodness, it's more difficult to write a pattern than I supposed. It looks easy when you do it! I hope this makes sense and is technically correct. I rather doubt it, so change things where necessary.

3 March 2009

Back to the black

I'm back on the black motifs and have now done 95!! I hope to do another few strips before sending them to Nicole early next week.

I did get sidetracked again yesterday by Martha Ess. She asked me to test tat another of her little teapots for her new book which should be ready soon. I think this one is my favourite although I did go wrong at one point! I'm going to re-do it from there again today.

Today? Hmmm, time for a tidy up around my computer in the upstairs 'office'!!! I'm sitting in a sea of papers, bits of tatting etc. In fact it's the paper version of tat corner which is downstairs!! I wish I'd been born a tidy person! Always tooo busy to tidy up.

I see that Iris has published the final day of her TIAS so will try and fit that in today. I hope it pours with rain this afternoon so that I have an excuse not to go walking! I really need the time today!!

2 March 2009

Iris's TIAS - day 4

I did it, I did it, I did it and all on my own this time!! I didn't have to be sneaky and wait for Laura to do hers first either!!!

I even (and this is totally true) did it at the end of the evening AND after a glass of red wine!! How's about that, then!! Oh, that was Saturday evening, by the way. I'm running a bit behind on posting BUT have some new things to show over the next few days!!

Now, whether it's right or not is a different matter.

28 February 2009

Iris's TIAS

Like the donkey's tail - I'm all behind!!!! This is Iris's TIAS day 3. Just hope I'm on the right 'track'!!!

Good news on the buttons. Some progress made yesterday!!!

27 February 2009

I am not very bright.

When I did this pattern in 2007 I needed or wanted a way to progress from the centre of the work to the next round. I 'devised' the method shown on that page and thought nothing of it!!!!

I was talking to Georgia Seitz a week or so ago about this, tat and t'other and she sent me pictures of the Dora Young split ring.

Finally, but finally the penny dropped. Oh, if you're in America it would be a cent that dropped, I guess!!!

What I'd used in that pattern was what Dora had devised many years ago.
Further playing with the idea and again another penny went 'clunk'!!! What a fantastic way of making two coloured split rings and single coloured ones. So I finally (and again with help from Georgia and Jennifer) got this page together.


25 February 2009

Still tatting!

It's been a looong week of tatting for Nicole but today I'm going to take time out to return to the MOP's. My hands are beginning to ache by the end of the evening of constant tatting.

I realised why. When I'm working on new designs I keep stopping to type in the text as I go along but when I'm doing something like Nicole's order I just tat and tat til I drop!!!!

I've done 72 and a half motifs now in strips of 10 and I hope to get another 4 strips done at least. The deadline has now been changed from 2nd to 9th March so that gives a bit more of a breathing space.

Nicole is going to send me photos of the finished garment with a tatted collar too. Forgot to add - she's a tatter and a young 'un too which is very, very pleasing!!!

23 February 2009

Yesterday!

Well a busy day in tat land!! In the morning I decided to do another technique page showing what can be done with Dora Young's technique - very interesting when you start using coloured threads. I'm hoping to post it on the web page either later today or sometime this week. Took ages to do and I got my fingers tied up in knots too!!

In the afternoon I wanted to get started on
Iris's TIAS. I tried it a few days ago but just couldn't 'see it' without a diagram. Ah, now I know why I have to draw everything - not for other people's benefit but for my own!

Anyway I cheated and looked to see what others were doing and used their day 1's to guide me. Once I got started, though it wasn't hard a
t all. So, having completed day 1, I put down the shuttles and decided to see what was happening in tat land. I use my 'dashboard' here at blogger a LOT to see what the people I follow are up to.

Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs - Iris had just publishe
d day 2!! So, while I was in TIAS mode and sitting next to the shuttles I worked that up. See below!!!

21 February 2009

Well aren't you all lucky?

I've got nothing to show and not a lot to say either!!!

I'm back to doing motifs for Nicole again. Deadly boring but at least I get to watch the telly while I'm doing them! I might take some time out when I get REALLY, REALLY bored to do the MOPs again in colours. I want to sew them onto a tshirt - a short sleeved one but first I need to find and decide which one!! Then there'll be the fun of choosing the thread and beads.

Before all this I have to take myself to one side and give myself a good lecture on tidying up tat corner. Not just a lecture but the follow up action MUST be taken too!!! How do I get in such a mess?

20 February 2009

Set of 4 MOPs

As I'm now back tatting the black motifs for Nicole I thought I'd show you the set of four buttons together. I will get back to working them all again when I've done Nicole's work and will then put the patterns out on the web page.

I must say that although these are really, really easy to do the biggest problem has been getting the stitch count right in the middle so that the inner round of beads 'frame' the button. The next 'lot' will probably have dangles and things but - we'll see!!!!

So, below on the left is the set of 4 and on the right are the backs of the buttons.

19 February 2009

Another MOP button!!

I decided to re-tat the largest button again to make it much simpler. There was actually no need for the complicated way I did the orginals. It looks the same - but it isn't!!!!

I did this on Tuesday evening as I didn't do any tatting at all yesterday. In the morning I went to the saddest funeral of my life, then onto a meeting for tutors who teach silver surfers followed in the evening by a tatting talk.

Now this was interesting because Phyllis Sparks used to live in the village where the meeting was held. In fact one lady there helped out with all the photographs in the book. I've got a copy of this particular book but have never worked anything from it. It was published at a time when there was a dirth of tatting books available. Sadly Phyllis died of lung cancer in her mid seventies although she hadn't smoked for many, many years.

One compliment on my talk (which was lively!) was from one lady who said that I'd kept her awake which didn't normally happen!!!! They all had a 'go' at trying to turn the knot and a few succeeded.

18 February 2009

Out of hospital and back to work!

Yesterday we collected the laptop from hospital and the diagnosis was a fried motherboard. Thank goodness it was still under warranty!! After making sure I'd done all the updates it was very happy and willing to work again. There was a total scare two hours after me starting it up. The screen went black, very black! I thought it had died again. Took quite a few minutes to realise that although the power cable was plugged into it the plug on t'other end wasn't in the socket!! DUH, how stupid can you get?

This is the latest button - I really am enjoying these!!!

This evening I'm giving a talk locally and hoping that a few will 'take up the thread'!!!!

17 February 2009

More MOP buttons

Before I forget - which you know I'm very good at! I must tell you that I've added two more technique pages to my site.

The first one is about the Daisy Picot technique. Please do take a look further down the page at the lovely selection of patterns that Riet has done using this method. It's well worth buying - I promise.


The second technique is one of Georgia's which shows how to work encapsulation of threads. This is something that I now want to have a go at - Georgia makes it look SO simple.

Below are the smallest MOP buttons I will be doing!!! I think! I've still got at least one more size to play with!!!

16 February 2009

Another from Rosemarie

Although Rosemarie Peel calls this book 'Tatting Basic Patterns' I'm finding lots for all tatters in here. As usual, and as I've said before, this book is very clearly written with excellent instructions and diagrams.

For an ancient tatter like me it's ideal to work with after a glass and a half of red wine because you just can't go wrong!

The thread is some of Handy Hands Lizbeth in number 20. This arrived in my mail box on Saturday morning from a potential UK supplier. I won't mention names until I hear that they will stock it. I LOVE this thread. Very reminiscent of Flora. Firm, easy to work with and the colour changes are good too.

I had absolutely no problems with twisting or any of the other 'rumours' I'd heard about so I guess that the problems that the original batch had have been ironed out. I'm not a great lover of variegated thread but this works well for me.

I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the supplier does import this into the UK as I've got my eyes on several colours in the Handy Hands shop already!!!

15 February 2009

Totally off topic!

I had one Valentine card yesterday from a guy I haven't seen since I was about 11, I guess.

It's the only one I had but he couldn't have chosen better!!!!


14 February 2009

Got me thinking!

At the moment I'm doing some tatting for a lady who is in a hurry to get the results. 10 small motifs in a strip using Venus 80 black thread. As many strips as I can make before March 2nd!! This got me thinking.

I asked her where she got the pattern from and she said from The Craft of Tatting by Bessie M
Attenborough. Now I've had this book forever so that got brain cell # 4 out of the cupboard. He was CONVINCED that the little motif I'm tatting for Nicole was the same one I used about 35 years ago when I was slim and less aged than I am now!!!! So, off I went to investigate.

WRONG!!! Not the same motif but I DO wish I could remember where I got this one from. The jacket I made using it is below. I used sewing thread which my ex husband brought home from work - along with two England
Aeros he'd found in a cupboard.

For a short time he worked at the Needle Factory in
Redditch where the Aero shuttles were made. The only time he was ever useful!!!

One of the very few times I ever wore this jacket was to a 'posh' dinner party at one of his work colleague's houses. I'd never met any of the other guests before so I put on my best clobber (that's another word for clothes) for the evening. Mind, must admit, I did wear a pair of rather outrageous earrings. They were real bath plugs on chains!! One guy there thought I was amazing having the courage to wear these!!! So funny. My sense of humour always used to get me into a lot of trouble. Still does, I guess.


13 February 2009

New web page and UPDATE

I stuck my nose into a discussion on etatters on Wednesday and realised that what I was trying to explain was a bit complicated without pictures!! The discussion was about pearl tatting. Pearl tatting is, as you know, a very old technique and one which I dabbled with 'in my youth'!! A LONG time ago!!!

I'm a lazy old moo as you all know and if there's a simple way round doing something I'll work my butt off to find it!! Thus few years ago I realised that there must be a simpler way to do pearl tatting without all the hassle of picking up and putting down of shuttles!!!

I'm darn sure others have realised this long before me but I've searched the internet and not found any shuttle tatting instructions for the lazy way!!! So yesterday I sat down and
made this page. I just hope it makes sense but if it doesn't then do let me know!!

UPDATE to this posting. My dear friend Riet pointed out a much better way to do pearl tatting. I think this was the way I was originally trying to remember BUT I must thank Riet VERY much for pointing this out. I've now amended the page!!!

11 February 2009

Playing with buttons!

Before I forget - which I'm very good at!! I had a phone call from Lyn Morton yesterday afternoon. She rang to tell me that they (that's Tatting and Design) have now got supplies of the new GR8 book by Gary and Randy Houtz. Woweeeee.

I've managed to sort one size out with the buttons. The patterns will all be very simple BUT they're not easy to get right as you need something behind the button to 'anchor' it to the tatting. However, here's another on - the white with pink beads. I'm going to post the first two as well so that you can see the bit of progress I've made!!!

10 February 2009

Look what I found!!

Over the weekend I went on the search for some more of the special tiger eye's beads that I told you about yesterday.

Of course, me being me, I got sidetracked.

While we were in the 'laptop hospital' shop on Friday I went to pay a visit to the haberdashery section. There I saw some really pretty shell buttons. Well the sight of those awakened brain cell # 3 and during the bead search I thought I'd see if I'd got any shell buttons or mother of pearl ones!!

I've got a tin full of buttons that I inherited from my gran so those were the first stop!!! Look how many I found!!! I'm going to have to make something special with a few of those. I love necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings so will be thinking along those lines. I didn't realise how many there might be in the tin!!


9 February 2009

New necklace

Sometime last year Bev sent me a packet of fabric to make her a roly poly tat bag set. Not only did she send fabric for hers - being the generous lass she is, she sent lots more pieces.

In it she'd 'hidden' some Tiger eye beads. These are the darker ones shown below. I knew that somewhere in the house I'd got some similar beads but not as dark. I'm not sure whether they are unpolished tiger eyes but they go well together. The tatting has been done with some C-lon thread which I bought at the Lace Fair just before Christmas. I've used it double and it's quite a slippery thread. Gives a good crisp finish though - just as I like it!!!

Whilst looking for the lighter beads I found .....................

Well, that's another story and can wait until tomorrow!!!

8 February 2009

A little more Spring Cleaning!

I've changed the colours on the home page of my web site. I want it to look a little 'warmer'.

Also there is now a link to the whole of the button family which formed the basis of my last TIAS. I've put it there for all those who didn't manage to take part when it was running and for new people. It's amazing what I keep finding during the Spring cleaning!!

My old laptop died yesterday which reminded me why I bought the new one!!! We've had to strip it completely down to it's 'bare bones' and Nick's now re-installing Windows XP. Meanwhile I'm using his old laptop in the evenings!!

I will have more to show tomorrow in the way of tatting. I've been working on .........................

7 February 2009

It's in hospital!

The laptop has gone into hospital. Poor thing. We managed to get to the town where I'd bought it today. The snow had melted enough for us to feel it wasn't 'silly to travel'. In fact the roads were very clear, although soggy.

The guy in the shop examined the patient - I think they would call him a triage nurse in hospitals. There was that 'dread' when he tried to turn it on and we sat and hoped it wouldn't start up properly and make us look complete idiots. Bit like a false labour!! Anyway, it breathed a small sigh and did nothing. A tear rolled sadly down my face as it was 'booked in' and taken away on a gurney. Such a sad time. No visiting hours were mentioned so it's probably going to be in the ITU department.

So, it's on it's way to hospital and will be home in about three weeks - if surgery is successful. Meantime I'm working on a very old laptop in the evenings. I have to stoke it with coal every so often as it keeps slowing down. It's got a thatched roof and is built of wattle and daub. Then it would be as I live in a historic area with lots of thatched roof houses!!!!!

All greeting and 'get well' cards should be sent to Hospital HP, Somewhere Town, Somewhere in the UK!!!!

6 February 2009

Just found these!

Well yesterday I was mainly snowed in which gave me a long time to spend sorting out a pattern that I've been working on for ages. Well I've done other things in between but I've finally completed it. Just a little more work to do on it but it's virtually 'there'.

I have one more pattern to check over tomorrow and then I will allow myself to start something new. Not sure what yet but I've lots of ideas mulling around in the head and brain cell #3 is raring to go, go, go!!!!

While tidying up my computer desk yesterday I found these two motifs!!! I

did them a couple of weeks ago - before the Spring cleaning!! They are both from the
new GR8 book. I really enjoyed working both of them.

5 February 2009

Two 'deaths' in a day!

This is sort of tatting related!!

First 'incident' was at the library when I handed over my ticket to check out three books. The lady said 'you've expired'.

Well, I said, I feel alright, nobody told me I was dead and I haven't been ill for a long time. Poor lass didn't understand at first!! I knew that she meant my ticket was out of date. They now have to be renewed every year.

The next 'death' in the family is my laptop! My link to the world in the late afternoons/evenings and the place where most of the designing is done. I write things down 'as I go' in a Word document. For two days it's been 'problematic' starting up so yesterday I started it while eating lunch. It was fine - although it did need two attempts. When I got downstairs to use it at four o'clock it had died!!! So, a mad panic to find the receipt because I couldn't remember exactly when I'd bought it. Ah, November 2007. Thankfully the shop I got it from does a two year extended warantee so we decided to take it back there this morning.

BUMMER. There's four inches of snow on the ground!!! Mind, it may well be gone by mid morning.


Meantime I will try and work on a very old laptop which is SOOOO slow it's like riding a tortoise!!

4 February 2009

Back to making bookmarks!

I have the honour of being 'chief sticker' for the Ring of Tatters!!!! What that means is that I'm allowed to pretend I'm back teaching school kids again BUT this time I get to play with the glue and NOT the kids!!!

I use the PVA 'school' glue that I had in the classroom all those years ago. My equipment for this job of making bookmarks for the Ring consists of the following. An old and not required again CD (to put the glue on!), a fine double ended knitting needle, the card bookmarks and small motifs.

Last time I spoke about this task I said that more supplies of motifs were 'on the way'. Little did I realise there were going to be SO many!!!! I'm pleased to say that most of them are 'without tails'. That's the most annoying thing when you're doing this job - having tails to cut off. I never remember them until my fingers are covered in glue!!!

In the picture below you'll see some of the new style bookmarks. There are two butterflies shown. One a four ring one (very hard to stick down and get looking 'right') and one five ring SCMR one (easy peasy).

I like to play with the very small doodles, putting several on a bookmark sometimes. See the large one at the bottom left? I can't remember the name of the lady who sends these in but she used to send in loads and loads. Wouldn't it be funny if somebody recognised their contribution?


3 February 2009

I've remembered!!!

Yesterday evening I actually remembered to go to the online tatting class which Georgia runs!!! I do often wander in there and then forget I'm there!!

I use Mozilla Firefox as my browser and always have certain tabs open so usually flip between them all!! Bit like my brain which has often been referred to as a 'butterfly brain' as it flits from one thing to another!!! Also never seems to settle long in one place!!!

Anyway, I've remembered that somebody asked for the picture of the flowers in a ring which I did back at the end of last year. I couldn't find them last night but here they are now!! Safely hiding on my main computer!!!

2 February 2009

Back and tatting!!!!

I think I told you about the party I went to on Saturday. I had the best time ever. Just the sort of party I love. Champagne, Wii, egg sandwiches and two small boys to play with!!!

It was Sebastian's 7th birthday and he wanted me (second choice babysitter - grandma's first!) and another lady there. No small friends required!! How flattering is that?

When I sit for the pair of them (the older brother is almost 9) I usually play Wii and read stories. We also have 'in depth' discussions about life too.
I gave them both a book token as I never can keep up with what they or my own grand kids are reading!!

Last night I made them a bookmark each which I'll take round later after school.
I used my funny face bookmark pattern but had a problem 'starting it'!!! Not unusual as brain cell #3 had had the week off tatting. I thought I'd do some more drawing for it later today but have just looked on the computer and found that I've already got one there!!! When I've done the 'chores' I'll add the drawing to the page so that next time I'LL be able to understand it!!!!


1 February 2009

Thinking aloud - with brain cell #3

Now the web pages are finished (well, I suppose they'll never really be 'finished') I can start playing again. Nearly a whole week without tatting - must be a record!!! Mind, when we travel to the USA I do tend to 'not tat' as there are so many more interesting things to do. Like visits to Wally World, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabrics and all points in between!!!

Must admit unashamedly - I LOVE America and Americans.
When you think about it through my aged brain and eyes it goes something like this.

I was born in 1943 - towards the end of the war. American soldiers had arrived in the area to help us out around that time and they were very welcome - particularly by the young ladies of the time (I know that as a fact)!!!! Nylons, spam and other 'goodies' were 'available' at a price. Not telling what that was but it didn't always involve money!!!!

Some 16 or so years later (from what brain cell #3 can remember) the Americans were arriving again in droves to view the tourist attractions. NO, not me - I was a timid and not very attractive teenager!!!! They were loud and rich at that time although I guess the economy welcomed their money!!!


Some 18 or so years on from that date (I was a mother, teacher and all round idiot) I was demonstrating tatting occasionally at a local tourist attraction in the school holidays, I once again came across the American tourists. BOY, what a shock. Out of all the nationalities who passed through the venue and the many who stopped to speak to me, the Americans were the only 'nation' who not only knew what I was doing but were very interested.

Hats off to America and the Americans. Me? I'm not racist, sexist, anythingist but I am proud to be a human being (allegedly) and I LOVE my 'neck of the woods' and America!!

31 January 2009

Up and Running

Let me explain!!! I've always kept two web sites going in tandem 'just in case'!!!! I base the links on the one and then everything reverts back to that. I'm pleased to say that everything is working again.

WELL, I'll say that with my fingers crossed as I'm sure there are bound to be hiccups in the links or something. I'd be grateful for any reports being sent in!!!

My next task will be a re-vamp of the index (home) page. Any suggestions on that would be MORE than welcome!!! I'd like to make it more 'modern' and lighter looking. It'll have to be done in html as that's what the servers accept - I THINK. Again I'll use the tried and trying and often tested method of 'hit and miss'. The 'Jane' way of bumbling through life!!

I'm also going to add an extra page - a links page. On that I'm going to add tatting blogs and other urls. I'll need help with that so if anybody has a useful link then please send it to me!!! I would like a 'classification' with any links. Information like are they patterns only, techniques only or links with both (like my site would be)!!!!

30 January 2009

OUCH!!!

I hit my head on the end of the tunnel!!! Some silly 'person' switched off the light!!!

YES, I got there. Finished the main 'lot' yesterday evening.

I still have the 'guest designers' to do and about 8 pages to upload (after changing them to pdf's) but that's all. I now need to check what all the other files are that I've found sitting on the server!!! I know that I've often uploaded stuff for people to 'collect' and (me being me) then promptly forgotten that they were there!!!

So, there is just a 'little light dusting' to do after these last few files have been completed and then I can tackle the upload to the mirror site. When all that is done I'll change the front page. Not sure what I'm going to do with that - all suggestions welcome!!!

I will allow myself to pick up my shuttles again tomorrow evening. PHEWWWWWWW!

29 January 2009

There's light at the end!!!

There's light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Just a quick post today to thank all who have offered encouragement with my addiction to pdf ing!!!! I'm getting there slowly!!!

28 January 2009

So it continues!

I think I'm just about half way through the Spring cleaning. It's SO boring!!!

I've not done any tatting now for two days. Once I get a bee in my bonnet I have to continue!!!
I'm just hoping that all the links are working and will work!!!

Yesterday evening I prepared lots of pages ready to be pdf'd today and upload - IF I get time.

26 January 2009

More Spring Cleaning

I nearly went cross eyed yesterday with my Spring cleaning but it's well worth it.

I love the look of the new files on the web pages. I'm still being methodical about it and have now got several rows down into the 'animal' section. When I've done all the patterns I may take myself in hand and 'titivate' the front page too. Hey, steady up, Jane, that sounds a bit drastic!!!

Some of the patterns are taking a long time as they were done so many years ago. I have to put in colons to separate the element from the numbers needed to work the ring or chain etc. Also there are links to check. I'm also trying to condense some of the patterns so that there is less white space and so that it's more economical for people to print them.

The three sizes of fishes were a total nightmare and one still lacks a link but it can darn well stay like that!!!! Well, for now!!!
Actually, once you get into the rythm of it it's not hard - just time consuming. I even sat and worked at some more patterns in the evening instead of tatting. I'm very motivated when I get a bee in my bonnet!!!


I'm even going to move the Tattysaurus back onto the main site now that he's going to be much smaller in file size. It's with a certain amount of glee that I'm deleting as I go along too!!! The web site looks so much tidier. I just hope that I can keep it up.

25 January 2009

Spring Cleaning!!!

Spring Cleaning? NOT a favourite occupation of mine - particularly when it comes to the house!!!

So, I'll put you all at ease. Don't worry about me - I've not taken a turn for the worse. I'm not cleaning the house!!!

What I'm doing is converting all my web site (in theory) from html files to - wait for it - pdf files!!! I LOVE pdf files - they always look so clear to me and they have an added advantage of taking up far less room on the server!!!

I started yesterday - and in a logical place, the top of the list!!! Now, let me explain. I'm basically self taught and HATE reading up 'how to' instructions. Nick's forever saying RTFM - which you all know by now stands for Read The F"%&*^% Manual. I can't. I HAVE to work with a little knowledge and instinct!!

So far that's working BUT I've got to work out how to alter some of the links. I know how to do it the 'long way round' but need to do it the 'easy way'!!!!
This is going to work out a lot cheaper than buying a Nintendo DS with a brain training game. I HAD thought about that and a Wii but really, honestly don't know whether they'd ever be delivered to tat land and IF they were - would I have time for them?!?!?!?

24 January 2009

Bragging time!

I have a sister. I've had her for less years than I've been on planet earth so that makes her my 'little' sister. She tats too. Not probably as much as me as she's still working and doesn't get a lot of time.

Anyway, just after Christmas she was up in my little corner of tat land and showed me what she was intending to do with some tiny baubles she'd bought. These two pictures arrived yesterday and I have her permission to share. I'm SO impressed. Just HOPE I can force her to write the pattern down - the little stinker!!!


23 January 2009

Another new book

Now this is strange, verrrryyyy strange. Two days ago I received Rosemarie Peel's new book in the post. So, what's strange about that? Last week I had the Houtz book and the place I met Gary 'in the flesh' was at Rosemarie's house!!! There's a piece of totally useless information for you!!!!

Anyway, seriously. Here are my thoughts on Rosemarie's book. It's called 'Tatting - Basic Patterns'. Inside there is a free copy of her Learn Tatting leaflet which is the best I've ever seen for learning to shuttle tat. With the leaflet and the book it would be very easy to learn to tat. Simple instructions and excellent visuals are very much aimed at somebody who wants to know 'what do I do next?'!!!

The patterns (there are 16) are simple at first and develop the new tatter from very basic 'just rings' to using rings and chains. One pattern which I hope to have the excuse to make is Edna - a horseshoe. Although only rings and chains this is an elegant pattern in it's pure simplicity. BUT it also has a the 'wow' factor - I'm thinking of adding beads to this one!! As I haven't got the excuse (no weddings to look forward to!) to make the horseshoe I decided to make the pattern called 'Rachel'. I also decided to use my favourite colours. I'm not really that enamoured of variagated threads but do love to 'mix and match' fine threads. In the piece below I've used a variagated number 80 (or thereabouts!!) alongside a plain machine quilting thread. I just LOVE these combos and the results you get. I've added Rachel below and suggest you click on the picture for a closer look.

To sum up - this book would be ideal for starters although (as you can see) there is a heck of a lot of inspiration in it for the 'old' tatters like me.

22 January 2009

Just a very quick post

Retired? Hmmmm, then why is life always so darn busy!!!

I've got something REALLY good to show you tomorrow but this is what I've got today!!! The earrrings you saw the other day but the pendant to go with them is now completed.

21 January 2009

HOTP

Or, Hot Off The Press from Tat Land!!!

I have recently been asked to take back on the duties of 'bookmark maker' for the Ring of Tatters. Whilst sorting out this task during the past few days and trying (against all the odds!) to organise myself, I found a picture of the finished bookmarks from the last time I was 'glue sniffing'!!! See below.

Since my return to the glue pot the design has been slightly changed so they'll not be quite like the ones shown below!! Once I've got a few done I'll scan them and show you. At the moment I've got as far as getting the card (69 - A4 sheets) printed up and have cut it up (using the guillotine). I am happy to report that I missed my fingers!!! I'm SO pleased as they are SUCH useful digits to have!!!

I have a problem, though!!! No motifs to stick on!!! I'm awaiting some from the 'gals' at the Ring. An email yesterday evening told me that they will be heading my way on Thursday.

The bookmarks are given away at shows where the Ring demonstrate and do help us to promote and gain more members to the Ring!!!

20 January 2009

Now, what have I got to show today!

Sadly, not a lot!!! I'm back to working on Palmetto patterns. I HATE myself for the amount of work I put on my own back!!!

I cannot leave a pattern alone until I've got it right!! How many of these earwigs have I tatted now to make sure the pattern is correct? Hmmm, daredn't answer that one!!

Anyway, here's the final pair!! (Who am I kidding?). No findings on yet as they lie better on the scanner. I think this will be my longest lesson. Why? because there's a lot to teach and there's still the pendant to finish off this evening.


Why is the picture SO small, did I hear somebody ask? I'll tell you why - to tease everybody in tat land!!!!

18 January 2009

Lucky, lucky ME

Look what came in the post yesterday.

These are from my favourite (and only) son. Well, not really my 'proper' son but one I adopted some years ago. His name? Mark Myers!!!

With the earrings came a lovely letter from him and Kim (his wife).

He made these earrings using that beading technique that I made the butterflies and flowers with but Mark, being Mark, couldn't resist taking the idea one step further - the little STINKER!!!!!

Actually he'd already discussed this with me and I bet yer bottom dollar he already knew of the idea anyway. Hmmm, perhaps not as Mark doesn't 'do' beads - YET!!!!

Mind, why would he do beads in tatting when what he does do is so spectacular without? Mark has added another dimension by passing the single beaded picot through two or three other beaded picots to make the fuschia which is below.

Amazing and SO pretty. Thanks, SOJ. I LOVE them.

17 January 2009

More about the Shuttle Brother's book

As promised yesterday I am going to tell you more about this book but first you're going to have some 'history'!!!

Way back in the dark ages before the Internet was properly established I met up with Rosemarie Peel who lives about twenty miles away from me (just noticed - she's got a new book out!). I remember sitting having a picnic lunch with her in a local garden (I was working nearby) and talking tatting. She told me about a new book by Gary and Randy with a new technique called the Self Closing Mock Ring.

I quickly got hold of a copy (probably via an advertisement in the Ring of Tatters Newsletter) and I was gobsmacked. What a wonderful technique. Gary and Randy have always said that this technique wasn't 'theirs' but that they discovered it 'from history'. That makes them pioneers, I guess.

Now, after another ten years they've brought out this second SCMR book with promises of another in a few months.

OK. Let's talk about the new book. First of all it's in black and white with both visual and written instructions which are very clear. Actually the lack of colour makes this book clearer.

The first section of motifs in the book build on one basic pattern and thus take even the newest tatter from very basic rings and chains (motif number 1) building up to the final motif - number 10 in this section.

Edgings are included and again start with basic rings only, rings and chains and again building up to edgings with the SCMR.

Collars are also done in a similar way and I can see those as edgings on T-shirts, round table linens etc.

There is a section with bookmark patterns too - one just calls out for a woven ribbon down the centre!


Then there's a section on the split ring followed by the 'ring on ring on ring' which looks really good fun.

There is a pattern for a multiple SCMR 5 point motif and the pearl tatted SCMR is also explored. There are 41 patterns in this book which makes it excellent value and invaluable to both those who are new to the SCMR and even to those 'old gits' like me who have been twice round the block!!!!! If you look here then you'll see that Riet has been playing with the more advanced stuff and it DOES look good.

Tatting and Design here in the UK are currently awaiting stocks whilst the American market is covered by writing directly to Gary and Randy.

16 January 2009

The Houtz Brother's new book!

Today I'm going to brag, brag, BRAG!!! Unashamedly and with no guilt at all I'm going to BRAG.

I've got my copy of the book. THE book. THE LATEST book by Gary and Randy. Not only THAT but it's signed by BOTH the brothers.

Long story for those who are in the UK but I asked Karen in Cincinnati to send a $ check to the brothers so that they wouldn't be bothered by finding out international postage rates. They sent it to Karen and she
sent it on to me. Gary is still recovering from his 'dice with death' last year and I didn't want to put them to any trouble.

I will give you a full report on the book tomorrow - but I'll tell you now that it'll be excellent!!!

Meantime here's a 'taster' from it which I worked up yesterday evening.

15 January 2009

Update on progress

Well I've done two tests of the pattern I'm working on and the verdict? Utter and unmitigated PANTS. True. Honest.

The second version does look SLIGHTLY better than the first in places but in other parts it sucks BIG TIME and is worse than before.

I don't know what to do. I'm at that stage where it would be wise to forget the whole thing and bin it, but there again it does seem such a waste of time to have got this far and then give up! I know. I'll simplify it. Just shown the two trials to Nick and he agrees with what I said I might do. Well this evening I'll give it another try. Perhaps third time lucky? It won't be right even then but after the next attempt with the alterations made it might then be a matter of simple (who am I kidding?) tweaking of stitch counts. We'll see!!!

14 January 2009

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Yes, that's what I'm doing at the moment. I'm testing a pattern for Martha Ess. I think it'll be going into a new book that she's compiling. Either that or she's going to teach it somewhere. DO hope it's a new book as I love her work.

We all know Martha as the 'Queen of the Block' BUT there's no block tatting in this pattern. It's true celtic in the style of Rosemarie Peel and I'm LOVING it. There's one book by Rosemarie which has the first celtic pattern in that I ever saw in tat land and I still reckon it's the best. This book is well worth adding to anybody's collection. It's called Tatting for Pleasure.

I did really well last night but got a bit mathered towards bedtime so left it to finish today.


Totally off the tatting topic but I must tell you that the 'man on the roof' has been caught!! The police rang to say they might need another statement from me regarding the costs of repairs. Thank you to our local police. I'm not a wimp and don't scare easily but I have woken several times in the night 'hearing' noises.

13 January 2009

Playing with beads in centre of ring

OK, time to talk to myself again!!! This time I'm trying to decide what or which is the best or worst way to do this!!!

Last week I worked on my SCMR page here. Some of you may have seen this already but don't go away yet!! The reason I updated the page was because Bev had just got the 'hang' of doing the SCMR and it reminded me of something that somebody had mentioned ages ago. Least, I'm sure it's not my original idea. Heaven forbid that I should have that sort of inspiration.

Anyway, I digress. The problems I have found with the SCMR in the past is that they often tend to 'gape' at the base when closed. I wanted to stop this. Anitra came up with this way. My problem was that I always forgot to close this way so remembered (I think!) another way.

So, onto today's topic of conversation. I decided to find out whether doing the 'extra bit' to the base of a ring after adding a bead would make a difference. Below you will see the result.

The ring on the left was worked first in the normal way. Pulling the core thread down, adding the bead, putting the shuttle through the loop just formed and tightening.

The next two were done by the 'other way' like the link to my SCMR page. I added the bead, pulled a
LOOP through the loop, posted the shuttle through and tightened carefully. Confused? Really confused? Shall I draw this out and add it to the web site? Personally I'm not sure it matters a lot but it does (for me) give a neater result. I await the comments!!!

Oh, before I go. Must say that the reason that the chain thread on the sample is now back at the start of the piece is because I left a length of thread between the rings and then decided to do split chains back to the beginning so that the the sample would lie better under the scanner!!!



12 January 2009

I'm doing a happy dance!

I'm not very clever! In fact I'm drop dead stupid when it comes to some things.

I struggle with understanding some of the computer stuff and use the same method as I do with designing new patterns - the 'hit and miss' method!!!

Of course Nick always says RTFM to me which, translated into English, means Read The F%*king Manual. So in the end I do. Great. BUT then I find I need help with understanding the manual so I give up on that.

What I'm really trying to say is that I've finally got my blog back onto google reader!!! Huge, huge and merry happy dance.
I really need to understand what a feedburner is. Again I've RTFM'd it but have come out none the wiser at the end. Ah, well, I'll give up on that and just be thankful that I now appear on the google reader. Another extremely big surprise is how many people have written to me saying that they're pleased I've got this sorted.

I find it so interesting the way we all use the internet. I've now got into the habit of using a browser with tabs. I've set it up (without using the manual!) so that when I open my browser my blog dashboard is always open in one tab (4th along from the left!!). This let's me go there from time to time to refresh it and see who (in the list of people I follow) has updated their blogs. This is part of the reason I've not got back to getting my blog on google reader sooner!!! BUT another 'trick' I've used is to go to google reader and 'collect' tatting url's and then add them to my personal list of people I follow!

So now I think life is back to being relatively normal again!!!

11 January 2009

Tiny flowers for a friend

A friend of mine down the next road has been making herself a new dress. It's the first time she's done any sewing for years and it's looking really good.

The fabric is plain apricot. Very plain - not even a slub in the weave.

A couple of months ago I helped her with getting the collar put onto the dress and she said it needed 'something' to break up the apricot. She'd seen some flower motifs in our local shop and decided that they 'might' do. I came home with a sample of the fabric and came up with these little flowers below which I delivered yesterday.



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Happy Beaks

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