29 March 2010

Am I spoilt or am I SPOILT?

I had another package on Thursday from Sue Anna which I'll show you tomorrow. 

Today I want to show you a package that Ridgewoman sent me which arrived on Friday.

Now this lass has spoilt me rotten in the past and she's been telling me about this package for weeks.  Then after all the teasing there was a hiccup with it even leaving the Post Office where her DH mailed it!!!!  I've been nearly 'wetting my knickers' waiting for it to arrive.   Well, it did on Friday.  WOWWEEEEEE.  Can you believe what was in it?  

Beads, beads and more beads.  PURPLE delicas which I've never owned before.  Did you know that it's difficult to make purple beads cause the colour fades?  I learnt that when I was 'kidnapped in Cincinnati'.

I'll show you some pictures in a minute BUT you must see the pen hook that was in the packet.  NOT just ANY pen hook.  This one was commissioned by BJ and has on it a NORMAN.  Can you see it?  Made by Lady Shuttlmaker too.

Oh, there was thread in there too!!!  HDT.  WOWEEEEE.  Now all I need is time and more time to play!!!

This last wee package has some tiger eye beads in for my sister.  Isn't that super?  There were some more for me too.  I will make a bracelet or a pair of earwigs out of mine.  Probably both!!!

27 March 2010

A day in the life of an old git!

On Thursday I spent the day at the National Exhibition Centre which is some 24 miles away from where I live.  The Ring of Tatters are given a courtesy stand at the Sewing for Pleasure and Hobbycraft Exhibition.

This is a long day but we're always kept very busy with people showing a lot of interest in our craft.

One of the demonstrators this year was Lyn Morton of Tatting and Design - the author of several  tattiing books.  Here she is telling me off for taking her picture!!!!  You can see her latest book just under her left hand and also her Christmas book is there too.
Now, one of the visitors to our stand is a lady whom I'm sure you've all heard of but have probably never seen.  Like Lyn she's a lady who is a terrific and talented designer.  I'm sure that if Carol Lawecki is reading this she will be pleased to see her.  Any guesses?  No?  Well I guess I'll just have to tell you.  It's Pam Palmer.  She remembers (like me) taking photographs of my back some twenty or more years ago.  My better side is my back.  Why?  Because I had her elephant, dragon and peacocks on jackets I used to wear!!!!
Here are the rest of the gang - also fabulous tatters and great friends to have on a show stand.
Hang on, there's one missing!  Elaine, how did you escape?

26 March 2010

Another gift

I'm not sure when I'll get to play but this is a package that Sue Anna sent me two days ago.  Isn't that just the kindest thing?  Lizbeth threads AND some wonderful HDT in leafy colours.  They're Yarnplayer's 'leafy' green and in sizes 10, 20, 50 and 80.

Also some chocolate which I'll TRY to keep until April 1st though I can't guarantee it!!!!  When I got back from my day at the NEC last night there was another package from Sue Anna full of other goodies!!!  I'll show you those next week.  It was a looong and tiring day not helped by the torrential rain that I drove home in.  We call it 'Cincinnati rain'!!!!

Hopefully I'll soon have time to show you some photographs that I took yesterday too.  One is of somebody you've all heard of but probably have never seen.  Watch this space - particularly Carol Lawecki!!!!

25 March 2010

The motif in colour!

I'm really quite pleased with this now!!  Takes a LOT to please me, though!!!

I've changed my mind on what I'm going to call it and also I'm only going to put the one version on this page as something is 'brewing' in the depths of brain cell's murky depths as to something else which could develop from this!!!  He's not told me a lot but I can imagine a bit of what he's plotting!!!  Sally, you were right about this version - THANKS.

The colours are from the samples that Sue Anna sent me and which I'm SO enjoying using.  Still can't wait to get to the HDT I've won too.  

Time and tide wait for no tatter so this one's going to have to turn the tide and do a King Canute with time!!!!!

24 March 2010

Bad news and good news

Let's get the bad news out of the way first.  I've had quite a few emails from people who are telling me that the pattern page here isn't working.  I think I've tracked the problem down.  It's only happening in Internet Explorer and (so Nick tells me) they did an update yesterday.  What a relief - I thought I'd done something wrong!!! It's working well in the two browsers I use - Firefox and Safari.  

Now for the good news.

Remember Nicole?  She emailed me yesterday and she wants three MORE lots of random tatting!!!  That's a lot of tatting!!!

I'm off to the NEC on Thursday and again on Sunday for two days of demonstrating.  That's the 'National Exhibition Centre' near Birmingham.  It's the Sewing for Pleasure exhibition and the Ring of Tatters always has a spot there (courtesy of the organisers) to demonstrate our addictive craft!!!  In fact, here are some photos I took last year of our stand on the days I was there.

So, I'm hoping that we can sort out exactly what Nicole requires (colours, width and length) so I can take it with me to do.  'Random tatting' sounds just the thing when you keep picking it up and putting it down all day!!!

23 March 2010

The reason behind the new motif.

The new motif that I showed yesterday will, or may, or even may not become a large project.  There's a degree of psychology behind a large project and one that I did about thirty years ago is how I 'manage' myself when contemplating one!

I start by telling myself that the 'thing' is going to be 'just a few motifs' - maybe a glass mat.  When that has been achieved I then tell myself that it could become a small placemat.  I usually think I could make a small placemat - no probs.

I think I should show one of the large projects that I'm talking about - it's the jacket below.  After I'd done the small placemat on this project I told myself it would make a lovely tray cloth (well, this was a loooong time ago when a tray cloth would've made a great gift for a grandma).  After that the next target was turning it into a coffee table cloth and so it progressed.  I always had a secret thought at the beginning that it was going to be a jacket but that was never ever spoken aloud.  

I didn't even have to commit to the jacket until the back was done and then it seemed as if it would be just a small step onwards to finish the whole thing.  I remember that I used to sit and make the black centres evening after evening and once I was bored with that would then make the white surrounds and join as I went along.  Those evenings the jacket grew fast!!!  

It's made in a sewing thread - polyester which actually came from the needle factory where they made the Aero shuttles.  My ex found it (and 2 shuttles) abandoned in a cupboard and so he released them into the world (namely my hands!).

I still use the same psychology on brain cell number 3 when tackling a 'maybe this will be a big project' idea and thus the motif that I showed yesterday becomes a 'big project' - one day!!!!

22 March 2010

Sisters!!! GRRRRRR

I'm going to moan about my sister today!!!  Not a big moan but a little one!!

I showed her this which I did first of all for the new design
Then proudly showed her the one that I'd done next which was the improvement!
I'd done the drawings and everything for that one but she said she liked the one at the top!!!  So, I re-tatted it yet again as I didn't like the stitch count!!!  SISTERS!!!!!!
Dare I say it?  She's right!!!!  There's one small improvement that I want to do to this final one and I think I'll leave both on the pattern page so folks have a choice!!!  Or will I?!?!?!?

20 March 2010

Stealing copyrights - I'm a THIEF

I'm a thief.  Yes, I'm going to admit it - I'm really and honestly a thief.  I've stolen some copyrights off somebody.  Well, actually, to be totally honest it wasn't me - it was 'you know who'.  That's it - brain cell # 3.  Well you've got to blame somebody!!!

I'm working on a new motif/coaster which I'm hoping will highlight the HDT and Lizbeth variegated threads that I've been given.  So in order to make this design I decided to break with protocol and use other designs as 'inspiration'!!!  

Did I hear a sharp intake of breath there?  Did somebody say 'WHAT IS THE WOMAN DOING?'.  After ALL she's said about copyright theft?  Yup, I've gone back on my word!!!  

No, that's a bit of a porky pie (lie).  I'm actually stealing off myself!!!!  

I'm using part of this design
With a little bit of this
and a smidgen of this too
I'm actually and honestly too lazy to go looking round to get 'inspired by' other people's work!
Here's the results of my theft!!!  WHAT grotty colours, eh?  Next I'll try it with a variegated thread in the middle and a dark, dark outline.  I need to test to see how it will look when joined to others too.  

19 March 2010

Guess what!

I've nearly run out of things to say!!!!  

Stop cheering everybody - I know you've been waiting for that day to happen but actually I have got one or two things to ramble and mutter on about.

I've spent two days (well, on and off) messing about with Facebook.  I originally joined up (like a lot of us 'older folks') to keep tabs on what my kids were up to.  Now they don't use it much I've not had much reason to 'be there'.  I thought of 'opting out' altogether but, being a nosy old git, I couldn't bear to do that!!  

So I set up a fan page (thanks mainly to TotusMel and Karen in Cincinnati and a few others).  It's called Jane's Tatting Adventures.  I managed to put a 'thingy' on the side of the blog - mainly to prove that I 'can'.  I'm quite proud of that!!!  I doubt I'll be updating that page a lot but it'll save me from boring you with 'what I've put in my Etsy shop'!!!!!  Well, a bit anyway.

I also managed to put up some pictures which I 'stole back' off myself out of my album which is online and from where the slideshow comes from.  

I'm also very proud of my web site and it's front page after days and days of struggling last week.  (Not quite so happy with the links page yet as I can't get the image to 'stay on the page'!!)  When I had a PC I used dedicated software to build pages but when I transferred to the mac I had nothing.  I'm not 'mean' when it comes to paying for software but when you only want it for one or two pages it seems a bit extravagant.  Then somebody told me that you could use the browser 'seamonkey' to 'play' with html.  So, I downloaded it and then had to get the poor old brain round 'how to' use it.  Then I wanted to add 'things' (like the Creative Commons License and the Facebook button) to the page so another steep learning curve.  I may try to put on a 'blog button' later - after cleaning windows (that's the sort that are built into the wall of the house - not the ones on the computer)!!!  All in all (as long as I can remember 'how to' for next time) I think I did OK!!!!

I LOVE all this technology - when I get the hang of it!!!  

18 March 2010

Another necklace

Whilst the pattern for the brown necklace was still fresh in my mind I thought it would be a good idea to make another.  This time using the beads that Teri sent me a few weeks ago. 

Guess how many delicas I had left when I finished it?  Bearing in mind it was a whole tube?  I had 5 left and I only lost two during the making of the necklace. 

Next project?  I'm going to play, play, play!!!  I want to try out all my new HDT's and I think I'm going to make small motifs with them.  I've got an idea to use a motif that I did last year - but with alterations, of course!!!  We'll see..

17 March 2010

It's a mystery

I was given this delightful ball of thread while I was in Palmetto but can't for the life of me remember who gave it to me.  

It's hand dyed and great to work with as there are very subtle changes in the dying which I find very pleasing.  The label says 'shuttle lab trends'.  Would the kind person who gave it to me please stand up and tell me?  It has been very discretely hand dyed.

I used it on some seahorses which I listed (and sold) in my Etsy shop.

After yesterday's blog post I had enormous help from TotusMel and my DIL in Cincinnati over setting up a fan page.  Well, you know me - always short of a few brain cells.  

In the end I gave up last night but THINK I'm on my way to setting one up today!!!  I've called it Jane's Tatting Adventures!!!!  Don't expect too much from me because you know what my aged memory is like - I'll most probably forget the page within a few days!!!!  

I'm beginning to find my way round Facebook - I've only been on it for several years!!!!  I'm not 'into' the games played there and am finding ways to avoid those.  Not cause I'm a miserable old git but mainly cause I'm too busy and too addictive to start in on something like that!!!!  I'd get nothing done if I did!!!!

16 March 2010

Stocking the shop!!

My Etsy shop doesn't sell much and I can't work out what the problem is.  Are the prices too high or are they too low considering that what I offer takes a lot of time to make?

OK, I don't promote myself there which is, I think, the main problem but there again that would take too much time away from designing and that's my first love!!!

Anyway over the past few days I've taken time to make and add a few things to the shop.

I don't mind anybody making my patterns up to sell in the BWW (that's Big Wide World) but please, not online or you'll have the 'wrath of Jane' descend upon you!!!!  I need to be able to raise funds from time to time to feed my addiction or pay for fuel or flights to meet other tatters.  Simply that.  

Below are new additions to the shop.

15 March 2010

HDT giveaway

I must be on a lucky phase at the moment because I also won a skein of Katharine's HDT which you can see here.

What I find intriguing about my new found interest in HDT is the way it looks on the skein, then the way it morphs as I wind it onto an Easy-Bob and THEN the wonderful look when it's finally turned into a piece of tatting.

The HDT also came in a fantastic card.  This was made by Katherine herself and she's used origami (or, as we call it in this household - oregano!!!).  I just LOVE this card and the wee bird fascinates me.

Thanks, Katharine - I'm looking forward to trying this skein out.

13 March 2010

A secret project.

This pattern isn't the chicken wing coaster and is actually worked in a very different way.  It's for a secret project.  The top one is worked in Lizbeth Island Breeze and Ocean Turquoise (dark) two of the colours which Sue Anna sent for me to try out.
The following is worked in two Manuela colours - not sure of the numbers but as it's no longer available I'm not sure it matters!!!

12 March 2010

News of new pages AND a new video

I've finally got it sorted.  I've got the Chicken Wing Coaster, the Sassie Lassie Hats AND the the 'slip and slide' pages up on my web site.  

Pheeewwwwww.  Nearly time for brain cell 3 to take a rest!!!  

DO take a look - here's the link.

Also HOTP (that's Hot Off The Press) and after a discussion with Mark Myers (Tatman) I'd like to point you here to his way of holding the shuttle!!!!  Tell you - we're all different!!!!!

11 March 2010

Tatting with a slip and a slide

I have a confession to make.  Not much of one really but it might prove interesting and useful to a few people.  I've watched a lot of people tatting over the years and some tat the way I used to by going 'round the houses with their shuttles!!!  Here is my story.

I learnt when I was 13 alongside my gran who was also learning.  I certainly never met a tatting teacher as such so the pair of us just sort of 'worked it out' together.  

When I was in my early thirties I did a few talks to WI's etc round the district.  From this I had small groups for a while to teach in their own houses.  

Sometime after this one of my 'students' pointed out to me that I was tatting 'wrong'!!!!   Well, as you all know there's no such thing as 'wrong' but there are different ways that are faster.  She showed me a page in one of my leaflets that I'd not bothered to look at - showing 'how to hold the shuttle'!!!  It was quite an eye opener so I 'trained the brain' to 'slip and slide' the shuttle and thus re-taught myself how to tat!!!!

It occurred to me the other day that I needed a new challenge in life.  As you probably remember I bought a new mac and therefore had to learn a whole new drawing package.  This is really, really easy to use but drawing hands did somewhat stretch me!!!!

I decided to draw up the 'slip and slide' way to tat which I will add to my web site tomorrow along with my 'new look' front page.  Don't panic, Georgia, all links are the same as before!!!!

I hope it helps somebody somewhere to become a faster tatter.  Maybe next time round we can have an Olympic tatting event?!?  Below is just one of the drawings on the new page!!!  No, the hands haven't been for a manicure and look a bit neglected - just like my real ones!!!!!

10 March 2010

Chicken wing coaster part 2 (or should it be 3)?

OK, now where we left off was with the two threads wound together (HWT) and the HDT in size 40.

The next part of the experiment was with 3 threads wound together and this is what happened.
Well, that wasn't enough - curiosity got the better of me!!!  I wanted then to know what would happen with an ordinary size 20 thread so this is the result!!!
Finally to see the results I put the smallest on top and worked my way down. The one worked with three threads turned out to be exactly the same size as the number 20 thread.  Here they are!!!  I guess this opens up a whole new world of colour if you want to make a large project and want to vary the colours.  WHOOOPPPPEEEEEE.

I think that was about the silliest task I've ever set myself as it really proved nothing in the end except that I've got too much time on my hands!!!!

9 March 2010

Chicken wing coaster

Having seen Marty's comment a week or so ago about the Chicken Wing Coaster that Margaret had made out of Norman's wing, I went into my tatting cupboard and found my dear, dear friend brain cell # 3.  

He'd been enjoying a 'bit of a nap' so I woke him up, dusted him off and inserted him into place.

Mission?  To take Margaret's idea and make it in one 'hit' like Marty suggested.  
Here's the result worked with HWT.  The threads I used are (greens) Oren Bayan 70 variegated green alongside Star machine quilting size 50 in a bright light green.  Here I must say many thanks to the Palmetto tatters for the magnifying glass which came in the goodie bag last year!!!!  For the oranges I used Oren Bayan variegated navy, maroon and yellow with Star machine quilting size 50 in a bright orange.
Now, having achieved this very pretty coaster I decided that the centre was too crowded so back to the drawing board - well, the one on the computer, for another sorting out!!! 
This time I decided to use Krystaldawn's variegated thread with a plain bright red Olympus 40.  Now this one ROCKS.
I also wondered what the difference in size would be between the two coasters so this next scan shows the one on top of t'other.  Not a lot but I'm on a roll with playing with threads!!!
Boy, do I ramble on about nothing?  Is all this REALLY important?  I think not but it keeps me amused!!!!

8 March 2010

Tiger eye beads

Do  you remember this necklace that I made with the tiger eye beads that BJ sent me?  

It took ages to do with some thread that I bought whilst at the Lace Fair two years ago.  It was called CLon thread or something like that.  I thought it was the thread that Teri Dusenbury used but in the end I've decided it was nothing like that.  Anyway, the result of all that effort of making the necklace was that I wore it once.  

The reason?  I was disappointed in the colour of the thread I'd used and the way it 'was'!!!!  So I cut it up to re-use the beads.  The first picture shows my initial experiments.
Here's the final result - a necklace that I will wear and wear.  This time I used some thread that Teri sent me in the package with the beads and beautiful turtle necklace.  It's the Dual Duty.  I could eat the necklace now but it would probably give me indigestion so I'll wear it instead!!!

6 March 2010

Look what I did!

Well, no, that's not totally true!!!   I did pay a small part in this but only a very small one.

Do you remember Nicole and the tatting I did for her?  Here's a link to one of the parts of the project.

Nicole asked me to make strips of random tatting in a size 80 thread and that's what I did.  They were for part of her design course.  A few days ago she sent me the pictures (below) of the final piece AND the following message.

"I have attached some of the dress making process, where the fringing was created and how the tatting was attached. In the photoshoot images, I am afraid that the tatting is not very visible due to the nature of the shot and the delicate work involved, but hopefully you can see how it all came together at the end.

The collection was a great success, I got through to the final show at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, and from this I was head hunted by a designer called Roland Mouret, I start there in two weeks. I got my final marks back last week, and I got a distinction. So i'm really pleased that all my hard work paid off."

I'm SO proud of this lass and feel honoured to have been able to help her.  Not only that but she's put tatting right at the helm of the design world.   WELL DONE NICOLE.

5 March 2010

Can you believe this?

A couple of weeks ago Sue Anna wrote and asked if I'd tried the Lizbeth threads to which I replied that I'd got a few - actually very few!!  The problem is seeing before you buy so I tend not to buy.  When I was at Palmetto, Tracey from The Lacemaker in Ohio had a fantastic range and I bought loads and loads for a couple of friends back in the UK but only three balls for myself!!!!  

Why?  Well - basically cause I couldn't make up my mind and I wanted to get theirs sorted first.  Bearing in mind that I had to get them back to Cincinnati and then from a re-pack to the UK too.  Not an easy task when you're with the Palmetto tatting 'lot' as they're fantastically generous too.  

So I said yes please I'd love to see other colours and Sue Anna said she'd send me a few yards.  Well when the packet arrived I was amazed at the size of it.  It 'bulged at the seams'.  When I opened it (by this time Nick was wondering what was going on) I was gobsmacked.  You can see why below.  Not only were there yards and yards of the threads BUT they're all wound onto thread holders.  AND there's a skein of HDT too.  It's Yarnplayer's nectarine.  Yummy, scrummy.

I am SUCH a lucky old git.  I'll be able to tat myself to sleep forever and ever.  THANKS Sue Anna.  I'm delighted with another gift from you.

4 March 2010


Yes, again!!!!

Two more butterfly bookmarks.  

This time the reason was because I wanted to try out some glass beads I bought in America.  They were cheap (well, they'd have to be for me to buy them!) and looked really good in the packets.  Time to show them the light of day!!!

Here they are on the two bookmarks.  I was SO pleased with them as they show up well and sparkle very prettily.

3 March 2010

WARNING - do NOT read at risk of jealousy

I can guarantee that if you read and look any further than this you'll be turning greeeeeen with jealousy.

Teri Dusenbury read my grumble about my 75th blood donation and felt sorry for me.  Wasn't that kind?  This is the link in case you've got time to read it.

Do you know what she did?  That extremely kind lass went and made me this necklace to cheer me up.  I mean, would you ever, ever trade a National Blood Donor certificate for something like THIS?  NO WAY.

Not only this necklace which I haven't been able to do justice too but also the beads, two spools of Dual Duty threads AND some other samples too.

2 March 2010


Now most of you know I love colours - all colours even the 'not quite so bright' ones.

Recently I've started using HDT threads either because I've become curious or because I've won them in giveways on blogs (I won another yesterday - yippeee).  

Before this minor discovery of HDT I used to use HWT.  I think, at the moment, this is still my favourite way of getting colour into my work - but as a woman I'm allowed to change my mind constantly.

Oh, did I hear somebody ask what HWT is?  That's my abbreviation for Hand Wound Thread.

This is where I take two or three threads and wind them onto the shuttles together.  Normally I use a 60, 70 or 80 variegated thread with another plain one of the same type OR a machine quilting thread (again plain).  A little care has to be taken to keep the tensions of the threads even whilst winding them on but it does give stunning results. 

You've probably seen the experiments that I did with this idea a few years ago but I'm going to bore you with them again (see below).  I started this mat to use up a huge stash of fine threads that I'd collected over the years but - well, you know how it goes, the stash kept growing because I 'needed' a bit more of this and a bit more of that!!!!

This isn't the end of the story, though!!!  There will be more on this subject and further experimentations over the next few days.  Keep watching!!!!

1 March 2010

A birthday card!

First of all may I start by saying I HATE making cards!!!  There, that's better!!!  

I hate the thought that they're looked at for a very short time (a few days to a week) then put away or thrown away.  I'm not mean or anything - I just don't see spending hours and hours making something that's really got no other purpose. 

Also, and probably because of the previous paragraph, - I am useless at making them too.  

Occasionally I feel that I have to do something for a particular occasion and the card below was made for my youngest (dare I admit YOUNGEST) daughter's birthday.  She and her DH had a frog themed wedding some years ago and this is the reason for the frog.

I did enjoy making this one as it was for somebody very special and wasn't 'fussy'.  Cor, I do hate fussy cards too.  

Simple, amusing and straight to the point - tat's me!!!  Actually I think that applies to me in all aspects!!!

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

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