30 April 2011

The psychology of a large project!!

OR am I in need of a psychiatrist?  Send for the men in white coats!!!

Now the diamond mat isn't my first large project by any means!!!  If I remember rightly the sewing thread weight sleeveless jacket I made when the kids were little was probably the first.

Lately I've got sick of the quick to do projects as each time they're done I have to think of something new to do.  Then there's the problem of what to do with them all!!

Now the way I deal with these larger projects is quite simply down to self trickery.  

First of all I NEVER set myself an end target - that's fatal for me as the end would be too far away and totally unacheivable.  I therefore start to vaguely 'think' I'll start on something but never tell brain cell 3!!!

I start with smallness in mind.  The 'project' sets out (at the back of my mind) to be a small item.  The waistcoat was originally going to be a glassmat.  Then it's easy to make another small mat 'to match'!!  These can then be joined up with a third (if still in the mood) and sometimes a whole set can be made before joining them up and getting an 'instant' large project.  Another 'trick me' strategy I use too is to make lots of 'middles' and put them by.  Then when the outer edges are done and joined a 'large project' emerges.  Real brain trick is that!!!

The diamonds have been a lot more interesting as there are colours involved.  If it had been two plain colours I would probably have given up ages ago.  This time I have found another way (see Thursday's post) of keeping the excitement and anticipation going!!!   Again trickery is the answer and NEVER let brain cell 3 know!!

With this project I had decided it was going to be the size of the previous one before I started but then I thought I'd fill in the spaces between the points - just to see what it would look like!!!  

One day when most of the way through that last stage - which I called round two I had the brilliant idea of making a wall hanging for our bedroom.  I showed it to Nick who then said he thought it would be a bit small.  Eureka - another round (and a larger project!!!) was 'birthed' in my brain!!!  Problem is now - do I show him it again when this round is complete?!?!?

29 April 2011


Were you really expecting a post about TATTING today?  I'll continue my ramblings tomorrow!!!

I'm not a follower of our Royal family and their antics but I do get 'sucked in' when it's a wedding!!!  I'm proud of my heritage and acknowledge what the Royal family do for our tourism industry.  I love the pageantry and doubt any other country could do it as well - there's a challenge!!!!

My kettle's full of water, the teabags are ready, the telly is tuned in so bring on the celebrations!!

Oh, I'll be working on diamonds too!!!!  Darn it - tatting had to creep into this post!!!!

28 April 2011

The answer!!!!

The first guess in was right - from Maureen!!!!  

This was the start of round 3 of the diamond 'mat'.  What I did was lay out the completed centre two rounds and then 'raid' the tatting cupboard!!!  It's easier to do it this way for me.  

I start with the HDT and variegated threads and match them up to appropriate 'plains'.  The next stage is to place them next to where I think they're going to be best in the next round.  OK, this sounds simple but there are lots and lots of changes of mind over placement and 'guesses' as to what the finished motifs will look like but an hour or two of messing around and brain ache gets it done.

Then I tie the balls/ezbobs together (or put them in bags together) and 'mark' with a safety pin and a piece of card where numbers 1 and 2 start.  All the balls are then numbered and put in a shoe box with the highest numbers at the bottom (there are 18 on this round!!).  It's then part of the fun picking out the next paired number over the following weeks to see 'what comes next'.  

Tomorrow I will 'discuss' (or mutter about) the psychology of such a large project!!!  It may consist mainly of excuses for my mental instability!!!!

27 April 2011

What IS the old bat up to now?

Don't worry - I'm talking about myself - the MOG or the daft old bat (DOB).

Here you are - a conundrum, puzzle, quiz, tease or whatever you want to call it.   Maybe just a bit of fun!!!!  No prizes here but can you guess what this is all about?  Two pictures below.

Yes, it's a shoe box (I bought some new sandals a few weeks ago).  First picture closed (well, almost!) and the second open.

Go on, humour me - have a guess!!!  What am I doing and WHY?

26 April 2011

Abbi's blanket

First of all thanks to those who missed my blog post yesterday and who wrote to see if I was OK - I missed it too!!!!  I thought it was Sunday!!!  DUH!!!!!  Today's post brings back supposed 'normality' in my corner of tat land!!!

I have one little granddaughter aged 3 (and a bit) who loves pink.  Don't all little girls?  Oh, and OG's like me too!
My daughter spent hours cutting up her old baby clothes into small four inch squares.  She showed me them last year when we visited and she was about to put them altogether.  Well the other weekend we were visiting them and she mentioned she'd got a favour to ask me and brought them all out.  'Mum, could you put these together for me, please?' she said.  I didn't dare tell her how my fingers had itched  to do it last year so of course I said 'yes'!!!!

Here's the result!!  

If you look closely you'll see a heart and a butterfly on there too - tatted, of course.  When Abbi and Nathan visit they love to go home with a piece of tatting and I usually keep something for them.  They go into their 'treasure' boxes, I think but they do play with them which I think is GREAT.  Tatting should be played with!!

23 April 2011

156 down - how many to go?

OK, this is where I got to on the original mat before 'calling it a day'.  There are now 156 diamonds here.
This time, however, I've decided to 'fill in the spaces' between the pointy bits so will be trudging along with those.  

Meantime here are two pictures of 'where we're at' so to speak!!!!

22 April 2011

The other ancient doily!!

This is the other doily I promised to show you.

Again worked in silk sewing thread simply because of my frustrations at not being able to find coloured number 20 threads back when dinosaurs roamed the earth!

Sadly I can't tell you the pattern source as it was so long ago and I've no idea where it came from except probably from a scrap of paper given to me waaaay back then.  But I can tell you that it measures 9" by almost 7".  Ah, maybe somebody will recognise it?  

Do you remember those days when to make a photocopy of something cost shed loads of money and was frowned on because of that?  I remember when we had the first ever photocopier in school and how guilty we were made to feel each time we used it!!!  To do worksheets for the tiddlers then was a costly procedure so most of us didn't bother!!!

Thanks so much for all your comments on yesterday's post - all were appreciated. I hope to show more progress on the diamonds tomorrow but we'll see if I remember to take a photo!!!

21 April 2011

I never ever realised.

This is nothing to do with tatting but worth reading, I hope.  

Yesterday I attended (accompanied by 'you know who') a special and lovely dinner and presentation.  I was given an award.  Something I'd been working towards, despite a few hiccups, since I was about thirty two ish.  Even though I'd been on this 'campaign' for all those years I didn't realise quite what I'd achieved!!!

You can see me in the picture BUT the bravest and most courageous people were standing either side of me.  They stood up and spoke about their children (one a teenager and the other in his early twenties) who had died tragically of leukemia.  I tell you it nearly made me cry to hear them speak and to hear how much help they'd needed to gain an extra few months (for one couple) and a year (for the other couple) of life for their children.  Sadly they both died.

Please, please PLEASE do help people like them as it's so easy to do.  All you need to do is donate a unit of blood regularly.  Not a lot to ask - it doesn't hurt and it's a good health check for yourself (that's a bonus and one which I was grateful for a few years ago).  If you know ANYBODY and particularly teenagers who are eligible then please encourage them to donate wherever you are in this world of ours.

Oh, I got a badge, a glass crystal plate, a big clap and the photo below as well as a stonking good meal and all I did was lie on a bed 75 times, bleed into a bag, scoff tea and biscuits and trot off home.  See how easy it is.  

Oh, by the way, here in the UK we do it for free too.  I believe that in America people are paid for their donations so even more of a reason to donate!!!

20 April 2011

A looong time ago!

Selling off the leaflets last week brought back memories.  When I was young the only booklets with patterns that were easily available were the Coats and Penelope ones.  I had little choice (like most of us 'back then') on what I could make.  I used to buy them with my pocket money as a teenager.  I did actually use some of the doilies I made but wouldn't ever put one out now as I'd have to find room for them (IF I still had any!!!) in all our 'clutter'!!

Penelope book 4 on page 11 was perhaps the only doily I ever 'took to' and I remember making it many times.  I certainly must've made it in size 20 white as that was all I had available but I do remember making it in a fine silk sewing thread too - for the sake of working in colour.  Do you want to see the pattern?  Here's the picture in the booklet.

A few days later and a miracle has occurred at Chez Eborall - I found the silk doily still backed onto a piece of manilla card!!!  It must've been done about 40 years ago at a guess (certainly a looooong, looooooooong time ago!).  Not bad for it's age, eh?  Remember that I'd never seen or heard of picot gauges or blocking in those days either.  

Now I also found another doily in silk but that'll have to wait for another day!!!

19 April 2011

Seven motifs second round

Well, not strictly true but seven and one 'bit' on the second round!!!!

As I said yesterday that photograph was taken at the Buzz last Friday.  I've made a bit of progress since then as you can see.  Back last Friday it was 3 motifs and two 'bits' of the next on round two.  I've also added a few infills too since then.  

Next time I take a photo it won't be on our grubby flagstones on the patio!!!  I'll find a cloth to put it on first.  

I think this should be a lesson to all those in tat land who don't sew in their ends as they go along!!!  Can you imagine how tedious it would be to sew in all of them on this project once you'd finished?  

I must add also that to start each diamond I use this method (scroll down the page) and this to get the closure (I use the way with the extra part where you get no blip).

18 April 2011

Further progress!!!

Well here we go again!!!!  More boredom for you all!  

This is where I'd got to when I was at the Buzz Cafe.  Since then I've done a bit more but haven't got round to taking a photo.

I'm going to revise my timing on this as I think I must be getting faster!!!  I reckon it's now down to 40 minutes per diamond.  On this picture I guess I'm almost a quarter done on this round and the end is still not in sight!!!  Still enjoying it, though, which is a bonus!!!!

I also drew up some idea of what this will look like when the round is finished.  I can now use this to count and keep track of where I've got to!!!!  This is only a very rough drawing!!!!!

16 April 2011

Buzzing along

First of all thanks to those who helped with my problems yesterday - I'm not telling Nick how long I've spent so far on the diamonds!!!  He MIGHT insist I do some of the 'H' word instead!!!!

Yesterday I did a 'stint' of demonstrating tatting at the Buzz Cafe which is in the centre of town - about five minutes walk from where I live.  This is a new venture and a brave and forward looking one too.  Here's a link for more information about what happens there.  I thought you'd like to see some pictures of the cafe so that when you visit the town you'll know exactly where it is and where to pop in for a stonking good sandwich, cake, cuppa tea or anything they've got on their menu.  

So, the first picture is the outside.  The second picture is taken from exactly the same spot but I turned round about 45 degrees and zoomed in slightly.  Can you see that old building over there to the right of the tree? Well, that's Shakespeare's Birthplace.  

The third picture and the fourth pictures were taken inside the Cafe. 

15 April 2011

Fretting about things!

Some people think I've got a good 'eye for colour' but it's not really true as I've never studied colour at all.  I use that good old fashioned thing called instinct!!!!

So, first today I'm going to ask you to look at the original diamond mat I made a few years ago.  See how the 'flowers' repeat in the rounds?  Now look at the one I'm working on this year.  I've repeated the flowers in this first round.

So here comes the BIG decision.  I've decided NOT to do the repeats in the next round.  No, no, NO!!!!  I'm just going to 'go with the flow'!!  The main reason is because I have so many drop dead gorgeous threads that I want to use and in some cases probably not enough to do 3 repeats.  Part of the reasoning for making this whole thing is to use the threads I've got and NOT order more (the temptation is always there, though)!!!!  

Now, can you see in the third picture where I've paired them up?  I've got a variegated for the centres and 'plains' for the outlines as usual.  I've also numbered the pairs so I know which should sit next to each other.  BOY, is this going to be fun?  I just need to finish the in fills of this round and then I'll be off on the next!!!  

When all the infills are done there will be 66 diamonds.  Each diamond takes roughly three quarters of an hour!!!  This means that I've already spent a long time over this - can anybody work it out for me?  Now the next 'round' of flowers will be made up of 90 diamonds but I'm not going to work anymore out as I'm hopeless at maths even at the best of times!!!  

I would love to know how many more days, hours etc this is going to take but there again perhaps it's best NOT to know!!!  

14 April 2011

Book sale part 3

These are the final three leaflets - these are £1.00 ($1.50) plus post and packing.

11.  Coats leaflet number 988
12.  Coats leaflet number 461

Finally there's a crochet leaflet again from Coats and numbered 1087

13 April 2011

Book sale part 2

All yesterday's leaflets are now spoken for - thanks, folks.

Following on from yesterday here are the rest of the booklets.  

Must quickly mention the Learn to Tat book (330) as it was from this (pages 6 & 7) that I re-learnt how to hold and manipulate the shuttle almost 20 years after I'd started tatting.  As I picked up the craft from my gran (she was learning too) the way of holding the shuttle was never mentioned!!!!  I'd lent my copy of 330 to somebody I was teaching and she pointed these pages out to me!!!!!

6.   Coats Tatting number 469

7.  Learn to Tat number 330
8.  Coats Time for Tatting number 813
9.  Coats Learn Tatting number 1088
10.  Coats Ten Tatting Designs number 1127
Tomorrow there will be three more leaflets which you may be interested in too - they will be £1.00 ($1.50).

12 April 2011

Book sale part 1

Last week I won around 20 tatting leaflets/books on Ebay.  From the pictures I could see that a lot were ones I'd already got - several times over.  Some of those I bought new in the fifties/sixties and I've long since replaced them with 'less battered' ones.  Amongst the books were these three which I'd not got so I'm keeping these for little MEEEEE.
So, what to do with the rest?  Let me tell you why I bid on these booklets.  The seller had tried to get rid of them the previous week but there were no bids at all.  Odd, I thought, so put them back in my watch list.  I realised (things take time with me!) why they weren't selling - they were listed as 'buyer collects' which limits the take up for any item.  So I wrote to her and said I was interested in all of them (they were in two 'lots') and what would she charge for posting them.  We struck a 'deal' and eventually I won them all.

Now, as I don't want the following ones and as I don't want to make money out of them (just to cover my costs) I'm going to sell them at £1.50 ($2.50) each plus packing and postage.  

So if you see any you want below then let me know (please send me your email address and I'll put your name on it.  I'll hold on until you've seen all of them over the next few days then work it out and let you know what it will cost to post.  You'll need a Paypal account too.  Does that all make sense?  OK here's what I've got!!!

1.  Coats Tatting number 919
2.  Penelope Tatting Designs number 380
3. Penelope Tatting book 5
4.  Penelope Tatting book 2

5.  Penelope Tatting book 3 (I have two copies of this)
There will be more tomorrow so please take a look at those too but by all means 'reserve' any that you want of today's straight away.

11 April 2011

Emilia's bookmark

A couple of weeks ago Emilia sent me a picture of these bookmarks.  They're made from my Friendship Bookmark pattern which is here.

Just realised that there isn't a date on the page but using the wayback machine I've found it was first put on the internet probably in 2001.  

SO, that makes it nearly ten years old.  Time to take another look at it, I guess!!!

9 April 2011

Another day another few diamonds!

Are you fed up with this yet?  I'm not!!!

I'm still plodding away with the mat and am dreading the next part which will be mainly 'fill ins' I think.  I may even change the colours on those too.  By fill ins I mean the ones which surround the central dark pink star.  The next ones will surround the blue and green ones.  Perhaps today I will play with diamonds on my drawing software to see what variations of designs I can come up with.

The colours are working well for me at the moment - do like the variegated ones in the centres surrounded by plain.  I'm glad I stuck with the original colours.

The next stage won't fit on the scanner so I'll have to take photos of it!!!!

8 April 2011

Spring/Summer means bags!!!

As soon as the weather gets warmer I get out the sewing machine and move into the conservatory to sew!!!!  Today I have more little bags to show you!!!  I actually made these last week!!!

Amongst a big lot (100 actually!) of zips that I bought  last year off Ebay were some really, really tiny ones  - 2 1/2" to be exact.  These have been sitting in my stash luring me into temptation since then!!!

The first one I'm showing today is one that I made with a teeny zip for my camera's spare battery and spare memory card.  There is a tiny pocket in the case which is held shut with velcro but several times I've nearly lost these two items when carrying them around in there so I made a new tiny bag which is 'just right' and which clips onto the handle.

Now in preparation for the trip later in the summer I've made another weeeeee bag for the 'necessary' tatting tools I may need - a fine crochet hook (I buy mine from Georgia), a pair of clippers (safer than scissors for cutting ends) and a self threading needle.

You'll see (if you look closely) that I've added a piece of fabric to the inside to put the needle on.  The whole thing is lined with my 'secret ingredient' (poke proof stuff) that I use for the poke proof pouches.

I still have a few more zips around 3" to 4" which I'm going to think about next  - all suggestions welcome!!!  

Hang on - if anybody suggests I use them to zip my mouth shut then I'll ban them from reading my blog!!!!!!!

7 April 2011

Winged 'things' and results!!!!

Before I start today I have a confession to make!!  I've found several new blogs to follow myself since I launched the giveaway yesterday.  Oh, quite a few people didn't add their email addresses to their comments but don't worry I'll hop on a plane and fly over to whatever country you are in (or take a bus, Jenny!) if I haven't got an email address.

OK, instead of waiting until I get back home later I've hung around until 8:45 this morning and have got my random generator on the Ipad up and ready to go.  A round figure of 80 dropped in and the winner is -  BONNIE PETERS.  Congratulations.  Can you send me your snail address, Bonnie and I'll pop it in the post tomorrow?  Off out for the day now!!!

Now for today and again looking at the subject 'winged things'.

Nope, not an aeroplane this time - I think I've seen the last of those for a while (quiet nudge for those still working on the TIAS)!!!

This is a fairy which flew in the other day from LeVert who made her from this pattern.  As she said it is a lot of work but worth it.  I've made it a few times since the pattern went onto my site and have also done it in a size 20 thread.  Guidelines for the head are available for a larger sized thread - do ask me if you want to make it.

Then a few days later she sent in a dove too.  I'm SO relieved to find somebody else can follow the dove pattern as I kept altering it every time I made one!!!  That's me, though, never have known when to leave things alone!!!!

Just wondering what the dove would look like in black - a vulture, maybe?  Hmmmmm.

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Happy Beaks

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