25 February 2011

Bookmark to brooch!!!

As I was steaming along the road towards Morrisons pulling my wheelie bin (old git's shopping thingy!) I had another visit from brain cell 3!!  My best ideas come while I'm 'on the hoof'!!!!

WHY NOT?  He yelled at me.  Why not make the bookmark idea into a brooch?  Easy - so HE thought!

Not quite as easy to do, though.  Well, you know what I'm like!!!  I NEVER stick anything onto tatting.  I never use glue to stick on beads, findings or anything.  I always include them in the work - or work them in as I go along!!!  So, of course, I wanted to tat the magnets into the design!!!  They are included in tatting as you can see on the bottom picture - that's the part that sits at the back of the clothing.  I tried to show it next to the front of the flower as well but the wretched thing kept 'escaping' on the scanner platten!!!  

In the end I gave in gracefully (not that I'm a 'graceful' sort of person) and sewed the flower onto the one covered magnet.  That won't fall off in a month of Sundays as I'm an avid 'sewer' and what I sew stays!!!!  OR ELSE!!! 

I'm wondering if these would sell in the Etsy shop.  Any thoughts?  Meantime I'm going to 'test drive' it on my coat tomorrow.  The main reason for making these is cause I like to wear motifs on my tshirts and other clothes and making different magnetic brooches will mean I'll have a choice each day of what to wear and on whatever piece of rag I choose to adorn myself with!!!  Thus a test drive on a thick coat will prove if it works - or not!!!  I'll keep you posted!!! 

Actually it would be great if those who have bought the bookmarks from my shop would comment on their thoughts on if this idea will work.  IF you think it's a 'good idea' I'll make a few more.  Anything to keep me busy!!!!

24 February 2011

Robin, badger and no blips!!!!!!

I wonder if I can explain how I feel about the patterns I do?  It's a bit like having a baby.  Takes months and months to nurture it and carry it around with you (in this case in the mind as well as on the shuttles) and then you get there and it's finished - eureka!!!!

Once it's born (finished!) I then find that I don't want to let it out of my sight for a while.  I can get VERY possessive!!!  Then it becomes a teenager and you can't wait to get rid of it!!!  I actually forget about them too which is why sometimes you see things that I've finished and then they don't appear!!!  Also some go off on trips to other places like the badger and robin.  

The robin was taught by Riet at the Palmetto tat days last year (and by changing colours can become a bluebird too - click on the image on the pattern page for a surprise!) and the badger - well he's been lurking around my computer for years in various 'disguises'.  I think he got rather sett in his ways at one point and wouldn't come out of hiding!!! He doesn't have a 3D head in case you were led to believe that by remarks you've seen elsewhere - it's as flat as a pancake.  

I've also added the 'no blips' link too.  Seems it's going to be pretty useful!!!  All three pages can be reached from my home page here.

23 February 2011

More little critters!

Thanks for all the input after yesterday's post.  There seems to have been a bit of discussion about the 'no blip' join and I must say it appears to be at first  a 'normal join' - specially for the second half of the SR.  I'd just like to point out gently that the 'no blip' way adds ONE small extra movement to the join to extinguish the blip for once and for all!!!   Thought I'd clarify it for those who thought it was the 'normal' join!!!!

Now for today's real post!!!  Here's another group of shuttle critters which have now gone flying over the pond to Erin and Chris.

Can't make up my mind which I like best!!!  I think the hummers but you never know what's going to 'pop off' the shuttles next - least I never know!!!!

Thank you to everybody who tested the 'no blip' idea yesterday - I'll add the link to my web page tomorrow - along with two more patterns!!!

22 February 2011

Talking about BLIPS!!!!

Today's ramble will be about blips!!!!!  I've spent hours and hours on this over the past few weeks until I nearly drove myself round the bend - and back again!!!  Having got it 'sorted' I was then not sure whether it's going to be of much use!!!  BUT Sharren says very enthusiastically that it WORKS and that it works well.

Blips are an annoying part of anybody's tatting and they drive me bonkers!!!!  You know - the 'blips' of colour you get when joining two very contrasting colours.  This happens with rings or split rings.  The front of them look fine until you turn them over and this is what you get - the dreaded blip!!!

I saw another idea years ago but can no longer find it - 'lost in cyberspace', I think.  Anyway, I found it a bit complicated to follow so never got into the habit of using it.
I THINK I've found an easier and faster way to get round the blip problem when joining rings. First of all the front without a blip followed by the back.
This then sent brain cell 3 off on another train of thought.  What about the joins on the second side of the SR?  What IF you could get rid of the blip there?  So here's how it looks after this method of joining.  First the 'right' side followed by the 'wrong' side.   Not that there are any right or wrong sides to tatting, of course!!!

Would you like to know how to do this?  Well, here's a link.  It might look a bit complicated at first but I assure you it's drop dead easy.  IF the majority of people think it's worth adding to my web site then I will but I'd like some feedback first to see if it works for others too!!!!

21 February 2011

More shuttle news!

Before I start - I must tell you that a shuttle posted on 15th December has turned up two months and four days after mailing!!!  If only it could speak I bet it could tell a tale!!!  Would it be about Royal Fail or USA Snail, I wonder!!!!!

Now most of you will have seen and heard a lot about 'im in the garage's Pop a Bobbin shuttles and post shuttles all made in wood.  If you haven't seen them please look in the Pop a Bobbin Shuttle page which can be found above this post.

What I'm going to natter about today is another type of shuttle being made by Chris and Erin Hinton.  They make wooden ones usually but have branched out (scuse pun!) into epoxy ones too.

Erin asked me if I could make some diddly critters to go in them ages ago so I thought 'why not'!!!  Out came 'you know who' and off we both went hand in hand!!!!!  I've still got other ideas but below (right at the bottom) are a few of the next batch.  Hope to show you the rest in a few days.

This is the finished shuttle that they've already made - a seahorse on one side and a fish on t'other.  If you one of these shuttles with a critter in, or anything else - don't ask me please, as I live too far away from Erin!!!!  DOOOO contact her on this email address

19 February 2011

Ziltch, nada, nowt!!!!

You're not going to believe this but I've got nothing to SAY or show!!!!!

An extremely long, very busy and stressful day yesterday so I did nothing in my little corner of tat land!!!!  In fact I sat down with a couple (note, not one!) glasses of wine in the evening and - well, just did nothing!!!  Oh, I did eat a WHOLE bar of chocolate too which was very hard with having to make the oh so tired jaw work.  Yummy, though!

Please don't send for emergency services - I'll recover.  Watch this space on Monday, though!!!!   I hope to be able to make up for my silence!!!

18 February 2011

A parade of kitties

First of all - I've sourced some more shell beads from the shop where I bought the originals.  Here's the link although the guy is going to be away next week - I can wait until he gets back.  I also bought some of the rings he's got on his front page.  Do I need neon rings and what would I do with them!!!  I also bought some of those in orange and blue when I was there!!!!!  I MAY have to play with those soon.  Also I'm going to make another magnetic bookmark with that new starry pattern but which colours shall I use?  Decisions, decisions, decisions!!!!

Inspired by Ridgewoman's new soul mate (Pippa the cat) I started in on this design a few weeks ago.  I kept putting it down, picking it up and generally messing around with it!!!  

I started off with a standing version (which I'll go back to next!) and thought it was a bit boring.  Then, looking at pictures of cats on the internet, I decided that a stretching cat was what I'd do.  If only I could stick to the simple things in life!!!

Anyway, here's a progression and degression of the kitties with the final one at the bottom.  Well, I THINK it's the final one but I'm not sure!!!  Having scanned it I'm even MORE not sure.  So, back to the drawing board - or, rather, the tatting shuttles!!!

What I have to ask myself (and anybody reading this) is if the bottom one needs more tweaking.  No, perhaps it doesn't, yes it does, no it doesn't.  Darn it - another break from kitties is called for!!!!

17 February 2011

More of the same!!

Here are more medallions.  Once I get a bee in my bonnet I have to get it out!!!  Before it stings me!!!

16 February 2011

The missing shuttles

I found two more shuttles which had slipped into the inactive part of the Etsy shop!!!!!  They're now listed!!!!

Yesterday I spent ages and ages doing something really HARD for me - tidying up!!!  I did all the space around me and then tackled my email addresses.  I've deleted all those who I used to mail with updates from my Ring of Tatters section.  That was a LOT of email addresses!!!!   So anybody who used to get a notification will have to keep an eye on me here to see what I'm up to!!

Then, as a treat, I thought I'd buy some more colours of the shell beads I've been using for the centres of the new motifs (see new one below) so took myself off to search for some more.  Nil, zilch, nada, nowt, NOTHING - not in the UK shops anyway.  So, that was the end of that.  You wait til I get to the USA - watch out all the craft places!!!

I also managed to put Jane McLellan's choker pattern up in my guest designer's section.  This is mainly thanks also to Isdihara who put it all together with Jane's permission.  Here's the direct link.

Here's the finished bookmark which will (or should!) get into the shop later today!!  I may make another bluey/greeney one before going back to another design I'm working on.  Unless I forget, of course!!!

15 February 2011

A motif!

This is a little motif I'm working on.  
I'm thinking of this as a pendant as some people suggested that as an idea for my wee giveaways.  I hope it's an original as I'm going to write and draw it up.

Then on Sunday I sold a magnetic bookmark and thought I'd replace it.  The one I sold was a very pretty blue flower on a button.  As I was currently working on another of these starry sort of motifs I wondered what it would look like as a magnetic bookmark.  Well, I found out!!!  What do you think?  Does it 'pass the test'?

Well, actually it did pass as I put it in the shop and within two hours or so some little stinker (you know who you are - THANK YOU!) bought it!!!!! 
So I've started another one!!!!  Here it is.  These colours just SING to me.

14 February 2011

How and why I learnt to tat

Before I start - there are a few shuttles left in my Etsy shop.  Not many, but a few!!!!

Several people have been talking about how and when they learnt to tat but I've done a post on this before - some four and a half years ago.  Rather than repeat myself (which Nick says I'm ALWAYS doing!) I'll give you the link.   

Enough to say that a bit more water has passed under the bridge since I wrote that post!!!!  Doesn't change the facts, though.  I'm older (now 67) and not a lot wiser!!!  A lot has changed during those years since I learnt (and since I posted that piece) and a some things haven't!!!

Rings have stayed and chains too.  Notation has moved on a bit too and also the thing that I craved more than anything as a teenager - colour has arrived beautifully.  There were so few colours in the Coats threads and they were pretty darn boring.  

Antimacassars, collars, doilies, hanky edgings and motifs were all that were 'on offer' in the Coats and Penelope leaflets. 

I remember the times when I took great risks with my craft.  Long before the internet I found the odd advertisement in magazines telling of goodies available in the USA.  Things I NEEDED to have.  The Mary Sue Kuhn books were a 'must have' with an intriguing 'new idea'.  This was, of course, the 'how to do' a split ring.  Something we all take so much for granted nowadays.  Originally from Anne Orr this lass called Mary Sue had taken something nobody seemed to have put much store by and woken up tat land (well my little corner of it!!). In those 'far off' days I used to buy dollars at the bank (for a price!), put them in an envelope and 'hope' they got to the right place in that far off country and hoping too that I got the goodies back!!! 

I got quite a few books and the odd tools (like the jiffy needles) that way including some netting books. Now all these things are a click away - boy, have things changed.

Heck, I'm rambling again - must be a sign of old age.  I'm off for a shower!!!!

12 February 2011

Another choker.

First of all I must add an addendum to this post.  I thought it was somebody named Susan who had sent it to me and so searched high and low (emails, internet, everywhere) to find a Susan who tatted.  Then yesterday the culprit owned up!!! It was Lily who can be found here!!!  She did mention ages ago she was going to send me something but I'm one of those people who forget easily so that I can have a bigger surprise when things do turn up.  BOY was it a surprise too!!!  So, thanks LILY and not Susan (Lily's mum who's name was on the package as the sender)!!!!

Next bit of news is that the shuttles are all in the shop and ready to 'go live' on Sunday - around midday (that's GMT) so that America is awake or nearly awake!!  There is a fabulous mixture of hooks/no hooks this time with some great new woods too.  I've also updated the pop a bobbin page here on the blog to show them off!!!  There is a link at the top of this post (somewhere!) too.

Just thought you'd like to see what Geraldine's done with Jane's chokers.

Geraldine sent this in with her picture earlier this week and she said:-
"Well not much H/work has been done this week end . Why? Your TIAS and that wow choker of Jane's. I'm so glad you got the pattern. I have so enjoyed tatting it. I have tatted the 47 rings as stated, but it only measures 12 inches which does not fit my neck. I have thought of another use when I have finished I will send a picture."

11 February 2011

2 size 30 hearts

Before I start - just want to let you know that I'll be listing more pop a bobbin shuttles in the Etsy store over the weekend.  Not quite sure what time at the moment but I think they'll go live when I get up on Sunday morning!!!!  Some will have hooks and some will not!!!  Also I've added the aeroplane pattern to the pattern page - right at the bottom under odds and ends!!!!  I'm hoping a few more will come in to land over the weekend unless there's a volcano erupting somewhere or a baggage handlers strike!!!!

Well our flights are booked to the USA later this year so what to take with me for little pressies is the next 'problem'!!!! 

In the past I've taken dangles, bookmarks, brooches and other bits and bobs.  What will I make this year?  I made these two hearts the other day in a size 30 thread and thought I'd make them into dangles.  Problem is that they're a little too big for the rings I've got.  Then I thought of something else but it's a 'not got roundtoit' at the moment.

ANY suggestions for what to make would be VERY welcome.  Whatever it is they've got to be VERY pretty and also fairly fast to make.  I'll just have to give dear brain cell 3 a ring too!!!

10 February 2011

Using up odds and ends

I've got a few ezybobs emptied now  by doing the flowers and diddly things below.  Having spent a few days working on a new design (another critter) I craved colour and beads in my life.  So to kill two birds with one stone I decided to empty the ezybobs and play with colour!!!

Then decisions had to be made!!!!  What do I do with these?  So eventually (after a few hours of thought!) I decided to add them to my handbag.

This was a bag given to me for Christmas by one of my daughters.  I never have a bag that is 'just right' but this one is THE first ever JUST RIGHT handbag I've ever had.  It was a bit dull (for me, that is!) so I'm gradually brightening it up.  You can now see these 'diddly bits' on it!!!

It has room for everything in it - even my roly poly with my carry round tatting in it.  I'm so pleased with it that next time I need a new handbag I'll send her to buy it for me.

9 February 2011

A gift package

Ooooh, look what Royal Mail (notice, not Fail this time as they did deliver! in 7 days) brought me yesterday all the way from Florida and from Susan.  More toys to play with.  THANKS, Susan.

Unfortunately the beads don't show too well but they are drop dead gorgeous.  I recognised the snowflake too - I should've pressed it before scanning but I was too excited!!!  The earwigs will be worn with pride with my green tshirt. 
Also below here are two more bookmarks which I hope to get in my Etsy shop later today.  I really, really love making these flowers.  In fact I've got three that I made last week for my handbag.  I'll show you those another day - and my handbag too!!!

8 February 2011

A trip to the dark side!

If you are of a nervous disposition OR a needle tatter DO not read further!  Well, perhaps you ought as it isn't 'all bad'!!!!!  If you do read then I hope you'll read to the end - before you fall asleep!!!

I took a trip to the dark side the other day - you know me and know my opinion on needle tatting from the past.  But, I realised after several conversations with needle tatters (particularly Barb) that the needle tatting I self taught myself back in the 70's with the Jiffy needles (courtesy of the Morins) was different to the needle tatting being done nowadays.  Takes time for the penny to drop with me!!!

My opinion about needle tatting is based on the fact that it's not traditional - here is a link which gives the history of tatting on Wikipedia.  I have seen one very old published item (1917) showing that a needle can be used but it does make me wonder why it was never adopted and developed like shuttle tatting.  I think this is the piece I remember seeing - below. After yet another ‘chat’ with Barb she pointed out that (like the Jiffy needle method) this is an antiquated method (I hadn’t looked at it closely – just used it as an illustration of when the use of a needle was first seen - probably) and again is probably the reason that the ‘modern’ needle tatting has evolved.  
Anyway after these conversations I felt curious enough to try it for myself.  Bearing in mind I've had a set of the new sorts of needles  (after Jiffy) which I bought before internet ordering was available from Handy Hands and which has remained unopened  until a few days ago - you can see my interest in this skill - nil!!!

So, digging around in my tatting cupboard the other day I found this ancient (but new!) set of needles!!  Still unopened.  A matter of an hour or so later I'd got the 'hang' of this technique.  I don't mind the wieldy and (definitely not pretty!) needle or the fact that you have to be careful you don't sit on it but what really bugged me (and I couldn't get it any better - is the 'padded' look of the finished piece.  I read all the instructions and got the right sized needle for the right thickness of thread.  I tightened my stitches up real snug on the needle and they looked beautiful.  I slid them off and there they were - all floppy and limp.  I also quickly got into a mess with the long length of thread needed but fortunately the phone didn't ring and nobody came to the door - I only got a tangle once!!!
Anyway, the needles were relegated to the cupboard again for a few days by which time I'd given it more thought and decided to have another 'go'!!!!
This time I thought I'd do a comparison and was surprised to find that the needle tatted and shuttle tatted pieces both came out the same size.  That DID surprise me.  BUT the needle tatted one is still floppy and the 'stitches' do not hug the core thread as in a shuttle piece.  On the left is the needle version and the right is the shuttle.
Now, to summarise my excursion to the dark side (which turned out to be not so dark!). 
I can now say that the although the finished item is ALMOST as good as shuttle tatting - it doesn't quite 'make it' for me as it certainly doesn't give a crisp finish.
The needles are NOT pretty!!!  
The length of thread needed that lies in the lap is extremely annoying and tangles easily - in my second attempt I got into an even worse tangle as there was more thread.  I'm not sure which would be worse - so much dangly thread or forever joining in new!!!
Finally - why on this planet would anybody want to learn something that is harder to learn than using a shuttle with a poorer result!!  I can't see how this is easy to carry around with you when that length of thread is going to have to be put in a bag!
My final word is still that this side line of the craft should not be called tatting.  In fact ALL tatting SHOULD in my opinion be defined by the way it is made.  We  have 'bobbin' lace, 'needle' lace, 'knitted' lace, 'tape' lace and 'machine' lace so why shouldn't we define these two as 'shuttle' tatting and 'needle' tatting every time it's mentioned.  Honestly it's only fair to the person reading it to be given the information that there are two ways of getting there.

7 February 2011

Another heart

I've got a heart like this in my shop but this one isn't there!!!  This is for a returning customer who works in our Post Office. 

The staff at the post office are always curious as to what I'm mailing abroad and this lady one day was puzzled as the package 'stuck' slightly to her counter top.  She said if felt as if it was magnetic.  Thus the conversation was started.  I took a butterfly down to show her  few days later and she bought that and then ordered a heart.  

Oh, must tell you a story.  On Saturday Sally and I were looking through the clothes racks in a local shop and she spotted a nice top.  I pointed out that it had three quarter sleeves to which Sally said that was fine.  Then out of my poor old mouth came - 'hmmm, spose it would be OK for me too as I've only got three quarter arms'.  Never thought about it until a woman nearby burst out laughing.  It's true, though, my arms are short and long sleeved things are always waaaaay too long and fall off the edge!!

5 February 2011

Jane's chokers

Woweeeee, look at these.

They're from Jane and I asked her if she'd got a pattern cause I just knew you guys 'out  there' in tat land would absolutely NEED it.  Here it is:-

Black and brights choker
Materials : 2 size 20 threads, one  rainbow bright and the other black; 2 shuttles; 2 clasps, 282 bright seed beads.
Abbreviations : CTM, continuous thread method; ds, double stitch; p, picot; lp, long picot; SR, split ring
+B, add 3 beads to long picot before joining
Foundation Row:
Wind 2 shuttles CTM, need both shuttles to be almost full.
SR1, using shuttle 1: 8/lp(or attach jump ring for fastening)8
SR2, using shuttle 2: 8/8
Begin the split rings with alternate shuttles in order to keep the colours same on each split ring.
Do 46 split rings in this way.
On the 47th ring, attach a clasp. I do a Single shuttle split ring for this ring, hiding the thread from shuttle 2 in the first half of the ring, which saves having to thread in the ends.
Top black row
Wind 2 shuttles CTM with black thread.
SR1: 1ds, lp(long enough to hold 3 beads) 4ds, lp, 3ds/7ds. Before closing the split ring, put the foundation row upwards through the ring. Close.
SR2: 4ds, 2 lp, 3ds/7 Before closing ring, put the foundation row downwards through the ring. Close.
Note: the second half of the SR should have one less ds than the first half, the first half should have 2 long picots in the centre of  the 8ds.
Continue in this way, weaving the foundation row up and down before closing each SR to the last SR.
SR 47: 4ds, lp, 3ds, lp 1ds/7ds
 Close the final SR. Tie and cut and hide the ends.
Foundation Row
Make another foundation row, the same as before.
Bottom Black Row
Wind 2 shuttles CTM.
SR1: 1ds, +B, 4ds, +B, 3ds/9 Before closing the split ring, put the foundation row upwards through the ring. Close.
SR2: 4ds, +B, +B, 3ds/9 Before closing the split ring, put the foundation row downwards through the ring. Close.
Note, there is one more ds on second half of the split ring. Continue in this way, weaving the foundation row up and down before closing each split ring. Tie and cut and hide ends.
I used the same method for all the necklaces, only using different beads and colours.

4 February 2011

A very special bookmark

Here is the penultimate link - day 9.  I will be very busy over the weekend so I'm going to keep the last one until Monday morning.  Sorry about that but little sisters come first!!

This bookmark is very special.  It's Nick's.  

Last year as part of his birthday present I bought some magnetic bookmarks from Waterstones.  Just a sort of 'stocking filler' present.  

It was as I was walking back from town that the whole idea of making tatted ones started germinating in my mind and thus they became a small (but growing) section of my Etsy shop!!!!

Sadly last week I returned a book to the library for him with one of the small  Waterstones bookmarks left on it so felt I needed to make him a new one.  Actually he asked as he was getting jealous of all the others flying out of the house!!  This is the badger head (FLAT, not 3D).  Nick loves badgers.

Now him being him - he doesn't use it as I designed it to be used!!!!  He's got a better idea and I'll admit one I hadn't thought of!!!  He puts the two magnets either side of the front or back covers of the book and then uses the head on the dangly tail to mark the actual place he's reached inside.  He's wickedly clever is that old git!!!!!  

3 February 2011

Final bead talk!!

First of all - another package posted on 14th or 15th December (that's LAST year!) has now arrived in the USA.

Now how to add beads another way.

I think it must've been as a result of something that somebody said on a blog somewhere about Rhoda Auld's method of adding beads which got the old brain working.  

I remember that moment when I was making something just a few years ago which needed the mental capacity to work out not only 'how many' but also 'what order' to add the beads to the threads before starting and it was a LOT of beads too.  I just wasn't coping well with that concept - I've never had a good brain for that sort of thing.  Then it occurred to me that perhaps I could add the beads when I 'got there' - like Rhoda did but differently so that they didn't have the thread over the sides of the beads (see yesterday's post).

This (after probably around 50 years of tatting) was a huge moment for me.  I'd not seen this idea used before.

So, this is how it's done.  When you get to the place that needs a whole lot of beads on a picot (or what I call a LBP - long beaded picot) you add the beads to the back of the hand above the last doubles and put a safety pin/paperclip to hold them in place.  Then continue with the pattern and join to the LBP when required.  This gives you the opportunity to experiment with colours, sizes and different orders of beads too.

Here are a couple of quick pictures but there is a link here with more explanation.

I was SO thrilled when seeing the TIAS pieces coming in that this idea has been adopted for making picots to fit even just one bead.  My first thoughts were to put this in the TIAS instructions but I didn't want to 'frighten off' participants who had recently learnt to tat.

2 February 2011

More about beads!!!

Before starting - day 8 is out now and can be found here.

A few people choose to add beads to their tatting after completion.  I've never understood this as the sewing thread could so easily come undone.  When I do something I like it to 'stay done' and not fall apart!!  With a little planning and good instructions it's so easy to add beads into the work as the piece is made.

There are several ways of using beads in your work - at the top of the picot (that is, included in the picot itself) is probably the first method that comes to mind.

This needs a bit of 'planning'.  Patterns should tell you to add the beads either to the shuttle or chain threads (sometimes both) and the quantity before starting.  When the element (ring, chain, split ring or whatever) is reached that needs the bead then some patterns will instruct you to move the bead to the back of your hand before starting the next part.  Always read the instructions before starting each element - just in case!!!  When annotating patterns I tend to use B as the instruction for a bead used like this (see below) with the 'move B to back of hand before starting ring' at the end of the previous element.  Sometimes I forget, though.
If the bead is to lie between the doubles then it stays on the shuttle thread until required by the pattern's instructions.  Then it's just moved along the core thread to sit there happily between it's two doubles!!!  Like this picture below.  In this case I use the instructions MB (move bead).  This is perhaps the easiest way of using beads but does leave a thread over the top.  Useful effect for some patterns and very useful for placing 'eyes' in critter designs!!!

Combining the top two methods (on and in a picot) gives some interesting effects like the sample shown below.  There are other combinations too.

Another way of adding beads is one  I first found in 1974 when I bought (new as just published!!!) Rhoda Auld's book.  This is what I've always thought of as the 'lazy way' of adding beads!!!  Why lazy?  Well, no planning is needed!!!  When you feel you want or need a bead you add it to the thread round your hand, take the shuttle thread through the loop coming out of the top of the bead and then snug up the thread.  I  think the result is ugly.  I've never liked the threads showing over my beads so soon after using that method I abandoned it.  This is how it's done!!
And this is what it looks like when finished!  Not my cuppa tea!!!!  I found that the thread round the bead 'snagged' on things too.

Tomorrow I'll be talking my final (probably!) talk about beads in tatting.

1 February 2011

A 'How To' page

Before I start - another packet has arrived with it's new owner.  This was mailed on the 14th December.  Long live Royal Fail!!!!!!

Today will be the first of three posts which will be talking about beads.  These will be serious posts and will probably interest those who are reluctant to use beads!!!

I think the first time I ever added beads to my tatting was onto picots.  That is 'ready made' picots.  Like this!!!  
During the TIAS there was somebody who was having trouble adding her beads to the picots.  Now this is a problem and one which we've all met at sometime or another.  I use two different methods - depending on my mood and the size of the bead/thread.  

The first way is using a very, very small crochet hook (my favourites of all time are from Georgia Seitz cause they're short and have a chain and cover on them).  The size I use is 0.4mm.  The bead is put on the hook, the hook through the picot and the bead slipped over the thread and thus onto the picot.  Then the join is made.

If the hole in the bead is too small then I use a beading needle and some sewing thread and do it this way.  I take the needle through the bead and slip the bead onto the thread.  Then I take the needle through the picot then back through the bead.  All I do then is slide the bead onto the picot.  Job done!!!!

31 January 2011


Do you know what really, really, REALLY makes me totally angry?

I'll tell you.  People who can't read my patterns.  They're tatting away and then see they've made a mistake.  That's after all the hours and hours I spend doing them and THEN they have the nerve to complain.  Complain to ME.  That's right - they complain to MEEE.  MEEEEEE the best thing since sliced bread!!! HOW DARE they?  

Who is it who has upset me?  I'll tell you and I hope you'll send her to Coventry. 

It's MEEEE who has upset me.  I can't STAND it when I can't even follow my own patterns and then I complain to me!  I was working on the sheep yet again and mis read it AGAIN and in the SAME place!!!  I drive me MAD!!!!!

OK, off to Coventry - I'm not going to speak to me again all day!!!  I'll speak to everybody else in tat land but just not ME!!!

Here's the offending sheep who's now eating grass in Etsy.

30 January 2011

Day 7

In case anybody has come to this blog I'm putting the link here for Day 7 of the TIAS.  Here it is!!!

Day 8 will be on Wednesday.

29 January 2011

More magnetic bookmarks

This is another 'batch' of bookmarks which were ordered by friends.  

The first 'batch' is for Dinah who used to live in this town.  She wanted 4 for female readers and 1 for a male reader.  Easy for the ladies but the gentleman needed a tad more thought.  Thus was born the bowler hatted bookworm who you can see top left!!!

The penguin is another request in the second picture alongside the butterfly for the 'lady at the post office'.

Next?  Well, baaaaing too many distractions - sheep!!!!  

28 January 2011

Changes in tatting

Don't forget - today is Day 6 of the TIAS.

Following on from yesterday's post about starting and finishing tatted pieces today I want to ramble on about picots and front side back side tatting.

It's not until I came online in the early days of the internet that I'd ever heard of picot gauges and I still to this day don't know what use they are except for the longer picots that have to be a certain length to make a pattern work.  For the smaller decorative picots I'd never slow myself down by relying on those - eyes are better than gismos!!! Also a slight variation in sizes gives a piece a more 'easy' look to me.   Please note, however - I am NOT and never have been a perfectionist!!  I enjoy my craft but I don't want or expect each piece to be perfect.  Using a gauge seems to be quite a popular way of working nowadays but as far as I know there's no record of it being the way our ancestors worked.  Certainly it didn't show up in any instructions or patterns when I learnt to tat!!!

Now the question of whether to use front side, back side tatting.  I can certainly see the effect of tatting this way (with a 'right and wrong' side) and now notate patterns to help people to do it.  But I'm not convinced it's important.  I DO use it when I'm making a piece that will be sewn or stuck onto something but if it's going to be 3D or given away to somebody then I stick to the 'old fashioned' way of not worrying about it.  Why?  Well how many people would NOTICE or know if a tatted doily was the 'right way' or 'wrong way' up on a table?  I'm sure no non tatters would!!!!  Again looking through old patterns it's obvious that this was never done in the dim and distant past.

Well, that's enough of me for today - tomorrow I'll show you something I've been working on.

27 January 2011

I've been thinking!

No, don't worry - it won't last and I'm sure it's not catching.

As the TIAS has been progressing I've noticed 'things' about the way people work.  Only minor 'things' but 'things' nonetheless!!!  

The first thing that sprung to my attention was that many people nowadays  seem to start their tatting with CTM (continuous thread method) which  obviously couldn't be done with the TIAS.  The CTM  while allowing the worker to avoid tying a knot at the beginning, seems (to me!) a big fiddle before you even start.  Unless you know exactly how much thread you're going to need (and not many patterns tell you) there seems little point in doing this as you'll still have some thread left on the shuttles when you finish!  I know some people then use the 'remains' to make little diddly things (I personally take the thread off and re-wind it back onto the ball).  The TIAS involves starting with two colours which prevents the CTM totally!!

A lot of people have used an overhand knot like this to start.
Now obviously this isn't 'wrong' and people have their own reasons for starting this way but there are other ways.  Personally I do prefer to knot my ends together when I start IF the item is going to be a 'wearable'.  But I always use a weaver's knot which can be found here.  Why a weaver's knot?  Simples (does anybody from the UK follow the meerkat adverts?) - because it makes a much, much smaller knot.  I then tat over the two ends too - one end in the first ring and t'other in the following element.  I just sorta feel 'safer' using a knot too!!

If the item isn't going to be worn or suffer a lot of wear then I just start without a knot - here's a link for some ideas.

The one 'trick' that I've only ever used once or twice is the magic thread trick for which you can find a link here.  

There are two reasons for this - the main one on which I fall at the first hurdle is planning!!!  

Also I feel there is no point in using it at the start of the work as the ends can be hidden so easily.  The second reason is that it does take some working out on where to put the additional threads - if you are using it as a finishing off method.  

I did try it once but the ends came out a few days later!!!  I know, I know that some people will say that I got the 'wrong sort' of additional thread and probably I did - BUT it's something I'm not going to risk again.  Not when I know that for me it's so much easier to tie a double knot (reef knot) and then, using a self threading needle, sew the ends in!!!

Which reminds me - another tip is to add the needle onto the thread before cutting it.  That way you can judge exactly how little you need!!!

The above are only my personal opinions and are a true report of how I work!!!  Here endeth today's ramble!!

26 January 2011

Welcome to my new dating agency!

Well I should've learnt by now to keep my BIG mouth shut - see here!!  There again you can't teach an old dog new tricks, can you?  

Please, folks, it WAS a joke the other day about starting a dating agency but if at the age of 67 I have to start along new career path then that's what I'll do.  Actually what better way to spend my time than fixing pandas up with dates!!!

Please meet Bo who is the progeny of Sarah.  Now what a bobby dazzler.  

Oh, Sarah says that Bo's top hat is a pattern by Teresa Woods, 2006. She wanted to make sure she got credit.
 The news on Royal Mail is now gettng slightly better.  I had a message as I was lying in bed last night from one of my bestest customers saying this:-
"I don't know if you put the fear of God in your postal workers but one of the missing packets showed up today! Yeah (happy dance) and I have hope that the next one will arrive in the next day or two.  Funny post mark is Dec15, 2010.  HaHaHa if I was that slow with doing my job I wouldn't have a job."
It's the packets that I mailed on that date or the day before/after that have been causing me to worry.  I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that the others turn up over the next few days.

25 January 2011

Done and dusted!!

Here is the chicken wing doily with MANY thanks to Geraldine for pushing brain cell 3 towards this!!!

Also, believe it or not, the Fandango bookmark!!!!  I'm going to reward myself now with some chocolate this evening.  
Next task is catching up on bookmark orders!!!!  Also I need to make a kitty cat for bookmarks too but brain cell 3 isn't QUITE ready to tackle that.  7 bookmarks first, old lady, 7 bookmarks first!!!!
More news on missing mail - Maureen's has turned up in Brisbane despite the floods.  Still several not arrived in the USA.

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Happy Beaks

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