8 October 2011


A bell at last.  One that I like!!

There are two more underneath this one.  What a struggle this was to get it how I like it.  I now have something I'm happy to give to friends around Christmas time.  BUT I still have to finish off the pattern which will be a while as I've been 'torn away' to play with something else - a new adventure for me in tat land!!!  More another day about that!

Oh, the two at the bottom are made with the same two threads but t'other way round!!!  I suppose you could call those the Outside In Bell - Inside Out!!!  More sick jokes from the computer of 'yours truly'!!!!

PS the blue one on the right looks drunk - I'll have to pull and press that into shape sometime!!!!

6 October 2011


Thanks to everybody who sent me birthday wishes yesterday.  

It was pure coincidence that the birthday thread was named that by Natalie and that it arrived with me the day before I became 68!!!!

The day passed quickly (partly due to a plumbing crisis which needed dealing with as an emergency!) and was ended with a rather large glass of the 'red stuff' which meant that not a lot of tatting was done!!!!

5 October 2011

My birthday thread arrived!

On Monday I ordered some thread from Natalie from her Etsy store.  I chose the one called 'birthday' because I just couldn't resist the colours in it!!!  

It arrived around lunchtime on Tuesday by Royal Mail (please note that on this occasion I'm NOT calling it Royal Fail).  That was fast!  So I got out an ez bob, wound it onto that and then grabbed two shuttles.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it!!!

Yes, it's one of the Outside In bells (note to self - MUST get the pattern finished!). 

Doesn't that just BEG you to tat?

Natalie says (by the way, we've only recently met online) that she's going to list more threads today so all you tatters - let's go shop!!!!  Let's face it - we've got to keep those dyers busy, haven't we?  Can't have them sitting twiddling their thumbs or boredom might set in!!!

Later Sally asked me how far the thread would go and it occurred to me that I'd never ever worked that out!!!  Yarnplayer's and most sellers do the size 20 (which is what I usually use) in 50 yard skeins.  The bell below took 6 yards but usually I would make them with a plain thread too which would cut that down to 3 yards.  So how many bells with a contrast thread could you make from one skein?  Roughly 16.  Now I reckon that's REALLY good value.

4 October 2011

Well, it wasn't a PROMISE!!

I didn't actually PROMISE I wasn't going to post every day - it was just a sort of 'suggestion' to myself and you guys!!!  So as it wasn't a 'promise' I can break it, can't I?

I do have a very, very good reason to break my 'promise'.  

After a discussion with Natalie at the Yarnyard (here in the UK) and via another lass I met online, she kindly sent me some silk HDT thread to tat with.  This was silk she'd hand dyed herself (she's an expert at this - been doing it for years) for the embroidery and knitting 'market'.  I loved the colours which were grey to black but it was just a bit 'fuzzy' for me and I suggested that probably a good six core thread may be better for tatters.  You can see a picture of my tryout down below - just a quick 8 ring motif that I did to try something for somebody else!!!  I didn't start the two shuttles tied together so that's why it looks a bit 'odd' after the SR!!!  Anyway, off Natalie trundled and got some Lizbeth to try.  

Meanwhile she opened up an Etsy shop for the silk threads and by yesterday had some HDT Lizbeth for sale.  Well, you know me - I was like a 'rat up a drainpipe' and was in that shop at the drop of a hat!!!!  Good job too as the one called 'birthday' quickly sold out - I got a skein of that!!

Natalie is learning to tat too and her blog is here.  Fancy learning to tat with HDT (OK, she says this one didn't pass her quality control but it would've passed mine!).  When I learned all we had available was white Coats.  If you scroll down her blog you'll see all the colours she's doing in threads and I'm sure she'd help if there's anything you want.

3 October 2011

Just can't WAIT

Well it was Saturday morning and another hot (yes I did say hot) day in my corner of tat land.  Not a lot had been planned for the day.
As soon as I'm awake each morning I have to check on what's happening in the rest of tat land so I grope for my specs, grab my iPad and go straight to emails.  Bearing in mind that except for a quick visit to the bathroom this is barely five minutes after my eyes open and I'm back in bed!  Next on my list is to read blog updates.  Goody, a post from Martha Ess.  

EVEN better is what I've been waiting for for weeks - the announcement that we can now order her new book.  Here's the link.  

Now if you've never bought any of Martha's books I suggest you think about it very, very seriously.  Hers are absolutely delightful (like Martha herself).  The critter books are my mainstay for making birthday cards - small motifs which are so different.  I LOVE her teapot book and when I got that I just had to make the tiny, tiny 3D set - 'just because' it was there.  There's a heart book too.  All her books are neatly presented and with clear diagrams and (VERY important to me) clear fonts.  

All I ask is for you NOT to buy yours until I'm sure mine is on it's way!!!!  Actually, don't worry as I got in there very early on Saturday morning to order mine!!!  Of course I had to tell Sally it was out too and she's ordered hers as well.  Thanks, Martha - can't wait to make things from the book.

Before I finish - do visit this link too as Martha has some free patterns here.  My favourite is the mermaid and the warning when you click on the link!!!!  I've made her several times and I think I'm going to do her again with some of my HDT.  

1 October 2011

More and better dragonflies

I went to see a friend the other day and she showed me her dragonfly necklace which was made entirely of beads - no tatting.

BUT this gave me a better idea for mine!!! Here they are in all their 'glory' on a leather thong and with that wonderful knot which allows you to adjust the length.  Job done.

I may make some for my Etsy shop but these are for myself and for the friend who gave me the idea!!!

30 September 2011

Royal Fail strikes AGAIN.

Well, they've done it again - Royal Fail.  This is what Sue Anna had to say.

Do you remember the last batch of shuttles I put in the Etsy shop on 22nd August?  Well, poor Sue Anna hasn't got hers yet.  She's SUCH a patient person but even I was getting worried last week.  So on Saturday morning I emailed her to ask if they'd arrived.  If she'd said no then I was going to refund her money and make sure she got replacements out of the next batch.  

Well it couldn't have been an hour later that the door bell rang.  There stood the postman with a very puzzled look on his face.  The packet to Sue Anna was there in his hand and he was so apologetic.  It looked 'travel worn' but hadn't been opened.

So I took it down to the Post Office and showed it to them.  They said it was properly labelled, properly priced etc, etc.  On the front as you'll see below - somebody has written CANADA and then scribbled it out.  There's also the cryptic NSP and RTS.  These stand for 'not small packet' and 'return to sender'.  OK they made a mistake at the sorting office as it IS a small packet.  

I would wonder why it took over a month to get RTS'd to me too.  Anyway a stroppy letter of complaint and a claim for my postage to be refunded and compensation is in the mail to them - provided THAT doesn't get lost.  I won't reveal what I actually said in the letter but - well, let's just say that the room filled with smoke. 

There's another small present that I sent to Sue Anna about a week after the shuttles and that hasn't arrived yet - wonder whether it'll come back to me next Saturday?  The package is on it's way again too.  

28 September 2011

Tidying the books

Did you miss me yesterday?  I've decided to cut down a bit on my blogging.  Not because I've got nothing to say - after all I am a woman!!!!  I was beginning to find my posts boring when I went to read them so I've decided to cut down a bit.

For ages now this has been on my 'to do' list.  Tidying up my tatting books.  But, guess what?  I kept putting it off.

Now when I do this (putting things off) it's usually because I'm not sure how to tackle the 'problem'.  The trouble with the books is that they're all different sizes and thicknesses so to find the small slim books amongst the larger ones became a fight!!!  Also I was constantly worried that they'd get damaged.  

Eventually I decided that probably magazine holders might be the answer.  See the big book in the magazine holder on it's own in a plastic folder?  That's my very, very precious Mrs Beeton's book. 

So over the past two weeks I've walked up to Staples twice and popped in and bought some magazine holders to help make my problem go away (some are old ones which I rescued from the loft).  This is the result below.  A nice tidy (but one wonders for how long!) shelf of tatting books.

Some of the books like the Mary Konior ones didn't need holders as they're very well behaved so they're standing in (roughly) alphabetical order on the shelf.  The brackets on the wall had to be considered when positioning them all but I think it'll work.

Oh, for the eagle eyed amongst you (Anitra, probably applies to you as you rescue eagles) you may spot Nick's store of wine below!!!  I often feel 'forced' to help him drink it, cough, cough, splutter, splutter!!!!  Next task will be the shelf below the books which also holds tatting leaflets, printouts, etc.

26 September 2011

For whom the bell tolls!

Well actually this one will never toll again for anybody!!!  Remember the Outside In Bell?  Well this is what happened to it the other day!!!  Cut down in his prime, vandalised and thrown in the bin!!!!

Why?  Well I decided that it wasn't a 'good' design.  It was OK but it wasn't good enough for me.  Naturally I had to 'rescue' the beads I'd used in it (well, not the tiny seed beads) so out came the scissors!!

When I make something it HAS to stand on it's own.  It should NOT need blocking or pulling into shape or fiddling with.  Once it's finished it should just 'be' without any further help (well, perhaps a light press with the iron).  That's the high standard I set myself and it doesn't matter if I have to tat the same thing over a dozen times I will do that to meet my own 'quality control' standards.

Well, the bell didn't.  I had to damp it and slightly tug it into shape and that WON'T DO so it hit the dust!!!  Don't worry - I've not given up yet and I WILL get an Outside In Bell that is a good design and not just an 'average' one.  So THERE!!!  I have spoken!!!!  Well, when have I ever been quiet, eh?

24 September 2011

Doodles 2

Here are the rest of the doodles for Erin. 

I'm still waiting for pictures of the shuttles but hope to have those for next week.  

Can you see the flowers on this selection?  They're to go with the hummingbirds, I think!!!!

23 September 2011

Launching butterfly 2

The page is up and ready to go - here's the link.  If you do ever get round to making it I'd love to see it.
Thank you to my valiant team of test tatters - without you I'd have given up the re-writing ages ago!!!  I've altered the text yet again to make it simpler, I hope!!!

Having always been a 'bright colours' person I'm trying to show here that I can do 'other' shades too!!!  The variegated pink is a Lizbeth one which I bought for making pigs!!  The brown is an ancient Coats.  As you probably know there is a new Lizbeth thread out in these colours - all on the same ball, though.  I can't wait to try it.

Well, upwards and onwards to the next project.  Should I return to the bell?  Probably!!!

22 September 2011

Doodles part 1

Some time ago I was in touch with Erin Hinton of Hinton's shuttles.  They're now making shuttles out of epoxy resin in which they embed tatting!!  

Isn't that just TOO clever?  Well I offered to do some doodles for these and here are some I'm working on.
Below you can see a squirrel, an acorn, a turtle, a butterfly, some elephants and giraffes, a tree, a mouse, a fish and a hummingbird.  I make them in pairs but they're such little stinkers to get on the scanner together or in pairs you'll just have to see them like this - in a muddle!!!  I'll get the rest done tomorrow and show you them then.

I'm waiting for a photo from Erin of a finished shuttle to show you.  When her husband has time to take one I'll post it too.

21 September 2011

Do I shimmer or what?

Last Thursday evening I'd finished this dragonfly and was dying to see what it looked like as a necklace/pendant.  I have a friend who sells the most amazing jewellery on the Friday street market (here's a link to her Facebook site) so I wanted to 'show this off' to her.

Easy - just needed the chain and clasps put on as I'd already 'worked in' the split rings in the wings.  So, bright and early on Friday morning (well a tad after nine o'clock) I set off to find the chain in my bulging tatting cupboard.  No way!!!  I searched and searched but couldn't find the one I wanted!!!!

So, off I went shopping and told Sarah about it.  When I got home I had to do the dreaded 'H' word so it was much later in the morning before I got back to looking.  I found the chain which, incidentally, I'd picked up at least once during the morning's search.  EUREKA. 

DOH, now, of course, I'd lost the dragonfly!!!!  Eventually they all came together and here they are.  I did show Sarah when I was on my way home after the daily afternoon walk.  

Now, question is - do I make more and will they sell in the Etsy shop?!?!?  Off to have a word with 'you know who'!!!  If you want the slightly amended stitch and bead count please drop me a line.

20 September 2011

Launching butterfly number 1

Finally I've got the pattern up and running for the plain butterfly - it's here.

I was hoping to get them both done at the same time but that elusive element (time) ran away from me again.  If I was younger I'd try keeping up with it but nowadays there doesn't seem to be much point!!!

I know you've seen this picture before and I do apologise.  

Off to sort out the fancy butterfly now - before I forget!!

19 September 2011

I'm RICH!!

Yes, I'm RICH.

I heard months ago from Barb at Handy Hands that they'd chosen my suggestion for a new colour combination in the Lizbeth threads and have been desperately trying to keep the aged mouth SHUT!!!!

It's like winning the lottery, having a baby, coming of age (that's nearly 68 for me!!!) and all the best things in life.  For my suggestion I get 25 balls of Lizbeth for FREEEEEE.  You can keep your lottery, you can keep your Premium Bonds, you can keep your scratch cards - I've won the tatter's lottery.  WHOOOPPPPEEEEEE - more thread!!!

The colour combination that I've been desperately seeking for years - pink to brown was chosen.    It's called Pink Cocoa and it's on Isdihara's blog which is here.

BUT the hard part is choosing the colours that Barb gives you.  25 balls of thread.  Thread heaven but what a hard time choosing!!!  Why?  Well, there are SO many gorgeous colours and Sue Anna has led me astray with her generosity in the past too!!! This is how I went about it on the floor in our back room and just outside 'Tat Cupboard'!!! 

In the bottom photo you can see my list which isn't complete at this stage.  I got all my other threads out (not all shown on the first picture) to either re-order old favourites like Rainbow Taffy and Autumn Spice or to see if I had any in the stash which would match up with new ones.  See the iPad - 'tuned' into the Handy Hands site?  SOOO useful.

17 September 2011

Fandango cross

Well having given the two blue crosses away I suddenly realised I hadn't got one for myself.  I like to keep one of each pattern in a box 'just in case'.  So I set about making another but this time in a size 80 thread.

The variegated thread is one that Zarina sent me and it's SO delicious.  I've been dying (yes, it's HDT) to try it since I received it.

16 September 2011

The very last butterfly

The page is up and ready to go - here's the link.  If you do ever get round to making it I'd love to see it.
Thank you to my valiant team of test tatters - without you I'd have given up the re-writing ages ago!!!  I've altered the text yet again to make it simpler, I hope!!!

Having always been a 'bright colours' person I'm trying to show here that I can do 'other' shades too!!!  The variegated pink is a Lizbeth one which I bought for pigs!!  The brown is an ancient Coats.  As you probably know there is a new Lizbeth thread out in these colours - all on the same ball, though.  I can't wait to try it.

Well, upwards and onwards to the next project.  Should I return to the bell?  Probably!!!

15 September 2011

First experiment in a ring

Still working with a size 40 thread I decided that this bell would probably look OK in a ring.

These rings are 2 1/2" in diameter and are often or usually sold as bracelets.  I used to call them 'Indian bracelets' but not sure what they're known as nowadays.  Hmmmm, perhaps I should google them!!!!

This one needs a bit of tidying up - a dab of glue on the ends (none need sewing in on this pattern), some careful 'snipping' of extra thread and the removal of a piece of hair/thread from the bottom right corner.

 Do you like the way I've added beads AFTER tying to the metal ring?  Not sure if I do but that's me - never sure of things!!!  Remember - this is JUST an experiment!!!!!

14 September 2011

Dragonfly pattern now ready

Here's the pattern and here are two more worked exactly as the pattern states - for once!!!

I'm a terror for changing my patterns as I go but this time I think I've got them just right!!!  

Anyway, if you do decide to work any up yourself you can change the amount of beads you put on both the long beaded picots and also where you do the joining of those picots!!!  That's what took the time - trying out different bead counts!!!

The two below are earrings - or will be when I get round to putting them on ear wires!!!  They're worked in a number 80 thread.

13 September 2011

Three butterflies

Here are three of the butterflies which my stalwart test tatters made.  Megga big thanks to them and all t'others.  

I'm almost ready to put both butterflies on the pattern site and will try and make time to do that later this week.
First in is from Stephanie who worked in these two colours.
Next is from Martha Ess who took time from her new book to test this for me.
Then there was Jane McLelland's which arrived a few days ago!!

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

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