29 June 2013

Needle tatting 1

I can date this picture - it was around the 1970/80's and was done shortly after I'd bought Ed and Selma Morin's new and revolutionary needle tatting book (and the needles too) from America.  In those days I had to buy dollars from the bank and then send them off with a letter to the address I'd found.  This had to go by surface mail as airmail was far too expensive.  It was my first sighting of needle tatting since Ed developed it to help Selma continue a craft she loved.  She was a shuttle tatter who sadly lost her sight.  As far as I can find out this way of making knots may have been tried earlier in the century but obviously didn't 'catch on' for reasons which I can understand!
I quite liked this picture but it never got finished off or framed as you can see.  I was already making the giraffes as earrings in a size 20 thread.  I thought I was going to get on OK with needles - BUT when I tried with a fine needle and fine (as in size 20) thread I realised it was NOT the same as shuttle tatting.  Too 'puffy' for me and not what I call 'lacy' looking.  

Another day I'll show you a large project that I needle tatted but be prepared - it's UGLY.  REALLY ugly.

28 June 2013


Now I can date the Tattysaurus.  He's around 20 years old and was one of the reasons for me forcing myself to learn how to put things on the internet.  You see, roughly around that time, I'd met up with Nick and we were both learning to use computers and the internet.  

One of the first things I ever did when I learnt what a search engine was was to put 'tatting' into it - this was pre-google from what I can recall.  I found several people (all in America) who I slowly made contact with.  At around that time I'd got the first lot of owls done too.  
Having 'done' the tattysaurus I realised that the pattern was waaaaaay too big to print (ink was/is expensive) and post (also expensive to send abroad) or to email too as we only had (slow to go) dial up in those days.  So I had to learn how to make my own space on the internet.

Fortunately at that time I was temping for a company which made software for the tourist industry and the boys there gave me a ten minute lesson.  That's the truth too.  From that ten minute lesson (thank you, Jon) I worked out how to get files 'up there' and by making many mistakes on the way I finally got the hang of it.  I must mention Mark Myers here who emailed me several times to tell me what I was doing wrong - thanks, Mark.   Tattysaurus lives in a box on the top of the tatting cupboard!!! He's very happy there and now that I don't do demonstrations at shows, he's in retirement!!!!

27 June 2013

Coming up over the next week or two

A trip down memory lane!!!!  I decided to go on the hunt in the various boxes and suitcases with tatting in and take photos to show you.

I think I did this about thirty years ago.  I have only the 'before divorce' and 'after divorce' to go on and I know it was 'before'.

Actually I really can't remember except that it took ages and ages.  The underskirt is done in a 20 white and stiffened with PVA glue and the overskirt is in a number 80 with lots of beads.  She's not very pretty and her parasol used to look a lot less 'jaded'  and battered but that's what happens when you've been thrown in a drawer/box/moved house twice for years and years.  Wish I could remember when I did her.  

Before you ask - there is no pattern and she's totally tatted except for the hair. The beads are included in the work too.  

26 June 2013

Finished and up

Well here they are.  Done, dusted and actually hung up at the windows.  I'm amazed at that as usually things get put down somewhere in this house and then they disappear.  

So, first of all a picture taken from the outside.  Can you see two jigglies on the sash and my Aunt May plant standing in front of the wall?

Beneath are two pictures taken from inside (just by tat corner).  In these two you can see two of my new indoor plants - spider plants.  One has leaves which curl which I've never seen before.

So, here endeth the saga of the curtains - I never want to make anymore ever again.  Well, not until the next time I feel the urge or need!!!!

25 June 2013

What's going on?

Do you remember this little motif?  Well BC3 decided that it could lead to something bigger!!!  

I'm off on an adventure with this idea.  A doily perhaps?  Who knows but one thing I do know is that this isn't the end of it.  Other ideas are percolating in that old brain of mine!!!

24 June 2013

Trying not to bore you all!

I don't like to be boring.  That's my biggest fear about regular blogging - becoming a bore!  So, today I'm going to show you a quick progress on the curtains.  These are the narrower side curtains for our front room.
I've nearly finished and have just four rows to do and here they are a few days ago!!!

When I started out on this mammoth task it was so that I would have something to do whilst sitting in the garden this summer.  I'm very sad to report that June is almost over and so far I've spent two afternoons working on them outside.  

Somebody asked how many hours they'd taken and I worked it out.  I reckon it's roughly 86 hours.  Not sure if that's right as my math is pretty darn dreadful!!!  Well each row took about quarter of an hour and in total there were 344 rows.  

22 June 2013

This is the truth

The whole truth and nothing BUT the truth.  It's official - I've REALLY lost the plot.  

Over the years I'm still asked whether I've got a technique page on this, that or t'other.  One of those being joining the second side of the SR to a picot on a previous element.

Sadly I'd never 'quite' got round to doing it.  BUT the other day after doing the 'joining in a new thread' page I decided I'd settle down (yes, the weather still isn't much good) and do the SR join.  

When I start on something like this my first task is to set up the folder and files to store the drawings, documents and pictures in.  So, in my enthusiasm off I went to do just that.  First the  new folder (in my tips and techniques section on the computer), then a text document (safely stored in the new folder) and an EazyDraw file too.  Great - but then I wandered off to do something else!!!!!  

I got back to the computer an hour or so later and thought I'd left the aforesaid files open but I hadn't.  That meant going to 'finder' to do a search.  What did that reveal?  TWO documents of roughly the same name!!!!  On further snooping around my filing system I found a whole folder (with a slightly different name) on the join in question and actually started in September 2011!!!  I'd almost got it finished too and then I must've forgotten!!!  Send for the men in white coats!!! 

So, I finished it off and here it is!!!

21 June 2013

Thread colours

As you've probably gathered over the years - I love colours.  I've no idea how to work with them and have never studied colour charts or the likes.  I rely on BC3 and just being brave with them!!!  I do think hard about what goes together as I pull them out of the cupboard or thread drawers and usually find that very few 'don't work'!!!  Strangely what looks 'good' on the balls often looks dreadful coming off the shuttle!!!!  Many a time I change my mind!

I've now got a vast collection of Lizbeth threads along with the older generations of Coats, Manuela, Flora, Floretta and many more.  A few weeks ago I 'helped' a friend who was selling her Lizbeth threads off as she's closing her online and 'real life' shop.  I bought threads that I didn't like.  Well, when they arrived, I realised that they were lovely.  Apart from one which is a bit pale for me the rest will get used - eventually!!!!

Below is Denim Whisper (Lizbeth) which I've had for some time.  On the ball I didn't like it.  Not one bit.  When I started working with it I fell in love!!!  Here's a small portion of what I'm working on at the moment and I've paired it up with a plain Manuela (another I didn't like for ages) to get a stunning combination.   

Must send BC3 to 'colour school' for lessons!!!

20 June 2013

Done and dusted

Here it is - finally and utterly finished!!!  It IS square even though it looks as if it's not and that it gets smaller to the right of the photo!!!  Must've been the wonky person holding the camera that caused it to turn out like that.

The measurement of the whole thing is 17" square (before you ask in the comments section!!) and it hasn't been put away yet either.  In fact, believe it or not, it's actually sitting on an old chest of drawers in our front room!!!  No idea how long it'll stay there before I get fed up with it and put it in the box!!

Well, one of the several boxes where I put finished tatting!!

19 June 2013

New technique page

Thank you to all those who helped with this - I'm still open to suggestions as I always am over anything on my pattern/technique pages.

I'm darn sure this has been a well known way to get round knots for many years and it's one I've started using more and more recently.  It's a way to add in a new shuttle or chain thread when you run out of thread and WITHOUT any knots!!!  

I know that tatting is 'all about knots' and that without them we wouldn't be here.  BUT I don't like knots in my work as I'm trolling along.  I think this may be a variation of another way but I thought it might be worth putting together a page on 'how I do it'!!!

Nearly forgot - here's the link!  Ooooops - here's a picture or two!!!

18 June 2013

Green bracelet

Thank you to all who offered and helped with the technique I was talking about yesterday.  I hope to get the page finished and uploaded later today.  Least that's if BC3 doesn't go wandering off like he's prone to do!!!

I found this bracelet yesterday!!  I'd forgotten I'd made it.  Like lots of my missing stuff I found it under the lid of the scanner.  I know I'm not the only one who does that!!!

This one isn't going into the Etsy shop - it's a present for a friend.  I do hope she likes it!

Oh, somebody asked me yesterday how long the curtains have taken me so I worked it all out.  I think they'll take me roughly 78 hours when I've done the last two for the side windows!!!  Must settle down and get on with the two side windows now. 

17 June 2013

The curtain saga again.

Before I start - is there anybody who's got time today to try a technique out?  I doubt very, very much that it's 'new' but it might be useful.  I use it all the time now but explaining it is taking over BC3's time and cells!!!  Email me privately if you've time - email address is in my profile!!!

Well I've finished both the curtains.  First of all there's a picture of the one curtain in place taken from inside our living room - if you look carefully you can see a jiggly on top of the lower sash.  In the second picture (taken from street) you can see the reflection of the houses opposite!!      

Having done them we've now decided that I should make matching ones for the side windows.  If you look at this link you'll see what I've got there at the moment.  I quite like these for the side windows but 'im wot must be obeyed (Nick) said he'd prefer the sides to have matching curtains so I'll have to make a pair for them.  Not that he very often gets his own way but sometimes you have to let a man think he's in charge, don't you?  Ah, before all you guys start getting upset - I do realise (having been on this planet a looooooong time) that it works both ways!!!!

They work too - nobody can see into our front room BUT I can see out!!!!   

15 June 2013

A wonderful dragon.

I was honoured to be asked to test tat this pattern by Martha Ess.  
When I test tat I really, really concentrate on the pattern so that I can give it the best feedback I can.
Well, I found two VERY, VERY, VERY tiny typos which just proves to me what a fantastic designer Martha is.  This is an easy pattern but it also keeps the tatter interested the whole way through.  No cuts and ties except for the wing or changing colours which makes it even more fun (the changing colours, I mean)!!!

That reminds me - must do a technique page on a way I've found of adding in new thread or changing colours.  Keep nagging me for that!!!!  It's probably not new but it's one I use now all the time.

I know that Martha blogged her dragon yesterday so I thought I'd show you mine too.  Like so many of the comments on her blog said - I'm dying to see the book finished too!!!!

13 June 2013

Target met!!!

First I must announce another pram which makes 119.  Here it is.  

Well I did it.  I put both hands round my old chicken neck and squeezed hard until I gave in to myself and found the camera etc!!!  

After ALL that I then decided that a scan would be better.  Here's the bracelet AND a matching pair of earrings which are all going into Etsy in a few minutes!!!

12 June 2013

Bracelet pink green

Finished and up and running - the bracelet page.  You can find it here. 

The picture is of one of the bracelets I had in my Etsy shop but I'm delighted to tell you that it's sold and is off to Belgium.  In fact it's probably arrived by now!!!

I've got another one to put in the shop soon.  That's when I find the inclination to go and take photos!!!! 

Perhaps that should be my 'target' for today - force myself to take photos.  I'll make a promise to reinforce that 'target' - I'll show you tomorrow!!!

11 June 2013

Decisions made on the final round

Part way round my final round!!!  These are the colours I decided on.  I just need plenty of long evenings to get round this round - if you follow me.

Oh to change the subject - I was walking through the Sunday market outside the theatre on Sunday (obviously, Jane - wouldn't be any other day) and I spotted the guy who was selling these with his pitch of all sorts of gift things and the 'jigglies'.  I stopped to tell him that I'd blogged them and that one of the comments I'd had was about animal 'jigglies'.  Ah, said Tom (yes, we're now on first name terms) I'll be getting animals in August.  

Bang goes my pocket money again so I'll start saving up now!!!!

10 June 2013

Serious stuff - please read.

Now this is really serious today.  It's about a tatter in Canada.  Sadly, a needle tatter.  

As a lot of you will know I am not a fan of needle tatting.  I'll repeat myself here as I know I've said this before but needle tatting isn't 'real' tatting (IMHO) as it was only invented in the 70's although there is some small evidence of it being around once or twice before that.  I suppose that people realised even back then that it wasn't giving the same results as the shuttle.  Anyway, tat's enough of tat!!!!  Off my soapbox and on with what I really wanted to say but you needed some background first!

Some of you may have realised that I've been a bit sneaky lately.  I've put two lots of shuttles in the Etsy shop without warning y'all (as my friends in SC say), but only because I've had so few of them.  Imagine my surprise when an inveterate needle tatter who hasn't YET dropped the disgusting habit, ordered her second shuttle.  Well, I thought, this is it.  She's finally had an epiphany and has seen sense at last!!!!

So on Saturday I had a message from her.  In fact I'll copy and paste it here:-
"Morning Jane
Just wanted to let you know that the shuttle arrived Friday. I found it in the mail on my way to work!!!
The shuttles are nice and smooth to the touch!!! I thought I would see if I could give it a try........but I am not sure if I am holding it right. Have a look at this picture and let me know!!


Well when I look at emails first I see a very small picture of the attachment - a thumbnail.  I glanced at Kelly's and thought 'how on EARTH is she holding that shuttle'?  Then I opened it up and LOOK at what I found!!!!!

Sadly I fear that dear Kelly hasn't yet taken the plunge - come on, Fringe Tatters, get her over to the shuttle, please!!!  Oh, on second thoughts, I'll not be able to tease the socks off her if you do!!!!!  Perhaps I'll have to come over there one day and really nag her into it.  Meantime could you send the men in white coats round to 'have a word with her' and explain how to hold a shuttle and tell her it's much less stressful on the hands than a needle.

Kelly has a blog here which I'm sure you'll want to see.  

Pretty toes, Kelly.

8 June 2013

A history lesson

Aha, ya boo sucks - betcha thought this was going to be about the history of tatting, didn't you? Sorry but it isn't!!  To be honest the history of our craft is a mystery as is most history!!!!!

When I was at Palmetto Tat Days last September (registration for this year has opened here) a certain Pam Freck was in my (think it was the first) class.  She kindly presented me with a 'jiggly'.  Now I'm not sure what these little 'sillies' are really called but I'm calling them that!!!  They have a solar panel at the front which, when the sun's out, makes them dance.  So, Pam gave me the one on the right in the movie below - she even tatted a ladybug to sit on the middle daisy.  This got BC3 wanting more but sadly the local  dollar stores near Joanie had sold out while we were in the USA.  I came home with the one that Pam gave me in my carry on as I didn't want it getting squashed.  

Well, Nick asked why I didn't get more and I explained that they were selling as fast as the dollar stores could get them and bringing them home would be a problem anyway as my suitcase was so full!!!

Imagine my delight when I found a penguin and a snowman in Poundland at Christmas.  Since then there's been no sign of anymore.  Last Friday I was stumbling through the street market and found a stall with loads on.  That was my downfall!!!  I came home with two last week (inflation has set in big time!) and two this week.  In the movie you can see them dancing on the top of the sash windows in our front room (don't worry - the neighbours already know we're bonkers) and you can see the reflection of the houses opposite.

7 June 2013

More decisions!

So this mat really, really needs another round.  I'm hoping it will be the last round as I'm beginning to tire of it!!!  

Today I'm showing what I think it may be.  I have to work a considerable amount to be sure that the stitch count will allow it to lie flat.  

I will NOT be using this pretty boring and faded green - I'll look for something better for the 'real deal'.

Again the photo is taken on the grass outside as the sun is still shining and it's quite warm.

6 June 2013

One and a half curtains!

Here they are - just to prove I am on the second curtain!!!  I folded the completed one in half so I could get it in the picture!!!  The second one is over halfway now and I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the week.  Also (with a bit of luck) the Ferris Wheel mat may be completed too.  

Then what will I do with myself?  Who knows but something will spring to mind.  Perhaps a bit of test tatting for Martha?  I'm SOOOO excited about her new book that she's working on.  It's going to be a 'must have'.

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Happy Beaks

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