12 April 2014


Just a quick post today to let you know that I've updated the eye pattern which can be found here.

The reason for doing it right now is because I 'need' to make another one for a new tshirt/top I hope to buy!!! There will be an eye, a heart, a 2 and the letters T A T.  I found a few mistakes in the original and also needed to redraw all the pictures as they'd been done on a PC and I now use a Mac.  Then I decided to notate it for front/backside working too.  A simple job turned into a 'not so simple' one!!!

The tshirt I originally did the pattern for in 2006 is now being retired to the charity shop as my body seems to have outgrown it. OR, as I'd rather believe - it's shrunk in the wash. Cough, cough, splutter, splutter!!

11 April 2014

Another task finished

Must be old age but I'm beginning to finish things I've started and not that long ago either!!! I think a health scare last week focussed the aged brain into getting my computer and tatting corner tidied up!!!  Won't last long now the scare's sorted so don't panic - I'm not leaving you all yet, I hope!!!  As I said to Nick - gotta stick around longer just to annoy people and I included him too!!!

So, here it is - the square motif finished in all it's 'glory'. A reminder picture is below although I know you've seen it before!!!!

Now this pattern isn't for the faint hearted.  I've been on Facebook for a long time now and have realised that people nowadays want fast, easy projects to do.  That's fine but it won't progress our craft and that's what I try to do.  Why?  Well if it's a bit more interesting than rings and chains then I'm hoping that people will want to try more challenges.

Well, whatever - it keeps me amused to try new 'stuff'.

Ah, but wait til you see what I'm going to do next - you may want me to eat my computer!!!!  A few years ago it would've been my hat.  Not sure which I'd prefer to eat!!!

10 April 2014


Last week I was asked if I could possibly help a local WI group as their speaker for the meeting had been taken ill and couldn't manage to do her stint. 

Interestingly the chairperson is a lass I taught to tat about 400 years ago (well you can take a nought off the end of that!) so I was very happy to say I'd step in. Well that meant a grand rummage and sort through the two large boxes and the suitcase of tatting (all full to the brim!) to find out what I could take to show.

It's some years since I did the 'talk circuit' so I was a bit nervous. I started off explaining a little of the history and showing the knot itself using cord and a Tatsy shuttle. Then I spoke about how I'd stumbled on tatting via my gran and the time just went so quickly that I was surprised when the chairperson started to fidget as if I should shut up. So, I did shut up - after few more minutes!!! 

The highlight for me was when one of the members came up to me at the end and said that she didn't know who had been booked originally to give the talk but that she was very glad that she couldn't come and that I did!!!! RESULT - one VERY happy OG and BC3 wandered their way home for several LARGE cups of tea!!!

Now, I'm wondering how many other groups in the locality would like to be inundated with knotted thread for a couple of hours?!?!?!?

8 April 2014

Finally and at LAST

So after a few more attempts at an edging (which I'm not going to bore you with) I can now show you the finished item. Now this would work for any size you care to make a doily/mat/thingie!!

I'm now at the stage of finishing off the pattern. This is a difficult one as it was inspired by a pattern in a magazine - a pretty old Italian one. You can see the original picture if you click on this link.

Let me explain. When I worked my first version it was by simply looking at the picture and then reading the numbers in the long hand written pattern. Guesswork then took place!!! I think the original is made in two rounds but you all know me and my lack of patience with sewing in ends - I immediately started with a SCMR for the centre and then used a SSSR (hiding one colour in that) to work my way out to the outer part.

Then I changed the centre completely to use rings and chains (with thrown off rings) and again using the SSSR idea and throwing in a split chain (minute!) too. Side rings were changed in size and a SR used at the corners. 

So, although in essence this looks a lot like the original I do think it is 'almost' my pattern. In order to share this pattern (I hope legally) I am going to publish it on my pattern pages with a note that it was inspired by the original. 

I will put a © (copyright notice) on the page in order to protect it for both the original unknown designer and for my own input (including drawings) which I THINK is fair.  I'd appreciate any comments on this and if people think it shouldn't be shared at all then I'll happily leave it to stagnate on my computer instead!!!

7 April 2014

9 squares and more

You can see here that I decided to play some more and added a few more squares. It's now a nine square mat!!!!

I just had time too yesterday to try out an edging idea but it really doesn't work for me - yet!!! More tomorrow, I hope. Well, unless I get distracted!!!

5 April 2014

Then there were four!

After seeing the single square I just knew this was going to work!!! 

SO, here's a group of four.  I LOVE the way the four SR's join together hey diddle diddle right in the middle.  That's a bonus.  Also those pesky side green rings meet nicely too.  This is beginning to look NOT a lot like the original square which I've put below mine.

BUT I'm now not happy with it again. I think it 'needs' an edging to go round it so let's go call on BC3 to see what he can come up with!!!!

4 April 2014

Got IT!!!

Solved the problem of the centre that I didn't like. 

I realised that I needed to have something 'in there' to stabilise it. That (before this 'invention') centre part was like a dead eye staring at me and because of it I was no longer seeing the rest of the motif!!!

So, with smaller side rings, split rings on the chains and now the centre solved then I'm 'good to go' on this motif!!!!  I LOVE the way the chains coming out of the centre rings 'look' as if they're sort of going through the green chains.

All this is achieved with no ties and ends until it's finished!!  Mind, if you want to work it that way then you do need to know the split chain (VERY small one) and the SSSR carrying the second colour.  More about that later!!!  IF I remember!

3 April 2014

Now for four

Next step was to try four of the green and blue squares together.

For this attempt I tried using a split ring again in the middle of the very long and wobbly chain. That still works for me.

I also used the skimmed down side rings but that didn't work as you can see. If you can't, then enlarge the picture and see how they tend to overlap each other. NOT good.  Well not in my opinion.

So, back to the future - or should that be the past?  

I still haven't totally decided what to do with the middles of the squares although I'm nearly 'there'!!!  Working hard with 'you know who' on solving the conundrum.

2 April 2014

The morning after

All Fool's Day was really a daft day to start out on a new venture on my web site!!!!! Particularly when it needed me to look at source codes and other html   issues!!!

I did have a search thingy on the front page of my site at one point but it was pretty darn useless, I thought, so I took it off ages ago. Then I read somebody asking somebody (it could've been me), somewhere on a list somewhere on the internet if there was a search facility somewhere or other.

That woke up BC3 out of the doldrums so off we set to solve the problem of putting a search on my pattern site!!!

Thank you once again, Mr Google, for pointing us both in the right direction. Having found the right place to generate the right source code that I thought I needed all I had to do was to add it to the front index page. Easier said than done!!!

The instructions said to put it in the 'body' of the page so it couldn't go in a table. Then there was the 'how to' do it too.

I set aside the whole of yesterday morning to do this. 

So, how long did it take? Well (and this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth) - a LOT less time than it's taken to write this blog post!!!!

I present my pattern site along with it's new search facility!!

1 April 2014

All Fool's Day

Not a day to celebrate when you teach four/five year olds like I used to!!! Bless their cotton socks but some of the 'jokes' were so funny because they were so - well, unfunny!!!

All Fool's Day is based on an old tradition which in this country stops at twelve midday.  A day when practical JOKES can be played on others but only in the morning!!!

I remember the discussions on allocating a day to be 'International Day of Tatting' and when the first of April was put forward I inwardly cringed as I thought it would make our craft look 'foolish' too.  

Well it happened and it was the day chosen and I still think it's an 'odd' day to celebrate our craft which I don't think is foolish.  So I sit here at home and tat (as I do nearly every day of the year) but wouldn't dream of taking it out with me as I don't want people to associate All Fools Day with either the craft or (less importantly) ME being foolish!!!

OK, I know I'm a fool but a harmless one, usually!!

31 March 2014

A square in another colour!

So, further thoughts on the square and this is what I've come up with now!!!!

Another 'thing' I don't like either now is the centres of the squares. I've worked this up entirely differently from the original and this has made it not as easy to keep the centres the same size so I'll be looking to change this too.

I know what I'm going to do (BC3 came up with an idea) so at least that's sorted!!!!  Just got to do it now!!!!  Where DOES the time go?

29 March 2014

A second attempt!

Another sailing boat arrived yesterday so please go and look at Surya's - she's number 93 so we might yet make 100!!!

So, in this version of the square I've lengthened the chains slightly and skinned down the rings a bit too. Still doesn't 'do' it for me. I'm going to have to sit down and have a serious chat with somebody about this. Now, who shall I ask/consult?

No point in me saying anything else as you all know who I'll call on!!!

28 March 2014

So, I can if Toucan!!!

Well, finally he's done and up on the web site here.

He certainly looks a lot better in 'proper' colours!!! When researching toucans I found so many colour combinations for the beak it was amazing. Also some have a black piece on the beak too but hey, I'm not a perfectionist and thought adding a bit of black was pushing things a bit too far on a small tat like this!!!!  Personally I prefer the second one with the darker coloured beak.

One thing I've learned through doing this guy is that it's almost harder to alter a pattern you've done previously as it is to start from scratch!!!

Now, what shall I do next - OR what am I already working on.  More another day!!

27 March 2014

A square

I do like this little square I found in an old book. Not sure yet how it'll work out joining several together as it doesn't look very 'square'!!!  In fact the outer chains look 'stressed' where they join in the book.   I'll tell you which book it is when I have more time and there'll be further progress on this in due course too!!

I'll play with the idea for a while and let you all know 'what happens next'!!  The book has a lot of designs which appeal to me.  Watch this space!!!

Hopefully the toucan will be ready tomorrow!!!!

26 March 2014

Toucan progress!

Here are two more versions of the poor almost extinct toucan.

The top picture is a beak I tried on yesterday's body and bib. Looks OK but it's a bit 'fussy'!!!!

The bottom picture is another bib with a more solid construction and a beak that's been simplified too. Oh, there is an eye there too - just a tiny bead that I found on the seat of my chair!!!! 

I think the next post will be the finished guy. I SHOULD get the pattern completed over the next day or two. Why? Well it's gone wintery again here and that keeps me in the house a bit more!!!

25 March 2014

Continuing the Toucan story

Before I start today it's worth checking out the Tat It And See blog on this link as I've more sailing boats - one came in last Friday and one today. We may YET reach the magic 100 but doubt if we'll beat the pram results!!!

So back to the toucan!!!

If you look at the parrot (you don't have to, though!) you'll see that the tail is different. That's because the toucan pictures I found on 'google images' showed the toucan had a more 'splayed out' tail. That's what this guy has now got here!!!! 

You can also see I've made a start on his white bib too. OK, I know it's not WHITE but it's all I had close to me in tat corner!!!! 

Well there may be a species of black bibbed toucans you never know and if there aren't then I've got a beakless black bibbed toucan. A rare breed which is almost extinct and soon will be when my scissors get near him!!

24 March 2014

Difficult situation!!!

Continuing conversations via email with Allesandro at the magazine mentioned here have been interesting.

I realise what a quandary he's in too!!!!  It must be very difficult when you have little knowledge of a craft to start a new magazine aimed at new tatters.  After all - learning to tat can only be rings and chains made with a double knot.  Later the new tatter will need more techniques and then patterns with those  new skills will be needed too.  But at the moment let's just look at this situation from the copyright point of view of simple designs.  

Looking round the internet (and in books) it's quite obvious that a lot of the patterns we see could easily have been used (not deliberately or maliciously) in a tatter's 'need' to create.  They could have come either from previous patterns or from the imagination.  This is because, of course, everything is made up from JUST rings and chains.

These are what I call 'generic' patterns.  By this I mean that all of us could have easily 'designed' them!!!  

For example look at the drawing below.  This is a basic design seen regularly all over the place.  I've seen it as a base for earrings, crosses, bracelets, bookmarks, fans, necklaces, edgings etc and all based on two rings back to back and a chain between.  Add a few beads, change direction a few times and it becomes something else.  BUT it is essentially just a very simple rings and chains design.  Something a new tatter would be able to make.
So, let all of us who want to design something new keep a lookout to make sure we're doing something really new.  Interestingly in the past nobody used to claim a design 'belonged' to them and I had several patterns published in magazines here in England without my name on them.  I was soooo proud to have them there that it didn't bother me one bit.  Actually it's only when I see people using my free patterns to make money for themselves (by re-publishing or selling things made from them) that I get upset especially as I have a Creative Commons Licence on the pattern site!!! 

When I started designing (purely to amuse myself and the young children I was teaching) I only used rings and chains as that was all I knew at that time - however I learned very early on never to base anything on a pattern in a book.  Imagination, persistence and a thorough knowledge of a craft are the requirements needed to become a designer - not the ability to copy from a picture seen somewhere!!!

One thing I have pointed out to Alessandro is that the ladybird and the interwoven celtic motif in the magazine belonging to myself and Rosemarie Peel might look simplistic nowadays but were, at the time of publication, innovative.  Over the years they may have become 'old hat' but they do in essence have their birth in our two brains and it's nice to be mentioned for that!!!

Coming up with new ideas gets harder and harder as I try to go 'where no man has gone before'.  Star Trek?!?!?!  Does that last sentence make sense anyway?!?!?!  

22 March 2014

Well, well, well!!!

A month or so ago I bought a leaflet off Ebay and when it arrived I thumbed through it (as you do) and came across a very familiar pattern!!!

Familiar as I know I made it way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.  YES, I was/am a dinosaur in Tat Land as you know!!!  I knew I didn't work it from this leaflet as this one is all in Italian and I don't speak or understand that language!!

It's bothered me ever since I saw it so yesterday I donned my safari outfit and set out with courage by my side and fought my way to the bookshelves.  Why, oh why do we both 'dump' stuff in the back room and always in front of MY BOOKS?

Anyway, I arrived breathless and perspiring having fought off snakes, lions, elephants etc to find the folder with the odd loose sheets in - least I knew roughly where to look.  Now to my surprise - there it was.

This is just a loose sheet which I must have inherited when my gran died.  I've got quite a few but this one is a mystery as I've no idea which publication it came from.  Looking on the back of the sheet it wasn't a tatting book.  I'm wondering if it was from 'The Lady' as it's got an article about a National Trust property on the back.  When I have assembled an army of volunteers to accompany me again (well I'll ask the cat if she wants to help) I may take another trip to the bookshelves to see if I've got anymore that are from the same source but with more clues.  As it's suggesting that Coats thread is used I've a feeling they must have sold the pattern to the magazine.  

Bet you want to know the name of the Italian leaflet I bought?  It's Il Lavoro Chiacchierino 4.

No prizes for spotting that the Italian and English versions both have the very SAME photo!!!!  

There are other patterns in both my loose sheets and the Italian leaflet that are the same.  Does anybody know the history behind this?  Bet Georgia knows!!!

21 March 2014

I think I can

Now one of my online mates asked me ages ago if I could do a toucan for her. 

This sounded really easy as I've got the parrot pattern over here. So after waiting for ages for BC3 to get himself out of bed and ready to work I set off. 

How WRONG can you be!!! Although you'll see from this first attempt the wing is more or less the same as the parrot that didn't mean it would work for the toucan!!! For starters the toucan 'needed' to start in a different place because, of course, he's mainly black and I didn't need to work with several colours. This first experiment shows BC3 muddling through the wing part!!!!  That 'bit' at the top left is supposed to be the upper part of the head.  Well, that's my excuse!!!

I have got the pattern completed but I'm going to show you a little of how it 'got there' and tease you with it a while longer. 

I still have to add links to the darn thing and y'all know how I prevaricate over hyperlinks!!! They're not hard at all - just time consuming and I need to concentrate while I'm doing them and that needs gallons of tea and the bathroom nearby to accommodate the results of the gallons of tea!!!  

To do this webby stuff I put pictures in a folder on my web site, open it/them one at a time, copy the link, go to the word document, highlight the right part, go to 'add hyperlink', close.  Repeat and repeat and repeat!!!!  Make some things larger, other things need thumbnails, open an html software thingy, add words, add hyperlinks, etc, etc!!!!  Then the whole texty caboodle has to be magically changed into a pdf and that has to be uploaded.  THEN the pdf needs links from the front page (in this case 'animals') and that pulls in another whole set of aggravation!!!!  

Drives me mad.  Well it would if I wasn't mad already!!!!!

20 March 2014

Bad days turned around

This is probably going to be a long post!!!! 

The ladybird pattern problem has been sorted - thank goodness. The lady who sent the pattern to the magazine had worked it out from a picture she'd seen of the ladybird and then just didn't realise the copyright implications. We have spoken about it and all is well in that area.

The magazine took it in good faith not knowing a lot about tatting as their main aim is to sell craft items and books.  Remember - this was their first publication.  The result now is that they will issue an apology in the third edition (although I did say it wasn't necessary) and will be running an article about me sometime. I'm sure the Italian readers will be bored to death over that!!!

I have offered to help them with researching patterns which are submitted to them in future in order to prevent them being put in a similar situation and already I've run my eye over two of them.  Of course this isn't fool proof as I don't know all the patterns that there are in every book and on every internet page.

One of the things that the magazine is concerned about (and which I said I'd mention here) is the number of tatting books (which they also sell) being uploaded on the internet for anybody to take.  We ALL know that this happens and I hope we all avoid sites like those and report them to the appropriate authorities if we stumble on them.  After all if all pattern books were available for free on the internet then designers would stop writing them, wouldn't they?  Then where would we all be - patternless.

So, to sum up. I now have a good relationship with the magazine and with the lady who submitted the pattern. The magazine has now learned that tatting patterns are for shuttle tatters and the dreaded needle tatters too!!!

Creative Commons Licence

Happy Beaks

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