15 October 2018

Four days in the


That's what I did last week. I spent four days (well, almost four as we had to finish early on Saturday) upstairs in our library.

Stratford library is old. Old beams inside and outside. Here's a link to read all about it although you'll have to scroll down a little way.

The reason for this was because a group of seven of us got together to hold a sale. This was mainly spinning and weaving and related offshoots of that. I was invited along too so my table was a little different to the others although, having said that, I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of items we had for sale.

As far as I was concerned I had a successful four days. I sold quite a lot although waaaaay too cheaply (as I was told time and again) but for me it was a matter of making room for me to make more things!!! Mission accomplished.

The pictures below show some of the tables, the handouts and the very lovely 'Spinning Jane'.

12 October 2018


Well I really got on well with this piece of fabric. I was just in the right mood to get it done. Also as it's my sixth (and FINAL) top I'm putting the sewing machine away for now. Well, that's my intent.

Problem is - I'm off to Birmingham again on Monday and we're taking another neighbour to introduce her to the delights of the fabric stores. IF I was a betting woman I'd take bets on whether I come home with more fabric or not. BUT I'm not so it'll be down to my strong will to avoid any more purchases!!!!  Don't hold your breath!!!

Here's the finished top.

11 October 2018

Just a little snail

Now I really wanted to get this pattern updated for the web site. It's here.

I'm not sure why but I was never really happy with this guy. Probably the colours? Who knows.

Anyway I'm currently working on an update to 'modernise' him/her. I mean, who would ever think of modernising a snail? Well, that's what I'm up to!!! 

The top picture is the original design but I'm wondering if it isn't also rather 'overloaded' with beads.

The bottom picture is the snail 'semi beaded'!!! I've taken the beads off the joins and it certainly seems a bit clearer to me!!! 

I'm also going to try and improve the feelers and move the eye beads onto those. The way the original pattern is written makes it a bit 'messy' so I'm hoping to solve that too.  I'll get it sorted over the weekend, I hope!!!

10 October 2018

Forever surprised

Going to be a busy few days as I'm taking part in a sale in the local library.  Hoping to sell a few of my tatty bits and other things too - wish me luck, please.  The details are in the bottom picture.

Now you know I like using HWT (hand wound threads) but it always surprises me how threads I'm not sure I would ever use can turn into something I really DO like.

For instance - the two reels of thread you see below are from a batch I bought off Sue Hanson. They were a bargain but these were two reels I honestly didn't like when I saw them.

But a year or so later and into my diamond project I thought I'd give them a whirl. I was gobsmacked when they turned out to look FABULOUS. You can see the results in the second picture. That's the outside and final row of the diamond project and these two unlikely threads turned out to be 'just what the doctor ordered'. 

The moral of the story is always try combinations that you don't think will work when using HWT. Nine times out of ten you'll be very pleasantly surprised!!

9 October 2018

A new technique page

The new page, in my Tips and Techniques section on my pattern site, is about how to deal with the ends when you finish a piece of tatting and which leaves just one end to sew in.  

I've NEVER managed the magic thread trick and in fact it's only ever led to frustration and temper tantrums!!!  Also I often end up in a different place to where I start. Anyway there's no need to hide the beginning ends with a magic thread as they can just be tatted over.  I digress - but what's new, eh?

I don't suppose this idea is new.  I have searched for it but found no mention although I think I did see some photos somewhere but couldn't make head or tail of them so decided that I'd better do a page as a reminder to myself (and BC3)!!!

What I like about this is that there are no knots to be tied (in fact it's impossible to do that) and only ONE end to sew in too.  I'm using it all the time now and for most techniques as well.

Let's see - 62 years of tatting and I've only just discovered this. How BAD is that? 

I've just uploaded this page to my tips and techniques section.  

8 October 2018

Another arrival and a coffin!!

What a surprise. This actually came in on Friday but it's taken me until today to get it up and running - whoops, I mean swimming. This came from Stephanie who says:

Well I'm just NOT going to tell you what she says - you'll HAVE to go and visit her to find out.  Here's the link.

Now the coffin. I was given a coffin by my daughter for my birthday!!! Least that's what I thought it was. I told her I was aiming to live til 80 and she said 'damn'!!!! She's a cheeky moo.  Picture of coffin before and after I'd put the bulbs in. Yes, it's really a garden planter but I call it a coffin!!!

5 October 2018

The sad second sock

I'm in deep doldrums over blogger at the moment.  I had a comment from Ninetta on the post two days ago and she said-
"I've 3 button under here, "publish", "preview" and "notify me", but I rarely click the second and third. The "notify me" disappears when you open for example an incognito tab, when google doesn't recognise you. Hope this help to understand." 

This is exactly what I used to have under people's blog posts but the 'notify me' has disappeared and the other two just don't seem to work.  I'm having a MAJOR sulk about this as it appears I'm being rude and not making comments on blogs.  I've been fiddling with the settings but that doesn't seem to have worked either.  

In the first picture of this post you can see the start of the second sock. I thought I'd got it worked out properly but sadly it proved I hadn't!!!

As you'll see in the second picture the socks don't match!!! Obviously I realised shortly after the first picture that things just weren't going to work out for the best but, being the optimist I am I decided that I wasn't going to waste time and yarn over taking it all undone and starting again. 

I'm surprised that they didn't match as I'd followed Terry's advice just as I did on the blue pair. The only consolation I have is that they'll be permanently hidden under my trousers!!!!! Nobody but me will ever see them. 

Oh, that's wrong cause you already have!!!

4 October 2018

Bauble bells are finished

I've managed to squeeze in the time to finish off the pattern for the bauble bells. 

This will be an easy pattern for those with experience of bauble making. I've put a link to the bauble page that I originally made for Bobbie Demmer who came up with the idea. Thankfully the Houtz brothers (with Bobbie's encouragement) carried on and developed the idea. 

3 October 2018

A charity shop find

Is anybody having problems commenting on Blogger posts?  My 'follow' button is missing and I only have 'publish' and 'preview' below people's posts?  I used to be able to 'follow' when I didn't have a comment to make and then when others had chimed in I then popped a comment through. That's missing now.  I haven't changed anything either.

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in a charity shop in Alcester when I found a dark navy t-shirt in excellent condition. A Marks and Spencer one too. I thought I'd better take it home with me as it looked like it needed a place to live!!!

I'd had it in mind that I ought to update the large seahorse pattern on my site so that's what I did.

This time I used two strands of sewing thread - HWT to make the piece.  The updated version of the pattern is now on my site.  See the above link.

2 October 2018

Kay's August snowflakes and another

It's always a lovely surprise to find that other people make the patterns I share. It keeps the OG and BC3 going on making more when they find out that the designs are useful.

Kay sent me pictures of her August snowflake but also pictures as you'll see below, of 'just the middle' of the flake. It never occurred to me that this could be a whole new idea in itself. This is what she said:
" Made a few August Snowflakes, and I am now comfortable with the design. SCMR's have never come "naturally" to me, so this is a great way to practice them....and they're becoming more natural now. When I was practicing the beginning, I used up some threads that were on my shuttles.....knowing I wouldn't have enough to go to the outer portion. They made nice little medallions and helped me gain confidence too. 
:-) So I've included them in my photos for you."

Later Kay sent me the following which cheered me up too.  This is the link to the pattern.
"Here's another of your patterns (attached) that I tried for 3 friends.....What's funny is that I see Berner (my dogs') hair in this photo....will need to clean it up a bit before I give it."

1 October 2018

Oh dear, oh dear

I succumbed to temptation yet AGAIN.

On Friday Sue and I went off to Birmingham again. This time we went (almost) straight to Barry's Fabrics which is the place where I got my material for my two new tops - here and here.

Fatal. Totally fatal. Well I thought it was a good idea to get another length for another top which will then be enough for my winter wardrobe. I'm hopeless at clothes shopping as Sally will tell you but I'm pretty OK when it comes to fabric. I suppose that's because I always used to make all the family clothes. That plus working full-time too and baking my own bread as well. How did I do all that?

Anyway, I was torn between two or three colour ways of the lovely cotton that I bought last time and in the end just came away with the piece you see below. Now to cut it out and get it sewn up!!!

Oh, the other pictures are of our lunch.  Sue takes me to ALL the best places in town.  This time we went to the rag market cafe where Sue had a bacon sandwich and I had a cheese and egg (doesn't that sound disgusting) one?  Mine was absolutely yuummmmmmyyyyy.  Had to have something easy to eat as I'd lost half a tooth the day before!!!

28 September 2018


Now this was SOOOO hard to photograph but this is the best I can do!!!

I took it to Gloucester last Saturday for the Christmas competition. I'm chuffed to bits that I won. Only problem is that the prize was a BIG box of chocolates and I can't resist chocolate!!!! Bang goes the diet once again!! Diet? No I'm not on a diet but I do try not to eat 'naughty' food. I can manage most of the time but once chocolate comes onto the scene I'm a lost soul!!!! 

I'm still trying to get the pattern finished for the bells so please be patient.  It shouldn't take long so I hope to have it on my web site sometime next week.  

27 September 2018

Tatting out and about

I've still got the diamond project on the go but I needed this project as an 'out and about' one as well as the diamonds - just as a diversion!!

This is the August Snowflake joined into a small doily/mat. I'm really pleased with it and am wondering whether to continue to another round - or not!!!!

I like that the central one has the colours reversed. If you remember - this is when I came up with the idea.

As I'm not bored with it yet I may well continue with another round.

26 September 2018

Another leaf!!!

Here's another of Ruth's Tischband leaves. This is done with another thread.

I suppose you'll want to know which thread it is so I'd better tell you!!! Yesterday's thread was Oren Bayan 034 and today's is the same make and the colour is 033. They're both lovely to work with and I think they must work out at around a 40 - 60 in size. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong. I must've bought them YEARS ago when Lyn Morton had Tatting and Design. 

I've also got another of the Turkish metallic threads (Nakis Simi) which you can find here. This is my all time favourite metallic thread but unfortunately the shade of gold that they do isn't 'right' for this project. I've used it here, though.

25 September 2018

A leaf!!

Just a little leaf.

I suddenly had the brainwave to make a leaf (maybe two) to go with the bells which you saw on Friday just here.

Now when I was in Canada the year that Judith Connors was at the Fringe too, I had the very great pleasure of spending time with her at Terry's house. One of the pieces that Judith had made and brought with her was her Tischband leaves (pattern by Ruth Scharf). To say that Judith's tatting was exquisite would be an understatement. She'd done hers in black which must've been a nightmare as black thread just ain't easy to work with. Since then I've been wanting to have a 'go' myself at the leaves. 

I asked Mr Google for help and he came up with Umi & Tsuru's blog where Ruth had kindly given her permission to share the pattern. I remember seeing the blog posts when they were first published in 2012 but was not in the right frame of mind back then!!!! Thanks to Judith and the need to make something to go with the bells the opportunity arose last week!!!

24 September 2018

On Saturday

Well let's start with Friday!!! That was the day that Sally arrived from her 'neck of the woods' to stay with us for two days. We don't get a lot of time together so each hour is precious.

We'd planned to go to the Gloucester Tatting Day which is organised by Linda Williams. 

It's always a good day out but Saturday was wet, wet, wet!! Still, not a problem as the event is held in a lovely hall. 

Barbara Murdoch was there with her supply of very tempting threads etc but unfortunately I'd been banned and barred from buying ANY threads. So, instead of threads I bought a book!!!! I'd pre-ordered the new Pam Palmer book from Barbara. 

Oh, you may ask who'd had the NERVE to ban and bar me from any thread buying. Shall I tell you? Well it was my ex friend BC3. Definitely ex. 

I was sorely tempted all day but I managed to leave without any threads!!!

The day was spent talking with lots of lovely tatters.  Some new tatters and some long time tatters.  Love tatting days.

21 September 2018

Bauble bells again

Now I have three bauble bells and they're all on chains but they look kind of 'naked'. I'm pondering on my next part of this project.

Now what I like about making baubles this way (straight onto a split ring finding) is that you don't have any ends at the start to hide. No knot if you use the CTM method either. Makes life a lot neater.

These now have their clangers but are awaiting 'inspiration'. I'll keep you posted while I work away on the pattern and hiding those ends!!!

20 September 2018

Back to baubles

Well I never did tell you how I did this so I decided to make another pair of the earwigs to get the pattern sorted. 

The pattern won't make any sense unless you've already got your head round bauble making. The thing that I'm MOST pleased about is the way I've managed to made this with 8 ribs plus the shuttle and chain thread but finish it off with only 3 ends to hide!!! BC3 had one of his most devious moments doing this. I'm in the process of writing it down.

Now having made this first bell using Lizbeth metallic I realised that it's too big for an earring - even for me!!!! So, the aged brain has decided it's going to have some companions and be turned into some type of Christmas decoration!!!!

In these pictures I haven't yet added the clangers so you'll have to wait for those!!!

19 September 2018


It's arrived.

The August Snowflake is here.

I'm continuing to experiment with joining some together and will update on progress right here!!!!

18 September 2018

One down and one to go!!!

Well, almost!!! 

I finished this late last night so haven't sewn up the ends OR tried it on for size so may well have to add a few more rows which means, of course, undoing what I've done back to the toe decreasing!!! That's never a problem in my mind. Undoing things means to me - going back and improving!!! 

I think the psychology of this type of yarn suits me and saves me from the SSS as I'm dying to see whether my careful measuring out of the yarn before starting really works!!! I'll show you as soon as I've got something to show!!!

Excuse the wonky photo but I was being really lazy and just grabbed a piece of cloth to put on the table!!  I really 'do' wonky very well in all aspects of my life!

17 September 2018

August Snowflake

A little more progress has been made on the pattern for the August snowflake and I hope to get it up onto my site later this week. It takes so long as there are so many things to be checked before I get it 'up there'!!!

Over the past year or two I've ditched the free software available to use on a Mac to make documents and have changed over entirely to the software that comes with the machine - Pages. I'll admit that I've tried it several times over the years and have never been happy with it - until now. It's unbelievably simple to use and I love the way I can move my drawings around without having to set everything in 'tables'. Of course this new (to me) software has taken time to learn!!!

Anyway, here are three of the August snowflake motifs now put together. I suddenly decided to reverse the colours on the top one to see what it would look like. It will form the centre of the mat/doily, I think!!!

14 September 2018

Done and put in the wardrobe!

Well that didn't take long. Mainly because I didn't have to fiddle around playing 'hunt the right buttons' or 'hunt the press studs' or even 'hunt the right thread'!!!

Not sure if it was obvious in the picture the other day but I'd also ironed on the stiffening for the cuffs and the front band. 

Preparation seems to be the right way to go - just a pity I don't do it every time. Now that the local fabric shop is shutting down (there were two but one's gone already and the second will go in a few weeks) I think I'll have to be sure that when I travel to buy fabric I need to also remember to buy the odds and ends to complete the project. 

All in all I'm really chuffed with my two new tops.  Now for the cooler weather to wear them!!

13 September 2018

Sock it to me!

Yes, it's that time of year again. Time to buy slippers (my last ones saw three years of service) and time to knit socks.

Story about slippers. The slippers I've had for three years finally fell apart at the seams. They were from M&S (Marks and Spencer) so I went and bought another pair exactly the same. That pair lasted a whole week before falling apart so they went back!!! 

The picture is of more wool that I bought in Canada and the first sock 'on the needles').   Terry kindly split the ball for me so that it was half and half. She showed me that I needed to start in exactly the same place on the second sock to the first sock so that was my first task - to work out both starting places. It's the same brand of wool as these blue socks.  

Again I'm knitting in the continental manner which I'm getting quite fast at.  I've taught myself via YouTube (love that place) and find it so much quicker as it's more like crochet.

I'm just hoping I don't catch a dose of SSS and that I do manage to complete both socks. SSS? Second sock syndrome. I read that this is a disease that sock knitters can catch. Must check with my GP to see if I can get an inoculation to prevent it!!!

12 September 2018

A beaded fish

Now I've been nattering with my lovely friend in Canada and she's been on a mission to find information on one of my patterns. 

This is one of the missing patterns that I found eventually lurking in the depths of my computer. Like the Ipsy Dipsy one it was 'lost on the computer' for, I think, roughly eight or ten years. 

It's a fish. Well I thought I'd better tell you what I think it is in case it's not a very good likeness!!! Here's a link to the pattern which is now on my site and hopefully won't get lost again!!!

IF I had a brain I'd be dangerous!!!

11 September 2018

Ready, steady, GO

This was the 'state of play' at the end of the week before last.

All cut out and awaiting time (and inclination) to sew!!!

This is the other piece of fabric that I got last time we were in Birmingham. Can't wait to get started but need that space of time to get into it. Don't I look well organised? I've got everything out and ready to go. Not my normal method of working I promise you!!!

10 September 2018

Still working on this

Now before I get this pattern onto the web site I thought I'd test out a theory!!! Well, not really a theory - just an idea of BC3's!!! 

I was wondering what the August Snowflake would look like when several were joined together. Well, here's the answer - so far. I decided to go with the same colours as I'm enjoying the look of them but am also wondering whether I can do anything else!! I'll have to have another think about this. I don't want to fill the negative spaces as I really want to see how they look after several have been joined together - although I suppose I could always go back and fill them later! We'll see.

7 September 2018

A hedgehog story

Now in our town there are two youngsters who decided a few years ago to try and help hedgehogs.

The hedgehog species is declining in numbers due to modern life and they need a little help. These young teenagers have been taking them in, making sure they are fit and then releasing them back to the wild. Hedgehogs are not pets - they're wild creatures.

Last week they brought three of the recovered hogs to Lifeways which is just down our road. Here's a link to tell you what Lifeways is. Behind the house is a HUGE garden and this is where the hogs were released. The manager at Lifeways is an avid supporter of conservation issues and welcomed the three hogs. One neighbour built homes for them (should they decide to stay) and they were let loose.

This, of course, made me want to make the manager a tatted Houtz hog so that's what I did. Then another neighbour deserved one so again - that's what I did!!! I forgot to take pictures before those two left me!!! Then another friend feeds hedgehogs at her house in a nearby town so I've made her one as well but this time I remembered to take a few photos!!! First the tatted one and then the 'real deal'!!!

6 September 2018

Look what I found

My friend from 'down the road' and I went on a trip to Birmingham two weeks ago.

Another friend had told me about another fabric shop which I'd not heard of before so that was where we went to first.   Barry's Fabrics.   Almost as soon as I walked in I spotted 'just the right' fabric for a winter top.

I didn't take any pictures of it before I pinned the pattern on or while I was working on it either.  Not sure why but I think it was because I just wanted to get on with it!!  So, here's the finished top.

I must say it's a lovely warm 100% cotton and I'm hoping that we may go back in a few weeks although I did buy another piece of fabric to make another top. Here's the first one done!!

5 September 2018

Where does it go?

I'm asking about time, actually.  I need more than 24 hours in a day to get everything done. 

This is the snowflake pattern that I was asking for names for. I've decided to call it the August Snowflake. A great suggestion from one of the commenters.

I've started making it again while I'm still trying to get the pattern fit to fly onto the web site. This time I've chosen very 'not Jane' colours but I really, really love how they look together.

This one is in a size 40 thread. The lavender colour is a Lizbeth one and the yellow is an ancient Coats thread. I do love size 40!!!

4 September 2018

I promised!!!

I promised I'd tell you when it was available and now I'm going to do just that!!

Yes, Martha's new button book is available now. Here's the link to her blog with all the information. My copy is already on the way and if it comes in time before this goes 'live' then I'll show you more pictures of what's in it.

If you've missed previous posts on my test tatting of some of the designs then just search for 'Martha' on this blog.  I'm sure you'll find lots of inspiration.

3 September 2018

More packing!

This is the way I decided to package the snowflakes that I've made for the library sale. 

I used this pattern to make them and the Lizbeth gold metallic to make them with.

I'm hoping as this sale will make people think of Christmas and that they'll buy them. Who knows!

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Happy Beaks

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