8 November 2018

A charity shop purchase

A month or more ago I was out in Alcester looking round the charity shops as usual when I came across this yarn.

Now there's a lady who goes to Crafternoon called Irene (lovely lady) who knits lots and lots of baby blankets using this sort of yarn and it's always fascinated me!!!! So I bought from the charity shop. 

Irene always has HUGE balls of this yarn and I knew that I didn't want that sort of commitment so this looked 'just right' to me!!! Three balls of 50 grams each. Just right - but what for?

So, I actually remembered to take my yarn and some knitting needles to Crafternoon last Friday and dear Irene gave me a lesson on knitting with it. 

It's not easy to work with but I'll show you progress next week - IF I've made any. Oh, we decided there was probably enough for a scarf but we'll see!!!!

6 November 2018

Crochet finished

Well as I said back here - winter is coming!!

I'd just started this waistcoat back then and meant to take some work in progress pictures but, as you can see, I forgot!!!

This was an easy straightforward piece of crochet once I'd worked out how many chains to start with. If you look back at the link you can see that the bottom of the original is quite different to the top yoke part. I didn't like the look of the lacy bit but the stitch count was different (and the hook size) between the two patterns.

BC3 had to work out how many stitches he/she needed. All went well until it came to the finishing off. I was appalled to find there was no guidance whatsoever on how many double crochets to make round the armhole or down the front/neck. Still I did it and I must say I'm pretty darn pleased with it too. I've EVEN worn it!!!!

5 November 2018

August snowflake - progress

Well as you know I've been playing around with the August snowflake on and off for a while. If you look at this link you'll see that I was wondering whether to continue - or not!!! 

Well if you look at this picture you'll see that I decided that I'd carry on!!!

This is an easy pattern for me to remember when I'm sitting in a craft group and talking to people. It's also easy to undo when I make mistake after mistake!!! Funnily enough nobody seems to have noticed the difference between 'doing' and 'undoing' which always tickles me.

Over the years I've found that it never ever worries me to take work apart. It's just part of being me, I guess!!! Mistakes happen in life and the only thing a person can do is either walk away or put them right. I'm a 'putterrighter'!!!!

1 November 2018

New whirly motif

In my quest to find ideas for teaching I've been looking once again at this Catherine Wheel Motif pattern. I showed you the original test one I worked last week on Friday.

This is a new version of the same idea. Now I prefer this one as it doesn't have two rounds!!! I know - I'm lazy!!! 

All I need to do now is to re-write the pattern and do the new drawings. As the centre is roughly the same then it shouldn't be too big a project.

BUT - this is a BIG BUT - BC3 now wants to know what would happen if I joined these together!! I guess that means I'm heading out on another adventure!!! I'll be back!!!

31 October 2018

Spooky or what!

Last Sunday Nick was watching Dr Who on the telly and there were ENORMOUS spiders on that episode. 

Just as a huge one emerged from a bath these two arrived in my inbox!!! They're from Katie who said.

"Hi, Jane, thanks so much for the spider pattern. Fun to tat! Decided not to stiffen them; only steamed them a bit. Hope the legs don't get too wonky!
Made earrings for my daughter and for my daughter in law--just in time!"

Thanks for the giggle at the coincidence, Katie.

30 October 2018

Another commission piece

One of the people who took my details from the library popped into our new craft group in the local Stratford library last Thursday to confirm an order for a purple bracelet.

She'd seen the button bracelets that I'd got on sale (I had a brown and a red one) and she wanted a purple one. So that's what I settled down to do over the weekend.

Now this lady also wants to learn to tat. As I hadn't got my teaching 'kit' with me we arranged for her to return next Thursday for her first lesson. 

I've got the kit packed and ready to go with me in my 'take it and go' bag. I hope she likes it and gets the hang of tatting too. 

By the way it's properly packaged now too.

29 October 2018

Found in a charity shop

I'm trying to rationalise my wardrobe. This is NOT easy as you all know.

I have clothes in there that must be 20 or more years old and it's NOT a big wardrobe either. So a few clothes were taken out last Thursday and I toddled off down the town and took them to my favourite charity shop - the air ambulance one.

Of course I had to have a smooch round to see what was there and I found a pile of 3 Coats thread boxes. Number one (when I opened it) was a total disappointment with just a pile of grotty threads. Number two was slightly better but still didn't appeal. 

Number THREE was, at first glance much like number 2 but I did rummage my fingers through it and noticed a shuttle. I bit more rummaging and I found two. I decided they needed to be re-homed and I paid for the box and left. 

When I got home two hours later and got the threads out I found the bone shuttle hiding in there too. The metal one has no markings on it so I haven't a clue what it is. Do I need more shuttles like this in my collection? Of course not but my theory is that they might have been thrown away if I'd left them there!!!! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it - even under torture.

26 October 2018

More experimenting!

Again I'm looking for something interesting that I could take to a class that has block tatting (the lazy way) as it's a technique that I'd like to encourage. So, I pulled out this pattern and made the one below.

Well it's fine as it is but it involves two rounds which never appeals to me. I like any tatting to work in one 'hit' without ANY cutting tying etc until the whole thing is completed. 

This idea hasn't 'quite' been consigned to the 'not a good idea' folder but I won't be using it as it is. 

Then along came BC3 and suggested that perhaps the general idea was OK and that me (his boss - I think) should think about it a little longer and see what I could do to change the basic idea to make it work. So, that's what I'm doing!!!

25 October 2018

Scary spiders with beaded bendy legs!!!

Well here it is. The link that you've both (Sue Duckles and probably one other somewhere in the world) have been waiting for - scary spider earrings or  pendants or whatever you like to use them for!

I'm exhausted now - that was quite a rush getting the pattern done in time for Halloween but I did cheat!!!  I not only used the Terry Nimmer pattern but also used the Tatbead family idea for the legs.  Here's the link to that idea.

Here in the UK Halloween was not heard of until it became an 'American import'. We used to celebrate Guy Fawkes day on November 5th but that's become quite secondary nowadays to the 31st of October!!!

Here's my pair and I'm wearing them today - well, that's when I get dressed, of course!!!

24 October 2018

Another commission

I was sitting at the new Thursday group last week and a friend asked if I could make a pair of spider earrings for her daughter!!!

When I got home I decided to look and see if I'd done spiders before and lo and behold there was one that Terry and I had worked on 8 years ago. Here's the link.

Well I decided that that one wasn't going to be an easy tat and I wanted something a bit more 'blingy' so BC3 was brought out of the cupboard and we came up with this - see below.

Now this has been a bit of a challenge even though it's a lot easier to work than the other one. Why? Well somebody told me that it's Halloween next week and I thought somebody somewhere may like to play with it before then and time is running out!!!

It will be available tomorrow when I've done a final test tat.  I do need a pair for myself now!!!

23 October 2018

More seahorses!!!

Well after talking to lots of people in the library sale I had several ask for special commissions. 

I'd made some small handouts which I encouraged people to pick up so they'd got my details. I only put on my website and email address - no phone number as I try to remain pretty private if I can.

The first of the commission orders came from a lovely lady who must live locally as once they were done we met up at the end of her lunch break outside Shakespeare's Birthplace!!! That's one of the MANY good things about living in this town - you can arrange to meet people in easy to find places!!! These were for a friend of hers. 

Problem is - I'm now tempted to make another pair for ME with this super thread!!!

22 October 2018

Now don't ask me why

The question is 'why did you make this little elephant'?

The answer would be 'I don't really know why'!!!!! 

I was experimenting with making it to offer as a class lesson should I apply to teach somewhere next year. 

Making a pattern for my own enjoyment (or, should that be torture!) is a totally different thing to making (or should that word be designing?) one for a class. 

Why? Well a class has a limited time slot and lots of people expect to finish a project within that class. Now this is almost impossible to design for as every student comes with different skill levels, different speeds of tatting etc so it's a bit of a guessing game for the teacher to get the pattern 'right'. My objective, too, is to get any new design element within the first half hour of the students arriving so they can get maximum benefit from the class. 

The elephant failed my test!!! Well, for now he has and will be put aside.  

While I was working HIM I thought of other ideas and, actually, while I'm typing this I've thought of another one!!!!

19 October 2018

Another 'thing' out of the way

Weeeeeellllll, nearly!!!

I finished this while I was sitting in the library last week.  What a relief although I must admit I've enjoyed playing with the possibilities of HWT (hand wound thread) and I'm sure I'll do another project like this sometime in the future.

The photo is of it pressed and laid on a piece of black fabric which I will sew it to.  Why?  Well I've found it's easier to store like that.  

Yes, another candidate for the boxes of tatting that I already have!!!!  

Now, what shall I do next?!?!?

18 October 2018

Winter is coming!!

Yes it's on the way and instead of getting colder it's (so far) been getting warmer!!

I don't feel the cold. Not nowadays. Probably because I'm getting too much weight around my middle - must do something about that!!! 

Because I don't feel the cold I don't need bulky clothes especially on my arms. I can 'manage' with long sleeved t-shirts (or tops) for most of the time but it's nice to have something extra to put on when I go out in the cold wind. So I decided I really 'needed' a sleeveless waistcoat (vest for those who don't speak English English!!!!). 

I have the pattern in the picture way below and I made it up as a cardigan a few years ago. I'll admit - I've not worn it above two or three times but I thought the sleeveless version might be better for me. I've started it but instead of the 'fancy' pattern below the bust I'm going for the plainer pattern at the top - treble crochet with 'holes'!!!! 

It's taken some brain power from BC3 to work out how many chains to start off with but I think I'm on track. Time will tell!!!!  Wish I had Jane McLellan's talents with crochet and knitting projects.

17 October 2018

Kay's earrings

Wooopppeeee.  Problem now solved!!!  I got BC3 in the right frame of mind yesterday afternoon and a little more research (which yielded nothing!) made him come out of the woodwork.  I downloaded another browser (I've already got two 'on the go') and now it works and I can follow and comment on blogs again.  I was using Safari but now have Opera so now I'm singing my little heart out!!!!

Now this is a pattern I make time and time again. I love making it - tat's all!!!! 

In fact it was a good seller in the library too and I wish I'd made more in more colours!!! Next time, perhaps (if there is one) !!!

This is from Kay who also has given the pattern a 'whirl'. She told me the following:

"Just wanted to let you know I've tried your earrings with buttons pattern....for the first. These aren't perfect, but I will try another color combination and try to make them a bit better. I was going for Christmas colors that could be worn at other times too. :-)"

A day later Kay sent in the blue, yellow and green pair.  Yummy.

Just in case you want to make a pair - the free pattern is here. 

16 October 2018

I've been a BAD 'girl'

Well that's what I feel like. I feel like I'm being punished and badly too. I'm not sure how to rebel against all this either.

Let me explain. I'm having blogger problems. I can no longer comment on SOME blogs. I'm sure this is a vendetta against me and I don't know what to do about it.

I've been writing to Jane who's one of the bloggers I like to comment on but have been unable to do so now for weeks. After some research we both realised that it might be something to do with Google + so we've both unlinked our accounts from Google +. It's being phased out anyway and it's something I've never used so 'out with the old'!!!  This is from blogger itself.

I thought I'd cracked it by doing that but it's not changed a thing. I have my own comments on moderation and have lately been receiving quite a few spam comments but those are easily dealt with and I don't think they're related to the problem. 

I'm showing you my settings in the picture below and also what I see under a blog post (2nd picture) although this doesn't apply to ALL the blogs I visit.  When I click on 'google account' it does nothing as the alternative ('select profile') is greyed out.  As I'm already signed into Google it doesn't make sense. I can write a comment and 'publish' it but it doesn't arrive where it's meant to.  In fact it disappears into cyberspace.  

If anybody can come up with a solution I'd be VERY, VERY grateful or if anybody is having similar problems please let me know.  Also check your comments moderation too - I may have got through and you may have missed it.  OR there again perhaps my comments ain't worth publishing!!!!

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!!!

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Happy Beaks

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