19 September 2017

A change of direction

After working Teri's lovely Forever Young pineapple doily I thought I'd try her butterfly which is called Vlinders and which can be found here

I LOVE this design and will definitely be making it again. I found it a little challenging in places as Teri's way of notating her work is different to the way my aged brain works.  Next time I do it I'm going to write it down in my 'way' for just me!!!!  That's because I think this is going to become another addiction!!!

18 September 2017

Rachel blue green

Well I'm now on my way across the pond to Toronto and have scheduled a few posts so that you don't forget me!!!! 

This is another of Rosemarie Peel's Rachel mats which I finished just before leaving. I have several of these wound onto Ezybobs to take with me as an airport project. Lovely to have something that you know pretty well to do while sitting around. 

I'll try and blog while I'm in Canada but sometimes life is just too interesting and busy when I'm away to do that. However, I'll do my best!!

16 September 2017

Of course

I had to make sure that it would 'really' work, didn't I? 

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it however hard you try to torture me into confessing to anything else!!!!

8 bugles (again) and same stitch count.  Whoooppppeeee!

15 September 2017

Back to bugles

I thought about this and decided to give it a whirl!!! 

Eight bugles in this pattern instead of six. It actually works with the same stitch count which I was wondering about. So, I wonder what would happen with 7 or 9 or even 10? Well - I'm not about to find out as I'm doing other things now - probably another Rachel?!?!?

14 September 2017

Bags of bags!

Now this is a pile of book bags!!! They're off to Ghana in October for some kiddies in a school there. The charity that our Tuesday morning craft group is doing these for is Compassion Direct.  The children often walk miles to school and have nothing to carry their books in. I hope they like these.

We've also made bunting for a new maternity led unit at the local hospital, fiddle muffs for dementia patients and we are always looking for other projects to take on - particularly 'local to us' ones.

We like to do projects which involve us all with different skill sets. We have knitters, crocheters, sewers, etc.  Others who can't do any or some of these crafts help by cutting fabric, pinning etc.  Of course there's a LOT of chat and tea and coffee too!!

Below are a few of the bags I've sewn and on Saturday I did another 15. We need to get 170 done before October 1st but I'll not be able to do anymore after the weekend as I'm off on my travels.

13 September 2017

Yawn, yawn, yawn!

Well I bet that's what people are thinking when they see yet another of these Rachel mats!!!!

I can't help it - I'm just so enjoying tatting for the sake of it. No dithering over stitch counts or how to progress an idea - this is all done for me by Rosemarie Peel and is all based on an easy to remember stitch count and progression. 

12 September 2017

Blue earrings

Do you remember these earrings?

Well you should do as they were only yesterday that you saw them!!! 

This is another pair but I didn't 'do' the LBP's on these. I do like a change!!

Again using the SCMR adding the bead to the centre and working down one side of the big bead. You can adjust the SCMR to fit any bead but please remember how many doubles there were in the SCMR so that you get the same number when returning on t'other side with chains!!!! The one on the right has a slightly yellower top ring but that's because I used a lovely variegated thread. I think I'm going to like this pair a LOT!!!

11 September 2017

More earrings

Yes even more earrings!!! 

Now these were made using SCMR's and adding the central beads to the core thread before closing. I also added a long beaded picot to the SCMR too. Why? Well just because it seemed like a good idea at the time!!

When I got to the bottom I dangled a bead (that's the silver one) and then worked my way back up the other side with a chain - plus, of course, more long beaded picots. 

Now one thing I must mention here is those SCMR's. I find that the best way to close these is to use this extra step which I've shown here.

9 September 2017

Pink earrings

Yes I'm still in 'earring mode' and here's another pair I made last week. 

I showed you the brownish pair here and then I found some really truly bright pink beads in my stash. Those and some Swarovski crystals gave me the 'need' to make this pair!!! I wish that photos would do these justice but they sparkle so much that they dazzle my poor camera.  

The only 'problem' with this pair is that I'm constantly wanting to wear them!!!

8 September 2017

A sad Rachel

Now this little mat makes me sad. It's a very pretty one and I used HWT. 

The reason for it making me sad is that this is the last thing I can make with some lovely thread. It's a spool of Perfect Quilter which I was given, many years ago, by Gina Brummett. 

She gave it to me when we spent a day together in Cincinnati. That day was spent with her showing me her beautiful work and folders that she kept. Lovely memories but I'm sorry to see this spool go and so, so sad that Gina died so very young. Miss you, Gina.

I'm hoping to find more Perfect Quilter when I get to Canada - who knows. NOT necessarily this colour but I do love the thread and it goes so well with small sizes of 60, 70 or 80 when making HWT.

7 September 2017

Another 'interpretation' of the technique

Well it had to be done!!!! I had to try starting off with the technique before any tatting was done. 

That was part of the excuse - the other part was 'needing' (I lie!) another pair of earrings!!! 

The way I did this was to load the tiny beads that I needed onto the ball thread before doing anything else. I used those on the outside of the second row. Then I added the central beads to the chain thread after leaving around a yard for the shuttle - to tat with. The rest was easy as you'll know if you've had time to try the star I did last week as the threads to form the first chain were at the base of the first set (I used 3 beads for each 'spoke' 1 seed, 1 rice, 1 seed) waiting for me!!!!

One day I'll maybe write this down as a 'pattern' but it's almost too easy to be bothered once the technique has been learned.

6 September 2017

Three into one WILL go!

Now this Rachel is a 'three HWT'. 

That means in 'Jane' that I've used three fine threads wound onto the shuttle at once and am working from three spools at once for the chains.  

Well that's not strictly true as I tend to (in this situation) wind the three threads  for the chains onto an Ez-bob.  This saves that stupid situation when (if tatting from 3 spools) you have to heave the aged body out of the chair to go chasing them round the room when they escape.  This is something all spools seem to be programmed to do by some 'artificial intelligence' and with monotonous regularity.

You see it's not only the love of the pattern that keeps me doing this design over and over - it's the love of experimenting with colours. 

I led a deprived (some say depraved!!) childhood when the only colours I could get to tat with were white, ecru and cream. I finally, in my twenties, resorted to silk sewing threads to bring colour into my life so I am eternally grateful for the many varieties we have available now.  Having said that - there's nothing like making your own coloured thread without the mess of dyes, water and rubber gloves!!!  I'll stick to HWT!!!!

5 September 2017

Let's try purple!!!!

This time I stuck to the pattern!!! This uses a method of adding a long beaded picot and inserting another one into the first. Well, sort of. I did a technique page here for this method.

I'm soon going to be the person with the most earrings in town unless I start throwing some of the old ones away!! I am re-using the findings, though as they're not being sold or anything. Got to save our poor old planet somehow!!!

4 September 2017

It HAD to go!!!

What did? 

That awful flap on the bag!!! I kept looking at it and looking at it and wondering why I didn't like it and then suddenly it dawned on me - it was the flap.

Take another look at it and I'm sure you'll agree.  Here's the link.  

Out came the unpicker and the scissors and away it went!!!! I then added more velcro to the top to keep it closed and now I'm a happy bunny!!!

I'll not be seeing it again until I get to Canada cause it's packed full with all my tatting paraphernalia!!!!  Well, I'll probably have to add more 'tat stuff' to it over the next two weeks - who knows!!!

2 September 2017

Mary's snowflakes and maple leaf.

I was delighted when Mary sent in this picture a couple of days ago (Thursday) with her 'take' on the new snowflake pattern. It's always a bit odd when you do a design and part with your 'baby' as you are never sure if anybody really can make it or even if they want to!!!! Thank you, Mary, for letting me know that there's somebody 'out there' who can make this pattern successfully. See what Mary said too as she's started playing with the idea. An 8 pointed snowflake and a maple leaf have already emerged. 

"Just wanted to say thank you for the snowflake pattern. Looked easy tatting wise its the beads that I find a challenge. I've spent a happy afternoon tatting, the first attempt more maple leaf, I got the idea on the second try. I'm on a roll now and can see a few of these on the Christmas tree this year. Is there an easy way to get the bugle beads to stay snugged up, I found that the hard bit.
Best wishes

1 September 2017

Now without bugles!!!

That's what I said - without bugles!!!

Several people have remarked on problems with bugle beads and them cutting the thread.  Since then I've learned to pull them onto picots/thread VERY carefully!!!  

So when I was rummaging around in my beads the other day I came across these beads (see the centres of the two snowflakes below) and decided to try them - they're ¼" too.

I was showing them to Ruth in Canada as we were discussing the technique and she said 'oh, those are rice beads'.  Well, I never knew they had a name!!  Thanks Ruth.  They work really, really well in this snowflake and if you have any ¼" rice beads you can use those instead of bugles.  RESULT!!!!!

31 August 2017

Two more

First of all I have number 106 of the TIAS 2017 to show you.  Here's the link and thank you, Claire.

When I get going on something like the snowflake pattern I can always think of other things I can do with it.

I have been reading about people's problems with bugle beads and the fact that they do 'cut' the thread. Now this can, apparently, be down to the fact that cheap bugles aren't finished off as well as 'posh' (read - expensive) ones. I've rarely bought bugle beads so have no experience with the 'sorts' that are 'out there'. However I've only ever had one disaster with broken thread and that was on an occasion when I was trying to hurry things up and I wasn't taking enough care with adding the bead. 

I think, for me, that's how I manage to use them without breakage. I use a .4mm crochet hook to ease the bead onto the doubled thread. Sometimes I use  a needle (beading needle) and sewing thread but not often.

Today I'm showing you two snowflakes - one has a slightly larger bugle bead which I've given advice on at the end of the pattern and the other avoids bugles altogether and uses simply four beads.

Watch this space tomorrow for ANOTHER idea on how to avoid bugle beads!!!!

30 August 2017

A new snowflake pattern ready

Well that didn't take long and simply because for once I've made myself sit down and get the whole thing sorted. I usually go wandering off on another idea which means that my broken 'remembering' cell nips in and does it's dastardly work!!

Oh, the thread is some of Karey Solomon's wonderful HDT.  

29 August 2017

Back to my favourite colours

There's something about these two colours together that just make me feel good!!! I'd never have thought of putting them together if it hadn't have been for an 'accidental collision' in my thread sorting a while back!!!

Edit to this post - the colours are both Lizbeth and the numbers are 664 and 691.

Again I've done another Rosemarie Peel Rachel mat. So addicted to this pattern and every time I'm surprised by the star at the end. Little things please little minds!!!

28 August 2017

A new snowflake

Well this has been brewing in the raddled old brain for a while. It's really a generic pattern that's been invented a million times before.  BUT not with the bugle beads added in this way!!! 

I have seen bugles added but having read the reports on how it's done I was concerned. The things I've read suggest that the bugles were put onto a measured picot. Now we all know that a 'measured' picot is very hard to do and to get exactly to the designer's measurements. 

So, BC3 got busy and started thinking about it. Surely there must be another way of doing it that doesn't rely on a measured picot. Also the fact that bugle beads do vary in length too - slightly.  There's got to be a 'safer' way of doing it!

So, as you'll remember, I did a technique page on this which is here. I'd added the bugles to a ring on this occasion but obviously they can also be added to a chain too. 

That 'excursion' led to this pattern.  Now all I've got to do is finish the new pattern - picture below.

26 August 2017

Another pair!

This time and for a change I thought I'd re-visit this pattern - just to check it out!!!

I've always liked the earrings I made this way and the 'sticky out' parts at the sides do keep their shape. The ones I made years ago have just got scruffy and I'm so, so bored with them too!!!! These are an easy and interesting tat too. Oh, I did actually stick to the pattern too - for once!!!

25 August 2017

More books which have to 'go'!!!

I have more books (tatting and crochet) that I picked up for a good price.  If you want them just leave me a comment or email me.  The prices (without postage) are below each picture.  If you're going to the Fringe Element Tat Days in a few weeks time I can bring them with me.

Coats Edgings in Crochet book 772 - price £1.50.

 Coats Time for Tatting - price £2.00

 Coats Crochet Design no. 295 - price £1.00

Gun Blomqvist and Elwy Persson - price £4.50

24 August 2017

Hearts and problems!

Now in amongst some beads I was given a month or two ago were two Swarovski heart beads. Least they sparkle SO much I assume that's their pedigree.

They simply HAD to be made into earrings. What else would you do with them?

I went to the Winsome Drop pattern and thought I'd make the second version of that.  Well, 'sort of'!  So, here it is (top picture).

Well a day later and after losing and finding one of them I decided to get the scissors out and chop them up!! I just wasn't happy with the very long picots and the way they didn't look the same each side. 

Back to the shuttles and the bottom picture is what fell off them this time!!! Now I AM pleased with them. They're very difficult to photograph as they sparkle SO much!!!!  I chose the yellow beads as the hearts have a yellowish glitter to them.  It took me a bit to work out how to attach them as there's only one hole (from back to front) in the heart.  Still, job done and onto the next, eh?

23 August 2017

The time has come

The walrus said .........

Well that's not true, really. It was BC3 who actually said it t'other day!! 

I was looking at my rather vast earring collection and thought how bored I was with it. It's a few years since I've made any new ones. I have a 'thing' about earrings which I've probably mentioned before. I like them to be 'lacy' but they HAVE to withstand being worn - a LOT!!!! 

If earwigs are too lacy then, even after stiffening, they do tend to bend and that's the end of life as far as I'm concerned. So, I always use a lot of beads!! A LOT of beads!!! This pair also uses the metal rings that I've got left too. 

The technique is one that I came up with some years ago shortly after I'd 'invented' the long beaded picot (that only happened because I'm mathematically challenged and hated adding beads to thread in the 'right' order of colour/size).  This is the way I did these earrings.

I'm definitely now in 'earring mode' so you'll probably see a few more pairs over the next few days!!!

22 August 2017

Not quite tatting!!

Many people say to me when they see me tatting - 'oh, isn't that crochet or almost the same'?

Well I gently explain that it isn't like crochet as this is a knotted lace. Anyway, today's post is sort of about crochet. I didn't learn to crochet til I was 32 years old. Almost 20 years after I'd learned to tat. I only tried it because I had an old aunty (my gran's sister, who I learned to tat with) who was, I guess, sort of jealous that I could tat but not do her 'sport' of crochet. So, I got a book from the library and made myself learn to crochet. It's my 'go to' craft when I want to do something different.

While on my walk round the rec (short for recreation grounds) and back through the canal basin on Sunday I spotted a sign on one of the narrow boats advertising crochet items for sale so I took some pictures to show you!!! These show the windows of the boat with the pieces that are for sale. 

21 August 2017

That didn't work, then!!!!

Do you remember this t-shirt? Well it looked lovely on and people complimented me on it.

It went through the wash but, as I expected, it failed dismally and came out all limp and horrid.

Next 'stage' was to cut it off altogether but I really wanted to use it. As I was still not happy about the neckline (felt it was a bit too low for a 'lady' in her later years) as it showed up more of my wonderful wrinkles which I'm proud of but not really happy to 'share' with others in case they embarass them!!! Well, that's my story.

So I found a piece of fabric to match the background of the t-shirt, a sheet of newspaper (the Stratford Herald has it's uses!!!) and a pair of scissors.

I cut a pattern out and got cracking with the sewing machine and this is the result!!! I'm right chuffed with it now and it'll certainly survive the washing machine!!!!

19 August 2017

Another one

I just don't need any excuses to tat this pattern. Not sure why but I just totally love it.  Actually, I'll be honest, I love all Rosemarie Peel's work and particularly her celtic designs.  She was the first person to do celtic tatting.  By that I mean the sort where you make two parts separately, intertwine them and then 'lock' them together with a third round.  Not the later type of celtic where you tat a long chain and 'tie a knot' in it.  OK, it's not that 'simple' but it's just not for me.  I've done one or two celtic designs and am reasonably pleased with them BUT I still think of Rosemarie as the 'Queen of Celtic Tatting'.

This one is made using two size 40 threads. The pale one is a Lizbeth thread and the variegated darker one is an old Coats one.  The beads are a lovely lilac colour.

I really ought to block this one to make the central star show up properly but blocking is something I rarely do!!!!

16 August 2017

The purple bag

Well it's done. Not sure I like the flap and may well take it off in due course!!! 

I've put two short lengths of velcro at the top each side of the flap so if that goes then I'll add a strip more of velcro. That's literally all I had left to make it anyway. 

I made it with a big gusset so that it sits firmly and then tapered the sides in so that it doesn't 'gape' while sitting there.  

The lining is from my stash so that didn't cost me anything either. I SO love the colour and it's going to be a useful bag to put all my tatting 'bits' in for my trip to Canada and the Fringe Element Tat Days.

To say I'm rather pleased with it is an understatement.  

15 August 2017

Another good find!

This time in a charity shop in Alcester.

Louise and I go to Alcester every Friday for Crafternoon in the library. BUT we sneak off early to 'do' the charity shops and also have lunch.

This booklet is what I found in one of my favourite charity shops. I grabbed it but it wasn't until I went to pay for it that I noticed there was a Milward shuttle in the packet. So, it's yours to whoever comments first and wants it!!! 

The price? The same as I paid for it in the shop - plus postage. It cost me £4.00 and I know the postage to America would be £3.15. Any takers?!?!?!?

14 August 2017

A gift

This was given to me by a friend who works part time in a charity shop. Now the charity shop couldn't sell it on for some strange reason. There were quite a few pieces of leather/suede but I chose this one - purely for the colour!!! Well, you know me and colour!!!

I'm not sure this is 'real' suede but it feels lovely and I've never been the type of person who actually cares. Now, what shall I do with it?!?!?!?  Watch this space.  NO, not the one between my two ears - that's where BC3 lives when he's at home!!!

12 August 2017

That took a little longer

First of all - I think I've now got the comments sorted out on the blog.  A few people couldn't leave comments and I was missing my lovely friends who were regulars.  BC3 finally decided to google the problem and lo and behold he found the solution.  Back to the real post, now!!!

That took a little longer.  A little longer than I expected!!!

Here's the next round of the doily - forgot to mention that it's worked in a size 40 thread. I'm not sure the colour is good on this round. In the picture it looks pinker than it actually is. I have chosen another variegated thread for the next round so I'm hoping it'll tame it down a bit!

I'm doing one more round but as I'm pretty bored with it now it'll not be the same!!! I've had a GOOD IDEA!!! Just hope it works, though!!!!

11 August 2017

Another trip

Down memory lane!!!

This was prompted by a visit to our local Hospice secondhand bookshop in town. I pop in there from time to time searching for craft books and occasionally bring in the 'Eborall rescue team' which has a membership of one - me. I found an old Coats tatting book there a few years ago and that got rescued and relocated to Atlanta and Sandra cause she lost everything in her house fire. 

Yesterday I found this little gem. 'Pillow Lace, Book 1' by Margaret Hamer. 

I met Margaret when I was in my late 20''s when she was demonstrating in Stratford (she lived in Bedford and came from a family of bobbin lacers). I approached her as I desperately wanted to learn but there was no time during her visit. We exchanged addresses and she asked if I'd be a guinea pig for this first little book of hers. Obviously there was no such thing as the internet and Youtube in those days!!!  Thus I was in on the birth of book 1 and at least one other little book of hers.  On an aside - her sister (Margaret Waller) was an avid tatter and gave me a lot of encouragement with my work over the years.

Now that was lovely enough but when I opened this book you'll see that it was owned by a Caroline Cramp. That brought back more memories of Caroline who used to belong to Rosemarie Peel's tatting group 'way back when'. Sadly Caroline died way too young. I wonder how this little gem of a book got from Nuneaton (where Caroline lived) to a bookshop in Stratford. We'll never know the answer to that. In the last two pictures you'll see samples worked by Caroline.

Now, if anybody would like this little gem - I paid £1.50 for it and would happily let it go for that plus postage. If you want it and live in Canada and will be attending the Fringe then I can bring it with me.

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Happy Beaks

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