Wednesday, 17 December 2014

'Tis the Season to...

be wearing snowflake earrings!  I just had to take a short moment to make myself a pair.  This is Elizabeth Zipay's pattern and they are very quick to make.

I have now stiffened them and added a few sparkles too… and they look really nice on… really "snowflakey!  :-)

If anyone knows of a product that would make fabric (or thread) completely hard, I'd love to hear about it.  I used PVA glue but that still leaves them bendable.  Is there anything that goes really hard?

Best wishes,

Monday, 15 December 2014

I failed...

Sorry guys, I wanted to provide you with a new snowflake pattern for this Christmas and I just ran out of time!  I was full of good intentions but just had too many things on my "to-do" list.  Including many handmade presents that are taking up my time… very enjoyably I might add but then there are only so many hours in a day… aren't there?  I'm sure I'm not the only one wishing there were more than 24 hours in each day!

I got close with my remake of Minuet but I've still not properly written the update.  So, it is with sadness that I abandon the idea and will hopefully publish the pattern in the new year instead.

I will make a few of Minuet 2014 for my family but I also decided to tat my Criss-Cross Snowflake which I had not tatted since I wrote the pattern in 2011.

I'm not overly keen on the bead arrangement on this one
so will have to tat another and show the criss-cross effect instead…
though I do like a few sparkly beads on snowflakes.


Here is my Christmas gift to you:  I'm having a draw for one of my Christmas shuttles.  It's Santa climbing chimneys to make his deliveries while his reindeer wait for him on the snowy rooftops.

Notice I didn't put it in the title of this blogpost that I'm having a draw so that my faithful visitors will get more of a chance of winning because not everybody will know that this blogpost contains a draw!  Sneaky, eh?  But it is open to everyone!  Anyone can win and I will ship to wherever the winner is from.

Please leave a comment to be included and I will make the draw on Friday which does mean that you probably won't receive your gift in time for Christmas but as with many other things at this time of year…  I'm just running behind!!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Duncan & Jamie

I first saw Duncan at our local wool shop…  he immediately appealed to me and I kept thinking I wanted to make him.  A Christmas present for my niece was the perfect opportunity.

Duncan is only 4½" tall.
He wears a lovely hooded jacket.

His arm and legs are articulated...

So he can wave hello!
And he can stand up or sit down.

He's not perfect as I couldn't completely figure out parts of the pattern and the tiny pieces are quite fiddly to sew up and I've not done that perfectly.  I also need more practice on making his nose and mouth.  Anyway, room for improvement as always but I LIKE HIM!

So then I decided to also make his friend, Jamie.  Jamie doesn't have a coat but wears a scarf wrapped around his neck.  He is even smaller than Duncan and stands at only 3½" tall.  My daughters really like him and I think I'll have to make these tiny bears again to go in their stockings…

I bought some cream wool and am making a polar bear version next.  I think that one will wear a red coat.

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  I still have many handmade gifts on my list left to complete.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A New Bag...

for my mother-in-law.  I have made her a few of these crochet bags over the years (always slightly different) and her last one was starting to look a bit shabby.  So I thought I'd make her a new one for Christmas.  I found this interesting square-bottomed bag pattern and as I put it down, I thought how neat it looked, flower-like even…

I hope it ends up looking more like a bag by the time I'm finished though!  I'm waiting for more cotton to arrive.

Of course, I'll end up rushing because I won't have time to finish all the things I have to do before Christmas!

How about you?  Are you organised early?  Or a bit last-minute?

Best wishes,

Monday, 1 December 2014

More on Minuet

Oh my, time is flying by!  Already the 1st of December, can you believe it?

Here a bit more on Minet (2014 version).  I tried it without beads.  I kept the same length of picots where the three beads were and in this version I have pinned them so they have a sharper angle but you could leave them soft and rounded too.  I also just made a picot on the inner round instead of the JKs.  Here it is in pale blue and ivory.

And here's a "Candy Cane" version.
This time I added a bead where the JKs were on the first round.
These are silver lined beads and I like the sparkle
they add to the snowflake.
Looks pretty glinting on the tree…

You can't see the sparkle on the scan
but it does look pretty IRL.

And now I'm not sure which I like best anymore!  Funnily enough, I look back at the first, gold version and I like it too!

How are you getting on with your Christmas tatting?  I need to get me skates on now if I want to tat a few of these to put in my Christmas cards!

I played my first Christmas carols on the piano this morning.  For me it's always the 1st of December when I truly start thinking of Christmas and getting into the spirit and I love getting the books out and playing the very first carol on the 1st day of December.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Revised Minuet and More Knitting

I've worked some more on Minuet.  I basically kept the same idea but played with rings sizes and joins to try to get a better fit.  It does lay flat now.  I also changed my threads so that the inside rings on the outside round are gold.  I kept the three-bead join and added another small delica gold bead on the join between small and large rings.

I'll try it without beads too as I realise that not everyone likes to work with beads (or has some to hand) so it's nice if patterns can be worked either way.

I may also try removing the inside JKs on the first round to see if it looks better with more space under the lock chains.  Perhaps I'll tat it in more "snowflaky" colours next time too.

As for the knitting, I have started on the back lace panel.  That's the part that most appealed to me about this pattern.  I look forward to showing you when it's done.

Here are the two fronts and one sleeve which are now completed.

This knitting project is interesting because it has led me to re-examine the way I knit.  Moss stitch (K1P1) is time-consuming so I've explored different ways to knit and hold the yarn as I mentioned in previous posts.  

Megan's comment got me to try Portuguese knitting which I enjoy (best for purling).  Searching for something to use to hook my wool, I looked in my very old Singer treadle machine's drawers and found this:

Amazingly, it appears I was already the owner of a knitting pin which I promptly put to use.  If someone thinks this is something else and not a knitting pin, I'd be delighted to hear from you.  

Then this week, I received some modern knitting pins from Megan.
Aren't people wonderful?
Thank you!

I have one pinned to my cardigan and as soon as I finish writing this, I shall be knitting a few more rows on my lace panel.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Do you remember Minuet?  It is not one of my most popular patterns.  Yet I do like the basic shape of it and particularly the lock chains in two colours but perhaps it was missing something…

So I decided to play with it a bit.  Here's where I got to so far.  I'm not there yet.  It doesn't lie completely flat naturally and there's just a bit too much tension on those rings I've added.  I will be working another version of it.  It think Minuet deserves a re-design so that, hopefully, it can be better appreciated!

This is tatted in the new Lizbeth Harvest Gold colour way.
Quite an unusual colour, a bit "mustardy" I would say.

Perhaps it's a little too full and busy like that.  I can't make up my mind yet.  But I will be working up other variations.  I like the three bead points very much and will be keeping that.

The knitting is coming along very well - faster than expected in fact.  I have too fronts done and am nearly finished one sleeve.  I explored new knitting techniques in a bid to speed up the K1P1 stitch of my cardigan.  I modified my English way of knitting to stop dropping the needle so that moving the wool back and forth for the purl and knit stitches can be done in one movement and save some time.  I tried lever knitting with a long knitting needle under the arm.  I also tried Portuguese knitting with a pin which I am enjoying.  So at the moment I use both my new English way of knitting and the Portuguese way trying to improve on speed.  It's a work in progress but even after a week, I'm much quicker at both.

How about you?  What's your favourite way to knit?

Best wishes,