Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Current Projects

Here is what I'm currently working on apart from the green doily.  It's been hot weather lately so my daughters have asked for some crochet crop tops.

 Here is one of them in progress:

I also have another pair of socks on the needles.  It's a pattern by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks for the Toe Up".   I wasn't sure at all about the stitch:  it does look a bit weird and wiggly-waggly as you're knitting it... I didn't think I liked it but then I found that when worn and stretched on the foot, the pattern looks rather nice and unusual.  Still love that Cascade Heritage sock wool.  Second pair knitting with this wool.  Really scrumptious!

And finally, not a lot more progress on the green doily.  I finished the second rounds and started working on the third rounds of the scallops... but not got very far yet!

Hope you're all enjoying the sunny weather!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Quick Update

That's it really.


Best wishes,

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Mustard Socks Done

They are done.  A really nice pattern with the open work on the front and tiny cables on each side which are then repeated up the leg after the heel is completed.

It's a pattern by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks from the Toe Up".

I used my crochet picot cast-off again but making a smaller picot this time.  As you can see, the cast-off edge does "frill" a bit in its unstretched state but when worn, this cast-off has enough elasticity to make it really comfortable to wear and easy to pull the socks on and it lays flat.

Can't get my camera to cooperate on colours!
The shade of yellow in the first photo is much closer to the real colour
but even with trying to adjust afterwards, I couldn't get the second photo
to show the right shade of yellow.
It definitely looks too "limey" in the second photo.
Mustard is should be!

I might as well show you the latest bit of progress on the green doily too while I'm here:

I couldn't make up my mind whether to do all three rounds of each side one after the other or to do the first round of all sides, then the next on all sides....  Which way would you have done it?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

One Side Done...

.... Five to go!  There are three separate rounds with cutting and tying at each as unfortunately it's not possible to use split rings or chains to avoid doing so.  I'm therefore making use of my magic loops to do the least amount of sewing in as that's not my favourite job!

I can't believe I managed to make a mistake on the very first ring of the last round.  I only noticed it just now:  I joined at a wrong picot.  I am debating whether to correct it - and what would be the best way of doing that - or to improvise by pulling myself a new picot to join to when comes the time to join there.  I will carry on with the other sides and decide afterwards.

As I have often found to be the case, Jan Stawasz's patterns are not the easiest to decipher and this one is no exception with some discrepancies and some numbers missing altogether.  You have to work it out as you go and hope for the best!  But the results are always worth it...  I do like Jan's designs.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 25 May 2017

360 Split Rings Later...

Thank you so much for your comments on the previous post... you really inspired me you see!  I had a mad rush of activity on this and completed the third and last round of split rings in record time!

I can now move on to working on the shapely sides.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Split Rings... lots of split rings!

I hope you won't get bored with this piece as you will be seeing it many times before I get to the end! I have finally completed the second round of split rings.  I actually don't mind split rings at all... but I must admit that there is a definite lack of variety when you have to do so many in a row!!

And guess what comes next in the pattern?  Yes, another round of split rings!  But it will get more interesting after that.  I can't wait to get started on the round after the third row of split rings where there will be lots more going on.  I really like the shape of the six sides.  It will be a bit fiddly to start off as there will be quite a bit of cutting and tying for the smaller, inside parts until you get to go back to full rounds that go all the way around the whole piece.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Two-colour Mirabelle and more socks

A customer asked me a question about Mirabelle's construction.  To make sure I gave her the right answer, I decided to tat it as I hadn't made one for a long time.  I don't think I'd ever made it with two colours before.  I just picked up two shuttles that happened to have those colours left over on them and tatted away.

I'm afraid that's the only bit of tatting I have to show for this blogpost.  I've not made much more progress on the green doily yet.  But that's because I'm still enjoying knitting socks!

I made this two-tone pair with the left-over green wool from the pair I made for my friend's birthday. When I ran out of green, I just carried on with other left-over sock wool I had.

This is "Herringbone Lace Socks" by Leslie Verts again but I changed the open lace work panel for a small cable instead.  I also knitted these from the toe-up instead of from cuff down as per the pattern. I wanted to try a picot cast-off.  I did try it but did not like it!  So instead, I used a crochet to cast-off. And I found that works very well.  Looks really pretty, is very stretchy, and is easy to do.  Winner.

I then decided I really need to make a pair for my sister next.  Her favourite colour is mustard yellow.  This pattern is by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks from the Toe Up".

I really like the lace work on these.  Really pretty.  And I've fallen in love with a new sock wool I tried:  Heritage Cascade Yarns Sock Yarn (because it was the only sock wool I could find that came in mustard yellow!).  It is so soft and lovely to work with.  I'm going to have to try it in another colour next.  It comes in a 100g skein which I rolled into two balls so I could knit both socks at once (definitely my favourite way).

On another note, I'm debating whether to move my shop from Etsy.  I would be sad to leave and I'm not sure yet where I'd be going but I'm not happy with the changes they are implementing.  It feels like a big upheaval to move and I still don't know what to do.  I'm looking into alternatives/solutions but need to make a decision pretty soon.  I'll keep you updated of changes.  Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me there over the last seven years.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Irene Woo's Butterfly Heart

To remember Irene Woo who passed away recently, I was delighted to work with Georgia Seitz to produce an updated pattern of her wonderful Butterfly Heart.  I had mentioned to Georgia that I had made a diagram of Irene's pattern several years ago (back in 2012 when I first tatted her heart) and that I'd be happy to update the pattern and add the diagram.  Georgia, who was a friend of Irene's, had permission so that we could share the pattern.  Here it is.  Georgia has also uploaded it to her website.

Clicking on the heart will take you to the pattern.

The pattern has been available to tatters since 1999 so I know many of you have tatted this lovely heart already but for those who haven't, I hope you'll enjoy making it.

Best wishes,

Friday, 5 May 2017

Socks & Doily - A Green Post

I finished another pair of socks.  They are for a friend's birthday and I'm really pleased with them.  The pattern is lovely and I particularly liked the zig-zag cast-on edge which I thought was unusual and pretty.  It also means there is a lot of stretch at the top which makes them easy to put on and comfortable to wear.  The pattern is "Herringbone Lace Socks" by Leslie Verts.

It made me smile that I knitted these socks in green wool and the designer is called "Verts".  My friend loves green!

I had some leftover wool and have already started a second pair, from the toe up this time and two-at-a-time so I can use up all the leftover wool evenly between the two socks.  Also because I found a picot cast-off method which I want to try next!

For the sock knitters out there:  I don't know about you but I find that when I finish top-down socks with Kitchener stitches to close the toe, I always end up with the last couple of stitches too loose and I have to fiddle with them and sometimes tack them down with my needle so it looks tidy.  I find that unsatisfactory.  Knitting toe-up solves that problem for me as I find the toe really easy to make (using Judy's Magic Cast-on Method).

I'm also wondering about trying a rounder toe shape...
have you tried one you like?
I'd love to hear your suggestions.

I may change the pattern ever so slightly on this second pair and it will have to be two coloured as I will be using up other left-over wool to go with the green of which I won't have enough.

I'm making slow progress on the doily - more green! - because I'm spending too much time knitting at the minute.  I'm more than half-way through the second round of split rings.  

There is third row of split rings coming next.
So just more of the same!

Best wishes,

Monday, 1 May 2017

Crochet Garland & Shorts

When I'm not making progress with tatting it's because I'm knitting, crocheting, sewing...  I made these for one of my daughters:  a colourful flower garland to decorate her room and a pair of lacy shorts.

The flower garland is based on a pattern found in a
Mollie Makes Special Crochet Magazine

The shorts are a pattern by Vicky Chan.

And now I'm finishing a pair of lacy socks for a friend whose birthday was just recently.  I should have them finished very soon and will show you in the next blogpost.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

JS Piece

Making some progress on my Jan Stawasz project.  I started on the first round of split rings... then realised I had attached my last medallion the wrong way up!  I'm now remaking the medallion before I can proceed and finish the split ring round.

I'm slightly regretting my choice of thread at the moment... not the colour but the thread itself.  It's DMC Babylo, a thread I normally enjoy using but not this time.  I'm finding it hard to make my rings and chains really even and I now wish I'd used a thread with more body like Lizbeth.

It's going to be a nice large piece as it already measures 12in across.  

Best wishes,

Sunday, 23 April 2017


We have just returned from our holidays.  On the last day I managed to finish a project I'd started during our previous holiday.  It's a crochet blanket made with Victorian Lattice Squares (design by Destany Wymore).

I bought a packet (10 balls) of the green wool with which I made 30 squares.  The blanket was not quite big enough for my liking and I didn't have any more of the green (and it was no longer available) so I decided to make a wide border.  I chose a very contrasting plum/purple for the decorative edge.  It's not quite a "violent" a purple as the sunshiny photos would suggest but a bright colour nonetheless.

It looked really pretty hanging on the washing line...

I like the effect of the light colours of the sandy ground behind
showing through the design on the photo below.

It measures approximately 1.65m x 1.30m

I don't know why but I really enjoy making crochet blankets.  I always find it very satisfying to complete a larger project like that.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 16 April 2017


On my travels at the moment...  my tatting is a bit crumpled but I'm showing it you anyway.  Just two more medallions and I'm finished with the centre and can start the rounds of split rings.  I had to tie something to the centre medallion because I kept forgetting where I was suppose to add a new motif next.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter.
I hope the spring sun is shining and bringing you happiness wherever you are.

Best wishes,

Monday, 3 April 2017

Tatting Around Cabochons

After being inspired by Diane's Ice Drops,  I purchased some nice glass cabochons with intricate images (see previous post) but I was finding the rings were hiding too much of the pretty designs so I looked for ways to make more space in the centre.  I changed the stitch count of the top rings but it still wasn't quite right...

I only changed the count by one stitch or two on these...

I made a different edging on the purple version and the green version
but I ran out of thread.  I shall be re-making that one.

So then I thought I'd try with much smaller rings but longer picots.  Yes, that's better.  A lot more of the cabochon is exposed.  Of course, you'll always have some of the gem hidden with a bezel type of design.  But not only does this give more space in the middle but the long picots also allow more viewing of the design than the rings did.

This does require the use of a picot gauge.

Next, I made another with a decorative round
which I improvised.

And another with Josephine knots instead...

I checked with Diane and she was happy for me to share my ideas and modifications.  Tatting around stones and cabochons is a technique that can be seen used by Marilee here loosely following Corina's method who was actually explaining the technique as she'd seen it on a Russian forum... and once I started searching for tatting around stones on internet, I found lots of other examples so I'm not sure exactly where it first started.  Anyway, I'd just never tried it before myself until seeing Diane's enthusiasm and her growing collection of ice drops!  

I also changed the construction... that's only because for some reason, I kept getting confused when it came to doing the top portion of the pattern, I was getting muddled up with direction of tatting so I wondered about doing both back and front and edge at the same time which worked better for me.  So I make front and back rings and first chain in the first round and then just add whatever decorative extras you wish on the next round.  

This was another variation but again, I ran out of thread!
It was a little tight anyway so rather than join new thread, I will start again on that one.

I'm also thinking I might put two cabochons back to back
so that it would be reversible (instead of just have plain white on the back).

This is the last one I made:

It's my favourite so far!

I'd run out of thread on one shuttle (this is getting to be a theme!) so I made a spiral chain for this one instead of a lock chain (nearly all thread comes from one shuttle for a spiral as opposed to equally from both shuttles with a lock chain).

I thought I was finished with this blogpost but I started working on another (I'm going to be giving these away while on holiday).  I changed it slightly again and I think I prefer the placement of the long picots.  I'm showing you a side shot so you can see how the cabochon is visible on the sides too, through the long picots.  Ooh, this one could be my new favourite!  :-)

The colour is not accurate in this photo;
This is "Fern Green Med" although it looks grey.

These experiments have given me more ideas as I've enjoyed working with the glass cabochons and might now have a go with larger ones.  The ones used here are 20mm.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 2 April 2017

You win Diane!... I surrender!

Diane has been producing an impressive collection of these pretty, colourful ice drops.  I'm a bit late joining in the fun but I finally HAD TO MAKE ONE!!

I didn't have anything suitable as a "gem" for the centre... all I was able to find that was large enough was a pale blue button.  So I made it into a little lucky charm for my son to attach to his backpack as he was leaving on expedition this morning.  Didn't like the buttonholes so I added a smile to turn them into eyes for a happy face (if a little crooked!).

... but see what just arrived in the post...

I might just be making a few more!

What a trend you've started there Diane!
They're rather appealing.
Thank you!

Best wishes,

Friday, 31 March 2017

Necklace and Blanket

I made two little strips for my daughter's choker.  To be honest, I was disappointed she only wanted something so small!  I was looking forward to making her something a bit more complex and intricate.  Oh well...

(I might still make her a sneaky wider one... and present her with the choice...)

There's a black one and a navy blue one as she wasn't sure which dress she'd wear yet.  And some ribbon to tie it on.

And I forgot to show my son's blanket which I finished recently.  This was a while in the making as he wanted a full bed-size blanket!  No colour scheme for him, he just wanted all and every colour, no order, just... COLOURFUL!

I  enjoyed making it for him and to be honest, I was delighted he was so keen to have one of my crocheted blankets.  He was using it even before it was finished!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Green Doily & Small Choker

I'm making progress on the green doily and have started on the second round of medallions.  I ended up doing regular fs/bs tatting rather than Jan's method as it seemed to me his way of starting with a full stitch on the back side was throwing the stitch count unless there is still something that is escaping me?  Anyway, here's where I'm at so far.

I put it to one side temporarily when my daughter said she'd like a black choker to wear to a ball next week.  I showed her several edgings and she said she wanted really narrow and chose this very simple flower one which won't take long to whip up.  I might make her another too in case she decides, when she tries it on, that a bit wider might be nice too.  

Best wishes,

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday

Happy Mother's Day!

I was spoiled by my children today... and the weather!  It was a glorious spring day, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the buds look like they're about to burst on all the trees.  Wonderful.

After ordering not one but three shades of ecru/ivory for my latest project...  I went for green instead!  I hope I don't regret my choice.

The clocks went forward last night so in late afternoon I was still able to sit in the garden, sipping my coffee and doing a bit of tatting whilst enjoying the last rays of sun.

The green of the thread is not quite accurate in this photo.
It's darker and "greener" in real life.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Best wishes,

Saturday, 18 March 2017

It Always Helps If...

you take the time to read the pattern correctly!  I decide to re-do the Jan Stawasz motif in size 20 thread and find that the difference in size is not massive... but my tatting enjoyment is greatly improved!  So I think I will have to go with size 20 thread if I decide to go with this project.  I don't have any ecru at the moment so will have to order some.

When re-tatting it, I decided to have another go at tackling Jan's method of tatting.  It's really like front-side/back-side tatting except that he doesn't start a chain on the back side with the 2nd half of a double-stitch as you would but rather he starts with a full stitch as on the front-side except that he adds a half stitch before making picots so that they fall between two half-stitches (back side) rather than between two full stitches (front side).  I was finding it confusing before to read his pattern with the little dots but I get it now.  It's not that difficult really, I don't know why I was finding it so confusing before!

Anyway, here is a second take at the motif, on the right, in size 20 thread, done with Jan Stawasz's method of tatting.  I also noticed that he doesn't count the join as a half stitch so I did that like him too, starting with a full stitch after each join.  I scanned the new motif next to the first purple one, for comparative purposes.

When paying proper attention to the pattern (hence title of this post), I realised I did not have the right number of picots on my chains on the first motif (some have 7 and some have 9 with different spacings).

Now I look at the scan, the motif on the right rather does look ecru, doesn't it?  But in reality it is more of a light brown.  I think I will still order some ecru.  You always need ecru in your stash anyway, don't you think?

Best wishes,

Friday, 17 March 2017

Another Big Project?

Debating whether to tackle another big piece...  This is a sample to try it out.  It's by Jan Stawasz.  This is tatted in size 10 as Jan seems to have tatted most of his pieces in that size.  I'm still not sure I enjoy working with size 10 though...  and it's one instance where my beloved Aeros are not perfect because you need to refill so often when using size 10 as the Aero bobbin doesn't hold enough thread in that size.

I wouldn't use that dark colour anyway.  I might go for ecru again for a large piece.  The chains feel a tad short to me but I don't know how it would affect the overall design if I added an extra two stitches to the chains...

Anyway, still at the pondering stage...

Best wishes,