Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Braiding in the Garden

Oooh, it's been so hot!  It's still hot.  Well, hot for the UK anyway.  I did try to modify the tatting pattern from the previous post but didn't get to a satisfactory solution (without spending a lot more time on it).  So I'm afraid that one's been put on hold for now.

For a change of scene, I decided to make a few braided bracelets.  Something really easy, that doesn't require any thinking - perfect in this hot weather.

Just a bit of simple fun...
which results in rather nice braids.

I've also been working on the crochet bag pattern (which was a lot harder and took a lot longer than expected).  I think I'm getting there with it.  One of my readers kindly offered to test the pattern for me and I've been making several samples so I could take photos and make sure everything corresponds, makes sense, is clear enough to understand.  Like many crafts, it can be really hard to clearly describe in words what you are doing with your hands.  

I've not made so many blogposts lately.  Children are now on holidays so having a bit less time for online activities but I'm enjoying a house full!

How are you?  Is it hot where you are too?  

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

I give up?

I made a bit of progress on this edging... but I'm still not enjoying it!  It's not lying right and the rings are a bit on top of each other and I can't really understand from the hard-to-decipher pattern if I'm doing something wrong or if it's just the way the pattern is.  Should I try to modify it?  Or should I just give up?

It's a shame because I do like the look of it in the book... however, I always think that life is too short to be fighting with a pattern.  I like to tat because it makes me happy... so when it doesn't... What do you think?

Best wishes,

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Rose, Cordial, Edging

Very unoriginal is my blogpost title!  Back from my travels, the garden is now in full swing.  I hear it's a particularly good year for roses.  This wild one in our garden is really showing off with it's vivid shade of pink!

This time of year is also wonderful for...
making elderflower cordial!

This concoction will steep for 24 hours and I will bottle it tomorrow.
The elderflower is so fragrant!

And lastly, I decided to give this edging a try because I found it looked unusual.  It's from my Tatting from Burda book - the same one where the large butterfly doily is to be found.  It just caught my eye.  It's not easy to tat though and the explanations on the pattern are not very good.  There is some tension and I wonder whether I tat more tightly than the person who designed it because I feel I could benefit from an extra stitch here and there but I'm keeping to the pattern and see if it turns out good in the end.  There will be two more rounds.

I hope everyone is well and happy and enjoying nice sunshiny weather!  :-)

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Little Crochet Bag - Take Two

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement on my last blogpost.  I have now finished the second bag I was making for a friend.  She likes that sort of khaki green.

I took notes while crocheting it but I will need a couple more samples at least to make sure all the stitches are correct and I describe how to make all the different parts really well.  When you're working for yourself, it's easy to just wing it and improvise to make it fit (especially with crochet I find) but when writing a pattern you have to make sure everything is clear to someone else!

I'm pleased with the sliders for the adjustable straps, they work really well.  I like to be able to wear my bags on the shoulder but also sometimes "en bandoulière" as we say in French for which I don't know the expression in English!  You know, when your strap is on the opposite shoulder to where your bag is and the strap goes across your chest.  I just asked my son and he didn't know how to say it in English either!  Anyway that's why I find an adjustable strap really handy.

Here's the slider for the adjustable strap.
I also made the strap narrower this time which is much better.
For mine I had bought 1½" fittings and slider but this time it's one inch.

I like the way the zipper piece fits in and the shape it gives to the bag top.

Feet again because they're kinda cute!

Because the strap is narrower this time, I couldn't do the crab stitch edging I'd made on mine.
Instead I did a top crochet stitch (like doing chain stitch in embroidery) on two rows
and left the middle row without which gives it an interesting look and also
has the benefit of making the strap more sturdy and less stretchy.

And finally, it's fun to look for the right lining and these bright flowers
on a dark background with just the right shade of green leaves was perfect.

The little bobble on the zipper pull is so useful in practice.
I'm using my own bag now and it's so much easier to open and close the bag with it.
Much quicker to find the right end too!

On my old bag I was always looking for where the end of the zip was.

With all that, not much progress has been made on my small doily but I'll return to it very soon.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Little Green Bag

I finished my bag last night.  Well, it's not completely finished as I am waiting for a slider for my adjustable strap to arrive in the post.  At the moment, there is a button to hold the strap (which I've just realised you actually can't see on the photos) but I decided I didn't like it and that it would put too much strain on a small part of the strap whereas a proper slider will spread the tension over the whole width of the strap.

I used the star stitch again but this time I didn't do the row of single crochets between the rows of starts and I like it this way for a change.  It's a nice texture and makes for a thick fabric.

I like to insert a bottom in my crochet bags so the bag keeps its shape and this time I went fancy and even added feet!

Here is the zip from the top.  I made a separate rectangular piece so that I could easily machine-sew my zip into it and then crocheted that piece onto the rest of the bag.  I also added a bobble to the zip pull which makes it easier to quickly find it when you want to open your bag as the zip pull is quite small otherwise.

I finished the edge around the zip and the edge the strap with a "crab stitch" (or reverse single crochet).

And finally I lined my bag with some recycled cotton from a bag of old clothes that was due to be taken to the charity shop!

I'm thinking I should write the pattern for this one.  I always improvise every time I make a new bag but I think it would be nice to have an actual pattern I could refer to when I want to make the next one!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Bag, Socks, Doily

What a beautiful sunshiny day it is today!  I hope it is where you are too.  With the nice weather, I thought it was time I made myself a new summer handbag.  I like these crochet bags and have made several over the years.  I'm getting near the top now and thinking how I will insert the zip and make the adjustable strap.  I tie a knot in the strap of my other bag when I want it shorter which is not very stylish so I thought this time I would make a proper adjustable strap.  I will also line it to give it more body.

I'm still enjoying knitting socks and have another pair on the go.  Just a plain knit self-striping design this time.  But do you like my stitch marker?  I tested a little "ice-drop" type of tatting design for a friend and I thought it would make a nice stitch marker.

And lastly, I've only managed three of the repeats on the last round of my doily so far.  I really like the shape of the points on this little doily.

Best wishes,

Friday, 4 May 2018

Third Round Completed

I just finished the third round tonight.  I had to cut a part of it towards the end as I'd not noticed I had made one of the chains wrong.  I was on the last repeat when I noticed something wasn't quite right.  Anyway, it got sorted.  Just one more round to complete this little doily.

And I did make the Catherine Wheel Join video I mentioned in my previous post.  I found it was not easy to make it look clear what I was doing whilst filming this one but I hope it might still be helpful to some of you.  Let me know how I can improve!

Catherine Wheel Join Video

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Light Bulb Moment, Lock Joins, and Catherine Wheel Joins

A lady recently asked me a question on one of my YouTube videos.  It's the one that shows how to make a blipless join when working with two colours.  She wanted to know how to avoid a colour blip when making a lock join instead of a regular join.

Of course as only one shuttle is used for the lock join, you cannot use the other shuttle/colour to hide the colour blip as I do in my blipless join.  This needed to be explored... but the solution was simple in the end:  using a Catherine Wheel Join solves the problem.  If you look at the photo below, you can see that the CWJ is much neater looking as well as keeping the chain colour continuous.

One thing to take into consideration however is that the CWJ adds a stitch, whereas a lock join does not.

The problem with a CWJ though is that it doesn't "dip down" on the join like a lock join does.  You can see in the photo above how much sharper the angle is on the lock join than it is on the CWJ.  I found a solution:  I make the last half stitch before the CWJ and the first half stitch after it with a double wrap which makes the base of the stitch larger and thereby giving a better shape to the join area.

But that wasn't even the light-bulb moment yet!  I don't know about you but I was finding CWJs not that easy to do.  I often use to mess them up and had to take them apart and start again.  It may just be me, please let me know if you find them easy.  Anyway, whilst working these CWJs this morning, I just realised they are just the same as the stitches in a video I made recently on split chains.  That was the light-bulb moment!

I really like this way of making split chains which was shown to me by Marie Smith (see video).  Before learning that method, I disliked tatting split chains and tended to avoid them even though, like split rings, they can be so useful when designing patterns and wanting to move from one round to the next without cutting and tying.

What I realised is that it's exactly the same movements to make a CWJ, as long as you make sure the other shuttle thread is in the right place.  I will be making a new video showing this very soon.  Hopefully others who may be struggling with the CWJ will find it useful too.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Small Doily - 3rd Round

I'm working on the third round and I thought it looked pretty as I tatted last night, like a giant flower on my knee...

Again I'm enjoying tatting rings with flipped stitches and chains with unflipped for this round.  It really saves a lot of time and fiddling with not having to turn your work over, or rewind your shuttles.

I like how this third round adds a lot to the size of the doily in one go.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Small Doily - 2nd Round

A pretty quick second round.  Looking a tad "wonky" in places but I've not blocked it and I think that will rectify itself once I attach the third round anyway.  Very short chains on that round so I made the rings with flipped stitches and the chains with unflipped.  Much quicker.  Onwards to the next round!

Best wishes,

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Small Doily

I showed you the small green doily with my tulips a couple of posts ago... It's doily XIV from Jan Stawasz's red book.  I decided to make it again.

Here's the start.  I'm using a ball of Anchor Freccia which was a gift from a tatting friend.  I'd not tried that thread before.  It seems finer than a 20 and softer than Lizbeth.  It says "16" on the ball... not sure how that relates in size...
Best wishes,

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Horseshoe Lace Socks

Well, these took me a bit longer to complete than expected!  It's not a difficult lace pattern but it's still much slower to knit of course than plain knitting.  The pattern can be found here, should you be interested, except I knitted mine from the toe up and made a Fleegle heel (pattern is from the top down, with a re-enforced heel).  She has other nice sock patterns too.

I can't get my camera to pick up the colour right.  The socks look pink but they really are more purple than that in real life.

It was such a gorgeous sunny day today so I went outside with my socks to take photos.

I put my hand inside to stretch the knitting
so you could better see the lace pattern.

And finally...
pink and green... or purple and green
always go so well together,
don't they?

Right, what shall the next project be??

Best wishes,

Friday, 13 April 2018

Spring Flowers

Just a quick post to share my lovely tulips with you.  I was putting them in my vase and then thought this little green doily would be just right under the vase.  It looked so pretty and so perfect for spring that I wanted to show you.  You've seen this doily before but it's one of my favourites so I'm happy to show it once more!  The design is just great.  It's by Jan Stawasz.  I like it so much I've been looking for an excuse to tat it again.  Perhaps for my sister-in-law's birthday coming up?

Best wishes,

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Another Birthday...

... another pair of socks!  They are my favourite present to make at the moment.  I love wearing hand-knit socks myself and so have great pleasure in making them for close friends and family.

This is the second time I've used this pattern.  I like lacey socks and this 8-row pattern is easy to memorise.

Best wishes,

Monday, 2 April 2018

Happy Easter! ... and a few more squares

I'm a bit late with my good wishes but I hope you all had a nice Easter.

I said in my last blogpost that I mailed my squares to Cathy in Brussels... well they never arrived!  My envelope arrived but the squares were not in it anymore.  Looks like someone probably wondered what was inside my thick envelope and decided to check it out as it was open down one side (I can't really see how this could have happened by accident).

Anyway, I'm quickly trying to make a few more and sending them off straight away as I was sad to think I wouldn't get to take part in this big project.  I don't know why but I decided to stick to just two shades of pink this time around.

Best wishes,

Monday, 26 March 2018

On Their Way...

I posted my envelope of Brussels Squares last week.  I didn't manage to tat quite as many as I would have liked but it's still nice to be part of this big international project.  I enclosed my wish and hope for women all over the world.

I can't wait to see the finished article in situ!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Squares for Brussels

Thank you for your comments as always.   I carried on with the top left design from the previous post in the end.  As Muskaan said, the one without centre may not have been sturdy enough, the extra centre ring adding a lot of stability to the design.

12 made so far...

There are many patterns available already for these little 3x3 cm squares, they can be found on the "Let's Tat a Brussels Monument in Pink for Women's Rights" Facebook page is you're interested. I'm adding mine if anyone fancies it.  

Best wishes,

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Reverse Quatrain Mod for Brussels

It really doesn't look the same but I've kept the same idea and stitch count.  I tried different centres... which do you prefer?  One has just four picots on a centre ring and only the big rings are joined to it (dark pink, bottom right); one has a larger ring in the middle and all rings are joined to it (dark pink, top left) and lastly, there is one without a centre ring (pale pink).  The fourth one (top right) was an earlier version that didn't work out so well, it was too pulled in towards the middle which made it too small.  The others do measure 3cm x 3cm and as you can see, they will now join easily at the corners.

I suppose it doesn't really matter which I pick and I could make several of each version.  When it's all put together, it's going to be hard to spot individual designs anyway.  I like the idea of a worldwide tatting endeavour and wonder how the finished "fabric" will look!

Thank you for your comments on the previous post.  It's wonderful to read that many of you have been participating and sending off your little squares.  

So what do you think?  Should I make all the same or send off different ones?  Which one do you prefer?  I think my favourite is probably top left (larger ring in centre, all other rings joined to it).

Best wishes,

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Little Square - Big Meaning

I have seen several tatters working on the little square for the Brussels Monument and as this is in support of women's rights around the world, it's a good cause which I wish to support.  The project will also happen during the World Lace Congress in August so it's also good to help promote tatting.  I'm a bit late joining the party but there are still two weeks left to send the squares so I plan on making several and sending them along.

Cathy provides a pattern for the square but she also says you can use your own if you wish as long as it measures 3cm x 3cm.  I wondered if my Quatrain would work and yes, if I omit the trefoils on the corner, it has the right dimensions.

The one in the right hand corner is Cathy's pattern.

However, I have now realised, after tatting a few, that although the size is right, the shape is not!  Because if you try to attach them at the corner, the curve means that they have to be one on top of the other to fit.
See what I mean?

Of course I could just keep using Cathy's pattern but I'm stubborn.  I want to make mine fit.  So I will try to keep the spirit of it but change the shape so that it fits properly at the corners and at the size required.

On the other hand, I'm wondering if I tat tightly though because I have measured my square made to Cathy's instructions and it turns out a bit too small!

Right, off to play with my design and see what I can come up with.  Anyone else making some of these squares?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 6 March 2018


As some of you may know, the UK was recently hit by a rare snowstorm.  This caused us to go in search of our warm mittens and hats so we could go outside and enjoy the snow.  I found this old pair in a drawer which is now 35 years old!  It's a little frayed but surprisingly not bad really for its age.  It inspired me to look at patterns and think I could knit a couple of new pairs so we'd have them in the drawer for the next time we might need them... and because there are so many lovely patterns for these types of nordic mittens!

Mittens are also a small project which don't take too long to knit.  I know a few friends who'd like a pair...

This is the first of the new pair.  The pattern is "Northman Mittens" by David Schulz.
The colours are olive green and duck-egg blue.

I like the whole thing but particularly
the Latvian braid which I'd not tried before.
Easy to do and effective.

It's the arrow-looking part at the bottom of the cuff.
Here's a little sampler where I tried the stitch
before tackling the mittens.


I'm on the second mitten now... but I've run out of wool!  I thought it'd be a good idea to use leftovers... except there wasn't enough.  

I might try these "Selbu Mittens" next.  

Best wishes,

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Edging with Corner

I made a video for the handkerchief edging.  It needs quite a bit of editing before I can upload it but in the meantime, you can find the pattern here if you wish to make it.  It's adapted from a vintage edging, in the "Hen & Chick" vein but slightly different.

I modified the corner from the version in green I made on the hanky.  It wasn't symmetrical and that bothered me so I played with it a bit and came up with a better corner.

I pinned my versions on cardboard to make sure the angle was right and there was no pulling or frilling when going around the corner.  I tried a few different versions before settling on probably the simplest, which is the one in yellow below.

I hope you'll enjoy making this simple edging if you decide to make it.
I do like working one shuttle designs as I find them easy and relaxing,
with no re-winding of shuttles required.

Best wishes,