Sunday, 15 September 2019

Pattern Winners

It's late o'clock on Sunday so I visited the random number generator website and asked for three numbers from 1 to 31... and the numbers that came up are?

11, 27, and 28

Comment no. 11 was from TattingLinda
Comment no. 27 was from rosmarie48
Comment no. 28 was from Robin Perfetti

I have contact details for TattingLinda and Robin but rosmarie48, please contact me using the link in the right side bar to let me know your email address so I can send you the pattern!

Thank you for taking part and for leaving lovely comments everyone!  I'm hoping to have another pattern coming up very soon.

Calixa is also now available in my Etsy shop!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 12 September 2019

New Snowflake Calixa - Pattern Giveaway

As I mentioned before, I ended up creating several different design from the same snowflake inspiration.  I'm still working on the pattern for the one that most looks like the real snowflake (see this post)... but in the meantime, I finally got one version ready.  The initial design idea came together quite quickly but then I spent an enormous amount of time on making different samples to get the stitch count right.

I'm still not completely sure... but I decided enough is enough
and I'm stopping here.  I could keep fiddling with it forever!

Real snowflakes are more angular than tatting and are made of straight lines rather than curves.  For this reason, I like using lock chains as I have in this design:  it's the one tatting technique that produces straight lines.  You can see I have used lock chains in several places in my Calixa snowflake.  It is tatted in two rounds but in one pass, using split rings to move from round one to round two.

I'm giving away three copies of the pattern so if you'd like one, please leave a comment.  This is going to be a quick draw - I'll activate the random number selector on Sunday!  I'll also probably list it in my shop before Sunday... if you can't wait! :-)

I hope to finish the other pattern in the next few weeks so it's available well before Christmas.  I'm about to start my studies again, and am currently catching up on work I should have been doing this summer so I'm pleased to have been able to complete at least one pattern before the start of university.

Best wishes,

P.S.  I thank you in advance for the comments - but I hope you'll forgive me if I don't reply individually for this blogpost as it makes it more difficult to count for the draw!  :-)

Sunday, 8 September 2019

New Earrings

That's it:  summer's over!  It just went by too quickly.  Everybody is soon returning to their studies (some have already).  I made a batch of blackberry jam from the hedgerows today and also apple and blackberry crumbles and pies.

I wanted to make a new pair of earrings for my daughter.  She does like my tatted earrings and wears some frequently so I thought it would be nice to come up with a new design for her.  I decided to use a plastic ring for the centre to give the earrings more stability and weight, and to help them keep their shape when worn.  I drew an incredibly quick sketch (you can see how dreadful it looks!) and then just started tatting.  The pink version is the first one I made to test the idea and then I made the burgundy pair (one of her favourite colours).

(sorry, evening photos, lighting not very good)

Yes, I think I'm happy with those.
It's late evening now so I'll look forward to seeing them on her ears tomorrow!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Joys of Summer Holidays

I love the summer holidays.  We're lucky to have a special place to go to and it's been wonderful to get all the children together to enjoy it with them once again.  They are now older and studying in various places so we don't get to see them as much as we'd like to.

This summer turned out to be the holiday of "art".  We've been drawing and painting and I've really enjoyed it.  Drawing has never been my forte and I wanted to practice to get better.  It's surprising what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

One of my daughters has been really good at advising me and giving me tips on how to draw certain things, how to look at angles and really trying to draw what you see and not what you think you see!! That's the most difficult thing!

I needed to draw trees in the background of the drawing above and felt that I did know how so I did a little tree practice....  They are too detailed for what I needed but it was a good exercise in observation.

The last one is a type of tree I'd seen on the beaches in Australia and really liked the shape and look of.  At the time I had been disappointed in not being able to draw them... so I had another go after my tree practice:

I think it's a type of cypress?

A little local scene...

And one last photo of little treasures from the forest.  We love going on walks in the surrounding forest and there's always lots of pretty things to see and collect.

Lastly, I've been trying my best to get a pattern written up for my snowflake... but I keep being distracted by other things!  The stitch count is still not perfect so I find myself making yet another sample... and another... and meanwhile the pattern doesn't get written!

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely summer.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Snowflake Multiples

I thought it would be interesting to see how the snowflake from the previous post would look like repeated. It might make a nice larger piece if I could then come up with an outline design.

A nice little shuttle shape appears between the motifs...
And if you squint, you can see a new,
negative space snowflake. 

Can you see it?

Best wishes,

Friday, 12 July 2019

New Snowflake for 2019

As I said in a previous post, I was rather sad that I didn't manage to create a new snowflake design for 2018.  So I thought I'd work on one now, in the summer, while I'm on break from university as I know I'll get busy again in September and might not find time then.

I love looking for inspiration in real snowflakes and trying to recreate their shapes with my shuttles.  One of the favourite books I own is a book of real snowflake photos by Wilson Bentley (thank you to my friend H. for so kindly sending it to me).

This is the one that caught my eye this time as I was leafing through its pages....

And this is the resulting tatted snowflake:

Real snowflakes are angular, with some curves, yes,  but also with straight lines and sharp points... whereas tatting is mostly round and curvy.  It's therefore not always obvious how to recreate the shape of a real snowflake with rings and chains.  In this case, I made use of lock chains which are straight and also produce a nice sharp angle where they meet under the two small rings.

I'm showing them again smaller so it's easier to see the overall shape.  There are still some changes I'd like to make... but if I don't get any closer, I'll still be happy with this version.

This wasn't my first iteration...  there were many!  Another that I liked and which came before the one above is the one below.  It's nowhere as near to the real snowflake but I was happy with this design too.  It still needs a bit of work but I will probably write a pattern for that one as well.  I particularly like the shape of the points.

In fact I made many different snowflakes that I like or from which I liked various elements.  Here's a bad (low light) photo of them on my table last night.  They're all slightly different... and I still have more ideas I want to try!  So maybe I'll make up for last year by having two this year.

As you can see, my testing has enabled me to make many versions and samples - there are even more than the ones shown on the photo - so that I'll have most of my snowflakes ready to send to friends and family in their Christmas cards when the time comes (I can't believe I dared to say the "C" word in July!!).

Best wishes

Sunday, 7 July 2019

And the Winners Are...

There were 23 entries (the comments heading showed 25 but one was a reply to a comment and another was from Michelle who stated she didn't want to be entered in the draw, so that made 23).

The random number generator said:

When I counted to 13 and 15, I skipped Michelle's comment and that gave Stephanie's comment and Margaret's.  You are the winners!  I will be sending you the pattern and a kit bag to make the Star Bag.  Congratulations!  Please send me a private message with your postal address and I will be shipping you the kit this week.  I hope you'll enjoy making the bag.

On another note, I'm excited to say that I have been working on a new snowflake design for 2019... and yes!  I have one!  I looked through my real snowflake book again for inspiration and I have been tatting some samples.  I now need to write the pattern up... and hope you'll find it appealing!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Snow Flurry in July

I had an order for some snowflakes.  It took me a while to make them all but it was a good exercise as it enabled me to revisit several patterns I'd not made for a while and update some of them.

I don't know why but the photo below of them all messy together appealed to me.

Working on Regal caused me to think how useful it is to use both ways of making chains on the same piece - flipped as normal, and reverse order unflipped.  That way you can do all the work looking at the front of your design, and the chains can curve either way depending on the method you choose.  In Regal for example, the chain curves one way before the JK and then the other way after it.

Snowdrop remains one of my favourite of the snowflakes I've designed.  I really like its shape and how it was designed from a real snowflake image and I also really like the fact that it's all tatted in one round.

Étoile du Nord


Ice Queen


(This one really needs a better name!)

Crystal Star




Tatting snowflakes has also made me think that maybe I should try to find time to design a new one for 2019... during the summer... as I'll get busy with studies again in September.  I still feel sad that I didn't design one for 2018.  I can't have two years in a row without a new snowflake design??!

And lastly, don't forget to check the previous post if you're interested in making my new crochet bag as I have a giveaway for which there are still only a few entries!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Calling On All Crocheters - Summer Draw

Hello everyone!  I've been working on this for aaaaaaages!  I first made one of these bags a few years ago and kept telling myself I'd write the pattern eventually.  It's evolved a bit since I made the first version in black (see blogpost).  I wrote a first draft last year when I made another for myself and one for a friend (see blogpost) but then it ended up on the back-burner when I started my studies.  Well,  at last, I think it's finally ready.  I wanted to explain all the steps as clearly as possible so it took a long time to do all the testing and take all the photographs.  And as this was my first crochet pattern, it was a bit of a learning curve too.

I'm very grateful to my friend Megan for doing a very thorough revision of several drafts of this pattern.  Her help was invaluable.

The pattern shows how to make the bag, the zipper piece, the bobble pull, how to line the bag, to make the adjustable strap and how to stiffen the base.  Armed with this knowledge, you can then use the directions as a guide and change the size or stitch pattern as you wish for example.  So it's a bit of a "crochet-bag-making-tutorial" really.  You can see in the photo above that the pattern on the pink bag is slightly different and I also finished the edge around the zipper with shells as I thought that went well with the soft pink.  The variations can be endless.

If you crochet and fancy having a go at making this bag, I'm having a draw for two patterns... 
I will be sending not only the pattern, but also a kit bag with all the pieces required to make the bag:  two sliders, one adjustable slider for the strap, 4 feet and plastic canvas pieces for the base.  So you won't have to go on the search for all those separate pieces.  You'll just need your cotton yarn of choice and a matching zipper and lining fabric.

I use one of these bags all the time, summer and winter.  They are fully washable and you can easily make a new one to match outfits... or just for a change!

It's fun to choose a nice matching fabric for the lining, subtle or striking, the choice is yours.

If you are interested in winning a copy of this pattern with the kit to make it, please leave a comment below.  I will be holding the draw next Sunday, 7th of July.  As I've not been so active on my blog lately, it may take a while for readers to notice this blogpost, so hopefully 10 days will give people long enough to enter the draw if they so wish.  And once I've got the kit bags organised, it will also eventually go on sale in my Etsy shop.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 13 June 2019

It's Been So Long... I'm not sure where to start!

I've no doubt lost some subscribers over the last year due to my infrequent postings... and probably more so due to posting so little about tatting!

I'm on summer break now and needing to catch up on all the things I've not had time to do during the year.  I'm afraid I'll disappoint people again however as there's still not been much tatting going on!  But I do have some "tatting-related" items to show you.

I've really enjoyed ceramics throughout the term and finally got some pots on which I like the glazing.  Not only is throwing pots difficult... but glazing is such a mystery!  When you're inexperienced like me, every pot that comes out of the kiln after glazing is a bit of a surprise.  And not always a good one.  But I like the mix of colours on the ones below.

I made my own stamps out of clay which I used on the shallow bowl and the small pot leaning against is was decorated using a rubber mat which I laser cut with a design drawn from a piece of lace (though not tatting this time).

For this little pot, I used a piece of piece of embroidered and sequined fabric
that I pressed into the clay before the first firing.

I made a CNC-machine milled rolling pin from my Regal snowflake design.  However, I had to modify it somewhat as the design was too complex for the machine to mill so it's not as detailed as I would have like it to be.  It was an interesting experience and a great learning curve but my conclusion is that using the laser-cutter for designs is much better and so much more detailed.

I made a mug from the design but it's a bit rough!
It's now come back after glazing but I'm not happy with the result sadly.

Still related to tatting, I cast one of my tatted snowflakes in pewter!
Not perfect but something that could be explored further.

I went a bit crazy decorating one of my bowls (it's upside down on the turntable)
with filaments of clay, using a fine nozzle-tipped bottle.

I liked the look of it best like that,
before firing and glazing.

And lastly I knitted and unknitted a sweater three times over the last couple of months!  I wasn't happy with the first pattern I chose and the fit.  So I unknitted and re-knitted another pattern but found out near the end that my gauge was off and the sweater was smaller than I would have liked.  So I unknitted again and re-knitted with larger needles and finally!  The sweater is done.

(Top in photo is the first design which was being unknitted to knit the bottom design)

(Lines across the middle are from having put it to dry over the radiator!)

Summer is slow to arrive here in the UK.  It's still very cool and we're expecting rain for the next seven days!  I hope it's sunnier where you are.  Please let me know what you're up to!  I've missed hearing from you through my blog.

Best wishes,

Monday, 8 April 2019

I'm Still Here!

Wow, this must be one of the longest time between posts, is it?  I'm still here, making more pottery, researching and writing at the moment and also doing work placements.

(if you're here to see "real" tatting, scroll further down the post!)

As you'll see I'm incorporating tatting with ceramics!  I have laser-cut some rubber mats that I use to press into clay.  The first little green cup is made with my Snow Crystal design.  It's a hand-shaped slab cup (not thrown on the wheel).

The second mat I made has two designs on it, one drawn from another type of lace (which you can see a bit of a the top of the image below) and the other drawn from my Flocon d'Or design.  The lines on that one are much finer than the Snow Crystal design and I wasn't sure it would work with clay but I was delighted to find that it worked great and the detailed design imprinted very well.

I made a bigger slab mug this time to test the new design.
I glazed it a few days ago and I'm waiting for it to be fired.
Cross fingers, it comes out well with the glaze!

And lastly yes!  A bit of tatting in thread too!
I'm working on a hanky edging with my one-shuttle edging pattern
which can be found here.
It's the second time I've made this edging.

There's also a video on how to make it here.

I do like a one-shuttle edging, simple and relaxing to make.  

I hope you are all doing well.

Best wishes,