Monday 31 December 2012

December Motif - New Pattern

It is New Year's Eve.  I want to wish everyone a wonderful and creative New Year 2013.

I have just written up a pattern which will be my last creation of 2012 and it's available for free to anyone who would like it.  I was thinking of a simpler motif with beads since making Ice Queen and here it is.  It is made in one pass.  It would look pretty and sparkly as a snowflake too with the right colours.  It is quick to tat so would make a nice little gift when you don't have much time.

Clicking on picture will take you to pattern.

I am always drawn to blues so I really made an effort to pick a different colour.

... Although I couldn't resist and had to make it in blue too!

... and in green...

sorry, one "arm" is a bit droopy on this one,
bad blocking!

Happy New Year

Bonne Année!

Best wishes,

Friday 28 December 2012

Tina Frauberger

A bit of calm now between Christmas and New Year...  Hope you all had a lovely day on the 25th.

I did a bit more tatting on the Chilled Mess Edging and also completed this motif by Tina Frauberger.  It reminds me of wrought iron.  Maybe I should do it again in black?

The whole of Tina's book can be found on Georgia Seitz's website.  Here is the link.  It's a great book.  This particular motif can be found on page 65.  I like Tina's designs but I often find her scale too large for my taste.  The ring inside the onion ring in this one for example has 34 stitches in it.  As I've done before, I'd like to keep the shape but scale it down.  I did some work on a crown edging of hers before and here's the link to the blogpost where I scaled down the whole edging.  I find smaller rings much more pleasant to work with.

In this pattern, she makes the tiny 4 ring motif in the middle first and then attaches the rest to it but I used mock rings so that I could tat the whole thing in one go.

I still can't find the butterfly doily though... that's what happens when you keep taking your tatting with you... sometimes you forget where you left it!

Hope you are all able to relax and enjoy some tatting time during this holiday.

Best wishes,

Friday 21 December 2012

Christmas Trees!

You know when I said in the previous post that I had an idea...  I was looking at the picture of my edging and all of a sudden I saw... Christmas trees!  Yes, I could change the shape a bit and the edging would make great little Christmas trees.

And here they are:

I don't have any browns in my stash at the moment (I am about to remedy this problem and hope to receive some in the post today) so I did the first sample with jungle greens and black (photo below) and the second one in leafy greens and mocha light (photo above).  The mocha light gave me another idea though... you could use cream or white for the chains and small rings and it would look like Christmas trees in the snow!  It does a bit in the photo above even with the mocha light.  Don't you think?

I will give the pattern away to the first 10 people to comment on this post.  It's not been test-tatted yet so for the first ones who try it, I would welcome feedback.  After that, it will be available in my Etsy shop.  I've even designed a corner for it so the edging could be used for a handkerchief or as a frame.

And finally, one reader asked if she could have the stitch count for the small rainbow motif I made in the previous post.  It's very simple, mostly 5-stitch counts, and here it is:
Click on image for file download

In case I don't get a chance to make another blogpost before the big day...

Thank you for your support and interest during the last year.

      Best wishes,

Thursday 20 December 2012

Rainbows & Biscuits

I hope everyone is happy, relaxed, and doing well with their Christmas preparations (I'm saying that because, as usual, I'm not ready!!).

There has been little time for tatting lately apart from more Flocon d'Or to go in my cards but I recently received a skein a Rainbow-licious from Jess and I just had to try it out.  So bright and cheerful!

Here is just a little motif to show off the colours.

I was actually trying to make a pattern specifically for Rainbow-licious and came up with this one which was not exactly what I was looking for but I like it nonetheless.  I think I will work on a corner for it too.

It's definitely too spring-like in those colours!
mmm... but it's just given me another idea...

And lastly, I've been making biscuits (or cookies as many of you will call them) and having fun decorating them and giving them to guests or hosts.  Top ones are chocolate and bottom ones are gingerbread.

Right, I've got to, urgently, go write up some more cards!

He, Ho, just realised today is another cool date:

Best wishes,

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Ice Queen

That's what I decided to call my new pattern.  I hope you like it.  I would say this is an intermediate to advanced pattern because of the loop-tatted rings and because of some of the joins.  But as I said in the previous post, it's all really a matter of a bit of practice and I'm sure most tatters would get the hang of LTRs pretty quickly.  I will have to amend my LTR video to show that I now hardly ever finger-tat but instead I slip a post shuttle onto the loop and use it to make the stitches instead of finger-tatting:  much quicker!

I made it again as I was testing the pattern, in blue this time.  I need to get more bugle beads really - I had some silver ones somewhere but I can't find them.  I think it would look nice with silver.  I added a couple of extra stitches to the LTRs as mentioned in the previous post and I prefer it that way.

The pattern is now written up...  I'm just debating whether I should have it test-tatted but I know everyone is so busy at this time of year so I don't dare ask anyone as I'd like to have it done NOW!  Here I go again with my impatience.  Anyone keen?  Only one or two at most would be fab.

I would like to thank Shannon, Jeff, Margaret and Michelle for test-tatting the Snow Crystals pattern (available now).  I really appreciate their help.  Shannon (Shannon-in-Love) made her picots longer than mine, feeling they would look more snowflake-like:

Snow Crystals tatted by Shannon

I'd have to agree, they look great with longer picots.

And one last thing:  the tiny latch hook I mentioned in the last post - I was so pleased that I ordered a second one, but it's not the same!  Be careful, there are different sizes in these tiny hooks and the new one I bought is bigger than the one with the yellow cap and does not fit through bugle beads.  The yellow and red one says Inox 4/0 on the cap.  I'll have a search to see if I can locate one.

Hope to have "Ice Queen" ready really soon.  Keep an eye out if you are interested in trying your hand at this challenging pattern.

Oh, and I nearly forgot why I particularly wanted to do a blogpost today:  it's the 12th day of the 12th month in 2012.  Special day, think you not?  And there won't be another matching date like this for 89 years!  So make the most of this one!


Best wishes,

Thursday 6 December 2012

What About This One?... and Wonder Tool!

Still thinking about snowflakes - when there's so many other things I should be doing! - and how to get a more angular look and the idea of using bugle beads floated into my mind...  yes, they would make a nice angle or point, wouldn't they?  This snowflake evolved from there.

It has, in fact, lost some of the angularity given by the bugle beads because of the shape of elements I added around the beads but I still think it's worked out interesting.

This may not be for the faint-hearted:  I used thrown rings, mock rings, even loop-tatted rings and some slightly unusual joins.  But after making a series of loop-tatted rings, I've decided they're not difficult either really.  As with everything, it's just a bit of practice.   I wanted a straight up bugle bead with a ring on top so that's the technique I needed to use.

This is my first sample but I will be playing with it some more.  I'm going to try it with a larger ring on top of the bugle for one thing and I already have other ideas I want to try too... it's finding the time!  I could also have a few seed or delica beads around the edges to add even more sparkle.  As always:  so many ideas, never enough time.  And I definitely need to re-do it in different colours.

And finally, I just had to bring to your attention this wonderful little tool I just rediscovered and how perfect it is for tatting!

I've had this tiny latch hook for years, using it when making Honiton lace, which is worked with some of the finest cotton there is.  I don't know what made me think about it all of a sudden but I was finding it fiddly to get the bugle beads on the thread and my other hooks were way too big to get through the hole... so I had to use a bit of thread to get the bead onto my tatting thread... but this little hook!  What a marvel!  It's so tiny, it gets through most beads, including bugle beads.  Wonderful.

Tatted in size 20 Lizbeth, Ecru

Best wishes,

Monday 3 December 2012

Sorrel Leaf

So busy at the moment!  Not enough time to tat!  

But still wanted to make quick post
as I don't like to leave my blog "unattended" for too long...

I was a lucky recipient of Jess's first try at a Sorrel colour way - I think the batch that ended up in the shop is quite a bit darker than this (and more green? and more purple?).  So just a quick leaf I tatted tonight.  The leaf is the one from Nancy Tracy's Tatted Cherries which I did a short while ago.  Not my best tatting...  but I mostly wanted to see how the thread tatted up.  There's so many things to do at this time of year...  I'm sure you all feel the same!  I'm starting to look forward to "after Christmas" when we can all relax... and tat!  I have many other beautiful HDTs I've not had time to wind and try, so I'm looking forward to those too.

The colours make me think of rhubarb...

I'm also still working on a pattern for this.
I'm thinking of putting both versions on the same pattern.

Anyone for a test-tat, maybe?  I know everyone's busy (it's the wrong time of year to ask this) so please only offer if you think you have time and can tat it quite quickly...  I know, I'm sorry, I'm a hard taskmaster!

I hope to have the pattern ready tomorrow.  I would particularly like to know if the photos I took to explain the one-stitch SCMR are good enough.

I said to Miranda in the last post that I'd show you what it looked like without the long picots pinned into a pointy shape so that's the picture above.  I like it like that too, in its "natural state".  

Best wishes,

Friday 30 November 2012

More on Snowflakes

Whilst working some more on the snowflake from the previous post, another idea popped into my mind...  I think it's worked out kinda neat.

And this is the first snowflake that I remade, testing whether I'm happy with the point.  I still like the overall shape of the snowflake but not completely happy with its construction.  So the point... I thought I was being clever by making a ONE STITCH SCMR.  That's how I got the point.  I think it does give a better pointy shape than making an SLT or a lock stitch.  I've tried all three options and I think that, with a bit of refinement, the one-stitch-SCMR works well.  I'll try to get comparative photos in a future post.

I worked this one in a size 10 too-fluffy thread which I don't really like.  

I've also not abandoned the hanky edging.
I work on it here and there, in between other stuff,
and have now turned the second corner.

On the other hand, I just don't know where I put the butterfly doily!  It has temporarily disappeared.  It never ceases to amaze me how things can just vanish in this house.  Hopefully it will re-surface soon and I might find time to do some work on it during the Christmas holiday.

Best wishes,

Monday 26 November 2012

The Beauty of Snowflakes

I've been looking at snowflakes again.  Real snowflakes.  I find them endlessly fascinating.  They are so beautiful and each different.  

Here is one:
Image Source:

I wanted to try to reproduce it in tatting.  To have a more realistic-looking tatted snowflake.  A small one.  And in fact, I don't think this one is small enough (I'd like one to wear as earrings) - though of course I could always tat it in a finer thread.  But here's where I got to so far.  The challenge was to have that point in between the longer arms.  Those points make a lovely diamond shape in the snowflake.  Tatting, though, is not generally "pointy", it's definitely more about curves.  But I've come up with a "trick" that lets me turn at the end of the chain and go back the other way with a point instead of a curve.  Technique still needs to be perfected a bit but here's my first sample.

Getting there?

Here they are side by side:

Best wishes,

Saturday 24 November 2012

Button Brooches

I was taken with the last button brooch that Jane Eborall showed on her site (the one tatted in Sea Island Citrus).  It grabbed my attention with its lovely colours and layered effect.  So I went for a forage in my button box and was disappointed to find that I had very few large buttons.  But I had these big mother-of-pearl ones which I hoped would do the trick.

For this brooch, I grabbed the first thread and beads I could find just to try out the pattern really.  So the colours are a bit random and the beads aren't very good beads, not uniform in size.  I added another small button in the middle at the end (Jane used a large bead).

In fact I enjoyed making it so much that I made a second one straight away where I was a bit more careful with my bead and thread choices.  I used delica beads this time which are smaller than the ones I used in the brooch above.  I recently purchased Lizbeth Charcoal (Med) which I like a lot and hadn't tried before so I used it with some Lizbeth Silver.

On this second one, I tatted an extra small flower for the middle with a crystal bead at its centre.  The dangle is made of various beads with a semi-precious fluorite nugget at the bottom.

These brooches feel lovely with the extra weight of the button and the beads - they feel.... substantial!

I thought the variety of colours showed a bit better in this sideways photo.
And you can see the layers and the button.

Best wishes,

Friday 23 November 2012

Wonderful Fan... and I'm a Fan!

... of Jennifer Williams' patterns (sorry for the silly pun, I couldn't help myself).

From the beginning, I had noticed a lovely little fan on her home page that wasn't appearing in her list of patterns.  I contacted Jennifer and she very kindly provided me with the pattern.

Tatted in Lizbeth 20 (660-Country Turquoise Light)

Isn't it pretty?

I think I would call this a slightly challenging pattern.  There are no difficult techniques involved but it needs concentration and some dexterity to be able to tat with things getting in the way.  When you make the first row of long chains for example, they curl in an unhelpful fashion so that when it comes time to make the second row, you have to make sure to get the criss-crossing right and that all your chains are lying correctly.  I did get the criss-crossing wrong the first time around and ended up starting over again.  You also have to place all the beads for the fan sticks (10 of them) onto the thread and hold them in place with paperclips until you are ready to make the last ring at the bottom that joins them all together.

My long chains aren't perfectly consistent and hence there are slight variations in length which bother me a little but apart from that, I'm pretty happy with this piece of tatting.

Thank you Jennifer Williams!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 20 November 2012

A Bit More of the Same...

But not quite...  Here is the motif from the previous post.  I tried with a variegated but am not happy with that.  I'm showing you anyway.  The beauty of the design is lost with the too contrasting colour changes which I often find is a problem with variegated.  That's why I like gently variegated, subtle colour changes which allow the design to show through whilst keeping the colour an interesting element of the design.

Anyway, here is the first version:

This is tatted front-side back-side (FSBS) all the way through and I even "posted" the shuttle (passing it through the ring from front to back before closing it) on the Josephine Rings which I think gave them a better shape.

I had to do it again in plain colours.  But I did make a few changes on the next version.  In the pattern, the centre rings are attached through a long picot on the first ring but I decided to use two small picots on each ring for joining instead.  I also wanted to attach the Josephine Rings as I found they were moving about a bit too much.  I ended up changing them to small rings and attached them to the chains from the previous round and this is the result:

I'm happy with having attached the small rings as this didn't need any blocking or pressing whatsoever.  I think you will see this again in the next post as I will make it again in different colours and will make those small rings a bit bigger in the next version.  I like the look of the centre better and I generally like the look of this little motif a lot!

I've also not forgotten what I said in a previous post about redoing the centre of the small SCMR mat with two shuttles instead... well, I don't like it.  It looks a lot better with the SCMRs.  Even with the shoe-lace trick (SLT), I couldn't get the same look as with the original.  The centre motif on the right of the picture is uneven because I tried different things within the same motif.  So I have my answer and self-closing mock rings (SCMRs) are absolutely great in this instance and give that nice star shape to the centre round.

Best wishes,