Thursday 28 February 2013

Thread Winder & Other Things

Look what I just received in the post this morning!

Gorgeous, gorgeous!!

I had been trying (really hard) to be good and not order any more HDT for a while and instead go through my stash... but then I made the mistake of checking out what Jess! was up to...


How could I resist those lovely colours?  From the top is Carnival, Taffilicious and Wildberries.

Anyway, this leads me on to the topic of this blogpost.  I love HDT but... I hate unwinding skeins!  I often chase a family member to ask if they'll hold the skein while I wind or otherwise, rig up some pins on a cushion, or around the arms of a chair or whatever I can think up at the time.  But I'd had enough.   So my brain started whirring and I thought I could make something...  (feeling thrifty and not wanting to spend money).

So here it is:

A bit Heath Robinsonish...
but works a treat!

Would you like to see it in action?

You may laugh, but I wound all my skeins in a fraction of the time it usually takes me.  All that was needed was a tin (a full one for the weight), some cardboard, 4 screws, a pencil and a glue gun.

Then I thought I'd show you the socks I'm currently knitting.  It's the first time I've tried this:  they are knitted both at the same time, from the toe up, on ONE circular needle.  Great idea, as I have suffered from the single sock syndrome in the past so that way, you don't get one abandoned sock (... you may get two, but that's another story).

And lastly, I just wanted to mention that Etsy now has made an instant download feature available to its sellers which is a great thing.  I know that Yarnplayer recently said she had moved her patterns to Craftsy because of that.  I guess Etsy were listening.  I think it's still at the trial stage but I'm in the process of updating my own pattern listings.  It means as soon as you complete payment, the pattern is immediately available for download and remains available to the buyer in their account afterwards.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 26 February 2013


I saw this bracelet in Monedido's albums at In Tatters and she kindly gave instructions on how to make it.  I am wearing it right now with an aquamarine ring which is a similar sort of blue.  The bracelet and ring go really well together.

I found some matching blue-grey glass pearls at the craft store - though it would look great with natural cream ones too.

This is not a difficult project to do, it's all rings and chains.  You make one long piece (done in two rows) which is gathered  by the pearls woven through the centre rings.

I didn't want it quite as gathered as Monedido had made it so I spaced the large pearls with much smaller ivory beads and only skipped one ring instead of two when weaving.

And finally...  a wonderful charity shop find!  This pretty glass plate with a lace pattern cost me the massive sum of 50p (about 75 cents!).  From here it looks like real lace, doesn't it?  

Best wishes,

Thursday 21 February 2013

I'm still here! - Pomegranate Edging

There's been lots going on lately... not so much time to tat or blog!  But I have still made some progress on the pomegranate edging and delighted to say that I only have two more motifs to tat and I'm finished!

I used up nearly all of the 150 yards of Jess's HDT "Chilled Mess" in size 60 that I had purchased!  I thought I had loads but surprisingly no, so I'm glad I got the bigger skein.  There are just under 48 inches of lace.  A hanky doesn't look that big but you still need quite a bit of lace to go all the way around.

I hope I'll find the time to attach the lace to the hanky very soon so I can finally show you the completed project.

Best wishes,

Thursday 14 February 2013

Sweet Valentine

The Heart Within
(my own design)

... and I just re-tatted it as I'd not made it
for a long time so here it is again in blue

Tri-Heart by Susan Taliaferro
which she posted at In Tatters
Here is the link.

Betsy Evans' Small Tatted Heart
Here is the link

Susan K. Fuller's Heart's Desire
(pattern available in Pattern's Section above)

Happy Heart!
(Pattern also available in Patterns Section above)

Wishing you all a lovely day!

Best wishes,

Monday 11 February 2013

Still No Center... but here it is anyway

I've still not got fabric for the centre of this but I decided to show the finished tatted piece anyway which I completed sometime last week.

I enjoyed making this very much.  I would even consider making it again!

Working off the ball for the whole of the doily makes it an easier tat, not having to keep refilling shuttles.

I think this doily has an interesting and unique look with the criss-crossing of the trellis, the full and the more open rounds and of course, the victorian sets.

Best wishes,

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Anchor Mercer Crochet

A couple of posts ago, Orsi and Maureen mentioned Anchor Mercer Crochet and that I should try it.  What more prompting did I need!  So off I went and ordered some.  I got just two colours to see whether I like it.  Here is one little motif from the Priscilla no. 2 Tatting Book.  Mercer Crochet doesn't have colour names, just long numbers.

It's pretty but I would prefer more gentle colour transitions.
Those colours make me think of Easter...
and it's way to early to think about that!

The other colour I got is a lovely pale grey.  Lizbeth "Silver" is a colour I use often and this Anchor grey looked similar but perhaps paler I think.  Now I see them side by side, there is not much in it... I think I will next tat two of the same motif with the two threads to do a colour and general thread comparison.

So far though, I have to say that I find Anchor Mercer Crochet very nice.  Lovely sheen as can be seen in the photo above.  Pleasure to work with.  Similar to Lizbeth in my opinion.  But unless I can find somewhere else to buy it, Mercer Crochet actually works out more expensive than Lizbeth.

And look what I found!  A couple of days ago, I had to go up in the loft in search of a pattern (a sewing one, not tatting) and whilst going through my boxes... I found this:

One part ball and one brand-new, still wrapped, ball of Anchor Mercer Crocher in size 30!  This thread must be over 25 years old.  And I have a feeling I may have some more hiding up there amongst my old stash of needlework supplies.  I have been making things for as long as I can remember so I've collected a few bits and pieces along the way.  Looking at the wrapping, I now remember that I use to buy this thread regularly when I lived in Canada.  One day, when I feel up to it, I'll have to have another careful search in the loft and perhaps I'll find some more!

I like this pale blue variegated.  It reminds me of "Blue Ice" by Lizbeth.  And I like that it's a size 30.  I shall be using it for some future project.

Best wishes,

Sunday 3 February 2013

Victorian Trellis Doily - First Round Explained

Some people have expressed interest in this doily but are finding it difficult to decipher the pattern (written in the old-fashioned way).  As this pattern (the whole book in fact) is available on the internet, I  feel it is fine to re-write parts of it here, in modern tatting pattern terminology.

Start on a chain, leaving a small picot.  I use the method without paperclip (see in the techniques section, tab above).  Using these methods, the work is never reversed and you always tat with the front of the work facing you.

Chain with small starting picot

The Victorian sets are made as a chain and have four first halves of the double stitch followed by 4 second halves of the double stitch and are marked as vs4^4 (seems appropriate as the sets form little Vs).  I will be putting a C in front the vs4^4 as Victorian sets could also be worked in ring form so I'm trying to keep things as clear as possible.

Updated on 28.01.21 (there were some mistakes in this pattern which I have now corrected)

This is one whole repeat written out and there are plenty of photos below to illustrate each step.
Don't forget:  you never reverse work!

C: starting picot (as explained above) 4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11 picots)
Join back into your starting picot.

*C:vs4^4(x2), place paperclip on the core thread, vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2).
SCMR2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2 (8 picots), close the SCMR.
Continue with sets:
C:vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2), remove paperclip and join to that space, vs4^4(x2)
Continue with the same chain:
C4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11 picots)
Curl the last part of the chain onto itself with the working thread under the work and the core thread over the work, crossing between the 1st and 2nd double stitch (see photos below).
Repeat from *

When you have completed 36 large rings and are about to make the 36th small ring, then complete the round thus:
SCMR2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2 (8 picots), close the SCMR.
Continue with sets:
C:vs4^4(x2), join to vsp of first chain at the beginning of round, vs4^4(x2), remove paperclip and join to that space, vs4^4(x2), join back at base of very first large ring.

Cvsp4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3 (11picots)

Join the chain back into the starting vsp

vs4^4(x2) are made and I used a bobby pin on my thread
which works well as it has a nice width and is easy
to put on and take off the thread.  A satefy pin
or a paperclip is fine too of course.

The first long chain of victorian sets is completed and I have made the SCMR.
I just need to pass my shuttle through the loop to close it.

vs4^4(x2), vsp, vs4^4(x2) are made after the SCMR
and I have removed the bobby pin and joined in that small space.

After the join, continue with 2 more vs4^4 and then
4-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3, curl this chain back on itself,
making sure the ball thread is under and the shuttle thread (core thread) is over.

Carry on making the Victorian sets, making sure the first stitch is tight
and made so that the join is
between the 1st and 2nd ds of the chain that
makes the large ring.

After the large ring, vs4^4(x2), place paperclip (or whatever else you are using)
vs4^4(x2), join to vsp of previous chain
then continue with the SCMR of the small flower

And so on, and so forth...

The original pattern does the join all around the Victorian sets chains but I wasn't finding that easy to do so that's why I used the paperclip and the vsp instead.  I find it give a precise joining point whereas when trying to do the join all around the chain, it was hard to get an accurate spot every time.

I hope this is useful to those who were interested in tackling this doily.  I have just finished the tatting of mine tonight and am now on the search for some nice fabric for the middle.  Hopefully I can show you the finished doily very soon.

Best wishes,

Friday 1 February 2013


I would like to express my thankfulness for the tatting community.  I have "met" many lovely people through my love of tatting and I really appreciate it.  I occasionally receive wonderful little surprise packages in the post from generous and thoughtful people.  These are not always specifically mentioned on my blog but I want to say here how much I feel privileged to be the recipient of these kind gifts.

A while ago, I received one such package and meant to write about it but I'm only finally getting around to it.  It contained a very useful tatting (or needlework in general) tool which I've not seen mentioned elsewhere before.  When Jane started her TIAS, she stated the amount of thread needed on the shuttles (in yards) so out came my wonderful gadget which I finally share with you here:

It's a thread counter.  You put your thread in the slot and pull the little lever down to hold it agains the wheel (which is inside and which you can't see!) and as you pull the thread off the ball, the little counter measures the yards.  Clever, isn't it?  It will be particularly useful when I next make a beaded shuttle bag where you have to measure quite a lot of thread for all the beads.

There were other things in this great package too but the other one I will show you is a Starlit shuttle which I hadn't tried before.  Last time I made beaded shuttle bags, I used a Tatsy - even made a video of it - which is really quite large, larger than necessary.  The Starlit will be wonderful being a size in between a Tatsy and an Aero as you can see in the picture below.  Of course, straight away I had to add hooks to mine.  I chopped that long, scary nose, and gave it a hook instead.  I'm ready to go!

I hope the sender sees this post and knows how much I appreciate her gifts.

Tatsy on top, Starlit, and Aero

Talking with other tatters is also a great way to find out about new suppliers or supplies you hadn't heard of before.  One of my reader from the UK showed me a motif she was working on and I told her I liked the thread she had used and what was it?  It was a pale blue and yellow thread.

It turns out it is a thread I can buy here in the UK.  It is made by Coats, and is called Puppets Eldorado (strange name).  It comes in many sizes and the one I'm showing you here is a size 16 (the smallest they had).  I find it's quite similar to a size 20 Lizbeth really.  Softer though but still nice to work with.

Thank you F. (never know if people want their name mentioned online or not) for pointing those out to me.

Top is Anchor Freccia, and bottom two are Puppets Eldorado.

The top one is another I found on the same website and is by Anchor, it is called Freccia and is a size 12.  Here is where I got mine from:  Purplelinda Crafts.

Now if you like the firm twist of Lizbeth, you will find these softer and with less body but they are an alternative, come in a range of colours and are less expensive than Lizbeth (here in the UK anyway).  Lizbeth will always remain my favourite for best-defined knots and sharp tatting.... but then again, there is also DMC Babylo which is really growing on me for larger projects (that's the one I'm using on the Victorian Trellis doily).  I might as well give you the link for the DMC Babylo too for the UK readers who are looking for suppliers.  The shop is called SewandSo.  Babylo comes in 50g balls and in sizes 10, 20, and 30.

And finally, I've been taking photos and writing out the pattern for the first row of the trellis doily for those who are interested.  That will be in the next post.

Best wishes,