Saturday 28 September 2013

Vintage Flower Edging

As stated in the previous post, this is a classic vintage edging which is no longer under copyright.  Versions of it can be found in online needlework and tatting archives and elsewhere.  Therefore I feel it now belongs to all tatters, for everyone to have pleasure in tatting it.  I am providing you with a version of it with my stitch count, the one I am using now to make a hanky edging.  I have come up with a different solution for the corner (different from the first time I made it in the pink and blue version from the previous post).

It's a very pretty edging in my opinion; it is easy to make and grows quickly.  I wrote out the pattern for you to enjoy and made a pdf of it which is available below.  Whenever I have seen this edging, it usually didn't have a name - sometimes just a number - (though in one book it was called "Empress")  so I decided to give it one of my own.  "Fleurette" seemed an obvious choice for this lovely edging with small flowers.

Clicking on to image will take you to Google Docs where the pattern is stored.

And finally, to keep with the purple theme of this post, I have matching purple hands at the moment as I have just returned from picking...


They grow wild all around the lanes, and this year, are particularly tasty.
I'm off to make a batch of jam!

Best wishes,

Thursday 26 September 2013


I love this little edging.  It's vintage, it's a classic.  I've tatted it a few times already and it's always satisfying.  This time I'm doing it in size 40 thread and will use it to edge a handkerchief.

I have scaled it down a bit with shorter chains and now I just need to come up with a corner for it.  The thread is Purple Iris Fusion with Leaf Green Med.

This pretty edging can be found in many vintage publications, one of them being the Tatter's Treasure Chest.  I first made a hanky with it some years ago (photo below), then a doily for my mother-in-law (can't find a picture of that one at the moment) and then I liked it so much I made another doily for our house too.

I've still got the Mystery Doily on the go too and am now tatting the third round.  But I felt I needed something else "lighter" to work on at the same time.  And of course, in the background there is also the Butterfly Doily!  Oh yes, fear not, I will get to the end eventually!

Oh, and I have just uploaded another video on how to cover a plastic (or metal) ring with tatting.  This was one of the requests I had when I asked what videos people would like me to make.  I hope you'll find the sound is a bit better on this one.  I still find the talking business difficult though... it seems simple but it's not that easy to continuously speak clearly and make sure all your words make sense and describe well what you are doing!  I mumble a bit occasionally and as you can see, generally, I've a long way to go!  I won't be hired as a BBC presenter any time soon!

Best wishes,

Monday 23 September 2013

Mystery Doily - Round Two

It's slow going but I completed the second round.

I'm undecided whether to carry on further or not... The tiny-rings-short-chains tatting does gives this an original look which is delicate and full at the same time.

Best wishes,

Thursday 19 September 2013

Mystery Doily - Who's the Copy Cat Now? And New Video

It's been great to have a lot of interest and comments on the previous post and the square motif, thank you.  I shall be making more versions of it eventually but in the mean time... as often happens... I've been side-tracked!

Jon has been working on the mystery doily for a little while and it's looking great.  Then Fox started on it... then I saw a thread on In Tatters about it....  so I thought I needed to give it a try!

Clicking on image will take you to pattern.

The cream version is the one I started on first.  Then I found, like Jon, that there was too much tension and in my case, there was no way I could get the 8 repeats called for in the first round.  Six was all I could manage.  So then I read the thread over at In Tatters and Rachael gave a different stitch count for the chains and also for the cluster of rings on the inside.  I started again with the green thread and now it works beautifully!

Now I can't guarantee I'll get to the end of this but the beauty of this pattern is that it's just a slightly different arrangement of the joins between the rows that creates variety in the doily; the rounds all have the same stitch count for the rings and for the chains.  This makes it an incredibly easy pattern to remember and to take around with you (you know I always carry tatting with me wherever I go) without needed to carry a pattern along as well.

The tiny rings and really short chains make for a lot of reversing work and slows down progress quite a bit I was finding... that was until I saw Karen's comment at In Tatters:  do not reverse work for the chains, just tat them unflipped!  What a great suggestion.  This has improved speed of progress greatly.

But what about the colour?  Now I've started again with the green, I wonder whether I shouldn't have used the cream instead.  Or should I use more than one colour?  Ah, decisions... decisions...

Oh, and I was nearly forgetting:  I've uploaded a new video on Jane's blipless join.  Apologies again the sound is still low (not figured out how to fix that yet... short of shouting which I can't bear to do!) but I hope you can hear well enough if you turn your computer volume to the max!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Square Motif Revisited

I had a comment on this post recently.  It reminded me how much I liked this motif when I tatted it.  And also that I'd not taken notes on making it so I decided to tat it again, write everything down and have another go at making a centre for it.

The motif is from Ann Orr's Classic Tatting Patterns.

The top one, in green, is the original without a centre.  The blue one has interlocking rings in the centre and finally the dark pink has little rings.  I also moved where the rings are attached at the base of the onion rings.  In the end, I prefer attaching lower as in the green.  I may redo the shape of the green with little rings in the centre.

The interlocking rings are interesting but add extra thickness to the tatting which may not be appropriate if you wanted to use the motif to make a doily.

I do like it without a centre but the space is just a little too large for my liking.   Just a bit smaller and you could leave that space empty.

What do you think?  Do you have a favourite?

Best wishes,

Monday 16 September 2013

Necklace for a Friend

Here is a necklace I made as a thank you for a friend.  Tatted in one of my favourite bright turquoise thread:  Lizbeth Ocean Teal Dk, size 20.  It's actually brighter in real life but I tried photo and scan and still couldn't get the shade quite right.  Never mind, it is a wonderful blue!

This is made using my Viola pattern.  I made one in black for myself sometime ago and it does look really pretty as a necklace.

In other news... I won threads from Handy Hands!  I was so delighted!  It's awfully hard to choose though:  so many great colours and in different sizes too.  The colour suggestion I had made was for a variegated orange (autumn and pumpkins are just around the corner) but someone had already suggested a variegated orange.  Lucky for me, they still used one of the oranges from my collection to make a solid:  Coral Orange Med.  I wasn't sure if I'd like it on its own but I do; it's not as pinky as the name suggests and a really nice orange which will be great to use for autumn tatting (it's the one in the bottom right hand corner in the photo).

I think Barb's ongoing colour competition is incredibly generous and I'm always amazed that they keep bringing out new colours.  It's an amazing range of shades and a thread I really enjoy using.

Best wishes,

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Fine Threads

I'm sure you've been following Fox's adventure with Perfect Quilter thread?  Well, she kindly sent me a sample.  I used it to tat Thistle by Mary Konior.

Don't look at the joins on the chains,
they are awful!

I laughed at myself because this would have been one perfect opportunity to use the blipless join and I didn't think to!  Even after I just made the previous blogpost, silly me.

I found Perfect Quilter to be slightly fuzzy but smooth and easy to work with though I have to admit I'm not enamoured with that particular colour way... I find there's too much contrast between the colours and it's an unusual mix!  But thank you Fox, it was nice to be able to give it a try.

Then Diane's post reminded my of another thread that was generously sent to me by my friend Sandy:  King Tut.  Sandy had chosen something right up my alley, in the blues I like.  King Tut is even finer than Perfect Quilter and is also firmer and less fuzzy.  It's a nice thread to work with.

I thought more about the joins this time and they are smoother.

Then I decided to tat this one more time in Lizbeth 80 to compare sizes and I used the blipless join this time.  The 80 was only just slightly finer than the Perfect Quilter but King Tut is definitely the finest.  Here are all three:

I found this design really difficult to tat as nicely as I would have liked.  I find having to join chains "straight" causes problems and often produce less than satisfactory results.  Chains are meant to curve!

I didn't particularly enjoy making thistle and am pleased to be done with my comparative tatting... but on the same page was also "Star".  It looked so pretty I just had to tat it too!  This time in Altin Basak 50.  A thread I like a lot.

Finally, I'm still not convinced about the blipless join in the previous post.  I have now made a video of Jane's join and will upload that later.  But I don't find the result completely satisfactory with either.  Problem not solved for me.  I'll think about whether I want to leave the video of my join up or not...

Ah, the joys of tatting!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Something new?

In the post about videos, I had requests for one on the blipless join.  So I revisited Jane's page and practiced it again.

I have to say that I don't often feel the need for a blipless join; when working with two colours, it's easy to put the blip at the back.  And in some patterns it can even look pretty as a design element.  I can't say, therefore, that I have spent a lot of time avoiding the blip!

When working Jane's join though, it got me thinking and wondering whether it could be done differently.  Basically, what happens in the blipless join is that there is an extra thread at the back which covers the small bit of thread of a different colour.

I actually came up with two different ways of doing the join and made a video for the one I preferred.

The other caveat is that whether with Jane's method or with mine, there is a bit of a tiny bump going on due to the extra thread which you don't have with a regular join.  I don't see how this could be avoided completely - but I'm always prepared to be put right if someone knows another way!

Here are photos.

My way, blipless join from the front

My way, blipless join from the back

Jane's way, blipless from the front

Jane's way, blipless from the back

Examining carefully, there appears to be a bit of extra thickness from the thread showing on the inside curve of the ring when using Jane's method and also, the picot is twisting a little.  A little line showing horizontally on the front is visible using both methods.  I'm pulling hairs here but just trying to study the differences. 

I've just uploaded a video that shows how I do the blipless join my way.  And I will also make one that shows Jane's method.  Then you can choose which you prefer!

How about you, do you find you use (or would use) a blipless join often?  I also discovered a new join which I didn't know about:  the smooth join - do you know it?  And I played again with the Lark's Head join which is very nice indeed (though it does not avoid the colour blip) in that it looks like a double stitch so is practically invisible... apart from the fact that it adds a double stitch to your count and the whole of this stitch sits inside the picot join... but that's another story... for another day!

Best wishes,

Monday 9 September 2013

Rose Garden

I have some edgings to sew onto hankies but I wasn't inspired... instead I leafed through my Mary Konior books and decided to tat "Rose Garden".

It's nice.
And done in one pass.

Tatted in Lizbeth Vineyard Harvest, size 20

And just for fun,
I placed many of them together
to see what it would look like.

I think it would be interesting if
the roses were one colour and the
outer flowers in another,
don't you think?

I made a note of your suggestions in the previous post, thank you very much.  I can't guarantee which video I'll make or when, but I'll try my best... except for when it comes to celtic tatting - terrible admission! - I'm not very good at it!  So celtic tatting will definitely have to wait until I get a better hang of it!

Best wishes,

Thursday 5 September 2013

Please Tell Me!

I had some nice comments before when I asked about the videos (thank you very much!) but what I'd like to know is:  Would you like to see more?  And if so, what would you like to see?  I've finally taken the scary step and decided to talk from now on (where necessary!) which does make it quicker to upload videos as adding the annotations afterwards is a slow process.

I just uploaded a second fair-isle knitting video because I got my knitting back out now it's September and cooler days always make me think of knitting.  I have an unusual way (I think it is anyway!) of knitting Fair Isle with both yarns in my right hand and also figured out my own way of twisting the yarns to catch floats so I thought I'd make a video of it.

Anyway,  it got me thinking about the tatting videos and I'd like you to tell me what videos you'd like me to make, if any.

Please write a comment and say what'd you'd like to see, if you feel there's anything missing, a particular technique you'd like me to make a video for.  I'll start a list if I get responses.

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Travelling and Tatting - Travelling and Meeting!

It's amazing what you can accomplish in the hours you are stuck sitting on a plane or waiting at the airport.  I started this edging at the beginning of our holiday and by the time I got back, the tatting was all finished and I even had it half sewn on (had to stop when the very cheap needle I had from a hotel sewing repair kit broke!).  This morning I completed the sewing and here it is.

I chose a one shuttle edging as I find that extra easy to carry around and work with when travelling.  This is from a Mary Konior book and is called "hedgehogs".  I'd been wanting to tat it for a long time and finally found the right project for it.  It is actually a vintage edging that she has reproduced in her book so I suppose, not a Mary Konior design as such.

When I started tatting it, I didn't like the long threads that resulted when carrying over to the next motif but then decided that I would sort it all out at the sewing stage.  So all the floating threads are tied in to the sewing and are not visible on the finished hanky.

It is tatted in Altin Basak 50.  I do like that softer thread for handkerchiefs.  I find it to be similar to a size 40 and fine enough for an edging.

I already had both the hanky and the thread in my stash
and was delighted to find that the green thread was a perfect match
for the embroidery on the handkerchief.

Amazingly, I even managed to also complete this pink edging I had started a while ago (but that will be for another post).

But, but... even more exciting than that:  on my travels, I happened to be in the Toronto area... and....

I got to meet Fox of Tat-ology!

I wasn't sure all the stars would align and we had very little time on our tight travelling schedule but I was so pleased we managed to get together, even for the short time we had.  It was really great to have a tat and a chat with her.  I only wish we could have had more as there was much to talk about and I would have loved to spend more time tatting together.  

I hope you all had a terrific summer too and got lots of tatting done!

Best wishes,