Wednesday 29 January 2014

Perfetti Perfect!

On a recent visit to In Tatters, I saw a thread by a lady who was explaining that she'd been using an iPad app (Kaleidoscope) to make tatting patterns!  Well, that piqued my curiosity.  I got the app….  I'm useless with it!  And even more impressed that the lady in question, Robin Perfetti, was able to come up with these gorgeous patterns.

She also kindly shared her first two beautiful designs called:  First Snowfall and Late Winter Snowflake.  Thank you Robin!  The patterns can be found in the members patterns section.  Aren't they great?

 This colour is actually a pretty muted mauve in real life
but it hasn't come out very well on the scan.
It's Lizbeth Antique Violet Light.

First Snowfall

And this is Lizbeth Country Grape Light.
Late Winter Snowflake

Sadly I'm not as perfect as Robin:  all excited to complete the second snowflake so I could show you, I realised - too late - that I'd made a mistake on the last arm and had one too many rings!

When I first saw them, I preferred the second one and that's the one I was particularly keen to tat.  Now that I've made them, I actually prefer the first one.

Oh, and thank you to everyone who helped me figure out the number of possible squares for my granny blanket!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Any Mathematicians Out There?

As I started crocheting the 65th square of my Granny blanket, I was struck by the fact that I had not yet used the colour combination I'd chosen for that particular square!  

I have 13 colours (plus cream for the centres).  Does that mean 13x13=169 different colour combinations?  Now, maths was never my forte at school so the clever-with-numbers people out there can laugh at me!  But then since you can also reverse the order of colours - ie. which colour you choose for the second & third and the fourth & fifth rounds (there are 5 rounds altogether - first round being always cream), does that mean 169x2???

Come on guys help me out here!  I'd like to know how many different squares I can make with two colours per square, 13 colours, and the variation of using which colour first and which second.  Does that make sense, can anyone give me an answer??

With the same two colours, you can make two different squares

Meanwhile the blanket grows…
and it's already nice to snuggle under as I work on it.
...That's when my son's not stealing it!

The mix of cheerful colours
brightens up our grey January…

Best wishes,

Monday 27 January 2014

Train Tatting

I was travelling on Saturday.  As always, I brought a bit of tatting.  That's one thing I love about tatting, it's so portable!  It takes so little space so that you can always have one or two shuttles and a bit of thread about your person to take out and tat a few stitches at every opportunity.  Especially when travelling.  No journey is too long, it you can spend the time tatting… right?

I think at least one someone will recognise this?

Best wishes,

Thursday 23 January 2014

Double Flower

I'm still motoring on with my madly coloured crochet blanket but I took a little break to tat this flower from Jan Stawasz's second book.

I went wrong.  The stem between the two flowers should be longer and the leaves should be attached to the stems.  Because of that, the design looks a bit crowded.  Also this is one motif that would benefit from FS/BS tatting.  One to put in the "re-do" pile...

Here I flipped one of the flowers…
With few modifications,
you could just about make that into a flowery heart.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 21 January 2014

A Riot of Colours

Yes, Tally, you were right:  Granny Squares!  I've been seeing a lot of them on internet… and suddenly I was inspired.  I had an irresistible urge to make some too.  Not very original, granny squares have been around forever, haven't they?  But I'd never made them before and I fancied lots of colours!  I'd also not made blankets since my children were very small (when they were babies really) and I thought it would be nice to have a colourful, warm, home-made blanket to wrap around when we sit on the settee in the cold evenings we are having at the moment.

My young son in particular loves the idea of this blanket and comes home from school every day asking me how many more squares I've made.  He can't wait until it's big enough.

As I write this, I'm now on the 38th square.  It's already nice to have it draped across my legs as I work.  I love wool, so cosy and warm.

I've discovered a few things while working on this:  for one, the difficulty of "random"!  After a few squares, it was getting difficult to choose the next two colours so that there weren't colours the same too close together, so that they looked nice next to each other… it was taking me longer to choose the colours than to actually crochet the square!  I thought this was no way to keep going and that I'd be at it forever.  So I investigated and found… A Random Granny Square Generator.  Yes.  Such a thing exists.  Did you know?  You put in the number of squares you want, how many colours you have and how many colours per square you need and the generator works our for you a RANDOM pattern of colours.

So now I'm following the chart (you can see it in the top left corner of the first photo).  I'll admit I do occasionally ignore the chart and choose my own because random does mean sometimes two colours the same are next to each other and I don't really like that.  But I mostly follow the chart which makes my life a bit easier.

The children love the madness of all the colours combined any which way.  There are 14 colours.  I'm still not completely convinced but I've gone far enough that I'm keeping going now.  If I were to make another, I would probably choose a colour theme.  I have kept the centre the same for each square though in a bid to unify the thing a bit, so all centres are cream.

I'm joining as I go and then will make a border all the way around when I get to the end.  I'm also taking this opportunity to re-learn to crochet.  I did the same with tatting a few years ago and really improved my technique and speed.  I hope I can do the same with crochet.  It's slowing me down for now and I'm a bit less consistent with my stitches but I hope it will pay off in the end.  I have always crocheted underhand (holding like a pen) but was finding an awful lot of right wrist movement was involved so now I'm trying underhand and holding my yarn differently in my left (no outstretched fingers).  Hard to change everything but I will persevere for a while.

And last night I took a break from the blanket to make a hat for my youngest.  He's very happy with it.  Just a simple beanie but that's what he wanted.

So crochet madness will continue for a while longer yet.

Best wishes,

Sunday 19 January 2014

Inspired by Colour II

My dear tatting followers, I'm afraid my shuttles are still languishing…  because I'm having fun with yarn.  Look at those colours - delicious!  Not that there are not wonderful colours for tatting too (my stash is a testament to that!) but I'm enjoying working on a larger scale for a little bit longer.

I just wanted you to know that although I'm not posting about tatting much recently, my hands are not idle - oh no.

Best wishes,

Monday 13 January 2014

Colour Inspiration

Don't know what's next tatting wise…  I've enjoyed my crochet break - and still have other ideas in that department - but am at a bit of a temporary loss as to what to tat next.

I do have a couple of WIPs that I need to complete eventually (some hanky borders to sew on and a large doily to finish!) but I need a burst of inspiration!

So I picked up a book off the shelf and decided to just tat something… anything!  It ended up being this motif by Mary Konior called "Carnation".  You're supposed to make two of them and wire them together to make a carnation but I just fancied enjoying the colours of Karey Solomon's "Watermelon" thread so I just made one and left it flat.  I do like the mix of colours very much.  The thread has a lovely sheen (does she use Lizbeth?  I don't know) and I think the colours are even more appealing than it shows in these images.

I even like the negative centre space in this…  Looks a bit like a maple leaf,
don't you think?

So is everyone all fired up after the Christmas break?  Or is anyone suffering from the January blues?

Best wishes,

Saturday 11 January 2014

Simplest of Bracelets

Well, it was starting to feel like quite a long time not tatting!  I was still busy trying to finish the crochet scarf but today was the birthday of one of my daughter's good friends and I wanted to make her a little something.  The friend likes green.  So I made her this very very simple bracelet.

Such an easy pattern which I have also used to make bookmarks.  Everybody knows this one.  Simple but effective, pretty… and quick to make!

So there you go - nothing fancy for my first tat of 2014!!

I finished the border on my yellow/blue scarf.  But I'm still not satisfied.  There's too much contrast and I find it doesn't blend in together as much as I would have liked.  I'm now debating whether to add a bit of lime green in that very fine yarn on the edge of the blue edging (you can see a little bit of it done and I think I like it)…. and maybe even some extra shells in the variegated thread to break up that straight line which doesn't appeal to me so much…  It's not turned out quite as I had envisioned.

Maybe I need to put it aside for a bit and then look at it again later with fresh eyes.

My crochet hook is still busy though as there is another project I'm thinking of making for someone's birthday next month.  

Best wishes,

Monday 6 January 2014

A Bit of a Crochet Craze...

Please bear with me, tatting friends, while this crochet craze makes its way through!  Here is the other project I worked on during the holiday.  I wanted to make something warm and cozy for my sister in Canada where they are having a lot of very cold weather!

So I went for chunky soft wool and a bobble stitch to keep the softness and also make it visually interesting.  I looked at a few different stitches but couldn't quite find what I was after so I improvised this one and then added a scalloped border all around afterwards.

It can be worn in different ways (it's an infinity type scarf)
so you can wrap it around how you like,
even wear it on your head as a hood!

Here is just one way:

I have taken it to the post office this morning, hoping it will be well received.  Meanwhile, I'm making progress with the handspun yarn.  As I thought I wouldn't have enough to make it wide AND long, I found some matching yarns which I will use to make a pretty border.  The lime green is very very fine merino, lace-weight, very soft and I think adding it to the mix helps tie all the colours in together.  Not sure about the straight edge against the straight edge though and might try different things for attaching the border.

And finally, I've been making some of these scrumptious, soft roses which will go on another project for someone's birthday next month.  They are made from Megan's pattern (scroll down the page, for some reason, there is blank space above) but I only used rows 1 and 3 and skipped the middle row.  I then vary the length of the starting chain to make bigger or smaller roses.  The yarn - Zauerball "Floral Language"- is gorgeous.  I'm always a big fan of pink and green together.  The changes are quite long though so you need to make a few roses in one colour (two or three) before you get to the next colour change.

Hope everyone is settling into the new year and has lots of projects and ideas to look forward to!  I know I do and as always, will find there is never enough time for all of them!

Best wishes,

Saturday 4 January 2014

Third Time Lucky?

Christmas holiday has flown by, hasn't it?  I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends.  Just a few more days and children are back at school.  I managed to finish one project which I will show you in the next post but am still struggling with this one…  I first crocheted half of it and then didn't like the stitch and the way I kept having to fight with the hook getting caught in between the strands making it all frustrating and slow work.  Then I decided to start again and knit it instead.  I found this unusual stitch which I liked but with quite fine 2.5mm needles, it's still slow and after a while, I wasn't sure I liked it enough and perhaps I fancied a reversible stitch and perhaps I should try crochet again?

So here I am, at the third attempt!  I'm now using a much larger hook because I want it to be loose and soft to make the most of this lovely handspun yarn.  I am not making the main piece too wide because I want to have enough wool to get the length I'm after and then I will crochet a scalloped edging (which you can see some of in the picture).  After finding it so difficult with the first crocheted version, I have realised it was not the wool that was the problem but the hook!  Although larger, the hook I'm using now goes through fine every time and doesn't split the yarn like the last one did.  So all hooks are not alike!

The knitted version (below):
a type of crossed-over trellis stitch
which is kinda cool as a pattern...

The latest crocheted attempt
with a large hook,
and a simple "blanket stitch"

This does have a very nice, soft texture…

Is this it???

I have already spent MANY hours on this (doing AND undoing!) and it can be frustrating when things don't work out as you plan…

Ah but then I guess it would be too easy if everything worked out perfectly at the first attempt, right?

Best wishes,

p.s. as you can imagine, all this means that the first tatting of 2014 has not yet happened!  But I'm sure it won't be long...