Friday 28 February 2014

Heart Interlude

Nearly done with the fifth round of Renulek's doily but saw this little heart on my travels and had to stop and tat it straight away.  A new one for my collection.  I like it.  Quick to tat.  And here's the link to the page where the pattern can be found.  It's in Japanese but there are diagrams (click on the orange "pdf" button on the bottom right of the page which will take you to the pattern, scroll down, the pattern is on the third page!).

Rather sweet, no?

Tatted in Karey Solomon's Early Rising

Best wishes,

Thursday 27 February 2014

Round Four

Two more to go and I'll be up to date!  

Round 1 :  English Rose Dk
Round 2:  Harvest Orange Med
Round 3:  Violet/Pink Med
Round 4:  Magenta Dk

Oops, I should have sewn my ends in before scanning it…

I ended up running out of thread and doing quite an awkward joining in of new thread.  I don't know why it went wrong but I don't think it will be too noticeable in the big picture.


Best wishes,

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Round Three

I'm catching up!  I completed the third round which had quite a bit of work in it but rounds 4 and 5 will be a bit quicker so I'm getting there.

Round 1 :  English Rose Dk
Round 2:  Harvest Orange Med
Round 3:  Violet/Pink Med

I had doubts when I started this round in my chosen colour and nearly started again in a different one.  But I decided to keep going and now that I've completed it, I like it.

Now for the next round…. ??

Best wishes,

Monday 24 February 2014

Renulek Doily - Round Two

I was inspired by Sally's colourful version and decided to veer away from my usual blues for something a bit different.

Here is the second round completed:

Threads will be all Lizbeth
Round 1 :  English Rose Dk
Round 2:  Harvest Orange Med

Best wishes,

Sunday 23 February 2014

Shall I?...

Join in?  There are a few tatters working on this doily by Renulek.  I'm liking the shape of it and wondering whether to have a go at making it too.  I have a bit of catching up to do though…

The centre makes me think of a sunflower…

Mmm... one of my chains definitely looks shorter
than the others, I don't know what happened there.

Best wishes,

Friday 21 February 2014


Two for me, two for my mother, two for my mother-in-law.  I made this second batch a bit larger and with a smaller crochet hook and am happier with the result.  The first one was a bit too "open" with the larger hook.

Done with those now.
Moving on to other stuff.

Best wishes,

Thursday 20 February 2014

Golden Teapot

Had anybody guessed?  Apart from the lady in question of course.  This is Martha Ess's Anything Teapot.  Martha is the master of anything tea-tatting related!  I have made her pumpkin teapot before but had not spotted the lovely "Anything Teapot" which is available for free on her blog.  I also have her book "Tea is for Tatting" which has a great selection of tatted teapots and even cups and saucers!

Nice shape, isn't it?
Now I need to find what I'll fill the middle with…
And I think I might have found just the right thing…

Come back soon to see the finished teapot!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Golden Tatting

I recently saw this lovely pattern on my travels (cybertravels that is, of course).  Some of you may recognise it already from this small piece?  But I won't tell you until I get further on with it.

So you see, I'm crocheting like mad… but still tatting too!

I just figured out what I need:  it's a "Time Turner" like Hermione used in Harry Potter so she could attend even more classes!  I could go back in time, just a little bit everyday so I could have more hours for all the projects I want to make.  Can somebody find me one?

Best wishes,

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Ecological Cleaning

I'm doing some cleaning in the kitchen this morning.  I go in search, under the sink and I find I am out of sponges.  What am I going to use to wipe my worktops?  I could walk to the shops… nah, this is too good an excuse to try one of those crochet dishcloths I've seen (and to take a break from cleaning!)  Out comes the craft cotton, a big 5.5mm hook and half an hour later, I have a dishcloth.  I like it.

This is where I got the pattern from.  There's no edging to this, just a simple scallop pattern repeated.  So very quick to make.  I thought it would work out a bit too big so I started with shorter chain than in the pattern but I'll make the next ones a tad bigger - oh yes, I will make more... and some for my mother  and mother-in-law too!

Best wishes,

Monday 17 February 2014

One Hundred!

… squares that is.  Amongst all the other things, progress is being made on my granny square blanket and I thought 100 squares was worth acknowledging.  Just another 43 to go.

I gave up using the diagram generated by the random granny square generator because I quickly realised that actual random was not what I was after but rather a good distribution of colour.  I have now written out all the possibilities (156 of them) and ticked the ones I'd already used and am now going through all the combinations I'd not done yet.  In fact I will be finished with the blanket before using up all the possible combinations.

This project has enabled me to really practice holding my crochet overhand (before this I had always held it the other way) and I'm now much better at it and gathering speed!  I find the overhand hold much easier on my wrists.

Best wishes,

Friday 14 February 2014

Bumper Valentine Blogpost!

First of all, I completed my son's scarf.  Four balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran.  I'm pleased with how it turned out and according to my daughters, it's "manly" enough.

This Tweed wool has lovely flecks of colour all over
making it more interesting to look at.
It's a very dark maroon red. 

And now I've washed it and rinsed with
fabric softener, it's lovely, soft, warm, and cosy.

Hopefully, he'll like it too!

Once that was done, I turned my attention back to hearts, today being the day it is.  I wanted to try hearts I'd not made before.  Here is Susan's One Shuttle Heart.  Interesting?  It uses half-closed rings instead of chains so that the whole heart can be completed with one shuttle only.  A bit more unusual for a heart shape but it's nice to have one-shuttle options.

Then I found this pretty one which I like a lot.  It's simple and just the right heart shape for my taste.   It's Edda Guastalla's Heart.  I have made one of her edgings before.

Just in case you wanted to see which edging I was talking about!

I tatted the heart once and it looked all wrong until I noticed I'd missed a little "1" on two of the rings and decided I also needed to make my picots just a tad longer (I tend to make my joining picots quite small).  The second version was much better.  I adjusted the tip and made the chains 4 and 3 each side of the SCMR instead of 4 and 4 so that it sits more straight than on the accompanying pattern photo.

I still found the rings in the top curves to be quite tight so I changed the stitch count just a bit to give more space to the rings and I'm happy now.  

This brings me to another subject.  I've now got into the habit of completing my rings with one more 2nd half of a double stitch.  I was only doing it occasionally before (particularly on very small rings) but I now find that I tend to do it all the time.  Have you noticed how the last stitch of a ring has a tendency to roll backwards slightly?  This means that from the front, the ring looks one stitch short.  Adding one extra half means that it's this half that gets hidden away by the slight backwards twisting and the stitch count looks right.

Better explained in photos:

The first photo is tatted the "standard" way.

Here are rings and chains with all 4-stitch segments.
If you look at the last segment of the rings (bottom right of rings),
you can only count 3 stitches
although 4 were made.

Here are the same rings and chains
but with adding an extra 2nd half of a double stitch
before closing the rings.

There you can clearly count 4 stitches
even on the last segment of the rings.

Some people advocate "posting" the shuttle before closing the ring to remedy this problem but I don't like the shape that this gives the ring.  It seems less "tear-drop" shaped to me when you post the shuttle.  The extra half-stitch doesn't affect the shape in that way.

I have also found that this has a second advantage:  when you have to un-tat, the rings appear to be easier to open.  I'm not sure yet whether this is my imagination or actually the case, but that's how it feels to me.

And lastly (have you had enough yet?), I made one more heart* in dark red to decorate the lid of a small box. This is a little paper box that is really easy and quick to make (origami).  Here is one link to how to make them if you're interested.  Make one box for the lid and then make another, just a bit smaller for the bottom of the box.  I recently received one such pretty box containing gifts from a friend.  

I'm sure you'll have guessed what's to go in the box?  I melted some of my husband's favourite chocolate and poured it into little heart moulds and then put the hearts in the box.  

*(Actually, I can't believe it but it's the 5th time I've tatted this heart today and I made a mistake again!!  But I'm running out of time and it's going on the box anyway… no… I can't do it… I'm going to have to tat it one more time!  6th time lucky, keep your fingers crossed for me.  I ended up writing it up and numbering the rings - funny how sometimes the simplest things are the ones that trip you up.  You think it's easy so you don't pay attention enough).

Phew!  I bet you needed to stop for a tea break
before you got through this post!  

Best wishes,

Thursday 13 February 2014

Wrist Warmers

I've seen so many pretty wrist warmers on internet but I have an admission to make:  I was thinking to myself - "What's the point of wrist warmers??  Who needs to keep just their wrists warm?".  They look nice but what is their purpose?  Nothing wrong of course with having the sole purpose of looking good so I decided to make a pair.

I surprised myself.  I love wearing them!  There is something snug and cosy about wearing that piece of fabric at the end of your sleeves partly covering your hands.  Like when you're wearing your oversized boyfriend's (or husband, or partner, or whoever else who may want to insert here) jumper and the sleeves fall down on your hands and it feels like a big, warm hug.  Know what I mean?

I first fell in love with this pair from the Molly Makes magazine.  In the magazine they are made in fine crochet cotton but I wanted warmth so I crocheted them in Debbie Bliss lace-weight Rialto 100% wool.  Lovely stuff.  Now I've made one, I wish I'd reversed the colours and had the dark colour for the allover and the pale for the underneath layer.  I'm also finding when I wear it that the lace at the end tends to curl.  I'm not completely satisfied but I'm still in the process of crocheting the second one because it seemed too much of a waste now I've made the first one.

Don't look too close, I've already worn it a few times and it's slightly misshapen and I think the lacy part at the end needs blocking for better looking stitches.  I don't like the way the reductions are made (skipping a whole square) which I find too visible (this is not shown in the photo - I hid that part!).  If I ever make another pair, I will use a larger crochet for the first part and then move to a smaller (or maybe even change twice) instead of reducing squares.  Once I've made the second one, I will wash and block them and hopefully they'll look even better.  We'll see.

The Molly Makes wrist warmers are made with lace-weight as I said before and a 1.25mm hook so it's not very quick crochet.  Impatient as I am, I wanted a pair to wear TODAY!  So last night, I started another pair (free pattern) with a 4.5mm hook and DK wool and this new pair was very quick to make.  Just finished them this morning.  They only take a couple of hours to make.  They are obviously not as delicate looking but they still do the job and the blue goes really well with the dress I'm wearing today as you can see in the photos.

They'll keep my wrists nice and warm
for when I'm tatting too!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Enchanter and New Video

This is Jon Yusoff's Enchanter Heart which is well named I think.  I did struggle with closing my dimpled ring though so it is a bit lop-sided and deserves to be re-tatted.  I think this is a pretty heart with a lovely shape.  It is tatted in Jess's Taffilicious HDT.

Enchanter Heart
Second Attempt

Still not completely symmetrical
but much better, if only in the ease of execution

Whilst working on the second version, I found a solution to tatting a dimpled ring.  My problem was that after doing the join on the dimple, it was practically impossible for the core thread to slide so that I could add to my ring which was getting too tight to complete the second half of the dimpled heart.  The solution is to tat it like a SCMR. When you get to the tip (where the dimple is), pull a loop of core thread, like for a SCMR, and then carry on with the stitches for the second half of the heart.  Having the loop lets you feed thread into your ring more easily and also enables you to pull the first half tight before pulling the second half.  Like a SCMR but of course, don't put your shuttle through the loop which will completely disappear when you pull on your core thread at the end.  Clear as mud?  Video required?

Talking of which, I have just added a new video to my Youtube channel.  Not on how to make a dimpled ring but on how to make a point on a chain.  Whilst working on a possible new heart pattern, I was using the one-stitch SCMR for a nice pointy chain (this technique is also used and described in my Snow Crystals pattern) and thought it would be a good idea to make a video of this technique.

(what a mouthful!)

So I shall call it the 1SSCMR

Best wishes,

Monday 10 February 2014

Happy Heart Revisited

It's the time for hearts, isn't it?  I thought I would tat my Happy Heart as I'd not made it for a long time and I wanted to try this new HDT by Monica Braxton of NAG Studio on Etsy.  Happy Heart is small and quick to make and it's done me good to have another go at the Catherine Wheel join.  I even had to look it up again as I don't use it often and I couldn't quite remember how to make it!

Sadly, Monica's threads don't have names but I just like the mix of these soft colours.  I also got a green colour way which I still haven't tried.  I like the very short, more of an allover mix of colours that she has going on in this thread.

Now, on the search for another heart to tat!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Heart of Hearts

A friend of mine recently suffered health problems.  I was thinking about her today, wondering what little something I could send her and then it occurred to me: what I need to make for her is… a heart.

I used this pattern to crochet two hearts which are then crocheted together around the edges.  Before closing it, I stuffed it with fibrefill and lavender so that the heart not only looks pretty, but smells lovely too!

A great little crochet heart.
But it was still missing a bit of something…

…yes, of course, a tatted edging.  

A very satisfying morning's work.

All the while thinking about my friend
and wishing her good health.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Pot Holder and Rose Cosy

Thank you very much for all your positive comments in the previous post.  I was a little worried that people who had started following my blog for the tatting, would perhaps not like seeing too much of all the other stuff I do.  I just feel that my current yarn enthusiasm might keep me occupied for a little while longer so I thought I'd mention it and ask for your advice.  I was relieved to read that you seem to be happy to see a mix of everything.

So, onwards I go!

The pot holder is now completed.  I tried a few different flowers in different yarn/threads but I wasn't happy with any.  In the end, I chose a very simple, flat(tish) flower and added a matching blue button to the centre.  Simple but I think it's ok for a practical item.  I didn't want the decoration to get in the way when using the pot holder.  I really like the thick fabric achieved with this stitch.  And the colour is much better in this photo, more like the real thing.  I added a little shell stitch all around as well to soften and pretty up the edge.

I'm now on the third ball of wool for my son's scarf and I think it will be long enough after I finish this ball.  Fingers crossed.

And then I started something else.  This will go with the potholder and it's a tea cosy.  I can't remember the last time I made a tea cosy!  But now my husband's seen this one, he says he wants one for our teapot too.  The pattern can be found here, on Megan's website, and is called the Crochet Brioche Cosy.  It has a nice looking rib effect that looks a bit like knitting but it is crochet.  This worked up quickly with a 3.75mm hook and DK wool.  I did make it smaller than is stated in the pattern by starting with a chain of 32 stitches and making 4 gores per side instead of 6.

You may remember the pretty roses I started crocheting a few weeks ago?  They were to decorate this cosy.  They are made using this pattern, again on Megan's website.  Just in case someone wants to make them though, mine were made using rows one and three only, skipping the second row.  I then varied the length of the starting chain to make bigger and smaller roses.

I had seen this cosy some weeks ago
which had sent me in search of the pink and green wool
for the roses.

Tea anyone?

I do like this crochet rib very much.
It makes a nice thick fabric for a cosy.

I love the roses!

Best wishes,

Saturday 1 February 2014

Spreading Myself Thin… and Your Advice Please

I have so many things on the go at the moment that I feel I'm spreading myself a bit too thin!  There is the granny square blanket which now has 75 squares.  Then my eldest son, who never has any of my handmades anymore asked me for a scarf because he's cold.  He wanted dark red with flecks.  So I found this perfect wool which is Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran.  Nothing frilly for him, just a nice, plain(ish) rib-type pattern which I'm very pleased with:  it's the mistake stitch scarf.

This is the scarf whilst I was still on the first ball of wool and I'm now nearly finished with the second ball.  So progress is being made.

Then I wanted to make a couple of pretty things for my mother-in-law's birthday coming up.  I saw this pattern for a pot-holder which looked cool.  I wanted to try the stitch which was interesting.  It's a doubled up single crochet stitch.  It makes for a great texture and very thick fabric.  Perfect for a pot-holder.  I will add a nice shell edge when I'm finished.

The colour is more interesting in real life; it's a pale blue-grey-lilac colour.  I will edge it in a different colour to make it look more interesting and also add some flowers near the hanging loop (to be added at the end).

See how thick a fabric this makes?

You crochet in the back of the loop,
and also take in the back loop from the row below.
This makes it a bit slow growing because it's like
making half rows every time but I really like
the texture it produces.

You can see in the last photo below how there are
two layers but they are crocheted at the same time.
Clever.  I like it.

should anyone be interested.

And then, whilst I'm working on my current blanket, I'm already thinking of the next one I'd like to make!!  I must be mad.  I fancy making one in colours to match our living room.  I've been trying other types of granny squares.  And I've fallen in love with Drops Merino Extra-fine wool.  Gorgeously, scrumptiously soft and wonderful to crochet with.  I can't stop handling this wool, it's so wonderful.  Aaaaah.  Heaven.

And of course, there's also MY TATTING.  I have the wonderful design from a couple of posts ago which I haven't made any progress on yet because I've been so busy with all these other projects!

This leads me to my question.  Should I keep this blog for tatting only and post about my other needlework projects somewhere else?  Another blog? Do you guys want to read about all I do or keep it to tatting only?  I have to say that throughout my life, I have always enjoyed many different types of needlework so in fact, it's been unusual for me to concentrate nearly exclusively on tatting for over three years!

So what do you think?

Best wishes,