Friday 30 May 2014

Heart? Owl?

I finished a second round motif on this piece designed Jan Stawasz (the 2nd book).  When my daughter saw it, she thought it looked like a heart.  So I scanned it on a pink background.

The proportions aren't right for a heart really, but I know what she means.  A diamond shape next?  Or another round?

Best wishes,

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Third Time Lucky?

Ok.  Here is the same Jan Stawasz motif tatted in Lizbeth 20 this time.  Silly me I just carried on tatting and attached the little square motif as well before I realised I should have taken photos of the motif by itself.

What I found is that Lizbeth actually works out slightly smaller than DMC Babylo.  I also concluded, in this case, that I was enjoying making this with Lizbeth most of all three threads.  So Anchor Artiste is biggest, then DMC Babylo, then Lizbeth (all size 20).

And going back to the recurring front-side/back-side versus traditional tatting debate, I tatted the cream motif using the traditional method.  Really, I can't say that I like it any less for it.  And I enjoyed tatting it more.  I do keep giving the FS/BS method a try as many tatters seems to prefer the look of it but in most cases, I revert back to traditional as I feel the effort (for me it is!) of FS/BS is not worth the little difference I see.  Yes, I know, many will disagree with me!  :-)   But that's my opinion.

Here are all the motifs I've tatted so far…
and my favourite's the cream!

I also tatted one diamond which is the motif that will fill the gap between the round ones.  Don't know where I'll get to with this but I'm off to tat a second cream motif.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Jan Stawasz Tatting

Here is the second version of the motif by Jan Stawasz from the previous post.  I started it in Lizbeth but abandoned it and then tried again with Anchor Artiste Mercer Crochet thread.  One I haven't used very much but which seems to get good praise from tatters.  I think it looks nice in that thread but I can't say I find it as pleasant to work with as I do Lizbeth or DMC.  To me, it's like there is a certain roughness about this thread which means that it doesn't slide/glide quite as well.

The picots are better defined using this thread and it also makes the design look more "open" I think.  Anchor Artiste size 20 works out a little bigger than DMC Babylo size 20.  I can't say for Lizbeth yet but I think Lizbeth is close in size to Anchor.

Here are the two of them side by side...

I tried to follow more closely how Jan tats.  I finally figured out his method for front-side/back-side tatting which is slightly different from that normally used by tatters.  He doesn't start reversing with the first stitch, so a chain on the reverse side would still start with a 1st, followed by a 2nd half of the double stitch but when you get to a picot or a join, you add an extra 1st half stitch before it.  Also when he makes joins on the front side, he pulls a loop through the picot from above (is that a down joint or an up one, I always get confused!!) and then doesn't count it but starts the next stitch with a 1st half again.

Jan often states size 10 as the thread to use for his patterns but I have to say that I don't really enjoy using larger than 20 though I'm not saying I won't tat one of his patterns exactly as stated one day and use size 10.  Thinking about him and his patterns, I wished I had seen him tat…  and then I found there is actually a Tatting Course Video on his website - did you know that??  I have visited his site a few times in the past, but I'm sure I'd never seen a video there before.  As usual, I'm happy to be proven wrong!  Maybe it was always there but I'd not noticed it.

I love Jan's designs so I was delighted to be able to see him in action:
(only wish I could understand what he says!)

So, should I carry on with the blue or the grey?  Do you have a preference?  Is there enough difference?

Here's the blue again, for comparison's sake:

Best wishes,

Some Tatting At Last!

Where does the time go??  I know I'm not the only one who thinks that.  I've been wanting to tat something new for ages and I just wasn't getting around to it, being busy with all sorts of other things.

So today, I actually decided I was going to take the time to tat something.  Inspired by Liyarra's latest piece, I turned to my Jan Stawasz books and decided to try this one:

This is a motif (from his second book) that is repeated to make a larger piece with smaller connecting motifs in between.  I tatted this in DMC Babylo size 20, a thread I normally like but I'm finding it a bit too fuzzy-fluffy on this occasion; it's making a mess of my picots!  

I started again in Lizbeth size 20 to see if I like it better.  Hopefully it won't be too long before I can show you the second version.

Best wishes,

Monday 12 May 2014


I don't like to use my blog to complain.  It's not for that.  It's for sharing the joy of creativity.  BUT, I feel I have to make a comment here about Google+.  Since Google has taken over Youtube, it is trying to force people into Google+.  At first, I went along because I felt I had no choice but I do not wish to be part of their social network.  I just want to be able to blog and to post Youtube videos and answer comments.

Last night I deleted my Google+ profile.  I find out this morning that I am no longer able to comment or reply to comments on my own videos.  To be able to do this, I have to create a Google+ account, the very one I just got rid of.  I don't like to be forced into things against my wish.

For the moment therefore, I will remain unable to reply to comments on my Youtube videos.  Unfortunately, this will appear rude to people who don't follow my blog and thus won't know of my decision (I have over 2,000 followers on Youtube as opposed to the 400+ I have here).  This means that many people will be frustrated by me ignoring their comments.  I feel I have no choice.  I will add a notice at the top of each of my videos so that people know I am no longer able to comment.  Hopefully the notice will be seen and people will understand.

I know a vast majority of people are happy with social medias but it's not "my thing" and I don't think Google+ should keep trying to force me into being part of it and using it.

So there.  I've said it.

Best wishes,

Friday 9 May 2014


After seeing Fox's Slider Shuttle, I decided to buy one.  I was too tempted by the wood called "Teal Burl" (teal being one of my favourite colours as we all know).   The Slider can be purchased here.

I tatted this very simple motif to test it from one of my favourite books ever:  DMC Tatting (ed. Thérèse de Dillmont) - this copy was gifted to me by my friend Megan and I love it!  Before that I had a printed copy off the internet (this book is now out of copyright and available on various sites) so it was sooo nice to have a real copy of the little book.

So, the shuttle.  Not quite as teal in colour as I had imagined but that's not a criticism.  Wood is a natural material and I understand that they will all look different.  I have to say that mine was too tight when I received it.  I had to stop tatting and use some force to be able to unwind thread from the bobbin.  What I like is to unwind as I tat in one seamless movement so no time is wasted.  Sandra contacted me and offered for me to return it and they would have been happy to fix it for me but I didn't want to wait and was happy to "tinker" and do it myself.  I had what's needed to sand things so I sanded the inside of the shuttle until I got a better tension.  It's good and smooth now.

The tension is regulated by friction on this shuttle unlike the GR-8 where you can tighten or loosen the screw (which I could never get to work right for me).  The screw in the Slider just serves as a post to hold the bobbin in place.  You can't increase tension by tightening the screw.  So the bobbin has to rub just right on the edges of the shuttle for tension to be nice to work with.

Top shuttle is GR-8
Bottom is Slider
You can see the size is very similar.

Here's where the main difference is:
The screw on the GR-8 sits right on top of the bobbin which means
you can tighten or loosen it to change tension.
(though I could never obtain a constant tension with it,
which for me, meant constantly fiddling with it as I tatted)

On the Slider, the screw sits on top of the wood, not the bobbin
which means the tightness or otherwise of the screw 
doesn't affect tension.

I bought my Slider shuttle with the tools - a winder and another tool to undo the screw and push it out.  But, I have to say that I still find it fiddly to need tools to take my shuttle apart every time I need to fill it or want to swap bobbins.  And there are more bits to lose!  That's why I prefer Aeros, no tools needed, you just push the bobbin out in a second.

But if you like small wood shuttles and don't mind the tools, then I'm pretty sure you'll like the Slider.

Here are some photos for comparison and I also took measurements because I thought it would be helpful to help get an idea of what the shuttle is like.  For me, I also prefer the slimness of Aeros though I realise it's perhaps more difficult to make a really slim wood shuttle.

See how dinky the Slider is?
I chose the one with two pointed ends.

The top one is Pop-A-Bobbin from Jane Eborall's Etsy shop
(I believe she will be listing quite a large batch soon).

Middle one is an Aero which I quickly made for myself
so I haven't re-shaped the neck on that one like I normally do.

Here is a side view.
(I changed the order to place them in thickness order
as in the above photo, they were in length order)

So, measurements:  LENGTH (without hook):  Pop-A-Bobbin 67mm
                                                                            Aero - 60mm
                                                                            Slider - 50mm 

                               THICKNESS:                     Pop-A-Bobbin - 19mm
                                                                            Aero - 11mm 
                                                                            Slider - 17mm

                                WEIGHT:                           Pop-A-Bobbin - 7g
                                                                            Aero - 3g 
                                                                            Slider - 7g

The weight is approximate in that my kitchen scales go up only in 1g increments but I know the Pop-a-Bobbin was closer to 8g.

Me?  I still love that the Aero is easy to use, slim, and very lightweight!  That doesn't mean that I won't keep being tempted by new goodies coming onto the market and wanting to try them out!  But so far… I'm sticking with my Aeros.

Best wishes,

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Floral Edging… and Shoes!

I've tatted a few of Robin Perfetti's designs already - she can be found here - this time it's a floral edging (pattern in her pattern section).

This edging also comes with a corner.

It would definitely make a very pretty hanky.
And Robin also provides a bookmark version.

My two versions above have not been blocked.
They were just little samplers to try the pattern.

On a completely different subject, I thought I'd share with you my latest craft adventure.  If you've been following me for a while, you will know how much I like blues, in particular turquoise and teal.  I was lacking a pair of turquoise shoes for my wardrobe.  As you can imagine, they are not that easy to come by.  So I thought I'd give shoe dyeing a try.

I chose a pair of old shoes which I didn't mind messing up if it didn't work.  

After one coat...

After three coats!

The finish is a little too shiny for my liking
and the shade of blue is not quite what I was after
but it's a process I can now repeat.
I decided I will buy a couple more dye colours
and mix them until I get the shade I'm looking for!

I like recycling.

Best wishes,