Tuesday 25 August 2015


Thanks to that bobbin full of cream thread, I made it to the end.  I'm pleased it's done but the edging is NOT perfect.  ("Perfect" is a big word anyway… is anything ever perfect?  But that's for another discussion).   Because I changed the shape of the doily, the last round didn't work out symmetrically.  There should have been three sets of trefoils on the angles to give it more of an octagonal shape but because the stitch count wasn't as per the pattern, I couldn't find a way to make it fit without lots of re-designing of the last round so I just went straight all around the edge letting the elements fall into place where they did.

I debated whether to take it apart, add a few more motifs to make the stitch count work… but I feared if I did that, I might not get to the end again!  So I decided to live with this piece as it is.  It's still nice and I don't think many people will spend a lot of time examining whether that last round is symmetrical.  I hope not anyway!

Here are two places on the edge where the design happened to fall right.

What shall I tackle next??

Best wishes,

Sunday 23 August 2015

Lucky Find

Just a very quick post.  Got home last night and was doing some tidying today when I found a shuttle had fallen down behind my desk…  I pick it up and what does the bobbin happen to contain?  Yes, a full bobbin's worth of cream Lizbeth, just the one I was needing to complete my doily!

Hardly worth a post you may say but I was so pleased.  

I ended up leaving the little blue crochet bag behind to be completed when I'm next there on holiday.  I wasn't happy enough with it and instead have ordered some nylon thread to try another bag with.  I also found another interesting crochet stitch I want to try - that's one fun thing about crochet, there are so many different stitches to try!

Best wishes,

Friday 21 August 2015

Ran Out...

I was doing great on the last round of the Jan Stawasz doily but… I ran out of thread!  How annoying, so close to the end.  I'm going to have to wait until I'm home now and will probably have to order another ball just for that little bit as I fear I do not have any more of that colour (Lizbeth Cream).

Never mind, these things happen.  So I decided to start another little crochet bag.  I was limited with the materials I had so I used three strands of finer cotton thread.  I mixed some blue in for the bottom part and just used cream for the star stitch part because you really lose the prettiness of the stitch if you crochet it with a mottled thread.  I found a piece of fabric for the lining which matches the colours nicely.  I think I will thread a bit of narrow ribbon where the colour changes from mottled blue to cream.  I temporarily tried the look with some blue thread and I think it will look pretty. This one is smaller than the black one.  Thank you for the suggestions on the previous post, when I'm home I'm going to look for some colourful thin nylon cord (if I can find some) to try another bag and see how that works out.

I also have to tell you that I tried again working with size 10 thread (see earlier post on larger shuttles for thicker thread)… I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't like size 10!!  It just feels too big and I can't seem to get a nice working rhythm with that size thread.  I'm wondering whether I will have to stick to size 20 even for larger pieces.  What about you?  Do you like tatting with size 10?

Best wishes,

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Little Black Bag

Another crochet project was next to be completed.  I really wanted a little black bag.  I decided to crochet one in cotton.  I used the pretty "star stitch".

Made the base in single crochet because it makes a nice firm fabric and then carried on in star stitch.  I decided to close the bag with a zipper and made a row of shells around the top opening.  

I lined the bag to prevent too much stretching and also so that very small items wouldn't work their way through the crochet stitches.

I sewed black ribbon on the inside of the shoulder strap, again to prevent it stretching too much when the bag is full.

I also made a plastic base which was inserted into the lining to help the bag keeps its shape.

I'm pleased with it.  The only thing is I'm finding this cotton a bit too "fluffy" and it won't look sharp for very long I don't think.  Perhaps a crochet handbag would benefit from being made with a yarn that has more synthetic in it.  What would you guys use?

I'm now thinking I'd like one in another colour….

And I'm nearly there with the Jan Stawasz!  Should be able to show you very soon.

Best wishes,

Saturday 15 August 2015

Filet Crochet

Away on holiday… found a bag in a cupboard that contained a piece of crochet I had started some time ago.  It was nearly half done.

The thread is DMC Petra.  I don't even remember where I got it from.  It is nice and soft and pleasant to work with and the crochet slides smoothly in and out of the stitches.

It didn't take me too long to complete.

I think my tension worked out slightly differently on the second half than what I had worked previously but hopefully it's not too obvious.  It's a traditional rose design.  Looks a bit crooked in the photo but it's more due to the angle of my camera.  The work itself is not that crooked! :-)

Next I need to finish the last round of edging on the Jan Stawasz piece which is nearly done.

Best wishes,

Monday 10 August 2015

I failed...

to complete this doily for the Village Fête.  I was being slightly optimistic I think, with all else that is going on but it was not such a great tragedy.

I managed to get about two thirds of the way around the edging…
but by Saturday night, it was clear I was not going to make it.

I decided to enter another Jan Stawasz piece instead.  I made this a while ago but I hope it was ok to show it at the Fête as it I had never been "seen publicly" before.  This is probably my favourite piece of tatting so far so I was pleased to be able to show it.  This is only the second time ever I've participated in the Fête (we are usually away at this time of the year) and really, I mostly like to do it because I think it's great to get tatting as much exposure as possible.   Most people who see it don't know what it is.

The doily did well.  I'm delighted.  
And I just hope it inspires other to have a go with shuttles!

A lady at the show was telling me that she had started to learn some years ago but then had abandoned and couldn't quite remember how to do it but she'd be pleased to have a refresher.  The lady at our local wool shop then said it might be a good idea to have a tatting morning in her shop so we'll see.  I might yet get some local people tatting!

Best wishes,

Friday 7 August 2015

There's been lots of interesting comments on my previous post - thank you for contributing everyone!

Kathy wrote a great comment about how she has been "rolling" her shuttles to rewind (or just to wind) for years!  You can see what she wrote in the previous post.  I tried it with standard Aeros and it works just great.  I only thought of that with these new shuttles… when someone had already been doing this for years!  Thanks Kathy!

That's one reason why I enjoy writing a blog - people get involved and you find out about all sorts of things, techniques, and tips.  And I always like it when a good discussion gets going...

I'm about to start the last round of this doily! Yeah!  I tatted the penultimate round with my prototype shuttles… mmmm… improvements still need to be made but I think it could work eventually.  I find the back end a bit too long with the hook on it.  I need to change the shape so that I can shorten the back but I still need to have a hook.  It's difficult because I can only work with modifying what I already have.  What I'd like is to be able to create the right shape from scratch… but from what material??

Here is the doily with the two rounds of split rings completed.  There is a problem though… I changed the shape which is not like the original in the book.  This means I don't have the same number of split rings, which means that I won't be able to make the last round symmetrical!!  Oh no!  I hope it will look ok but I don't know at this point in time and until I start to tat the last round.

In a moment of madness, I decided to enter our Village Fête competition which is this Sunday!  Can I finish this by then?  The heat is on...

Thinking ahead… I tatted this motif in size 10 thread which would be part of the design I'm thinking of making next.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Shuttle Design - Trials and Tribulations

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days!  But I think I'm getting somewhere.  I've been trying lots of things in my attempts at making myself a larger bobbin shuttle.  Many thanks to all for the suggestions I received in my previous post.

I started off by breaking apart a Starlit to see if there was any way of putting some sort of bobbin in there.

No, the shape of the centre and its length means that a bobbin would have to have a very large centre to fit over this post and would leave less space for thread on the bobbin.  Bin that idea.

Martha talked about her friend who would bend a Boye metal shuttle to accommodate a larger sewing machine bobbin…  It so happened I had a pair of those old Boyes… I chopped two tatting bobbins and glued them together to make a thicker bobbin… and I also cut myself a couple of times in the process!  Those craft knives are awfully sharp!!

Not bad.  That kinda works.  You can see in the image below how much thicker my newly made bobbin is.

Then I thought, perhaps I could stretch an Aero to do the same thing!  I managed to get my thick bobbin in there but it's too tight and the bobbin doesn't unwind easily enough.

Then this morning I received some of the larger bobbins I had ordered (thanks Maureen for the suggestion) - they are for industrial sewing machines.  They don't look that much bigger in the photo below but they are really.

Ninetta showed me the double bobbin shuttle she made from a plastic bottle so I tried making one and held the bobbin in place with the help of a screw from another shuttle I have.

Some of the plastic is clear so it look like the end is chopped off, but it isn't!

That didn't work very well as I forgot that the screw needs to be flush with the surface of the shuttle or the thread catches all the time.  No good.

So I went back to the Boye and massacred it a bit…  poor thing!  I gave it a shape so the bobbin would fit and that's not bad.  You can see in the image below how much bigger the Boye on top is compared to the standard one below.

Still not satisfactory though… and I don't really enjoy tatting with metal shuttles… I find them heavy and slippery.

I therefore went back to my favoured Aero to see if I could get that large bobbin to fit in there somehow.  The bobbin is definitely too big and too wide and will not fit inside the shuttle as is… so I decided to open one end altogether.  I made a hole and a peg to hold the bobbin.  I also had to cut out the dimple as this was getting in the way of the bobbin and that's the hole you can see.

Ha!  Maybe I'm getting somewhere.

Start to tat… but no it doesn't work with the open end at the back because it keeps catching as you reverse with your shuttle when making the knots, using the slip and slide method.  

No, actually, the bobbin needs to be in front!  I need to lead with the bobbin.  Seems strange at first but I can get the hang of this.  I moved the hook to what had now become the front of my shuttle… another problem:  it's not easy to make the join using that side as the thread gets caught around the bobbin and the hook.  No, that's no good either.  I still need to have the bobbin in front but perhaps I can move the hook to the back.

Try again.  Yes, that works surprisingly well!  I have to get used to a new way of handling the shuttle but having an open end around the bobbin means that it's easy to hold it tighter or looser between your fingers so that you can very niftily unwind thread as you need it, without having to stop tatting.  It doesn't take me long either to get used to using the hook from the back of the shuttle.  It's practically as quick as if it was in the front.  I'll have to make a video to demonstrate.

I've now modified this prototype again so that the bobbin is held in place with something similar to the dimples as they are in an Aero and removed the peg.  A peg can be problematic as it stays in place by friction only and because the plastic of the aero is quite thin, there is not much for the peg to hang on to.  So a "dimple" works much better.  It's also much quicker to change/refill the bobbin without a peg… and there's no peg to lose!

There is something else genius about this design… (are you still with me? I don't know if you've made it to here in this long blogpost!)… I have always found that the only thing I'd like to improve with Aeros is that it takes a bit too long to wind the thread back onto the bobbin when moving from a ring to a chain. Unwinding is instant and it's so easy to unwind thread from an Aero as you tat, without stopping.  But winding back takes a bit longer.  I've always wanted to come up with a solution to this and have had an idea under my hat for some time. This idea has yet to materialise but I have inadvertently found another solution with this design.  You can just roll the bobbin along on a surface to wind the thread back - SUPER SPEEDY!  I'll have to make a video demonstration of this as well because it probably doesn't sound very clear the way I've described it.  I LIKE IT!

Right I'm off to tat some more and will make the next row of my Jan Stawasz piece with my new shuttles to see how I get on.  As with anything new, it takes a bit of practice but so far so good!  

If this works out, I could even decorate these!

… to be continued.

Best wishes,

Saturday 1 August 2015

Triangles Done

Twelve triangles completed.  This is what it looks like now.  Interesting how the addition of the triangle pieces makes it a nearly round piece.  But it will look different again once I add the border.  In fact, it's not going to be a square but an octagon by the time I'm finished.

And I have a question please:  does anyone have a brainwave as to how/where I could find myself a LARGE bobbin shuttle (two in fact!)?  I'm thinking of making my next piece of tatting with size 10 thread but Aeros don't hold enough (larger sized) thread on their little bobbins, I would have to stop, refill and join too often for my liking.  What I'd really like is a LARGE bobbin shuttle.  You know, something "Starlit" size maybe?  Not "Tatsy" size, that's too large… say "Moonlit" size as a minimum? Jan Stawasz made most of his work with size 10 thread and you can see in his books that his shuttles are large.  He uses post shuttles but I'm such a fan of bobbin shuttles and would just LOVE to have a pair of LARGE bobbin shuttles to work with thicker thread.  

Oh, and it MUST have a hook at the tip, like an Aero.  Any shuttle makers out there maybe?… Hearing my plea…?

I thought about breaking a post shuttle apart and seeing if I could somehow install a bobbin in the middle.  Not come up with a working solution yet.

Anyone with ideas?

Help, please!

Best wishes,