Thursday 22 December 2016

Snowflake Gingerbread & Best Wishes

I love snowflakes.  Whether they are tatted, painted... or baked!  Making and decorating gingerbread is one of my favourite Christmas time activity and a lovely little gift for family and friends.  This Scandinavian recipe is particularly delicious, flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange zest.  I found it many years ago in a magazine and it's the one I re-make every year.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a lovely holiday
and I wish you a wonderful and creative New Year 2017.

Best wishes,

Monday 5 December 2016

Glasses Case

I'm still on my gift production line!  Here is a glasses case in crochet.  I used the star stitch I had previously used to make bags as I liked the texture.  This was a special request so I hope it will fit the bill!

Best wishes,

Monday 28 November 2016

Christmas Pudding....

.... earrings!  My daughter and I had fun making these yesterday.

And I finished two more hats.

Can't stop long,
so much more I want to make.

I bet you are all really busy too now that December is just a couple of days away!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 23 November 2016

A Bit of Fun

Someone in our family really loves dachshunds!  So when I saw this pattern for a mug cozy, I just had to make it for him as a little Christmas present.

I didn't have the right cup to put him on
but he should look something like that as a mug cozy:

I'm pleased with him
A satisfying and quick crochet project.

Now I'm onto another knitted hat (the fourth one so far).  

Best wishes,

Friday 18 November 2016

Finished the Re-Knit

I'm so pleased I finally finished re-knitting this cardigan\jacket.  The fit is now soooo much better!  I thought I was mad to knit a whole garment in K1P1 (so slow!) in the first place... but to do it twice!! It's considerably smaller this time, with a more fitted, darted, bodice and knitting it with smaller sized needles also gives the jacket more body.  Once again I lined the button bands with ribbon (nice velvet one this time) and it was worth the extra time to do that.  For a close-fitting knit, this gives a nicer finish with no gaping or pulling at the buttonholes.

It probably doesn't look like much in the photos, but it does look nice on.  Again, my favourite part of this pattern is...

the back:

I also managed to finish the second hat (in robin colours) and found a robin pin to go with it.

I'm now getting busy with more things I want to knit, crochet, sew, tat for Christmas gifts.  I need to get my skates on.  How about you, how are your projects coming along?

Best wishes,

Friday 11 November 2016

11 November...

... is the day for remembering.  

It's also the day I wear one of my favourite tatted thing:  this poppy, designed by Jennifer Williams.

I made it a two years ago and it's a pleasure to retrieve it from my drawer of tatted bits, steam it back into shape and pin it to my coat.

I finished the hat for my son and have just bought wool to make a second one for my other son (he asked for "robin colours").  I'm thinking I might even make a couple more for Christmas gifts for other family members.  

Best wishes,

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Étoile du Nord

This is the design that came to me last week.  Funny how things happen in twos sometimes...  Last year was the same as I made Bentley just after finishing Snowdrop.

It seems I faffed for ages with Crystal Star but this one popped into my head and the idea translated into the actual tatted star quite well.  Well, it's not exactly as my initial sketch but it fell into place as I started tatting it.

I was still thinking of crystals and beads and how to incorporate them into designs.  Something a bit different if possible.  Instead of just in the centre, I thought I'd have them going up the arms of the star this time.  I made the first one with crystals and then I thought I'd try with pearls (as in the mocha sample).  I rather like the look with pearls for a change.

The white sample was the first one and I was still playing with stitch count and picots so it's less uniform than the mocha one.

I liked Polaris as a name (a suggestion from a few blogposts ago) but I did a quick search and found that my friend Robin has used that name for one of her designs so I think I'm going to go with "Étoile du Nord" if there are no objections to that name.

Best wishes,

Sunday 6 November 2016


I've been extremely grateful for your messages.  

I don't have the next bit of tatting ready to show you yet and anyway, this weekend I thought I'd concentrate on knitting.

One item is this cardigan/jacket which I made last year.

It turned out to be too big in the end and I took the drastic decision to re-knit the whole thing.  Not only re-knit it but also convert it from the traditional "from the bottom-up in separate pieces" way it was designed to a top-down all in one construction.  I'm making it in a smaller size but I also went down a needle size for a more structured fabric so I've been doing a lot of maths!  I've even made it more fitted with darts on the front.  It's been a really interesting exercise.  So far so good.  I've now done the whole body and am half way down the first sleeve.  Just one more sleeve and the collar to do.  I'm not showing it to you now because it doesn't look so good with the wool all wiggly-waggly from having been unravelled.  It'll look much better once it's finished and I can wash it and the wool will relax back into shape.

Apart from that, I'm making my son a hat.  In a wool I'd not tried before:  Debbie Bliss Rialto DK.  Beautiful stuff.  So smooth and a joy to knit with.

Best wishes,

Friday 4 November 2016

On Pattern Designing and Stealing

This is not the next blogpost I would have wanted to write.

Some of you will have followed the evolution of my Crystal Star design.  I spent several weeks on it and first showed it on my blog on 24 September.  Right at the end when the pattern was written up and ready to go, someone told me my pattern looked like one they had made 20 years ago.

First of all, I have to say that when I first had the idea for this star, I did look at several internet pages of tatted stars before carrying on, and in my search had not seen anything that looked like it.

My pattern came straight, and solely, out of my own head.

I had a look when she pointed me to it and I agreed that we had come to a very similar shape by coincidence.  This design is a fairly straightforward one with just rings and chains (no fancy techniques, not even reversed chains or anything like that) so it's not that incredible that we created something similar independently.  However, I genuinely still felt that they had different features and were individual enough that there was space for both patterns to exist.  For my part, I felt that the crystal centre was the main, special feature of my design.  I have not seen it done this way and thought I'd come up with something original and innovative.

I have now been accused of having stolen the design and of selling a pattern that is available for free elsewhere.  Strong accusations.  My design was not a "take" on hers, my design came from doodling on a piece of paper, from ideas in my head, and thinking of a simple frame for the crystal star centre I was planning.   I agree the two designs have many similarities but they also have several differences which I thought made them individual (please bear in mind that what I was shown was the original, cabone-ring version of her star, not the one that can be seen now on her blog).

I do not need to steal anyone's patterns, I have plenty of ideas of my own.  I was all excited last night because I'd come up with a new design and was eager to share it with you.  That was going to be my next blogpost.  But this has rather curbed my enthusiasm.


I started writing this two days ago but hadn't posted it because I didn't want to cause any more aggravation.  It's just not my kind of thing.  I try my best to be polite and respectful with everyone.  I removed the pattern for sale straight away, hoping we could resolve this amicably but this morning I see that the person has now re-tatted her star with my crystal centre (I was trying to avoid links and names but I will here:  link).  And she is saying she will make a technique page for her new design with the crystal centre.  Well, I'm speechless.

I never set out to upset anyone, I was just trying to mind my own business and make lovely lace.

It's enough to discourage anyone from having a go at designing.

Best wishes,

Monday 31 October 2016

Look What I Found!

I was tidying some stuff away and found this edging - slightly crumpled in its bag - all completed and ready to sew onto the handkerchief! I'd even started to crochet a border around the hanky to attach the lace to... and I'd completely forgotten about it!

It shouldn't take too long to get that finished.  A nice surprise.

I've done the draw and the random generator gave me numbers 3, 35, 27, 13, and 6.  If people are trying to count to see that I'm right, I've not counted Muskaan's second comment but counted the anonymous comment that was below hers.

So I am sending the pattern to Bernice, Johanna, Christina, Bozena, and God's Kid.  If you have an email address attached to your blogger account (the account you used to write your comment) I will send it to that address.  If not, can you please contact me with your email so I can send you the pattern.

Thank you very much for all your contributions with the names, some great ones in there but there were also quite a few votes for "Crystal Star" so I may keep it.  Your suggestions are really appreciated and could well be used on the next design!  I already have some ideas which I hope I'll be able to turn into workable motifs (but to find the time as always!).

Muskaan, I'd already used "Stellar" for one of my free patterns but I did like that one; "Twinkle" was also used for another free pattern but I also really liked Alpha, Rising Star, Starlight, and Crystalline Star.  So again, many thanks for your lovely suggestions.

And to finish,
to those who celebrate it.

My favourite thing is always the carved pumpkins...

Best wishes,

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Lacking Efficiency...

I don't know what's the matter with me at the moment but I seem to struggle to get things done! Everything is taking too long and I'm not accomplishing all that I want/wish.  Do you have times like that too?  Even my blog is suffering a bit at the moment.

This pattern for example... has taken me aaaaages!  I think I'm getting there with it but it's been way too long in the making.

I kinda like the fact that the little crystal star in the centre
sits inside a star made by the chains around it,
which in turn is at the heart of the larger star.

A star within a star within a star!

It helps to look at it from further away to see this I think...

Still, I never quite got to the "YESSSS, it's done now, I like it!".  I kept fiddling with it and fiddling with it...  Not completely satisfied but I think this will be it.  I've made so many samples already that I should have enough to send to family and friends and hopefully it has given me ideas for other designs.

Look at that lovely stack of stars!
... and more have been made since.

Anyone has a suggestion for a name?
I've called it "Crystal Star" for now
which is not very imaginative.

There were some questions on the original post about how the crystal centre was made...  I was trying to avoid using a loop-tatted ring as I think many tatters may find that technique a bit daunting. What I ended up doing is making one really large picot and adding all the crystals to that same picot and making joins into it.  It's just a matter of getting the right size of picot and manipulating it as you add each new crystal.

Oh, I just noticed...
the yellow thread inside the crystals
make yet another tiny star!

I will draw 5 names from the comments to this post to receive a free pattern.

And don't forget, if you have a better name suggestion,
it would be gratefully received!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 11 October 2016

And the Random Number Generator Says...

And number 31 is...  Beth!  Please contact me with your information so I can send you the shuttle.

Thank you to everyone for all your comments on the previous post, I didn't reply to comments to make it easier to count when it came to the draw!  I particularly liked Andrea's poetic one.  To Jane, I will talk about how to make the centre with crystals soon.  Michelle asked how long it takes to make the star snowflake... I will try to time it when I next make one but I would say 1.5 hours?  A very approximate guess but I will try to confirm soon.  To Muskaan, yes, there are stitches between the beads on the sample I showed in the previous blogpost but the new method looks different.  I'll post a photo soon.  Happy Dogma:  thank you!  You reminded me how much I like apple butter!  I think I'll have a go at making some.  Ancolie: Paris n'est pas loin du tout!  :-)

Again, thank you to all who contribute to this blog with their comments.  It's always lovely to read you all.

Best wishes,

Sunday 2 October 2016

Autumn Giveaway

I thought it was a while since I held a giveaway...  I'm offering one of my shuttles.  This one is called "Oriental Blue".  It has a slight flaw in the finish and couldn't be sold so I thought I'd give it away instead.  I must have been working too late one night when I was making that one because I didn't notice the flaw until the shuttle was completed, and no longer "fixable".  Anyway, the shuttle is fully functional and the flaw is not very visible.  I hope someone will enjoy using it.

It was perfect autumn day yesterday so I went outside to take the photo.  These are apples from our tree which we are enjoying eating at the moment.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the draw which will take place on the 11th of October.  I will ship it to the winner anywhere in the world!

Meanwhile I'll carry on working on my star design.  I want to come up with a nice way of making it without beads too so I have a bit more work to do on it yet.  AND, I'm excited that I've found a new way of placing the crystals in the centre, one that doesn't require the use of a "loop-tatted ring"!  I'm pleased because I know that loop-tatted rings are probably a bit daunting to many tatters and I want everybody to be able to make this lovely crystal centre if they wish.

These are still prototypes
but I'm making progress.

Best wishes,

Saturday 24 September 2016

A Star is Born?...

Just kidding!  I couldn't help myself.  Each year I like to make a new snowflake/ornament to put in the cards that I send to family and friends.  It's coming to this time of year again and on this occasion, I decided I'd like to work on a star (five-sided) for a change instead of a snowflake (six-sided).

Here are a few versions of it...  it's mostly the different centre I've been working on... and I'm not convinced I've found he best one yet!

The simplest one was the first:

Then I thought I wanted to emphasise the star shape in the centre
so I made pointy chains:

Then I wondered whether it would be better
to fill the centre space with little rings...

And I also added beads on the joins,
going from smaller to larger
(a seed bead, then a 4mm bead, then a crystal)

Then I thought how much I liked Swarovski crystals
in the centre of Bentley and perhaps they would look nice here too

It took me a while to figure out how to get that centre of crystals in there
whilst keeping the one pass only design...

Eventually it clicked:
Yes of course, I needed to use
the loop-tatted ring method!

This is a bit of a blurry photo but I wanted to show the crystals
and also the sparkly thread (one strand of shimmering filament added to the cotton)

So that's where I'm at so far.  If possible I'd like to come up with a design that works with or without beads as I know not everyone likes to work with beads so it's nice if the design can work out well either way.

I'll work on this a bit more and hopefully come up with a final design.  Any input welcome!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 7 September 2016

December Motif... in September!

A lady contacted me recently from Poland.   She wanted to know if she could use my "December Motif" (see pattern page) for an online tatting class.  I agreed and she did a nice job of presenting the pattern with really clear photos.  I like her version with large pearls and I also like her version where she replaced the beads with a small ring and picots.

Another lady contacted me shortly after, asking about the same motif to add it to their tatting members' newsletter.

This inspired me to tat it again and as I had last played with Swarovski crystals for Bentley, I decided to make it with crystals and matching blue seed beads for the tips.

December Motif

This is a quick pattern to make and I think it looks effective with beads and adds extra sparkle for use as an ornament.

I still like to use a sparkly filament added to the cotton thread, particularly nice when making "snowflakes" (I made a blogpost about this and here as well).  It's always hard to photograph but hopefully you can see it in the blurry photo below (on the right-hand side).

I thought I'd also try Anetta's version with rings instead of beads so if you're not a fan of using beads in tatting, this is what the motif looks like without.  I'm going to play a bit more with placement of picots as I'm not totally happy with this version but it does show how easily a pattern can be adapted and many variations made from the same design.

Also in the beadless version above, I used mock rings (a chain joined back at its starting point) instead of thrown rings to see how that would look.  A thrown ring looks more "delicate", hanging on by two threads so to speak, whereas the mock rings look more... "sturdy"?  It's different and I like both.

Best wishes,

Monday 5 September 2016

Shark Attack!

Still very much enjoying crochet as well as tatting at the moment.  I have several (yes! several!) blankets in the making and then a couple of days ago I made this shark pencil case for a young person's birthday.  And now my own children have seen it, they want one too!

I think he's rather neat.  I chose a red zipper to close his mouth and his teeth are made of white felt.  The body is crocheted in one piece and then the dorsal and pectoral fins are added after.  My son wants a whale version of him (I will make it without teeth, a much smaller dorsal fin and the tail on the horizontal instead of the vertical)... and my daughter wants a narwhal!  So now I need to figure out how to add that tusk!

Best wishes,

Sunday 28 August 2016

Lucky Clover Completed

It's finished!  I'm pleased with it.  Though if I was being a bit critical, I would say that I think the centre is slightly incongruous in this design.  The doily is all lovely curves and then you have these very straight long chains in the middle that look a bit out of place.  I'm thinking of designing a new centre...  I like the second and third rounds very much.

Makes me think of ship's wheel in the centre...

A bit closer up...

A lady was selling beautiful sunflowers from her garden in a village nearby.  We were just driving past when we saw them at her gate...  We took a few stems home.  Most were all yellow but we had a stem of sunflowers with red in them like this one.  They are very striking.  Mind that red background was a bad choice - red is always so hard to photograph!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Round Three Progress and.... a mushroom!

I'm making progress on round three and am now about half way through.  Took a little break to make this small mushroom.  I don't know why.  I just saw it and was inspired to make it.  It's from a YouTube video.

Mine doesn't look quite like the one in the video as I modified the edge of the cap a little bit.  Instead of sewing it like in the video, I crocheted the edges together which makes a better shape I think.

In another department, I am now on the 6th flower block of my Frida's Flowers blanket.  I have just completed the first of six of these called "Ring of Roses".  I'm really impressed by Jane Crowfoot's design:  her flowers are so interesting and colourful!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Round Two Completed

Making progress.  Here is round two.

On another note, I like to see what Lucy of Attic24 is up to.  She and her team are busy organising Yarndale, a yarn festival which is in its fourth year and which happens in September.  The year before last I joined in with everyone making mandalas for the festival.  This year, they are making sheep!  The sheep will be sold and proceeds donated to a local hospice.  What a great idea - I had to join in and here is my sheep.  He's not perfect by any means and I found the face features particularly difficult but I hope he's nice enough.  I'm pleased with the little embroidered roses on his coat and I hope someone will fancy him!  

He will be in tomorrow's post to join the flock.  In fact, I was talking to my husband about this project and he even suggested we might go see the Festival ourselves.  It's in Yorkshire, in the lovely town of Skipton.  Ooh, that would be fun.  I'll report back if we do end up going!

Best wishes,