Tuesday 18 December 2018

And the Winner is?...

Sorry everyone, unexpected events got in the way and I was not able to do the draw on Sunday as planned.  But here I am Tuesday morning, and in fact I don't think there's been any new comments since Sunday so you still have the same chance to win.  I shall go enter the number into the random number generator and let you know who the winner is.  There were 43 comments.

Drum Roll.......

And the winner is:
Number 38
and that is N. Maria
(Please contact me with your mailing address)


I will be shipping the earrings to you this week.

I was spoilt too this week as I received a lovely parcel from Germany which contained not one but several treats!  Some beautiful tatted flowers and a wonderfully scented candle and also this really cool candle holder...

It looks so pretty when you light the small candle inside.
I love it.
Thank you so much!

This may well be my last post until after Christmas
so I would like to wish you all a...

I hope 2019 will be a happy, healthy, and creative one for all of you.

Best wishes,

Sunday 9 December 2018

Christmas Giveaway

Hello everyone, I hope your Christmas preparations are going well?  

My Christmas gift to you this year is a pair of earrings that I drew from my Snow Crystal tatting pattern and then laser-cut out of Perspex.  I think clear Perspex makes them look "icy" and realistic (apart from their size of course!).  They are hung from sterling silver ear wires.

I'm wearing a pair myself today as I'm typing this.  They are lovely, lightweight,
and perfect for this time of year!
 I hope you'll like them.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the draw,
which will take place next Sunday, the 16th of December.
Please only leave one comment and I'll not publish any answers myself
so as to make counting easier!
(but thank you in advance for all your comments)

I'm afraid this may mean whoever wins
might not receive the earrings in time for Christmas
but I just didn't manage to get organised any earlier.
See it as a New Year gift.  :-)

I've enjoyed working at making drawings of my tatting patterns and as you can see below, just small changes from the same pattern create quite different looks.  All four designs below are based on my Snow Crystal design but I just slightly changed the way I drew them or added an extra element here and there.

The white one is also clear Perspex but I have not yet removed the protective sheet.
Makes me think they'd look nice in white too though...

So that's it for this blogpost, back to studies for me for another week.  Good luck for the draw if you're entering it!

Best wishes,

Sunday 2 December 2018

Twinkle Cabochon Variations

I was recently shown an "ice drop" version of my Twinkle Twinkle pattern that a lady made in the "Ice Drop Addicts" Facebook group.  It looked really pretty.

I think she had used a 12mm cabochon for hers but I did not have any that size so I went with what I had, and tried it with a 20mm flatback rhinestone cabochon.

I think my centre is a bit too big but it set me off trying variations on that theme.

I have played with cabochons before (see this post) but realise now I think I forgot to take notes!  Silly me.  I can't remember my stitch counts so will have to try to examine my photos closely to figure it out.

Anyway, this time around again I was keen to see more of the cabochons so I went with my smaller-rings-longer-picots style for the front side.

Here is a very quick pattern for them if you are interested:

I make both sets of rings at the same time in the first round.  I was working on a video of this pattern yesterday but sadly it didn't work out very well and I'm having to re-film it.  But I hope to have one uploaded very soon.

First Round:
R3--3--3 (picots made with a 8mm gauge), dnrw and with same shuttle R8-2-8 (very small picots)
Fold two rings back to back and tat C4-1--1-4 (graduated picots), rw
R3+3--3  (second picot made with 8mm gauge)
With the other shuttle R8+2-8, rw
Continue like this all the way around, not forgetting to join the last rings on both sides.  The last ring on the back is a bit fiddly to accomplish but it's do-able!  :-)
Join back at the beginning.  Dnrw.
Second Round:
C5-2-2-2, SCMR3-1--1-3, carry on with C2-2-2-5, join at base of small ring.
Repeat all around.  Cut tie, hide ends (or use magic loops, inserting them in the first and last chains of the second round).

If you prefer not to use a SCMR, you can use a regular thrown ring instead but the points will be rounded.  Here is what the motif looks like with thrown rings:

I can't believe it's December already!  

... keep an eye out, I'm thinking of doing a Christmas giveaway very soon.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Silk Screen Printing Tatting

Still continuing on my theme of using tatting in as many ways as possible...  I screen printed a tatting design.  I drew another of my snowflakes - Snowdrop - and added it to the other two designs I'd already drawn to make a composition of snowflakes.

This is the screen after washing.  Just needs to be dried and it will be ready for printing.

I love the "ghosted" images you get on silk screens which get re-used
over and over again.  The marks of previous designs remain on the screen
and combine with the new images to make interesting compositions.

My first test.
Needs improving.
Some of the smaller snowflakes are too small
and get clogged up with ink and the details are lost.

The following week I returned to screen printing with another, bigger design.  I made the snowflakes larger and added more of the really simple little flakes in between the tatted ones.  

When washing my screen in between colour runs, I was struck by this image, where you can see the ink on the surface of the screen and the colour streaking down...

I printed a few things...
but this one is my favourite!

I'm happy with the mix of colours
(two different shades of blue)
and I like the pale on dark look.

I'm hoping to print a few more!

Best wishes,

Sunday 18 November 2018

Box with Tatting?

Here is yet another way I have used tatting recently.  This is an unfinished project at the moment but I laser-cut four pieces of wood with snow crystals.  I didn't know whether I was going to make some sort of light box or ?...  So there is no bottom to this piece yet, just four sides.

I'm enjoying finding as many ways as possible to incorporate tatted lace into my projects!

Best wishes,

Friday 9 November 2018

Vitrified Tatting?

Here is another experiment I tried with tatting:  incorporating elements (not into glass as the title of this blogpost suggests but) into resin.  However, I say "vitrified tatting" because I think that's what it looks like.

The little bowls are a bit rough as I have not had time to sand and polish them yet.  But this first one has a rather appealing "frosted" look.

The snowflake I used was one of the samples I made when designing Crystal Star.  At the time, I wanted to be able to offer a version of this pattern that doesn't require beads.  It didn't make it to a final version but I rather like the multiple chains in the centre and may re-visit this design at some point.

To make it, I first cast a silicone mould of a bowl.  The bowl was my first attempt at "throwing" on the wheel so it wasn't the prettiest or neatest of bowls!  But anyway that's what I used for my mould.  The bowl was unglazed so had a matte, slightly rough finish which is why the resin also looks more matte and you can see the lines of the original bowl in my resin bowl.

Silicone being poured over bowl to make mould:

Bowl removed from the set silicone mould:

Lace snowflake laid into mould ready for resin pouring:

I hadn't mixed enough resin so I ended up pouring twice with a little bit more blue the second time which gave that slightly graduated colouring which I like.  You can see how rough the bottom of my bowl is at the moment.  Needs more work!

The second bowl I cast from a commercial, glazed bowl so the resin from that mould came out shinier and smoother... except for the fact that I had bubbles in my silicone mould!  But that's another story.  It just means the exterior of my resin bowl is rough and the bubbles from the silicone stand out on the surface.  It needs sanding and polishing.  I've also found that it's incredibly difficult to pour resin without causing some bubbling to occur and you can definitely see them in this second bowl.

I used clear resin this time:

The second tatting design is one of Robin Perfetti's called "Kaleidoscope".

So that's the resin bowl experiment.  I do like how the tatting becomes part of the bowl, like it's floating inside and I will definitely make more items if I get the chance.

Best wishes,

Saturday 27 October 2018

Snow Crystals

I don't have time to tat at the moment but as you can see, I'm still thinking of tatting.  Here is the design from the last post which I cut on the laser cutter.  I'm fond of this small design which was based on a real snowflake image.

Here's the real snowflake:

Here is Snow Crystal:

 And here's the Illustrator-drawn multiple version which I sent to the cutter:

As you may have noticed, I was keen to keep the slightly 'bobbly' edge that you get with the double stitch, so rather than drawing smooth lines, I added dots on the edge of the lines to better emulate the look of tatting, even though this meant it took longer to cut!

And here they are, cut out of plywood and out of acrylic,
before I finished peeling off the backing from the acrylic,
and also before I finished popping out all the little pieces.

And one more photo once I'd removed all the protective backing on both sides.

All icy, shiny, and sparkly!

I do like them.

Best wishes,

Saturday 20 October 2018

Acrylic & Velvet Qanik

As mentioned in the previous post, here are two versions of Qanik cut out of acrylic.  They look like they're made of ice, don't you think?

I did find that it takes nearly twice as long to cut the designs out of acrylic as it does out of wood.  The laser cutter has to go slower so that the plastic doesn't fuse back onto itself.  Also, the little pieces needed a lot more prizing out whereas with the wood, they just fell right out.

The last thing I tried in that first laser-cutting session was "engraving" Qanik on velvet.  This wasn't completely successful.  I only had time to cut the outline and the effect wasn't quite what I was looking for but I hope to get a chance to try again with different settings and with "engraving" the whole snowflake next time.

I've also drawn a smaller snowflake for the next session.

This is one of the ones I designed, inspired by a real snowflake.
I look forward to seeing it laser-cut.

Best wishes,

Saturday 13 October 2018

Laser Cut Qanik

As you can see, tatting is still always on my mind.  I'm trying all these new techniques but it's with lace I want to try them!

After the embroidery tests, I next wanted to laser-cut some snowflakes.  I used my Qanik pattern this time and drew it with Illustrator.

It was fascinating to watch it being cut into 3mm plywood.  The fine picots which are less than half a millimetre thick came out surprisingly well.

Even the shrapnel looks pretty!

I had two drawings:  one where I had copied the elements so it was more symmetrical (bizarrely I ended up with not symmetrical in two halves but in thirds because of the way I copied it) and one where I drew the whole snowflake so that it was like hand-made lace, not exactly symmetrical, with more "movement".  In the top photo, the symmetrical is on the left and the hand-drawn is on the right.  Can you see the difference?

I ended up with three of them after my session.  But I'm already planning what to draw and cut next time.  Those machines are really amazing!

As you can see the laser cut flake is a little larger than the original tatted Qanik but that was because some of the elements would have ended up too fine for cutting.  In this version, I drew the lines with a "bumpy" edge to simulate the look of the tatted knots something I'm going to re-examine in my next drawings.

In the next post, I'll show you the plexiglass version!

Best wishes,

Sunday 7 October 2018

Embroidered Quatrain and Autumn Treasures

Here are my first tests with embroidering Quatrain.  I like the blue on black fabric.  You can see it below next to the "real thing".  Not too bad?

Here is a close-up.
I realised that the outline was wrong on this first version.
It should have been a back stitch to make it thicker instead of a running stitch.

The next version was four together and I fixed the outline.  I started the embroidery machine with the dark purple... only to realise that it was too dark and you couldn't see the stitches or the outline so I switched to the lighter rust-orange colour.  It's a bit of a shame as this means we lose the effect of the four motifs joining together in the middle.  I think the combination of satin stitch with backstitch for the outline worked out quite well.  Unfortunately that was all the time I had allocated with the embroidery machine so I'll have to wait until my next booked slot to try it again.... and also to try it on transparent organza fabric... and next onto soluble or "burn-away" stabiliser so that the lace will be self-supported, a lace fabric.  Can't wait to try the next versions!

Oh, and after those first tests, I realised how inefficiently I had drawn the design with the software, the machine having to cut, tie and start again way too many times which slowed the process a lot.  So I am going to re-draw the design.  But it also made me think that it would be even better if I could invent a stitch that more closely mimicked tatting and this is what I came up with:

This is obviously not tatting!  And I'm not trying to replace the beautifully hand-made lace that we make with our shuttles (or needles) but it's an interesting exercise.  

Autumn has arrived!  The trees were looking beautiful on our walk today.  

We came across some hawthorne berries... and I wondered about making jam/jelly with them.  I love gifts of nature like that.  The berries were so pretty and I looked it up:  yes, you can make jelly with the "haws".  Jam is a little more difficult because there is very little flesh on those berries and a proportionally large pip in the middle. 

Here they are in my colander, ready to be picked over and stalks removed.

And the next day...

I only got one jar and a half out of all those berries
but it's tasty and we like it!

We need to go pick some more.

And here it is with the light behind
so you can see the lovely red shade
of this delicious jelly.

I hope you are enjoying a lovely autumn.

Best wishes,