Tuesday 24 December 2019

Ornaments from Germany & Snowflakes

I am very lucky to know a kind and generous lady from Germany who has been sending me Christmas treats!  It's such a pleasure to open her box and see what's hiding inside...

Among the lovely items I received, I particularly wanted to share with you the tatted ornaments she sent:

 A feathered angel with tatted cap and wings

 A glass angel with a red dress and tatted skirt overlay

A beautiful bauble with pearls and tatting

Thank you so much J.!
Your ornaments are all on our tree.

I would also like to show you my friend's lamp.  She just sent me a photo as I was writing this blogpost.  I've been sending her a new snowflake every year for several years now so at Christmas time, she gets them out and attaches them to her dining room lamp, adding the new one from this year.  I think it looks really pretty.

I wish you all a peaceful and happy holiday season with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes,

Friday 13 December 2019

Another New Way to Use Tatting...

I'm still really enjoying experimenting with new techniques.  This time, I printed my own ceramic decals!  For some of them I drew the lace with software but I prefer the decals made using photos of my lace to expose the silk screen for printing.  I then used a special glass powder mixed with medium and printed on specialised paper.

I have now applied the decals to my plates but they had still not been fired in the kiln before we broke off for the Christmas holidays (although luckily you can't really tell from the photos).

Here are the plates waiting to be put in the kiln.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  I've yet to get our decorations out!  But now term has ended, it will definitely get done this weekend.

Best wishes,

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Forced Break!

I'm so annoyed!  I kept hoping it would go away... but no.  I definitely have a problem.  It's been going on for nearly three months now and is getting worse.  I have tendonitis in my left elbow.  And I've sadly had to come to the conclusion that I really need to rest that arm and stop tatting and knitting for a little while in the hope that it will cure itself.  I can't tell you how frustrated I am!  And I've no doubt made it worse by waiting rather than acting sooner.

I'm now grateful that earlier in the year,  I made loads of sample of my last two snowflake designs while I was testing the patterns so that I have enough to put in my Christmas cards for friends and family without having to tat anymore.

I can't tell you how difficult I find it to sit in the evening and not pick up my shuttles or needles!


In the meantime I am carrying on with my university projects involving really large lace.  I've been using 3mm and 4mm rope to make motifs and last week I made a mould of one of the motifs.  

 I put a penny on the lace to show scale
(tatted with 3mm nylon rope)

I made a clay "box" and pressed the large lace into it.
Then poured silicone in the box to make the mould.

You can see the lace still embedded in the silicone below.  I have not removed it yet as I am wondering about making a two-part mould.  To do this I would make another clay box around the silicone, and then pour more silicone on top to make the second part of the mould.  But the complexity of the lace might make it too difficult to pour any material into the mould in a way that would fill all the little spaces.

I liked the imprint left in the clay...
and decided to make a plaster moulding of it:

The detail of the imprint is amazing.
You can see all the texture of the rope.

I'm really enjoying all this experimentation and looking for new ways to use tatted lace in my design ideas.

Best wishes,

Friday 8 November 2019

An Oldie...

... but goodie?  I wrote this pattern for "Le Flocon Frivole" back in 2011 (my how time flies!) and I had not tatted it for quite some time so I decided to make it.  Looking at photos, I debated whether I liked the empty centre... and made a version with added rings to fill the space:

Below is the original with the empty centre:

What do you think?  Which one do you prefer?

Maybe it's the original for me after all?

I'm also not convinced about the two small rings between the long arms and might play with it a bit more eventually. 

Best wishes,

Monday 4 November 2019

Giant Shuttle

... and I mean GIANT!  I want to work with rope to make large-scale tatting so I 3D-printed a huge tatting shuttle.  It does "work" but I must admit it's not easy to wield.  The shuttle is a bit slippery and so wide that it's difficult to hang onto!  Also when working at that scale, you can't make the stitches around your hand as in normal tatting.  So I have to wrap the loop around the back of a chair, or even around my knee or my foot while I make the stitches.  When making chains, I also trap the rope under my foot for tension.

You can see it next to a regular shuttle
for comparison purposes:

I have ideas for this giant tatting but many problems to resolve before I can bring them to fruition!

Best wishes,

Monday 28 October 2019

Pattern Winners

Thank you to all of those who took part!  The Random Number Generator said:  13, 9, and 14.

So the winners are Victats, Jane, and Diane.  I'll be sending you the pattern today.  I hope you enjoy making Astrila!

And by the way, I want to thank Holly for her name suggestion for this pattern.  Sometimes I know straight away what I want to call a new pattern... but other times it's difficult!  So I was grateful for the suggestion and liked it.  Like Qanik, it's another word for snow in one of the Inuit languages (from what I was able to gather on internet) and it means "snow sparkling in starlight" - isn't that pretty?

Best wishes,

Friday 25 October 2019


This one was a long time coming!  It was the original idea for my 2019 design but somehow I just couldn't get it quite right.  In the end, I finished Calixa first but now Astrila is finally ready (after so many tatted samples, it was a bit mad!).  Sometimes I wonder if some patterns just don't want to get written.

I really wanted it to look as much as possible like the Wilson Bentley photo I had chosen.

And here is the real snowflake photo:

I feel now that managing to publish two new snowflake patterns this year makes up a little for missing out one year and not publishing one for 2018 (though I'm still a bit sad about it).

If you'd like a to win a copy of the pattern, please leave a comment - I'll draw three names on Sunday!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 23 October 2019

"Organic Earrings"

... that's how my daughter described them!  I learned how to make these earrings from a lady at the last Tatting Day I attended.  They are very simple to make with just one shuttle.  The lady also showed me a different way of adding a bead to the centre of a ring.  I plan to make a new video showing this very soon.

There's not really a pattern for these, it's just a series of rings with a bit of bare thread in between.  I like the more "organic" look so nothing calculated and the rings fall this way and that.

I tried different threads and beads.  One daughter got one pair and the other ended up leaving with three!  The pair above is made with Lizbeth metallic thread.

Then I tried an ecru cotton.  I put rings with beads on one strand and just little flowers on the other.

Then added another two strands to each earring
so they have four dangling strands.

Then my daughter spotted a pair I had not finished and she said she like it with just one strand but a longer one.  So I made one more pair in Lizbeth size 20 (Charcoal colour way) and pale green Swarovskis.  She decided those were her favourites... but she liked all versions!

They move nicely when worn and have a lovely sparkle when using Swarovski bicones (or multi-faceted beads).  Of course they're also incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear.  I'm off to make myself a pair! 

Addendum 16.04.21:  I have just seen a comment (my notifications were not working for a while so I did not always see all comments on my posts) from a lady who was showing how to make these earrings on her blog in June 2019, perhaps that's where the lady who showed me had seen them?  I do not know but they are certainly not my idea so here is the link to the lady's blogpost about these earrings:  https://agaszowopapierkowo.blogspot.com/2019/06/kurs-na-kolczyki-gronkowe-i-gotowe.html

Best wishes,

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Two More Pairs

I couldn't leave them alone, I had to make more after the first pair.  So one more for me in my favourite turquoise, and a pair for my daughter in forest green (her own colour suggestion).

I had to adjust the colour of the photo a little bit as the green (Lizbeth Evergreen) was so dark as to look not very green at all!

I used real freshwater pearls for the turquoise pair and black pearl glass beads for the green ones.

Yes, a lovely pattern.

Best wishes,

Thursday 10 October 2019

Corina's Earrings

I'm a bit late to the party... as this pattern was apparently published 5 years ago?  Or maybe even before?  However, I have just discovered these earrings and thought how pretty they look.  So I made myself a pair.

A really lovely pattern by Corina Meyfeldt which can be found here.

This pattern is made with just one shuttle and is all rings.  Clever.  I made three-bead picots instead of one bead as in the pattern.  And I scaled mine down a bit (my rings have fewer stitches than the ones in the pattern).

I was wearing a check dress today and needed some earrings to match.  These are perfect.

I can see these pretty earrings are all over internet so I'm sure many of you have made them already... but if you haven't, I highly recommend the pattern.

Best wishes,

Sunday 6 October 2019

More Earrings and Giant Tatting

As part of my university work, I've been exploring ways to make really big tatting... and also ways to use recycled/green materials.  One thing I tried is making my own yarn from old t-shirts which I then used to tat.

I ended up using two wood skewers taped together to make myself a big enough tatting needle for the yellow t-shirt yarn.

The red t-shirt yarn was even bigger!  For that one, I asked my son (who's very good with a whittling knife) to make me a really large needle.  

But really I'd like to find a way of making giant tatting with some kind of shuttle rather than a needle.    I'm putting some thought into that.

It's rather strange working on that scale... it doesn't really feel like lace-making anymore.  Still, it was an interesting experiment.  I have more ideas I need to explore.  In the photo below, you can just about see the tiny Mirabelle in its "normal" Lizbeth 20 size, next to the yellow one... just to give you an idea of scale.

I've also been making more tatted flower earrings.  I find variegated threads look pretty and very effective for flower earrings.

The day at Snowshill Manor was enjoyable (it's a beautiful property and gardens):  there were many visitors and I got to chat to a lot of people.  It would be lovely to think I may have inspired any new would-be tatters!  I now have plenty of earrings and snowflakes left over that will go into my Etsy shop.

Best wishes,

Saturday 21 September 2019

Preparing for a Visit

I've been invited to demonstrate tatting at Snowshill Manor, a National Trust Property, at the beginning of next month.  I'm therefore preparing items to take with me at the moment.  I thought I'd keep it simple and will just bring snowflakes and some earrings.  Here is a small selection of them:

I'll probably also take a few larger pieces just for display as I think it's nice for people who don't know about tatting to see what can be made.

On another note, I can't believe how much nights are starting to draw in already.  We've had lovely weather this past week (summer-like!) but rain is now forecast for the whole of next week:  autumn is on its way!

I love autumn though and this year is particularly good for wild blackberries from the hedgerows. Wonderful.  I've been making crumbles, pies, and jam.  How about you?  Are you a jam maker?

Best wishes,

Sunday 15 September 2019

Pattern Winners

It's late o'clock on Sunday so I visited the random number generator website and asked for three numbers from 1 to 31... and the numbers that came up are?

11, 27, and 28

Comment no. 11 was from TattingLinda
Comment no. 27 was from rosmarie48
Comment no. 28 was from Robin Perfetti

I have contact details for TattingLinda and Robin but rosmarie48, please contact me using the link in the right side bar to let me know your email address so I can send you the pattern!

Thank you for taking part and for leaving lovely comments everyone!  I'm hoping to have another pattern coming up very soon.

Calixa is also now available in my Etsy shop!

Best wishes,

Thursday 12 September 2019

New Snowflake Calixa - Pattern Giveaway

As I mentioned before, I ended up creating several different design from the same snowflake inspiration.  I'm still working on the pattern for the one that most looks like the real snowflake (see this post)... but in the meantime, I finally got one version ready.  The initial design idea came together quite quickly but then I spent an enormous amount of time on making different samples to get the stitch count right.

I'm still not completely sure... but I decided enough is enough
and I'm stopping here.  I could keep fiddling with it forever!

Real snowflakes are more angular than tatting and are made of straight lines rather than curves.  For this reason, I like using lock chains as I have in this design:  it's the one tatting technique that produces straight lines.  You can see I have used lock chains in several places in my Calixa snowflake.  It is tatted in two rounds but in one pass, using split rings to move from round one to round two.

I'm giving away three copies of the pattern so if you'd like one, please leave a comment.  This is going to be a quick draw - I'll activate the random number selector on Sunday!  I'll also probably list it in my shop before Sunday... if you can't wait! :-)

I hope to finish the other pattern in the next few weeks so it's available well before Christmas.  I'm about to start my studies again, and am currently catching up on work I should have been doing this summer so I'm pleased to have been able to complete at least one pattern before the start of university.

Best wishes,

P.S.  I thank you in advance for the comments - but I hope you'll forgive me if I don't reply individually for this blogpost as it makes it more difficult to count for the draw!  :-)

Sunday 8 September 2019

New Earrings

That's it:  summer's over!  It just went by too quickly.  Everybody is soon returning to their studies (some have already).  I made a batch of blackberry jam from the hedgerows today and also apple and blackberry crumbles and pies.

I wanted to make a new pair of earrings for my daughter.  She does like my tatted earrings and wears some frequently so I thought it would be nice to come up with a new design for her.  I decided to use a plastic ring for the centre to give the earrings more stability and weight, and to help them keep their shape when worn.  I drew an incredibly quick sketch (you can see how dreadful it looks!) and then just started tatting.  The pink version is the first one I made to test the idea and then I made the burgundy pair (one of her favourite colours).

(sorry, evening photos, lighting not very good)

Yes, I think I'm happy with those.
It's late evening now so I'll look forward to seeing them on her ears tomorrow!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 27 August 2019

The Joys of Summer Holidays

I love the summer holidays.  We're lucky to have a special place to go to and it's been wonderful to get all the children together to enjoy it with them once again.  They are now older and studying in various places so we don't get to see them as much as we'd like to.

This summer turned out to be the holiday of "art".  We've been drawing and painting and I've really enjoyed it.  Drawing has never been my forte and I wanted to practice to get better.  It's surprising what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

One of my daughters has been really good at advising me and giving me tips on how to draw certain things, how to look at angles and really trying to draw what you see and not what you think you see!! That's the most difficult thing!

I needed to draw trees in the background of the drawing above and felt that I did know how so I did a little tree practice....  They are too detailed for what I needed but it was a good exercise in observation.

The last one is a type of tree I'd seen on the beaches in Australia and really liked the shape and look of.  At the time I had been disappointed in not being able to draw them... so I had another go after my tree practice:

I think it's a type of cypress?

A little local scene...

And one last photo of little treasures from the forest.  We love going on walks in the surrounding forest and there's always lots of pretty things to see and collect.

Lastly, I've been trying my best to get a pattern written up for my snowflake... but I keep being distracted by other things!  The stitch count is still not perfect so I find myself making yet another sample... and another... and meanwhile the pattern doesn't get written!

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely summer.

Best wishes,

Thursday 25 July 2019

Snowflake Multiples

I thought it would be interesting to see how the snowflake from the previous post would look like repeated. It might make a nice larger piece if I could then come up with an outline design.

A nice little shuttle shape appears between the motifs...
And if you squint, you can see a new,
negative space snowflake. 

Can you see it?

Best wishes,

Friday 12 July 2019

New Snowflake for 2019

As I said in a previous post, I was rather sad that I didn't manage to create a new snowflake design for 2018.  So I thought I'd work on one now, in the summer, while I'm on break from university as I know I'll get busy again in September and might not find time then.

I love looking for inspiration in real snowflakes and trying to recreate their shapes with my shuttles.  One of the favourite books I own is a book of real snowflake photos by Wilson Bentley (thank you to my friend H. for so kindly sending it to me).

This is the one that caught my eye this time as I was leafing through its pages....

And this is the resulting tatted snowflake:

Real snowflakes are angular, with some curves, yes,  but also with straight lines and sharp points... whereas tatting is mostly round and curvy.  It's therefore not always obvious how to recreate the shape of a real snowflake with rings and chains.  In this case, I made use of lock chains which are straight and also produce a nice sharp angle where they meet under the two small rings.

I'm showing them again smaller so it's easier to see the overall shape.  There are still some changes I'd like to make... but if I don't get any closer, I'll still be happy with this version.

This wasn't my first iteration...  there were many!  Another that I liked and which came before the one above is the one below.  It's nowhere as near to the real snowflake but I was happy with this design too.  It still needs a bit of work but I will probably write a pattern for that one as well.  I particularly like the shape of the points.

In fact I made many different snowflakes that I like or from which I liked various elements.  Here's a bad (low light) photo of them on my table last night.  They're all slightly different... and I still have more ideas I want to try!  So maybe I'll make up for last year by having two this year.

As you can see, my testing has enabled me to make many versions and samples - there are even more than the ones shown on the photo - so that I'll have most of my snowflakes ready to send to friends and family in their Christmas cards when the time comes (I can't believe I dared to say the "C" word in July!!).

Best wishes