Saturday, 24 July 2021

Back to the Collar

I'm still spinning but I finally decided to go back to the nearly finished collar.  I'm on the last round!  It shouldn't take too long to complete - come one me, get it done!

Isn't it strange how sometimes we can get most of a project completed and then somehow lose steam when there's not that much left to do.  Does it happen to you?

 Best wishes,

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Knitting My Own Wool!

I started knitting my wool!  It's exciting!  This lovely wool was on a sheep a few weeks ago and now it is becoming a sweater.  I'm knitting it for my son - who had his first experience of shearing and sheared his first two sheep - and he wanted a really plain sweater with no fancy stitches, to show off the wool he said.  I think for a first time working with my own home-spun wool, it was a good idea.

Here's some wool in the basket ready to be spun and the rustic Lazy Kate (wonder what's the origin of that name) that my son made for me for plying my singles.  It's a bit rough but it works a treat!

Several skeins of wool
waiting to be knitted...
(as I'm writing this I'm now down to the last one of that batch)

I decided to make a top-down raglan sweater which makes it easy to check for fit as you go along and am now past the armholes and making my way down the body.  It's great to just make more wool as you need it.  So I keep washing, drying, spinning, plying, winding, knitting... and... repeat!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Learning a New Skill

Tatting has taken a bit of a backseat lately.  That's because about three weeks ago, I was given two fleeces by a local farmer friend.  I'd always wanted to try to make my own wool and there was my chance!

We went to watch him shear his sheep and then I walked away with two giant bags of raw wool.

This is the raw fleece above and below is what it looks like after washing.
It's surprising how much whiter it is after one wash.

Next I needed to learn carding so I purchased myself two carders and started to learn how to make rolags.

And then on to spinning!  Sadly I do not own a spinning wheel (a dream for one day) so I started with a homemade drop spindle.  I won't show you version one which didn't work very well but version two, made with two CDs , a cork, a homemade hook and a stick works a treat!  It spins really well and I even got the hang of the "thigh roll" which makes continuous spinning easier.

I then spun two plies together to make my very first quantity of 2 ply knitting wool!
Here it is photographed on top of the raw fleece
so you can see the difference in colour.

And finally,
I knitted a tiny bag with my first small ball of wool.

From sheep to knitting.
I really enjoyed the whole process.

I've got loads to learn still but I now plan on spinning as much of the fleece as I can (some bits are not as good as others which is something I need to learn how to identify) with the goal of making a whole jumper with wool I've spun myself.  I have now purchased a very tiny electric spinning wheel to speed up the process - although I do enjoy the experience of spinning with a drop spindle.  It was the cheapest wheel I could find and also the smallest but it works very well although it does mean the bobbins are not huge so I can only make about 25-30 grams of 2 ply at a time.

I'm making progress!

My fourth skein is currently drying.  Now I need to figure out what size my wool is but I'm guessing something in between a DK and an Aran size.  There is also the difficulty of trying to be consistent when spinning so your wool is all approximately the same size... not easy!

So that's what's kept me busy lately.

Best wishes,

Friday, 14 May 2021

More on Collar

 I'm now working on the penultimate round!  But here is the 7th round completed.

Now that I've completed rounds 6 & 7,
I can see that I would need to adjust where I start them
to have a better line on the edge:

It would be very difficult to have a straight edge all the way down due to the shape of the elements but I think I would consider not making the very first large ring of the 6th round.  So instead of starting with a large ring on that round, I would start with the small ring that is attached to the previous round.

I decided to practice my Inkscape skills and made two images to illustrate what I'm saying above.  First of all you could just remove the large ring, the chains above and below it and the chain to the right of the small flower and it would look like the image below (I've only amended the left side of the collar and left the other for better comparison).  In this case, I think I'd then find a way of attaching the small flower to the chain next to it somehow otherwise, it would move about too much.

Or you could also remove the small flower and chain just below it and replace it with a new chain that would join the ring of round 6 to the starting point of round 7 as in the image below.

Yes, I think the second would be my preferred solution.
What do you think?

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Beaded Earrings

These were gifts for one of my daughter's birthday.  She likes and wears many of my tatted earring designs but this time I made her some beaded earrings for a change.

The first pair was this one:

I really like the shape of these Arabella earrings

I chose colours quite similar to the first version she shows on her blog.

And as I was on a beading kick,
I decided to make her a second pair:

They are also by Linda Genaw and are called 

I really like how the colours turned out on these.
I think I'll have to make myself a pair!

Oh, and I also did make the bee from the previous post into another pair of earrings but I forgot to take a photo of them!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Bzzz Bzzz!

I recently made a shuttle with bees on it.  The person who purchased it said they were going to tat some bees with it!  What a nice idea.  So I asked about the pattern and this is the one:  it's simply called "Tatted Bee" and is by Nancy Tracy of the Be-stitched website.

It's rather cute!

One of my daughters promptly said she wanted a pair of earrings with these on.  So I shall be making a second one.  I couldn't find my black thread so this is Lizbeth 606 (Charcoal) with Lizbeth 611 (Gold).

And below is the shuttle with bees.

I'm very fond of bees.  They are busy in our garden at the moment, enjoying the spring blossoms. They are so vital for pollination and I definitely want to add more "bee-friendly" plants to my garden.

Has anyone tatted it before?  Does anyone know of other tatted bee patterns?

Best wishes,


Friday, 16 April 2021

Collar, Just Three More Rounds

It took me a while to complete this last round!  Here it is, not pressed or blocked so looking a bit messy at this stage.  It will all look nice again after the next round which stabilises the large rings from this round.

And I definitely think joining to two picots together of the round above
(where the small rings of this round join to the previous round)
is much better than joining between scallops of round above
as I had done in the previous version.

However, you could probably remove two of the picots of the small ring
(the ones just before and just after the join)
as those get lost among the picots of the scallops from the previous round.

On another note, I have been advised that the "FollowbyEmailwidget" will no longer work after July.  I'm not completely sure how that will affect the lovely followers of my blog but perhaps you will no longer get notices of new posts?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Making Progress

Two more rows added!

That's the nice thing about this pattern.
There are several places where you could stop, depending on the width desired.

But for this exercise, I'm making the whole thing again
so I can see how to adapt the edges for the open version.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 25 March 2021

One More Round...

This would already make a nice collar as is.  I've also figured out that tatting it open like this makes it possible to tat rounds 1-5 continuously!  It does mean that you would have to work two of the rounds with the back facing up but you would just need to use reverse order stitches (as in front side / back side tatting) for those two rounds which is not a problem.  I often use traditional tatting but in this case, I would definitely make sure the front of all my stitches are on the same side.

On to the next round!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Round One Complete, Moving on to Round Two

Making this design open, as a collar, means that you can conveniently move from the first round to the second without having to cut and tie.  I made more repeats as I thought it might be a bit tight as a collar to be worn over clothes so I tatted 40 repeats instead of 36 in the original pattern (it can still be buttoned smaller if desired).  I added a small natural shell / mother of pearl button on the chain after the small ring, then continued with another 4 Victorian Sets to bring me to the starting point of the second round.

I see now there's another change I need to make at the beginning of the first round so that I would be able to carry on with the third round continuously too.   I need to start the first round with the same extra chain I made at the end to get me to the starting point of the 2nd round; now I will need to add it at the end which means I will not be in the right place to start the 3rd round.  Always hard to describe tatting with words but I hope you get what I mean!  

Best wishes,

Friday, 19 March 2021

Started on Collar Version

I decided to start straight away on the open collar version of the Victorian Trellis Doily.  This time I'm doing the small rings as true rings instead of SCMRs.  It seems to me they sit a bit straighter than the SCMRs.  Also, unusually, I'm not reversing work to make them (you normally would after a chain) so I'm kind of "cheating" by not reversing work and still making the ring with the one shuttle (otherwise I'd have to have two shuttles) but it looks fine.

In the end, I chose classic white for the collar.

I was going to make a button loop at the beginning but the button I have fits nicely in the diamond shaped space at the start of the round.  I will add a button at the other end.  You can then choose to button it in any space to adjust size.

Best wishes,

Friday, 12 March 2021

Victorian Trellis Doily No. 2 Completed!

It's been good to re-visit this pattern and make a whole series of videos on how to tat it.  I've never made so many videos in quick succession! - 16 of them.  I found some things I would change on future versions like starting some rounds in a different place to where it is stated in the original pattern, some rounds that could be tatted continuously and other little changes that would make the pattern sit better I think.

I tatted this second version in Lizbeth size 20, Country Turquoise Lt.  The thread I used for the first version is softer and the doily is slightly larger too.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember what thread I used for the ecru version (but wondering if it might be DMC Babylo).  At first I thought the blue one would work out too small to be worn as a collar but in the end, it does also fit over my head even though it is slightly smaller.  That got me thinking though... thinking that I need to make it one more time!   And this time I will make an open version that can be closed with a button at the back.  So I will need to adjust the pattern at the beginning and end of each round.  

I'm also planning on writing a new version of this pattern with all the little changes and tips that occurred to me as I was tatting it so hopefully it will help more tatters tackle this design if they wish to.  I know some vintage patterns, including this one, can sometimes be a bit hard to decipher.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Victorian Trellis Progress

I was starting to wonder if I'd bitten more than I could chew!  The tatting is ok but trying to film every part of the process is proving more of a challenge.  I've never made so many videos in quick succession!  Anyway, I'm getting there.  Just two more rounds after this one and the whole design is done and documented.

The round just before the one I'm working on ends up looking messy (this piece has not been blocked in any way so far) with its long chains and large rings but it all falls into place again with the round I'm working on now.

I was trying to do both the collar version and doily version at the same time but that became too complicated.  So I actually think I will remake it once more when I've completed this one and make sure to note all changes required to make it as an open collar.  The first one I made (the cream one) does fit over my head but this one, although I thought I was using the same size thread, has worked out smaller and doesn't fit over my head so that's what made me think that I really need to do another, open version.

Ok, to all those reading this, can I have your suggestions as to what colour I should choose when I remake it for a collar?

Best wishes,

Monday, 15 February 2021

Victorian Trellis

I don't know if any of you have joined in but I now have several videos relating to the Victorian Trellis Doily pattern (find them on my channel and specifically in this playlist).  I've often had questions about this design over the years so I thought it might be a good idea to make videos for the whole doily from start to finish.  Along the way, I'm covering other things like how to fix mistakes (since I made two that needed correcting in the first round!).

I've now started on the second round last night which is much simpler that the first.  So if you fancy lots of Victorian Sets, I hope you'll consider joining us in tatting this piece!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Lace Collar

I can hardly believe it's back in 2013 that I made this doily.  It is meant to have a fabric centre but I never got around to adding one... which turns out to be a good thing actually!  Here's why...

Someone recently contacted me asking if I had any idea of how one could replicate Ruth Bader Ginsberg's white pearl collar in tatting (I'm not being political in any way here, just talking about her collars). :-) Funnily enough I actually used to make those collars with seed beads when I was a teenager, I have a blue one and a cream pearl one somewhere in a box in the attic.  So I've made that collar with beads, but how to make one with tatting?  Straight away I thought of what I called the "Victorian Trellis Doily".  It has that same criss-cross effect and I thought the whole thing might look great as a collar... and I think it does!

You could make it narrower or wider depending on how many rounds of this pattern you decide to use.  And it is indeed wide enough to go over my head easily.  I went back to look at one of my videos where I am working this pattern and even back in 2013, in the description box I mention that I thought this would make a nice collar. 

But it's only now that I've finally put it over my head to try it!

What do you think?

All this caused me to re-visit this pattern for which I had written out the first round in this blogpost.  There were mistakes which I have now corrected (I hope it's all good now!) and I also tried to improve the wording and description.  The first round has an unusual construction and the way it is described in the original pattern is rather hard to understand in my opinion.  You can find the original pattern on pages 15-17 of this online version of the vintage publication (now out of copyright).  There's always been interest in this pattern and I would like to make it more easily available for people to tat.

I've had several requests to make a video about this design... so finally I got around to it!  I just uploaded a video of the first round and will carry on making videos to describe the other rounds too.

I hope some of you will be interested in making it.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Fair Isle Sweater

I started on the sweater I am making my son for his birthday as per his request (isn't it nice that a young man wants a hand-knitted jumper for his birthday?).   He chose the design which is by Ann Feitelson (though the story reveals it was taken from an original design by Hazel Tindall from a jumper found in a charity shop!).

There must be a lot less demand for Shetland Wool nowadays as many of their colours are now discontinued.  I'm a big fan of all traditional techniques and crafts and always feel sad when some are found to be disappearing (as is happening with many).  I had to substitute three colours but I think it's worked out alright.  There used to be 151 colours in their range of jumper weight wool and now they have 97 (still a good number, but 54 colours discontinued, that's a lot).

This was my first attempt at the corrugated ribbing but I wasn't happy
with the colour in the middle which was breaking the run of colours
between the browns.

I ordered another colour (this was one of the substituted colours)
frogged back, and started again with the new colour:

Yes!  That's much better.

Here's where I'm at as of today:

An interesting mix of browns, orangey-pinks, orange, purple and plum.

Still a long way to go!
But I started early, I only need to finish it by May.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Kep Hat

I love Fair Isle knitting.  I love the patterns and endless colour combinations.  I find changing colours and patterns so often keeps the knitting interesting all the way through even though it's all stockinette stitch.  I also love knitting in the round which means you never need to purl and best of all, no sewing is required at the end!

Here is my hat finished.  I was only working with whatever leftover wool I had from other projects and improvising with colours as I went along so wasn't sure I'd like the end result... but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I like that you can wear the extra fabric on the side
or on the back for a different look.

I had fun making the big colourful tassel.

Keps were/are traditionally worn by Scottish fishermen.  I used Shetland wool which is renowned for being warm, strong, durable and has a "grippy" quality which is particularly good for stranded knitting.  And the best part with this wool is that you don't have to weave in your ends (there are so many!), you just knot, tear, and leave to felt into the fabric with use and washing.

I looked up Shetland to find out a bit more about the area... I didn't know it comprised of so many islands!  And that it is so far north.  There are 100 islands in the Shetland of which only 16 are inhabited, Fair Isle being one of them with about 65 residents nowadays (down from about 400 in the 1900s).

This particular pattern is from a book I recently got by Mati Ventrillon called "Knitting from Fair Isle".

There will be some more Fair Isle knitting going on as my son has now requested a sweater for his birthday.  I have made a start on it but this will take me several months to knit.  I'll be showing that in a future blogpost.  I might also make another hat or two (time and elbow permitting!), as family members would now like one too!  My son asked if I could make him a beanie version of this hat.  But I won't be remaking the same one, I'll look for different designs... or maybe even design my own as I have books that show many traditional Fair Isle patterns (peeries and border patterns) so that you can mix and match depending on the number of stitches you require.

Best wishes,

Friday, 8 January 2021

New Year

I completed one project during the holidays and got it posted just before Christmas.  It was the blanket I made for my new niece.  The colour is really a nice duck egg blue (not obvious in the photos).

I'm sorry I didn't take better photos of it, they are evening/artificial light photos and the weather was too horrible to take any nice ones outside before I packed it up to ship it.  The square pattern is by Destany Wymore and can be found here on Ravelry.

And now I'm using up some odd and ends of leftover shetland wool to knit a Fair Isle hat.  The pattern is "Kep Hat" by Mati Ventrillon.  I've knitted several Fair Isle jumpers over the years... but it's the first time knitting a hat!

I send all of you my best wishes for a better New Year 2021, full of peace, love, joy... and lots of creative projects!

What's your first project of 2021?  Please let me know in the comments.

Best wishes,