Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Angels

There were only cards hung up in our home this Christmas, no tree and no other decorations, sounds miserable but as we were completely by ourselves with no guests or visitors it just did not seem worth the effort.   However, I continue to tat items that can be hung up at Christmas so that other people will enjoy them in their homes. The break also gave me an opportunity to tidy up some of my craft stuff amongst which were bangles purchased 5 years ago.  This is what I have used some of them for, there are dozens more!  The angels are from Martha Ess's book 'Playing with picots'

I used to attach the tatting to the rings with invisible cotton, but this time thought I would try a different method and rather like the effect of twisting the thread around the rings. 
Which ever method is used though it is a fiddly process.

Even though my home had no decorations I did hang some mistletoe in the parish office, 
well just in case!

In my next blog post there will be a give-away to celebrate the New Year.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Blast from the Past

No I'm not referring to 'Tat Days' but an experience when visiting someone yesterday who every year I give a tatted tree ornament to.   The person is now more or less bed ridden but the family put the tree up and hang the ornaments on it.  Here is a picture of some of them, there must be about eight altogether spread around the tree. I had actually forgotten that I had made these, unfortunately I have no record of the design.

However, I just can't stop tatting the button snowflake because it just looks great in whatever colour I use and I am giving them away as fast as I can make them!  The one on the left though is slightly different.

After Christmas I hope to hold a 'giveaway' which will be (when it is made) a pop-a-bobbin shuttle to thank all those who regularly visit this blog and in particular those who comment, perhaps not regularly, but at least from time to time.   I'm getting excited thinking about it, hope you are?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Boxed Clever

Okay I'm not meant to be too serious in this blog post, instructions from big sister!  However, firstly you all need to know the meaning of the title 'Boxed Clever', well other than making tatted boxes!   It means to use one’s resources beyond conventional ways. Not necessary “thinking outside the box”, although this might happen but it is not quite  accurate.  Boxed clever or 'boxing clever', means not only thinking outside the box, but re-defining the common thought process itself . It’s the ability to evaluate the current thought process, and replace it with a new, more superior, more productive, more efficient thought process. Does that sound like Jane?!

The pink and green box was my first attempt, there were a few issues when it came to the second side, Jane and I agreed to disagree on which way to turn the work!  She really was calling me 'a pain' at this point, or may be a 'daft mo'!

The second box was made very quickly and this time I used square buttons

If Jane designs another pattern before Christmas I will scream, cards are not being written, sermons are not being prepared and as for housework, well what can you do when there is a thread invasion?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


It is one of those amazing dates today that just needs to be shouted out and celebrated or just recognised on my blog!

This will be the last date of its kind - when all three numericals in a date are the same - for the next 88 years. The next time this will happen is on January 1, 2101, or 01-01-01.
The number 12 has a great significance in many cultures. In western tradition, it is commonly associated with completeness and seen as a perfect and harmonious unit. As such, it has found its way into religion (e.g. the 12 apostles), mythology (e.g. the 12 gods of Olympus), and every day life (e.g. 12 hours on a modern clock face).  

I have been busy (around the clock!) test tatting another of Jane's clever designs but it would not be fair to show you until she has announced it first, it caused a little bit of a problem (on my part) but all seems to be resolved now and I am just excited about it as she is.

Whilst in America at Tat Days I was extremely fortunate to be given some lovely gifts, one was the name tag on the scissors which I purchased from the vending room.  I would like to thank the giver personally but I don't know who she is.  I will now never loose my scissors and this piece of tatting means a lot to me.

As you can see the bracelet and the book mark are made from the same Lizbeth thread which I have strangely taken a disliking to over the last few months.

It is amazing how tastes change and it has happened a lot in tatting to me over the last six months. I blame all those wonderful HDTs which you can now buy.  

Anyway enjoy what is left of 12.12.12 where ever you are in the world.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tatting Requests

I was asked to make two sets of button necklaces and earrings way back in May, I was told there was no hurry! After returning from my trips to other parts of the world it became necessary to sit down and finish them.  Unfortunately I found this very hard to do for many reasons. Tat Days inspired me to do other projects and then Jane keeps designing more patterns especially using buttons.  Also I had to catch up with other things going on in my life.  I finally completed them last weekend.

I actually lost interest in making these necklaces which had to be made in the colours requested. The purple one was started in June and by the time I came back from the USA in September I had purchased threads and beads that I liked much better and nearly cut it up and started again, but persevered and actually finished it whilst staying with Jane.

I have been also hit with a 'doodad challenge' from Diana, look at what she sent me.

These little beauties will have to wait until after Christmas, but I am sure going to have fun with them. Do I try to design a pattern for them or see if I can find someone elses? I guess that is part of the challenge to go it alone!  Thank you so much Diane

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Problems sorted!

I am out of hibernation (but didn't get much sleep) and seemed to have got rid of my computer frustration, well for a little while!  This past week I have been extremely busy sorting out the photos on my blog, or rather where they are stored in Picasa and then downsizing them.    I had no idea that was the problem, just uploaded everything on to the blog without a thought to how much space they were taking.  Lesson learnt.  Big sister came to my rescue and you can see her blog post talking about it here.

With the pink bracelet I added the beads from the core (shuttle)  thread whilst on the yellow bracelet they were on the ball thread.

This is the only bit of tatting I managed over the last week.  I had thought about making these bracelets for a while and recently noticed Janemactats and it inspired me to actually do something about the idea.

These are the buttons you saw on the scan but look slightly better photographed

So I am blogging again and thanks to those who commented on my last blog post, would really have not wanted to be away for too long as I would have also  missed you.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Buttons and Bobbins

Not sure if this will be my last blog post for a while as I am having trouble with blogger and photographs.  Here are some badly scanned buttons which you will have seen on Jane's blog today. A fantastic pattern which has given me hours of fun whilst making them.

However, I am loosing patience with computers and have decided to go into hibernation until all problems have been sorted.

Just wanted to say thank you to all who have bought shuttles etc from Jane's shop, there are still a few items left which have been made by 'im in the garage,  including these bobbin holders. There is a story about the wood that they are made from, we purchased the wood from a funeral director. Many, many years ago his late father had purchased the mahogany to make coffins out of. Now a days most coffins are mass produced so this wood was doing nothing, just stacked up in a garage.  It is lovely mature wood, rich in colour and the bobbin holders are a work of art as well as being  very practicable.  Here is the link to the wood when it arrived at our house.  

Monday, 19 November 2012

Christmas bauble pattern

One of the problems when writing a tatting pattern to be used with a bauble or button is that even with the best will in the world, it is not always easy to find a universal pattern that fits all, even measuring buttons and baubles does not always work!   Threads can also vary, not to mention every ones different tatting tension.  So I've tried my best with this pattern and just ask that if you use it, then test it first and alter your stitch count accordingly, especially if it is not a cosy fit over the bauble.  When you have finished the pattern the bauble cover should look something like this.

It is then placed over the bauble like this

And  assembled by threading a separate piece of thread through the bugle beads 

Finally the beads to decorate and hide where the threads are pulled up, are added
The pattern:

Materials required:
Seed beads
20 thread (or you can use 40 or 50)
small bauble (circumference approx 3 1/2")
SCMR self closing mock ring
R ring
SR split ring
P picot
VLP very long picot
Roch Ring on chain
LCh Lock Chain
Sh 1 shuttle one
Sh 2 shuttle two

Wind 2 shuttles with the continuous thread method
Add 1 B Sh 1
20 B Sh 2

SCMR ch 5 B 5 *(2 B @ back hand before starting )
R 4 B 4 – 4 B 4
ch 5 B 5 repeat from * 3 times Cl SCMR

SR 1 B @ back of hand before starting 4 B 4 / 4 B 4 cl bring a bead from the shuttle thread and pass the other shuttle thread through it continue with
LCh: *6 Roch 6 VLP add bugle beads take bead from core thread move into ring and attach VLP to other side 6 Cl
LCH 6 + B on ring of round 1 repeat * 4 times
attach to base of SR

To complete fit over the bauble and thread a piece of tatting cotton through the gap made between one of the sets of bugle beads (five gaps 10 bugle beads altogether) continue through the rest of them and draw up tight then add a large bead or beads, thread more cotton through the pulled up beads and through the dangle beads, knot close to the beads making a tassel.

I have also made a couple of Jane's button brooches and as you can see they vary from hers because of the button size and tension

 Some of these holly shuttles will be on sale soon

I have so many projects  (tatting and otherwise) on the go at the moment, but hopefully should have completed some of them in a few weeks time.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ash disease and ladybirds

It is not a good time for Ash trees in the UK at the moment, there is a disease that threatens to wipe them out,  or at least seriously diminish them.  You can read how the government are trying to tackle the threat of the disease here, some say however it is too late and measures should have been taken a long time ago to stop its spread.   In the 1970's Dutch Elm disease took hold in this country and over 25 million elm trees were destroyed by the 1990s.  There are some beautiful forests in the UK and particularly around where I live so I hope that this disease will be contained and not spread so widely as the Dutch Elm one did in the 20th century.

But on a more cheerful note we have a small stock of ash in the garage and this is one of the latest post shuttles that has been made from it. Can you see what an interesting grain it has?  The ladybird sticker was purchased when Jane and I were in the USA and one of the people we visited Pam Freck is particularly fond of ladybugs.

Now here is a reject pop-a-bobbin shuttle, it comes from this piece of wood blown down in the winds. The knots in the wood have caused a split inside, however instead of being thrown away it is stopping with me, even the sawdust sprinkled on it makes it feel like a bit of a reject though!

I intend to write out the Christmas bauble pattern that was shown in my last post (it differs slightly from the two I have already put on the side of my blog)  and also show how the  tatting is assembled on to the bauble when completed, just need to take some photos of the different stages.

But I would like to leave you with this beautiful picture of a ladybird (ladybug) 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Must stop buying Christmas Baubles!

Although I did not sell very much at the Christmas Fayre the baubles were quite popular and prior to the event I spent hours tatting around them, and have continued in the same vain!  If I stop I know that I will never start again until the last minute before they are needed next year.  Having a good display also means that there is plenty of choice.  I have bought so many of these baubles that I must now stop and complete the ones I have, but the temptation this time of the year is too great, especially when I see them in the shops!   Here are the ones I have been working on over the last week.

They are relatively quick to make and use up thread and beads that I have had for a long time.  

I am also tempted when seeing buttons, these are my latest purchase from a charity shop.
The purple one is 1 1/4" across! 

More shuttles are in the process of being made and I hope to show you some pictures next time, included in the next batch are some post ones.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Christmas Fayre

Today  there was a Christmas Fayre at the church and I took along my tatting to sell, I have actually been tatting so furiously in the last few weeks  in order to have enough to sell.  The larger items such as necklaces did not sell but the lower priced items sold quite well, they included earrings and Christmas baubles. These leaf earrings are using Jane's pattern which can be found here. Although I have to say not one of them sold!

I took along these earrings too. Barbara Hevener who I met in the USA designed the Christmas Wreaths  I am very grateful to her for sharing the pattern it really is very clever and very effective and I was so pleased to meet her in person.

The little seahorses are again Jane's pattern and they look so cute but I did not sell any of these little chaps either!  The earrings that sold the best were Marilee's Giddy earrings from her book 'Tatted Jewelery', which are such fun to make and yes I also met Marilee in the USA!.   So all the items that I made for today and did not sell will be packed away for another year.  I must just add that we live in a village, not a big town and so there were not that many people around for the few hours that the Fayre was open.

I just feel that I have now got my life back and can stop tatting for a few days in order to catch up with other things.  People have no idea how time consuming tatting is and so are unprepared to pay for the time that is spent making the items.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Extra hour in bed!

The clocks go back this evening so I am looking forward to an extra hour in bed, but not much chance at the moment as I am tatting like mad to get items ready for a Christmas Fayre.  The temperature outside is freezing and some parts of the UK are said to have been colder than Moscow this weekend brrrrrrrr.

So to get in the mood here are some snow flakes, the first one is Martha Ess's Circles and Squares, this is my favourite snowflake pattern and just for a change I have worked it in silver and white thread.

This one is my own design, but it looks like a lot of others so can't really claim the fame! However, I do think the bugle beads enhance the snowflake, sorry that it is a little bit off centre, always find it difficult to scan finished items.

Well back to tatting - more to show you  soon!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Black and White

Sometimes there is just too much colour around us, and occasionally it is good to look at something in black and white.  How many of us remember when there was only black and white television?!  There is a memorable British sports quote given by Ted Lowe during a snooker commentary. Ted was aware that at the time not all viewers had a colour television so he said "and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green."

So to start with here is Sherry Pence's Scottie Dog, which I promised to tat for someone months ago.   I think one of these little chaps would look great on a greetings card. Thank you Sherry for kindly sharing the pattern.

And now a button brooch

A Christmas bauble

And finally my son Dan who was taking a break from Aikido in Singapore. I was not able to get close enough for an action photograph!

Yes he is a black belt!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Button Brooches

I am always looking for ways to use buttons and tatting together and decided it was best to put into action an idea that I have had for a long time now.    This is the result.  

Each of the brooches uses (apart from the tatting) two buttons a bead and a finding at the back. I hope you can see that there is a smaller button just beneath the bead.  The only glue used  is the finding on the back otherwise everything is sewn on.

                                                                   A closer look!

Now the only disadvantage is that when the finding is lined up at the back to correspond to one of the holes in the button (for assembling)  it is not central, but I don't think this makes that much difference to the overall appearance

The pattern I used is here Jane's Mother of Pear Tatted buttons, I just added a few extra beads at the tips.  Fortunately I do have some large buttons but I have also been looking in charity shops for others as my own supply is quite limited.  I also found that solid coloured thread works best, not variegated.  
The brooches look very effective when worn and I hope to make a lot more before Christmas!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Daisy Necklace

After a few aborted starts, mainly because I made some serious mistakes, I did manage to to complete the Daisy Necklace and now would like a little break from this pattern!   

Jane showed the shuttle holder that Marie Smith made on her blog today and so I thought I would show mine as they really are exquisite, and Marie is so generous.  This little gem was made with HDT from Sherry Pence, called Butter Toffee

It was such a great day meeting the Guild Members and the fun did not end there.  Afterwards we went to a really amazing restaurant called Flight Deck where there were pictures of aeroplanes plus model aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling.  Here is a picture of Marie outside the restaurant showing us a new technique/idea with Riet.

A lot of laughs with so many good friends, it was hard to say goodbye.

And very sad when it was time for us to fly home.

Well not on an aeroplane like this!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


I am like a child in a sweetie (candy) shop at the moment!  Since coming home from tat days I have so much choice of threads, beads and findings that I just don't have enough hours in the day to put them to good use.  Regularly now I pick out thread and beads to match ready for the next project, however before I get to it some other colourway has grabbed my attention!

For many years I have admired Jane's bracelet pattern and thought it would be too difficult to tat, but now I have mastered it I can't stop making bracelets. These two are promised to people already and I am going to make a few more for the Christmas Fayre.  I also would like to carry on with the pattern and make a necklace.

The left one is made with Lizbeth thread and the right one is using HDT from Yarnplayer called warm dark brown, a lovely shade.  Thank you Sue Anna for giving it to me along with so many other beautiful threads.
Thank you also to Sandra and Joanie who kindly took Jane and myself to craft supply shops whilst we were with them, there was so much choice and so many bargains!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Owls and Scarecrows

When we were at Tat Days there was a 'Night Owl' class during which we made some owls by finger tatting with wool, it was great fun and required minimum skill. Also by then our eyes were quite tired so it was easy on them too!  I made this one when I got home as all the owls that we made at tat days are going to a State Fair next month.  Riet took the class and it was lovely to meet her at last and to discover that she is very fond of owls.

Here is the pattern using thread and made into earrings

And a real owl that was seen in our village trying to cross the road earlier this year

Today though we had a scarecrow festival outside one of the churches.

A knight and his horse

A little girl

And a solar powered scarecrow that was given to me by Pam when in the USA. All the shops were sold out of these little chaps and I am so thrilled to have this one and love the way he jiggles! He also came up to the church with me, but I guarded him as it would have been such a shame if someone else had taken a fancy to him!