Monday 26 October 2009

Tooth brush rings

One of the things you learn in Scouting, apart from knots (not tatting!) is to save the most extraordinary things, in the hope that one day they may come in useful for handicrafts. This is especially relevant, if like me, you are with the younger section, Beaver Scouts who are aged 6-8 years old. Twenty years ago it was difficult to find decent craft supplies, unless you were prepared to pay a lot of money for them, so over the years I have looked at disposable household items such as packaging etc and thought, what can this be used for? Corks from wine bottles are very versatile, although nowadays they seem to be mostly plastic, the original cork ones though could be turned into trains, dogs and even the beaver animal. So it sort of became a habit to collect items that showed potential! That is why I collected the plastic rings from the Oral B electric toothbrushes, not for Scouting but for my own use, and now they have been re-incarnated into earrings!

I’ve been influenced by the patterns that others have designed using plastic rings and thought they looked great, many using HDT. Initially I took the tooth brush rings on holiday and had a play around, my first attempt was given to Tatskool and it is only in the last week or so that I’ve come back to the project with earnest, mainly because I would like to give some earrings away to friends for Christmas. So here are the results.

It wasn't until I made the purple pair that I got the pattern as near to perfect as possible.

Being constantly nagged by big sister I have even written the pattern down! Jane then gave me a few tips on how to write some of the instructions, and the result is the pattern below. I’m not planning on designing much as it is very time consuming and frustrating and I don’t have much patience. But the absolute delight in seeing a pattern that I have designed written down and in a readable format, instead of on a scrap of paper is wonderful! I hope someone may be inspired to have ago at this pattern and tell me if they do not understand anything, after of course they have cleaned their teeth!

Oh and here are the little plastic rings, just in case you
don't know what I am talking about.


Materials required (size 20 cotton)
2 shuttles, 13 seed beads, plus 8 seed beads and a larger bead for bottom dangle
split ring finding.
A plastic ring, I used the plastic ring from the Oral B tooth brush! But any small plastic ring will do although you may have to adjust the stitches to cover it.


CR centre ring
Cl close
R ring
+ join
P picot
+ B add bead to picot before joining
VLP long picot
seta a first half of p
B Bead
seta b second half of p
Roch Ring on chain
Wsh 1 shuttle one
Wsh 2 shuttle two

6 beads Wsh 1 one plus split ring finding, 7 beads Wsh 2

Using both shuttles cover ring (wsh 2 at this stage is the ball) 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 this should cover the ring when completing all the way round the ring start with 1 SR continue as follows:

1 SR: 2 B 2 / 2 – 2
Wsh 2: Ch 4 B 3
2 R: 3 + B 3 + CR 3 – 3
Ch: 5 B 3
3 R: 4 + B 4 + CR 4 – 4
Ch: 3 seta a, 3 seta b (3 times)
4 Roch: 3 VLP slip seed beads + large bead + seed beads take bead from core thread move into ring and attach VLP to other side 3 Cl R
Ch: 3 seta b, 3 seta a (3 times)
5 R: 4 + B 4+ CR (as R3) 4 – 4
Ch: 3 B 5
6 R: 3 + B 3+ CR 3 – 3
Ch: 3 B 4
7 R: 2 + B 2+ CR 2 B 2
Ch: 5 B from core thread (3 times) 3 - 2 + with shuttle thread to remaining p of CR
8 R: wsh 1 2 + Ch 6 split ring finding 6 - 2 Cl take wsh 2 and shuttle join to CR
Ch: 2 + R8 3 B from core thread 5 B (twice) 5 attach to SR cut and tie

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Unusual Tatting Shuttles

I won two shuttles on e.bay last week (yes still can’t break the habit!), they were being sold by the same person but with four days between listings. The first one is a Vintage Bone tatting shuttle 10 cm in length, 2 cm wide and 1cm in depth and described by the seller as “lovely to work with even though a bit larger than average. It is very comfortable and smooth in the hand.” She went on to say “a little stiffness in the fingers prevents me from using this shuttle now."
It certainly is a larger than normal shuttle.
Sad to think that as we get older ailments such as stiffness in the fingers may prevent us from tatting, hope that is a long time coming for me. Another comment that was made by the seller was this "The top view shows a tiny mark that is in the bone itself. The other side shows small very fine hairlines where the pins are. This has been like this for a very long time and has occurred through natural use over many years." A well used shuttle, that is what I like to hear!

The second shuttle was described as a horn tatting shuttle – double thread with two shanks for winding two threads. Again she says “Shuttle has nice tight ends, smooth to the hand when in use”. I have never seen a double one before and trying to think when it would be most useful.
I was quite pleased with these purchases as they were both under £5 each and will now go into my collection although I might eventually find a use for the double thread one.

I am trying to motivate my husband into making tatting shuttles, he made this one for me years ago, can’t remember where the design came from but it was definitely copied.
Obviously the classic design would be better and as he has some small pieces of hard wood stashed away, they could be re-incarnated into tatting shuttles!

Tuesday 13 October 2009


A graduate student at Trinity
Computed the square of infinity.
But it gave him the fidgets
To put down the digits,
So he dropped maths and took up divinity.

A Limmerick to start off this post.
Thanks to Maureen and Isdihara for encouraging me, sadly
not Edward Lear, but this is only the start!

Trying to find a motif that would fit into this metal square wasn't easy, and gave me the fidgets! The samples in the first picture were part of the searching. The first two I found here, although the instructions for the second one do not correspond with the diagram, so if you plan to tat it make sure that on the corners there are six picots not three. The third one is one of Jane's designs, which she had completely forgotten about, so I'm sending her a copy and she might eventually put it on her pattern page?!

To ensure the motif would fit the metal square I had to use 80 cotton.

This is the necklace from which the metal square came from. I purchased it over two years ago, meaning to do something with it one day! Not sure now, that it is in pieces, whether anything else will be done with all the other bits. I could make some Christmas decorations though, any other suggestions gratefully received!

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Lavender's Blue

Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly,
Lavender's green;
When I am queen, dilly, dilly,
You shall be king.
This is all I remember of the old nursery rhyme, but apparently it has more verses.
Lavender is one of my favourite plants, it smells beautiful and it is also so versatile. I've used it in cooking to give a unique flavour to biscuits and ice cream and of course in lavender bags to keep away moths from vunerable clothes.
I started tatting the edging to the handkerchief whilst on holiday, taking some ancient cotton with me, I began to sew it on as I wasn't sure if I had enough cotton and sure enough I didn't and there was no more. This was a real blow as the colour matched the lavender motif. I was making it for a elderly lady who said she so liked to see lace/tatting around a handkerchief.

Enter this bag, which I found in a charity shop, not a particularly wonderful bag, a canvas bag, but not wishing to just discard all the hours and hours of work I had put into the edging I attached it to the bag.

Here is it finished, although you will have to enlarge the photograph to see the transferred edging!

In my youth I used to associate the smell of lavender with "old ladies", they would very often use lavender toilet water (popular in England from 17th century; prepared by distilling freshly picked lavender that had been immersed in alcohol). Now lavender is back in fashion, and in an age of stress and depression it is often used to calm us down. Bathing in lavender oil, using a lavender pillow are all suggested to relieve tension and anxiety. Lavender oil can also be used in a massage, or in an oil burner to fragrance the room, the possibilities are endless. I even have lavender wax polish, finding time to actually use it is the problem!

It is said that planting lavender around the house will help deter evil and protect the people within the household.

The Romans introduced lavender and its uses into England and Europe. They used the flower heads in their communal baths not only for their fragrance but probably also as an antiseptic. The ancient Greeks are also thought to have used lavender for treatment of throat infections and chest complaints. A month ago there were purple fields of lavender to be seen in England and they looked beautiful in the sunshine.

Now I have to make another edging for this handkerchief............