Wednesday 29 December 2010

Garage Talk

For those of you who have visited Trayna's blog you will have seen the shuttle she has just purchased and have read all about the particular wood.   Trayna lives in the far north whilst we are down in the south of the country. There is very little of this wood so, as and when, a few shuttles will be put into Jane's shop.   This one was made for me and the markings obviously differ from shuttle to shuttle.  It had a little trip outside to bask in the Winter snow!

As you should all know by now  'Im in the garage' is my other half, whose workshop is in the garage.
Before Christmas my youngest son visited us and asked for something to be made, previous to that I had requested a set of tatting trays.  So there was a lot of friendly banter on whose woodworking project should take priority. My request was this set of trays, the idea came whilst visiting a shop and I took a photo of them on the left, it was being sold in the bathroom and bedroom department of the store.  It seemed a good idea to put tatting objects on and be able to carry it around the house without loosing things on the way.  So my request is what you see on the right, the trays are not so deep, and a little wider, as I didn't want to clutter them up with unnecessary objects. Unfortunately the photograph doesn't do it justice (it is the angle I have taken it) as it appears to have different sized trays whereas they are all the same size, with the bottom one being slightly deeper.  It is tall enough to have by a chair and work from.  I have only just started using it, that is why it looks tidy. I'm not quite sure what I want to keep on it but hope to mainly use it for current projects instead of having them spread everywhere, whilst the rest of the thread, shuttles beads etc live in another place.

My son also got his wish and this was made for his Christmas present.  It is not a game, but for storage of particular items, I wonder if you can guess?  The inlay is ebony and holly wood which comes from his late grandfathers' garden.   Due to his car and himself being poorly we were unable to see him over Christmas and  so what you see below is still wrapped up in Christmas paper.  He is off to Mexico tomorrow for a holiday so not sure when it will be in his possession.  So much for the priority of it being made!

With all these projects there has not been much time to make shuttles, but a few will be heading towards Janes' home soon.  Will keep you up-to-date with their journey.

Friday 24 December 2010


As I would imagine with everyone who makes tatted gifts for friends and relations at Christmas,  unless they have been very well prepared in advance, time runs out and it means a frantic dive into stash or making something very simple.  I went to a friends house this week and she had all the tatted pieces that I had made over the years displayed and I hardly recognized them, rarely do I keep any examples myself.   I made these three very quickly as time just ran out!

The churches are decorated for Christmas 

At home we have the Christmas Pyramid out

Complete with figures including a cherub band

A German Oompah Band

A Vicar and choir

And an African Nativity Scene

As you can see when the candles are alight they all go round and round! 

A Very Happy and 
Blessed Christmas to everyone

Saturday 18 December 2010

Ring out those Bells!

The person that makes the card inserts for the pop-a-bobbin shuttles is an ex-printer and is an absolute genius when it comes to anything to do with printing. His name is Mr. Bell and of course he is married to Mrs. Bell, so with that in mind I have tatted them some bells!

The pattern is Yarnplayer's joyful bell pattern with beads plus the addition of tiny bells which I purchased awhile back, recently I bought the bigger ones you see in the picture, but not sure what to do with them yet.  It is a quick and easy pattern but so effective, thank you Marilee.

Three of our churches have bells but they do not have bell towers. This picture shows some ancient clangers that are on the wall of one of them, they are said to be from the 13th century.

Now the rope that you see bell ringers holding on to as they ring the bell has a coloured piece called a "sally".  This Sally used to be a bell ringer  at a very famous church and below is a very old photograph to proof it.  

                              Can you spot which one is me?

This time next week the bells will be ringing out to celebrate Christmas.

Monday 13 December 2010

Shuttles and Christmas Trees

Just to let you know that Jane is going to be selling a variety of shuttles in her Etsy shop tomorrow, the holly ones, which were on my previous blog and these larger shuttles, one with a hook and the other without a hook. As you can see they are all dressed up for Christmas!  I'm in the garage has been very busy and although the garage is so very cold, he is planning on making more shuttles in the next few weeks.  But is anyone interested? Not sure if there is a demand for wooden shuttles at the moment.

Here are some of Jane's Christmas Tree ear rings which I started years ago and have recently found in a box.  They are all at various stages of construction, but as you can see the two that are finished are not even identical! Really must either finish them off, or probably best if I abandon them all together as I'm not sure if I have the thread anymore.  Strange though I did take one completed pair to a Christmas Fayre recently and sold them before the event had even opened!  Also not particularly pleased with the quality of the tatting, the deciding factor - start again!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Hollywood Close

"I'm in the garage" - a very very cold garage, has spent the last few weeks making these post shuttles.  Sadly though it doesn't look like they will make Christmas for those of you who live over the pond.

You may have spotted these shuttles in my new profile picture. The picture was taken before the snow disappeared.  In fact the snow had really turned to ice and they kept sliding like little toboggans!   The ones with two sprigs of holly on them are a little larger,  3 inches long as opposed to 2 1/2 inches. 

The larger ones do not appear so shiny because they have only just had their sprigs of holly put on them, the finished ones will look smoother and shinier.   This street name is a short walk from where I live and by coincidence a person I know lives there who tats!

Not the famous Hollywood in the USA!

All these post shuttles and some pop-a-bobbin shuttles will be on their way to Jane over the weekend, not by mail - because if you have been following her blog you will know that the Royal Mail is not very reliable at the moment.   Therefore it will not be until next week before she will get them into her Etsy Shop.

This particular holly wood came from our late father's garden so before all of it goes Jane and I must have a shuttle or two made from the wood.

Saturday 4 December 2010


One of the delights of having a blog is being able to share patterns with others, and thank you to all who do post such wonderful patterns, there are so many talented people who are generous in this respect.  I have only put very few on my blog over the past year and have never seen any of them actually tatted by someone else.  This could be because my instructions are difficult to understand, which rather scares me, I wouldn't want that to happen. Or of course no one has got around to making them yet, which is very understandable as there are so many other much better patterns out there to choose from.

Snow and ice slowed things up here in England over the past two days, which meant that as I couldn't get the car out so the funeral director had to pick me up and take me to the crematorium to conduct a funeral service yesterday.  I didn't want to risk having an accident and not getting there on time, or not at all.    So when I arrived home I was able to spend a fruitful half hour or so looking at the blogs and went to Gina's blog and found this snowflake, and then popped across to Spulni-Blog
I was so impressed with the design and then when Gina added beads, well I decided to add more, especially since receiving 20 packets in the post!  Also I changed it very slightly.
But is that right should we do this to people's designs?  It feels like we are being critical, or it could be classed as imagination?    

The blue snowflake was my first attempt but it was a bit squashed in the middle.  
Thank you to Orsi and Gina.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Three Button Necklaces

Thanks to Jane's help I have at last written this pattern out.   

Just can't give this one away, the thread is beautiful and was given to me by Sue Anna.

The yellow one has Swaroyski beads in it .

BUTTON NECKLACE © Sally Kerson 2010

Abbreviations: R ring
Ch chain
Cl close
p picot
BP long bead picot
p very small picot
R split ring
RW reverse work
+ join
B bead
Cl close
Btn button
DNRW do not reverse work
SLT Shoe lace trick
T & C tie and cut

Materials required: size 20 thread, 14 buttons, seed beads, 14 larger beads, necklace findings

Wind 2 shuttles with thread, adding 14 beads to shuttle 1, the rest of the beads are added as the necklace is worked

Bottom half of necklace
Sh 1 attach to finding with 1 ds take sh 2 and do the same
SR1: 5 – 1 / 5 – 1 Cl
SR2: 1 + SR1 4 – 1 / 1 + SR1 4 - 1 Cl
SR3: 1 + SR2 4 – 1 / 1 + SR 2 4 - 1 Cl
SR4: 1 + SR3 5 / 1 + SR3 5 Cl   (Fig 1)
Move B on shuttle 1 along to last SR before starting
R1: 3 vsp 3 + 1st btn hole 6 Cl rw
Ch: 6 LBP (5B) 3 rw
R2:* 6 + 2nd btn 6 Cl rw
Ch: 3 + LBP on last chain, 3 LBP (7B) 1 + LBP 3, LBP (5B) 3 rw
R3: 6 + 2nd btn hole 6 cl rw
Ch: 3 + LBP on last chain, 3 LBP (3B) 3 rw
R4: 6 + 3rd btn hole 3 vsp 3 cl move bead from shuttle 1 DNRW
R5: 3 vsp 3 + next button 6 cl rw
Ch: 3 + LBP on last chain, 3 LBP (5) 3 rw  (Fig 2)
REPEAT FROM R2* 13 more times until R3
Ch: 3 + LBP on last chain, 6 rw
R 4: 6 + 3rd btn hole 3 vsp 3 cl move bead from shuttle 1DNRW
SR5: 4 – 1 / 4 – 1 Cl
SR6: 1 + SR5 4 – 1 / 1 + SR5 4 – 1 Cl
SR7: 1 + SR6 4 – 1 / 1 + SR6 4 – 1 Cl
SR8: 1 + SR6 5 attach finding / 1 + SR 6 5 cl T & C

Top half of necklace (when necklace is finished each button hole is joined into twice
R1: 6 + btn hole with last SR attached to it 4 + vsp 6 Cl SLT rw
Ch: 4 *
R2: 4 + 4th btn hole 4 (last btn hole remaining without a join) Cl rw
Ch: 4 rw
R3: 4 + 4th btn hole 4 Cl rw
Ch: 4 rw
R4: 6 + next btn hole 4 + vsp on SR between btns 6 Cl rw
Ch: 6 rw
R5: 6 + vsp on next SR between btn 4 + btn hole 6 Cl rw  (Fig 3)
REPEAT FROM Ch 4 *.to R4 then 6 + into final btn hole 4 + vsp on last SR 6 CL T & C.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Saints and a Prince

Unless you have been away on a desert island you cannot fail to have heard the news of the Royal engagement here in Britain. This week the date of the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced.

St Catherine of Siena, the saint whose feast day falls on April 29 has been chosen as the day the couple will marry next year in Westminster Abbey.   St. Catherine was the daughter of an Italian cloth dyer and she died in 1380 and is known for her spiritual writings.  However, today is the feast day of St Catherine of Alexandria and she is know as the patron saint of lacemakers.  Here is the link to my post last year giving a few more details of how she has been adopted as the patron saint of Tatters!

This is the nearest I have to a Catherine Wheel, but the stars remind us of the universe.

This is the nearest I could find to a saint! The picture was taken in an ancient, and now redundant church, near where I live. There is no indication of when it was put there, or who it is supposed to represent, it does look quite mysterious!  

The view at the side of the church.

Jane has kindly made some drawings for the button necklace which I have designed, it will be in my next post together with the instructions.

Friday 19 November 2010

Beaded Purse

Jane mentioned yesterday that I was making one of her beaded purses, so here it is, the completed item.
As she says it is an easy pattern but takes quite a long time to complete mainly because you have to keep loading beads onto the shuttles, 175 beads on each one.  The beads make the purse very solid and weighty and for this one I have used orange beads but not all the same shade.  The little figure sitting beside the purse was originally a necklace and it was purchased in Macau when I was there over 30 yrs ago.  Some of the beads are from the string that was attached to it.   The bead in the middle of the purse is orange but has got glitter on it and because of that doesn't look like it blends in, but it does, it is just the photograph has changed it.  I fully intend to wear this purse, the cord is made out of split rings, unfortunately my attempts at making the double double stitch failed, need to practice the technique first.

The purse reminded me very much of the flapper dresses of the 1920's the way the beads form a pattern of dangling fringes!

Now further developments on my last post, I went to a garden centre where they are now giving lessons on decoupage and so I was able to pick up this special glue and brush, so now it seems I have the right equipment.

I can't wait to start the decoration on the shuttles, but as yet they haven't even been cut out!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Holly Shuttles for Christmas?

For those of you who remember this wood I am happy to inform you that the holly is now ready to be used for shuttles and strips (see below) are in the process of being made into post shuttles.  The wood had been seasoning for many years and so did not take too long to dry out.  But of course for these shuttles to be a success a lot depends on the next stage, when the wood has to be steam bent and moulded, it could split, or it simply will not bend that well.  

As you can see holly is a very pale wood, almost white, ever since we thought of making shuttles with the wood we had planned on having sprigs of holly on them.  Since that time we have searched high and low for transfers.  Many months ago Decoromana made a comment on this blog suggesting decoupage and using napkins.  Today I went in search of them, after all this is the right time of year!   A nearby town proofed to be hopeless and walking in and out of countless shops looking for them I almost gave up hope.  However, I then went to a local supermarket and of course there they were looking at me from the shelf and just crying out to be purchased!  Also there are so many sprigs on each napkin, isn't that great?

See they fit onto the wood perfectly, okay the cutting out isn't too good but I have only just rushed home with them and wanted to try them out for size.  Now please you decoupage experts out there, have you got any advice i.e. what glue to use etc.  "I'm in the garage" is expert at varnishing but how many coats?

As I said these may or may not be ready for Christmas a lot depends on how well the holly copes with the next stage of the process, not to mention the attempts at decoupage.   Will keep you informed. 

Tuesday 9 November 2010

The one that got away!

Jane has already informed the "shuttle hungry" crowd in "tat land" that some more pop-a-bobbins will be in her Etsy shop tomorrow.  However, this is "the one that got away" It had fallen off the arm of my chair when I was testing them, and had gone down the side. Unfortunately it was found when all the others were packed and on their way to Jane.  It is a sycamore shuttle and will be put in the next batch, so please don't ask for it now.  The rose it is sitting next to is the last rose of the season and has just been showered with rain.

The rod that was supposed to be delivered has still not arrived, although it has been paid for, "I'm in the garage" is chasing the supplier up, so I can report that not all the shuttles that were shown in my last post were completed.

Two of Jane's flurrries,  the colours are just right for Christmas!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Production Hold-Up

"I'm in the Garage" has just started production again of the pop-a-bobbin shuttle.  It has been a really stressful time for us since June and our lives are now just beginning to become a bit more settled.  We have spent many weekends and weekdays visiting our families, driving over 2 hours to where they live with very little time to catch up on things in our own home!  Over the months we have seen two homes be cleared of all the things inside them and life has just drastically changed for us both.  When we are lucky enough to be in our own home we have had to make numerous telephones conversations to people trying to sort out so many issues involved with caring for the elderly. Even a conversation today over the phone to someone who was booking her wedding brought a little more information.  I have to ask the couples what their occupation is to put down on a form and I found out she was a social worker, she is to date the most helpful social worker I have ever talked to, unfortunately she lives in another part of the country.

These are the latest shuttles enjoying some Autumn sunshine, and "I'm in the garage" fully intended to complete them for this coming weekend, but sadly the supplier for the all important middle bit and the tool has not delivered.

Here is a view of the wood in the garage, all ready and waiting!

And here is some wood in its raw state!

I will let you know when this batch is completed, just hope that the postman delivers the rods tomorrow. Actually it is funny if I'm not in he puts this long parcel through the letter box and it looks so odd sitting half way in and half way out, still at least it will not have to be re-delivered.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Black is Black

Strange when I was thinking about a title for this post the song "Black is Black" kept popping into my head, reminds me of my teenage years perhaps?  If you haven't heard it here is the link
When Jane showed me a sneak preview of her new brooch using the winsome earring pattern I told her that I had made quite a few black earrings and she suggested that I posted them, so here they are.  I wear a lot of black as it suits me, but these earrings are going to be, hopefully, sold at a Christmas Market to be held at our church next month.  I have asked Jane's permission.  They are in preparation for the Christmas parties many ladies will attend, a finishing touch to their party frock!

The black and yellow ones look really good too, they are yellow beads in the middle but the photograph has taken the colour out of them.
I have also made many others pairs in different colours.  At first I wasn't too happy about the ends to these earrings and I know that it is possible to add a few more beads and weave the threads in, thus hiding them.  However, now I really like seeing them as it shows that the earrings are made with thread and tatted, it adds to their authenticity. 

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Promises, Promises

When ever I promise to do something (and remember that I have actually promised), I try my hardest to keep that promise.  In August I said I would write the pattern down for this necklace and post it on my blog. Well I haven't forgotten and it is half written but events over the last few months have interfered with so many of my plans including this one.  The project has been put away for a day when I can really sit down and concentrate on something for longer than a couple of hours!

The shops are starting to show signs of Christmas and as the weeks go by, more and more shelves are being given over to cards, decorations and all the paraphernalia that goes with the season.  To get myself into the mood for writing out patterns again, I picked up another pattern I promised to write down last year - oh dear failed again!!!  Here is the link showing the gold bauble covered in black thread, can you believe it was December 2009?!

The top bauble is a thread that Sue Anna sent me called Brilliant Sunset and is size 50, a size that I don't usually use but works perfectly with this pattern.  The two red ones are using Altun Basak, the thread adds a bit of glitter to the baubles.  Now it is a case of walking past the boxes of baubles on the shelves, I keep telling myself that I have enough!

Tuesday 12 October 2010

A Blast from the Past

Here are two items of tatting that were not made by me, this beautifully coloured one was made by Jane, many, many years ago. It was a present and came with some drink mats to match.  I wonder if she remembers making it?!  At the time I knew how to tat but my skills were very basic and working in different colours and on such a large item seemed beyond my ability.  Sadly this piece was stuffed in a bag and moved around from one country to another and so has  become a little stained.


This doily was made by my Grandmother the person that taught Jane and I to tat. Again it is not in marvelous condition but I could not part with either of these little gems.  I have also just noticed that the scan is not perfect - it has curled over on the left hand side!  
Hopefully soon I will be able to find time to tat, but this week is going to be incredibly busy moving my father-in-law and we don't live in the area either.  Still help is at hand from Jane!

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Harvest Festivals

It has been busy over the last month with all four churches celebrating Harvest. The flower arrangers have had a creative time decorating the buildings, I could post so many lovely pictures but you would all get so bored with them!

The book mark is one that I made years ago and it used to live in a plastic sleeve, no idea where the pattern came from and I never really liked the colours until this year but they do go rather well with the season.

This loaf of bread was transported to each church in turn as they celebrated harvest.    As you can see it is shaped like a sheaf of wheat and on the bottom there is a piece of bread that is supposed to represent a mouse, although sometimes the cooking throws it out of shape.   Also fortunately a real church mouse didn't have a nibble at it!

 This is one of the beautiful arrangements sitting in a church window, can you see the apples poking out of the bottom?

Sadly no shuttles are being made at the moment as we are busy with family commitments which are taking all our spare time up.