Thursday 26 January 2012

Burns Night

Burns Night is annually celebrated in Scotland on or around January 25. It commemorates the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. The day also celebrates Burns' contribution to Scottish culture. Burns' best known work is "Auld Lang Syne".   To mark the occasion I tatted some Scottish thistles, here is one I wore as a brooch yesterday.

Although I do not live in Scotland, last night I went to a Burns Night celebration in a country house where the host is Scottish.  I tatted 80 thistles to be placed on the table, you can just see one on the right of the picture.

I designed this particular pattern for the thistles myself, it is quick and easy, well it had to be with so many to make!  The picture does not show up the table cloth very well,  but it is pure linen and over 100 years old.

The evening was great fun with the traditional  haggis accompanied by neeps (swedes or turnips ) and tatties (potatoes).  This is when  potatoes sound very much like tatting!

A haggis is a very old Scottish dish, which combines meats, spices and oatmeal to create a very rich unusual, but none the less delicious feast!  There are many traditions associated with Burns night, one being toasting the haggis as well as the "lads" and "lassies".  So as you can imagine a fair bit of the hard stuff was consumed.   There was no dancing but we did sing some Scottish songs including "Auld Lang Syne" at the end of the evening.

A book mark which I gave to someone yesterday morning who is Scottish, he helps with the computer group held in our church each Wednesday.  

Robbie Burns was truly remembered in style yesterday and I am sure he would have appreciated the celebrations in his honour.

THISTLE PATTERN © Sally Kerson 2012

R ring
p picot
Ch chain
Cl close
+ join
LJ lock join
SLT shoe lace trick
VLP very long picot
T & C tie and cut

The thistle is made in two parts (green thread and purple thread), with no ends to sew in for either part. Ring one, when looking at the thistle, is the second ring on the left, you go back and work the first ring on the left with the second shuttle (R4)
Materials required: size 20 thread green and size 40 purple

Bottom part of thistle using green thread and starting with second ring from left:
Wind two shuttles CTM. 1½ yds on shuttle 1 and ¾ yd on shuttle 2.
Using Shuttle 1
R1: 4 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 6 Cl
R2: 6 + (R1) 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 3 – 4 Cl
R3: 4 + (R2) 1 (5 graduated picots with 1 ds between each and making the third one the longest) 3 Cl RW and change to shuttle 2
R4: 4 + (R1) 1 (5 graduated picots with 1 ds between each and making the third one the longest) 3 Cl RW
Shuttle 1 make a lock chain to the length desired cut and finish with an over hand knot.
Top part of thistle using ball and shuttle.
Wind ¾ yd of purple thread on to shuttle.
First row: join to first picot on top of thistle (R1)
Ch: 1 Lj (next p) – Lj (next p) – Lj (next p) – Lj (join between ring 1 & ring 2) - continue as before until last but one picot - Lj to last picot SLT & turn
Second row: LJ to first picot 3 VLP join to next picot. Repeat to end but only making 2 VLP before joining to last picot on R2. After that join tie a knot and cut the same length as the VLPs, cut the other VLPs to match.

Hint: I used PVA glue to make the head of the thistle stand up straight!

Saturday 21 January 2012

Necklace and progress on Font

My first attempt at a pattern from Marilee Rockley's book Tatted Jewelry which Sue Anna kindly sent to me.  The aim was to start with a pair of earrings, but instead I went straight to the necklace featured on the front cover called "Newcastle Necklace" I was intrigued at the name of this necklace as we have a city of Newcastle in England, perhaps Marilee can tell us what prompted her to name the necklace as I am sure it had nothing to do with England.  I think I might rename mine "Celtic Dream" only because the charm looks celtic and of course it is green for Ireland.  Actually I had little choice on the colour as apart from some HDT which I am saving for the other necklace in the book, I only had green in 10 that was usable, the border was the combination of two threads.  The charm was also the only one I had in my stash so hopefully it does not look too out of place.

As promised this is the progress on the font, designed by us, we had the plans drawn up for it by a qualified architect.  They were then submitted to the diocese and had to be approved by them with a proper signed and sealed document.  Before this final approval was given a notice was posted in church for a period of time so that if anyone has any objections they had a chance to put them forward.  There were no objections so work has commenced.

The font was going to be made out of this mahogany originally purchased for coffins but there was a change of plan which I will explain when the font is finished as it has a lovely story behind it. The piece of wood you can see on the top is going to be turned into a knob for the lid, it has nothing to do with the other wood as it comes from a table leg!  

Tuesday 17 January 2012

A tale of two woods

There has been great excitement here in the last few days and we are in "wood heaven".  I admit not everyone gets excited by wood, but when there is an "Im in the garage" to please,  then it is a good enough reason!  The first bit of excitement was learning that a piece of Oregon Myrtle kindly sent by Karen had cleared the dreaded English customs and was on its way to us.  The other was discovering when walking home from work yesterday that a tree just around the corner was being cut and it was an English oak.    My first instinct was of course to ask the men felling the tree if I could take a piece, and yes I was allowed, but obviously I could not carry much.

The tree looked like this yesterday after its massive prune, it definitely had had a "bad hair day" or a "close shave".

When "Im in the garage" returned home from work we went out in the freezing cold and dark to gather a few more choice pieces from the huge selection.  It felt as though we were thieves in the night dressed up with hats and gloves and carrying a torch, there was no vehicle access either unless you went over a field, by some houses, not advisable.

Anyway we manage to get two more pieces and put them in the garage for fear of the frost which could have split newly cut and damp wood.

Back I go this afternoon to see the latest on the oak tree and sadly it had been chopped down, and here is the stump to proof it.  What a sad sight.

I then had an interesting conversation with the men who were felling it, who must have thought this is a crazy woman interested in a tree!    I did find out why it had to come down and the reason is this, it had  fungi growing around it which was killing the tree. It would have taken a long time to do but as the tree was near some houses they could not risk branches falling on them.

All the wood is going to fuel a power station, but they said that there is no danger in using bits for wood turning, or obviously shuttle making. but it would be impossible to explain what a tatting shuttle was to these men, so I did not try.

This morning I went to collect the Oregon Myrtle which Karen had posted from of course Oregon, this meant carrying it quite a way to where the car was parked as they had closed the road due to re-surfacing, so over the last 24 hours I seem to have done nothing but carry wood around the village.

Just look at the grain on this piece, apparently the different minerals in the soil cause the different colours. Whatever stress the trees have undergone influences the configurations too. Oregon Myrtle wood is used for many things but one prime one is musical instruments, well I can tell you it is music to my ears at the moment!

Thought I would show a little bit of tatting and to also add a bit of colour. As you can see Jane and I have been talking over the internet again, and she let me have the pattern for her latest cute little heart.

I have only managed one so far but go over to her blog and you will see many more.

Friday 13 January 2012

Jane has done it again!

If you go to over to Jane's blog you will see a beautiful Christmas tree that she has designed, it is so clever and fun to make.  Whilst I was with her at the beginning of January she showed me one of the trees she had completed and kindly gave me the pattern (perks of being her sister!).  I could not wait to try it out in lots of colours, but so far only managed one and here it is.  It will look fabulous in white, silver, gold, purple.............................

Again many thanks for the comments regarding the new hooks,  I have now ordered the crochet hooks but will have to wait for two weeks before they will arrive at the English supplier from Japan.   However, I can inform you that there will be a variety made including double hooked ones (thanks to Jon for suggesting that idea),  but obviously these particular ones will have to be slightly more expensive than the single hooked ones.

In the meantime 'Im in the garage will be concentrating on the baptismal font.

Today is Friday 13th, and for some it is an unlucky day. I suppose the only unlucky thing to happen to me today was that a funeral service that I was taking this afternoon was held up by another funeral service at which there was a horse drawn hearse, making me late for another appointment. It was quite chaotic at the local crematorium this afternoon.

Monday 9 January 2012

A new line?

Thank you to all who purchased shuttles over the weekend, they went incredibly fast out of Jane's shop and I can inform you that they were all posted this morning. 'Im in the garage is having a little break from shuttle making as he needs to catch up with some other wood work projects.  He is just about to start to make a baptismal font for one of the churches.  I ordered the bowl for it today and work will commence this weekend, if I am able I will show your pictures of its progress.

We have been thinking of a new line, but need some feedback to whether it is worth making a quantity of them.

Not everyone likes a hook on the end of a pop-a-bobbin shuttle and others prefer to use a post shuttle so we were wondering if a hook on the end of a piece of turned wood is an item that  people would wish to purchase? The picture shows three in purple heart wood (the shuttle on the right of the blog header), they have removable caps on the end with a ring on the other end so that they can be hung from something if required. The item from the tip of the ring to the end of the cap is about 3 1/2".  So far we only have 0.6 hooks, finer hooks will have to be purchased for those who use them to pick up beads, namely 0.4.    Or may be there is another size that you would prefer?   They can be made in a variety woods and therefore will match the shuttles.   

Friday 6 January 2012


It is the Feast of the Epiphany in the church, and strangely enough I seem to write a blog post on this day every year.  Epiphany means a sudden realisation or comprehension of the meaning of something.  My Epiphany was this week when Jane showed me, probably not for the first time, how to do a split chain, something that in the past I just could not get my head around and tried to avoid as much as possible.  My only problem is now finding enough time to actually sit down and put into practice what I have learnt, especially since returning home and catching up on things that need doing.  

Just as I was having a tatting lesson the post came and a card with a red envelope arrived through Jane's door. Inside the envelope was a tiny little sock and tiny little mitten.  The mitten was for Jane and the sock was for me, we are not often together so the timing was excellent and as you can see it has a pop-a-bobbin shuttle in it, a Mahonia one which is my very own shuttle.  The gift is from Teresa  thank you so much.

Jane and I went out shopping, the sales were on but we were attracted to the glittery jewelry which was half price in many shops.   Well it was a bit tempting!

In the tradition of gifts and wise men, oh yes and of course wise women! Just look what beautiful gifts Sue Anna sent me, an amazing array of HDT and Marilee Rockley's new book.   But please do look at the lovely snowflakes that were also included.  Thank you so much Sue Anna, I am definitely going to make some of the items in the book.

There will be more pop-a-bobbin shuttles and post shuttles for sale tomorrow evening in Jane's shop.