Friday, 30 November 2012

More on Snowflakes

Whilst working some more on the snowflake from the previous post, another idea popped into my mind...  I think it's worked out kinda neat.

And this is the first snowflake that I remade, testing whether I'm happy with the point.  I still like the overall shape of the snowflake but not completely happy with its construction.  So the point... I thought I was being clever by making a ONE STITCH SCMR.  That's how I got the point.  I think it does give a better pointy shape than making an SLT or a lock stitch.  I've tried all three options and I think that, with a bit of refinement, the one-stitch-SCMR works well.  I'll try to get comparative photos in a future post.

I worked this one in a size 10 too-fluffy thread which I don't really like.  

I've also not abandoned the hanky edging.
I work on it here and there, in between other stuff,
and have now turned the second corner.

On the other hand, I just don't know where I put the butterfly doily!  It has temporarily disappeared.  It never ceases to amaze me how things can just vanish in this house.  Hopefully it will re-surface soon and I might find time to do some work on it during the Christmas holiday.

Best wishes,

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Beauty of Snowflakes

I've been looking at snowflakes again.  Real snowflakes.  I find them endlessly fascinating.  They are so beautiful and each different.  

Here is one:
Image Source:

I wanted to try to reproduce it in tatting.  To have a more realistic-looking tatted snowflake.  A small one.  And in fact, I don't think this one is small enough (I'd like one to wear as earrings) - though of course I could always tat it in a finer thread.  But here's where I got to so far.  The challenge was to have that point in between the longer arms.  Those points make a lovely diamond shape in the snowflake.  Tatting, though, is not generally "pointy", it's definitely more about curves.  But I've come up with a "trick" that lets me turn at the end of the chain and go back the other way with a point instead of a curve.  Technique still needs to be perfected a bit but here's my first sample.

Getting there?

Here they are side by side:

Best wishes,

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Button Brooches

I was taken with the last button brooch that Jane Eborall showed on her site (the one tatted in Sea Island Citrus).  It grabbed my attention with its lovely colours and layered effect.  So I went for a forage in my button box and was disappointed to find that I had very few large buttons.  But I had these big mother-of-pearl ones which I hoped would do the trick.

For this brooch, I grabbed the first thread and beads I could find just to try out the pattern really.  So the colours are a bit random and the beads aren't very good beads, not uniform in size.  I added another small button in the middle at the end (Jane used a large bead).

In fact I enjoyed making it so much that I made a second one straight away where I was a bit more careful with my bead and thread choices.  I used delica beads this time which are smaller than the ones I used in the brooch above.  I recently purchased Lizbeth Charcoal (Med) which I like a lot and hadn't tried before so I used it with some Lizbeth Silver.

On this second one, I tatted an extra small flower for the middle with a crystal bead at its centre.  The dangle is made of various beads with a semi-precious fluorite nugget at the bottom.

These brooches feel lovely with the extra weight of the button and the beads - they feel.... substantial!

I thought the variety of colours showed a bit better in this sideways photo.
And you can see the layers and the button.

Best wishes,

Friday, 23 November 2012

Wonderful Fan... and I'm a Fan!

... of Jennifer Williams' patterns (sorry for the silly pun, I couldn't help myself).

From the beginning, I had noticed a lovely little fan on her home page that wasn't appearing in her list of patterns.  I contacted Jennifer and she very kindly provided me with the pattern.

Tatted in Lizbeth 20 (660-Country Turquoise Light)

Isn't it pretty?

I think I would call this a slightly challenging pattern.  There are no difficult techniques involved but it needs concentration and some dexterity to be able to tat with things getting in the way.  When you make the first row of long chains for example, they curl in an unhelpful fashion so that when it comes time to make the second row, you have to make sure to get the criss-crossing right and that all your chains are lying correctly.  I did get the criss-crossing wrong the first time around and ended up starting over again.  You also have to place all the beads for the fan sticks (10 of them) onto the thread and hold them in place with paperclips until you are ready to make the last ring at the bottom that joins them all together.

My long chains aren't perfectly consistent and hence there are slight variations in length which bother me a little but apart from that, I'm pretty happy with this piece of tatting.

Thank you Jennifer Williams!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Bit More of the Same...

But not quite...  Here is the motif from the previous post.  I tried with a variegated but am not happy with that.  I'm showing you anyway.  The beauty of the design is lost with the too contrasting colour changes which I often find is a problem with variegated.  That's why I like gently variegated, subtle colour changes which allow the design to show through whilst keeping the colour an interesting element of the design.

Anyway, here is the first version:

This is tatted front-side back-side (FSBS) all the way through and I even "posted" the shuttle (passing it through the ring from front to back before closing it) on the Josephine Rings which I think gave them a better shape.

I had to do it again in plain colours.  But I did make a few changes on the next version.  In the pattern, the centre rings are attached through a long picot on the first ring but I decided to use two small picots on each ring for joining instead.  I also wanted to attach the Josephine Rings as I found they were moving about a bit too much.  I ended up changing them to small rings and attached them to the chains from the previous round and this is the result:

I'm happy with having attached the small rings as this didn't need any blocking or pressing whatsoever.  I think you will see this again in the next post as I will make it again in different colours and will make those small rings a bit bigger in the next version.  I like the look of the centre better and I generally like the look of this little motif a lot!

I've also not forgotten what I said in a previous post about redoing the centre of the small SCMR mat with two shuttles instead... well, I don't like it.  It looks a lot better with the SCMRs.  Even with the shoe-lace trick (SLT), I couldn't get the same look as with the original.  The centre motif on the right of the picture is uneven because I tried different things within the same motif.  So I have my answer and self-closing mock rings (SCMRs) are absolutely great in this instance and give that nice star shape to the centre round.

Best wishes,

Monday, 19 November 2012

More Jennifer Williams

Two more motifs from the Cariad Tatting website.  Jennifer Williams' patterns are very well written with precise instructions and even the length of thread needed to be wound on each shuttle!  What a luxury.

This first one didn't work out completely right.  Although it calls for a 1cm gauge for the long picots, I found them too short to be able to get the pointy shape as per the photo on the pattern.  It meant I had to pull on them a bit too much thereby distorting the shape of the rings slightly.  I may re-do this one with a longer picot gauge.

This second one I really like though I'm not happy with the colours I chose.  I think it definitely calls for being re-done in different colours as it's very pretty and I like how the second round overlaps the first.  Also, though not a regular FSBS tatter, in this case, I think it is well worth it but I only decided to do so on the second round.  So there, two reasons why I will need to re-tat this motif as well.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Specially for Debbie

I have been exchanging messages with Debbie at In Tatters and as I'd mentioned Jennifer Williams in my previous post, she asked if I might have a go at her Small SCMR Mat as she was finding the centre part a little problematic.  I had it printed so I thought why not make it next.  Here it is:

Tatted in Lizbeth "Charcoal", size 20

What's unusual about this motif is that she uses self-closing mock rings (SCMRs) in the centre.  I did wonder why as it would be easy to use two shuttles, reverse work and make a normal ring.  The advantage is that you can work this motif with just one shuttle and ball thread.  And really a SCMR is not difficult to make at all and it made me think that I might make more use of them in the future.  But now I'm curious and will have to make the centre part again using two shuttles instead to see how it affects the look.  Will be back soon to show you the second version.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 17 November 2012

New to Me

Just a quick post before a busy weekend ahead.

Thank you to Evelyne of Le Blog de Charlette for enabling me to discover some new patterns.  They are designed by Jennifer Williams and her blog is called Cariad Tatting.  She has quite a few free pretty patterns there so do go check them out.

This is the first one I tried but I will be making a couple more.  Next to it is the small butterfly I modified from Handy Hands' pattern.

This is not a difficult pattern but I think it has an appealing shape.  The thread which I have had for a little while but never used is from Jess at Tat-ilicious.  I don't think it had a name (maybe Jess can put me right on that).

Have a great weekend everyone.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Beaded Butterfly

This is Nina Libbin's Beaded Butterfly Bookmark.  I did it a couple of weeks ago but never got around to making a blogpost about it.  I was attracted to this pattern when I saw it and fancied giving it a try but I'm still undecided about the bead work...  I find that, for me, I loose all rhythm when I work with beads.  You have to stop after nearly every stitch in this pattern to slide the beads along.  And for a small butterfly, there are still 244 beads!

Sadly, I'm a bit disappointed with the look of the beads and thread (size 80 by DMC).  The beads look prettier in real life - they are actually all different shades of copper but it's not coming through on the photo.  Anyway, altogether not really my colours but there you have it.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm a glutton for punishment though...  every time I conclude I don't really like tatting with a lot of beads and still, every once in a while, there is a pattern I just have to try!

I have not decided what sort of finish to give on the end of the tail...
so I'm not showing it you!

And another, small butterfly to conclude this post:

This is adapted from Handy Hands' Butterfly, the one they use to show how their thread colours work up and which is on the back of shuttle packets (I kept the shape but just changed the stitch count a bit).  I made it to use up a bit of thread that was left on a shuttle and which was too nice to waste!  The thread is Jess's Chilled Mess and I was just happy at how the colour changes happened (quite by accident!) symmetrically.  Nice little butterfly, really quick to make.  It went on a card I gave away this afternoon.

Still working on the hanky edging from the previous post.  I slowed down a bit because I'm not sure which hanky to use so I have to wait before getting to the next corner as I don't know what size I'll need!  I may have to compromise as I don't think I'll find something to match the thread as well as I would have liked...  could be it will have to be white...  though I'm sure I had a turquoise hanky somewhere... but then even if I find it, it's likely the shade of blue won't be quite right... oh well!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pomegranate Corner

I'm still not sure I made the right decision with this edging - meaning was it the right choice for the thread?  Something simpler would have probably been better but for some strange reason I felt compelled to keep tatting the pomegranate edging (slightly modified from a pattern by Anne Orr) and now I've done too much to stop as it would be a waste of some lovely thread (Chilled Mess, size 60, by Tat-ilicious)

So then of course comes the issue of THE CORNER.  In a daring move (I love daring... when it works out anyway!), I "winged" a corner last night.  I was just sitting tatting in front of the TV and pictured a corner in my mind, thinking, "yeah, that should work... really I should test it first with some other thread..., nah, can't be bothered (what a terrible admission!)... let's just have a go and hopefully it will work out"...

Not bad?

No doubt it could be improved on.  But for an un-calculated, just have-a-go, spur-of-the-moment corner, I think I'm pleased with it.  Too late now anyway, the others will have to be the same.

Now I'm on the search for an appropriately coloured handkerchief to attach this edging to!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tat-ilicious Deliciousness

It might be obvious to some by now that I am a fan of Jess's threads (Tat-ilicious on Etsy).  "Chilled" was one of my favourite colour ways.  A little while ago I told her that it would look good done in her "messy" technique...  So she did.  And it's lovely!  Just received it this morning.

I love the gentler, more random colour changes that she achieves using this technique.  Wonderful.

I bought it in two sizes this time:  size 20 in the motif above and also in size 60 for a change.  And now looking at this lovely fine thread... I feel a hanky edging coming on...

This is one edging I've tried.
It's called Pomegranate (modified just a little)
and is from Anne Orr's
Classic Tatting Patterns book.
Not 100% decided yet but it's a maybe.

I don't know if the variegate calls for a simpler pattern.  As a general rule, I think "keep it simple" when there's lots of colour in the thread and use plain colours for more complex designs.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More Jan Stawasz

Here is another motif from Jan Stawasz's book "Tatting Theory and Patterns".  Again, lots of decorative picots.  This motif is part of a large table runner which is really beautiful.  I might be tempted to make it... though not sure if I'm quite ready for another large project just yet.  And I still have the Burda Butterfly Doily to finish which I've not worked on for a while.

I think I might have to adjust the stitch count just a bit as mine cupped (see image below).  Also mine doesn't quite have the same curve in the outside chains that Jan's has.  I prefer the look of his.  So I would have to play with this a bit before I started making many for a table runner.

Looks like a tiny crown.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Here is another motif from Jan Stawasz's book.  

a bright mix of fresh greens.

Jan likes to use lots of decorative picots.  These are getting lost a bit with this (gently) variegated thread.    But the overall shape is still very appealing.  I found it reminiscent of Mary Konior's masquerade with the same oppositely curving chains on the outside.  Did one inspire the other?  Which one came first?

In fact, it's so similar on the outside round that I used the border of Jan Stawasz's motif to make a border for Masquerade on a small doily I made last year:

Best wishes,

Friday, 2 November 2012

Wonderful Jan Stawasz

I was so excited when a copy of Jan Stawasz's book came up on Ebay.  I have made a few of his designs before thanks to a kind tatting friend who lent me her book.  But I was always hoping I'd be able to get my hands on my own copy one day.  And the day finally arrived!  It's mine - yipee!

Here is the first motif I tatted from the book.  Just a little one so I could try out Jess's Madder Tatter thread (definitely a good name for it!)

I forgot to put a magic thread in for the centre ring so there's an unappealing blip of colour there.  There is a lot of contrast in the colours of this thread and by having a thrown ring off the chain, it makes a bit too much of a line (a break) in the colours.  I also played with the thrown rings (the little flowers) because I felt they weren't sitting quite straight on the chain... I tried "posting" the shuttle as some people advise (passing the shuttle through the loop of a ring before closing it) and I think it did improve the look in this particular motif (see if you can spot which ones are which!). 

Here it is!  Love this book.
So glad to have it in my eager little tatting hands!

Best wishes,