Saturday, 12 August 2017

Here Be Dragons!

Still working on the green doily but got side-tracked by another pair of socks.  I should have had a change of colour but I had a skein of Cascade Heritage sock yarn that was waiting in my basket... so green it is again!  These are "Here Be Dragons" by Rachel Gent.

I'm just a few rows away from the ribbing on these and then I'll be done.  The interesting stitch appealed to me... as well as the name!  They look great in purple on the original.  

Not worth showing any progress on the green doily as it's just a bit more of the same from the previous post.  Still have a long way to go before I complete that last row!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Last Round!

How exciting!  Yes, I'm on the last round!  I must admit I didn't think I'd get to the end of this big project so quickly.  I've not shown the whole thing for the last few posts as I'm saving it for the big reveal when it's all completed.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Slowed Down a Bit...

After my last burst of activity, I have slowed down a bit as I work on the penultimate round of my green doily.  This is another simple round of tiny rings connected with 8-8 chains.

🌿 🌸  🌿

And I finished another pair of socks.  These are "Ribbed Ribbon Socks" by Wendy Johnson, from her book "Socks from the Toe Up".  I really love working with Cascade Heritage sock wool, it's beautifully soft and a joy to knit with.  It's the second time I've used it but the first pair I gave away so I'm looking forward to wearing this one to see how the wool performs with wearing and washing.  The cascade sock wool has a fabulous range of colours so I'm already looking forward to knitting the next pair.  

They don't look like much in this "relaxed" state... and I nearly took them apart when I first started because I wasn't sure I liked them at all but I persevered and in the end, I think they're interesting looking... when worn!  I finished them off with my picot crochet cast-off which does look a bit frilly when unstretched (in above photo) but looks great when worn and is really stretchy and comfortable. I tried many different cast-offs for toe-up socks and this is my favourite at the moment.  I decided afterwards I should have carried on with the pattern a bit higher up the leg but never mind, it'll be for the next pair.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Soldiering On... and Meeting!

One more round completed.  Just two left!  It looks like I might make it to the end of this doily quicker than I expected.  Still, you don't know what can happen before completion of these two final rounds...  I could easily get side-tracked by something else...

And I'm delighted to say that I tatted some of that last row whilst sitting with Michelle of Telamagistrae!  She was in the UK visiting a friend and we found out we were not so far from each other.  We arranged a get-together and had a very enjoyable few hours together, chatting, tatting, sharing tips, eating and drinking!  It was lovely to meet her.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Another One!

Yes, another row completed.  Those rings were quite small so it went pretty quickly.  Again, I did the rings with normal flipped stitches and the chains with unflipped reverse order stitches.

How exciting! Starting yet another round.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Magic Square Magic

Oh yes squares!  I do love squares in tatting.  So when I spotted Robin's New Onion Ring Magic Square, I had to take a break from my green doily to tat it.

Tatted in Lizbeth 20, "Harvest Gold"

You should go and check out the whole thing.  There are different ways of combining the design and two squares.  Robin is really clever in designing these.  I'm impressed.  She even describes the whole process of designing a magic square.  It's really interesting.

You can tat this as a magic square but you can also just tat it as is and attach on the sides.  I love the magic square idea... but sometimes I also just like tatting smaller motifs and attaching and letting it grow as you go instead of deciding in advance how big you'd like it to be.

I like the contrast the onion rings bring to the design.  The outside chain of the onion ring is attached with a Catherine Wheel Join.   I had to refresh my memory on the CWJ as I'd not had to use it for some time.

Thank you Robin.  Another great design.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 9 July 2017

SCMR Round Done

I made good progress on the last round with self-closing mock rings.  I only needed to refill one shuttle once (and even then I only used half of it) so I think it was a good plan.
Design is by Jan Stawasz
(from his first Book)
Thread is DMC Babylo size 20

Do the SCMRs look ok to you?  Or is it obvious that I "cheated"?

I'm even going to show you up even closer...

I think they look ok.

And I'm really getting into the rhythm with unflipped, reverse-order chains.
I can see I'll often be using that method from now on.
So nice not to have to reverse work.

And while I was at it, I also made a new video showing
this round of SCMRs, I'll be uploading it very shortly.

On to the next round!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Next Round

Here is the first of the rounds that make the whole circumference of the doily.  Again, I decided to use unflipped reverse order stitches for the chains but I also thought I'd try something different to not have to refill my shuttles so often:  I'm making the rings as SCMRs which means all the thread for the rings comes from the ball.  I'm not 100% convinced I like this method yet but I've gone so far in this round that I will complete it and then decide what to do for the next.  Ideally I'd like thread for both rings and chains to come from the ball and then you'd hardly need to refill.  It's do-able and I've tried it on a little sample.  You need to "cheat" a bit as after making a SCMR, the ball thread is not in the right place for making a chain next.  I need to experiment further to see if the look is good enough with that method to pass the test.

It seems a little bit more difficult to achieve very even, consistent SCMRs than it is with true rings but I don't think it's affecting the look too much overall.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Big Green Doily - Six Sides Done!

I'm so glad I managed to finish the separate sides (the right word for curvy sides keeps escaping me! - what would you call them?   Do you say "scallops"?).  The six sides had three rounds each which all needed cutting and tying.  No way to move from one round to the next seamlessly in this design I'm afraid - I did try!

Now it's time to make rounds that go all the way around the whole design.  So exciting!

I made a video of me working on this doily.  I decided to make the chains unflipped with reverse order stitches so I thought it might be interesting to make a video of it.  I called it a "tat-chat" video rather than a video about a specific technique... I just tat and talk about what I'm doing.  Still find it hard at times to keep talking clearly and not fumble on my words!  It doesn't quite feel natural and the camera still makes me a bit nervous although it's just me and the camera, no one else is watching or listening!  Silly really, isn't it?

It's only small if you view it on this page
but you can see it larger by clicking on the Youtube icon
after you've pressed "play".

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Interlocking Split Rings and Crochet Top

Jeanie Schekel sent me a tutorial on how to make interlocking split rings.  I gave it a try.  Not quite perfect, but I'm getting there...

Do you have any ideas where/how you would use this technique?  What would you make with it?  I need to play a bit more and see if I could shape it into a nice centre for a motif perhaps?  It could make a neat little bracelet as is I suppose...

Once I get a better hang of it, I plan on making a video tutorial.  Oh, which reminds me, I have just made a new video on how to make the thick body for my butterfly.  If anyone's interested in viewing it, you can find it here.  I'd been meaning to make a video for it for a long time so I've finally done it!

I now feel like I need to go re-visit interlocking rings with one shuttle which I played with back in 2012 (can it really be five years ago already???!!) but not sure I will do that just this minute.  I want to keep making progress on the large green doily.

And my daughter is really pleased with how the little crochet summer crop top has turned out.  It fits her really nicely but I'm sure you'll understand why I won't show it modelled by her!  :-)

The back is more simple and I chose matching flower buttons.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Current Projects

Here is what I'm currently working on apart from the green doily.  It's been hot weather lately so my daughters have asked for some crochet crop tops.

 Here is one of them in progress:

I also have another pair of socks on the needles.  It's a pattern by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks for the Toe Up".   I wasn't sure at all about the stitch:  it does look a bit weird and wiggly-waggly as you're knitting it... I didn't think I liked it but then I found that when worn and stretched on the foot, the pattern looks rather nice and unusual.  Still love that Cascade Heritage sock wool.  Second pair knitting with this wool.  Really scrumptious!

And finally, not a lot more progress on the green doily.  I finished the second rounds and started working on the third rounds of the scallops... but not got very far yet!

Hope you're all enjoying the sunny weather!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Quick Update

That's it really.


Best wishes,

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Mustard Socks Done

They are done.  A really nice pattern with the open work on the front and tiny cables on each side which are then repeated up the leg after the heel is completed.

It's a pattern by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks from the Toe Up".

I used my crochet picot cast-off again but making a smaller picot this time.  As you can see, the cast-off edge does "frill" a bit in its unstretched state but when worn, this cast-off has enough elasticity to make it really comfortable to wear and easy to pull the socks on and it lays flat.

Can't get my camera to cooperate on colours!
The shade of yellow in the first photo is much closer to the real colour
but even with trying to adjust afterwards, I couldn't get the second photo
to show the right shade of yellow.
It definitely looks too "limey" in the second photo.
Mustard is should be!

I might as well show you the latest bit of progress on the green doily too while I'm here:

I couldn't make up my mind whether to do all three rounds of each side one after the other or to do the first round of all sides, then the next on all sides....  Which way would you have done it?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

One Side Done...

.... Five to go!  There are three separate rounds with cutting and tying at each as unfortunately it's not possible to use split rings or chains to avoid doing so.  I'm therefore making use of my magic loops to do the least amount of sewing in as that's not my favourite job!

I can't believe I managed to make a mistake on the very first ring of the last round.  I only noticed it just now:  I joined at a wrong picot.  I am debating whether to correct it - and what would be the best way of doing that - or to improvise by pulling myself a new picot to join to when comes the time to join there.  I will carry on with the other sides and decide afterwards.

As I have often found to be the case, Jan Stawasz's patterns are not the easiest to decipher and this one is no exception with some discrepancies and some numbers missing altogether.  You have to work it out as you go and hope for the best!  But the results are always worth it...  I do like Jan's designs.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 25 May 2017

360 Split Rings Later...

Thank you so much for your comments on the previous post... you really inspired me you see!  I had a mad rush of activity on this and completed the third and last round of split rings in record time!

I can now move on to working on the shapely sides.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Split Rings... lots of split rings!

I hope you won't get bored with this piece as you will be seeing it many times before I get to the end! I have finally completed the second round of split rings.  I actually don't mind split rings at all... but I must admit that there is a definite lack of variety when you have to do so many in a row!!

And guess what comes next in the pattern?  Yes, another round of split rings!  But it will get more interesting after that.  I can't wait to get started on the round after the third row of split rings where there will be lots more going on.  I really like the shape of the six sides.  It will be a bit fiddly to start off as there will be quite a bit of cutting and tying for the smaller, inside parts until you get to go back to full rounds that go all the way around the whole piece.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Two-colour Mirabelle and more socks

A customer asked me a question about Mirabelle's construction.  To make sure I gave her the right answer, I decided to tat it as I hadn't made one for a long time.  I don't think I'd ever made it with two colours before.  I just picked up two shuttles that happened to have those colours left over on them and tatted away.

I'm afraid that's the only bit of tatting I have to show for this blogpost.  I've not made much more progress on the green doily yet.  But that's because I'm still enjoying knitting socks!

I made this two-tone pair with the left-over green wool from the pair I made for my friend's birthday. When I ran out of green, I just carried on with other left-over sock wool I had.

This is "Herringbone Lace Socks" by Leslie Verts again but I changed the open lace work panel for a small cable instead.  I also knitted these from the toe-up instead of from cuff down as per the pattern. I wanted to try a picot cast-off.  I did try it but did not like it!  So instead, I used a crochet to cast-off. And I found that works very well.  Looks really pretty, is very stretchy, and is easy to do.  Winner.

I then decided I really need to make a pair for my sister next.  Her favourite colour is mustard yellow.  This pattern is by Wendy Johnson from her book "Socks from the Toe Up".

I really like the lace work on these.  Really pretty.  And I've fallen in love with a new sock wool I tried:  Heritage Cascade Yarns Sock Yarn (because it was the only sock wool I could find that came in mustard yellow!).  It is so soft and lovely to work with.  I'm going to have to try it in another colour next.  It comes in a 100g skein which I rolled into two balls so I could knit both socks at once (definitely my favourite way).

On another note, I'm debating whether to move my shop from Etsy.  I would be sad to leave and I'm not sure yet where I'd be going but I'm not happy with the changes they are implementing.  It feels like a big upheaval to move and I still don't know what to do.  I'm looking into alternatives/solutions but need to make a decision pretty soon.  I'll keep you updated of changes.  Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me there over the last seven years.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Irene Woo's Butterfly Heart

To remember Irene Woo who passed away recently, I was delighted to work with Georgia Seitz to produce an updated pattern of her wonderful Butterfly Heart.  I had mentioned to Georgia that I had made a diagram of Irene's pattern several years ago (back in 2012 when I first tatted her heart) and that I'd be happy to update the pattern and add the diagram.  Georgia, who was a friend of Irene's, had permission so that we could share the pattern.  Here it is.  Georgia has also uploaded it to her website.

Clicking on the heart will take you to the pattern.

The pattern has been available to tatters since 1999 so I know many of you have tatted this lovely heart already but for those who haven't, I hope you'll enjoy making it.

Best wishes,

Friday, 5 May 2017

Socks & Doily - A Green Post

I finished another pair of socks.  They are for a friend's birthday and I'm really pleased with them.  The pattern is lovely and I particularly liked the zig-zag cast-on edge which I thought was unusual and pretty.  It also means there is a lot of stretch at the top which makes them easy to put on and comfortable to wear.  The pattern is "Herringbone Lace Socks" by Leslie Verts.

It made me smile that I knitted these socks in green wool and the designer is called "Verts".  My friend loves green!

I had some leftover wool and have already started a second pair, from the toe up this time and two-at-a-time so I can use up all the leftover wool evenly between the two socks.  Also because I found a picot cast-off method which I want to try next!

For the sock knitters out there:  I don't know about you but I find that when I finish top-down socks with Kitchener stitches to close the toe, I always end up with the last couple of stitches too loose and I have to fiddle with them and sometimes tack them down with my needle so it looks tidy.  I find that unsatisfactory.  Knitting toe-up solves that problem for me as I find the toe really easy to make (using Judy's Magic Cast-on Method).

I'm also wondering about trying a rounder toe shape...
have you tried one you like?
I'd love to hear your suggestions.

I may change the pattern ever so slightly on this second pair and it will have to be two coloured as I will be using up other left-over wool to go with the green of which I won't have enough.

I'm making slow progress on the doily - more green! - because I'm spending too much time knitting at the minute.  I'm more than half-way through the second round of split rings.  

There is third row of split rings coming next.
So just more of the same!

Best wishes,

Monday, 1 May 2017

Crochet Garland & Shorts

When I'm not making progress with tatting it's because I'm knitting, crocheting, sewing...  I made these for one of my daughters:  a colourful flower garland to decorate her room and a pair of lacy shorts.

The flower garland is based on a pattern found in a
Mollie Makes Special Crochet Magazine

The shorts are a pattern by Vicky Chan.

And now I'm finishing a pair of lacy socks for a friend whose birthday was just recently.  I should have them finished very soon and will show you in the next blogpost.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

JS Piece

Making some progress on my Jan Stawasz project.  I started on the first round of split rings... then realised I had attached my last medallion the wrong way up!  I'm now remaking the medallion before I can proceed and finish the split ring round.

I'm slightly regretting my choice of thread at the moment... not the colour but the thread itself.  It's DMC Babylo, a thread I normally enjoy using but not this time.  I'm finding it hard to make my rings and chains really even and I now wish I'd used a thread with more body like Lizbeth.

It's going to be a nice large piece as it already measures 12in across.  

Best wishes,

Sunday, 23 April 2017


We have just returned from our holidays.  On the last day I managed to finish a project I'd started during our previous holiday.  It's a crochet blanket made with Victorian Lattice Squares (design by Destany Wymore).

I bought a packet (10 balls) of the green wool with which I made 30 squares.  The blanket was not quite big enough for my liking and I didn't have any more of the green (and it was no longer available) so I decided to make a wide border.  I chose a very contrasting plum/purple for the decorative edge.  It's not quite a "violent" a purple as the sunshiny photos would suggest but a bright colour nonetheless.

It looked really pretty hanging on the washing line...

I like the effect of the light colours of the sandy ground behind
showing through the design on the photo below.

It measures approximately 1.65m x 1.30m

I don't know why but I really enjoy making crochet blankets.  I always find it very satisfying to complete a larger project like that.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 16 April 2017


On my travels at the moment...  my tatting is a bit crumpled but I'm showing it you anyway.  Just two more medallions and I'm finished with the centre and can start the rounds of split rings.  I had to tie something to the centre medallion because I kept forgetting where I was suppose to add a new motif next.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter.
I hope the spring sun is shining and bringing you happiness wherever you are.

Best wishes,

Monday, 3 April 2017

Tatting Around Cabochons

After being inspired by Diane's Ice Drops,  I purchased some nice glass cabochons with intricate images (see previous post) but I was finding the rings were hiding too much of the pretty designs so I looked for ways to make more space in the centre.  I changed the stitch count of the top rings but it still wasn't quite right...

I only changed the count by one stitch or two on these...

I made a different edging on the purple version and the green version
but I ran out of thread.  I shall be re-making that one.

So then I thought I'd try with much smaller rings but longer picots.  Yes, that's better.  A lot more of the cabochon is exposed.  Of course, you'll always have some of the gem hidden with a bezel type of design.  But not only does this give more space in the middle but the long picots also allow more viewing of the design than the rings did.

This does require the use of a picot gauge.

Next, I made another with a decorative round
which I improvised.

And another with Josephine knots instead...

I checked with Diane and she was happy for me to share my ideas and modifications.  Tatting around stones and cabochons is a technique that can be seen used by Marilee here loosely following Corina's method who was actually explaining the technique as she'd seen it on a Russian forum... and once I started searching for tatting around stones on internet, I found lots of other examples so I'm not sure exactly where it first started.  Anyway, I'd just never tried it before myself until seeing Diane's enthusiasm and her growing collection of ice drops!  

I also changed the construction... that's only because for some reason, I kept getting confused when it came to doing the top portion of the pattern, I was getting muddled up with direction of tatting so I wondered about doing both back and front and edge at the same time which worked better for me.  So I make front and back rings and first chain in the first round and then just add whatever decorative extras you wish on the next round.  

This was another variation but again, I ran out of thread!
It was a little tight anyway so rather than join new thread, I will start again on that one.

I'm also thinking I might put two cabochons back to back
so that it would be reversible (instead of just have plain white on the back).

This is the last one I made:

It's my favourite so far!

I'd run out of thread on one shuttle (this is getting to be a theme!) so I made a spiral chain for this one instead of a lock chain (nearly all thread comes from one shuttle for a spiral as opposed to equally from both shuttles with a lock chain).

I thought I was finished with this blogpost but I started working on another (I'm going to be giving these away while on holiday).  I changed it slightly again and I think I prefer the placement of the long picots.  I'm showing you a side shot so you can see how the cabochon is visible on the sides too, through the long picots.  Ooh, this one could be my new favourite!  :-)

The colour is not accurate in this photo;
This is "Fern Green Med" although it looks grey.

These experiments have given me more ideas as I've enjoyed working with the glass cabochons and might now have a go with larger ones.  The ones used here are 20mm.

Best wishes,