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,

Sunday, 2 April 2017

You win Diane!... I surrender!

Diane has been producing an impressive collection of these pretty, colourful ice drops.  I'm a bit late joining in the fun but I finally HAD TO MAKE ONE!!

I didn't have anything suitable as a "gem" for the centre... all I was able to find that was large enough was a pale blue button.  So I made it into a little lucky charm for my son to attach to his backpack as he was leaving on expedition this morning.  Didn't like the buttonholes so I added a smile to turn them into eyes for a happy face (if a little crooked!).

... but see what just arrived in the post...

I might just be making a few more!

What a trend you've started there Diane!
They're rather appealing.
Thank you!

Best wishes,

Friday, 31 March 2017

Necklace and Blanket

I made two little strips for my daughter's choker.  To be honest, I was disappointed she only wanted something so small!  I was looking forward to making her something a bit more complex and intricate.  Oh well...

(I might still make her a sneaky wider one... and present her with the choice...)

There's a black one and a navy blue one as she wasn't sure which dress she'd wear yet.  And some ribbon to tie it on.

And I forgot to show my son's blanket which I finished recently.  This was a while in the making as he wanted a full bed-size blanket!  No colour scheme for him, he just wanted all and every colour, no order, just... COLOURFUL!

I  enjoyed making it for him and to be honest, I was delighted he was so keen to have one of my crocheted blankets.  He was using it even before it was finished!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Green Doily & Small Choker

I'm making progress on the green doily and have started on the second round of medallions.  I ended up doing regular fs/bs tatting rather than Jan's method as it seemed to me his way of starting with a full stitch on the back side was throwing the stitch count unless there is still something that is escaping me?  Anyway, here's where I'm at so far.

I put it to one side temporarily when my daughter said she'd like a black choker to wear to a ball next week.  I showed her several edgings and she said she wanted really narrow and chose this very simple flower one which won't take long to whip up.  I might make her another too in case she decides, when she tries it on, that a bit wider might be nice too.  

Best wishes,

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday

Happy Mother's Day!

I was spoiled by my children today... and the weather!  It was a glorious spring day, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the buds look like they're about to burst on all the trees.  Wonderful.

After ordering not one but three shades of ecru/ivory for my latest project...  I went for green instead!  I hope I don't regret my choice.

The clocks went forward last night so in late afternoon I was still able to sit in the garden, sipping my coffee and doing a bit of tatting whilst enjoying the last rays of sun.

The green of the thread is not quite accurate in this photo.
It's darker and "greener" in real life.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Best wishes,

Saturday, 18 March 2017

It Always Helps If...

you take the time to read the pattern correctly!  I decide to re-do the Jan Stawasz motif in size 20 thread and find that the difference in size is not massive... but my tatting enjoyment is greatly improved!  So I think I will have to go with size 20 thread if I decide to go with this project.  I don't have any ecru at the moment so will have to order some.

When re-tatting it, I decided to have another go at tackling Jan's method of tatting.  It's really like front-side/back-side tatting except that he doesn't start a chain on the back side with the 2nd half of a double-stitch as you would but rather he starts with a full stitch as on the front-side except that he adds a half stitch before making picots so that they fall between two half-stitches (back side) rather than between two full stitches (front side).  I was finding it confusing before to read his pattern with the little dots but I get it now.  It's not that difficult really, I don't know why I was finding it so confusing before!

Anyway, here is a second take at the motif, on the right, in size 20 thread, done with Jan Stawasz's method of tatting.  I also noticed that he doesn't count the join as a half stitch so I did that like him too, starting with a full stitch after each join.  I scanned the new motif next to the first purple one, for comparative purposes.

When paying proper attention to the pattern (hence title of this post), I realised I did not have the right number of picots on my chains on the first motif (some have 7 and some have 9 with different spacings).

Now I look at the scan, the motif on the right rather does look ecru, doesn't it?  But in reality it is more of a light brown.  I think I will still order some ecru.  You always need ecru in your stash anyway, don't you think?

Best wishes,

Friday, 17 March 2017

Another Big Project?

Debating whether to tackle another big piece...  This is a sample to try it out.  It's by Jan Stawasz.  This is tatted in size 10 as Jan seems to have tatted most of his pieces in that size.  I'm still not sure I enjoy working with size 10 though...  and it's one instance where my beloved Aeros are not perfect because you need to refill so often when using size 10 as the Aero bobbin doesn't hold enough thread in that size.

I wouldn't use that dark colour anyway.  I might go for ecru again for a large piece.  The chains feel a tad short to me but I don't know how it would affect the overall design if I added an extra two stitches to the chains...

Anyway, still at the pondering stage...

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Hanky

I completed this edging some time ago... but never got around to attaching it to a handkerchief!  Here it is, finished at last.  This edging is a vintage pattern which can be found in many old publications (with slightly different stitch counts).  I provide a version on my patterns page which includes a corner I designed to compliment the edging.

I have tatted this edging on more than one occasion.  I particularly like it with a variegated thread for the flowers. 

Green Doily is a design by Jan Stawasz

This time I did a row of crochet around the handkerchief before whip-stitching the edging to the crochet row.

16.03.17 - Update:  Thanks to Kathy, I found the blogpost which showed two other versions of this edging.  There is one more which I can't find.  So I've made this edging at least four times.  

And I just had to share with you the gorgeous blooming trees at the end of our street.  I love this time of year when nature bursts into action and I'm particularly fond of these flowering trees.  I don't even know what they are... I need to find out.

Happy Spring everyone!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Experiment Concluded - And More on Tiny Doily

Ok, two-socks-one-inside-the-other...  the idea is clever.  I really had to try it.  I did try it.  I made it to the heel and I started work on the heel.  It's "do-able" and I now understand how it works BUT, to be honest, I wasn't enjoying it.  You have to concentrate all the time to make sure you don't mix any stitches at the risk of joining your socks together and I also found that tension was quite a bit looser, well, not looser really but because your stitches are spaced apart by another stitch, it results in quite a different knitted fabric.  I didn't like it for socks.  I felt it lacked the usual "bounce" of my regular knitting.

So I'm sorry, I didn't take a photo of how far I got because all of a sudden I decided to frog back nearly to the beginning and knit them again two-at-a-time but side by side instead as I prefer to do.  Apologies to Jane who wanted a verdict on the method but I didn't make it to the end!  I guess the verdict is that, for me, it wasn't worth the extra effort.  :-)

These are not particularly pretty socks, I just wanted to use leftover wool.  I added a small cable and a decorative diamond in the centre of the cream part to keep it a bit interesting.

I ran out of the plain blue as I got to the ankle so I carried on with
other leftover wool.  As I said, not really pretty
but they will be functional, keep my feet warm,
and use up all the little bits of wool.

I can't make up my mind yet on my favourite heel.
These are short-row heels though I also like knitting gussets and flaps.

And lastly, back to this small tatted piece which needs a centre.
I tried it with fabric but I'm not happy with the result.
With such a small circle, it's really difficult to get it looking really round.
I tried my best to fold it neatly down and hand sewed it before stitching it with the machine...
but no, not really happy with that.
Perhaps I should crochet a centre?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Magic Square Completed... and Socks

Here is Robin's Magic Square completed.  The smallest version.  Very clever.  I like the whole idea.  I hope to have a go at it myself eventually.  Robin's version is very nice.

I suppose I could also just make more of this version and join them together to make a larger piece.  That would look nice too.

And here are my blue socks (the pair before the pair I'm currently working on).  I liked the lace stitch which may look complicated but was an 8-row repeat which was easy to memorise.  I knitted those two at the same time on one long circular needle.  The pattern is Horseshoe Lace Socks by Christina.

I've rediscovered my love of wearing hand-knit wool socks.  In the cold winter days, they are very cosy and warm in my shoes.  The only problem is that I can only wear them with my "bigger" shoes as they are thicker than ordinary bought socks.  

Best wishes,

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Had to Give This a Go...

Ever since I saw this for the first time, I kept thinking I'd just have to give it a try!  I'm knitting another pair of socks (should show you the last pair I made, I forgot to post about it).  Using leftover wool from other pairs.  This is a pair of socks, at the same time, on one circular needle... knitting one sock inside the other!

It just had to be tried.  So you knit with two balls of wool, one for each sock.  Mine are front to front so I'm knitting the back of the outside sock and the front of the inside sock.  I'm purling the outside sock and knitting the inside sock.

So far so good.   It'll get interesting once it's time to start turning the heel!

I pulled the inside sock out a bit so hopefully you can see how it works.  Purl one stitch from the outside sock, then knit one stitch from the inside sock, and so on.  While you're working the inside sock is hidden so it just looks like you're working on one sock.

Now I've written it and thinking about it, I don't know why you couldn't knit both socks instead of purling one and knitting the other... wonder if it's just so it's easier to keep them apart.  If you were knitting both, perhaps it would be easy to make a mistake and knit a stitch from the other sock when you're not supposed to and then your socks would be linked which you definitely don't want!

Anyway, I shall report back once I've tackled the heel!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Nearly There...

I thought it'd be interesting to show it to you one more time before I complete the square so you can see how you travel around the design...  I have one more repeat to do on the bottom left square and one in the centre part and two repeats on the last square which is also the first.

Nearly there!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Robin's Magic Square

Here is the piece from the previous post.  It's Robin Perfetti's Magic Square.  Very interesting and clever how it's constructed.  I was travelling when tatting this so it's just photographed on my lap as I worked.

You keep building from triangle to square,
turning one way or the next depending on the final size you want to achieve.

That's as far as I got.

You do have to keep thinking about which way you are going with this,
so you have to pay attention!  But I rather like the concept.

I'll show you the completed square soon.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Small Doily....

Well, probably just a coaster really.  The lace is a couple of inches wide but the centre is about the size of a coaster. I'm going to find a small bit of fabric and sew the lace onto it.

It measures 5.5 in across and the centre is about 2.5 in wide.
Made in size 20 thread.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day when I finished it so I couldn't help going outside to photograph it in the sunshine, next to one of the first daffodils of the new year.

... and on top of a crochet blanket I've been working on.
I always like pink and green together.

I'm making good progress on that particular blanket.
I have finished all the squares (victorian lattice square by Destiny Wymore)
and am now working on the border.
Looking pretty with the sun streaming in through the window...

And lastly I made a start on another tatting project.
Not got very far yet but here's my beginning.
I like the shapes already.
More about this in the next post.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Another Pair...

When I crocheted the pair of wrist warmers from the last post, I was inspired to finally make the second one of another pair of wrist warmers I had started three years ago!  This one is in much finer wool (Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace) and worked with a 1.25mm hook.  I think the double lacy edge is so pretty and I had fallen in love with them when I first saw them in an old Molly Makes magazine from a few years back.  The originals were made in cotton but I fancied the warmth and cosiness of wool.

Anyway, at last, they're done!

And I'm making progress on my Schwenke tatting,
5 repeats done, 3 to go.

Best wishes,