Thursday, 26 November 2009

Plodding along...

It's slow going here in Wigan, but I have managed to complete the second block for the Joseph's Coat quilt along I'm taking part in. I'm a bit behind the pace, but I have simultaneously been looking after my sister who's been in hospital and teaching first year undergraduate palaeontology. I am so looking forward to my Christmas break - just me and Mr Quiltification and time to knit and sew and tat...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Roses are red...

Roses are red... or pink or yellow or almost any colour you can think of. I love roses, though I am not overly successful at keeping them alive. This one is red and pink and yellow - a little like the Joseph's Coat variety of rose. The pattern is "Wild Rose" from Mary Konior's A Pattern Book of Tatting and it is tatted, appropriately enough, using Yarnplayer's size 20 "Roses" colourway. It should last longer than the ones in my garden.

With that, I have completed 25 motifs in the 25 motif challenge but I'm not ready to hang up my shuttles just yet.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Joseph's Coat Quilt Along

This weekend I had the chance to start on my first block for the Joseph's Coat Quilt Along that Kellie at Don't Look Now is leading. I've not yet sewn down all my pieces but I enjoyed choosing my fabrics and arranging the pieces so much that I wanted to share my progress so far. I'm not sure I'll be keeping up with the keenest students, but I will plod along at my own pace enjoying the process as well as the result.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Green fingers

Phew! That was quite a busy weekend. Saturday saw me exploring a nearby garden centre with a two-pronged mission. First, to find a suitable shrub for my next door neighbour in remembrance of her husband who died earlier this year - I bought her a camellia with pink double blooms. And second, to buy some plants for new window boxes at the back of our house. With the nights drawing in now, I ended up planting these in the dark with just the light through the windows casting an eerie glow over me (it was Halloween!). So when I woke up on Sunday morning and saw them though the window, I was very pleased with how they turned out.

On Sunday, Mr Q and I drove to Chester to an Art Deco collectors' fair. It was my birthday treat. Mr Q had overcome his ambivalence to chrome and geometry and was planning to give me some birthday money to spend on whatever Art Deco delights I wanted. Imagine his delight when all I wanted were some buttons! Not just any buttons, you understand, but fabulous vintage buttons that I plan to use as bag closures. Still, far cheaper than he had been anticipating. All in all, we were a bit disappointed with the fair - there were only about 20 to 25 stalls mainly selling decorative items and ceramics. I am a big fan of late 19th and early 20th century design, but I think I'd have enjoyed a bit more diversity than what was on show.

On the plus side, it gave us a chance to have a look around Chester city centre. I spent a little time and a little cash in Liberty Bell - a cute gift and quilting shop. And Mr Q bought this beautiful necklace for my birthday. I hope it's washable as I may never take it off!
Other than that, we performed our usual medley of chores and "homework", and I managed to get a few more cushion covers sewn for my etsy shop. And finally, I drafted the pattern for the Quiltalong at Don't Look Now that I am taking part in.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

On a roll

Two more balls of Rico Pompon Print yarn made their way into my house yesterday. This stuff knits up super fast - I only have about a quarter of a ball to go and I'll have completed one berry scarf for a good friend's birthday, one mauve scarf for my next door neighbour's Christmas present, and one peach, pink and red scarf for a nameless but very special family member. I hope they love snuggling into the unbelievable softness of their new scarves.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Gothic revival

Yesterday's post brought this little beauty - a German tatting pattern book from 1920 that I managed to snag on ebay. Some of the designs are very pretty, but the thing I love most about this book (even more than the embossed cover design) is that it is printed in gothic script. It's almost like reading a book of spells. I shouldn't be so surprised really, because tatting is a magical thing - turning a length of thread into a thing of beauty with just a little sleight of hand!

I've just managed to find a few minutes to sew in the ends on yet another snowflake so that I can share it with you. This is the Lacy Snowflake from Vida Sunderman's Tatted Snowflakes. It is tatted in the glitzy size 10 Anchor Liana Metallic. That's number 24 in the challenge. Almost there!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Beady eyed

This is the Frosty Snowflake from Vida Sunderman's Tatted Snowflakes. It's tatted in size 10 Anchor mercer crochet cotton with slightly opalescent aqua seed beads. It is number 23 in my 25 motif challenge and my second attempt at using beads in my tatting. I'm not sure why I've been so reluctant to use beads - the hardest part was threading the 100 or so beads onto the thread. I see more beads in my future...

Wednesday saw me knitting on the train on my way to and back from a meeting in London. I've now completed the scarf in Rico Pompon Print yarn. Barely off the needles, it was hijacked by Mr Quiltification who is modelling it in this sneaky photo I managed to grab. I think I've been commissioned to make him one of his own in more manly colours. First though, I'm planning to make some progress on a cardigan I started last year.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Outside the box

Today's post concerns not tatting, not sewing, not even quilting, but knitting. You may or may not know that I am the world's slowest knitter. Well, I assume I am since I have never met a slower knitter although I've never had an official knitting speed test. Anyway, despite the speed issue, I am always tempted by pretty yarn, and have several unfinished knitting projects lurking in dark corners of the house. Today I discovered this Rico Design Pompon Print yarn in a range of delicious variegated colours. Each 200g ball knits can be knitted up into a 2m long scarf. I can't get over how quickly it grows - I am already a third of the way through the ball and am planning who to make scarves for this Christmas.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Twinkle twinkle little star

Close to my place of work are a couple of fabulous shops - one sells upholstery fabrics at an outrageously good price whilst the other stocks all sorts of creative goodness - fabric by the kilo, threads, haberdashery, yarn, scrapbooking supplies... Since the majority of my colleagues are male I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be interrupted if I slope off to browse during my lunch break.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a box of Anchor Liana Metallic - a size 10 mercer cotton with a glitzy silver metallic threaded through it. At £2.99 for four 50g balls, it would have been a crime to leave it on the shelf. Here is my first piece of tatting made using this thread - it is the Ribbon Snowflake from Tatted Snowflakes by Vida Sunderman, and it's number 22 in my 25 motif challenge. I'll definitely be making a few more snowflakes with this thread - I like the subtle sparkle and it only takes a little more care than tatting with a standard mercer thread.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Snow is falling...

The weather has definitely turned colder over the past few days. There's been wind, and rain, and misty mornings; all sure signs that autumn is on its way. Thankfully, there has been no real snow - just this one flake of the tatted variety. This is one motif of Mary Konior's "Flower Patch" from Tatting with Visual Patterns, made from my first outing with Lisbeth thread. I really like the stitch definition this thread gives, plus the firm body and slight sheen.

I've been a bit remiss on the crafty front over recent weeks. Hopefully, with the evenings drawing in I'll be able to spend a bit more time creating. With any luck, I should be able to get plenty done this weekend too - Mr Q will be at a conference so I shall have "home rule" for 48 hours!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Roses are red...

Whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I spent a few evenings putting together this sample for a class I taught on Saturday. The design is an amalgamation of several different stained glass windows that I have spotted in and around Wigan. The simple design made teaching the technique more straightforward.

The class went well, and as usual I was amazed by the difference fabric choices make. Quite a few of the ladies went for pink roses and my mum made hers from a collection of hand-dyed and batik fabrics that looked spectacular together.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


From the photo you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mr Q and I (plus Mr Q's parents) were on holiday in a tropical paradise. We're actually in Cornwall and this view is inside at the Eden Project. Amazing, eh?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

How do you tat?

Yesterday's post brought a copy of Rebecca Jones' Complete Book of Tatting. I'd been contemplating this purchase for a little while and finally took the plunge, thinking that it would be very helpful to have a reference book to help with my regular tatting dilemmas. I think I've mentioned before that I'm a self-taught tatter and that I've never met anyone who can tat, or ever seen someone tat in the flesh (or perhaps in the thread), so I was interested to see the six different methods of tatting that Rebecca Jones outlines. Turns out that I use a seventh method - completely different to any shown in the book!

Anyway, I thought I'd give some of the alternative methods a go. I started by looking at method number 2, the "traditional method .... used by the majority of modern tatters" thinking that if everyone else is doing it, so will I. Unfortunately, I could not make head nor tail of the instructions - you seem to need not only hand-eye coordination but hand-hand-eye coordination. I was worried that I would end up with both hands tied together so I gave up and settled on method number 1, the "reverse Riego method". Something about Mlle Riego's name and history enticed me to try this technique and I found that I enjoyed it a lot - enough to tat a little motif from page 48 of the same book using a free sample of Altin Basak thread from Tatting and Design. This is motif number 20 in my 25 motif challenge.

I'd love to know - do you tat using any of the methods shown in Rebecca Jones' book, or do you have an original technique all of your own?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The heart of the matter

Here is my motif number 19 in the 25 motif challenge. It is Jon Yusoff's Heart o' Daisies tatted in size 16 Ancora Prestige thread. My plan is to stitch it to some linen fabric and mount it in a frame as a wedding gift for a friend who got married last month. It took some concentration to complete all the split rings and make sure all the stitches were facing in the same direction, but I am so pleased with how it turned out.

I was tatting this while waiting for an optician's appointment on Saturday. Mr Quiltification was choosing some new glasses, and I was waiting for an eye test. The good news is that my eyesight is still better than 20/20 - the sad news is that I will have to wait until I can get the winged spectacles that will make me look intelligently frightening or frighteningly intelligent! It's a small price to pay for good vision, I suppose! Mr Q has chosen some very flash new glasses - I'll have to smarten up my act if I want to be seen out with him.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Rainbow days

Your rainbow is shaded white and green.


What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. People depend on you to make them feel secure. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Monday, 17 August 2009

Luck of the Irish

I had a couple of yards of Yarnplayer's Leafy hand-dyed thread left on a shuttle and decided to attempt this Celtic Knot Shamrock designed by Marilee Rockley. It took a bit of fiddling to weave the knot but I am thrilled with how it turned out. It is number 18 in my 25 motif challenge and a gift for my husband's 91 year old Nana who has a bit of the Irish in her.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lazy daisy

This is a little update to show you what I've been tatting recently. The webpage with the pattern on is no longer in existence but my print-out shows that it is called "Arlene's First Place Win". I'm tatting it in Yarnplayer's Leafy hand dyed green thread and Flora size 20 yellow and white threads. I've one more round of green to go before the final round of daisies around the outside. It is already the largest single piece of tatting I have completed.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Space to tat

A couple of days ago, Krystle of KrystleDawne Tats issued a challenge to members of the tatting community to show off our tatting spaces. I don't have a particular spot where I consistently go to tat, just a small red silk bag with my latest project in that I carry around with me. I'm therefore choosing to show you the current contents of the silk bag, and the chair it was closest to, where I made my most recent double stitches.
Given that I tat most mornings and evenings on the train to and from Liverpool where I work, I could have shown you a photo of the train carriage instead but I'm sure I would have got some funny looks from my fellow commuters! They are puzzled enough by the tatting itself.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Yesterday, I visited Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire with Mr Quiltification. While he enjoyed the Hall itself (and took this fantastic photo), I met up with my mum and disappeared to the stable block for a look at some treasures from the Rachel Kay Shuttleworth textile collection. Rachel Kay Shuttleworth lived at the hall and was herself a talented needlewoman. She started to amass a collection of textiles which now numbers over 30,000 items, and is second only in the UK to the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection. On display were a range of accessories through the ages - shoes, hats, parasols, bags, fans, gloves etc. Many of the items were exquisitely embroidered and as a lover of period drama, it was a real privilege to see these beautiful antique items in the flesh.

And there was an extra special treat for me. My mum works as a volunteer with the collection and she had told the curator about my love of tatting. Waiting for me to delve into was a big box of antique tatting including several items tatted by the famous early 20th century tatter Lady Katherine Hoare. There was also a tatted tablecloth and several older pieces with no chains and all the little rings tied together rather than joined as we do now. It was fascinating, and I've been invited back to draw diagrams of those pieces that particularly caught my eye. I can't wait.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The cat sat on the...

Just a quick update on the home-front. Mr Quiltification and I have been attacking the house renovations with renewed vigour recently. On stripping the wallpaper in the back bedroom and bathroom we discovered a couple of leaks in the roof, and so I have just arranged for the back part of the house (the North wing, if you will) to be reroofed. This weekend we also took up the vibrant green, brown and orange 1960s carpet from the back bedroom and discovered some very old pieces of patterned lino underneath. Both have now gone to the tip, so we are left with bare floorboards while we decide what to do next. The electrician is due on Monday to wire in our shower pump. It's all go! Downstairs has seen a few changes too. We've found a new fire surround for the living room (gotta love ebay!). Also in the living room, the photo shows how happily our cat, Mr George, has taken to the Art Deco armchairs which I purchased on ebay several weeks ago.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

We're experiencing something of a heatwave here in the UK. The sun has been shining, the mercury has risen, and Wimbledon has been almost unaffected by rain. In the midst of all this, I have been thinking of ice cream, ice crystals and snowflakes and I finally have another piece of tatting to show you. This is snowflake number 4 from Lene Bjorn's 24 Snowflakes in Tatting, made from Flora thread. I like nearly all the patterns in this book, and plan to complete as many as possible. This snowflake is also the 17th motif in my 25 motif challenge.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Back from the back of beyond

I have spent the last fortnight in County Donegal in the northwestern corner of Ireland. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I have the photos to prove it! We've been running an Advanced Geological Field Techniques class for geology undergraduates - it's been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work and the students should now have the necessary skills to complete their independent field projects this summer.

Whilst in Ireland, I had very little free time to dedicate to any crafty endeavours, but I did what every self-respecting crafter does when visiting a new place - I found the local craft supply shop and spent some cash. The Crafters Basket in Cliffoney, County Sligo had a great selection of quilting cotton, including some beautiful batiks which proved irresistable!

I've got a busy few days coming up - I'll be supervising student dissertation projects and taking part in our University Open Day. But with Wimbledon highlights to watch in the evenings, I should have a little time to tat, sew, knit etc.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Broken hearted

Today as I watched the FA Cup Final (the very last match of the English football season), I finished tatting this heart with my broken shuttle. I had to make sure not to stab myself, but I completed Georgia Seitz's Basic Split Ring Heart without further mishap. The thread is size 16 Ancora Prestige and it is my motif number 16 in the 25 motif challenge. No more tatting for me today - I have a stack of exam scripts to mark. On the other hand, maybe I could reward myself with tatting therapy each time I complete 5 scripts - mark 5, tat a little, mark 5 more, tat a little more... By the way, Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 :-(

Friday, 29 May 2009


Mr Quiltification loves Eric Clapton. A lot. So much so that every time he's on tour in the UK, Mr Q goes to see him, sometimes even twice. On Tuesday, we drove down to see him at the Royal Albert Hall in London. We sat in a box - something I had never ever done before and soaked up the atmosphere and the music. I am not a big Clapton fan, but I think I may have tapped my foot at some point during the evening!

Before the concert, we sat in the bar sipping orange juice, and I did a little light tatting. Then calamity struck - I dropped my mother of pearl shuttle on the floor. It broke. I looked sad. Mr Q said not to worry and that I should order a replacement. So I did, and here it is with the other goodies I ordered from Roseground Supplies. They've just started stocking the much talked about Lizbeth thread so I bought a few balls and I'm really touched that Roseground added a free sample of some variegated Lizbeth thread for me to try.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Please take a seat

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I had my eye on a wardrobe on eBay. Sadly we missed out, but there was a silver lining. Whilst trawling through the antique furniture listings I came across a chair that was just begging to be bought. It's a Morris style arts and crafts arm chair. And it is truly fabulous. I have coveted one of these for quite a while, thought about trying to import one from the States (where apparently many of the British ones have ended up over the years) and even considered taking up carpentry so that I could construct my own! Imagine my delight to find an affordable one on eBay with the seller only 20 miles away from me. Needless to say I placed a bid, and happily I am now the proud owner of a truly gorgeous armchair. Over the coming weeks, I will be getting seat and back cushions made for it. In the meantime, it's a little on the hard side!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Door to door

Grant and I moved into our house in the autumn of 2006. Since then, we've been slowly renovating the place, which had been a bit neglected by the previous owners. So far, we've had central heating installed, all the windows repaired / replaced and just recently we've had new front doors manufactured and installed. They were modeled on our neighbours' doors - they still have the original Victorian doors - and replaced the nasty glass doors that had been put in some time within the last 50 years. Here are our new doors after several coats of red paint. I am really pleased with how they turned out.

Spring is sprung

In celebration of spring (although we've not seen too much in the way of sunny weather here), I've tatted this little bookmark. The pattern is Bina Madden's variation of Mae Taylor's floral bookmark. It's a little short (about 4 and a half inches long) but I plan on making another longer one at some point in the future. Since a recent thread exchange, I've been eying my quilting thread with a view to turning it into tatting. So step 1 in the quilting thread utilization programme was using Sulky Blendables 12 weight quilting thread for this bookmark. It's quite a heavy weight quilting thread and (as you can see in the photo) it comes in beautifully subtle variegated shades. It tatted up pretty nicely (if a little fuzzily), and is somewhere close to a size 60 crochet cotton.

In other news, my parents-in-law will be visiting from Australia this summer. We plan on getting the spare bedroom ship-shape before they arrive so expect some renovation posts over the next few weeks. I've got one eye on a wardrobe on ebay as I type this!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Hexagon heaven

It's been a while since I've posted but I've not been sitting around doing nothing. I've been pretty busy - firstly taking 60 odd students to west Wales to learn about geology and then damaging a disc in my back. I've started a few pieces of tatting - the danger of buying some
new shuttles is that I can have several pieces on the go at once. None are yet finished, but I'm hoping to have a bookmark to show you in the next few days. In the meantime, here's a close-up of some quilting I've recently finished for a friend. I wanted the quilting it to look
like ripples on a pond and am pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Mark my words

Motif number 14 is this bookmark created using a pattern on Jane Eborall's blog. It gave me a chance to practice split rings and use some thread I'd received in the thread exchange from Jeanette Hasseman in Ohio. This is Manuela size 20 in a riotous rainbow variegated colourway. I'll be using this bookmark to mark my spot in Jane Austen's Emma which I have just started reading.

Show some love

I've reached the halfway point in my personal 25 motif tatting challenge. Motif number 13 is Heart's Desire by Susan Fuller tatted in red size 16 Ancora Prestige. It measures about 4 inches (10 cm) across).

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mango mango

Here's my first attempt at tatting with fine thread. It's YLI cotton machine quilting thread in the mango colourway sent to me by Stacey Houston from Washington state. What pretty colours! The motif is a variation on the Patchwork design in Mary Konior's "Tatting with Visual Patterns" that I have borrowed from the local library. I say "variation" but we all know that I mean that I made some mistakes! Still, since the whole thing only measures about 3.5 cm across, it's hard to see the errors.

Thread exchange

I recently took part in my very first tatting thread exchange. I sent thread to all 4 corners of the globe (ok - Wales, Canada and the USA) and different threads miraculously appeared through my letterbox from the above mentioned 4 corners. Here are all the threads that I received - nearly all of them are types that I haven't tried before. The most surprising thing for me is that many of them are very fine. I never realised that many folks routinely use such fine threads for tatting. My usual tatting threads looks like rope in comparison to most of these so it'll be interesting to see how I cope. If I enjoy the fine threads, it will suddenly open up new and unexpected ways of using my machine quilting threads. What a great way to try new threads without much expense.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Transferable skills

It's been a while since my last post but I haven't been idle. I've discovered that it's possible to have more than one project on the go at any one time. This is a concept that I've been at ease with in my quilting pursuits for some time, but have only very recently applied to my tatting. What I'm trying to say is that I have started a few things and have finished none of them. That is, until today, when I completed the last double stitch of this "Cobweb Doily" from Rita Weiss' Tatted Doilies and Edgings. It's tatted in Ancora Prestige size 16 thread and measures about 5 inches (13 cm) across. That makes 11 in my 25 motif challenge - almost half way.Another reason for the prolonged silence is that I have been working on some quilting (also as yet unfinished). I've almost finished quilting a top for my Mum which I'm hoping to finally complete by Mothering Sunday next week. Plus, I've been playing around with a small quilt sample made of hand-dyed fabrics that I started in a workshop with Barbara Weeks last week.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Scally cat

I couldn't resist sharing this picture with you. This is our little cat, Bonnie, keeping warm under the table lamp! Maybe she thinks it's a sun bed. We've had Bonnie for two years now - she came from the animal rescue centre after she was found as a stray roaming the streets of Liverpool. She is very cute, very loving and very mischievous. She obviously has a strong affinity to her home town - a place well known for the fake orange tans of its female residents!

Motif number 10

I've used a little more of ladyshuttlemaker's "Icicle" hand dyed thread to make motif number 10 in the 25 motif tatting challenge. This thread is lovely to tat with, very smooth and very tightly wound so that the stitches slide easily and the stitches all look neat and crisp. I'm a convert - I see more exciting threads in my future. The snowflake is the "Ribbon Snowflake" from Vida Sunderman's Tatted Snowflakes. It measures about 2 inches across.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

As cold as ice

The icy cold weather continues and in recognition of that, I broke out the "icicle" hand dyed thread that I recently purchased from ladyshuttlemaker and tatted another snowflake. This one is the Ribbon Floss Snowflake from Vida Sunderman's "Tatted Snowflakes". It measures about 4 cm (1.5 inches) across and is motif number 9 in my 25 motif challenge. I've left the ends so that it will be easier to hang in the window next Christmas - it's got nothing to do with laziness, honest!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Spread a little love

As Valentine's Day is fast approaching I thought I'd try tatting a heart. This is Betsy Evans' Small Tatted Heart that I found on the web.

It's tatted in the bargain Ancora Prestige that I bought last week. The thread is size 16, and the finished heart measures about 2.5 inches (8 cm) across. The thread is very crisp and fairly smooth (but not wiry) making it a pleasure to work with. I like how defined each picot looks. I definitely got high quality thread at a bargain basement price.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Motifs 6 and 7

I took a break from tatting snowflakes to tat this cross bookmark - number 6 in my 25 motif challenge. It is the "Mark my Words" pattern from Mary Konior's A Pattern Book of Tatting. I remember tatting this design a long time ago for my Dad, and when I looked inside the book cover it shows that I bought the book as a teenager back in 1989. This time I've tatted it for my next door neighbour, who is one of the kindest and loveliest people in the world. As an example, the day we moved in she brought us homemade cakes! I just wanted to let her know how much I appreciate what she does for us. It's tatted in Altin Basak 50 thread in colour 3052.

Since there's been no real snow in the northwest of England for a few days, I thought it would be safe to tat another snowflake. Here's number 7 for the challenge - it's the Beginner's Round Robin design from Georgia Seitz's Online Tatting Class website. It includes my first ever split ring (other than some practise ones last weekend).

Sunday, 1 February 2009

From the sublime to the ridiculous!

Yesterday's post brought an unassuming little envelope from Wisconsin, USA. I opened it to discover the most beautiful hand dyed threads from yarnplayer that I had ordered just 3 days before. I can't believe how quickly they got here or how gorgeous the shades of blue of the "Morning Glory" colourway are. I thought the blue would look good with all the snowflakes I am currently tatting.

A trip to one of my favourite fabric stores on Friday lunchtime (yes, I am lucky enough to work very close to a couple of excellent fabric / craft stores) brought another surprise - these boxes of four 50 gram balls of Ancora Prestige thread for £2.99 each. Each box, not each ball. I couldn't believe it. I'm not sure how I'll use all that thread but I find it hard to resist a bargain. I'm sure I'll think of something!

I haven't had a lot of time for tatting this weekend. I've been sewing a few new cushion covers for my etsy shop along with a couple of zipper pouches that I plan to add this week. And there's the small matter of getting organised for the week at work. I have quite a bit of lecturing this week, plus some projects still to mark and an open day for prospective students on Wednesday. It's going to be a busy week.

Friday, 30 January 2009

A flurry of flakes

I'm not sure if two flakes make a flurry, but that is what I have for you today - two more snowflakes for the 25 motif tatting challenge. These are my motifs 4 and 5. The first is the Harmony of Hearts snowflake from Samantha Melnychuk's A Veritable Tatted Blizzard. The second is the Teeny Snowflake from the same book. Both are tatted in number 20 Anchor thread. I'm making my way through this book pretty quickly and have been casting my eye around the web to find some more motifs I'd like to try.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Motif number 3

Here is motif number 3 - the Winter Crystal Snowflake from Samantha Melnychuk's A Veritable Tatted Blizzard. I finished this one yesterday and before starting another motif, I thought I'd learn a new technique.

I learned to tat as a teenager in the 1980s from a pamphlet called "Learn to Tat" that I found at the bottom of my mum's knitting basket. She'd had it since the 50s or 60s but had never got to grips with tatting. I taught myself from that book and have tatted on and off since then, but because I am self taught and have never met another soul who can tat, I had never seen anyone else tat - until yesterday. Yesterday, I decided to learn how to make split rings, and figured that the best place to find instruction would be the web. I came across a couple of great tutorials on YouTube and within 20 minutes I'd tatted my first split ring.

But the most remarkable thing for me was seeing someone else tat - watching their hands flash backwards and forwards and the stitches magically appear under their fingers. I tat nothing like this - I hold my shuttle in a different orientation, my hands certainly don't flash, and in comparison I think I must look awkward and jerky. After a couple of minutes of watching open-mouthed and feeling a bit inadequate, I've decided not to "correct" my technique. My finished tatting looks fine and I enjoy doing it. I also know that I look fairly slow and awkward when I knit - I've never got the hang of wrapping the yarn around the needle in one easy motion. Trying to get it right makes me feel stressed. So, with no-one watching me, I'm going to carry on as I am!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Still snowing!

Since I posted the last tatted snowflake, I have come across the 25 Motif Challenge where the challenge is to tat 25 motifs during the year, blogging each one as you go. To encourage myself to keep tatting I've signed up. So, here is motif number 2 - "Stella di Edda Schneider" that I found on the web. It measures about 6cm across.