Monday, December 31, 2012


No, it's not that I knit like lightning. Yesterday lightning struck an electricity pole outside the house and put the power out. Unfortunately we didn't even get much rain with the thunder and lightning. We do need rain. Fortunately it didn't happen last week when my daughter and her family were visiting.

 I don't need electricity to knit, so I was able to make some progress on my jersey today. The generator is on for a few hours, which  at least enables me to write my blog.

I hope that 2013 is a good year for anyone reading this, a year of creativity and moving forward!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Tat 'Chain Maille'

Tat a ring. This one is 10-10, but actually it would be better to use a ring without picots.

Before closing the ring, pass the shuttle upwards through the ring.
Pull to close the ring.
The ring should look like this.

Take the shuttle thread behind the thread over the hand to make the next ring. It should look this the picture above, not like the picture below.

In the picture above, the shuttle thread passes in front of the thread over the hand. The rings won't intersect.
Leave a  small space at the base of the first ring before starting the next ring.

Tat the same number of ds as before and pass the shuttle up through the ring before closing. Continue in this way to create a line of interlocking rings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This is Jane Eborall's pattern.  I made these last year. I like the way tatted snowflakes can be put away and used again year after year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This spotty outfit is for Annika, my youngest granddaughter. The patterns are by Madquilter. The website is no longer available, so I can't give you a link.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spoon Angel

I remembered to add the spoon angel to me tree. I didn't make her myself, she was made by one of the other members of the craft group I go to. She looks a bit fierce, but she's a welcome addition to the tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and everything of the best in 2013

A sisal flower makes a good Christmas tree. Unfortunately, this one came with an unwanted decoration - a little green snake! I had hung most of the snowflakes, but there were a few that still had to dry from their glue treatment. When I went to hang them up, I saw the snake. Presumably he had been there all the time. Jack scooted him out with a broom. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I hope my granddaughter Isabel will like these cheery froggies. The pattern for the top comes from Indietutes. The shorts pattern comes from ikatbag. I  added pockets because Isabel likes pockets.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not Take-along Tatting

Since the purple 'chain maille' was easy to slip into my handbag, I thought I'd take it along yesterday. Not such a good idea. It required more concentration than I could give it. I closed a ring without putting the shuttle through first. The ring proved difficult to open again. I had to wait until I came home to sort it out. So I haven't made as much progress as I hoped.  But I think it will work to show off Jane Eborall's pendant.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chain maille

At last I'm making some progress on interlocking rings. If you leave a small thread space between rings, you get a more linear effect. I think it looks like chain maille. Perhaps I could use it to make a chain for a tatted pendant?

Still Challenged

I still haven't quite cracked interlocking rings, but I have worked out why my rings sometimes intersected and sometimes didn't - the shuttle thread must be behind the thread round the hand, not in front of it. Aha. I knew it must be something like that, but it did take a lot of trial and error before I worked out where I was going wrong.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slow Progress

The body of my competition sweater is plain, so I'm just knitting it in the evenings. I'm making slow progress. I'll have to put some daylight hours in sooner or later!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bigger Doodad, Thicker Thread

At the weekend, Diane the Lace Loving Librarian, asked the Tollway Tatters for ideas on how to adapt her Snow Crystal Pattern to use a bigger doodad in the middle. Sue Anna suggested using size 10 thread rather than size 20. Aha, it's one of those 'Why didn't I think of that?' ideas. I may do this again and make the middle rings slightly bigger, but really the idea works very well. Thanks Diane and Sue Anna! The thread here is Cebelia size 10 that I rainbow-dyed. It would probably be better for me to sew the ends in and attach another thread at the top for hanging, but I haven't got that far yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Next Challenge

One of the good things about challenging myself to learn new techniques is that in researching them I come across sites I didn't know about. One of them was Jennifer Williams's. Yesterday, while trying to find out how to make interlocking rings, I came across Karen Cabrera's instruction videos. I have seen her blog before - amazing 3-D tatting shown in  the latest post. But I didn't realise that there are also instructions on many aspects of tatting. The one on interlocking rings is number 77!  Thanks, Karen.

My first efforts were very hit-and-miss. Ring 1 and 2 would be joined, 3 and 4 were joined, but somehow ring 3 didn't intercept ring 2. Eventually I made some progress. I used Jon Yusoff's diagram  to do the final ring. Thanks Jon. This is number 7 of my 25 motif challenge. I haven't finished with it yet, I am far from confident with it, but at least I have managed to produce something recognisable.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I have rather rashly agreed to knit a jersey for a competition. I'm not a great fan of competitions, but I want to show willing and that my objections are not due to my own inability! I found a pattern that fits the brief - a Fair Isle garment for a child, with a yoke in five colours. I asked my neighbour to buy the yarn for me when she went to Johannesburg. Then I read the 'Blue Book' of guidelines and rules and promptly froze. But I have to finish it by the end of January, so yesterday I took a deep breath and began. And resisted the temptation to start over to make sure I had the perfect cast on and ribbing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cake

My Christmas cake is in the oven. Delia Smith's Traditional Christmas Cake, a recipe I have used for many years. Yes, yes, I know it should've been made months ago and left to mature. But I'm sure that applies in cold northern climes, not places where it's mid-summer and temperatures reach 35 degrees Celcius!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A knitted ball

I've been wanting to try this free pattern from Interweave Press. It's supposed to be a Christmas tree bauble, but I thought I'd just knit it as a soft ball for my youngest granddaughter. It was very straight forward, much easier than I thought it would be!

Diane's Snow Crystal

 Ok, my doodad has 6  holes, but it's too big for Diane's pattern. My second version isn't perfect, but I think it will work if I use smaller beads. Thanks Diane, I like this pattern with its triangular look.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Well, it was a very small market, with a very small number of people who came to visit it. But I sold some things, did some bartering, bought some things, including this hobby horse. It amuses me that at these  markets the stall holders tend to sell to each other as much as to the outside public. I had some interesting conversations, met some new people; the market was worth going to even if it wasn't a roaring financial success.

Friday, December 7, 2012


It's interesting that even the simplest pattern can need tweaking. I was asked to make a bracelet in purple and pink. So I picked out the pink and purple beads from the packet and did the same as before, except that  I made the chains 8 ds instead of 12. The result is much neater. I put the clasp in a better place too. Voila, I hope.


I thought I'd display the article about tatting in Ideas magazine on my market table tomorrow. So I made the three motifs for which there are patterns to go alongside the article. I did make two small changes to the 'snowflake' design - I made a false picot between the first and second rounds; and I joined the rings of each trefoil to each other, to make the design more stable. The article says to starch them, but of course I used my new found skill of stiffening with glue and water!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Overcoming my glue phobia

I tatted these Christmas tree decorations a couple of years ago for a craft fair my cousin participated in. I thought I could put them on my market table on Saturday, but should stiffen them first. Jane Eborall gave clear instructions for stiffening tatting with a mixture of glue and water. I reread the instructions, and the comments that followed, and then bought some glue. I'm so hopeless with glue that I don't keep the stuff in the house! Last night I experimented. The heart is a bit too stiff, so today I made a more watery mixture. I'll have to wait until the motifs are dry before I can see how well I've done, but so far so good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The good thing about scrabbling through my stash yesterday to try to find a pink bead  was that I found a pair of Winsome Drop earrings  that can go to market. The cube ones I wrote about here. The other three pairs are hot off the shuttles. That gives me 10 pairs for market, which is fine.

I'll have to keep it!

This was a project that should've been straightforward, but just wasn't. I won't bore you with all the things that went wrong, but the second-to-last straw was that it turned out the pink beads were not identical, there were a few that were smooth, not faceted.

I could live with that. Then came the final straw - I broke a bead. Because of the way the necklace is constructed, there was no way to shorten the necklace at that stage. I've put in a bead that doesn't match.

I can't sell a necklace with such an obvious flaw, which gives me a good excuse to hang onto Jess's wonderful sunrise thread! I'll wear the necklace to market and at least show it off, even if I can't sell it. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another One

I gave away a food cover as a house warming present, so I've made another for the market stall. The bigger butterfly was designed by Jennifer Williams, worked in Jess's Tat-ilicious thread and Milford purple. The small ones are, of course, Jane Eborall's very small butterfly.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Two Sides to the Story

I decided to use the last of my white polycotton to make baby pillowcases. I looked up the dimensions in my notebook and worked out that I could make nine pillowcases with my material. Great. I cut two out and then realised my stupid mistake - a pillowcase has two sides; the dimensions need to be doubled! I had added seam allowances, but forgotten that.  I  worked out a more efficient way of cutting them out and finished up with seven, so that's not too bad. These are the first two. The heart is Li'l Heart by Birgit Phelps. I don't think  baby cases really need to be made in pairs, but I've done two anyway.

The power was off for four hours this morning. It didn't really matter, since I had tatting to do, but it was a warning against procrastination!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hooded Towels

These hooded towels, designed by Amber at Crazy Little Projects, will help fill my half of the market stall. I made the monkey and ladybird for my granddaughters. I'll put them on the market, then if they sell I can make some more and if they don't it won't matter. In case it's not clear what the other creatures are, they're a frog, a dragon and an owl.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ideas Magazine

Yesterday I bought the December issue of Ideas, a South African craft magazine. It has tatting in it! There's a page with photographs showing how to tat and three snowflake patterns. I suspect a person would be hard put to learn to tat from the directions, but I hope it will stimulate interest. Interestingly, the article uses the term 'double knot' rather than 'double stitch'. The magazine appears in an Afrikaans version and an English one, but they were wrapped in plastic, so I couldn't take a peek at the Afrikaans one to see what terms were used.

It was far too hot for take-along tatting yesterday, so I didn't get much done towards the market. I did make this simple bracelet to show off some beads that have been in my stash for a while.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Earrings for Market

The centre ones are Jon Yussoff's  daisy pin. The others are my own patterns - you can find the flower pattern on the side bar. Having grasped Catherine Wheel Joins, I'm more confident about doing split chains, since it's essentially the same manoeuvre, so I revisited an idea I had for an earring some time ago to make the black pair with rainbow beads. This is not a great output for the day. I should've stuck to my idea of repeating one pattern over and over!

Monday, November 26, 2012


One thing I learnt as I made bells last week was that repeating a pattern you get to know it well and the tatting goes along quicker. So, since time is limited, I decided to make Kersti Anear's Stumpy Bookmark in an array of colours. I chose this pattern because it is very attractive; it's quite small; it uses only one shuttle and ball thread and traditional tatting techniques. Last, but not least, I could see nothing on the pattern about it being for personal use only.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Preparing for a Christmas Market

I've been asked to take part in a Christmas Market on the 8th December. That gives me only two weeks to make enough things to create a good show. I'll be sharing a table, so it should be possible, but I'll have to get on with it. I've made a start by making two food covers using motifs I already had on hand. The only thing I tatted specifically for the project were the leaves, which I made up as I went along. Note the Catherine Wheel Joins - ta da!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Six Bells

 Phew, Chiara made 35 or 40 of these bells, which makes my task look a very small one! It's done. Once I'd made a couple of bells and learnt the pattern, things went quicker, so I needn't have panicked. The more I panicked, the more mistakes I made, the longer it all took.....

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Working on bells

I need to make 6 of these bells before Saturday. It's taking me longer than I bargained for, I'll have to skip blog-reading for a bit! The pattern is by Jane Eborall. It should have beads incorporated. Luckily the person who wants them said not to add beads, otherwise they would take me even longer to make. On the other hand, I think the beads probably help the bell keep its shape. Another example of how you alter Jane's patterns at your peril!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Set

I grafted the toe of the second sock this morning, then packed the set up to post on our weekly trip to town. So that's done. It's a great pattern, Blackrose by Suzy Anvin, I enjoyed knitting it. I like the way the lace panel is asymmetrical on left and right sides of the socks and wristlets.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Glass Buttons

My sister-in-law Clare Gaylard is a glass artist. There is a link to her website on the sidebar.  She has sent me these wonderful glass buttons and a glass owl  bead - isn't he sweet? I'm thinking that I might be able to combine them with tatting in some way. I'll have to mull the possibilities for a while.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


 600 kilometres was a long way to go to buy some cherries, but we enjoyed the drive, through a part of South Africa we haven't seen before. I was passenger, so I could knit the pink scarf as I went.

I think the best way of overcoming Second Sock Syndrome (that curious reluctance sock knitters sometimes have to knit the second sock) is to have a deadline. These will be posted within South Africa, so I don't need to worry about international cut-off dates, but even so I need to get them finished and sent off. The pattern is Blackrose by Suzy Anvin, the socks form a set with the wristlets.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Novelty Yarns

 Summer has arrived at last, the temperatures are in the mid-30s Celcius (very hot!). So it's not surprising that the local habedashery shop has very little yarn in stock. I want to make scarves to go with the two hats I knitted. These aren't exactly what I envisioned, but I think they'll 'go'. The pink one reminds me of the velvet beetles that  come out when it rains in Southern Zimbabwe.

I'm going to a Cherry Festival, a few hours drive away, so I won't be blogging  for a few days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


 Pretty pansies. The pattern is by Mariya Davydova. I found the pattern a little confusing, I have to say, but with the aid of the picture and a bit of winging it, I got there.

This is number 7 of my 25 motif challenge, on account of all the Catherine Wheel joins the pattern has. I have done CWjoins before, when I did Frivole's Happy Heart, but they were still a bit daunting. I really think I have the hang of them now. (Which is  not to say that all my joins are perfect, you understand, just that the idea of doing them is not so intimidating.)