Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quick Sewing Project

I love the 'out-of-Africa' look of the material I used for Isabel's top, but it has a horrible plastic texture. It looks like cotton, but isn't. The pattern comes from indietutes. The little dress for Annika has a crossover back. The pattern is by Mad Quilter, from a site that is now blocked. The little heart buttons came from Jess and work perfectly here - thanks Jess. I'll post these off to Australia this morning.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dyepot to Scarf

I finished spinning and plying another batch of wool. Four skeins. I washed them and then dunked one end in grey dye and the other end in blue dye.

I fixed the dye in the oven, cooled the skeins, rinsed and dried them.

Next step was to roll them into balls.

And then I began knitting the reversible cable scarf from Rosmademe.

The colours have pooled in a really interesting way. I can't guarantee that the effect will continue for the whole length of the scarf,  since the dyeing is random and skeins often differ from each other, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. 

Two Hats

I decided to use Elizabeth McNamee's Wavy Gravy pattern for the second hat. It has such simple elegance. I'm happy with the Vine Lace hat by Sandi Wiseheart, but I didn't feel the effect was worth all the extra  counting, compared to the Wavy Gravy hat. The crochet flowers are Forget me not flowers from Little Treasures. I have just tied them on.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Keeping Track

The pattern I'm using is Vine Lace by Sandi Wiseheart. Actually, it's Vine Lace Baby Hat, but I'm enlarging it. It's not a difficult pattern, but at the end of 8 rounds, I found that I was 3 stitches short! Hmmm, that just won't do. I started again and put a marker after every 9 stitches ie for each pattern repeat. They're just loops in a contrasting yarn. That helps me make sure I haven't missed any yarn overs.  So far, so good.


 I've been spinning wool again. It's summer here now, no need for woolly hats. But I am working on gifts for my brother's family, who live in the Northern Hemisphere. I dyed this wool this morning, enough for two hats. I've found a lacy pattern I want to try for the first one. Then I'll decide whether to make the second one the same, or use a different pattern. Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Edging Sample

This pattern comes from Semco Instruction Book No. 16, page 20. It's a pretty pattern, I like the scallop effect. I've used size 20 thread here, which makes the edging almost 5cm wide. The pattern says to use anything from a No. 12 Pearl cotton to a No.70 Mercer cotton, depending on what you're going to use it for. That makes sense!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Caterpillars Plain and Fancy

Charlene Chongololo is too big to go on a bookmark and the fancy caterpillar is too heavy. But Jane Eborall's plain caterpillar is perfect to be glued to the top of a bookmark. I realised after I'd made the fancy one that I had not followed the pattern correctly on the first ring, so the eyes not quite right. I made corrections when I did the plain one, you can see the difference in the photo.

I took my tatting along to another church hall yesterday. I didn't make any converts, but a dozen more people know what tatting is and how it is created. And I did sell some tatting. One lady bought a length of split ring braid to decorate a dress for her granddaughter. Another bought three bookmarks and a packet of Christmas tree decorations. So that was good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Charlene Chongololo

This is Millie Millipede's African cousin, Charlene Chongololo. She's rather larger than Millie. I used size 10 thread, because I need to use up the thread I wound onto my shuttles to teach tatting last week. I do love her hat. Thanks to Jane Eborall for the pattern.

Getting ready for school

My granddaughter Nellie will be starting school soon in New Zealand. Naturally she will need a book bag. Naturally Ouma (that's me) is happy to make one for her. Such a blank canvas is tempting to a tatter, but I'm trying to keep it business-like. I did add a dangle to the pencil case zip. It  can easily be removed if it's too frivolous. I also gave the pencil case a  bright lining which will be hidden when the case is closed. I think a tatted bookmark might be in order......

Friday, October 19, 2012

For Mikayla

 I'm off to a baby shower, clutching the ladybug towel I made last week. Instead of using wrapping paper, I made a muslin bag for the towel, decorated with the baby's name and ladybirds. Of course.

Doodad Pendant

Thanks to Jess, I have some doodads on hand to try Jane Eborall's latest pattern. Now, Jane's doodad has four sides and mine has eight. Should be simple enough to adapt, right? Not so easy. Or not as easy as I thought. Took me several goes, but I got it eventually. This is #5 for my 25 motif challenge, as working with doodads and making lock chains are both 'new to me' techniques.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talking Tatting

 Okay, it's not really possible to teach eight  people to tat in a couple of hours. But everyone learnt to do the flip and I think a few of the ladies might have been inspired enough to take tatting further. Liesl, on the right of the lower picture, has given up on tatting before, but she said working with two colours has helped her to see better what she's aiming for, and she's going to give it another go. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Preparations for tomorrow's tatting talk

I've wound ten shuttles with size 10 thread and tatted Jane's butterfly in a range of threads, from sewing thread to knitting 4-ply, to show that tatting doesn't necessarily require fine thread. Carien, the lady who phoned me, asked if the ladies could make something to take away with them, so I have created a card with ultrasimple motifs that everyone will hopefully be able to make. And I've tried to find out tatting terms in Dutch. Why? Because in this part of South Africa, the dominant language is Afrikaans, derived from Dutch. Granted that the ladies speak English much better than I speak Afrikaans, I thought it would be interesting to have the right terms. After a lot of trawling, I eventually came across Helen's blog Goudenreging which is in Dutch and English, which gave me some clues.

 One interesting site I came across during my search said that in the Western Cape Correctional Services, tatting is taught to inmates. It said that some of them even 'claimed to enjoy it'! See how I get diverted? I had better go and finish my preparations.

Monday, October 15, 2012


 I am in awe of Marie Smith, who made more than a hundred flower dangles to give away at Palmetto Tat Days. I've made ten, to give away on Wednesday when I attempt to teach a group of ladies to tat. I've been vaguely preparing to give a talk about tatting on the 23rd, plenty of time.... Then on Saturday I received a phone call from the chairwoman of another group, asking me to give a talk this Wednesday. Preparations speeded up!

The pattern for the flower dangles is on the sidebar.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Monkey

This monkey hooded towel is for Isabel, my granddaughter.  You can find the tutorial on Amber's Crazy Little Projects blog here.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Though we would call in a ladybird in this part of the world. Last week, Totally Tutorials had a link to a tutorial for making a Dragon hooded towel. I followed the link and found Amber's Crazy Little Projects blog.   Not only was there a dragon towel, but a frog, a monkey, and a ladybug too. Just what I  need for a baby shower I'm going to next week. On Wednesday I managed to buy the correct colour towels for two ladybirds and a monkey. I'm sure my youngest granddaughters would like these towels too.  The tutorial was clear and easy to follow, without being overly detailed. I changed the shape of the antennae a bit - perhaps ladybirds and ladybugs have different antennae?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I took this photo of the finished necklace in the mirror. Not sure how well that works. In case you didn't see yesterday's post, the thread is Little Boy Blue from Jess at Tat-ilicious . Thanks Jess. The turquoise beads, big and small, sparkle under lights. Funny how, once I've chosen the beads, it seems as though no other beads could possibly have worked for this project!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Overcoming Colour Slip

This wonderful thread is Little Boy Blue from Tat-ilicious. When you make a split ring braid with a multicolour thread, the early rings have the same colours on each side, but the colours gradually 'slip' in relation to each other. That's because the thread inside the ring comes from one side. It's not necessarily a problem, but I don't like the way it emphasises the split nature of the rings.   If the split rings are symmetrical, I can avoid this by turning the braid over and starting the rings with alternate shuttles. But in this case, the long picot on one side exaggerated the problem. I solved it by doing the shoe lace trick. Not after every ring, just when the colours were beginning to get too far apart.
So at the end of the braid, I still have the same colours on each side of the split rings. Voila.

Freeing my shuttles

For months my favourite shuttles have been attached to the edging for my tablecloth. I didn't want to complete the edging until I could be sure I wasn't twisting it. I really need those shuttles. So yesterday I finished pinning the edging to the cloth and made the final join. I'm going to need the pins soon too, so that will be an incentive to finish the sewing! I'm more than half way. Why do I need the shuttles? I've been asked to do a talk about tatting in a couple of weeks time. I'm thinking of making a display to show different ways that tatting can be used. I have quite a bit of tatting I can use, but there are gaps that will need to be filled in.

Talking of shuttles, this aero post shuttle is ideal for tatting clunies. Its slimline shape weaves smoothly even near the end of a long cluny.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cluny Conquered?

Not absolutely, I need to get the shape of my clunies more consistent. But I have more or less got the hang of the technique. The white motif is Cluny Motif by Jennifer Williams. The pink one is Rose de Noel by Elisa du Sud, translated by Mimi Dillman, which I found on georgiaseitz.com. It is #4 for my 25 Motif Challenge.

I even had a go at creating a cluny leaf edging:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Back

Orsi  and Victats asked me about attaching the motifs, so here's a picture of the back of the food cover. I used a thread matching the organza. For the rose, I did a running stitch, catching the back half of the tatting stitches so that it doesn't show on the front. For the butterfly I just did small stitches on the front to catch the picots, bigger stitches on the back. You can see I secured the tatting threads on the back too. I don't like hiding threads in chains if I can avoid it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cluny Progress

Ok. The unevenness of my clunies was something to do with the way I was closing the ring. The answer is to pinch the cluny between forefinger and thumb while closing the ring. Next thing to work on is the gap or loop I sometimes get at the base of the cluny. That must be due to  the way I'm setting up the 'loom'. At the moment I sometimes get it right and sometimes don't. You can see on the left of the picture, for instance, a gap between the chain and the following cluny. More work needed!

The motif was designed by Stephanie Peters. The thread is size 20 Cebelia that I dyed. I haven't hidden the ends because there are too many faults in these motifs for them to be used, they're just practice pieces.

Thanks to jennytats who pointed me in the direction of Elisa du Sud's blog. I have seen it before when blog hopping, but wasn't sure where. Amazing work with clunies, very inspiring.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coming Up Roses

Before Jess's parcel arrived, I thought that her sunrise thread might work well for Victat's rose pattern. I was right. It works wonderfully! I placed the roses and very small butterflies randomly on this food cover. ( I did say that Jane Eborall's butterfly was my favourite pattern, didn't I?)

Now I'm going back to practising clunies. I watched a couple of videos last night. I'm not sure they solved the question of why one section of my cluny is loose. But I did realise that I must take the weaving right down to the pinch to avoid having a space between elements.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cluny Confusion

I used Jennifer Williams' instructions to learn to tat cluny leaves. I did improve with practice. But here's my question: why is it that when I tighten the rings, two sections of the leaf are fine, but one is loose and scruffy? I had a look at other instructions, but I couldn't find anything that would answer the question, so I'm hoping someone reading this can tell me. Please.

A Tat-ilicious Parcel

Jess and I had begun to think that her parcel had gone astray, but no, Jack went to town yesterday and came back with it . The beautiful threads are a swap for the socks I made for Jess and  Livi and the flag socks I made for Livi's dad Chris. But Jess very generously included a lot of other colourful goodies in the parcel, as you can see in the picture. I'm going to have fun!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm working on another food cover. The star will go in the middle and a diamond in each corner. The pattern is Jane Eborall's diamond motif. It's a wonderful motif that can be joined in all sorts of ways. Or not joined at all! When I've made this star before, I have left the centre rings unjoined, in case the star didn't lie flat. I did have to block this star, but I like the way the rings form a little flower in the centre.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Thanks to Crazy Mom's clear instructions, I have learnt to do stacked dimple rings, a manoeuvre not as simple as it might appear! After making the orange bookmark, I thought I'd add beads to make a bracelet. I started with size 20 thread, but aside from my problem with the last stitch unflipping, the beads were too big for the thread. I had to either use smaller beads or thicker thread. The heart-shaped beads seemed so perfect for the project that I decided to go with the thicker thread. The thread is Milford satin 3-ply, about the thickness of size 10 thread. This is #3 for my challenge. Thanks Crazy Mom.