Friday, May 31, 2013

In Response

Michelle and Cindy asked me to show a food cover being used. Traditionally, it is made of net and used to cover the tea tray, to keep flies and other nasties off the cookies and out of the milk. I know it as a 'teashower', but since I can't find that word in any dictionary and it caused perplexity in Tatland, I now use the term 'food cover'.

Net is not very robust and the tatting tends to pull off it easily. The one above I made at least 25 years ago, in my previous incarnation as a tatter (I gave it  to my aunt, but I don't think she ever used it). Now I use a sheer material like organza. I often use mine to cover the fruit bowl, or salads for a cold lunch:

The good thing ( aside from it being a great way to show off tatting!) is that you can see the food underneath the cover.

Karen in Or asked me to show the back of the food cover, so we could see whether thread matching the fabric or matching the tatting looks better on the back. So here is the red motif, which shows both:

I think the thread matching the tatting looks better even on the back. Where I would probably make an exception is sewing on Victat's roses, which I sew entirely from the back, since they have no picots. But looking at this picture, I wonder if I need to experiment with that.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Matching Thread

I'm busy sewing these Renulek motifs on to organza to make a food cover. Now, should I use thread that matches the fabric, or thread that matches the tatting?

I think that the top one, where the thread matches the tatting, works better than the bottom one. But from a distance, neither is especially noticeable.
. Can you see that this motif is sewn on with thread that matches the fabric? (Without enlarging the picture, of course!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Double Trouble

 I decided that the next challenge I would tackle for my 25 motif challenge is Two Hearts in One by Martha Ess. I'm not sure where I actually found the pattern, since I can't find it again to give you a link! I have the first round more or less right, and I managed the split chains to get to the second round, but not far along there I have made an irretrievable muddle! The pattern shows the two hearts individually at the end, I'm thinking of tatting those first, just to get the hang of the structure of the hearts before I try to intertwine them. Plan B required, anyway. But it wouldn't be a challenge if it was easy!

I used some of the thread I cut off to tat Grace Tan's "Jane's Bookmark Cross' - a lot easier than the intertwined hearts!

Scratching the Surface

 I've been experimenting with stitches in Tunisian crochet from this book ('hekel' is Afrikaans for 'crochet', in case you're wondering). I was surprised how  many different stitches there were. Yesterday I looked up Tunisian crochet on Ravelry. Oh my goodness, it turns out that the book has only a fraction of the possible stitches. There's Honeycomb and Entrelec, Wiggle stitch and Bobble stitch, Mitred squares and Lacy shells..... Some of the stitches puzzle me a bit - why would you crochet fabric that looks like knitting, when it would be so much simpler to knit it??

 I also found a website dedicated to Tunisian crochet called My Tunisian Crochet, which has a wealth of information.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I made these little muslin bags yesterday, one for each pair of earrings. They're decorated with bits from my tatting tin, so they didn't take long to make. The gold thread I've used to tie them is Anchor thread I bought  to tat with. It doesn't work well for tatting, it's too rough to slide well and is a bit thick, so I'm glad to find another use for it.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Daisy, daisy

These are the other two pairs of earrings for an order. This pattern is mine, there's a link to it on the right hand side of this page. The thread is Coats, size 40.

Friday, May 24, 2013


 I have three separate orders for tatted jewellery, so I'm excited about that. I'm working on an order for four pairs of earrings, two twirly ones ( hyperbolic tatting) and two flower ones. I'm working  this order first because the lady who wants them is going on holiday in the middle of June and wants to take them with her to give away as gifts. The pair on the left is made in Tat-ilious rainbow size 40, and the paler pair in Olympus thread size 40.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In Colour

I continued my Tunisian crochet experiments with two-colour stitches. The wave patterns will need more work, but the brick pattern and the 'integrated' pattern at the top were easy enough. There seems to be a bit of bias in some of these patterns, I don't know how that would affect a big project.

Learning Something New

Yesterday I was given the task of learning Tunisian crochet and then teaching the other members of the craft group at next month's meeting. I have done Tunisian crochet before, but using only the most basic stitch. I had no idea there were so many possibilities! Tunisian crochet uses a long hook to pick up stitches right along the row, and then work them all off, to be left with one stitch on the right again. The variations come in the way the stitches are picked up. It's interesting how the different stitches give a different density to the fabric. There are some interesting stitches patterns that use two colours. I shall tackle those this evening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Dragon for Annika

My youngest granddaughter, Annika, was born in the year of the dragon, so I'm sending her a dragon, 'Ringtrim, a microdragon', designed by Anne Bruvold. Here's a link to the pattern. OK, so it's a bit strange to send her a cross and a dragon in one parcel, rather mixing cultures, but both come with love from Ouma.

Monday, May 20, 2013


 I love the way a pattern can evolve. In May 1984, the Anna Burda magazine had a tatting article with a series of braids that they made with a single shuttle:
In 2009 I updated the bottom braid by tatting it with two shuttles and split rings, and turned it into a bookmark.

 I didn't have a blog then, but Jane Eborall wrote about it on her blog and kindly put the pattern on her Guest Designer page.  It proved to be hugely popular!
I joined In Tatters recently and put my patterns up on that site. Grace Tan saw the bookmark pattern there and adapted it to make the cross you can see in the top picture. Very clever, and evolution at its best! You can find a link to Grace's pattern on the right of this page.
I made this cross for Annika, my youngest granddaughter, who is to be christened soon.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Leaf Braid

 The pattern for this little braid appeared in the Anna Burda magazine in May 1984. The original method was to use one shuttle and leave a little bit of bare thread between rings. A better way is to tat it using two shuttles and split rings.
SR 1: 2-6/4
SR 2: 4/2-6
The thread I've used is Cebelia 20 which I dyed myself. I used green to make the braid look like little leaves, but of course any colour could be used.

Friday, May 17, 2013


 I've copied the motif that was on the tray cloth returned to me. I don't know where I found it originally, but it's an easy tat. I thought at first that I would need to use a split ring to get to the second round, but that wasn't necessary.
Big Ring: 6-6-6-6
Ch: 8-8
Small ring 6+6
Small ring 6-6
Ch: 8-8
Big ring: 6+6+6-6 Repeat until there are 3 big rings and 3 sets of small rings.
2nd round(no need to cut and join, just carry on)
Ch8-8+(previous round)  Make 4 chains thus, then small ring 6+6, joined to base of other 2 small rings.

Orsi has a give away on her blog. Take a look.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Talking Tatting

I wrote here about the tatting section of a craft competition of a South African women's organisation. Yesterday an information day was held to help people who want to enter items into the various sections of the competition. I was asked to give a talk about the tatting requirements. I hadn't been sure that I would be back from holiday in time to do it, so I prepared a detailed presentation in case someone else had to deliver it. Carien, in the foreground of the picture above, breathed a sigh of relief that I was here to give it myself! There were about 40 people there - the picture shows one leg of a U-shaped table.

 I can't say that the response to my tatting talk was terribly enthusiastic. One lady told me she paid a lot for a morning's tatting lesson some years ago, but came away none the wiser. I did offer to help her try again, but she shook her head and said no, no. Someone else said she had done tatting long ago, but  wasn't keen to refresh her memory of how to tat. I think there may be one or two who will come forward. Let's hope so. At  the very least more people have heard about tatting and seen some examples.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


It must be at least 25 years since I gave these tea tray cloths and food net with tatted edgings to my aunt and uncle. My cousins found them when they were clearing out their parents' cottage in Harare and gave them back to me. I'm glad to see one cloth is covered in tea stains - it shows that it was used! The motif on the food cover comes from the Anna Burda magazine. I don't know where the triangular one comes from. I like it, I may have a go at copying it. Here's a closer view:

Not much tatting on holiday

 I did knit some fingerless gloves while I was in Harare, but I didn't knit or tat while we were in the game park. We spent a week in Mana Pools, a World Heritage Site situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, which forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. I came face to face with this elephant, a bit too close for comfort, so I dashed inside and took this photo of him through the kitchen window.