Friday, November 28, 2014


I reworked the  flower, following Corina's example more closely, and I think it looks a lot better. Less cluttered.

Pink Crystals

Corina made her flower for a hair clip and kindly gave instructions for making it. Looking at her flower again, I can see where I have gone wrong with mine. Just because I was putting a bead in the middle didn't mean I had to have six petals. Five would've been less crowded. Then I could have made the petals a bit bigger. I think I'll have to try that again. The bottom necklace uses the same technique Corina used to make free standing stamens in the flower, to make a bib necklace.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I love my tatting bag with Anne Bruvold's dragon attached to it. It's not going anywhere. But I decided to copy it to make a couple of drawstring bags for market.

The bug material doesn't need embellishment, but the plain denim looks a lot better for the addition of Jane Eborall's  gecko. Both bags have 4 clear pockets inside, as does my bag. Good way to hold shuttles, beading needles, et cetera, et cetera separately and still be able to see them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Many years ago I was given a roll up toiletry holder with a lot of clear pockets. I travelled more then than I do now and found it marvellous. So much easier than scrabbling around blindly in a bag. I made myself a replacement a few years ago, which I'm still using. I planned to make two for the fair, but it's such a fiddly job that I've decided I'll see what reaction I get to this one before considering making another.

Beaded Pearl Tatting

 The big beads are glass beads handmade by Clare Gaylard, with beaded pearl tatting above them. I worked the earrings downwards, leaving the ends as 'tassels'. Here's another pair, using disco ball beads as yesterday:

And a beaded 'ribbon':

Monday, November 24, 2014

Disco Ball Earrings

It's a shame that a photo doesn't really show how these big beads glitter. I thought that such spectacular beads should have a simple setting. But the one on the left turned out to be a bit too simple. It didn't do the disco bead justice. I used the technique from Jane Eborall's Winsome drop earrings instead and like the result a lot more.
And a red pair:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Not For Sale

As a change from showing the things I've been making for a Christmas market, I thought I'd show this picture that I took a couple of days ago. We've had an invasion of dung beetles. Those that come into the house are going to be unlucky, no dung here. But this pair in the garden has a good ball to  bury with their eggs inside. They moved the ball along quite fast and every now and then one would climb on top - to look about, presumably.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hand Luggage

After a comment by Tatting Margaret, I thought I'd make some see-through bags for carrying toiletries onto an aeroplane. I assume they would meet the requirements for having one's potions on display. I kept the fabrics vaguely 'masculine' so that with aftershave lotion or something inside, they could make a gift for a man. Gifts suitable for men are not easy to find!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Using Up Handspun

Mid Summer is not the best time to try to sell knitwear, but I thought I would use up the handspun wool I have left to make mittens and headbands. Hopefully some savvy person will grab them when they have the opportunity!

The Beaderie

My brother and sister-in-law made a special trip to take me to The Beaderie in Cambridge. It was the owners' first day in their new, larger shop so they were still getting organised, but oh, what glorious beads. I got a bit carried away. Anyway, these Czech Fire-Polished Beads come from The Beaderie in Cambridge. The pattern is my own.

My computer has died again. My friendly computer man is doubtful that he will be able to revive it. The best I can hope for is that he'll be able to retrieve my documents and pictures. I'm using Jack's computer, which is very up-to-date, so requires a whole lot more learning! Sigh...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snow Storm

This should be as close as you get to snow at Christmas time in South Africa! The snowflake on the left of the picture is Diane's  Triangular snowflake. I reduced the stitch count a bit to compensate for using size 10 thread, and was very happy with the result. Two of the other patterns come from Burda, and the clover one I just made up as I went along.

Friday, November 14, 2014


 Pincushions, made using a fiberluscious tutorial, will brighten my market stall. I'll put a few pins and a needle in each one, just in case anyone wonders what they are. They're fun to make and a good way to use up fabric scraps.

A Beaded Version

 I'm not sure this was really worth the time and effort involved, especially as my deadline for making things for market is coming up fast. I wasn't helped by the knot in the Cebelia thread that meant I had to restring most of the 120 beads I'd carefully counted onto the ball thread!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Year's Version

 Well, making the bauble cover smaller turned out to be easier said than done. When I just reduced the number of repeats on the first row from 20 to 16, the resulting 'circle' didn't lie flat against the bauble. Hmmm. The obvious solution would be to shorten the chains, but since they're only 2-2, there wasn't much room for manoeuvre. I shortened them to 1-1, which brought the rings into a circle very quickly (PDQ as my high school Maths teacher would say). Then I did three rows of mignonette stitch rather than two. As before, I did the two ends the same and then laced them together in the middle. I'm not sure I prefer the result, but there you go.

Another solution would be to use a finer thread and the same pattern, but I want the bauble to be bold enough to show up on a Christmas tree.

Last Year's Pattern

There's a link to this pattern on the right hand side of the page. It seems a bit big. I think I might tat it again using fewer repeats. Perhaps my tension is looser than it was last year?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Ewa shows her beautiful Christmas baubles on two blog posts, here and here. I didn't want to copy her baubles exactly, but it seemed to me that I could use a simple edging pattern for the middle and then lace it to patterns at either end. Actually, when I look at Ewa's blogs again, her designs are more complicated than that, but no matter, the idea is still valid. I used size 20 Milford thread for this one.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Times Five

I've made five clear bags for my market stall, three with denim handles and two with gingham. Scroll down the to previous post for a link to Maiden Jane's tutorial on how to make these bags.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

In The Clear

Apparently if you go to watch an NFL game in America, you can't take a handbag or tote to the game unless it is see-through. So Maiden Jane has made a tutorial explaining how to make you own clear tote bag. As far as I know, no such restrictions apply to sports lovers in South Africa, but I thought the clear tote could be put to other uses. To store craft projects perhaps - easy to see which project is where. This could be a candidate for my Christmas Market stall at the end of the month.

Plastic isn't all that easy to work with. I did some experimenting and decided that the best way to sew it is with a piece of paper on top of the plastic. Line up the paper carefully with the edge of the clear plastic and it also makes it easier to see where to sew. And wonder clips (like tiny clothes pegs) are marvellous for holding pieces together without doing any damage.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tat Your Snowflake According To Your Thread

This Anchor thread with a metallic element makes wonderfully twinkly snowflakes. But it is size 10. I made the first snowflake as I always do, using the pattern for  the centre of an Anna Burda doily. It is much too big and floppy. I altered the stitch count, so that rings were 3-3-3-3 instead of having 5 picots. Ah,  much better. And quicker to tat! That's important because I have undertaken to participate in a Christmas market at the end of the month and don't have much time to make things to sell.

Earrings to match

I made a pair of earrings to match yesterday's bracelet. I made the flowers slightly smaller than the bracelet one, 6 tiny beads instead of 8 and 8 ds for each chain instead of 12. Scroll down to yesterday's post to find a link to Corina's pattern for these beaded flowers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Corina's Flower

Corina has a very clear tutorial for making this flower, which you can find here . The one with red beads was my first attempt and sticks more closely to Corina's pattern. I decided to change it slightly for the other flower, though the method is the same. Of course, I also learnt to put four beads between split rings from Corina. Thanks very much Corina!

Handmade Beads

My sister-in-law, Clare Gaylard, is a glass artist who makes wonderful glass beads, amongst other things. Here's a link to her website. Clare showed me how she makes her beads, a magical process using glass rods and a powerful flame - and steady hands! I came home with a collection of beautiful beads that I plan to combine with tatting. I've made a start:
Two bracelets with single beads as the focal point. And a pair of earrings:
The thread for the bracelets is Coats Floretta, size 20, part of a small stash I accumulated from several charity shops in England. At an average cost of 50 pence a ball!

Monday, November 3, 2014


 Well, the electricity has been restored and my son has given me instructions for transferring photos from my phone, so herewith a picture of Jane Eborall and I, taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, as promised.

Another tatting highlight of my trip was the arrival of this book:
It would never have occurred to me to look for this book, but my sister-in-law noted how my face lit up when an image of it appeared on her computer screen, and then went to a lot of effort to get it for me. The book is second hand but in mint condition. I'm really looking forward to tatting the spinning wheel mat and other patterns that I have admired on tatters' blogs. Lucky, aren't I?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Back from Holiday

I had a wonderful holiday in England, visiting friends and family and being thoroughly spoilt. I do have a lot of photos on my phone, which I can't at this moment figure how to transfer to my computer. I was planning to show you a photo of Jane Eborall and I together - visiting Jane was one of the highlights of my trip. But it's now or never to write my blog because we had a thunderstorm this morning which put our electricity system out. The generator is on briefly, so here I am, quick, quick to say hello before my connection to the world is lost again. I will get back into the swing of things, but it's going to take a bit of time.

I do want to say that I'm amazed and delighted by all the Under an African Sky doilies that are under construction. I'd never have imagined that the pattern would receive such a response. Hooray for modern tatting and modern tatters!!