Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dress for Annika

I was careful to keep all the pattern pieces in the same direction on the fabric, but now I think it was the wrong direction! It's not too serious, the strawberries go this way and that.

I have to confess I did a really stupid thing - didn't pay enough attention when I was trimming the neck/collar seam and snipped the dress! Luckily I could hide the hole with the collar. I sewed the collar down and sewed the edges of the hole to the underside of the collar:
Honestly, after nearly 50 years of sewing, I should know better!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


When I was in Perth in March, my sister-in-law took a group of us to a big fabric shop that was having a sale. It was wonderful to see a huge array of fabrics and notions. I kept my hands firmly in my pockets for most of the afternoon, knowing that whatever I bought would have to be carried through airports! But the bright cottons definitely had Isabel and Annika's  names on them. I bought two lengths for each of them, one for a dress and the other for a shorts-and-shirts set. If I sew them now, I can post them off to arrive in time for Summer.

Changing tack, I had to get out a different set of tools . I put away my shuttles and thread and dug out my sewing machine and pattern box. Now, where are my dressmaking scissors?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Enough (For Now)

Yesterday's motif forms the centre of this one, motif 45. In the book, the outer rounds are done in the same colour, but I think that obscures the rather interesting centre, so I used two colours. I thought ahead, for once, and climbed out from round 1 to round 2, but that was a mistake because the chain lost its tension and is pointy instead of curved. Ah well, I was too clever for my own good!

This motif is the last in section 2 of the book, the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito: Motifs tatted with two shuttles. I think it's a good place take a break before I embark on Part 3: Motifs worked with three shuttles. That's almost two months I've been tatting away, it's time to knit or crochet or sew!

Monday, June 27, 2016


This is quite a tricky tat, I probably haven't done it justice. It would be useful if you needed a triangle.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Motif 43

I like this better 'in person' than I did in the book, but even so it's not my favourite motif. It's a bit overcomplicated and muddled. The book shows the motif done in two colours, but I thought that would just add to the muddle, so I used one colour. Ecru, size 40, Coats Mercer Crochet. It was a charity shop find. I found a couple of knots when I was winding the shuttles, but for 50 p you can't really complain!

Friday, June 24, 2016


Interesting how motif 42 combines elements from other motifs. Variations on a theme perhaps.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Motif 41

I'm sometimes a little sceptical when tatters say a later round will counteract ruffling. But in this case it was so. The motif was a contorted mess after the second round, but the outer round sorted it out. It did need blocking, but not the bullying into shape that I thought it might. In the book, all the 'flowers' are blue, but I thought that since I  have to make them separately, I could make each one different. I like the rainbow look.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I  had red thread left on the shuttle from the last motif, so I used it for this one. It stays with the chain rosette theme, but is much more open. It reminds me of an electron.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Phew, there's a lot of tatting for the area covered! Motif 39 is 13 cm across. I like the effect of the variegated green.


This is motif 38. I really like the way it turned out. I have to say though that my heart sank a little when I first looked at the pattern. Here's why:
Six little flowers need to be made first in two colours! That's a lot of ends to deal with. Some thoughts: I tied the threads together with a reef knot so that I was just hiding the ends in the first ring and chain, rather than securing them.
I don't know if it's my imagination, but I think that if I snip the hidden thread after the first half of a ds, rather than after a complete stitch, I get a smoother look. I was a bit worried about dislodging the ends when I made the final join, so I cut the threads before making the join and then sewed them in instead of using a hook. 
My easy thread needles do make the job a bit simpler! 

Once the flowers were made, the rest of the tat went smoothly. Joining the little flowers in is perfectly straight forward. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Case for Shuttle Joins

The book says to use Teiko Fujito's outer thread joining method for the dense rosette in the centre. The good thing is that there are no colour blips. The bad thing is that the tension is continuous; pull the shuttle thread too tight and you get a mess like this:
With shuttle joins, the tension in each section can be controlled. To avoid bright pink colour blips, I tatted just one round with pink and then used the pastel variegated thread on shuttle and ball. Once that was sorted out, this motif was pretty straight forward. I like the way it turned out.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Round and Round and Round

I've finished motif 36. I must admit I had to look carefully at the chart to see how to work it. Three times round on each 'point' before going on to the next one. Going on precedent, I shortened the inner chains, crossing my fingers that I was shortening them by the correct amount. It worked fine, the motif lies flat.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Working On It

I'm working on Motif 36. I'm using size 40 thread, just because it came to hand first when I was looking for thread. I don't have a wide range of colours in size 40, but every time I do use it, I think, 'I should use this size thread more often!'.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


This motif makes me think of tulips. It has a rather odd construction, where the outer round is not joined all the way round but has four gaps. I thought that would mean I didn't need to shorten the centre chains. 'Not so but far otherwise':
At least I didn't make the mistake of carrying on regardless.


I thought I'd replace the centre chains in motif 34 with lock chains. The idea is fine, but the chains were much too long. Hmmm. After some thought, I snipped each lock chain near the centre ring, unraveled it and then secured the ends. That's easier said than done, trust me.  Lock chains are difficult and time-consuming to undo. The sensible option would've been to throw the motif in the bin! Oh well, it's done. I redid the motif with shorter lock chains, using the same colours in reverse:

Monday, June 13, 2016


Motif 33 is done in one colour in the book, but I decided to use colour to emphasise the flowery look. Both threads are Milford size 20. It took me a second to realise you can't have bare threads when you work with two shuttles! So I had to use chains instead of bare thread in the first round. Tatting went smoothly and I like the way the motif has turned out. It measures about 12 cm across.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


I think I could've done motif 32 in one pass if I'd been a bit more forward-thinking.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Motif 31

If I'd been picking and choosing in the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito, I'd have chosen this one. It makes me think of a lotus flower. But it's just as well I've been working through the book. The centre of this one is the same as motif 28 that gave me problems. So I could use the lessons I learnt there to tat this correctly.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


This was quite a tricky pattern and I should probably do it again to get it 'just right'. One puzzling thing about the chart was the arrow giving the starting point for round 3 - surely if you start with a ring on a chain the tension of the chain will be broken?
I started instead with an outward-facing ring, yellow in my version, red in the chart.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Running Out of Thread

You know that feeling when you have only two short chains to do to complete the round and the thread just won't make it. There's nothing to do but accept it, join in a new thread and finish the round.
This is motif 29.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Learning to Knit

We have had some special visitors here. Our daughter-in-law and grandchildren came from New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Nellie, who is 8, asked me to teach her to knit, so she could make a scarf for PJ Bear.

She did a good job. Here's PJ wearing the completed scarf. Nellie had a go at tatting too. She didn't persist, but I have to say she grasped the flip a lot quicker than many adults I've taught.

Friday, June 3, 2016


We're going away for a few days, it'll be Tuesday or Wednesday before I blog again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Thanks very much to everyone who gave me advice yesterday on motif 28. I had another go. The first step was to make sure that the first round lay flat. I increased the picot size and shortened the chains from 8 ds to 6 ds. Right. On the second round, I took muskaan's advice and used lock joins instead of Teiko Fujito's 'outer thread joining method'. I was careful not to snug the lock join up too tightly. Much better. Muskaan has done a lot of work on different types of joins, The lock join does give a colour blip, but that's much less of a problem than a ruffled motif.