Wednesday, August 31, 2016


1st September is officially the first day of Spring, so it's fitting that our first lamb was born overnight, and the apricot tree is full of blossom. The apricot tree has no leaves yet, of course, I'll have to lend it some of my tatted leaves. These are numbers 66 and 67:
This is  my second attempt at 66 and it still doesn't look like the picture in the book, I'm not sure why. These leaves, like several of the others, use pearl tatting, where the middle thread emerges to be used for the leaf outline. Clever.

More Leaves

These are numbers 63 and 64. I wasn't paying enough attention on 64, perhaps because it's pretty straight forward, and didn't keep the bare thread that goes from one brown ring to the next on the same side on all the rings. You can see if you look closely.

These motifs inspired by nature are good for using up small lengths of thread. I've been on a mission to empty spools and have quite a few to show for it:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Page 58 is full of leaves, more 'Motifs inspired by Nature'. Well, motif 62 on the left looks like a leaf only in the company of other leaves. I guess the clue is in the word 'inspired'. These are motifs 62 and 63.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mandala Cushion

Right, well, the cushion is now done, apart from putting some sort of fastener at the back. I'm not going to say how many times I redid the back.  Suffice it to say I've reached the "@#$% it, that'll do" stage, to quote Jo Brand.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Motifs 58 to 61 are from part 5 of the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito, Motifs inspired by Nature. I struggled a bit with motif 60, top right, it seems overcrowded. They all involve twisted picots, so I'm glad I've already got the hang of those.

Friday, August 26, 2016


I'm not absolutely convinced this will work for the back of my cushion, but it is more a semicircle than half a hexagon. The back of the cushion has to have an opening, so has to be worked in two parts. I couldn't find a pattern for a crocheted semi-circle so had to do a lot of experimenting and unraveling! I struggled to get the top edge straight, so I worked a strip and then attached the rows as I went along.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Picot Play

These are motifs 53 to 57. Motif 54 involves self closing mock rings, but the others all have double picots. I had to do some practising and experimenting to learn the technique and find the best picot lengths. The picots with thrown off rings require a different picot gauge for each side, for instance. My top tip is to adjust the inner picot before doing the second half of the join. It's less likely to get distorted that way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Front

This is the front of my mandala cushion. It measures 36 cm across.  There will be one more row, to join the front to the back and form a border. That is, once I get the back right. My first attempt turned out to be half a hexagon, rather than a semicircle:
More research needed!

I managed to work in most of the thread ends as I worked the front by crocheting over them. I started each round in a different place so that I could crochet over the beginning thread in one place and then the end thread of the previous row in a different place. I read about an invisible join, but was put off by Dedri Uys's warning that it needs to be absolutely correct or the mandala would be distorted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In a Twist

Motifs 51 and 52 have twisted picots. The technique is not quite as simple as I thought. Lesson one: twist the picot in the direction of the thread twist, not opposite to it.  Unraveled thread looks scruffy. Lesson two: don't make the picots too long or they become a twisty mess. The ones at the top (my third attempt) look better than the lower ones because they're a little shorter.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Progressing Slowly

I spun some more cotton and dyed more blue shades. Fingers crossed I have enough now to get my cushion to the required 30 cm to 50 cm across. I'm still using Dedri Uys's Sophie's Mandala for inspiration, but I'm not following it exactly. Which means I have to figure things out for myself. There's a lot of crocheting and then undoing! On the last blue round, I worked four trebles into each space, then decided that was too ruffly, undid it and worked it again with three trebles per space. Of course, as the cushion gets bigger and the rounds longer, the trial-and-error method becomes increasingly laborious. But I'm surely learning as I go along, and I'm happy with the results so far.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Spinning Again

I've 'misunderestimated' the yarn needed for the outer rounds of my cushion. I'm spinning the rest of the cotton I have available, but I'm going to have to do a bit of a rethink about the outer section of the cushion. I shall ponder as I spin.

Friday, August 19, 2016

One Pass

Motif 50 is the first in Part 4, 'Motifs for the advanced tatter'. The 'advanced technique' used is split rings. I made one mistake, making a picot at the beginning of round 2, where I should've had a false picot to get to round 3. It was pretty straightforward really.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Practice Piece

I learnt a lot from this practice piece. You can read tutorials and peruse patterns, but in the end you have to actually try a new technique to learn it! Of course there is a lot more to overlay crochet than I have attempted. I just wanted to learn enough to achieve the effect I want on my cushion, that of leaves floating on the water.

Cushion Progress

Progress won't be so rapid from here on, firstly because the rounds are getting bigger, but mostly because I need to practise overlay crochet before I attempt it on my cushion.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Decisions and Calculations

I've decided that for my crochet mandala cushion, I'm going to use Janie Crow's Lily Pond Flower for the centre and Dedri Uys's Sophie's Mandala outside that. I hope I can integrate the two successfully.

I finished spinning cotton for the project but had absolutely no idea how much of each colour to dye. I crocheted 10 trebles, undid them, measured the thread and then used that as a basis. Eventually I decided to make each skein 10 times round the niddy noddy for both the handspun and the commercial cotton. That was simpler than working out a different length for each colour. Then I got out my dye pot (an old coffee tin!) and dyed the little skeins. Where the colours are related, I could dye them together - put one skein in to absorb most dye, then add another that comes out paler, and then a third. It worked excellently for the blues, but the pink shades are a bit closer than I intended.
Now to begin.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Motif 49

I worked this one in size 40 thread. The lilac is Olympus, the green and white are Coats. It measures 16 cm across. It's quite a tricky pattern, worked in one pass, apart from the outer green chain. Having done the earlier motifs in this section definitely helped! I blocked it before I did the outer chain and decided that the 2 ds between 'arms' on the pattern just wasn't going to work. I increased it to 5 ds, and am glad I did. I think the bare threads look fine if they're the correct length, as they are in this one. Here's a picture of all the motifs I've tatted in the third section of the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Evening Project

Now that I've finished the blankets, I've been spinning cotton in the evenings, for my crochet cushion. I'll have to decide on a pattern before I wind this into skeins, so I can estimate how much of each colour I'll need to dye.

While browsing for patterns, I've come across a new (to me) crochet term - overlay crochet. There's a very good tutorial here. It involves having stitches 'overlaid' on a background, the background and the overlaid pattern being worked at the same time. I might just have to see if I can incorporate it in my cushion!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Look, No Bare Threads!

Bare threads are an integral part of Teiko Fujito's three-shuttle patterns. The centre is worked with shuttles A and B; the outer part with shuttles B and C. When you come back to the centre, there's a gap with shuttle A which is bridged with bare thread. When Maureen commented yesterday that she didn't like the bare threads, I thought about alternatives. They can be eliminated by using encapsulation.

I am well into the last motif in this section, and I'm trying to follow Teiko Fujito's patterns exactly,  so I probably won't use the encapsulation route, but I wanted to try it out. Here's progress on motif 49:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Motif 48 really is square. It would look good repeated. It's larger than I expected, 11 cm across in size 20 thread. I made a bit of a meal of it, TWICE joining the little corner flowers in the wrong place. The first time, I noticed quite soon and could untat. The second time, as you can see at the bottom of below, I tatted on merrily before I realised that I had only one repeat and not two before the corner:

Hmm.  Untatting would take ages and likely make the thread scruffy.  Cutting would result in a lot of ends to hide. Then I realised I could just cut the flower off and tat another one. It worked fine, phew.
The blanket is square only in the sense that it is now correct. I undid the section that had too few stitches and redid it. Here are the two blankets together:
I think I achieved my aim to make blankets that were subtly blue and pink for twin boy and girl.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More Experimenting

The other day I remembered that I have a ball of cotton in my stash that is much finer than the cotton I'm using for the blankets and this experiment. Someone gave it to me in case I could tat with it, and it has languished as part of  my thread collection ever since. I didn't have a hook small enough to crochet with it, but I bought one last week, a 2 mm hook.

I also did some on-line sleuthing and found the pattern for Janie Crow's Lily Pond blanket. Wow, I'm blown away by Janie Crow's crochet designs! Her website is here and there's a link to her blog on the left hand side of this page. She partnered with Stylecraft for last year's Crochet Along, the Lily Pond Blanket, and this year's one, Frida's Flowers. The patterns are on their website. The Lily Pond one is here. I just printed off Section 5, the Lily Pond Flower.

As you can see, this flower is much smaller than the previous one. Hmm. For a cushion, I quite like the idea of big and bold. But really I'm inclining to the finer thread. It would mean many more rounds to make a cushion, I will have to think how to achieve that. More sleuthing and experimenting required.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Forward and Back

The stitch count is a little different, but motif 47 is basically the same as the centre of motif 46. So I shortened the bare thread spaces. They look better, but I could've shortened them even more. The cream thread is Cebelia, as is the pink. The green is Milford. All size 20.

I was hiding the ends of my blanket when I noticed that I'd shortened the rows two-thirds of the way along!
I started with 42 repeats and finished with 41. I considered adjusting the edging to compensate, but really the only sensible thing to do was to unravel the crochet to that point and work it again. So I'm still working on it in the evenings.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


This is motif 46, the cover motif. I followed Jon's  suggestion and blocked the bare threads to form a zig zag, rather than looking random. Thanks Jon!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Day and Night

We went to town yesterday, so at last I could get some more cotton yarn to finish the second baby blanket. Now I'm going to try to be less - what's the word, I want to say monosyllabic, but that's not it - and work on two projects at once, tatting by day and crochet in the evenings. I've finished round two of the Teiko motif, one more round to go. It looks less square than I expected, but perhaps this is the transition and the next round will give the square look.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Round One

It does lie flat, hooray. The bare threads could've been a bit shorter, but I'm pretty happy with it. I thought I was going to have to join in more multicolour thread, but no, I made it with 12 cm thread left on the shuttle! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back To The Book

Our power was off all morning. Of course tatting doesn't require electricity, so it was a good excuse to get on with the next motif in the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito. It's the one that's on the cover. And the first in the three-shuttle section. I had to study the diagram quite carefully to make sure I understood the pattern path. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I have the picots the right lengths so that it will form a circle without cupping.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back From A Trip

Well, my poncho didn't win any prizes, so here are a couple of  photos of the ponchos that did win:

Splendid, aren't they? The cardigan I knitted didn't even reach this stage of the competition, but here's a picture of the winning cardigan, which also won best on show:
There were also wonderful embroidered bags, sewing, crazy patchwork waistcoats..... One section that is way beyond my ken but very impressive was flower wreaths made from egg cartons. This one came second, but I liked it more than the first one, so I took a photo of it:
I enjoyed the conference, but what made the trip really special was the group I traveled and stayed with, so here's a picture of them too: