Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Starting Point

Lucy's crocheted triangles start each new round with a chain of 6.
I've never started granny rounds like this before, so I was a bit puzzled. But eventually I realised that it enables you to crochet over all the ends except, obviously,  the last one.
I crocheted over the starting thread and left the end thread.
I started the next, green, round in the corner before the white end, as you can see in the top picture. I worked three trebles (UK terminology) over the green starting thread.
And then encapsulated the white end thread in the green corner. Aha.  At the end of the round,  two trebles are worked
And then a slipstitch half way up the starting chain  completes the 'shell' and corner chain.

This leaves the yarn end in the centre to be hidden in the next round. The traditional method is to work three chain as the first treble of the corner. This means the end thread is two trebles away from where the next row corner is worked. It's possible to hide the thread, but will leave an exposed loop of yarn.
 I sewed in the last end thread and  snipped off all the excess bits.
Which is neat and saves a lot of time and fossicking about, looking for my needle!

Day 8

We've finished the first part of Jane Eborall's tat it and see. I've turned it this way and that, but I have no idea what it is. The bead comes into the next section, to complicate the plot further. Hmm.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Not Such A Good Idea

When I made Jack's work shirts,  I had the bright idea that I would make the collars and pockets in different fabrics so that the shirts weren't all identical. Hmm. The pockets on two of them have worn out before the shirts themselves:
So it wasn't such a good idea after all. I'm allergic to mending, but replacing four pockets was going to take a lot less time and effort than making two new shirts, so I duly got on with it. I replaced the pockets with the original fabric:
The shirts have faded somewhat, but they're still in good condition. Next time I'll make sure that the contrast fabric is strong, instead of just paying attention to its pattern.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 7

Day 7 of the tat it and see, and I still don't know what we're tatting. Like my husband, I don't even know which way is up!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Answer

I think it's clear from this post that I wasn't really happy with the back of my mandala cushion. Something was off, but I couldn't put my finger on what. I took it to a craft group meeting and got the answer - the back needs to be blue to tone with the front of the cushion. Aha. Yes. So all I have to do is detach it from the front, unravel it, wind the cotton into skeins, dye them blue and then redo it. Simple. Simple but a trifle tedious, so I have left it until the deadline loomed.
At first I was worried about the 'wrinkles', but actually they're necessary so that a cushion will fit inside. I'm hoping that the crochet buttons echo the waterlily on the front. Here's the original back:
And the front:

Day 6

Oh goodness, I tatted day 6 of the tat it and see and then wondered why the line of split rings was crooked. Mm, that's because I tatted too few split rings on day 5. After some wondering how to sort it out, I decided that the best thing to do was start from day 1 again. That gave me a chance to redo the Z chain. It had a kink in it first time round. OK, I think I"m back on track now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Crocheted Buttons

I'm using this tutorial to learn how to crochet buttons. What are they for? I'll reveal all later in the week. I like that the buttons have a shank for sewing on. I think it could be a useful pattern to know.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Skinny Skeins

I need to have a lot of different colours for my triangles blanket. So I spun and plied 200 g wool and then wound skinny skeins - 25 times around the niddy noddy instead of my usual 50. I finished up with 13 skeins,  I was happy with that.  That's quite a lot of dyeing, even in the microwave. To save time and energy, I did some two-in-one dyelots. I mixed up the dye powder, water and vinegar in a plastic tub, put one skein in and left it for a minute to absorb some of the dye and then put a second skein in. They could then be 'cooked' together. If you use a 'straight' dye, the second skein should be a paler version of the first. But when you mix dyes, the different elements are sometimes absorbed at different rates and the second skein can be quite a different shade to the first. I hope the photos below  illustrate this:

That's a sneaky way of dyeing fewer dyelots but still finishing up with a lot of different colours. One thing to remember is that if there is too much dye in the water, the second skein can be pretty much the same as the first, because the first one couldn't absorb what was in the water.

Day 5

In an afternoon photo, the shadows are different. I try to take photos in the mornings, but I've been busy today, cooking lunch for six people, and clearing up afterwards. It was 5 pm before I got to the tat it and see. I guess I could've left it until tomorrow to take the photo, but no, no, shadows it is.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Think Shipping

I had a lot of help and encouragement in my endeavour to learn the basics of Hardanger embroidery, from people in my craft group, blog readers, on-line tutorials..... Thank you all! I have now finished the bookmark, mounted it as per instructions and attached samples of fabric and thread. Whatever the judges say (trust me, they are very hard to please!) I have learnt a lot and really enjoyed the project.

Friday, January 20, 2017


The first ten completed triangles for my blanket. I altered the pattern slightly, making the side chains 2 chain each instead of 1 chain. The triangles will still need blocking, but I think they lie flatter than my original samples did. I haven't worked out how many triangles I'm going to need, but in any case this is just the beginning, many more triangles are needed!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 4

I haven't done a Z chain before. Like pearl tatting, it boggles the mind a little, you have to concentrate. Of course with tat it and see you don't have to concentrate for long, phew.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Thanks to SherryL for pointing out yesterday that my needleweaving was a bit loose. I had forgotten to put the fabric onto an embroidery frame when I worked it. This morning I did the third set using a frame. The result was so much better that I unpicked the first two and redid them. Unpicking was easier than I had visualised, phew.

The Open Squares

This is not a tutorial, you understand, it's just a response to a comment from someone who said they couldn't understand how the open squares were made on Hardanger work. The steps go like this:

A 'frame' of satin stitch blocks (kloster blocks) is worked.

The fabric is cut. In truth my scissors are not sharp enough for the job. I did contemplate leaving the job until I could borrow a really good pair of scissors, but the bookmark must be handed in at the next meeting, so I've carried on regardless.

The fabric threads which have been cut at each end are removed with tweezers.

This leaves a grid of threads like this.

Using a finer thread than was used for the kloster blocks, needle weaving is done on that frame of thread to reinforce them and make a set of open squares.

Like this.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 3

Day 3 of the tat it and see. Interesting that there are no joining picots on this section. Hmm.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 2

After day 2 the tatting is still dominated by the shuttles, but that will soon change. Interesting shape, don't ask me what it is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


I'm contemplating the next blanket or Afghan. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, but the patterns themselves can sometimes be difficult to track down. After some sleuthing, I found the flowers in a row pattern here and the triangles pattern here. I worked samples of both. I think I'll start with triangles and come back to the flowers. I think I prefer the triangle with the cream centre; seven different colours in each triangle might be a bit muddled. But the contemplation will continue as I spin the first batch of wool.

Work in Progress

I'm working on another Hardanger bookmark. This will be the last one, worked keeping in mind all the lessons that I've learnt so far. So that, hopefully, it will be good enough to enter the beginner section of a competition. Mistakes still happen. I started with a 'frame' of kloster blocks and when I came back to the beginning found I was one fabric thread out. Grrr. Nothing for it but to cut the stitches off and 'go around again'.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Picture

Here's the picture for Day 1 of his TIAS.

Tat It And See

Our wifi system isn't working, so I can't use the laptop. Plan B is to use the tablet on the phone system. It's limited, but I did manage to download Day 1 of Jane Eborall's Tat it and See. Yay. Can't wait to begin! So I've duly tatted the first four rings, with no clue as to what they will become. I'm using my silver shuttle again, as in the last couple of TIAS. The thread is a Milford variegated, size 20. I'm not sure if the tablet will allow me to use a cropped version of the photo I took. I'll give it a go. Mmm, no. I can't seem to add even an uncropped photo. I'll add a photo when the system is working again. Suffice it to say, I have tatted day 1!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Collaborative Butterfly

The designer of this butterfly is unknown, ( and beyond a copyright time frame)  but Claudia Huber counted the stitches and muskaan wrote a pattern and diagram, which you can find here. It's a pretty butterfly, well worth adding to my collection of butterfly patterns, and muskaan's directions are very clear, thanks.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Flower Garden Blanket

I managed to wash wool between showers and get on with finishing the blanket. It's a bit bigger than I originally envisioned, 160 cm by 115 cm. The squares pattern is here and the tutorial for joining is here. The yarn is wool that I spun. Cream is the natural colour, the other colours I dyed in the microwave.

Quilting clips worked well to keep the strips together for joining:
Pins tend to disappear into the work and be difficult to find again. I don't want to post it off to my granddaughter with pins in it!

Friday, January 6, 2017


I took a deep breath and began cutting the fabric away from round my  Hardanger bookmark. Actually, it's a little bit easier than cutting the squares. The outside is buttonhole stitch. The loop of thread at the end of the stitches covers the cut, so it doesn't need to be quite as precise. (Don't tell an expert I said that, Hardanger is all about precision) There are a lot of faults in here, but I've learnt from it and I'm happy with how it looks. Now to use those lessons into the next attempt....

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Crystal Star

Frivole's Crystal Star is beautiful. The pattern is clear and I managed for once to tat it correctly on my first attempt. Usually I have to have more than one go at a pattern before I get it right.  The thread is size 20 Cebelia that I dyed myself. The beads are plastic, not crystals, but they give the right effect. Very clever how Frivole has added them to the centre to create a mini star in the middle.

Still Raining

It's another wonderfully overcast, drizzly day. Anyone round here who complained would risk lynching, because we really, really need rain.  So suffice it to say, I think I've spun enough wool to finish my blanket, but it will have to wait until the sun comes out again to be washed.
As I can't finish the blanket right now, I've gone back to the Hardanger. That's probably a good thing. I've been procrastinating because I don't feel very confident about double faggot stitch. I took Maureen's advice, which was to stitch instinctively, and I'm thinking of it as a learning exercise.
The next step is to cut away the fabric from around the bookmark. Daunting, to say the least!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


We have been suffering a severe drought, so rain is very welcome. We had a good shower on Christmas Day and then a couple of small showers, but this is the first 'rainy day' of the season. I can't complain. But it means that I can't carry on with the blanket until I can wash and dry the skeins of wool that I've just spun.
I still have half the strips to add to the blanket, and an edging to crochet. I don't think I've spun enough yarn to complete the job, so I can go on with spinning while the rain falls.