Saturday, October 21, 2017

Crochet Rag Rug

I have Pinterest on my phone and peruse it in odd moments - while the kettle comes to the boil or waiting outside the co-op for Jack to finish his shopping. On Wednesday I came across a tutorial for making a crocheted rag rug. Hmm. An idea for making a mat for the veranda perhaps. An owl sits on the light above our front door some nights. I quite like the idea of an owl sitting there, but it is a messy creature that has ruined the mat.

I looked through my materials and found a green sheet that is past its use-by date and a couple of strips of beige curtaining left over from a project. My biggest crochet hook is 6 mm, so I didn't think the 1.5 inch strips in the tutorial were going to work. I crocheted some samples and decided on 1.5 cm for the beige and 1 cm for the green sheeting. The tutorial says to sew the strips together in preference to knotting them. I did that for the beige, but it's not really practical to sew 1 cm strips together, so I just knotted them.
And began to crochet. The beige was much easier to work with. The sheeting was surprisingly stiff, which rather puts me off the technique.  But the mat is complete and an old sheet recycled.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Knot Necklace

I saw a picture on Pinterest that is the inspiration for this necklace. To start with I looked through my collection of Clare Gaylard's flamework beads. Then I worked back from there to choose seed beads and make up a threading pattern. Flexibility is important for this kind of necklace, so I used size 20 thread, even though the the circumference is small. It took me longer to crochet than I thought it would but turned out as I visualised, so I'm happy about that.

At one stage the thread with beads strung on it was getting into a tangle. I solved that problem by wrapping the thread around a roll of flannel fabric. Things 'stick' to flannel, but of course they come away without any sort of residue. It worked well.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I have been using size 10 crochet cotton to make beaded crochet ropes. It works very well for ropes with a circumference of 6, but ropes with an 8 circumference are a bit stiff. I wondered if using a finer thread would be better. I found this pattern on Pinterest, saved from, which is 8 around. Using size 20 thread it's definitely more flexible, curves round to make a bangle much better than the ones using size 10 thread So, I've learnt something!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mission Accomplished

I set out to make a magic square that was bigger than Robin Perfetti's diagram.  On my first attempt, I turned right when I should've turned left and finished up with a square that was exactly the same as the diagram. Nice, but no cigar. I decided to have another go, and this time I got it right. This is tatted in one pass so that there are only two threads at the end to sew in:
Of course there were ends when I refilled shuttles as I went along, but those ends could be encapsulated.

There were several times while tatting this that I was convinced I had gone completely astray. I hadn't. Eventually I found that the best way of working was to keep my eyes firmly on the diagram, rather than the work itself. Do not stop periodically to admire your progress, Jane, that causes confusion!

One interesting point about the diagram is that is was computer-generated. Robin hasn't tatted the whole diagram herself. I'm here to say that it works like a charm. Thanks Robin.

I used size 40 thread to tat this, it measures almost 30 cm across.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Regaining Momentum

I've had a break from my magic square, but I don't want to leave it languishing as a UFO. I'm working on it again and hope to get it finished soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For Winter

It seems a bit odd to be posting knitwear off to Australia in the middle of Summer. But if this parcel takes as long to arrive as the last one did, my son-in-law should receive them just in time for Winter! The pattern is by Pamela W Allen. They're knitted in the round in rib. I like that that means they are reversible and there's no specific right and left.

The Value Of Having a Stash

I bought 2 metres of denim last week to use for lining these folded or origami bags. I made one using the denim, but realised that it is really too stiff for the job. I live a long way from the fabric shop, so I couldn't just go back there.  Luckily I could look through my stash to find other fabrics to line the bags.

I bought 1 metre each of the blue patterned and turquoise patterned fabric, thinking that each would make 4 bags. Not so, but far otherwise, as Rudyard Kipling would say. The blue fabric is very narrow, I could only cut 2 squares from it. The turquoise, on the other hand, is wide enough to cut 6 bags! Note to self: check the width of fabric when buying.  In the interests of variety, I used a similar fabric from my stash for one of the bags, and have managed to make the 5 bags going to one family different from each other.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Adding Beads

I can see why Diane's Ice drops are addictive. They don't take long to make, but have so many possibilities for variations.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Knitted Ball

Knitted Ball is the name of the pattern by Marleen Hartog on Ravelry, but it doesn't really do it justice. I'd call it 'woven ball' or something like that. When I saw a picture of it, I thought it would be just the thing to put in the baby bag. But it hasn't worked as well as I had hoped.  It doesn't feel firm enough; it seems as though my strips are a bit too long, or perhaps not wide enough.  I might put it in anyway, though I'm pretty sure the baby's older brothers will destroy it in minutes!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Little Bag

When I saw this bag on Pinterest, I thought it might be a good idea to use fabric bags instead of wrapping paper for gifts. I traced it back and found this tutorial by Paula Cheney for making them. It's clear and helpful, thanks Paula. The first one is for a baby shower I'm going to tomorrow. The bag is smaller than I visualised. In theory I could make the next one bigger, using the same principles, but I bought fabric with these dimensions in mind, so I'll have to see how it goes.
I also made a hat for  baby in matching fabric:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ice Drops!

Yesterday we went into The Crazy Store to look for frivolous things to send to grandchildren. What did I find? 'Crystal accents', just right for making the Lace-lovin' Librarian's  ice drops:
There were different colours, but only one colour to a bag, so I chose the colour that looked most 'icy'. As soon as we got home, I looked up Diane's  pattern, and off I went. I'm delighted to be able to join the craze that has taken the tatting world by storm. Thanks Diane. Here's a picture of the back of the two I've made:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ninetta's Radiant

I thought I'd try Ninetta's radiant pattern before I went back to the magic square. It seemed a bit fiddly to start with, but once I got the hang of adding the bugle beads, it was fine. I really like how the motif turned out. The stitch count is so perfect that it doesn't even need blocking. I used size 40 thread, it measures 8.5 cm across. Thanks Ninetta!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cricket Knitting

Ok, so I may have missed the odd ball bowled or four hit, but I did knit two headbands at the cricket game, South Africa versus Bangladesh. I was sitting on a folding chair, I hasten to add, not on the ground. I finished the bands off when I got home:
I did some experimenting before we left, to get the increases and decreases right. To get the V rib look of the original, I had to increase 5 stitches in the centre on the first half and decrease 5 on the second half. I tried increasing 5 times in the centre stitch, but it creates a large hole:
The solution I eventually arrived at was to work to the centre stitch, pick up and purl the loop before the stitch, increase to three stitches from the centre stitch and then pick up and purl the following loop. 5 stitches increased without a hole. On the decrease side, I worked a slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over decrease, purled the centre three stitches together and then knitted two together. I tried purling 5 stitches together, but it causes a horrible lump.

Here's a photo I took at the rugby to record the half time score, that shows why knitting at a rugby test match is not really an option:
PS. South Africa has just won the cricket game. The rugby game was a draw, 27 points each to South Africa and Australia.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cricket Project

We'll be driving for three hours  tomorrow to get to Potchefstroom to watch cricket, South Africa versus Bangladesh. It's a Test match, for those who know about cricket, scheduled to last for five days. Our plan is to watch for two days and then go to Bloemfontein to watch rugby, South Africa versus Australia. Even I can't see myself knitting at a rugby match, but I definitely need something to do while at the cricket ground. I've been pondering. It needs to be something simple - imagine how muddled my magic square could get! Yesterday I remembered that I promised my daughter Penny that I would try to replicate a knitted headband she sent me a photo of. That would be just the thing. Penny says it needs to be knitted in a thick yarn, so last night I spun a skein and a half of thick wool. It's possible I overdid the thickness -  here's one skein in comparison with a skein from my last batch of spinning:
Anyway, I'll see how it goes and show you when I blog again on Monday.

A Growth Spurt

I have made some progress on my magic square. But yesterday evening I thought I'd tatted myself into a dead end. Luckily I decided to just put it aside, rather than make 'corrections'. When I came back to it this morning, I could see a path forward. Phew!

Monday, September 25, 2017


I've been cooking up a storm in the last couple of weeks - bread rolls and pasta; pastry for flans and pecan pie; chocolate brownies and currant butter cookies.... With cooking and cleaning and entertaining neighbours and friends from far away,  I've been short on tatting time. The magic square is progressing slowly. I plan to do some tatting today and will take a photo tomorrow.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Half Way

Aha, I've done half my magic square and turned the corner. Now I'll tat a mirror image of this half. I hope I can find my way through that maze. The magic square still tends to boggle my mind sometimes!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


I'm doing fairly well at finding my way through the magic maze, but every now and then I miss a join. X marks the spot in the photo above. Hmm. I really didn't want to spend time retro-tatting or snipping and rejoining. I decided to just use needle and thread to make the join.
I'm using size 40 thread, but I split white size 20 into three strands and used one of them. I anchored the thread on one side, whip stitched to the picot, secured the opposite picot and then took my thread to the other side, repeated the exercise and finished off.
It is possible to see my join, but I don't think it'll matter in the bigger piece. If anyone wants to go looking for said join, I'd say they have too much time on their hands!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Another Button

I took Jane Eborall's suggestion and added beads to the top of the button. It works well with this rather boring button. I have a few more buttons like this, which are similar but not matching and therefore can't be used for a sewing project.  This is a good way to use them up.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Progress Report

I haven't had a lot of tatting time in the last few days, but I have made some progress on my Patchwork magic square. Scroll down to see more about it and links to Robin's pattern.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Casting A Larger Spell

My last magic square turned out to be the same as Robin's diagram. I really want to tat a bigger square, so I'm having another go. My idea of turning Robin's diagram upside down is fine, but I needed to use a different 'apex':
That's the new one on the left and the previous one on the right. It does boggle the mind a little, I hope I can keep it all straight. So what I've done forms a quarter of the new square, where it was half of the previous one.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


I really liked this bracelet so I decided to make a longer version, using the same pattern from from I posted the bracelet off yesterday but I may just wear this necklace myself.   

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

More Spring Flowers

This is muskaan's pattern, using her floating beads technique. You can find links to the pattern on this post. I didn't have teardrop beads, so I used little groups of beads on each outer chain. As muskaan says, there are a lot of possibilities for this pattern. And they're perfect for Spring!

Spring Flowers

Jack's little flower garden is looking really pretty. The fruit trees are flowering too:

Here are some tatted flowers for Spring. Thanks to Fox for the inspiration.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Light and Lacy

Last week a friend took me to a marvelous yarn and fabric shop in Kimberley. It's just as well we arrived minutes before closing time because it would be easy to go wild in there! I mostly bought sewing essentials like interfacing but I couldn't resist buying two balls of mohair yarn. I used most of the yarn, but at 25 g a ball, it means the scarf weighs less than 50 g. Super light and fluffy. Of course, with Summer almost here, I don't need a mohair scarf right now, so this is pure indulgence.