Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh Dear!

Or words to that effect. When I started Jane Eborall's Fandango Edging, I assumed that a 50g ball of size 20 thread would be ample to make an edging long enough to go around my small tablecloth. But yesterday I began to have doubts. I don't want to carry on if I'm not going to have enough thread to finish the job. Luckily Jack has an electronic scale for his beer making, so this morning I weighed what is left of the ball. 32g. So I have used 28g to do one and a half sides. So I will need 75g to finish the job! I hoped that perhaps I had another ball lurking somewhere, but no, this is the last one. Some sort of plan B required, but for now the project will have to go on hold.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jon's Daisy

Jon put the pattern for this daisy pin on her pattern page yesterdy. It's a sweet little daisy and a quick tat, thanks Jon. I've left the threads so that I can sew it onto something. While I was about it, I thought I'd try her instructions for making a SSSR braid in two colours. It'll take a bit of practice to get the rings neat, but the technique works fine. Years ago I worked out how to do a motif in three colours by tatting with two shuttles at once, but later discovered that encapsulation achieved the same effect with much less effort!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pattern link

I made a few minor changes this morning, like getting rid of a completely blank page at the end of the pattern, so it was a good idea to sleep on it. Here's the link to the pattern for the bracelet pictured. I'll try to put it on the sidebar too. 

Progress on the pattern

Ok, I've written the pattern and converted it to PDF, but it has boggled my mind. I think I had better sleep on it and then read it again and perhaps send it to my editor cousin to read before putting it out there. The bracelets in the picture are my 'safari collection', left to right leopard, zebra, elephant and lion. I hope you can see the loopy mane of the lion?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Preparing to write a pattern

I'm going to have a go at writing a pattern for a tatted bracelet. I don't have the facilities or abilities to draw diagrams, so I'm tatting the bracelet and taking photographs as I go along. Hopefully photographs will make the pattern clear. It'll take me a bit of time, I'll have to learn some new things as I go along. Watch this space!

Monday, March 26, 2012


I'm not jumping through hoops, but using them to keep my fabric taut. The small hoop, with a rubber outer ring, is easier to use and was ideal for embroidering individual flowers, but doesn't work for the border pattern because it would need to be moved too often. I was worried that the border was too near the edge of the fabric for me to use the big hoop, but that worry was unfounded.

The label on the ball of dark green thread says that it contains 95 yards. I measured one motif, counted the number of motifs, did some conversions and calculations and decided there would be plenty of thread in the ball to complete the border. I didn't really want to use a variegated thread. I would've had to have taken much more care in deciding the sequence of stitches, or the result could've been very muddled.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Edging progress

I need 36 repeats of Jane Eborall's Fandango Edging pattern for one side of my tablecloth. One side done. I think I must wind this onto a piece of card to keep it neat until I'm ready to sew it on. Can you see a loop of thread tied loosely onto a chain? That is to remind me that I need 10 more repeats to get to the corner, so that I don't have to keep counting from the beginning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blanket begun

It'll take me many evenings to finish, but I have made a start to the blanket. I used the swatch shown yesterday to work out how many stitches to cast on for my blanket. One pattern repeat measures 4.5cm. I want the blanket width to be roughly 60cm. So I'll need 13 repeats. The pattern requires a multiple of 12 stitches plus 7. So I multiplied 13x12 and added 7= 163. Add 10 stitches for the garter stitch border. Voila, I cast on 173 stitches. The color of the yarn is apricot - I hope it doesn't look too pink here, I don't want pink! (No, I don't know whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I like swatching. I have an idea and then knit samples to see whether they'll work or not.

 What am I having ideas about? My daughter is expecting a second baby in August, and I want to make something special for the new baby. For the first, Isabel, I made sheets and pillowcases with tatted edgings and motifs. But the second baby will use those too, so there's no point in making more.  I thought I'd make a light, lacy blanket. Baby will be born at the beginning of Australian summer, so I don't want anything thick or heavy.

My idea was to use a scarf pattern, Branching Out by Susan Pierce Lawrence, as an edging for the blanket and then the 'fan' pattern for the main part. That pattern comes from the Anna Burda magazine. I don't have the magazine here, but have a top I knitted from it, and copied that. ( I say that nonchalantly, but it took a lot of trial and error!) It doesn't really work. I've decided not to use the branching out pattern, just to use the fan pattern with a garter stitch edging.

I can't tat in the evenings, the light isn't good enough, so I plan to work on the blanket in the evenings and the edging and remaining embroidery in daylight.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Edging begun

I decided to do Jane Eborall's Fandango edging to got around my tablecloth. Jane used size 80 thread for a hankerchief, but obviously I need something bolder to go on my tablecloth. I'm using ecru thread, which doesn't contrast greatly with the linen, because I want it to complement the embroidery rather than distract from it. I followed Jane's recommendation to do a corner soon after starting, to make it easier to work out how many repeats are required for each side. My tablecloth is square, like a handkerchief! It'll take me a while to complete this, but I have made a start.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I e-mailed Sharon of Pin Tangle who said that the answer was to use perle #8 cotton rather than stranded embroidery cotton, and the recommended stitches. My first thought was, where am I going to get perle #8? I live in a rural part of South Africa where supplies are very hard to find. But then I remembered that a couple of years ago my sister-in-law gave me some. It's not ideal for tatting, so it has been lurking in the bottom of my kist. I dug it out. There was blue, dark green and variegated green. I rather like the dark green, but there's only one ball of it. I wouldn't like to run out, so unless I can determine that it will get around the tablecloth, I will stick with the variegated, of which there are 3 1/2 balls. It does look much better, and I think it will look even better once blocked. Thanks very much to Sharon!

Experimental stitches

Now that I'm back from my travels, it's time to begin the border of my tablecloth. I'm a bit daunted. The pamphlet with the cloth says to use running stitch and straight stitch, which I've done on the left of the picture above. But the stitches are very long, 9mm to be exact, so I thought I'd try some other stitches. Backstitch on the right really doesn't work. Stem stitch the left of that looks slightly better. Then I tried stem stitch using three strands of embroidery floss rather than six. I didn't really think that chain stitch would work, but I tried it anyway, using three strands. I was right, it doesn't work.  Hmmm, I'm at a loss. Any opinions or advice welcome!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Going Away

Just in case you think I've disappeared as suddenly as I arrived, I'll be away for the next ten days or so. I'll blog when I get back, and check up on blogs too. My plan when I return is to tackle the next stage of my embroidered tablecloth, unless some other urgent project intervenes!

The blue version

I've just finished the blue version of the little sleeveless cardigan (vest?) Bit of a slog to get it done by my deadline, but I have. The cables show up better than I thought they would when I started off, but like the pink one it is rather stiff because the yarn is thicker than that called for in the pattern.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Every since I received these splendid threads for Christmas, I've visualised this bracelet. I thought I'd make it for Isabel to go with the blue velvet dress. It's not very big, but then Isabel is not very big!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Today I made a black version of the Mandybag. The pattern is by Mad Quilter, with a very clear and detailed tutorial.  Which is just as well, since the construction boggles the mind a little. I would give you a link, but when I try to go back to the pattern, I get a notice that says the site is now by invitation only! So contact Mad Quilter if you're interested in the pattern. I have made five of these so far, small versions for my granddaughters and bigger ones for me. It has a pocket in the middle that is intended for an i-phone, but in my case carries my tatting baggie!

Friday, March 2, 2012


The earrings on the left are Yarnplayer's Roundabout earrings. I made a slight change so that I could tat them in one pass. The ones on the right are Jane Eborall's Winsome Drop earrings. I made them from the bottom up, rather than top down as the pattern says. This is my second go at them. I used silver beads to go with the clear 'drop' bead, but they were too big and the effect was too 'clunky'.

I see that many tatters scan their work. I tried it this morning with these, but it didn't seem to work as well as my camera. Is that because of the beads? Why do people scan instead of photographing? I must say I'm impressed with my Fujifilm camera, which doesn't seem fazed by shaking hands!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sabi Star earrings

This flower is called a Sabi Star in Zimbabwe, or an Impala Lilly in South Africa. The Latin name is Adenium obesum. My design.

Early last December, I made a pair like this for a friend in England, and posted them off with several splendid Snowflakes. They never arrived. The envelope wasn't insured or registered, so I can't trace it. I guess I should've registered it, but I did expect it to get to where it was supposed to! Anyway, I will give these to a 'special messenger' to deliver.