Thursday, February 27, 2014

Progress on Round 9

 There are 30 circles in this outer row and I've done 14, so I'm nearly half way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


 A parcel arrived from my daughter yesterday with thread, lovely thread, in a wonderful array of colours.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rounds 7 and 8

 Maureen is right - it would make no sense to stop working on this doily and start another one! I made it to the end of round 8 with the shortest possible length of thread left on the shuttle. Phew. I didn't want to join in a new thread for a couple of rings.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two New Tatters

 Yesterday Linda and Willa came to my house for a tatting lesson. I've shown Linda the double stitch before, but Willa is completely new to tatting. They're going to practice the double stitch for a couple of weeks and then come back to learn the next stage. That's great. So often people expect to learn tatting in one lesson. I gave them each a copy of Jane Eborall's lessons for beginners. I also tatted a rosette for each of them, with 9 rings and chains, and listed what they need to know in order to make it. They liked that. Willa said now she can show her husband what it is that she's learning.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Round 6

  Round 6 of my doily is done. It now measures 34 cm across. I'm tempted to take a break from it to begin Renulek's Spring doily. It looks so great on other people's blogs!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Round Six Begun

 Thanks very much for all the comments on the last two posts. I wasn't expecting so many comments on a work-in-progress. Round 6 is pretty similar to round 3, just the ring between the circles is different.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rounds 4 and 5

 I've been on a bit of a tatting binge. Progress on the doily is unlikely to be consistently this fast!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A False Start

 Is that what they call it in running races when someone sets off before the gun goes off? I had done three rosettes on round 3 before I realised that I really wasn't following the pattern correctly. For the simple rounds I rewrote the pattern in modern notation, but for this one I tried to follow all the brackets and stars and repeats without rewriting it. A mistake. Out came the scissors. I have it right now:
If you look carefully at the pattern above, you can see that it specifies size 10 thread. Goodness, it would be enormous. I think it's going to be rather large in size 20 thread. I'm using ecru Cebelia, because I have plenty of it and it feels traditional without being as demanding as white.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My New Mission

It's good news that the South African women's organisation I belong to is sticking with tatting for next year's competition. This year a bookmark was required, next year a doily. Not such great news is that the description they give of tatting is very old fashioned. In my opinion, anyway. 'The design is compiled of rings, chains and picots'. Not a word about split rings, self closing mock rings or floating rings, let alone clunies or celtic tatting! 'Picots and spaces must not be too large'; 'Long single threads are impractical'. You get the picture. I think this is a shame, and not conducive to the stated aim of giving attention to a craft to 'ensure it does not disappear'.

I'm going to do one doily that conforms to all these criteria. It comes from a 1971 Coats pamphlet.
 And then I plan to tat a doily that is a bit more modern in appearance and one that uses more modern techniques. I haven't found the right pattern yet, but tatting this one will give me plenty of time!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sailing Away

 Not pixie hats but sails. Jane Eborall's tat it and see is now complete. Thanks Jane, it's been great fun.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Real Deal

Yesterday, when I took my embroidery to Corlie, I asked her if I could take a photo of her work and put it on my blog. She kindly agreed, and so here it is.

I'm not going to carry on with Schwalm embroidery for the next competition. To produce work like this takes more time and dedication than I am prepared to put in.  I enjoyed learning about Schwalm embroidery, but for me it was just a minor diversion from tatting!

Not Done Yet

Oh my word. On Wednesday I discovered that there was yet another procedure to be done on my Schwalm embroidery. The grids that I had created had to be filled in using woven stitches in a variety of patterns. I worked manically all day yesterday and this morning to get it done. I periodically sent a photo off to my teacher to get her opinion and advice, a system that worked surprisingly well. Long distance embroidery tuition, thanks Whatsapp! On Wednesday Corlie told me how to prepare the piece for presentation. I've just put the last stitch into the material backing. My final step will be to make a 100 km (60 mile) trip this afternoon to deliver it. Phew.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Think Shipping

 Some months ago I read an article in Fairlady, a South African magazine, about slogans that people live by. One that I rather liked was 'Think Shipping'. In other words, finish the job completely. I must admit that I tend to think shipping when the shipping date comes due! I tatted the bookmarks in March last year, as you can read here and here, but have only just got around to putting them onto cardboard and fabric backings and attaching the labels, so that they can be competition entries. The Tunisian crochet bag has labels attached and I've prepared the labels for the embroidery. I need some help in getting the embroidery ready for shipping though - I haven't a clue where to start.

I Give Up

I'm a wimp, I know it. I've unpicked the satin stitch on my Schwalm embroidery and done the leaves in buttonhole stitch and bullion stitch instead. I do know that the answer to mastering satin stitch is regular practice. My erratic application just doesn't do it! I have finished the embroidery now:
It's far  from perfect, but I'm following the Marietjie principle. Marietjie is one of the other pupils in my embroidery class. She suggested that instead of stressing about perfection, we should aim to learn from the comments of the judges in the competition. I have a lot to learn.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day 13

 My pixie hat isn't lying absolutely flat. I suspect the dark blue Milford size 20 is a bit thinner than the variegated Coats thread.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Finished At Last

 At last I have completed my shopping bag in Tunisian crochet. It has duly been lined with a double lining, with pockets, one with a zip. Not all my ideas worked out as I envisioned. I had planned to put a zip in the lining and then cover it with a crochet flap. The problem is that Tunisian crochet is determined to curl, so the flap looked horrible. After a lot of dithering, I decided to put the zip in the bag itself. It's not as discreet as my imaginings, but neater than plan A.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 12

 I really must get on with sewing the lining for my shopping bag today, but I was happy to take some time off to tat an embellishment for the pixie's hat. I feel fairly sure that Jane Eborall's tat it and see doesn't involve a pixie's hat, but whatever it is, I've tatted the 12th bit.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Making Things Difficult for Myself

Yesterday we went to town, 50 kilometres away, so I had a chance to buy material to make the lining of my Tunisian crochet shopping bag. I also bought a very short zip to make a pocket in the lining. This is just making life difficult for myself! The specifications for the bag do say that it should have a pocket inside. They do not say it should be an invisible pocket with a zip. It took me three attempts before it looked anywhere near neat enough.
To begin with, I cut an opening and folded the edges back, as per this tutorial. Then I decided it would be better to make a facing for the opening and fold that inwards. The result is still not super smooth, but I hope that being inside the shopping bag, it won't be under great scrutiny.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day 11 and Rain

 A second pixie hat completed in Jane Eborall's tat it and see. I don't really think it's a  pixie hat, you understand, but it'll do as a description for now.
 It's raining, hooray! That probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most, but we have been desperately dry here and rapidly reaching the point where the cattle on the farm would have to be sold because there would be no grass for them to eat. The rain has been light but steady and should be good for growing grass and filling the underground water supplies.

Monday, February 3, 2014


 I've been working on the straps for my Tunisian crochet shopping bag. This is cross stitch. It's very slow to work, but I like the texture and I think it should be strong. It eats up yarn at a furious rate. I started with 9 stitches, but it became clear that my straps were going to be rather short, so I unravelled that and started again with 7 stitches.The straps are now long enough to go right around the bag, but used up a whole ball of yarn.

Another Necklace

 This one is tatted in a more conventional thread, size 20. It's funny that if you've been using size 60 or 80 thread, size 20 feels like rope; but if, like me, you've been tatting with 4 ply knitting yarn, size 20 feels very dainty!

 I measured how much thread one chain took and then spaced the 'stacks' of beads along the ball thread that far (7cm) apart.
It didn't have to be exact, but it worked well. The next stack was nearby when I was ready to move it into place, but I didn't have to move unwanted stacks out of the way, which is what I was trying to avoid.

The inspiration for this necklace came from a necklace worn by a character in a local soap opera I watch on weekday afternoons. Hers isn't tatted of course, but has small 'dangles' hanging from a chain.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 10

 I've done day 10 of Jane Eborall's tat it and see. It's looking vaguely triangular, like the first bit we tatted, but where we're going with this is still a mystery!