Monday, March 31, 2014

Ninetta's Frog

I have a completely irrational fear of frogs. But even I couldn't resist Ninetta's frog pattern. The green one is tatted in size 20 thread and the other in size 10. I think the top one looks a little sinister, but that might just be my phobia at work!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Frivole's Pentagon

Frivole's pattern uses needle tatting to make the interlocking rings and then shuttle tatting to do the outer rounds. That's very clever. But I know nothing about needle tatting, so I used interlocking self closing mock rings for the centre. Sue's tutorial for interlocking SCMRs is here.  My first attempt is not perfect, but it does show that the motif can be done with shuttle only.

Annika's cardigan took more yarn and more time than I expected. It is now done, ready for winter.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coming Together

 I've finished knitting the sleeves of Annika's cardigan and am about to attach them to the body. I'm using back stitch to sew the underarm seam so that the loops where I carried the different coloured threads up as I knitted will be hidden in the seam.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sleeve Progress

 I'm making progress on the sleeves of Annika's cardigan. I won't get much done today though as I'm off to town.

Doily Pattern

I thought I had better write the pattern for Under an African Sky doily while I was still familiar with it. Here's a link to the PDF pattern. There is also a link on the right hand side of this page under Pattern Links. If you find any mistakes or have any queries or suggestions do let me know, thanks.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plan B

 I had knitted half a sleeve when I realised that there would be nowhere near enough light grey yarn to finish two sleeves. Oops. Plan B required.  I started the sleeve again with a darker grey as the main colour, with the colours from the fronts and back as secondary colours. I'll do the bands in the dark grey to link it all together.

Friday, March 21, 2014


 I'm making progress on Annika's cardigan. Next step is to work out the stitch count for the sleeves.

Linda came for another tatting lesson yesterday. We sorted out problems she'd encountered while practising at home. For instance, she was 'reversing work' right to left instead on up to down, which causes muddles. This morning she sent me a photo of her completed 'Marion' coaster, so she's doing well.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

That's It

I had planned to tat more rows in red, chains only. But when I blocked this yesterday, I thought it looked right. I thought -  just stop, quit while you're ahead. So this is it, Under an African Sky, a doily that goes beyond rings, chains and picots. The diameter is 30 cm, the thread Milford size 20. It has split rings, self closing mock rings and interwoven SCMRs; larkshead picot joins, blipless joins and Jane Eborall's new join for block tatting; interwoven rows and block tatting; a number of colours and a story. My husband says I need to explain the story - I thought it was obvious. There's the sun and sky, with sunshine woven through it, trees with animals under them and red earth. These colours are used in many African flags.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Swatch, Calculate, Knit

While I was contemplating the next row of my doily, I started on a cardigan for my granddaughter. Winter is approaching in the Southern Hemisphere! I knitted a few swatches, trying out different ideas, mainly from the book 'stashbuster knits' by Melissa Leapman - I wish I'd owned the book when I ran a knitting business. In the end I didn't go with any of the patterns in the book, but there was a fairisle pattern there that reminded me of a slipped stitch brick pattern that I've used before. I knitted a swatch of it, measured it carefully and then worked out a stitch count from the measurements my daughter sent. I'm knitting the cardigan in one piece up to the armholes so that I won't have to match up the brick pattern at the sides. The plan is to tat by day and knit in the evenings.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Too Far?

Is this row taking originality too far?? The name of the  doily is Under an African Sky, so you can see where I'm going with this. Or trying to go with this.

Green is Done

 I used virtually a whole ball of Milford Holiday Green to complete this round. That was with some experimenting and starting CTM twice on each rosette. I tried to wind on just enough for each round, but there were some extra bits wound onto cardboard, and some rosettes where I had to make a join.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Results Are In

 I was awarded first and second place in the tatting section for my bookmarks, which is not so amazing, since there were no other entries. Good publicity for tatting though. I'm more pleased with the Tunisian crochet results, where my bag was awarded first against several other competitors.
My Schwalm embroidery was second in the beginners' section. So all the entries were placed at area level and will now go forward to the national competition, which isn't until much later in the year.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Very Keen

Linda travelled the 60 kms from her house to mine again yesterday for a tatting lesson. She completed her first circle of rings and chains.  I showed her how to join in new thread, hide ends etc. I talked her through Jennifer Williams's Marion coaster pattern and she's taken it home to work on. A shame for Linda that she doesn't get tatted treats for progress like Lace-loving Librarian's pupils do!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bug Hat

 Ah, I knew my absolute  concentration on tatting couldn't last forever. I needed a gift for a neighbour's new grandchild, so I took some time out from tatting to sew this hat. The fabric was in my stash and the pattern handy, so it didn't take long.

Slow Row

 Row 6 is necessarily slow. Interlocking self closing mock rings are fascinating but not a quick tat. God's Kid says she didn't invent the technique. I know it's one of those 'Aha, of course' things, but  I first saw it on her blog  at a time when a number of us were grappling with how to do interlocking rings with a shuttle. There's a link to Sue's tutorial on her blog page.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Round 5

 I tatted the yellow round 4 separately, threaded it through round 3 and then held it in place with round 5. When I was working on the prototype, I found it very irritating that the yellow bit I hadn't yet worked on kept slipping. I thought of pinning it in place, but I didn't want to stick pins into the tatting. The solution was to thread a piece of cotton yarn through the rings to keep then in place. The thread could easily be removed as I worked. Yes, it looks horrible, but it worked fine.

Monday, March 10, 2014

No Blips

 I don't usually worry about colour blips, those little specks of colour evident on the underside when you join two different colours. But the colours in here are so vibrant that I thought blips might be distracting. I used Frivole's method, which you can read about here. I watched Frivole's video a few times, practised a bit and then began. I'm not sure mine are always perfectly neat, but there are no blips. I thought I was going to have to do great numbers of blipless joins, but the chain joins are lock joins or shuttle joins, so it was only on the rings that I had to use the technique.

Friday, March 7, 2014

So Far So Good

When I worked out the stitch count for the third row, I tatted only half a round and adjusted the count until it fitted half my paper template. I was relieved when I tatted the fair copy of round 3 that the count does seem to be correct! So I could safely go on and tat round 4.

Making a Fair Copy

 I haven't finished scribbling and experimenting with my doily pattern, but I thought I had better tat what I've done so far according to the pattern I've worked out. Otherwise, if there's a major problem I'll have to make adjustments on all the subsequent rows. Here's a link to God's Kid blog where she has a link to the tutorial for interlocking SCMRs that are in the centre.

There's a  problem with the electricity supply in South Africa at the moment. Apparently we are to be cut off from 10 am to 3pm - different areas are cut off at different times to cut down demand. So I must finish this off asp, it's 10 am now.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


 Linda didn't want to wait until Willa comes back from holiday for her second tatting lesson so she came here today on her own. She tatted her first rings and joins - well done! Now she's off home to practice rings and chains, reversing work, etc. She has a good understanding the flip and the double stitch now, so she was well set to continue.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Next Doily

 I've decided to create my own modern doily. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew! So far I have a paper template, some scribbling and a lot of cut off bits. The trick is to get the stitch count right - too few stitches on a round and the doily will cup, too many and it will ruffle. Hats off to all the designers before me who have achieved that feat!

A Yellow Gecko

 I've tatted Jane Eborall's gecko before. But Jane has updated the pattern so I printed it out again. Jane has also updated the instructions for block tatting, which is used on the geckos legs, so I downloaded that too and practised before I began. The update has a new way of joining which means that you don't have to keep swapping shuttles - easier and neater.

Monday, March 3, 2014


I've finished the doily. It may be traditional or even old fashioned, but it is pretty. I enjoyed tatting it. It's quite soothing to tat with a ball and one shuttle and a straight forward pattern.

Some stats: The pattern comes from a Coats booklet dated 1971. The thread is DMC Cebelia Ecru, size 20. The diameter is 50 cm or 19 1/2 inches. It took me two weeks. I worked out that the outer row took about 24 hours of tatting. Anything else I should add? There are  mistakes. There's even a mistake on the very first round! I only noticed it when I was on round 4 or so, much too late to correct it.