Saturday, May 31, 2014

Giving In To Temptation

 It's really a bit extravagant of me to buy yarn when I have kilograms of wool waiting to be spun. But when Betty in the habedashery shop showed me her new stock of sock wool, this was so perfect for the Dragonfly Socks pattern that I succumbed. The design is by Jocelyn Sertich. I found it on Ravelry.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Spring is Sprung

 The weather is so warm here at the moment that it feels like Spring. But when Winter returns next week, I will still have the Renulek Spring Doily to brighten things up. Thank you Renata, I really enjoyed this pattern. I used Milford thread, size 20. The doily measures 58 centimetres or 23 inches across.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Don't Cut the Ball Thread

I should've noticed when I wound the bobbin. I didn't. I tatted several rings before I realised that the new ball of green thread was size 40, not size 20.
That was last night when the light was bad and I was tired, so I left it until this morning to sort out. Once upon a time I would've just cut everything off and had four ends to hide. Of course it's not necessary to cut the ball thread.
I snipped the offending rings either side of the join, taking care to avoid the yellow picot and the chains.
Then I very carefully cut off the remains of the ring.
I put the hook under the core thread of the chain and pulled it out.
The ball thread is wrinkly but still intact, so I can just join in a new shuttle thread with only two ends to hide. Luckily I have another ball of size 20 green, so 'That's alright Best Beloved'.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Busy Morning

 Linda came yesterday for a tatting session. I made a start to the final round of the Spring Doily while Linda finished the third round of Clover and Daisy doily by Emma Crew and started the fourth. The third round was a little daunting because it needs two shuttles, but Linda has done it! I also showed her how to open a ring and use a picot gauge.

Round 12

 Round 12 of the Spring Doily is done, though not blocked. Only one more round to go.

Monday, May 26, 2014

For a Winter Baby

 I spun some wool to make a gift for my cousin's new grandson. I spun twice as much as I needed - I have a tendency to get carried away when spinning. The wool was so beautiful that I was a bit reluctant to dye it, but cream is  not a good colour for babywear, so dye it I did. I used patterns by Alison Williams and Anke Plummer from Ravelry to knit the hat and mittens, though I made some minor changes. The hat looks a bit Cat-in-the-hatish at the  moment, but I think it will be fine once it's put on baby's head.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Round 11 and a Recap

I've finished round 11 of the Spring Doily.

I promised Ann I'd show the articles I entered for the competition, for which I showed the trophies yesterday.
This is Jane Eborall's Flowery SCMR bookmark, with a slight adaptation from Susie. It received 2nd place.
This is Roses and Vine bookmark, designed by Paula Gero, which won a first place and the little jug trophy.
This is a shopping bag in Tunisian crochet, which I made up as I went along, though I used a cross stitch flower pattern from the internet.  I was pleased that it won the trophy because there was more competition in this section than in the tatting.
My Schwalm embroidery came 2nd in the beginner section. It won't go forward to the national competition as the other articles will. There is a big VLV conference in Upington in August when work from all over South Africa will be judged.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Hardware

Yesterday I received the trophies and certificates for my crochet, tatting and embroidery. Goodness. Perhaps I undersold my achievements. I'll keep the trophies for a year and then hand them on to the next winner.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As Promised

As promised, a picture of me wearing the Katharine Hepburn Jacket. Betty in the habedashery shop found the buttons for me. I took the cardigan in to show her because I know that she wants to learn to spin one day. Here's a closer view of the buttons

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Round 11 Begun

 Just. I finished round 10 and made a start on round 11. After two rounds that required two shuttles, I merrily wound two shuttles with green for this round. Oops. One shuttle and ball would be fine. It's not serious, but will mean more joins than strictly necessary.

Working on Round 10

 I'm working on round 10 of the Spring Doily. I have to get over the idea that I'll finish a round in a day. When the doily gets this large, it takes some time to complete one round!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Add Buttons

I've finished knitting my cardigan, but will have to wait until I go to town again to buy buttons for it. I spun 14 skeins of wool, each just over 9 metres in length. I have very little left over, so  my estimating was spot on. I know I've said it before, but the pattern is Katharine Hepburn Jacket, designed by Kathy Zimmerman, a free pattern from Knitting Daily. I made the sleeves full length rather than the 3/4 length of the original. I also used 4mm needles instead of 3.75mm and knitted the smallest size to get the measurements for the second size, my handspun wool being a little thicker than the yarn specified. After reading this entry on the Not so Granny blog,  I thought that when I've sewn the buttons on, I'll show a picture of myself wearing the cardigan. Perhaps.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

On Track

I'm making progress on the second sleeve of my cardigan. I had to increase on every 8th row, which on a 12 row pattern boggled my mind a bit. So on the first sleeve, after I made each increase, I wrote down which row the next increase would be on. On the second sleeve, I crossed those figures off as I completed the increases. Now I'm increasing every 6th row, which is easy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sleeve Blunder

 I counted the stitches on my needle and was puzzled to find I had far fewer stitches than I should have done. I was sure I had increased the right number of times at the right intervals. The pattern didn't seem to have a mistake in it. Eventually I worked out that I had cast on too few stitches. Hmmm. What to do? What to do? The obvious answer was to unravel the work and begin again. But... I was never altogether sure about the three-quarter length sleeve in the pattern. Perhaps I could make the sleeve longer and incorporate the missing stitches. Yes, I think it has worked. Now to make another sleeve the same.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tatting Mentioned on Fashion Police

On a recent episode of Fashion Police, Joan Rivers asked Martha Stewart, no less, which craft she couldn't do, and she answered, 'Tatting'.  How cool is that? She said she'd been trying to learn it but couldn't get to grips with it. She also explained that she was talking about a kind of lace making, not tattoos.  If some of you American ladies could give Martha some tips, it could be a big boost for tatting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Round 9

 I needed a break from knitting, so I tatted round 9 of the Spring Doily. That, of course, is the advantage of having more than one project on the go at once.

The simplicity of tatting

 I used double knitting cotton yarn to try to persuade a group of 34 women that tatting is really quite simple. I had just started talking when someone called out, 'You can speak English', which was a bit disconcerting as I'd psyched  myself up to speak Afrikaans! I carried on in Afrikaans with the odd English word thrown in for good measure. I concentrated on the basics of tatting, rather than the requirements for next year's tatting competition.There was a lot of interest in my doilies, which were passed around. I had attached notes to them, such as 'this one won't do for the competition because it uses variegated thread' and 'this one is too small for the competition'.  I've made loose arrangements to give lessons to two ladies in the future, so that's a good sign.

Once I'd given my talk I could enjoy the demonstrations of other crafts, from pewter work to weaving.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ready for Monday

 I didn't make any converts to tatting at the talk I did last May, so I'm going to use a different approach this time. I'm going to go from the beginning and try to emphasise how simple tatting is! I'm going to use the double knitting cotton yarn, turquoise and black,  to demonstrate the basic stitch and elements of tatting. Hopefully that will be clear enough for a room full of people to see. I'll also speak in Afrikaans, since it will be the language in general use, though  not my first language.  Linda gave me some articles from an Afrikaans magazine, so I could learn the right Afrikaans terms. I hope this will be more successful in generating interest in tatting.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Background Colour

I went through my fabric stash this morning and tried different fabrics behind the 'Under An African Sky' doily. I won't show you them all, but here's a selection:

The funny thing is, red looks alright in real life, but horrible on screen, whereas mint green looks fine here, but I didn't like it in reality. I've settled on cream. Rather a safe choice, but in looks fine in both versions and doesn't detract from any of the colours of the doily. I've prepared the fabric by sewing running stitch to mark eighths, so I can block the doily carefully to be sure the segments are all the same. So don't take too much notice of the wobbly look here!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another Lesson

Linda came today for another tatting lesson. It's been a few weeks since the last one, because we have both been away. Linda said she was getting withdrawal symptoms! We continued to work on Emma Crewes' clover and daisy pattern. Last time I showed Linda theoretically how to work the round that uses two shuttles, but she needed more help to really understand how it works. I think she has it now. She has bought several shuttles of different types and colours, so was able to keep track by having the yellow shuttle as shuttle 1 and blue shuttle as shuttle 2. As long as she remembers that the blue shuttle acts like the ball thread, she'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


 On Monday I'm to give a talk about the tatting section of a competition  held by a South African women's organisation. First step is to make sure my doilies conform with the guidelines for presentation - 'Article must be displayed on a firm, fabric-covered base' and 'Attach 2/3 of article to the base'. I'm going to have to cover them with plastic too so that they can be handled without becoming grubby. The competition is not until early next year - the information day on Monday is intended to give help to those who plan to enter the competition then.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Back is Done

 I've finished knitting the back of my cardigan. I like this kind of knitting, working from a chart.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Pattern

The other day I was watching 'Call the Midwife', a TV series set in the late 1950s, and thought, I want a cardigan like that, but lacy. So I was delighted to find the Katharine Hepburn Jacket, designed by Kathy Zimmerman, amongst the free patterns on knittingdaily from Interweave Press. It fits the bill perfectly. As the blurb says, 'Kathy followed typical 1950s styling'. I expect to have to make adjustments to allow for the fact that I'm using handspun wool in place of the specified yarn. But according to my swatch, I should be able to use the figures for the smallest size in order to get the measurements for the second size. I hope it's that simple, but I may need to make adjustments to the armhole and top of the sleeve.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fabric Galore

On our shopping trip last week, my daughter picked out these fabrics to take back to Australia with her. She's going to make a quilt with them. They're 100% cotton, printed in South Africa.

 Penny carried fabric in the other direction too. Jack, my husband, commissioned her to find a fabric that I would really like. Splendid, isn't it?

Friday, May 2, 2014


 I finished tatting round 8 of the Spring Doily quite early yesterday. As I was pondering whether to begin round 9 or do some spinning, pffft, the electricity went off and that answered that question. I hadn't yet downloaded the pattern for round 9 and without electricity I couldn't get onto the internet. The power was off all day. With no electrical distractions, I concentrated marvellously on the task and spun about half what I  need to knit myself a cardigan.