Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

1-2-3 Where's Your Breakfast?

"1-2-3, where's your breakfast?" That's what the animals say in Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories as they disappear into the forest. I didn't really want my giraffes to disappear. So I redid them against a lighter background:
Better! The giraffe socks were designed by Sandra Jager. I found the pattern on Ravelry. Who could resist?

I knitted the giraffes upside down and inside out:

The upside down is because I'm knitting the sock from cuff to toe, so for the giraffes to be correct when the socks are finished, the chart must be worked from top to bottom. The inside out is a tip from Terry Morris that I read in an Interweave Press article. Fairisle socks have a tendency to be too tight and stiff. Terry had several tips to avoid this, but she said the best one is to turn the sock inside out and work the fairisle like that. There's less tendency to pull the floats tight as you would if they were on the inside of the sock. So far, so good, I think the sock will fit my grandson.

Day 9

A question mark
I surely see.
Now what can
This tatting be?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Magic Square

I've had the Magic Square on my to-do list for a while. It's much trickier than it appears at first glance! I knew that Muskaan had done work on the magic square. I did look at her blog, but realise now that I missed her crucial post, which is here. I e-mailed Muskaan who very kindly pointed me in the right direction. I had also been unsuccessful in searching Craftree, but Muskaan gave me a link to the discussion there too. I printed out Patty's diagram and followed that. Not without a struggle, as you can see below:
I used a size 40 thread, as part of my campaign to use finer threads. I will explore the magic square further, but I'm pleased with progress so far. Thanks very much Muskaan for your help!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Heart Earrings

The pattern for these earrings is on Mary's blog, here. They're not as simple as they may look. I'm familiar with layered tatting, where the layers are not joined to each other, but in this pattern the upper small rings are joined to the lower bigger rings. I read Corina Meyfeldt's notes here and followed her link to Georgia Seitz's notes on Ankars tatting. I'd like to say, 'Before I began', but actually it was after I realised I didn't know what I was doing! The beads are sewn on after the tatting is done, which is a first for me. I think they turned out fine. Thanks for the pattern Mary.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 8

We had a date
For segment eight.
It was a lesson
To keep us guessin'!

Friday, January 23, 2015


Handspun wool looks so attractive in skeins, but it's not practical to knit from skeins, so I duly got my skein holder and ball winder out and wound the skeins into balls. Then I went off to drink coffee with my neighbour and give her the packet of wool. Dorie was delighted and immediately started thinking about how she was going to use it. I'll be interested to see what she makes.

I came back with produce from Dorie's garden - grapes, tomatoes and figs. The figs had been prepared for jam making, so I had to get them into the pot as soon as I got home.

Day 7

I had a moment of panic when I thought my button was too big and the last ring wouldn't join to the first, but no, it fitted, there was no problem!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snail Mail

Early in December last year, I entered a give away draw on Wendy's Umi and Tsuru blog and won! Hooray. I sent my postal address to Wendy and she posted it off. I received it yesterday. At last. Last week it occurred to me that Wendy might think I was ill mannered in not thanking her for it, so I e-mailed her to say that I hadn't yet received it, though I didn't want her to think that I expected her to replace it. I was afraid that it was lost in the system, but no, it arrived eventually.

Thanks very much Wendy. It's beautifully delicate and reminds me that I must do more tatting with finer thread.

There was a pretty origami bow with the bag. Wendy had to tell me to look inside for her note because I was reluctant to destroy the bow by opening it! I took a photo first.
Lovely idea.

Day 6

Day Six is done,
It’s lots of fun
Though what it will be
I cannot see.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spinning a Gift

For a while I've been thinking that I should spin some wool for a neighbour who is a keen knitter and crocheter. I always have more ideas and intentions than time or energy to carry them out, but I began this task on my to-do list yesterday.

 I think 400g should be enough to be useful. I weighed out 100g of wool top on my kitchen scale and then measured out three more strips the same length. 100g of wool pretty well fills one bobbin, so that will be two batches of two bobbins spun and then plyed together. At my present rate of progress, that'll take me four days.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Boot Socks

I've finished knitting the boot socks. Interesting how the hand dyed wool came out stripy. It's an optical illusion really, the eye joins up small white bits to make narrow white stripes that aren't really there.

Have a look at Tat-a-girl's version of my simple earrings pattern. They look really good!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 5

A beak perhaps. Though I also think of crab claws. I said windmill to Jane, but on second thoughts perhaps the sticky out bits are not straight enough for windmill sails. Hmmm.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Go Around Again

As Go Dog Go would say.  My plan was to  use commercial sock wool for heels and toes and handspun for cuff and foot of these boot socks. I thought a short row heel would work best, so I looked up on Ravelry and found this tutorial. It's a little different to how I've done short rows before, which is fine, I like to try out new techniques. But it took me several attempts to get right. The first time I turned at 'the gap' on the second half of the heel, as per the instructions. But it wasn't always easy to see exactly where the gap was and I got into a muddle. I started again and counted stitches on each row which helped me keep track better.

I finished the second version and tried the sock on.

That's clearly absurd. I'd obviously reduced to too few stitches, so instead of fitting my heel, the sock had was a silly little point on it. I started over again, knitting fewer rows.

Better. And as you can see on the top picture, the heel is neat. Now to repeat the short row process for the toes and make another sock the same.

Day 4

I wonder if there will be more sticky out bits to follow?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Magic Shapes

My Masquerade has the same number of repeats as Mary Konior's picture. I did contemplate making a long runner, doubling the length, but I think I'll leave it as is for now. I'm thinking of framing it. It would look good against a dark blue background perhaps.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I made a  little boxy pouch to put Nellie's socks in, rather than using wrapping paper. It didn't take long to make and I thought it would be more useful than paper. I added the earrings that I designed with Nellie in mind, and sweets (or lollies as they call them in New Zealand) to fill in the corners.

Day 3 and Following Instructions

When I came to tat Day 3 of Jane's Tat It and See, I realised that I hadn't finished Day 2 correctly. I'd left off the last chain and finished with a ring. Tut tut. Obviously there had to be a chain before I did the first ring of today's tat, so I had to go back to page 2 and see what I ought to have tatted last time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Twinkle Toes

Since I added beads to granddaughter Isabel's socks, I thought I'd add beads to these socks for granddaughter Nellie too. I threaded the beads onto the wool, which I had spun and dyed, and then moved them into position as I needed them. The pattern works well for this because I can put the beads between two purl stitches.

The socks are ready to be posted off to New Zealand for Nellie's birthday.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 2

Do I see gaposis? Oh goodness. I suppose I could start over, but I suspect that once I get further along the minute gap is not going to be noticed. Tiny rings are tricky to get looking neat, aren't they?

I was pleased to get my computer back with some of its programs reloaded, but the computer man has fixed the symptoms without sorting out the cause.  I started using it this morning, pfft, it switched itself off again. I'm back to using Jack's computer Sigh....

Friday, January 9, 2015


I visualised the earrings with a beaded ring at the top with the hook off it,  but I struggled to get the ring to hang symmetrically. I decided to make a miniature version at the top, which works ok. But then I realised that I could just hang the hook off one ring to make really simple earrings. Could be a good pattern to show off pretty beads.

Wind 80 cm  onto the shuttle and add 4 beads and a hook.
R1: Put 1 bead and the hook on the back of the hand. 2 vsp, 6, add hook to picot, 6, vsp, 2. Close. The bead will be caught at the base of the ring.
R2: 1 bead at back of hand. 2 + (vsp) 6-6vsp,2, Close.
R3: The same.
R4: 1 bead at back of hand. 2+(vsp)6-6+(vsp on R1)2. Close.
Hide ends. (I tatted over the beginning thread in the first ring and sewed the other end under the caps)
Make another one!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sisal Flowers

I looked at my clean kitchen this morning and thought, 'It should always look like this'. It probably should, but then I'd get nothing else done. Neither my kitchen floor nor the bit of progress I've made on Masquerade are very interesting, so here's a picture of some sisal flowers. They catch the light in the evenings in a really interesting way and stand out against the other vegetation.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 1

Jane Eborall has started her Tat It and See for 2015. It's an excellent way to start off the year. Jane gives the pattern in small bits over some time. The really fun bit is that no one except Jane knows what we're tatting. Guesses start from the very beginning though. It's great fun to visit the Tat It and See blog, read where tatters comes from, what thread they're using,  what they think it is, and so on.

For the record, the thread I'm using is Cebelia, a pretty light peach colour.  Size 20, as specified by Jane. I'm using the silver shuttle that my husband had made for me a few years ago, and a clover shuttle.

I'm not much good at guessing what we're making, so I'm certainly not going to start this early in the proceedings!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I'm working on Mary Konior's Masquerade. I just love the way the motifs come together to make interesting shapes in between.

I had a couple of false starts. The first flower had too many petals. The first motif had petals that are all the same, whereas the outer petals should be 3-6-6-3 and the inner ones 3-4-4-3. The good thing about doing a practice motif was that I realised that the tension needs to be very firm, especially on the short chains between each repeat. And picots must be kept small.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feather Stitch

Thanks very much for all the responses to my previous post. Although the general consensus was that the flower fragment should be added, I decided to go with Carollyn's suggestion and do some white feather stitch around the edge. That's because what was really bothering me was that the turned in fabric allowance was showing through. I thought the flower fragment would distract the eye from that, but the feather stitch was a better solution. Thanks Carollyn!

I had to look up a tutorial on feather stitch, practise it for a bit and then do it. My stitches are not absolutely even, but I'm happy with the result. The flower fragment will go into my tatting tin until I find the perfect use for it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Place Mat

Well, I finished the Spinning Wheel place mat from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. Of course if I call it a place mat I'll have to make a whole lot more to match. I don't think so. I made so many mistakes in the last few repeats - 'Waar was my kop?' as they say round here: 'Where was my head?' Thankfully the Milford 20 is tightly spun and rings open easily without damage to the thread. I tatted a flower fragment from the same book, but I haven't  yet sewn it to the mat. It could be too much?