Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Now that the ducklings have a lot of their feathers, they look more like the pictures in the bird book. We think they're Red Billed Teal. Their beaks are gradually changing from black to pink. We haven't seen any adult Red Billed Teal, but the book does say they are found in this area, so presumably we just haven't noticed them. The ducklings are getting a bit restless now. But I think they'll need to grow a few more feathers before they'll be ready to move on.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blouse One

I chose the colours of the fabric to pick up the pink tatting on the skirt. And I wanted a pattern to contrast with the plainness of the skirt fabric. The fabric is a bit light considering we are going into Winter, but Summer will return!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I went to the material shop in town to buy some white sewing thread. They didn't have any, much to my consternation. I picked up some off-white thread and then had a look around. I found some invisible thread. Hmmm, I've been interested in trying that, since I read about it on Jane Eborall's blog. I won't have to worry whether to match the tatting or the material when I'm sewing on motifs. I bought another zip for my stash and two lengths of material to make blouses. As Jack said, I did pretty well, considering that the shop didn't have what I was looking for!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Leaves

I'm working on another leaf braid. It goes along quite quickly when I work on it, rather than just tatting it in odd moments! The thread is Cebelia 20. I don't use these shuttles often, but they're good for this job because they hold a lot of thread and the fact that they have no hooks doesn't matter because there are no joins.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


This work is not mine. I went yesterday to a meeting of the craft group I belong to, but since the project involved glue and paint, I decided I'd just watch. Marietjie showed us how to make flowers from egg cartons. Pretty amazing. If you want to see more images of such flowers on the internet, have a look here There are also videos on the internet showing exactly what to do. I shan't be using them, but I do think it's an interesting idea.

Monday, March 23, 2015


The organisation I belong to is collecting baby wraps to send to a children's hospital. This is my contribution. It's made from cotton muslin that I hemmed and dyed. I did consider leaving it white, but I thought some colour was more cheerful and cheering. Nicola Bowersox's Kiss Curl Heart makes a perfect decoration on one corner.

Hearts Galore

The heart in the centre is Two Hearts as One by Martha Ess. I tatted it some time ago as part of my 25-motif challenge. It certainly was a challenge! It has been lurking in my tatting tin since then, waiting for the right time to be used. A wedding present seems appropriate to me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Duckling Update

The wild ducklings are looking a lot more like ducks now. The one with a sore leg succumbed a couple of nights ago, so now there are five ducklings. Jack has put a basin of water in their pen for them to swim in. We bought some growers' mash for them in town this week, but some of the corn in it is a bit big for them. I think they prefer the ground up cattle food. They're not easy to photograph, but this picture shows one of them clearly. Funny how their beaks are changing colour from black to pink.

Heart on a Button and Happy Heart

The heart on a button is Jane Eborall's pattern, which you can find here. I want to put one in each corner of my food cover. The top pink one is made exactly according to the pattern, but on the others I shortened the side chains from 16 ds to 12 ds.

The other heart is Happy Heart, designed by Frivole. It's a sweet heart and good practice for Catherine Wheel joins. I was pleased with myself that I didn't have to look the method up again, though the first couple of joins were a little wonky.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kiss Curl Heart

I saw this heart on Frivole's blog and tracked it down to Craftree.  I really haven't got the hang of finding my way around Craftree. Luckily Muskaan came to my rescue again and kindly sent me a link to the PDF pattern. The design is by Nicola Bowersox. It was originally for needle tatting, but works fine with a shuttle. It starts with a chain, of course. I used the method I learnt a long time ago from the Julia Sanders book - just tie a knot in the thread, which prevents the core thread from disappearing.
I really like this pattern - can you tell? It's possible I went a bit overboard and won't need all these for my foodcover, but I think it will be a useful doodle to have in my tatting tin.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Heart's Desire

I'm still tatting hearts. The lower one is Heart's Desire by Susan Fuller, tatted in size 40 thread. I way over filled the pink shuttle, so used the left over thread to tat SweetHeart by Birgit Phelps. I didn't block them because I'll get them properly into shape as I sew them to the food cover.

More Hearts

The top heart is Christmas Heart designed by Anne Bruvold, tatted in Milford thread size 20. The lower one is Li'l Heart by Birgit Phelps, tatted in Anchor Freccia 3 ply, which has a metallic thread in it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Queen of Hearts

This is Queen of Hearts from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. The thread is a charity shop find, Coats size 60. This is my second attempt. I made a mistake joining at the top and went quite a way before noticing. I thought of all the different options - untat, cut, carry on regardless - and decided to just start again. I haven't sewn the ends in because I plan to sew this to my food cover and
can just fasten the ends on the underside.

Friday, March 13, 2015

This Way and That

A couple of eagle eyed people told me yesterday that the stitch count I gave for the braid was not correct. Er, turn the braid over and the stitch count matches. But it's possible to tat the braid either way, so here's an alternative stitch count:
SR1: 6-2/4
SR 2: 4/6-2

I'm sewing the braid to the edge of a food cover, with a bead between each split ring, to add a bit of weight to the edging. A slow process, but effective, I think.
One of the ducklings has a sore leg. I don't know what happened to it or what we can do about it. I hope it will heal on its own.

I've just taken this photo from out the diningroom window.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Leaf Braid

This braid has been lurking in my handbag for quite some time, worked on at odd times when I had to wait around for something. Now I have a use for it, so I finished it off, using finger tatting for the last split ring so that I could get the maximum out of the thread! This is my adaptation of a pattern I saw in Anna Burda magazine. I've worked it using split rings instead of leaving a little length of thread between rings as they did.
SR 1: 2-6/4
SR 2: 4/2-6
The thread is Cebelia 20 that I dyed myself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Trophy Regained

I went yesterday to the area conference of the organisation I belong to - Vroue-Landbouvereniging van Kaapland, abbreviated to VLV-K. For the second year, tatting was the craft for the floating section. Last year I was the only entrant at the area level, but this year I was joined by Linda, who has been coming to me for lessons. Click here to see my doily and here to see Linda's.  No surprise really that I came first and she came second, but I was really glad to have a fellow competitor! Both doilies will go forward to the National competition later in the year.

For those who followed my dilemma about whether to enter the traditional doily or the modern Under An African Sky one,  I talked to the judge yesterday and we agreed that I would send both of them forward to the national competition. So that even if the judges there don't approve, it will be seen.

I like the details on the tray, but I must say it mixes its metaphors. There's a Greek key pattern around an Eastern looking symbol; elephants on one side and deer on the other, which are never seen in the same place in nature.... I'm not sure if they're supposed to have significance or the maker just put in whatever he fancied.

Oh, and my Frost flowers top came second in the knitting section. No trophy, but it will go forward to the national competition.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


This is Jane Eborall's pattern. I love the shape of it, but my colour choice is not good. The difference between the two colours is too stark. God's Kid version is much better. I almost gave up on it half way, but decided to use it as a practice piece. I'll make it again some day in more complementary colours.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dachshound Sock Pattern

I really like Sandra Jager's sock patterns, can you tell? This is the third of her patterns I've used from Ravelry. I'm a bit worried this one will be too small for the intended recipient. Hmm. Should I  finish this pair and then make another pair, or set this aside for now and work on a bigger version?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ready To Wear

I've finished sewing down the edging. I think the answer is to focus on the sewing and not think how much more fun it would be to be tatting or knitting! So now my skirt is ready for wear.

The grass is damp this morning so Jack has moved the duck pen under cover. The ducklings are on cement, which is not as pleasant for them as grass, but they don't like to get wet. I tried to take a photo of them, but the shed is not well lit and the ducklings are elusive.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Stitch By Stitch

I'm making progress on sewing the edging to my skirt. It took me a while to pin the tatting. I used a ruler to measure to the edge of the skirt and the distance between pattern repeats.  I've sewn down row 2 and started on row 1. It always takes me a few repeats to get a good 'pathway' to sew down all the picots.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Skirting The Issue

My neighbour Dorie came over for coffee the other day and brought me a length of black fabric. She bought it to make trousers for herself, but said she's never going to get around to the task, so she'd rather give the fabric to me. I made a skirt with it this morning. It has a lovely weight and drape. But where black trousers would be elegant, a black skirt is simply boring. I have worked Wanda's Queen's Crown Edging in a bold three ply Anchor Freccia to brighten the skirt up. Sewing it to the skirt will take a while. I want to do it thoroughly so that I will be able to put the skirt in the washing machine without it getting distorted.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Here Be Dragons

I'm showing the dragon socks on my feet, but they're not for me, they're for Lizzie.  Thanks to Maureen for giving me the idea of having the dragons facing in different directions on the two socks. The chart for the dragons is by Sandra Jager, Red Dragon chart, on Ravelry. The natural wool is handspun, the black and red commercial sock wool.

New Home For Ducklings

The ducklings are getting a bit big now to spend all their time in the yellow crate. So yesterday Jack  made a pen for them outside the diningroom window, with the yellow crate turned on its side to provide a shelter. They seem to be happy in there, nibbling at the grass and running around. They came back inside for the night. There are owls and other hazards at night and it could get chilly out there for ducklings with no mum to keep them warm.
They're not really easy to photograph, but this gives some idea.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Snip Rings, Not Chains

A few months ago, I had to back track on my tatting because I'd made a mistake that was too far back to get to by undoing stitch by stitch. I was about to cut off everything beyond the mistake when I realised I could cut the rings off, cut the shuttle thread,  but leave the chain thread intact. It was so obvious that I thought everyone must know that except me! But when I read Martha's post about how she had a similar revelation, I thought it might be worth writing about. So here goes, step by step:
The second ring has too many picots.

Cut the last ring, taking care not to cut the chain.

Ring removed.
Slide the chain along at a picot to expose the core thread.

Put the hook under the core thread and pull so that it is removed from the middle of the chain and the chain unravels.
It'll look like this.
Repeat until the whole chain has unravelled. On a short chain, you can do it in one, but on a longer chain it's better to do it bit by bit.
Snip the next ring.
Continue until there is only one ring left that you want to undo.

Don't cut the final ring too close to the chain, because you want some thread to join to.

Now there is enough thread to join the new shuttle thread to and the ball thread remains intact.
Voila! There are only two ends to hide instead of four.