Wednesday, January 31, 2018


This is Lace-lovin' Librarian's Hexagon Ice Drop, which can be found here. I haven't used Josephine knots a great deal, but I like how they look here. I did round 3 before round 2, a trick I learnt from Nicola Bowersox's patterns, so that the gem doesn't need to go in until right at the end. It doesn't work with all patterns, I have to remember (!) but it works for this one.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


I discovered my leaf braid lurking in the bottom of a handbag I haven't used for some time. It was in a horrible tangle! I spent some time sorting it out and then decided to get on and finish it. I used up all the Cebelia 20 thread. It's a pattern I really like working, so it didn't matter that I don't have a specific use for it. I've wound it around the original core of the thread, in the hope of preventing future tangles.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Day 6 and Renulek 2018

I joined the last chain on day 5 to the next ring - which of course was not in Jane's instructions at all! So I had to begin day 6 by undoing that lock join and then trying to follow a bit more carefully. Whatever it is I'm making.

Renata has started her Spring Doily for 2018.  She's going to give the stitch count for each round, once a week. If you don't like that way of working, you can buy the pattern from her Etsy shop, but I'm going to go the weekly route. I found a home for last year's doily, no problem, so I figure I will be able to find a home for this one too. My self-imposed mission is to climb out of each round as much as possible. Usually I wind on just enough thread for the round, but this time I have filled two shuttles and used a split chain so that I am ready for round 2. The thread is Coats size 40, bought in a charity shop in England a few years ago.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Elephants And Peacocks

I still think Jane Eborall's tat it and see looks like an elephant's trunk. I was thinking in terms of tatting the head of an elephant, or the TIAS would take all year! The contrasting thread to come is for the tusks?

I tried out muskaan's peacock motif, the pattern is on this post. I don't have thread in the wonderful turquoise that muskaan used, but I like it all the same. My stitch count for the third ring is not right, but if I did it again I would shorten the second layer and then make the third one according to the pattern.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Peg Bag

Every time I hung up my washing I'd think, 'I must make a new peg bag'. Then that thought would completely vanish until the next laundry day! Finally I've got around to making a new peg bag. I wanted it lined and sturdy. I thought I'd mentally figured out how to make a lined bag, but when I came to actually construct it, I couldn't figure out how to get everything in the right place, with no raw edges showing.  Luckily, I could just look on the internet and find a good tutorial. Aha. I followed the step-by-step instructions and voila, I have a new bag to keep my pegs in.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Day 4

I've done day 4 of Jane's tat it and see. Could it be the trunk of a rather psychedelic elephant??

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Moth

In March last year, I wrote about a very large, green caterpillar that Jack found in the garden. Steve Ogden from Wildlife Insights said he thought it was a Speckled Emperor and advised us to give it a box of leaf mould to pupate in. Jack found an old tin bath which he filled with leaf mould and the caterpillar duly burrowed down and formed a chrysalis. Steve did say it could be weeks or months before it hatched out, or it may not hatch out at all. For months the tin bath has been on the veranda, just outside the front door, nothing much appearing to happen.  On Saturday evening I went to water the herbs on the veranda and, luckily, spotted the moth trying to climb out of the bath! Jack had put branches in the bath for the new moth to use to climb out, but it hadn't found them, was repeatedly climbing up the sides of the bath and then falling back. Jack rescued it and put it on a small quince tree in the front garden. At that stage, its wings were tightly furled. Over the next couple of hours, the wings gradually opened. We took photos throughout the process, so it's possible to see the sequence:

Steve Ogden confirms that it is indeed a Speckled Emperor Moth. It had flown away by morning, so I'm glad we were able to get the final photo, despite the fact that it was dark by the time the wings were fully opened. Our neighbour Craig was here and clearly thought we were a little crazy, to be so excited about a moth, but after all this time we were glad to see the end of the process!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Beaded Swirl and Day 3

I added beads to the the Swirl Ice Drop, designed by CreaHelga. I added 25 beads to the second shuttle and put them in place on the picots that are not joined. A little bit of thread shows, but to me that's better than gluing beads on - glue and I are not friends! At night the beads twinkle and it looks like a swirling galaxy.

This is day 3 of Jane Eborall's tat it and see. We've turned a corner, but I can't tell you what it is!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day 2

South Africa is two hours ahead of UK (when there's no daylight saving), so it's mid-morning before Jane's tat it and see appears here. I wait with bated breath! It's now too long to be the body of a butterfly, but I suppose it is the centre of something, with picots both sides. 

Friday, January 19, 2018


This pattern by CreaHelga is written for needle tatting, but works fine with shuttles. I made a joining mistake early on, and then compensated for it later, rather than correcting the mistake. It's not too obvious, though you can see it if you look! I love the sense of movement in this ice drop.

 I like the beaded version of the pattern too, but am not happy with the idea of gluing beads to the outer picots. I might need to think about another plan for that.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

No chains

Yesterday Lace-lovin' Librarian Diane showed, in this post, icedrops made with fewer chains. When I asked in comments how she did it, she kindly explained, so today I gave it a go. It's not a huge difference and is possibly more awkward to work, but it's another option!  Thanks Diane.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

And We're Off!

Jane Eborall's tat it and see begins today. Here is my day 1. Hmm, could be anything at this early stage.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

All Set

I'm all set for Jane Eborall's Tat it and see, which begins tomorrow. Here's a link to the introduction.
I'm giving my silver shuttle its annual outing:

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Back

This is the back of my embossed leaves scarf. I like how it looks, negative leaves perhaps. Since the back of a scarf is also seen, I have been careful to make my increases and decreases regular and hide the ends of wool invisibly. I'm sure it will look better after blocking too. Oh, and thanks to Crafty Sylvie, I am now using half double crochet on the edges, which are keeping much straighter.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

In French

Julie contacted me a while ago to ask if she could translate my pattern Under an African Sky into French and use it for a tat-along. Of course! I'm delighted, take it as a great compliment. The group has reached round 5, as you can see on Julie's post here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I was so excited about the embossed leaves that I didn't give much thought to the edges of my scarf. When I did, I realised that a Back Post Double Crochet shortens the stitch, so of course doing a double crochet (treble, in English crochet terms) next to it will result in a wobbly edge. I'm going to have to start again. That's fine. I'm happy with how the leaves look, and I accept that learning by trial and error rather than following a pattern is bound to require unraveling.

Forget Boring!

The time for handing in my crocheted beret and scarf for competition is rapidly approaching. I really need to finish the scarf. But, as I explained in this post, the scarf was so boring, I was finding it difficult to keep motivated. On Tuesday I was scrolling through Pinterest on my phone when I came across Embossed Leaves Reversible Shawl by Furl Crochet. Aha, that could be the very thing to solve my problem. The link said it was a free pattern, but I couldn't find the pattern. After some sleuthing I found this page on Bonita Patterns blog on how to do embossed crochet. It has a pattern for a hexagon in embossed crochet. I grabbed the nearest hook and wool and gave it a go. Once I understood the principle involved, I did a lot of scribbling and worked out a flat version that could work for a scarf:
I know that the judges, especially at National level, like traditional, conventional techniques.  I was  advised by the fundis not to get too carried away. But one of the reasons I enter competitions is to learn something and honestly I just couldn't hand in a boring brown scarf. So I took the plunge and yesterday evening unraveled my scarf. I was a little appalled at how much work I was destroying, but it's done now and I must get on with my new version forthwith!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


I posted off 48 squares to the Brussels project this morning. My aim was 50.  I was sure I'd tatted more than that, but no, when I counted this morning there were 48. I don't plan to go to town again for a fortnight, so I decided to send them off as is. I printed off the pattern for my little square and sent that along too. I contemplated sending an ice drop square, but it would've make the envelope lumpy, so I didn't.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Half A Brain

When I tat a simple motif over and over, I tend to go onto autopilot. The bit of brain that wasn't tatting squares wondered if I could join squares in one pass to make a bookmark. Mmm, no. Needs more than half a brain for that!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Further Tweaking And A Pattern

Thanks for all the suggestions on how to get my Ice Drop squarer! I took them onboard and did some tweaking, taking photos as I went, to use in a pattern. I have duly written the pattern and put a link on the right hand side of this page. Here it is again.  I dithered about whether to call it Square Ice Drop or Ice Drop Square! The world won't end either way, but I settled on Ice Drop Square.

Here's a picture to show the evolution of the Ice Drop Square:

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Tatting doesn't really lend itself to square, with its curved chains and circular rings. But I increased the size of the rings at the corners and think this one looks better than yesterday's version. I could perhaps increase the outward-facing rings a wee bit more. I blocked it, but don't want a design that has to be blocked into submission!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Square Ice Drop

Here's an ice drop based on my Alternative Brussels Square pattern. The corners could perhaps be a bit bigger and more prominent, but it's not bad as a prototype. With the clear 'gem', the centre ring shows, which I like.

Squares, squares, squares

I hope to have at least 50 squares to send off to the Brussels monument project.  I've used three different patterns: the original, the Weldon square from Craftree and my own Alternative Brussels square, link on the right hand side bar. Having some variation keeps things interesting, and as long as they measure 3 cm square, they should be acceptable.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


I used fragments from my tatting box to decorate a felt needlebook for my granddaughter, who will be turning 10 later this month. Here are the inside 'pages':

It's the sort of little gift that will either be lost in a week or still lurking in 50 years time!