Saturday, September 29, 2018

Butterflies Tethered

Practising in an arbitrary way is a bit aimless, so I decided to tat Ninetta's Swirling Butterflies, even though I'm not really proficient in treble tatting. This is a practice piece.  Ninetta's pattern is in two parts, the first part is here and the second part is here. I followed muskaan's suggestion and tatted the butterflies separately, tethering them with the chain. It means the green round is worked with one shuttle and ball. I found it wasn't necessary to put safety pins to hold the inward picots on the butterfly bodies, the trebles are flexible enough to be moved apart for joining. I used size 20 thread. handdyed DMC Cebelia and Milford and the motif measures 11 cm across.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Playing With Butterflies

I've been using scraps of thread to tat Ninetta's butterfly. For the white one, I took a technique from Jane Eborall's SCMR butterfly and used a split ring to make the head, so that the ends could be snipped for the antennae and don't have to be hidden. They look rather scruffy, I probably need more practice before I attempt Ninetta's pattern, but it's a start.

By the way, I wind thread left over on shuttles onto bread bag ties to use for such experiments:
I also followed Ninetta's links on this post to learn how to make a wide picot:
Clever! I managed to grasp it more quickly than I grasped treble tatting, hooray.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I like to try out new tatting techniques, so I was happy to try out Ninetta Caruso's treble tatting when I saw I didn't make much progress, just a tangled mess, which is no fault of Ninetta's, just my poor grasp. When I read muskaan's description  of an alternative way of creating the stitch, I gave it a go and got along much better. It just seems more straight forward to me. So I could go on to tat Ninetta's spiral ring. Aha. I think.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Spring Flowers

Our flower garden is tiny, but very colourful at the moment, with marigolds and violas, pansies and dianthus. Even a sweetpea. At last the weather is warming up and Spring is definitely sprung.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Knitting Thimble

A friend sent me a knitting thimble, used for multicolour knitting, so I've been trying it out. The two colours are threaded through the spirals so that they're kept separate. It only works for continental style knitting:
Of course it would take practice to work up speed using the method. The problem for me is that I think my normal method works better, not so much for the front of the work as for the back. I usually hold one colour in each hand:
With this method, it's very easy to weave the second colour behind the work: knit one stitch with the left hand yarn held away from the work and the next with the yarn held against the needle, so that the working thread catches it. In this way, long floats can be avoided:
The floats in this sample were only 3 stitches long, so not too bad, but I wouldn't want to have floats longer than that. The differences in the front relate more to practice than technique:
I've been knitting with the two handed method for a long time, but still remember my excitement when I read about it in Fairlady, a South African women's magazine. It can also be used to weave in ends:
Perhaps the thimble would be good for knitting with three colours? Two colours on the thimble and the third in the other hand? I haven't done much knitting with three colours in a row, I must admit.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Working Downwards

I'm working downwards on the back of my gilet, the patterns matching the patterns on the front. There are a lot of stitches, 215 at the moment, which is why the pattern recommends using a circular needle, even though it is worked back and forth. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Structuring The Back

The back of my gilet starts just below the armholes. You cast on 67 stitches and then increase on each side on the early rows to create a curve. Stitches are then cast off to shape the armholes and then worked straight to the shoulders. End of part one. 108 stitches are picked up along the bottom curved edge and then the same pattern as the fronts knitted. Here's a reminder of what the fronts look like:
Now to get on with part two of the back.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


I'm definitely not going to model this for you - a bee stung me on my forehead a couple of days ago and my face is still horribly swollen. Which is why tatting and attaching this leaf braid to my dress has taken longer than I intended. Scroll down to the previous post for the braid pattern.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Leaf Braid With Flowers

I'm tatting a leaf braid with flowers to go around the neck of my polka dot dress, so I took some photos to show the process.

Leaf Braid With Flowers ©Jane McLellan 2018
Using a split self-closing mock ring, which I learnt from muskaan's post where she explores Randy Houtz's technique.

3 shuttles, 2 wound CTM with green thread, size 20 and shuttle 3 with white thread. Note, I used size 70 for this, but size 20 can be used, as shown below.

ds double stitch, CTM continuous thread method, jk josephine knot, SCMR self closing mock ring
Using any method for starting with a chain, work 3 ds using the shuttles wound with green thread. Then wrap the white thread around a green thread and work a josephine knot, of 12 second half stitches, hiding the end inside the jk.

First split SCMR
Using shuttle with white thread as working shuttle, wrap thread around pinky and work 2 ds, picot, 6 ds chain with green thread:

Then remove the loop of white thread from pinky and put it on forefinger. Using the other green thread, work 4 ds in direct tatting, as per the second half of a split ring:

Now pass the white thread shuttle through the loop and pull to close the ring:

Work another jk with white thread.
Second split SCMR
Work in the same way, but work 4 ds on first half and 2 ds picot 6 ds on second half.

Work these 2 split rings alternately, with jk in between.

Note, instead of working a jk for 'flowers' you can make a ring with picots:

The original leaf braid, without flowers, is shown here. The stitch count for this one is the same, just adding the third shuttle and split SCMR technique. I've made a PDF, there's a link on the right hand side of the page. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Polka Dots

I was so focused on the polka dots that I didn't look very closely at the fabric itself - it's very light and plasticky. I carried on regardless. I like the dress, but suspect it won't be one of my more long lasting garments.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Gilet Front Is Done

I like the texture. The front pieces look a little odd at the moment, but I think it'll be fine when they're joined to the back. The pattern is a little skimpy, I'd have liked a photo of the back of the gilet and a diagram with dimensions. I've read the pattern for the back several times and think I understand how it's constructed, but a picture would have been much easier.

Friday, September 7, 2018

More Shopping

When I was in the local fabric shop recently, I saw some polka dot material. Afterwards it occurred to me that it would be good for a Summer dress. Summer is hesitating - we had frost this morning - but it must arrive soon. So yesterday I went back and bought fabric, plus lining. I plan to make a put-on-and-go dress, no zips or buttons. Watch this space.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


I went to a craft group meeting yesterday and was given my beret and scarf set back from the national competition. It says the proportions of the beret are incorrect, the band is too wide. I made it narrower than the original pattern, but not narrow enough it seems. It says my trimmings are suitable and tension 'fair'. Right. 

I also showed my practice glasses case to Corlie, our resident expert. Corlie likes what I've done, but says there needs to be more embroidery. She suggested adding a frame around the motif. That's fine, that's something I can work on.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Gilet - First Steps

The knitting section for next year's competitions is a gilet for a woman. I found the pattern when I was looking for a pattern for a crochet top, so that was a bit of serendipity. It's in the March 2013 edition of Woman's Weekly Knitting and Crochet Special. The yarn is a cotton and silk blend. It shows off the different stitch patterns well, but has better drape than the pure cotton I used for pot holders.
I thought it was perfect for the pattern, since the label says 4 mm needles and the pattern calls for 4 mm needles. But my swatching showed me otherwise:
It soon became clear that the swatch with 4 mm needles was going to be too big, so I didn't complete the swatch. I knitted one with 3 mm needles. It was too dense and not quite big enough. I don't have 3.5 mm needles, but I had a look through my circular needles and found 3.75 mm. That swatch has the right width but measures 9 cm long where it should be 10 cm. Hmmm. I looked at the pattern carefully and decided I can add some extra rows of stocking stitch to make up the difference. I'm starting with the Right Front, because I think it'll be easier to match the the back to the fronts than vice versa. So far, so good, I've just got to remember to write down where I put the extra rows in,  so that I can match it on the Left Front. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Doing the Split

When I saw muskaan's post  showing her exploration of Randy Houtz's Split Self Closing Mock Ring, I had to try it. I fiddled:
It's not very difficult and has a lot of possibilities. One thing I'd like to use it for is to do a version of the leaf braid with flowers:
I think I like the josephine knot best, but the little picot flower would also work. 'Onion ring' braid? My first attempt is scruffy, but it shows the possibilities:
Muskaan created a really spectacular bracelet using a modified version of the technique.  So there's more than one way of doing the split.