2013; tatting, sewing, travel and monkeys

tatting with beads
Well, hello! Happy new year to you and yours!

If you’re a WordPress user you’ll’ve received an end-of-year review of your blog. I was shocked to see that I’d only posted 19 times last year! I thought surely I’ve been busier than that? I’ve never done my own end-of-year post before, but as it’s nice and warm inside and horrible out there I thought today might be the time to start, so here goes. A quick look at what I actually did do last year…

As you can see above, this was the year of the bead! I found a hook small enough to work with seed beads and size 80 threads, and there’s been no stopping me! I also finally worked out how to get the beads to pop above the chain rather than in them. It seems once I’d started, I couldn’t stop.

I also decided to try and work on my own patterns this year. Admittedly I only ever got to do this on the work commute, and refused to use a pen to plan things out first, so I only got this far, but I had fun anyway! I finished an edging pattern, which I made available here – and I even spotted someone using it. I do plan to continue working on my own designs this year, so we’ll see how that goes.

Trips abroad
This was another year where living in Europe brings huge benefits! Nice places to visit and nothing to far away. I was lucky enough to visit (clockwise from top left):

Barcelona –  A lovely, relaxed trip with old work colleagues who have become friends. A visit to the Sagrada Familia was a real treat; it’s the first time I’ve been back since the new windows and roof were finished. The colours and shapes are really breathtaking.

Skelleftea, Sweden, for work. This was a beautiful place, and the first time I’ve experienced 24 hour daylight! I was made so incredibly welcome too, met some really interesting people and had some great food.

Venice – one of my best friends lives in a town just outside Venice, and so I spent a week with him. A great week of hanging out, visiting the Biennale, and enjoying/melting in the boiling sunshine.

France – my partner’s family live here, and so we visited his family for Christmas. The photo is taken in Villebois-Lavalette. I love this chateau – it looks a little bit like one you might draw for a children’s book.

Yes indeed, where would we be without crocheted monkeys? They continue to be my go-to gift, although I have a feeling I might’ve made everyone I know a monkey soon! I actually made 5 in total, I think – there’s a twin for the one on the top right. I also made two bears.


The reason I started using a sewing machine originally was to try and make use of my tatting. My obsession with lavender bags didn’t abate in 2013 as you can see! I’m still not sure there’s a straight edged one among them.

I also tried my hand at embellishing with embroidery, which on reflection, I like a lot. I used the piece on the top right for a bag.


And finally, I managed to shorten a very light pair of curtains, and finish my second quilt. Phew!

Maybe 2013 was busier than 19 posts suggests? If you stuck it out this far, thank you for indulging me. And now, I *think* it’s stopped raining for 5 minutes. I’m going to rush out for a short, damp run, while I can. When I get back, I still have a friends baby blanket to finish.


11 thoughts on “2013; tatting, sewing, travel and monkeys

  1. What a lovely post. Your tatting is wonderful! I too have been smitten with the #80, bead bug! Fun isn’t it?

    Those monkeys are terrific!

    You are certainly multi-talented.
    Fox. : )

    • Aww, I think I’m not-quite-as-good-as-I’d-like-to-be at a multitude of things! Thank you though.

      And yes – I read your blog a lot so I’ve seen you get bitten by the bead bug. I never quite understood it… until I started!

  2. I found your crochet monkeys way, way down your blog! I’ve never crocheted (?) in my life but I actually think these crochet animals look better than the knitted ones, especially the bear in a previous post – chunkier and more appealing somehow in more of a cartoon’ish way (apologies if that’s not the look you were going for) and their faces are perfect. This has got me thinking that maybe I should give crochet a go. So glad I found your blog, I’m such a blogging ignoramus, I didn’t know how massive the blogging community is and how full of people all being artistic and crafty 🙂 Don’t know if you’ll see this comment on an old post. Still trying to work my way through your entire blog 🙂

    • Good lord, you must be bored! Thank you for reading this far 🙂 So, yes, loads of people make crochet toys – often called amigurumi (apologies if you know that already – if not, it’s a very good one to look up on flickr). This is what I mean about crochet being perfect for toys (I mentioned that in a post somewhere)… it IS chunkier, more robust I guess, and so much easier to make a shape in 3D. There’s a cartoon which I can’t find at the moment of one crochet hook talking to four knitting needles, saying ‘it takes HOW many of you to make a circle?!’ Crochet, you just need one hook and off you go. No seams. All you need to do is sew on the arms an legs. BUT: the downsides for me… I crochet REALLY tightly. Seriously. This is good for toys, but even then, jeez, sometimes it was hard to get the hook through the fabric. Also made it quite a struggle to sew on the limbs and get the needle through the fabric. Also, and this one is hard to explain, but crochet fabric is very obviously crocheted. There are some toys, depending on the yarn, where all you can see IS the crochet, and less of the toy’s personality. Knitting feels like it gets out of the way a bit more. Someone I know says that broadly speaking, crochet toys are much nicer, unless its a really GOOD knitted toy, in which case that wins. That said though, there are so many good patterns for crochet toys, and if you like making toys you should give it a go. I think crochet is super easy. One hook – for any shape, no seams, and if you have to pull out a few rows, well, just pick up that single stitch again and off you go. I almost fainted when I had to rip out my first knitting and pick up ALL THOSE STITCHES.

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