Instatatting

Train Sketch

Well – as you can probably see, that is not a photo of a quilt in progress –  nor a small crochet bear. It *is* an instagram snap of some tatting, taken on the train. I was sketching a new design, but I’m not sure it’s working. The green and white bit to the left of centre reminds me of snowdrops so that would be the best way to take it perhaps. We’ll see.

I’ve been working on a new quilt today, and so when the light was best for photographs, I was busy at the machine. Now I feel like telling you more about the quilt and the small crochet bear I’ve also made but it’s too dark for photos with my grumpy camera! Apologies.

bracelet

Again another Instagram shot. I made this yesterday from a Japanese pattern. I added the beads just to test something out – which worked. I’ve got a longer post to come about beads, but it needs more photos to explain, so… next time.

In other news, I ran my second 10k, and it was fine! I didn’t want to drop dead at the end of it, and I’m probably doing another one in November. It’s also the Knitting and Stitching Show next weekend, and I’m going with a friend, and looking forward to it immensely.

See you soon, I hope, with better photos 🙂

 

Doodling tatting patterns

pre blocking

There’s something about pre-blocked tatting that I really like. The slight shape to things makes it feel a little bit more alive… Maybe more like leaves or something you’d find in nature…

Hello! It’s been a while, and I’m not sure why. I think I’ve not had a chance to finish anything for ages and so I’ve not felt like I’ve had a lot to write about. That said, I ran my first 10k a few weeks ago, and I’m due to do another one soon – so I have finished *something* at least!

pink

I’m still working on my own tatting designs, and I’m enjoying it actually. I used to think it was more meditative working on other people’s patterns – something you don’t need to think too much about but you know will all work out, but recently I’ve been enjoying working on my own things; more like physical doodles. I can’t ever seem to get enthusiastic about drawing out tatting ideas before I start, and so I’ve really just been doodling in thread and developing the theme from the edging I made a few posts back. I found the pink (in my head I call it ‘ballet slipper pink’) thread above knocking about in my tatting box. It’s such a beautiful, delicate pink I can only think that my mum must’ve given it to me – I can’t think it would be something I’d buy – but I love it with the white.

alternate versionsHere’s some other versions of the same pattern. That yellow is a variegated thread – the one I’ve used and really liked before. (These are all tatted in size 80 DMC).

The one on the left here (below) was made by accident – a post bacon-sandwich induced haze I think. I missed off a ring on the first main flower so had to adapt the pattern as I went along…

oopsIt worked out ok I guess. There’s one other variation of this pattern too – more rectangular:

rectangleI just need some spare time to turn these in to finished pieces – I have a few ideas, but so many other things that need to be done first! Talking of which, I need to go for a run right now, come back and do some day-job work, so I’d better get gone.

See you soon, I hope.

 

My first tatting pattern…

Yellow and white tatting

Well, the good news is, I’ve got back to tatting on the train again. The bad news is that I decided to finish something off at home earlier and I messed it up! I was listening to a podcast and must’ve stopped concentrating; made and closed the wrong ring — and in thread size 80 I’m not sure I can face battling it open again. I’ll work out what to do with it later. There it is though, and despite me being an idiot, it does photograph well.

Variegated thread

The yellow is a variegated thread, which in this instance, I really like. I only bought it as Roseground where I buy my ecru thread didn’t seem to have a solid yellow in DMC 80 at the time, and it seemed silly to pay postage on just one ball of thread! But you know how that goes…

Red Variegated

I ended up buying some red too, and it’s horrible! I guess if you only use the red and don’t combine it with anything it could be ok, but yeuck. This was just a tatting test to work out a pattern, but it’s so hideous I can’t bring myself to finish it. If there’s anyone in the UK who really loves red/pink variegated thread and will do something much nicer than this with it, shout, and it’s yours 🙂 (And i wont judge you – I’ve probably just chosen to use it badly).

I had a little play with some other colours and shapes too:

Blue green

The pattern didn’t work out on this one but I like the colours. I was using up the ends of two shuttles…

tatted daisy

I had a play around with something more daisy-like too. I really love that yolk-yellow. Not sold on the pattern yet, but might go back to it another time.

Anyway. The outcome of all of this, is that I think I’m done with that pattern. So if you fancied making it too, it works in one or two colours and comes out like this (it’s not stitched on, in this shot):

curtain edging tattingHere’s the pattern – let me know if you try it – and if you spot any mistakes!

free tatting pattern

Phew!

phew

Sketching out a tatting pattern

blue_1

Tatting is a funny one. Really, I should be designing my own patterns by now. I am a designer, after all – and one that happens to love repeat patterns too. That said, I often think tatting for me is like smoking for other people. I need a quick fix, there and then. Something to calm me down, occupy my brain, keep my fingers quiet.

There’s also the fact that I like to see a finished ‘thing’ at the end of it. Something I can look at and see as complete – maybe use it, maybe not, but know that I’ve started and finished something. Like a lot of people who work with computers, the work I do in my day job may change. Things aren’t ever completely ‘finished’ with the work that I do. Or at least rarely. Things gets signed off—but before you’ve had time to acknowledge it, it’s on to the text thing.

Which means that I like tatting other people’s patterns. You can choose one you like, learn it, know that it’ll look good at the end. That someone has worked out the stitch count, fixed all the niggles. A quick win. No stress. Ok – some might be trickier than others, but on the whole you’ll probably end up with something passable.

white sketch

After making the beaded wreaths (I made five in total!) I had spare thread on my shuttles. This time I forced myself to try something out.  To be honest, the main reason was that I’d seen some beautiful forget-me-nots at Chartwell and I love their tiny bright yellow middles with the blue petals (not grand flowers, but I really like them). I also keep thinking of simple daisies.  And sunshine.

As the beaded wreaths were flower based, I was wondering if I could make something that would have a yellow centre (in theory) and a blue outside. So above is my sketch. I actually don’t have any yellow thread. I should have an order going out in the post on monday!

It’s not the most original design, I do know that. (The central ring with smaller rings is relatively well established). But I worked on the stitch count – decided to make it less leafy and to keep it simple this time around.

edging

edging 4

When I loaded up these shuttles I’d sort of promised that I’d keep evolving the pattern, but the addictive part of my brain kicked in and so I carried on from where I was and stuck with that as a pattern. I’ve not worked on an edging pattern before and it feels oddly different. Its a tiny bit clumsy as it gets longer, but quite satisfying too. You can very easily see the progress you’ve made.

edging 2

This is size 80 DMC thread, so it’s quite like a length of lace. Very flimsy – would make a pretty bracelet but it’s just not really thick enough. I like that it can stand up on it’s own though. Made for some nice photos while I was avoiding work…

edging 3

 

Talking of which… I’d better get on with it :-/

Hope you’re having nice weekends!

 

 

Not everyone loves tatting…

Treeson
It looks like someone has been playing around with my tatting. He does look rather happy about it though, basking in the sunshine. This little fella is called Treeson. He’s been sitting on the shelf for ages and begged to be included in the photos at the last minute. What I think he really wanted was to be dusted. Ahem.

Moving swiftly on, this little lady is clearly horrified with the very idea of tatting. Either that or she just hadn’t realised beads were a *thing*.

unimpressed

But a *thing* they are. I think the ones she finds so horrific are my favourites actually. They look really glassy – they’re really pretty. I like them with the ecru thread too, even if they are a tad large.

glassy

When I bought those it was on a whim — I was actually looking for tiny pearls (well, fake pearls). I was at the Creative stitches and Hobbycrafts show at ExCel. It was packed though, and I couldn’t really find what I was after. I bought these, which I’m in two minds about:

white

They’re a bit hard to photograph. I like the subtlety but these are clearly tiny pieces of tube, so they’re not rounded at the edges, if that makes sense – and I think they’d be nicer if they were. I think this will actually look nice sewn on to linen (was just going to make a bunch more lavender bags or something). It’ll be subtle, but pretty  – not quite as girly/pretty if you see what I mean. A bit more understated. We shall see.

Here’s a not very pretty shot of some green Japanese beads…

green

Same pattern – I used these beads on a bag I made for my mum – and they’re actually tiny (the thread is size 80, so quite thin – close up photos are a bit misleading). For the bag, they’re actually sewn on, rather than tatted in. You can just about see here though, how nice they are compared to the white ones – they’re rounded at the edges. I think on the whole, they’re too subtle on the green thread – too good a match actually, for things bought independently. Lovely beads though. Might try them tatted in to the ecru. (Apologies, I have no idea where on earth I got them from.)

So yes. Been a busy few weeks tatting on the train, which I’ve really enjoyed. There’s something great about having a pattern committed to memory so you can relax your brain to and from work – while being productive at the same time. I’m a strong advocate of repetitive craft as meditation, I think. Keeps the stressy part of your brain busy, and leaves the other part free to concentrate on the bigger things.

Now, if i could just get this one to calm down…

stay calm

Have a good weekend – and if you’re in the UK, a good bank holiday!

Tatting—no monkeys!

tatting with beads

So, yes. After having itchy fingers but no opportunity to tat for weeks, I finally managed to wrangle some time over the last few days. It’s been lovely actually, I really do enjoy it. As you may or may not know, I usually tat in the train, and recently there’s always been something stopping me. No seat, person’s elbow in my face, hands too cold, too rushed, need to do reading for work, always *something*. On Thursday I had a two hour train journey to visit another city for work, and on Friday the return journey home. I was a little nervous about the trip, but I’d prepared everything I could and so decided it would be good to tat on the train. Best of all options; relaxing and productive.

no_beads

I bought another Japanese Tatting book a while ago, and decided it would be a good chance to try this pattern out. I thought I’d add beads as I bought some the other week which were a good match for this thread, so I packed the beads and a needle with my usual kit, congratulated myself for my forward planning and off I went. Obviously the needle was too thick for the beads, and so what you see directly above is attempt number 1, sans beads. Doh!

beads

 

On the way back I had a seat to myself, and room to spread out. The train was moving quite slowly to I managed to thread the beads on — after some thought I kept them on the ball thread, rather than the shuttle thread. Another rookie error! What I *wanted* was the beads going through the picots on the outer rings (the groups of three little sticky-outy loops)… not really on the chains, as you see here. Sooooo, at least I now know:

• beads on ball thread if you want beads on the picots of your chains (as seen above)

flush
• beads on shuttle if you want the beads *flush* to the chain (as seen above). This is how I’ve always done it in the past, more by accident than design. This is just a little test piece.

picot
• beads stored on shuttle and moved around to the back of the ring thread until you need them if you want beads in picots on a ring.

Phew! A good lesson though. Always good to learn by doing. Couple of other things – that pink doesn’t go with anything! It’s hard to photograph – looks awful on linen or ecru, weird on colours, harsh on white. The beads go nicely with it though! I also think that while the pink can handle the beads that size, they look a bit big on the ecru/natural thread above. Both threads are size 80, but maybe it’s the colour that makes it seem bigger on the natural. That said, I do think the beads are really pretty.

It does make me laugh sometimes, making things like this. I looked at the curtains earlier as they were tied back to let the fresh air in. I thought ‘you could tat an edging for the tie backs, seeing as you keep wanting to make an edging pattern’. Then I thought ‘Are you nuts? You hate flowery stuff!’

Love making it though 🙂

Hope you had a great weekend.

A speedy getaway

Blue monkey

I went to Barcelona for the weekend! Just got back earlier this evening. I was staying with friends who moved there about 8 or 9 months ago, and they have a little boy. When the baby was born (about 2 years ago) I had the best of handmade gift intentions, but what actually happened was that I made a pair of booties that I didn’t think were up to scratch. In the end I didn’t gift them and they’ve been sat in the cupboard ever since…

This time I decided to go for something I’d made before and had a better chance of getting right. Yup, another monkey. I finished it at 1am on Thursday night, and it was wrapped and gifted by Friday evening – and very well received!

This one is made in simple Rowan Dk, and actually he turned out rather nicely. He looks a little bit unsure of himself, but I think he’ll settle in well. (He was wrapped again every evening, so they had the excitement of opening him again each morning 🙂 ). I think for children, something softer and more ‘wooly’ works better than the cotton I used on the green monkeys.

Ahem. Yes, the green monkeys. If the red scarf on the blue monkey looks familiar, it’s because I swiped it off the green monkey. But hey! They’re all friends. I’m sure they wont mind…

wedgewood 2And now to get ready for work tomorrow. Before I go though, the lovely Tiny Inc is having a giveaway! If you’re in the UK, check out her blog (and the amazing cushion which is part of the giveaway!).

Heads will roll

monkey heads

Hello? Hello! I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. And so long since I’ve *finished* anything. Life’s been getting in the way a bit – a weekend visiting family, a couple of weekends working. A lot of work-reading on the commute, or worse, snow-chilled hands too cold to do any tatting. My tatting fingers are itching to get back into it, so hopefully this week I can pick things up again.

I have had these chaps on the go for a week or two. They’re made in Rowan siena cotton, which I really love. It’s got such solid, strong colours, and it does make nice tight shapes. I would say these aren’t really the most umm… I dunno – they’re not the softest monkeys, this kind of tight cotton crochet feels much more like it’s creating toys for the shelf of an adult, or perhaps just slightly gentler fingers. They’re quite small too, which I like. I’ve been meaning to make a pair of monkeys in opposite colours for ages, and so these are being made at the same time. Non-identical twins.

monkey bodies

Unlike the yellow monkey, who looks rather uncertain I think, these fellas look pretty confident. They actually look a little bit like trouble, if you ask me. We’ll see what they’re like when they’re finished…

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to Wool House, a showcase of wool at Somerset House, in London. It’s a collection of rooms, each decorated and designed by different designers. There’s some lovely work there, and it’s a nice place for a morning’s mooch. The first room by Kit Kemp was my favourite I think – or actually, that’s not strictly true. It had lots of things in it I liked, and was perhaps closest to my taste. Lovely colours, and a few nice things I could happily of run off with, like this chair and cushion:

cushion

And this was the wallpaper, which I also liked. (The ceilings were very high, and the repeat on the pattern isn’t too dense, so it wouldn’t drive you nuts). Again, nice colours, machine embroidery I guess:

wallpaper

The other room that really caught my attention was by Anne Kyyrö Quinn. Lots of interesting folded felt, creating textures and patterns with light. Also, bright vibrant colours that grabbed you by the throat and made you feel a little bit more alive:

felt

I also liked these knitted samples – not too sure who they were by actually, or even what they were doing there…
samples
And I also spotted this rather excellent stitch counter – there was no information about it, but it looks brilliant. Also like the kind of thing someone’s grandma might have knocking about in a cupboard? (If it’s your grandma and she and you don’t want it, can I have it 🙂 )
counter
So all in all, it was a nice visit. Even better, I got to hang out with a very good, smart friend, squidge lots of yarn in John Lewis, and then go for afternoon tea. What an excellent way to spend a Saturday. And now look at the time! Just enough time to get one with… monkeys? tatting? *something*.
Hope you’re all well, warm, dry (it’s been chucking it down here) and having nice weekends too.

Monkey (and other) business

Image

I meant to post something here last week, but by the time I got around to getting started it was too dark to take any photos.

Another mixed bag this week – odds and ends of things. Above is my current train tatting – still on the daisies, but this time pink. I just loaded up the shuttles with what looked like a sensible about of thread, and will carry on until it runs out. It’s lovely to tat like this – there’s a few onion rings in there as leaves (not shown above), and a few standard daisies as well. It’s just a bit of meandering about, no set pattern, which is quite nice for a change. I was thinking about getting some gauze, the kind people makes scarves from, and tatting an edging for it… I thought it could be a good ongoing project, perhaps?

Image

In stark contrast, here’s a new drawstring bag I made! For christmas I received an extremely generous gift – a voucher for the Make Lounge. I spent a long time thinking about the type of class I’d like to take, and in the end, decided on screen printing. I wanted something that would be fun, but that I could possibly do at home. (I thought long and hard about sewing, but classes are all taught on an electric machine, and it felt weird being unfaithful to my Singer!) Then of course, I needed to think of something to print, so drew a monkey, and some elephants:

Image

Now, the thing with this type of screen printing is that you have to cut it by hand — and we didn’t have time to do repeat patterns, and so I adapted the characters a little on the night. (I prefer the planned monkey, but went a bit nuts and cut it differently by accident!) 

Image

Unlike everyone else, I took some calico with me, and screen printed a couple of extra prints. I wasn’t too sure – I’m still not too sure – what to do with them, but once you’ve got the screen working, seems a bit nuts not to make the most of it. I pre-washed the calico, and flippin’ eck, it’s not easy to iron, is it? Yes, I DID iron it while it was still damp, but to no avail. Amusingly, I saw that Patch had the same issues last week.

Image

They gave as a little bag to screenprint, which you can see on the left. It’s really cute – child sized. I also have a tea towel with a monkey on each end.

It was a great evening – amazing how fast you can relax and forget about work and all your troubles when you have something fun to do! I’m not sure if I will screen print at home – does require space, and creates a lot of mess, but it did get me thinking about lino printing, which I’ve not done since college, and used to love. I know you can do that with a roller for the ink and the back of a spoon for a press, so we shall see…

Image 

And finally, I thought I’d use up a few scraps, and try a log cabin lavender bag. As you can see, this ended up rectangular rather than square as I decided it was getting too big. The patch with the ‘7685’ on it is the selvedge of the dotted fabric, which I quite like. It’s an odd little thing, but quite cute in real life. Now it lives in the monkey bag with the other scraps and makes them smell nice.

Hope you’re all having good weekends!

 

 

Odds n’ ends

hippy

Hello! I’ve had a few days off, weekends away, and various house guests, which is why I’ve been a bit quiet recently. I have been tatting a tiny bit, although not as much as I’d like – mainly as I can’t always get a seat on the train, which is where I usually tat. Spare evenings are still taken up with The Knitted Scarf, which is coming along nicely. (Although not without a fair bit of unpicking, whilst trying to watch Alien in the dark. Unpicking knitting is quite frustrating, isn’t it? Not so with crochet.)

Above is the trusty Stormtrooper, engaged in a bit of a scrap with some train end-of-shuttle doodles. I do like these daisy chains…

daisy chain

These are size 80 thread… I’ve not really decided what to do with them yet.

daisy2

They’re not that big. Perhaps the right size for a bracelet or a necklace, but a bit delicate. I’ll stitch them on to something, I think. Not sure what yet, but it would be nice to use them for something.

piggy post

This little piggy is currently in transit. He lived on the shelf for a little while, and then decided it was time to head out. I love making things for people – but I just can’t make them to order! Ages ago, after a lot of not-so-subtle hints, I made my friend and elephant. Her mum and I were with her when she opened it, and her mum really seemed to love it. I always meant to make her one too, and then time wore on and I forgot. As I was wondering what should become of the pig, it dawned on me that maybe she would like it, so off he popped in the post. Hopefully she’ll get it next week. It’s always a bit tricky as they’re not *that* sturdy, so they’re not really toys for very little kids. They’re shelf dwellers really, but they do like to be loved. I hope she likes him.

In other news, I went to Yorkshire for a few days which was lovely. I had a brilliant time (seaside, countryside, cream teas and brilliant company!). We went to Nunnington Hall, and spotted this lovely crewel work:

crewel

There were three panels, all quite large and they were beautifully done. They had chunky stitching and felt quite free-form, although they were carefully planned out with lighter stitches before they were filled in. I loved the feel of them though (visual – I didn’t touch them!) As I’ve said before, I’m not a needle worker, but I would potentially make an exception for something like this… Like I need another hobby!