Catching up

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Well, time certainly flies. Or at least it moves on, whether you’re having fun or not! I haven’t meant to leave it so long between posts, but work and weekends have intermingled a bit this summer, and I haven’t had a lot of time for myself. Also, the change in my morning commute has affected my productivity much more than expected—I’ve barely had any time to tat. I did manage to make this with a few snatched minutes while waiting for a lift to the station over the last week or so though, and I’ve enjoyed working with these petite seed beads. This is size 80 thread, and so the beads are smaller than regular seed beads.

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When I have had time to make things, for some reason I’ve gone for the mainly useless! I’ve made a few more stress  bunnies to give away — often to people who are stressed themselves, and last weekend I made a little time to try out this strawberry pattern. (Yes, hers are much neater than mine!) I actually tried this some time ago, but couldn’t get the hang of it at all. This time around it went much better – they’re not perfect, but there’s something about them that I really like. Lots of people make the cord stalk really long, so the leaf pokes out of the top of a book and the strawberry the bottom, but I decided the yarn was too thick and I got a bit bored Icording – so…

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What I have instead is a cord long enough to tie a little strawberry bundle. No use to anyone, but it makes me happy.

A few months back I did manage to make something more useful. I had a weekend to myself and so made this bucket-style drawstring bag

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The striped fabric is upholstery weight, bought as a cheap remnant. Its great for this kind of bag as it stands up on its own…

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I’m using it as a knitting bag, it’s big enough to keep quite a few balls of wool, needles and a printed pattern inside. Its also the kind of bag you can leave the ball of yarn in while you knit, to stop it rolling off.

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I was really pleased with the colour of the drawstring too. I saved it from a paper carrier bag – I can’t even remember which shop it was from now, but it was the perfect match! I always save these cords, they’re great for things like this.

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And finally, this is one of my sunflowers. I’ve grown about 8 this year and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow. As I’ve been away for work quite a lot, every time I get home I’ve rushed into the garden to see how they’re doing 🙂 I’ve also grown chillies and tomatoes, and I’ve loved that too. I don’t know why I had a few summers off the sunflowers, but must remember to grow them again next year.

Hope you’re all well out there and have had a great summer. With any luck I’ll be back again soon.

En garde!

Knitting with DPNs

Word is, there are actually people who *like* knitting with DPNs… that’s true, right? I didn’t make that up? All I can think is that it’s like your first taste of alcohol—you just can’t believe people get involved with this for pleasure. I am willing to believe that it could be possible, but right now it’s way more pain than pleasure. Give me the nice circular needles any day.

This is an iPhone sock, it’s me forcing myself to use DPNs but keeping it simple with a knit 2 / purl 2 rib. It’s also given me a wonderful chance to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet hook… Not exactly on purpose, but hey. Now I know it can be done. (And that knitting is just a weird collection of crocheted chains). I was going to say that if you never see this again, lets not mention it – but you know what? I should blog my terrible things too. Life isn’t perfect and it’s good to learn from your mistakes. Hopefully I’ll blog it good or bad.

crochet rose

This is a crocheted brooch I made for a friend. I like it actually. It’s a generic rose pattern, of which there are millions on the internet  – most of which are the same, but just start with a different number of chained stitches. The leaves are loosely based on those from Attic 24. I say loosely as I made this while watching The Shield (box set, we’ve just finished series 3), and I wasn’t really counting anything properly.

A while back I bought some brooch backs, but have yet to use them so this seemed like a good chance. Terrible photo and off centre stitching but…

brooch back

You can see that this is quite a nice back. It’s good and solid. It comes in two parts, one is a disc with holes in, to which you sew your fabric front and the other is what you can see here, which you attach to the first disc by folding little metal claws with pliers. I got the backs from eBay – must make more use of them.

tatting

I’ve had one long train journey this week, so I ended up making another of these—the beaded one. The other one I made just to see what it would be like with variegated thread. They are so nice to make I can’t stop. And they photograph so nicely!

tatting

Ahem. Anyway. Back to knitting and the gentle art of stabbing myself in the hand.

 

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

Not quite straight to the point

Waiting

Hello! It’s been a funny few weeks here. I’ve been preparing for a work trip to Sweden, which has been eating up both time and headspace, and so lots of crafty things have been sitting about waiting. Bits of tatting to house, things to finish off – AND a new sewing machine.

A friend and I kind of both talked each other in to buying our first electric machines. To be honest, she bought hers first, and then we found they were reduced to £35 (if you’re not from the UK, that’s insanely cheap) and so I bought one too. What kind of machine do you get for £35? A bright purple one! Hilarious. That said, we did a bit of research first, and the word on the street is that it’s made by Janome, who seem to know what they’re doing. Also it’s guaranteed for a year, so you can’t really say fairer than that. It’s tiny, really light, a lot like a toy, but has 10 stitches and seems to be doing the job quite well. Can I make it go in a straight line? Well… maybe three times out of ten, but I’m hopeful 🙂 If you know someone who wants to have a go with a sewing machine, I would recommend it.

Group

Remember all those attempts at tatting with beads? I thought I should try and do something with them. I also have last year’s lavender to use up – although it still smells as strong as ever. So I made these lavender bags. Some are neater than others it has to be said.

New fabric

I’ve tried out some new linen and cotton blend fabric, and it looks rather smart in grey. Of course now I’ve finished them all I’ve found that I had the perfect coloured cotton for it hidden upstairs, but it’s not too bad. I hand finished this one – still trying to work out the best plan for that.

back testing

The one on the right has a new-style foldover back — and idea I pinched off aforementioned friend. I added a strip of coloured fabric just for the hell of it – it’s really wonky, but I like the general idea! There’s a little removable cotton bag inside, so it’s like a cushion & cushion cover. I like it actually. It’s possible I might one day end up with a lavender bag that isn’t wonky, at which point I wont feel so bad about giving them to people.

found

I found this piece of tatting knocking about too, which  think I’ll make into another tester bag. See if I can get my lines right! (It’s not sewn on in that shot.)

Aside from that, I have also been working on my general tatted sketches. Actually now I’ve gone to the other extreme. Before I was worried that I wouldn’t make any finished ‘things’, I liked the idea of getting stuff done. Now I’m kind of worried I’ll never get anything finished again…I’m quite enjoying myself.

sketches

I’ll sort through this lot and show you some work in progress next time. Hope you’re all doing ok out there. I’ve missed you.

 

Tatted train-doodles make it home

blue

It’s amazing what a difference a camera can make. Mr Occasional Crafter took the above photo on his camera, as for some reason mine just wasn’t really cutting it. It’s far too blue, but I decided not to correct it, because I love it! It makes my tatting look amazing, I think.

Back to harsh reality now, and the photos I took. Sorry!

pins

I’ve continued to ‘doodle’ with my tatting recently, which I’ve rather enjoyed. While one part of me worries that I’m not tatting with a purpose, the other part is quite enjoying wingin’ it. I’ve been tatting daisy chains again – or rather daisies, and then joining some as I go to create more solid shapes. The plus side of this is that it really shows how useful split rings are – without them I’d’ve needed to cut and tie a few times, the minus side is that I could really do with actually planning it a bit to make a more fluid or useful shape.

I’ve been using a lovely silver grey DMC thread (size 80), which tats up beautifully. It seems to have really good stitch definition for some reason – almost more than other colours – and I’ve loved using it. This weekend I decided I’d stitch it onto… *something* and then decide what to do with it. For once, I decided against linen – maybe the tones were too similar, I’m not sure, but it really didn’t look that good. I almost went with black, but at the last minute switched to grey. That old grey sheet I saved from the charity shop is really earning its keep!

I pinned it out before stitching it, as you can see. Then I unpinned it as I stitched and completely changed the arrangement bit by bit. It seems appropriate. Tatted as a doodle and stitched as one too.

Layout

Sorry – the photos really are all over the place in terms of colour, but at least you can see the layout here – and the beads. I sewed the lighter beads on first (they’re actually a silvery grey), and then at the last minute, after realising I had some, I sewed the black beads on for some contrast. I wasn’t sure about them initially, but actually I think they work quite well.

close up

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with it… maybe a panel for another drawstring bag? It’s a bit big for a lavender bag. Actually, maybe I could use it as a panel on a fabric basket? I’ll have a think. All suggestions gratefully received!

Either way, I really enjoyed making it. Also, it does look rather nice. So nice in fact, I’m quite surprised I actually made it. (I’m not showing you the back though).