Reading together
News & Updates, Tatting

Hello 2015

Reading together
Katja and Elisa Reading together

Welcome to 2015! Yes, here I am again trying to get this blog thing going properly. Last year was a bit of a fizzer in blog terms. I couldn’t even reliably post a single monthly post of pics so how on earth I figured I’d handle a 10 week long project is totally beyond me! Needless to say, one kid got sick. Then the other got sick and then I got sick (nothing big, just colds) and then Christmas happened and projects just fell off the truck.

Anyway, no apologies – no point really in apologising for putting family and life before blogging! Today I am full of motivation. I’ve cleaned the kitchen and done all of my other online chores. I’ve one child currently asleep and the other is drawing pictures for me. I’ve had one grocery shop arrive and another is due this afternoon – found out that one of the supermarkets has a very very good special on at the moment for stuff that we can buy in bulk so placed a special order. Oh and half of our regular nappy order has just been delivered as well. Love online shopping! So much done and I haven’t had to bundle kids into prams, negotiate buses and deal with tantrums.

Do you do your grocery shopping online or do you still physically go to the store?

This morning I’ve also rejoined the Ring of Tatters. This is a kind of last ditch thing for me. I’ve been a member for many many years but I’ve been increasingly unhappy with them. I have many gripes which I won’t go into as that would be unfair just now but my main issue is that I don’t seem able to get an email answered. I’ve sent quite a few over a couple of years – mostly in response to things in the newsletter along the lines of “for more information email…” and I’ve never once received a response. The Ring of Tatters has a library of physical books which, now that I’m living in the UK, I should have access to and yet for 2 years of trying I was never able to borrow anything using the process that they give of emailing the librarian. I’ve been feeling very ripped off as a result. But new year and we’ll see how they go this time.

Have you ever ben disappointed by a group that you’ve joined? Did you persevere and if so what was the result? or did you just walk away?

Follow Friday, Tatting

Follow Friday – Tat-ology

-Tat-ology is the blog belonging to Fox, a Canadian who has only been tatting for 6 years as I write this. Her output is amazing and ever so inspirational.

Filled with gorgeous pictures of incredible tatting, this blog is certainly a pick-me-up and always inspires me to reach for my shuttles. The size of some of her pieces is truely daunting! What seems to take her only a few weeks will take me years to complete.

A few years ago Fox turned her hand to design and has produced some really beautiful pieces. She shares the patterns for free on her site.

Visit Tat-ology

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Craft, Tatting

Learn Needle Tatting at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

I’m very excited to be able to announce that Ill be teaching needle tatting at the 2015 Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

This inexpensive yet versatile lace technique can be used to create everything from accessories and embellishments to decorations and even jewellery.

You’ll learn the basic lark’s head knot and double stitch and how to create lace patterns with chains, rings and picots.

I’ll take you through pattern-reading skills and show you where to find vintage patterns. Other techniques you’ll learn include: joins, node stitch, beads, floating rings and split rings.

Use the skills you’ve learned to make a stunning lace bookmark or pendant.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival LogoThe Edinburgh Yarn Festiival was first held in 2013. It was an outstanding success – almost frighteningly so. You can read my blog post about it. The next one is on March 14 & 15 and promises to be even bigger. I’m seriously excited about it and hope you can make it. If you are going to come up and you can’t get a place in my class – after all, there’s heaps of other classes and numbers are limited, then let me know so that I can say hi!

To find out more about the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, visit their website at http://www.edinyarnfest.com/

To see the class schedules http://www.edinyarnfest.com/classes/

Craft, Tatting

Another Swatch but Still Decisions to be Made

So, in my last post I talked about the various options that have me stumped in working out what my next big tatting project will be.

So after a few days of mulling things over I’ve made some decisions but there’s still some deciding left to do.

1. Pattern
The coffee table mat has been removed from the options. Even though that is the emotional choice, being the first big project to catch my eye. It measures 19 inches in diameter in Coats 10, but I think I will enjoy the other two more.

The Fujito doily has a couple of rows that feature motifs which can be tatted separately – this makes the project more portable, which is a big plus. Done in #10 Cordonnet it measures 72cm (28.5in), which is huge. Anyone know how the Cordonnet compares to Lizbeth??

The Renulek doily is still a contender as well. In size 30 it appears that it is about 19 inches across in DMC 30, so the same size as the coffee table mat. It has quite a few different designs for the rows so it will be enjoyable to do, but not as portable as each row is complete.

And then another option appeared today. Enter the Stawasz monster doily. A stunning item which has already been done by a couple of InTatters members – it took Karen a year to do! It’s 75cm (30in) in diameter done in Red Heart 30 thread.

*sigh*

2. Thread size
A few people have recommended that I do the finer thread. I agree, finer threads look amazing, but they do take away from final size. So, I did a swatch to see what the difference would be.

Here you can see with the size 20 swatch on top of the size 10 that the difference is noticeable. In fact the size 10 is 3.2cm across vs the size 20 at 2cm. I’d estimate around 20cm difference by the time I finished a full doily.

However, another thing that had not occured to me came out of swatching. I really didn’t enjoy tatting the size 20 thread. It was fiddlier and most importantly, my hands were stiffer just doing a small motif. A whole doily will be too much so I’m more likely to give it up. So, for that reason and that reason alone, I’m going with the size 10 thread. Sorted!

3. Needle or Shuttle
After playing with my needle and shuttle swatches for a couple of days I’m sold on the shuttle. It’ll give me closer to the finer thread effect while allowing me to use the thicker threads that are less strain on my hands.

Also to consider is the portability of the project. I’m off on holiday soon and that holiday will include a short plane trip. Now if I’m honest I know that I’ll be juggling a baby and will be unlikely to get any craft done during the journey, yet if I opt for the shuttle there may well be opportunities to do a little here or there. Also shuttles can be taken on planes whereas needles certainly can’t.

Decision made!

Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.11.37

4. Colour
The consensus seems to be solid colour, with maybe a row here or there in a contrast to give visual interest. I’m tending to agree. Now to work out exactly what the colours will be. I don’t want to do white – I need colour! To help me to sort this question I’ve set a deadline for ordering thread. Hopefully that will help!

Screenshot 2014-06-24 21.48.58

So that’s where we are at the moment – of the four questions I started with 2 and 3 are decided but 1 and 4 still to go. Can you help me narrow things down?

Craft, Tatting

Crafter’s Block

I’ve got crafter’s block. Yes, I know I have a number of WIPs but you see I’ve been wanting for months and months to start a BIG tatting project. The problem is that there’s just too many options. Every now and then I start to work my way through to finally make a decision and get started, but then I find that I’m neck-deep in calendar days and I’m paralised by the options.

So today I thought I’d let you in on my options in a hope that someone might have some insights to help me to get a little closer to actually have a WIP instead of a dream.

1. The pattern
I want to do a BIG doily. I’ve been wanting to do a big doily ever since I first started tatting and I have done some fairly large ones, but they have generally been gifted (the ex-MIL got a particularly nice piece which I’ll never see again and which I suspect is either tossed away or buried in the back of a cupboard grrrr).

My first thought was to do the one that originally caught my eye – the coffee table mat from The Basic Book of Macramé & Tatting but then I found the large doily in Tatted Fashion which I “think” I like better, or at least it has a few more interesting rows. Then everyone started doing Renulek’s Spring Doily which is absolutely lovely.

2. Thread size
I want big. I want the “wow” factor. I want it to be impressive to a fellow crafter. I want to love it and for my grandkids to love it. I’m thinking size 10 thread, solid and durable but still a lot of choices in colours. But then maybe size 20 would look better as it’ll be finer… argh!

The following examples are taken from a Coats and Clark book and show the difference that diferent sized threads can make.

3. Needle or shuttle
I enjoy needle tatting, I’m convinced I’m faster with it plus it has the added bonus of being able to easily open rings. However, it it looser than shuttle and I wonder if that will affect the long term durability.

Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.11.37

You can see the difference here. These are both tatted using size 10 Lizbeth thread (col 680). The needle tatted piece on the right took 21 mins to create. It’s got that padded look to the stitches that is typical of needle tatting and is floppier, it’s also slightly bigger. The shuttle tatted piece looks tighter and is. It’s also much stiffer naturally. It took 25 mins so slightly longer, not counting the time to load the shuttle (not long cos I use an aero style). The needle tatted piece is much easier to weave ends into, I’ve always had difficulty with my ends!

4. Colour
And the final piece of the puzzle will be colour. I love the look of single plain colour for these huge doilies – they look amazing and you can see the intricacy of the design, whereas colour can detract from the design. However, I need colour. I prefer working with colour and I’m always drawn to the variegated threads. I know which ever one I choose it’ll look great in a bold colour, but I keep thinking that I will get bored… maybe I need to combine some variegated thread with some plain thread.

A quick google search of one of my favourite motif designs – Spinning Wheel by Mary Konior will show the results of using variegated threads and solid threads. I grabbed this screen shot from those results –

Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.30.58

Left is by Laurette and right is by Vanessa.

I’m thinking that the final piece will likely be a spring/easter table centrepiece – mainly because we already have enough decoration for Christmas, it would be nice to have something that comes out specially for other times of the year.

So… that’s where I’m at and what I’m pondering and why I currently have Crafter’s Block. I’m interested in knowing what you think of the options, why you think that and what you would choose so please do leave me a comment!

Craft, Katja, My Week in Pictures, Stuff, Tatting

Christmas Failures

First decoration on our real tree #tattinglace

It’s been a crazy few weeks here, but I guess that’s the same for everyone in the Christmas countries. As a result I have totally failed to send cards to anyone, presents have made it only by the skin of their teeth and because I bypassed the wrapping and went straight from store to Mum (thanks Mum!). I also failed to procure baubles for the Christmas tree – shops are out of red ones, I don’t understand!

However, we did survive gastrogeddon which Katja generously brought home from nursery to share. Speaking of nursery, she is loving it now. Gets excited when we arrive and tries to beat the door down while I get her pram sorted. Last Monday was the nursery Christmas party, she was delighted when we went in on an off day and thought Santa was the bees’ knees 🙂

Bump is doing well – very very active which is lovely. We’re booked in for an additional 3 ultrasounds before we meet her – huge bonus! Pelvic pain is getting a bit out of hand at the moment which is the only downer on the pregnancy front.

And the win? I procured some metallic thread and yesterday churned out the snowflake above. It’s needle tatted and took 4 hrs to finish. About the size of a saucer, looks great on the tree.

PS. I was meant to post this on Thursday and failed to do that too! Christian managed to find baubles and I made another snowflake.

Craft, Crochet, Knitting, sewing, Tatting

WIPS Whipped

I’ve had a particularly productive few of weeks here. I’ve managed to finished 4 projects!

There’s not one but two hats for my brand new niece. A Yoda hat and a viking hat.

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As well as a cowl, which is yet to be photographed and my first ever pair of socks.

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So what do you do when you’ve finished a project? Cast on another of course! I’ve cast on another cowl – both cowls will get sent to their intended victims recipients at the same time. I’ve also wound the yarn for a carnaby skirt but so far have resisted casting it on. And I’ve decided on a pattern for my next pair of socks, again resisting the urge to cast on just yet (have to choose the yarn anyway).

This leaves me with 4 and a half current fibre WIPs (the half has been on hold for over 2 years and I’m debating whether or not to frog or to try to salvage by combining what I’ve done so far with another pattern…) I mentioned this fact on twitter today and was promptly labelled a lightweight. I didn’t mention the two sewing WIPs, I don’t think that would have improved my standing! Apparently the grown up knitters have oodles of WIPs, which I find stressful just thinking about although it must be said that one of the grown up knitters I know is craft-monogamous.

I started out being craft-monogamous myself, only allowing one WIP per craft. I found that it helped me to get things finished as I was hitting the boredom slump and the other patterns started to call my name. Eventually I relented, I think it was when I realised that the can’t start until I’ve finished was sapping some of the fun as I doggedly avoided the project-from hell yet couldn’t start the next one. Boy was that a slippery slope! Still I try to stem the tide by searching for the next pattern, that tends to kill an hour or so of cast-on itch.

So how about you? Are you craft-monogamous or WIP happy? How many WIPs do you have on the go? Any chance you’ll ever finish them?