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 MacramĂ© & 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!

Stuff

Introducing Straw Tatting

Have you ever wanted to try needle tatting but perhaps you don’t have access to the needles? Maybe you’re trying to learn but finding the needles and fine threads too fiddly, you might be constantly stabbing yourself with the business end of the needles (blunt? they still hurt!) or perhaps you’re looking to tat with some thick yarn rather than fine threads. Well I have the answer for you – introducing Straw Tatting! The following pictures show you everything you need and just how to get yourself set up for Straw Tatting goodness. strawtat01 To start with you’ll need a drinking straw, a 20cm stirring stick, a blade, a pair of scissors, a small crochet hook and some yarn (not shown) strawtat02 Insert the stirring sick into the drinking straw, choose the long end away from the bendy bit. It should be a snug fit. You need about an inch of empty straw above the stick and before the bendy bit (or before the end if there’s no bendy bit). strawtat03 Cut the straw across just before the bendy bit. If there’s no bendy bit you can skip this bit. strawtat04 Using the blade, make two parallel cuts a few mm apart through both sides of the straw. strawtat05 Hook your scissors through the cuts and snip so that you end up with a hole on each side of the straw. strawtat06 Use your crochet hook to pull some yarn through the two holes. strawtat07 Congratulations! You now have a drinking straw tatting needle perfect for thick aran weight or greater yarns.

Craft, Crochet, Instagram, Knitting, My Lifestream, My Week in Pictures, sewing, Tatting

My Week in Pictures 2012 Week 41

Week 41 is from Monday October 8, 2012 until (and including) Sunday October 14, 2012

This week I received a new knitting related gadget, taught Katy how to needle tat, finished the second row of my current WIP and started to cover my dining chairs.


20121008 – New toy!


20121008 – It spins! #newtoy #yarnpal


20121009 – Been saving this one #golddust #aero #tatting


20121009 – Katy’s first needle tatting \o/ #starpupil


20121014 – Row 2 sorted #freyja


20121014 – First attempt was close but not quite right so now unpicking original seat covers #ikeahack #upholstery #sewing


20121014 – Has anyone ever had their sewing machine do this to thread? Any ideas why?


20121014 – Cheerful

Tatting

Thistle Do

I stayed at home again today, this cold has I hope hit the worst patch and my face, shoulders and back are aching. Between naps I managed to complete the designers page on Knots – you can now select an individual designer and see all the patterns we’ve got links to that are theirs. It’s pretty cool if I do say so myself.

The other thing I did was create a thistle bookmark using some soft grey-green and rich purple pearl thread from my stash. I’m quite pleased with the results. The pattern isn’t mine, it’s by Jean Napier-Faeih.

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Stuff

Everything hurts

The worst part about getting back into the gym is that the first week or so everything hurts. Doesn’t matter how easy I take it whatever muscles are involved will scream at me for at least 2 days. Normally it takes about 24 hours for Delayed-Onset-Muscle-Soreness, or DOMS to set in, so the fact that I went to the gym at lunchtime yesterday and woke up this morning feeling sore all over does not bode well! I’m quite frankly a little scared!

On the tatting front, I started another Mary Konior motif yesterday, one I’ve always loved but never actually done. I’m working in needle tatting, which the pattern was not designed for so it means a couple of changes to the instructions but I’ll get there. I’m working in Lizbeth, which is a hand-dyed Egyptian cotton thread. I’m using Western Sunset which has some gorgeous reds through to mauve. So far I’ve undone the same ring three times which is quite frustrating… Will show the results as soon as I have some!