Saturday, August 31, 2013

Double Trouble

Well, the double double stitch isn't difficult, but it's fiddly and slow, and you can't get any sort of rhythm going.
Make the first half of the double stitch and flip it, then pass the shuttle through the flipped loop.
Snug the stitch up carefully to join the previous stitches, so there are no unwanted loops.
Make the second half of the double stitch, flip it and pass the shuttle through the flipped loop, as before.
Done. The chain is very stable, it doesn't twist or scrunch. Karen Cabrera has a video of the process on her blog.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

At Last

At last I have my jersey back from the national competition. It didn't win any prizes, but it was awarded a mark of 75%, which is apparently not to be sniffed at. The comments say the fair isle is well done and neat on the wrong side. The criticisms are that the cast on is too loose, I should've used a smaller needle for the ribbing, and that steam pressing would have improved the look. So, I learn something....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I went to buy organza to put dragonflies on and came out with four  pieces of material. I'm thinking of making a couple of skirts, but that's not cast in stone. I make four food covers with each piece of organza. It's 150 cm wide, so I buy 150 cm in length and quarter it. I have made one full size, but that was a little excessive.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Any colour you like

The answer to the question What colour is your blouse? is Anything you like. It was originally white muslin, but I always planned to use the same dyes I used in the thread to dye the fabric. I dithered a bit about which colours to put where, but I'm pleased with the final result.

Not Done Yet

I thought I'd finished my 25 Motif Challenge, but looking at my list this morning, I see that I've listed lock chains twice. Oops. Luckily I still have a month until my year is up, so I have time to tackle another technique.

 I'm tatting Frivole's Christmas Tree Edging to go around the neck of a blouse. I have the beads on the ball thread, as I wrote yesterday, so the rings in the edging are mostly SCMRs. I'm trying to copy a blouse I bought in Singapore. Very much trial and error. So far I'm on my second attempt. At this rate I'll have the edging done before I finish the sewing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Untested Advice

 Heather of Tatted Treasures wrote here about the difficulties of tatting with beads on a shuttle. I suggested making mock rings so that the beads can be kept on the ball thread. But when I wrote that, I hadn't actually tried it out. Frivole's Christmas Tree edging was a good candidate for testing the idea. It works fine. I used self closing mock rings.  I couldn't leave the bare space the pattern called for. I started by making a chain 1-1, but later realised it would be better to do two encapsulating stitches in place of the bare thread. It certainly is easier to work with the beads on the ball thread rather than the shuttle thread.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Evolution of a lily pad

Blue organza alone won't be enough to suggest that my dragonflies are near water, I must have a waterlily. And lily pads. My attempts to make a 'solid' leaf using inverted tatting didn't work. So I thought of just tatting a big ring. Well, a very big ring is difficult to close and looked a mess. A mock ring that is really a chain? It worked better, but as you can see in the picture, it's still a bit curly. Yesterday I watched Karen Cabrera's  video about the double double stitch, where she says that it's good for making long chains that don't twist. So here's a leaf in double double stitch. Not only is it less twisty, but it's bolder, which may work better on an organza food cover.

Carollyn has also been tatting a waterlily, as you can see here. Her waterlily has clunies for petals, and josephine knots for the centre. I made a ring using layered picots for the middle and inverted tatting for the petals. Tatting is versatile!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Emptying Spools

 We had no internet connection yesterday. It wasn't due to theft this time, but there are so many links in the connection chain that there are many things that can go wrong.

Dragonflies are good for using up short lengths of thread. I've emptied five spools, making dragonflies! I want to put them onto a food cover.  I neglected to check that I had the right colour organza in stock before I began. I don't. I will have to wait until I go to town again before I'll be able to complete the project. I want organza that looks like water, blue or turquoise.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Learning More About Encapsulation

 After encapsulating the owl bead, I've been exploring the technique a bit more. A useful resource was this page on BellaOnline, which has links to different pages on the subject. There are patterns to try, but I just did my own thing. It can be quite fiddly to keep branching bits out of the way, but encapsulation has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Owl Encapsulated

 I used encapsulation  to tat a 'bezel' for this glass bead owl. The bead was made by my sister-in-law, Clare Gaylard. I wanted it to look as though the owl was sitting in a flowery tree. The great thing was, I could hide the beginning and end threads inside the bead. I'm still experimenting with encapsulation and have found that one of the problems is having so  many thread ends to deal with.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Squared Away

 It turns out it's not absolutely necessary to use two shuttles together to tat a square ring. PattyD on In Tatters says she just tats over a thread, as you tat over the ends at the beginning of work. I found it easier, there's less tangling of threads. I can't think of many uses of square rings off hand, but it could  come in useful some day!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dragonfly Pattern

 Grace Tan asked me to write a pattern for the dragonfly made using inverted tatting. Here's a link to the PDF version of the pattern, Dragonfly in Inverted Tatting.  There's also a link on  the sidebar on the right. I think it's simple enough that a person could tat it without researching more on inverted tatting. I hope so, anyway.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Square Rings

 Square rings? It's a rather odd technique, where you tat a ring using two shuttles at once, except where the picots are. Close the ring and then tug on the 'inside' ring and it turns into a square. It works with chains, too. There's a video on Karen Cabrera's blog and written instructions on Dreams of Lace by Christine Eichler.

 I have two shuttles that are easy to hold together. The problem I have is that the two threads twist around each other on each stitch. I have to unravel them at each picot point, where I'm going to tat with just one shuttle. Can anyone give me any clues how to avoid that twisting?

I didn't make a second earring. I need more practice before I try to create something useful.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another Flame Lily

 Aha, not so difficult to tat a flame lilly in yellow and red after all. I made a yellow chain with ruffled picots and then did inverted tatting in red around that chain. I made a separate yellow chain for each petal, but the red is continuous. This one is made in size 40 thread because that's what I had in the correct colours.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More Doodling

I've been trying out layered or ruffled picots. I watched Karen Cabrera's video and read Gina the Tatting Goddess's instructions. It's easy enough:  make a ring with a picot followed by two first half stitches, then a picot followed by two second half stitches. The first half ones will point upwards and the second half ones outwards. Aside from Karen's splendid bonsai tree, I couldn't find the technique being used anywhere. So I've been experimenting.

 My doodles are shown left to right above. First,  the blue flower has chains joined to the bottom picots, with the top picots left free in the middle. I thought perhaps I could make a double layered flower, but in the second flower, the top layer scrunched up. That has potential in itself, so the pink one is all ruffled, with lots of picots to enhance the look. But I still wanted to make a double layered flower. I added normal double stitches between the half stitch ones and it worked -  flower 4.

I think this technique might combine well with inverted tatting. I feel more experimentation coming on....

Monday, August 12, 2013

Flame Lily

My previous attempts to tat a flame lily (Gloriosa Superba) were hopeless. I thought inverted tatting might be the answer. I tried first of all to make a flat version, but that didn't work because inverted tatting has a two definitely different sides, so I couldn't just turn the petal round to get it curving the opposite way. How about a 3-D version? It's a bit dubious, but I've learnt a lot. From Martha Ess I learnt that to make a point at the tip you make a downward picot at the turn. By just doing it, I learnt that Victorian sets and inverted tatting can be combined, no problem. Flame Lilies vary in colour from completely yellow to completely red, but many of them have a combination of red and yellow. Not sure I can represent that, that might be a step too far!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


 One of yesterday's inverted tatting doodles looked like a dragonfly wing. Today I had a go at making  a dragonfly. The blue one was not bad, but I thought his head was too long and his body too short, so I made the purple one with those adjustments. He has beads for eyes, but they don't show up very well here. I re-made yesterday's flower in one colour so as to have fewer ends to deal with, but I think it looks better with a contrasting ring in the middle. I added a lock chain stalk and some leaves. Still doodling!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Inverted Tatting

 I need to get on if I'm to learn 25 new techniques in a year for my 25 motif challenge. This is my 21st challenge, inverted tatting. Chains are made to face the wrong way and joined to picots using the 'ball' thread instead of the shuttle thread. I looked at pictures of work by Judith Connors and Martha Ess, watched a video on Karen Cabrera's blog and read Mark Myers's instructions on Georgia Seitz's site.  And then tried it out. It's not all that difficult. I like the idea, gained from discussions on In Tatters, that the join should be centred, but I can see in Karen's video and Mark's instructions that it's not necessarily so. There don't seem to be  patterns available, other than in Judith Connor's book,  so I will have to do my own thing! The flower above is my first 'invention'.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


After all that tatting of bookmarks and sewing of birthday dresses, my house was dusty and untidy. I spent the morning cleaning it. All that effort to finish up with 'normal looking', not interesting enough to show anyone!

 Usha has said I can rewrite her pattern for the Wood Rose, so I'm working on that now. People took one look at her table format and fled, which is a shame because it's a very pretty rose.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wood Rose

 This pattern is by Usha on In Tatters. The pattern is written in a 'non standard' (Usha's words) format. Specifically, it has been put in a table. My mind boggled, but it's clearly not a terribly complicated pattern, so I persisted and did get the hang of it. I'm thinking of using it on a food cover together with Victat's rose, I think they'll go well together.

A Dress for Annika

 I used a Butterick pattern, but streamlined it a bit. I left off the collar and  some ruffles, and made the skirt less full.

Monday, August 5, 2013


The embroidery is done. The bullion stitch gave me the most problems. I had to look up on the internet to remind myself how to do it and snip some that had unwanted loops. Now to sew the dress together.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Useful Stitch Practice

 I thought that rather than practise my embroidery stitches on a bit of scrap fabric, I'd embroider the bodice of the dress I'm making for my granddaughter. I traced part of the pattern onto the bodice, experimented with different types of thread on a scrap and then began. I'm using one strand of pink Anchor stranded cotton to link in with pink flowers on the skirt. This doesn't qualify as Schwalm embroidery, since it's the wrong sort of material, wrong colours etc etc, but it'll work fine to become familiar with the stitches.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bookmarks Galore

This is a classic pattern, I have several versions of it, usually as an edging. I turned it into a bookmark, adding a tail off a split chain, following Ladytat's example. I tatted a ring at the end to make it easier to attach the tassel. This brings the number of bookmarks to 20. The order is for 17, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a bit of leeway. Here are all the bookmarks together:

Thursday, August 1, 2013


 A short break from bookmarks... We went to town yesterday, so I bought fabric to make a centre for my Victoria Trellis Doily. I tried cutting a circle and edging it on my sewing machine, but it looked a bit messy. So I cut two circles and sewed them together, leaving a small gap to turn right side out. That worked better. Thanks Frivole for the inspiration and the tutorial for tatting the first round. And for naming the doily!