31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

21 December 2010

Still Freezing .... thankfully not yet frozen ... he he he

This is what the temperature was on Day 4 of our stay in Leicester.
Recorded on the trip to Manchester 
Old Trafford
This is the real reason for us braving the cold.
Loughborough University graduate

If you can't imagine how cold it has been, take a look at this,
Frozen fountain in the middle of  frozen lake
Today, on Day 6 we will drive down to London and stopping along the way to meet that 'old git'.  Hoping for a safe trip.
Sadly, I did not make it to Stratford after all.  We kept up with the news on the weather and road conditions up to the last minute before leaving Leicester.  Snow fell quite heavily the night before and by morning most of the roads are covered with snow, and icy in some parts.  With no experience driving in such conditions we decided to stick to the safer motorways and proceed straight to London.  I called Jane to tell of our decision and needless to say, both of us are very disappointed.  Jane blamed me for bringing all the snow and ice to England, and made me promise that my next visit, if there is going to be a next one, will be during the warmer months, he he he .....  Yes, Jane.  I hear you.

18 December 2010

It's Freezing, brrr !!!!!!!

Arrived at Gatwick Airport in the early morning of 16th December and was greeted with wet gloomy wearther.  Well, this is England -what else is new!  Picked up our car rental at the airport and drove up towards Leicester.
Driving towards Leicester
Made a stop in Oxford
At the natural history museum in Oxford University (will update the name later, can't remember it now)
It started snowing by the time we arrived in Leicester,
Snow started to fall in the evening
... and woke up to this the next morning.
Having breakfast before heading off to Nottingham
With Pat Hallam of Roseground
From Nottingham, we drove further north to Leeds
At the steps of the Parkinson Building, Leeds University, where I studied more than 30 years ago.
Arrived back in Leicester in the  evening.  Tomorrow is another day.

10 December 2010

Winter Wonderland

Here are what I have been doing this past year-and-half.

These are the second part of the custom order of 60 snowflakes.  But I goofed up because I did not complete the full order.  I am short of seven pieces.

Some may think that one-and-half years is a long time for just 53 snowflakes.  Out of these 53, some are my designs and some by other designers.  As for my own design, I had to re-work each one several times before I am satisfied with the design.  And I am still tweaking a number of them.

I will be away from next week until the end of the year.  I may or may not have internet access.  If I cannot come online until then here's wishing  everyone a safe and wonderful holidays and Happy New Year.

29 November 2010

Adding Bead in the Centre of a SSSR

Here is the tutorial for adding beads in the centre of a single-shuttle split ring.  But, before that some explanation ...  As I wrote in my first post regarding this, I was wondering if anyone has come up with a method of adding beads to a SSSR.  I have received some feedback to that question.

First, Nancy sent me a link to Nina Libin's site that contains an explanation of how to add beads in the middle of a series of rings.  If you click on "Symbols used in Patterns" you will get to download a document that contains the description of the method used by Ms Libin.  My understanding of it is that the beads have to be loaded on the shuttle thread before you start making the rings.  This is different from my method because I add the beads as I make the split rings.

At Gina's (the Tattinggoddess) suggestion, I wrote to Georgia Seitz to see if she has come across anything like what I had done.  Georgia sent me a link form the Online Tatting Class where the focus was adding beads to tatting.  Looking at the various methods shown there, I am convinced that none described the way that I do mine.

"Enough already .... just get on with it"  I can imagine someone screaming ...... LOL.
Here goes ....
Shuttle with thread, bead, hook and coil-less pin
Beside the usual tatting tools, you need to have a paper-clip or a coil-less pin.  The method of SSSR used here is the loop method (the link will bring up a video of how to make a SSSR in this method).  I have made the first SSSR without any bead, as shown in the picture.

Begin the second SSSR as normal, completing all the double stitches as required.  Do not close the ring.

Pull the lower part of the hand thread through the bead with your hook.  Hold this loop with a paper-clip or coil-less pin as I have used here.  At this point you can post the shuttle through the hand loop to get it out of the way.

Place the paper-clip/coil-less pin under the double-stitches on the same side as the shuttle thread.  Pull the lower side of the hand thread while at the same time sliding the bead so that it lie close to the last double-stitch made.  Hold the bead in position and close the ring.  I find that it is easier, when closing the ring, to pull only one side of the loop.  Don't forget to bring this loop under the first SSSR to anchor it when you close the second ring.  You may have to adjust the hand thread a few times if you find that the bead is sliding away from that last double stitch.

This is how it looks like on the reverse side of the ring after it is closed.

Remove the paper-clip/coil-less pin from the thread holding the bead and make a lock join to it to lock the bead in place.
There you have it, a bead in the middle of a single-shuttle split ring.

27 November 2010

Beads in SSSR pt 2

This would make pretty bracelet or necklace, don't you think so?
Oooh ... I am enjoying this method of adding beads he he he .......

24 November 2010

Bead in Centre of SSSR

I don't know whether I have stumbled on something new with this one.  I made a point to take a look at Jane's techniques page to see of there is something similar to it.  If anyone had thought of something like this, Jane would most likely be the one.

Well, there was this one, which describes adding bead in the centre of a split ring, but that uses two shuttle.  In my case, I added the bead in the centre of a single-shuttle split ring.

If a tutorial for this technique is not already available, I'll do it up in my next post.

22 November 2010

Am I being selfish?

I have been thinking about this for a while now.  Still, as I write this, I am not sure if I should. 

One thing I know about tatters, ever since I join the tatting community, is that tatters are clever people.  Some can just look at a picture of a tatted piece and can figure out the stitch count and reproduce the design as per the picture.  This has happened to a few of my designs that I have posted pictures of in my blog or in my online albums.

While browsing through the many tatting blogs I sometimes come across  designs that look so familiar, and realised that they are very much like the designs that I have shown somewhere.  I read the post carefully to see of the designer of the tatting piece was mentioned anywhere.  I just want to be sure, in case I may have come up with a design that has been created by someone else before I did.  But I can't find it mentioned anywhere. Then I wonder, has the tatter reproduced it from my picture because I am very sure I have not published the pattern for it.

This is happening more frequently now.   Well, some may think that it is a compliment that someone had taken a liking to my design and took great effort to count the stitches and make one very like it.

Okay, so maybe you'll think I am being selfish, but I am cutting down on the sharing a bit from now on.  I will be tatting but I will not show the finished pictures of my designs.  I will only do that if I chose to share the pattern publicly.

I don't know how long this will go on, maybe for just as long as I need to finish the next design out, who knows.
But for now, I am sad and I am disappointed.

15 November 2010

Merriment Doily/Coaster

Here is my pattern for this year's holiday Tatting.

I chose the name Merriment because it is an easy and fun pattern to make.
The pattern is downloadable from this link, Merriment Doily/Coaster.

I tatted the model in size 30 thread and the finished size is 11.5cm across or 4.5 inches.
At first glance, it appears that two shuttles are required.  But, you can also do it with shuttle and ball. I wrote something about this in a much earlier post, here.

I started on another piece of this doily in two shades, solid and variegated, of size #40 thread.  The finished size is 10cm across or 4 inches.
Thread used are Lizbeth #40, 623 solid and 127 variegated


13 November 2010

Bookmark and new shuttle

Have been tatting but not able to show any of it.  Instead, here are some bookmarks that I made when I needed a break from the tatting-that-cannot-be-shown.

The top two in blue variegated are from the ever so popular pattern from Jane's blog.  I think this is a sure winner pattern to be used with varigated or multicolour thread because you can start anywhere along the thread and it will still give a discerning effect in the finished bookmark.

For the very top bookmark, I started in the middle of the same shade, which is the pale blue.  The result is a clear separation of the dark and pale blue along the length of the bookmark.  For the second version, I started  at the point of the change in the shade and what I got is a gradual wavy effect in the two shades along the length of the bookmark.

The other two, in variegated lavender, are adaptations from Mary Konior's patterns.  The third from top is the Curds and Whey from Tatting with Visual Patterns, and the bottom-most is the edging of the collar design, Rose Collar from the book Tatting Patterns.

The new shuttle that I received is the Winder Shuttle from Chris Hinton.

The ingenious thing about this shuttle is the winder tool that is used to wind the thread onto the bobbin. That small allen key shown above the shuttle fits into the notch in the middle of the shuttle. The thread is loaded into the bobbin by turning the allen key.  I can't recall the type of wood used for my shuttle but the surface is smooth to touch.  Maybe too smooth because the shuttle keep slipping of my fingers, LOL.  Aside from that, this shuttle is just the right size for me at 2.5 inches long.  You can read more about this shuttle from The Tatting Forums, the link is in the sidebar on the right.

27 October 2010

Felt like I Won too.

Rachael, in Phoenix Arizona entered some tatting in a State fair and won a whole lot of ribbons for her entries. She shared photos of her win in In Tatters.  When I saw the photos, I was smiling to my self and felt good inside.  Why?, you asked.

Her blue ribbon was for the Magic Moments Snowflakes .... and the pattern is from me ... whooeeee.  All I can say is that her tatting is impeccable and deserves all the win. Rachael gave me permission to share some of her photos here in my blog.  There are several more photos of her other entries which you can view in In Tatters. 

Magic Moment Snowflakes
 The pattern for the snowflake is here.

Rachael won second place for several bookmarks, and she has tatted a couple of my designs as well, the Foldover Bookmark (which are at the back of the group).

I must say her version of the basket edge variations (front) are really pretty.

Thank you Rachael for choosing my patterns.  I felt like I had won too.

17 October 2010

Treasure Chest

My daughter returned from the UK and brought me these,

Well, okay ... so I told her what to get. Still, to be able to flip through the pages ...  aahhh,  such inspirations.
(Okay, it doesn't take much to please me, LOL)
Close up of the books
 I now have three of Mary Konior's tatting books.  I hope to be able to get the fourth, Tatting in Lace, some day. I may have to splurge a bit to get that book, since it is becoming rarer and rarer to find now.

Books on Cardmaking
 I mentioned  that I want to try making cards with tatting embellishments, and she got me these books on cardmaking.  Oops! forgot to remove the price tag before snapping the picture.  But, at that price ... what a deal!

Glass beads various shapes and colour
And  glass beads in a mix of shades and size and shapes.  I need to plan carefully on how to used these beads to get the most out of them.

8 October 2010

Hastings Pier - another landmark destroyed

Reading about the ravaging of Hastings Pier by fire a few days back brought a lot memories of the time when I was in Hastings & St. Leonards.  I look into my old albums of pictures of the pier taken when I was there and only found a few, how sad.
Hastings Pier in the distant background
The pier was built in 1869 and opened to the public in 1872.  I should say it has passed its prime when I was there.  You can read a bit more about Hastings Pier here and view postcards pictures of its heydays.

I had left my footsteps on its wooden floorboards
I remember walking out to sea the length of the pier feeling the cool breeze blowing, and hear the waves breaking beneath against its support pillars.  There were small shops selling souvenirs and offering penny slot machine games when you reach towards the middle.  I never did get to the very end of the pier, all 275m out to sea.  Now, I recall the smell of freshly made doughnuts and the taste of the ice cream .... ahh  memories!

Please excuse the grainy photos.  There were none of the digital thingamajig in those days, after all it was taken over 34 years ago.  Yes, that was how long ago that I was in Hastings as a student in the Hastings College of Further Education studying for my A-levels.  I have visited it again twice since then.

I hope the people concerned can restore the Pier but it would be hard to imagine it being possible considering almost 95% of it was destroyed by the fire.

4 October 2010

Same thread, different pattern

Bringing your attention to this blog post that I wrote in April this year.  It was about my reaction to a certain type of multi-coloured thread that was giving me (and a few others) a headache just looking at it.

The thread in question is Lizbeth Jewels #113.

I was looking at it again the past few days and decided on another attempt with it.  This time I was a little wiser and decided on a pattern with a simple layout.  I made a bookmark using a pattern that was published in Jane Eborall's blog.

The result is very much better than the one in the earlier blog post. 

You may notice some striking features in the finished bookmark -
I started the bookmark at the turquoise shade and manage to end also in turquoise.
The turquoise divides the bookmark into sections of plum and purple.
The plum and purple alternate with each other in each 'section'.

I did make a point to study the colour changes in the thread before deciding where to start, and the the overall effect turned out quite a surprise in a nice way.

This is also the first time that I used the single-shuttle split ring (SSSR) to hide my ends.    Using the SSSR, I tat over the tail of one thread for the first part of the SSSR.  The other end was hidden inside the second side of the SSSR as I close the ring.

I find it a neat way to finish off the ends and may be using it more often in the future.

20 September 2010

Now I get it!

Finally understood the single-shuttle split ring, or SSSR.  I tried a few times before but never could follow the instructions.  I was on chat in InTatters with Cannalure and Soyloquesoy and casually mentioned that I am having problems with the SSSR.  Being good tatters, as all tatters are, they guided me through as I attempted it and finally managed to get it done.

And to prove that I really did it, here are some of my attempts,

The creative mind then sets in and I decided to try adding beads.  First I made it using bugle beads, shown in the middle in the picture above.  Then I made another sample using seed beads.  I should have used another thread with the seed beads because it didn't show up very well with this thread.

I think I like the bugle beads better.  I can imagine pretty bracelets with some fancy beads made with this method, maybe two or three rows joined together side by side.

A note about the SSSR.  There was some discussion earlier about posting the shuttle through the loop before closing a ring.  I don't do that when closing my rings.  However, for this SSSR, I find that the ring looks better when I post the shuttle through before closing the ring.

Another happy note, the postman dropped me a few goodies this past 30 days.

My first order of Lizbeth thread was the first to arrive. I have never bought any Lizbeth before though I have tatted with it using thread that I received as gifts.   BJ, the Sanguine Stitcher gave me a discount coupon from Handy Hands and I ordered these.  These are part of my birthday present form BJ.
Lizbeth all in size 40
The other part is this.  BJ is an expert quilter and she made a quilted carrier bag that is just nice for me to carry my tatting.There is also a needlebook, a ball of Cebelia and a book titled 'Gardens'.
Birthday present from BJ
Diane promised to send me some EZ-bobs when she read that I could not find any of them here. And they are the next thing to arrive.  Boy, did she send me some!  24 pieces in all.  Certainly more than what I was expecting.  Thank you Diane.
EZ-bobs from Diane
Finally, I ordered Ruth Scharf books from Georgia and they arrived the same day as Diane's EZ-bobs.  I was trying to figure out how to read the patterns because they are all in German.  Luckily, I received an e-mail from Georgia with some English translations of the German tatting terms.
Ruth Scharf books
All in, it was a good 30 days.

15 September 2010

Dealing with Ends

This post was prompted by several e-mails that I received asking me how to hide the thread ends after the tatting is complete.

Tatters don't like to deal with many thread ends, or at least I have not come across any who look forwards to having loads of ends to hide.  So the best way of addressing this is to reduce the number of ends to hide.  This takes a little bit of planning even before you start tatting. 

Start with CTM where possible
It is always good to start with continuous thread (CTM) whether working with shuttle-and-ball or two-shuttles if you can, (pic 1).  You have already reduced one pair of ends to hide.

If you are working on motifs that are worked in rounds, study the picture or the chart and see if you can utilise split rings or/and split chains to jump to the next round.  You will be spared hiding ends after each round.

But, there will still be that last pair of thread ends when you finish your work.  I am sharing here two methods that are often used to hide ends.  These are not the only methods to use.  There are other ways to hide ends but I have not tried them before, so I cannot say much about it at this time.

One method that I often use is sewing in the ends.
When you have made the last chain (or ring - I am using the chain here as an example) cut a tail of about 6 inches of both thread.  Tie the ends to the beginning of the motif with a square knot.

Thread one of the ends to a blunt needle and sew in the thread in between the double stitches, going in first in one direction and coming back again in the opposite direction, (pic 2).  After each pass, give the thread a slight tug to make sure that the thread is pulled under the caps of the double stitches.  Do this over a number of double stitches.
Sew in the ends by taking the needle in between the double-stitches
Do the same with the other end but to a different part of the tatting.  For example, if the first end is sewn into a ring the second end can be sewn into a chain.  Trim off the excess threads close to the tatting, rub the stitches where the cut is to hide any trace of the cut ends.

Another method is often referred to as the Magic Thread Method.  This method requires pulling the end through the double-stitches with the aid of an another thread.  Again, study the design and pattern to see where is the best place for you to put in the magic thread.  In this example of the same pattern as above, I have started with the CTM. I have decided to add the magic thread in the first chain because that is where I will end the motif.

Before making chain, cut off a piece of thread, preferably in contrasting colour and thinner than the thread you are using for you tatting. Hold your tatting as you usually do  when making a chain.  Fold the magic thread into half and lay it over the core thread of your chain.  Make sure the the curve of the fold is facing the opposite way of your chain progression, as shown below.

The magic thread should be lying along the core thread
Make the first half of the double stitch as normal.  Then, make the second half of the double stitch,  but before tightening it, slide both ends of the magic thread through the half-knot. 
Post the thwo ends of the magic thread through the half-knot before tightening the stitch
Continue to to post the two ends through each half-stitch for the next few double stitches and you should get something like this.  What you are doing is tatting over the core thread and the magic thread together.
Double stitches made over the core thread and magic thread together
 After about five or six double stitches, you can stop and continue with the pattern as usual.  When you have reached the last element of the pattern, in this example a chain, you need to add in another magic thread to it.

But, in my example, I am not using another thread.  Instead I use a floss threader to function as the magic thread. When you are about five or six double stitches from the end, place the magic thread over the core thread of the chain.  Make a first half-stitch and post the ends of the magic thread though the half-knot before tightening it. Continue doing the same for each half-stitch until the double stitch that you need to complete the chain.  For this last double stitch, only post the magic thread ends through the first half-stitch and complete the second half-stitch as normal.
Double stitches made over the magic threa

Two magic threads placed at the beginning and the end of the motif.
Cut off a tail of about six inches of each thread.  Tie the two ends together. To hide the ends, post one of the ends through the fold of the magic thread and pull the ends of the magic thread together.  I find it easier to pull the magic thread if I only  post the thread end about a third of the way through the loop of the magic thread.

One thread end is put through the loop of the magic thread, in this case the floss threader.

Post the other thread end through the other magic thread, and pull it to bring the thread ends into the double stitches, as in the picture below.

Here are the two samples of the motif with the ends hidden, one made by sewing in and the other by the magic thread method.