Monday, 28 October 2013


Sunday was the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Arts and Crafts Guild, KL and Selangor and this year is also the 20th year since the guild was formed.  We had a short celebration after the AGM with cupcakes for a 'birthday' cake and a gift exchange.

I did not have much time to make anything elaborate, so I made this bracelet.

Before I write more about the bracelet, this is what I received in return, a business card holder decorated with a hand-drawn butterfly on the cover by the artist Cheah Wai Seng.  Click on the name and browse through his gallery for more of his creative work.

Back to the bracelet.

It was a quick tat since I used a rather thick thread.  The label says it is a size 20 but it feels like size 10.  The beads that I used are 8mm, but I suppose the size can be different according to the thread that you use.

I did a quick chart of it before wrapping the gift for the exchange.

This the full-length instructions for it.

  1. Begin with R(6 sp 6); sp = small picot.
  2. RW, C(6)
  3. RW, R(3 lp 3); lp = long picot for the bead.  You can make a beaded picot at this time and hold the bead in place with a paper clip as you tat the rest of the bracelet.
  4. RW, C(6)
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for the length of the bracelet that you are making, ending with the ring,  R1(6 sp 6)
  6. RW, C(9 + [to sp of last ring])
  7. C(6)
  8. RW, R(3 +[ beaded picot of opposite ring] 3)
  9. RW, C(6 +[sp of big ring] 6)
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until the end of the bracelet, ending with a lock join to the small picot of the first big ring.
  11. C(9+[to the base of the big ring])
  12. C(7 +[space at base of small ring])
  13. C(12+[space at base of next small ring]).  Repeat this until the small ring at the other end of the bracelet.
  14. C(7 +[space at the base of the big ring] 6+[to the bracelet clasp] 6+[small picot of big ring])
  15. C(7)
  16. Repeat step 13, ending with a join to the base of the last small ring.
  17. C(7+[to the top of the first big ring] 6)
  18. Do not reverse, make a SLT, R(3 +[attach to the other half of the bracelet clasp] 3)
  19. Do not reverse, maka a SLT again, C(6 +[ space at the base of big ring])
  20. Cut and tie to the top of the next big ring and hide ends.  
If you notice any mistakes in the instructions as you tat, please let me know so I can make corrections.  I don't have the bracelet with me anymore to refer to as I write this pattern.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A Mystery and a Whodunit

No secrets that the Mystery refers to the Mystery Doily that have been my obsession these past few months. I had wanted to finish Round 5 before sharing a picture but I ran out of thread in one of the shuttles so I decided to share it at this point before continuing with a full shuttle.

Oh, by the way, I was asked about the amount of thread used for the doily.  I have not set out to measure the thread used so I can only give an estimate based on the number of times I had re-load my shuttles.  I am using Lizbeth size 40 in two colours, a solid and a multi-coloured.  Up till now, I am on the fourth shuttle-load of the solid thread, and  used up five full shuttles of the multi-coloured.

I will be loading the shuttle with the multi-cloured thread for the sixth time to continue with Round 5 and expect another full shuttle will be needed before I finish Round 6.

This is the status at Round 5, with just a bit more to finish the round.  As it is, the doily is laying reasonably flat without any need for blocking - just the way I like it.
The dimension at Round 5 is about 9in (22cm)
Below is a close-up to show Round 5.

While all the earlier rounds were rather smooth (except for that mistake in Round 4), Round 5 has several points to take note of.

Firstly, the repeat in the number of rings in the inner cluster is not as straightforward as the earlier rounds, where it was a continuous repeat.  In Round 5, the repeat is in every three clusters sequence; 6 rings, 5 rings, 5 rings.  This sequence is repeated at the fourth cluster onward, like so - (6 5 5), (6 5 5), (6 5 5) and so on.

Secondly, by the way that the inner clusters were joined to Round 4, the blank round spaces alternates between small and big.

The picture below illustrates the points that I am trying to make.

Another useful point to note is the number of outer clusters for each round, as summarised below:
Round 1 has 8 clusters;
Round 2 has 16 clusters;
Round 3 has 32 clusters;
Round 4 has 32 clusters;
Round 5 has 48 clusters;
I am guessing that Round 6 also contains 48 clusters.

Then, I took a break from trying to unravel this Mystery and was treated to a whodunit - a theatre play of Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap"!  The theatre company performing this play is currently on a tour of this region.  Agatha Christie was one of my favourite authors when I was in school and still is.  I used to catch episodes of the Hercule Poirot series on the cable tv.  It was a rare opportunity to be able to watch the play, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Monday, 7 October 2013

True as a Mystery Would Be

Just when I thought all plots have been revealed, a new villain surfaces, this time the snippy kind.

Right then, this is the doily after Round 4.  See how it is laying out so pretty with just a small trace of ruffling in Round 3?

So, I started on Round 5. After two repeats done, I have this feeling that it is not going to turn out right.  As in the earlier rounds, it is the battle of the chains.  I tried this with the count 4-4-4+4-4, but it is curving way too much to my liking.  I wanted to try again with a stitch count of 4-2-4+2-4.  Out comes Mr.Snippy and he goes snip, snip, snip.  He must have blinked because next I noticed, a ring of Round 4 was a victim as well.  Urgggghhhh!

There is no other way around it.  I have to unpick a few repeats of Round 4 to fix it.  You have heard before that a tatting knot is a real fast one and it will not easily come undone.  Well, I can vouch for that.  It took me all of 15 minutes to undo one double stitch.  There was so much pulling and poking that the 6-ply thread split into three.

The shuttle also took its toll from all the stabbing; the point of the pick broke.

Now,  I know that fixing a break in the middle of a completed round is not easy!  I'd rather spend time tatting rather than un-tatting.  Luckily, the mistake was quite close to the end of Round 4.This is how much I ended up cutting of off Round 4.

If you have been following my Mystery and tatting along with me, here is another "tip", sort of, for you to consider.
PattyD's chart shows that, for Round 4, the inner cluster of rings is in the sequence - 5 rings, 5 rings, 6 rings, and repeats.  I followed Vickie Reynolds' written pattern which show that each inner cluster contains six rings. I don't suppose it will make much difference to the final result, but I would be interested to know how PattyD's version turns out.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Me! A perfectionist? Naah!

I know that I have described myself as being a perfectionist. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not.

Okay, this an online dictionary definition of a "perfectionist" -
Perfectionist - a person who strives for or demands the highest standards of excellence in work, etc.
By that definition - Yes, I am a perfectionist.  But, by whose standards? It is all very subjective to me.  What I deem as perfect may not be so to another person.

I don't do FS/BS tatting.  I reverse my work and start with the first half-stitch almost all the time.
I don't mind the little blips of colour that show up when working with different coloured thread.
I can overlook gaposis, only sometimes.
I eye-ball my picots and they end up in all sizes, without actually affecting how the design looks.  I only measure the picots if the design requires them to be of equal in length.
I don't like ruffles appearing in my work, unless the design calls for it.
I give extra time in determining the stitch count when I design so that they lay flat when done and do not need blocking.
I seldom block my tatting, but I press all the time under a stack of heavy books, if possible.
I am very particular with design symmetry, such as in the turn in the chain of the next repeat.
I don't always match the colour flow of variegated thread when I need to add new thread.
I don't mind starting over with a new design if it does not appear like what I had envisaged, though the design itself is acceptable as it is.

I aim to be perfect in my tatting, but by my standards.  I sometimes feel that we are trying too much to measure by others' point of views. There, I have said it all.

Thank you Tally Tatty for leaving comment earlier and giving me an idea to write this post.

Hey, this post is not as serious as it sound.  So, get that chocolate out or brew a cuppa tea, and get tatting.

Starting Round 4 of the Mystery Doily.  This photo is after I had pressed it overnight under a stack of books 6-in high because I forgot all about it after that.

I kept forgetting to include the link to the pattern.  Here it is,
Towards the end of this page from BellaOnline,, there a chart for the doily prepared by Patty Dowden.

I made slight adjustments to the stitch count where necessary as I worked this pattern.  You can choose either one and make your own adjustments, if required.