14 December 2014

A little tatting, A little travelling

My, my ... it was more than a month ago that I updated this blog.  These are some of what I did during the (almost) two months of non-blogging -

A) I tatted more of the Jan Stawasz's doily

B) I sewed this Owlie pillow for a friend who is expecting a grandchild soon.

C) I attended a class on wire jewelry and made the pin on the left. The one on the right is a gift from the teacher, Mastura Mustafa.

D) And these
Flew to Madrid
Admired the ironworks of the Mercado de San Miguel

Tatted in the train to Cordoba
Crossed the Roman Bridge
Soak in the history of the Masjid of Cordoba
Relish the walks through the small streets in the medina of Masjid of Cordoba
Would never skip the Al-hambra
Walked in the courts of past Sultans
Enjoyed the evening walk at Plaza de Espana in Seville, despite the winter chill
 ... among other things, and I am flat tired after all that.

30 October 2014

A Pleasant Surprise

I was in Spotlight on Sunday and was pleasantly surprised when someone I have not seen for over 40 years dropped by at the craft room. She drove from over 80km away just to have a look at what Spotlight is all about because almost everybody was talking about it.

This is Nurima (or Kak Nuri) who attended the same school as I did over 40 years ago.  She walked into the Craft Room where I was at, and called me by my online name, Jon Yusoff.  She had been a follower of my blog ( and I am not even aware of it). She sat at the table and we started chatting about tatting, at first, and went on to other things.  That was when I found out that we attended the same school, where she was a senior there.

She was looking for shuttles in Spotlight - but did not find any, not surprising - and I told her that I have some with me.  The conversation proceeded to learning how to tat. It was a short lesson, just over an hour, but I am happy to say that Kak Nuri got the flip at the first attempt.  She is one smart lady, otherwise, why would she be appointed a prefect in school.

A few days later she sent me a picture of her first finished project, a butterfly, shown in the inset. Looking forward to seeing more tatting from her.

25 October 2014

Jan Stawasz Doily III

My first completed Jan Stawasz pattern, Doily III from Tatting Theory and Patterns.
Measurement: 20.5cm square
Thread: Olympus Gold Label, 366 Solid, M13 grey variegated
I used up almost one ball of the grey variegated and about three-quarter of a ball of the solid blue.
I had started on another doily before this one but looks like I may have to start over on that one because it is not quite turning out how I would have liked.

Seen together in the photo are three of my treasured shuttles, a red clover, a milward and an engraved Hinton shuttle.

On another note, it was an eventful weekend for me.  I attended my class reunion celebrating 40 years since we were in school together. I attended an all-girls boarding school and 106 girls (ladies now) attended from six classes.  Here are the girls of my class, each successful in their own way. Certainly brought back a lot of memories.

1 September 2014


All other projects are on hold at this time.  I have to tat about 120 pieces of these small flowers in and I have about two weeks to do it. Luckily, for what these flowers are intended, it does not require hiding the ends.  That should save me some time.

I am trying out my new Clover shuttle, the latest one that comes in milk and chocolate colours.  Clovers are my favorites if I want to get things done fast, so it works just fine for me.

This is the chart for the flower.

The full pattern is, with shuttle and ball -
Ring (4-7-7-4), RW.
Chain (3), RW
Ring (4+7-7-4), RW
Repeat chain and ring to complete the flower.
The last join of the rings will require a folded join.

It is a basic shuttle and ball pattern, but since the chains are very short in between the rings, I am only using the shuttle with a little bit of finger tatting for the chain.
What I do is to start the ring with a tail of about 22cm of thread, pulled out from the shuttle.  I tat the first rings, but I do not reverse work.  Instead, I used the tail at the beginning and finger tat the chain by wrapping the double stitches over the core thread.

Easy easy, :)

12 August 2014

Teaching and Learning Tatting

I will be starting tatting classes at Spotlight, the arts and crafts supply store, soon.  I, and a number of other crafters were approached by Spotlight when they were preparing for the opening of their store in Kuala Lumpur recently.

I have been receiving enquiries about the tatting classes eversince I put up the notice in my Facebook page about it. My class in Spotlight will be about the basic techniques of tatting.  One of the questions that I was asked is what pattern will I use in my class.  This has got me thinking -

Learning how to tat is not about turning up for class, make something and go back with a finished product.  It is not like attending a bag-making class and you have a finished bag to take home after class. It is not about learning diffeent kinds of stitches as in embroidery, for example.  To be fair, each craft has its own skill level that challenges the learner.  I still can't do embroidery work.  Though I can sew a bit,, I have never tried sewing a bag. 

There is only 'ONE' basic stitch to learn in tatting, but that one stitch can make or break you. When first learning how to tat, it is a continuous battle between you and the thread, and in the beginning 90% of the time the thread wins.  It also depends on the individual.  You may get the "oh wow" moment when you get the flip after only 15 minutes of class, or continue the fight hours or days after that.

So, whenever someone asks "what am I going to teach in my class?", this is my answer,

I am not going to show you how to make something with tatting.  I will be teaching you the different techniques used.  Even though, there is only one stich, there are numerous techniques to learn to make the doublestitch work for you.  There will be simple patterns that I will give you that are more as exercises for you to practice the techniques and improve on it. I will also teach you the different ways of reading patterns so that when you are on your own, you can look at different kinds of tatting patterns and use your new tatting skill to tat a pattern of your choice.  I will give you some tips and pointers that are seldom found in books, to make it easier for you to tat and come out with a better finish.

These are what I will teach you in my class.  Once you have acquired the skill, there is no stopping at what you can tat. It is just a matter of  "do you want to or not".

I always feel very much appreciated and accomplished when I see the "Wow" moment in my students eyes. That is why I teach.

Now, on my curent project, a Jan Stawasz doily from his book Tatted Treasures,
Thread is Milford size 60 in ecru.
I have started the last round of the middle portion of the doily. The next part will be made up of eight repeats of the centre motif one for each side.

5 August 2014

Stawasz Doily XII

My current project is this doily by Jan Stawasz from his book Tatted Treasures.  

Happy that it is progressing rather well, even if at a slow speed.  I am even enjoying the fine thread of size 60.  I am trying to follow Jan's method as much as possible i.e. making the picots between the 1st and 2nd half stitches.

Was stuck at one time when trying to jump out to the next ring with split chains. That really got me at one point when I wanted to move out to the next round of small rings and chains.  Following Jan's method, I will end the first half of the chain with a 1st half-stitch, and proceed to make the split chain form the other ring at he beginning.  By that method, my split chain will have to end with a half-stitch as well so that the mock picot is formed correctly viewed from the other side.

Confused?  Well, Jan Stawasz's style is not that easy to decipher at the first attempt.

Anyway, my solution to the split chain problem is to make it from the front side, omitting one half stitch at the beginning of the 2nd half of the split chain.

30 July 2014

Eid Mubarak

A little bit delayed, but

to all my Muslim friends and followers.  I hope, despite of what is happening around the world right now, it had been a wonderful celebration to all of you.

Eid was celebrated on Monday, 28th July in Malaysia. The celebration was rather subdued after the shocking and sad news of what had happened to our airline MH17 adn MH370 before this.  Most of the national celebration were toned down or put on hold in remembrance of the victims and their their families, who are still waiting for closure. Somehow, it does not feel right ....

On the tatting front, I am working on a Jan Stawasz doily from his book Tatted Treasures, on page 62-63. This is the progress at this time.
It is a bit flimsy working with size 60 thread, after the Olympus for the two previous doilies.  I was not even sure it will lay out properly after the first round of rings-and-chains, but it seems like it is turning out alright after I have attched the second rings-and-chains round. 

22 July 2014

Almost done with Summer

I had to put aside Renulek's Summer doily for almost three weeks to prepare for the craft demo at Spotlight.  I was already at Round 9 at that time. With that over, I am able to continue with it,

I made slight changes to the final few rounds;

Looking at it now, I am not sure if the dark grey fits in in the final round, but I am going to keep going with it and just want to get this done so I can work on something new.

20 July 2014

A New Chapter Added

I have been rather busy the past month and did not have time to update this blog.  Those who are following my Facebook page may already have some ideas of what it is all about. I hope to summarise much of what has happened in this blog update.

In short, Spotlight, the Australian arts and craft store, had announced through their FB and website, the opening of an outlet in Malaysia. It is going to be their first outlet in Malaysai.  The nearest outlet before this is in Singapore.  A few week before the opening, a member of Spotlight team contacted our local craft guild, the Arts & Craft Guild,KL & Selangor, inviting members to submit a propsal for conducting craft classes at the new outlet. I made a sample of tatting for the store to display.  The thread used is Milford, which is being sold in Spotlight.

After a series of meeting, everything was set up and we were ready for the opening, which was on 12th July. I will be teaching tatting, naturally.  As part of the launch a number of Guild members put up demos of crafts where classes will be offered at Spotlight.  They have provided two classrooms for the instructors.
The instructors
No more words - photos are easier to the eyes than reading. So, here are the crafts in the planned classes:
Wire Jewelry
Felt craft
Paper craft (back) and Plushies (foreground)
Ribbon Embroidery
I received much interest in tatting when I was doing the tatting demo. There were the usual comments of " .. had done this before", "It was so long ago that I had forgotten how" and the " .... dying art".  But there are a good number of genuine interest from younger visitore, and one lady wanted to learn so that she can re-connect with her late mother who tatted.

The highlight of the two days was when a very special visitor stopped to look at my tatting - a princess no less! We had a short chat about tatting when she told me that she needletats and I said I could teach her how to use the shuttle if she would like, :-)
A very special visitor was interested in my tatting
The next steps would be to prepare for classes - samples, notes, tools, etc.  I think it is going to be a wonderful experience.

1 July 2014

Summer is progressing well.

Just completed Round 7 of my Renulek's Summer Doily.  This is a quick tat for me.

And these are the colours for the next few rounds.  I might even consider the dark grey again, though I cannot yet see where and how it will be added in.

The colours on my computer screen does not do justice to the colours in real life.  
Thread used is Olympus Gold Label #40.  Colour codes are:
Yellow - 520
Blue - 364
Dark Grey - 455
Light Red - 104
Baby Pink - 102
Teal Green - 221
Lavender light - 672
The Purple for the next round- 654

23 June 2014

Partial Doily & Motif and a New Project

This is where I finally decided to end with the doily from the book "New Tatting". There are a few more rounds to it, but I will not have enough thread to tat them all.  Thread used is Altin Basak, not a favourite thread for me to use for tatting.  I still need to block it properly.  This image is taken after I had it pressed under several thick books.

Pressed together with it is the motif below, also from the book New Tatting.  It also a partial pattern because I only tatted the frst four rows and added two rows of my own to use up the remainder of thread in the shuttles.

As for the new project, I started on Renulek's Summer Doily - only at the 4th row now.  Can't really say if it looks summery enough at this point.

17 June 2014

Interim Tatting

After completing the Spring Doily, I worked on another doily from a pattern in the book New Tatting.  After working on it for a number of rounds, I decided not to continue with it because I did not quite like the thread that I had used for it.  This is as far as I got with it - and it sure needs blocking to lay flat.
I did not have enough of the thread to add any more rounds to it, so I finished it off with a round of chains which is not in the original pattern. I used up what is left in the shuttle tatting another motif from the book.

I think, maybe, deep inside I really wanted to start on Renulek's Summer Doily and that the doily above was just an interim tatting.  I even picked out the threads that I plan to use.  I hope the colours are summery enough.

13 June 2014


The title has nothing at all with what I am writing about today.  Well, maybe a little.  This is a doily that I am currently tatting.  It is the Floral Bouquet Doily from the book New Tatting by Tomoko Morimoto and it looks like spiderweb to me.
Floral Bouquet Doily by Tomoko Morimoto from the book New Tatting
Most of the rounds are made out of chains, long and short ones. I showed another photo of this in my Facebook page and a tatter asked me how I manage to get my chains turning out right. I am not sure if I gave the correct answer for it.

Usually, I snug the double stitches right close and stop when I fell that they will not slide anymore.  I don't force them beyond that point.  I want to be able to see the form of each double stitch, and make out its 'legs'.

So, how do you keep your chains looking just right, not loose or bunched up together?

11 June 2014

The Spring Is Sprung

"Spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where de boidie is.
De boid is on the wing, but dats absoid.
How can the boid be on the wing, the wing is on de boid."

- Anonymous

Except that it is already summer by the time I finished my Spring Doily. Here it is in different angles.

The doily, finished at 18 inches (46cm), is the largest item that I have tatted. I used Olympus thread throughout.  I usually end up giving my tatting away but this one is a keeper (for the moment, at least).

23 May 2014

Penultimate round of Spring

Yes, two more rounds to go to finish Renulek's Spring Doily.

Round 12 has a long chain joined to the previous round.  Since I am using two colours for round 12, red rings and green chains, using the regular method for making a lock join will have a bit of red showing, like this,

Normally, I would not have minded that little blip if I am working with multi-coloured thread as is bound to happen.  But, in this case, that red stood out in between the green and the tan variegated. To remove that blip, I followed an instruction that I had read in a new tatting book that I have gotten.

Instead of pulling the shuttle thread through to make the join, I pull the green ball thread and pass the shuttle through the green loop.

Then, I slowly pull the chain thread to close the loop but keeping the green thread wrapped over the red shuttle thread.

I even out the double stitches before the join and continue with the next set of double stitches after the join.  Because the shuttle thread is not locked, you can still continue to adjust the spread of the double stitches even after you have made the join.

This is the beginning of my Round 12.

This is the tatting book recently bought, New Tatting by Tomoko Morimoto

In my opinion, it is a good book for beginners because she covers a lot of tatting basics in it.  There are designs in there that can be appealing to all levels of tatters.  In fact, I have one that I plan to tat after I have finished this Spring Doily.