Monday, May 31, 2010

Cluny Flower Snowflake

Since Fox has already let the cat out of the bag, here's the original Cluny Flower. The inner flower part was created about a year ago I did it in white and then re-did it with apricot coloured clunies. Both made pretty one inch flowers in size 20 thread. They've been kicking around the house getting moved from desk to desk. It's what happens to a lot of smaller pieces that I think look good but need to be part of something else.

The something else happened when I was working on snowflakes for the book. Here's the original cluny flower snowflake.
If I can get my act in gear it will be in a book by the end of the week. If you haven't already guessed, the white tatting on navy blue backgrounds are all different snowflakes from the book. Nothing like teasing people with tantalizing bits of lace.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

32 of 30?

I have 32 of 30 designs tatted and diagrammed. Anyone see anything wrong with that number? I've already started pulling them into publication and doing the usual checking it twice routine and adding the step by step instructions and it's about 20% done. Or not. That 32 out of 30 number is to blame.
Last night the guys were here again. You know, those tech guys who are supposed to make my Air go. When they put in the new furnace we asked specifically if the air conditioning would work with the new furnace and we were assured that it would. When they installed it we asked them to check and make sure that both heat and air would work. It's hard to make the A/C come on when the outdoor temp is -0. It didn't so they tried again rewiring it so the both heat and air could come on. Then they replaced the thermostat. After which they replaced the circuit board which threw out all of the original wiring. When we hit record high temperatures earlier this week we tried the central A/C and although the unit came on no air was circulating. So we called our friendly guys to come and take a look at it.

The fan, which should come on with heat or air or by itself; only comes on with heat. They were sure that it was wired right and that the problem was the circuit board so they ordered a new board and a couple of days later they came back and installed it. It wasn't the circuit board. so then they thought it was the fan and ordered a new one. Yesterday they came back to install the fan. It wasn't the fan. They don't know what it is.

While they were taking the furnace apart to install the new fan I had uninterrupted tatting time and I decided to re-do some of the snowflakes in colour so that I can applique them onto a shirt. In size 20 thread several of them are 3 to 5 inches across. The plan is to attach 3 in a group add either a tatted or embroidered stem although I guess I could use ribbon which would be faster and I'd have a bouquet of flowers on my shirt. The blue snowflake is the first one so I was looking for compatible colours to go with it so I thought I'd try out Lizbeth Summer Fun.
Here it is unblocked. Yuck! The colours are pretty but the colour change is too short. It may work better when matched with a solid. I kind of knew that as soon as I had it wound on the shuttle, but I was hoping it would work. Anyone besides me keep going when you already know it's a mistake?

That left me no no alternative. I re-did it in Raspberry and now I'm on to my 3rd snowflake. I love the way this design works. the upside down dimpled rings with the join in the middle are a bit tricky.

I also want to do a couple of the snowflakes in size 80 so see how they do as bookmarks.

I have more projects on the go than hours in the day. I guess that explains why I haven't done a 25 Motif Challenge update in a while.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


If you visit this blog regularly you will remember that earlier this year we had a new furnace installed, which promptly quit on the coldest day of the year. After 5 or 6 service calls they finally got it working. This week in Toronto we are having record breaking heat, and guess what?

The fan in the new furnace won't come on with the air conditioning. So now on the hottest day of the year, we have no cold.
While trying to stay cool in my upstairs office, I did manage to finish my sister's birthday present. It's a couple of days late, but since she's gone out of town and doesn't know I'm giving her anything anyway, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. The picture doesn't do it justice because it's a shadowbox frame which isn't apparent from the picture. but between the poor lighting and the reflection from the glass, this was the best I could do and I wanted to make sure I remembered to actually take a picture before it's gone.

Edited to add new picture. The sunlight might have helped but you still don't get the 3D quality that's there in real life. Maybe it would work better if I threw the picture down on the scanner.

Anyway, here are the stats. The flower in the centre is the Irish Rose from my Marvelous Motifs book done in Lizbeth Violet/Pink Dark. The smaller bud is similar using just the base flower with 6 repeats instead of 8, and one less row. Then it was folded and shuttle joined at the edge to hold it in place. The bud at the tip was a half size centre ring with one pattern repeat zigzagged back and forth and again folded and shuttle joined at the tip.

The Pink flower is some no name perle cotton done with a row of ring and chain for the first row and a vertical row of smaller ring and chain joined to the rings of the first row. Three rings joined to each other make the little ball in the middle which was just knotted onto the central rings and the ends pulled to the back of the flower. The smaller pink flower is a basic daisy.

The blue flowers were tatted in Lizbeth Bright Turquoise Dark. They are basically 5 onion ring joined around a central ring.

The thread ends were taken to the back of the flowers and then tatted over to make the green stems. I think doing the stems took longer than the flowers and at one point I considered just wrapping the green thread around the ends. The leaf is just graduated ring and chain up one side and down the other.

I cut card stock to fit the frame and glued the flowers down with white school glue. Before anyone thinks I ruined some perfectly good tatting with glue, you'll be happy to know that I glued the pearl, not the lace and I glued the stems, not the flowers. The whole thing was formed in place and just glued in a couple of spots, which even if it yellows will be underneath and not show.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Work in progress

I'm working on a framed picture of 3D flowers for my sister for her birthday. I'm using the Irish rose from my Marvelous Motifs book as a focal point. I am thinking about how I can do a profile version of it as a bud.
The frame I have selected isn't very deep so I don't want anything with a deep profile. I've been playing around with some other flowers. I'll keep the blue one, but I'm going to replace the pink one with a plain daisy Add in a spray of one ring flowers to look like baby's breath and some greenery and it should work. As you can see, none of the ends have been sewn in yet. To save time I may just knot and glue because they'll be stuck down anyway.

I'm thinking of tatted stems and leaves but I haven't anything suitable to use as a vase so I think I'll just stick a bow on the stems.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Earlier this year we downloaded SKYPE which is a free program so that we could talk to family that aren't local. If you don't have a high speed connection, it isn't all that successful, but if you do have high speed, Skype is a great way to stay in touch especially since you can not only do audio, you can also do video. We can now talk to family out of town as easily as we can to folks around the corner. As a bonus we can actually see how big the kids are getting or we can pick up the web cam and focus in on a circuit board or computer wiring connection to show how it's done.

Lately, several people on tatting lists have lamented the fact that when they have problems with their tatting that they don't live closer to someone who can show them the ropes. It occurred to me that this might be a useful way to coach tatting online. Of course before any of that can happen you need to have people with high speed connections, Skype on the computer and a web cam. The laptop comes with a basic web cam but we also have a Microsoft HD Life Cam so it has good resolution. Clear enough that I can show stitches on screen. It has possibilities. What do you think?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I've just realized that with very little modification 2 of the snowflake designs can be made into 3D snowflakes. That's a good thing, but in order to show you how it looks I have to actually tat them. One is small and won't take that long but the other is nearly 5 inches across. I already need to re-tat all or part of one of the other 3D flakes because I joined one of the arms at a point where I shouldn't have. Just cutting the join will fix it, but to do it properly I really ought to re-tat it.

What's not so good, is that I want to re-make several of the snowflakes which are pinned to my board to make colourful flowers that I can add onto some T-shirts. That's why one of the snowflakes is blue. I need to tat 2 more in colour for what I have planned and then sew down every blessed picot for easy wash and wear care.

What's also on the agenda is to tat some semi 3D flowers to mount in a frame as a birthday present for my sister. Her birthday is the 25th of May.

I also need to tat the designs from the folks in the Design-Tat class. Enough of them have been posted now that I can just sit down and tat them.

I'd like to do all of these things and start pulling the diagrams for the snowflakes into the software for publishing and I'd like to do it all this weekend. Good thing it's a long weekend.
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed this number. It's that close that I want this baby done!

Friday, May 21, 2010

26 of 30

Some things just aren't meant to be. I decided to throw in a cluny leaf for no reason other than the design was just too simple. It serves no purpose here. It doesn't add to the design to make it prettier. There isn't such a long chain that it needs to be broken up, I just added it to make the design a little more complex. So this one isn't going into the collection. Bye Bye snowflake.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's your favourite patttern?

That's a trick question. You don't think so? Then let me ask you this:
Think of all of the motif patterns that you like. Now imagine having to tat it in a hurry because it has to be done by a deadline. Is it still your favourite pattern? If you had to tat something in a rush, would you rather tat a complex design with a lot of cluny leaves, or something simpler? See what I mean? You might find one design more aesthetically pleasing to look at, but it might require a lot more work to tat. On the other hand, some designs might be a favourite to tat, but they might not be a favourite to look at.
Some people tat because they just like tatting. Some people want to see the finished product. Some people want a challenge. Some people want variety. Some people want different things at different times. Some times I like to just vegetate with my tatting. I want to work on auto pilot and get up from my tatting with a finished piece of lace that I didn't have to think about too much. Some times I have an idea in mind and I want to create something new so it's a little more mentally challenging, like upside down dimpled rings.
Other times I'm tatting to create something that will be a gift and if I have the time to plan things in advance, I want it to be exquisite, original, unique and beautiful.

Of course I'm one of those people, you know, the ones that procrastinate, thinking that they can do a week's worth of work in a couple of days. So I often get to the first week of December and I haven't even started my Christmas tatting. If that isn't crazy enough I start adding in friends and neighbours that I think would like a little bit of tatting in their Christmas stocking. Or the week before a wedding I'm wondering if I have time to do edgings for a set of place mats or some other equally impossible task. So I have patterns that are my favourite to tat because they're fast to work up. And I have patterns that are my favourite because they are pretty when they are done. And I have patterns that are my favourite because they're a little of both. I've hit another milestone, as I've designed, tatted, blocked and diagrammed 25 of the planned 30 snowflakes for the new book and I was just thinking that this collection has a little of everything. Some mindless tatting, some mind bending tatting, some simple and some complex. I know a lot of people like to start doing their Christmas tatting early in the year, because, unlike me they don't procrastinate. By Christmas time they have lots of lovelies finished and ready to go. With this collection there will be enough snowflakes for everyone to have a favourite.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More Snow

This is a picture of one of the tatted snowflakes in the upcoming book. It's 3D and it has a star suspended in the middle. It's in the finished and blocked but not drawn state. I was going to put a crystal heart in the middle, but when all was said and done the heart looked too big for the centre space and so did the butterfly, but the star is just the right size.
It was hard to get a picture of it where you can see the 3D snowflake and the star in the middle with the wind blowing the way it was, but you get the idea. There's another 3D design done, but it's not blocked yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

20 of 30

No, it's not a reference to the Borg collective. It's this number pinned to my board here:

These are the completed bits.

These are blocked and waiting to be written out.

These are finished. 20 of them, or at least 20 that I'm going to use. There are more than 20 on the board. I started writing the number on the board when I got tired of counting them repeatedly. Number 20 was a stinker to draw. I'm hoping some of the others in this box will be easier so that I can get this job finished sooner.
Why 30? I had plans for 1 a day for a month. They're done, I just need to get my butt in gear and get the rest of them onto the finished board so that number can be increased to 30 or more.

In their natural state they come in white, but I have plans to do some in colour for some other projects I have in mind.

I need to get these done and off my blocking board because I'm getting tired of working in white and I want to play but I need to keep at it or I'll just let it fall by the wayside. I was making progress adding one a day to my board but then stuff happened that needed my attention elsewhere. I am determined to get these into a book soon. Of course I was determined to do that before Christmas when I started designing these and now that I have more than 30 done, I'm looking at weeding some of them out.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bookmarks revisited

We recently had some discussion about bookmarks on the HBT list which was sparked by someone talking about doing a bookmark for her mother's Bible. Bookmarks are fun little bits of tatting that let you do all kinds of interesting designs without a huge commitment of time. If you can tat uninterrupted, you can often complete a bookmark in a single evening. They're also flat and light weight so they can be mailed in a card for a quick gift. (You understand "quick" here is a relative term.)

I think bookmarks intended for Bibles ought to be made in fine threads. People who read their Bible regularly will probably have a good quality leather bound Bible with very thin pages. They're so thin they're called onion skin. Bibles have lots of pages and in order to keep the books small the pages are very fine. They are so fine, that any but the thinnest bookmarks will leave an impression on the page. Bibles are meant to be read often and last for a long time so they are usually very well made. They are also usually quite expensive for a good one, often costing over $100.00, so when you invest that kind of money, you want to take care of it.

This one is an odd ball, free form design. Most things I don't mind giving away, but this isn't a design that I'm likely to repeat so I kept it and I used it in my Bible for a short time but it was made in size 12 perle cotton and it's a little thick. That's why I made the new one in size 80.

Beginners like to start with size 10 thread because it makes it easy to see the stitches, but size 10 thread isn't a good on the binding of a good book. When I mentioned tatting bookmarks in size 80 thread, there were several people commenting that they hadn't seen a lot of bookmarks intended to be made with fine thread. A nice size bookmark in size 20 thread will frequently look Lilliputian when it's done in size 80. This butterfly I designed to be made in size 10 but as it's mostly one long chain, it's not too bad if it's made long enough so that the butterfly and tassel are outside the book. There are several of this type of bookmark in my Transitions in Tatting from Flat to Floral book like the heart and red cross at the right. The pattern for the blue one is on my web site and it's been done in size 8 perle cotton.

The discussion about bookmarks prompted me to go through my archives looking for my bookmark designs. Most of mine have been done in size 80 thread. All of the cross bookmarks from my book Tatted Crosses where done in either size 80 thread or sewing thread which was even finer.

Then there were the bookmarks that I did over the 6 years that I produced the Tatted Lace Pattern Collection Newsletter. This one used dimple rings and long picots with a tiny row of split rings woven in between.
In 2005 I was hit by a car while riding my bike and the accident resulted in 5 breaks to my left leg and a chip off my right hip from the impact with the road. I had been creating new designs every few days, but the accident really took the wind out of my sails. I went months without inspiration. This rose bookmark was the first thing I created after I got out of the hospital and I did several as a thank you for various health care workers.

This one I designed for my sister in law when my brother passed away from cancer.
This one was just because I wanted a cross with a rose centre with simple arms. The one that's in the crosses book is prettier, but more complex to tat.
More recently I created a lot of square motifs for the Marvelous Motifs book and several of them worked well as bookmarks. I suppose most square motifs would. This one has another rose centre. I like roses. They make a nice base for a lot of different things. They work up fairly quickly but the problem that I have with doing a lot of them in size 80 is that I find I have to really wiggle the hook to make the lock join and I end up with a sore spot of my finger from stabbing it over and over again. This one was done in sewing thread.
This one done in variegated thread kind of looks like there's a flower in the middle of the motif. I only used 3 blocks to make a stubby bookmark. I suppose I could have made it longer, but I was in a hurry.
This one is a bit of a cheat because it was done in size 12 perle cotton and not size 80 which made it a bit thicker, but not by much. I would have done it in size 80, but at the time I didn't have enough of any compatible colours is size 80 to complete it and I didn't trust sewing thread to be strong enough to do the multiple split rings or cluny leaves required and not break. I think this is one of my favourite designs. It's really pretty, but definitely not a one evening bookmark.
Lots of bookmarks and none of them looking skinny mini even in size 80 thread. Just so you don't think I'm a bookmark snob, working only in fine threads, I found one I designed in size 20. It looked really skinny done in size 80. Dimpled rings are hard enough to close in fine thread. This pattern uses dimpled split rings. I tried it in sewing thread, which was all I had in green and it wouldn't take the strain. The thread broke on every ring so I gave up because it was going to be too skinny anyway.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bookmark in solid colours

I did another bookmark to send to my sister for her birthday. This one is done in 2 solid colours of vintage size 80 thread with a single end. I had to hide the end of the green shuttle 2 thread and the new end of the pink cloverleaf thread while fiddling with the spacer on a tiny bit of chain and since I don't mind sewing in ends I opted for sewing in the pink end. I was using a safety pin to hold the core thread open for that first join and the weight of the row of split rings wanted to bend in one direction and the weight of the safety pin wanted to bend in the opposite direction which kept making the tiny bit of chain twist.
I started this one after supper last night and sent it off in the mail this morning to my sister for her birthday. I hope she likes it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Pattern for Bible Bookmark

I didn't think my Bible bookmark was anything special, it just suited my needs. Apparently quite a few of you think it's pretty good and wanted the pattern so I whipped it up this morning. Since I was designing on the fly, how it ought to be constructed, wasn't how I actually did it. So to save a lot of fuss and bother begin with a row of split rings. For an explanation of the symbols, click on Legend in the sidebar.

You can make the bookmark whatever length you want, you just need to start with an even number of split rings. The model has 20 and measures about 6.25 inches. Make sure you leave the mock picots between them wide enough for the large rings of the cloverleaves to join into on either side. If you are working with a variegated thread and a solid thread and you want the left side and the right side of the split rings to match, wind the thread onto the first shuttle and then unwind enough thread from the ball so that you can match up the colours coming from both the ball and the shuttle then fold the thread in the middle of a colour and put a loose temporary knot in the middle of the middle colour. That sounds like double talk but it'll make sense when you do it. Pull enough thread off the ball to use on the second shuttle and wind up both shuttles so that your knot is between them. Undo the knot and start tatting where the knot was. Now when you tat you'll end up with the same colours lining up on each shuttle.

Once you have the row of split rings made you can start the outer row of cloverleaves and chains. If you are using a solid colour for the cloverleaves you can replace the second shuttle with solid colour thread at this point. It's easy to make a shuttle join into the side picot of the cloverleaf. Unfortunately if you are working continuously, this row will start with a chain and the first join is made to picot that doesn't exist yet. Hang a paperclip, safety pin or a loop of thread over the core thread at the joining point as a spacer so that you can pull out the core thread to make the join when the first ring is tatted.

When you make the large centre ring of the cloverleaf, join between the first and second split rings. For each following cloverleaf, skip 2 split rings and join between the next all down the length of the split ring row. The last clover leaf will join in the mock picot before the last split ring. The end chain joins to the side of the clover leaf, to the starting split ring and then has another spacer for the join at the end and the first chain on the return row. Tat like the first row joining to the opposite side of the split rings. Finish the row joining into the last side ring and end where the asterisk is marked.

The model uses 3 marker ends two in the solid colour and one in the variegated. All of the ends are rows of split ring joined to the same point on the bookmark and marked with an asterisk on the pattern. The first solid colour end terminates in a 6 ring daisy. The first ring of the daisy is a split ring and the rest are normal rings. The second solid colour end is a cross which uses larger size rings that the split chain row. The first ring is a split ring, then one side ring is done with each shuttle and the last ring is done with shuttle 1.

The middle end is tatted with the variegated thread and terminates in a butterfly. Since the variegated thread from the first shuttle was used for the chain around the bookmark the colours will not likely continue to be synchronized on the second shuttle, so it was just as easy to cut it off and start again. Match up the colours again before starting this end. At the bottom of the row of split rings tat a short chain. Join the small ring of the butterfly to the chain. Tat the large ring with graduated picots. Tat the small head ring with large twisted picots. (TIP - Make a long picot and the first half stitch, insert a straight pin and twist the picot. Make the second half of the stitch and pull the pin out. To make the matching antenna repeat the process and after twisting insert the pin back in the first antenna. Pull both antennae to the same length and then tighten the second half of the stitch.) Make the second side of the butterfly ending with a chain. Then tie a knot and sew in the ends.

I made mine in a solid and a variegated size 80 thread with 3 ends, but you could make it all in one colour or 2 different solids or all variegated. You could use one end or many ends. You can make the ends all the same length, or you could vary the length. Mine were all different.

I was wondering if the numbers would be clear enough and after Gina's comment I split the diagram into 2 sections and uploaded a larger version of each which should make the numbers more readable. The split rings are 12/12 the clovers are R6-6-6-6, R6+10-10-6, R6+6-6-6 the stitch count between picots on the chains is 3. The stitch count on the ends should be clear enough to read.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tatted Bookmark

This is the most recent bookmark I designed. I used some of the vintage size 80 thread I won on ebay because I wanted to see if it was good for tatting or too frail from age to be usable. I'm glad to say that it worked out just fine. I selected a solid and a variegated that I though would work together well.
The variegated appears to be the same as some crocheted pieces included with the thread so I sort of had an idea how it would look. The colour change is very short for a commercial thread which really surprised me, but maybe vintage threads had shorter changes because more people used them for tatting.

I was making things up as I went along using pink for the cloverleavess and the variegated for the chains but it was too skinny and I didn't like the idea of the empty spaces left between the cloverleaves that happens when you join them top to top. So I added a row of split rings down the middle which both filled in the space and carried the variegated thread throughout the bookmark.

I didn't want to use tassels because they take too long to make and because this bookmark is for my Bible and I wanted several markers. I like to read a little Old Testament, a little New Testament and a little of the Psalms every day but I don't like to break the binding on my Bible by putting too much between the pages. With this bookmark I can leave the bookmark in one spot and take each of the ends and put them wherever I happen to be reading. Just for variety I used a different motif on each end. One has a daisy, one has a cross, and the middle variegated one is a butterfly.

I didn't think to match the colours on the split rings down the middle. I was just using as it came off the shuttles. When I did the ends I needed to put more thread on the shuttles so I matched the colours and I'm glad I did. If I was to do this bookmark again I think I'd match up the colours for all of the split rings.

The bookmark measures about 6.5 inches long and about 1 inch wide (2.5 x 16.25 cm) and as you can see from the picture the split ring ends are almost as long as the bookmark.