Thursday, October 06, 2022

Another variation

This is another of the bookmarks with a 4 ring motif as a base. This one also has the motifs joined in a square rather than a diamond. The variegated thread in this one is in the inner row of motifs and again the pattern shows separate start points for the motifs and the outer row because of the colour changes.

I don't think I did one utilizing onion rings in the outer row, or one with the outer row with rings laying on the side. So maybe I need to do a few more just so I can experiment some more. The pairs of tiny rings made for a shorter row so this bookmark is a little thinner than some of the others.

I must have been on a roll with these because the inner row of motifs are again all 5-5-5-5 but the tiny pairs of rings are 3-3 and the chains are all 3-2-2-3.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

More DIY

I outlined some of the things we did in the past year and my sweetheart has uploaded a lot of work-in-progress pictures of our activities. I know we did a lot, but when I review what he's posted I realize we did even more than that. In one of the bedrooms we had shelves along one whole wall, which we removed and then built in a lot of shelves in the closet instead. We now have one large closet mostly full of toilet paper, boxes of tissue and rolls of paper towel. Remember the toilet paper shortage? We don't. The closet was already full.

Before we did any of the floors we went through and painted each room. It just made sense to splatter the old carpet we were removing, rather than mess up the new flooring.

You know how I said we painted the walls, well painting them was the least of it. All of the ceilings have that horrible "popcorn" finish, so if you brush against it it falls off like dandruff. What's worse is that if it gets wet like with the edge of a brush or roller touching it, the popcorn starts to slide all over the place getting stuck in the paintbrush and roller and transferring to the newly painted walls. YUCK!

Then there's the stairwell which was previously painted with a gloss paint so the whole area had to be sanded down completely before it could be painted. Even with the extension ladder I couldn't reach up near the ceiling, (the ceiling with the horrible popcorn on it so it was necessary to be especially careful.) That meant of course the Rob had to sand and paint that area because he's taller and could reach it. 

You know what's really, really scary about that? Rob has Meniere's disease, so he's ALWAYS dizzy. If you want a recipe for disaster, put a dizzy person on the top of an extension ladder propped up in a stairwell. I spent most of my time clinging onto his legs just to make sure he didn't fall.

Once we got the floors and walls done, we finished off each room by buying new blackout drapes and getting rid of the ugly old shades, drapes and blinds.

If you like seeing DIY projects in process, take a look at what my sweetheart uploaded the other day. There are pictures of the cannonball bed being made along with some speeded up movies from the garage camera.

Then there are pictures of each of the rooms before and after we worked on them.

Another 4 ring bookmark

This is another bookmark based on a square 4 ring motif. I found what I thought was the pattern in my archive but when I started counting stitches, it wasn't the same. I looked back through previously published work and I can't see this one anywhere so I'm posting it now.

These bookmarks were all done in multiple colours and there was no need to climb out from one row to the next, or at least not in the colours I used. Consequently, there are 2 start points, one for the square motifs and one for the outer row.

Just remember 5. The rings are all 5-5-5-5 and the chains are all 5-5. Super easy.

Most bookmarks are really edgings with the second side a mirror image of the first. A lot of them will also look nice on a cuff, collar or the edge of a pocket. Just another use for a versatile bit of lace.

Monday, October 03, 2022

4 ring motif bookmark 1

OK I'm out of practice and keep forgetting things that I ought to include like the starting point and the direction of work, and how to use the software and... you get the idea. 

When I'm on a designing roll, I often use the same bit as a starting point. What I mean is that if I design one thing with a rose base or a daisy base or some other little bit, I often design a lot of things with the same base. It lets me do a lot of, "what if". Like, what if I make this ring bigger or do a smaller pair of rings instead. I already  know what my stitch counts have to be in order to work because I have a functional sample to base things on. It also lets me start with a partially written pattern because I just have to draw in the bits I did differently and change the stitch count if necessary. 

I started several bookmarks using a little 4 ring base motif. Some of them had the little motifs joined 2 rings in a square and others with the motifs joined point to point in a diamond shape.

This one alternates a diamond with a square. That means that the rings in the diamond shape are split down the middle and the square shape ones are split out the side. In both cases half the motif is tatted with the first shuttle and half with the second shuttle. (Except for the first and last motifs, obviously.)

Since this design was intended to be done with one solid and one variegated colour, the second row starts over rather than climbing out which is why I've shown 2 start points. But, you're the tatter, you make it the way you want. It could just as easily have one solid colour for the centre motifs, a complimentary colour for the 2nd row rings and a matching variegated for the outer chains. Or it could be all done in one colour. You decide. 

I'm back to hiding ends and making tassels. 


I'm half way through finishing off my collection of bookmarks. These were just little bits I tatted while watching TV just to keep my hands and mind busy and I wasn't going to draw out the patterns, but I've changed my mind. 

I did this one first in mauve/white/green and one solid thread in mauve, then again in deep blue with a variegated blue/white/yellow. I really like them. They were easy to tat and just seemed to flow and the colours blended nicely. These were done in 2014 and I suspect that the last one was done at the same time. The solid colour is a green that matched the green in the variegated thread perfectly, but when I did the bookmark in this colour combination, I didn't like it at all! I think it's just too many colours. That may be why I never bothered to finish it off. It's done now and waiting for gifting. 

I have the pattern already drawn, but I can't see anywhere where I published it. So here it is:

I used the same variegated thread paired this time with a solid red, but again I don't care for the final result. At first glance I thought I'd done this one before too, but it's totally different.

Here's the other one done in monochromatic black and white:

Colour really does make a difference.

I'll see if I can't get this last one drawn out later today and you can do it in colours more pleasing to the eye.

Just for your information, I keep getting notices that the blog posts aren't optimized for multi platform use. I use my computer to post and I can view everything easily on my tablet so I'm not sure what Blogger wants me to change. So if you have issues please mention them in the comments.

Saturday, October 01, 2022


One of the things that I tat a lot of are bookmarks. They're fun frivolous quick little bits of tatting that are nice to have on hand for little gifts. I was sure that I had three or four finished off and stored inside little zip lock bags ready for gifting.

What I have is a mess like this.

I do have six finished bookmarks, and by finished I mean the ends are hidden and there are tails and tassels or motifs so that these can just get tucked into little zip lock bags for storage. I know that storing lace in plastic bags isn't ideal, but the bookmarks and tassels store better and don't get tangled with one another when they're in their individual pouches and they aren't there for long term storage.

I don't mind tatting up bookmarks, but fussing with tassels isn't something that can be done easily in dim light and since my tatting light causes a glare off the TV, I often end up with bookmarks that need to be finished off with tassels and tails. Wherever I can I make a little matching motif rather than fussing with tassels. When I need a tassel I keep the leftover threads from the shuttles to make them, so that I match the right colours and use up the thread. That's why there are little skeins of threads stored with these.

Consequently, what I have are a lot of almost finished bookmarks that need ends hidden, motifs tatted, tails done and tassels made. All the finicky parts that I like least. I have 14 bookmarks, 6 finished, 4 needing end hidden, tails and tassels or motifs made, 3 stored with balls of thread looking like they maybe want another row and 1 needs some major fixing.

This last one was created with a foundation row using a subtle variegated yellow thread. When I have a piece of lace finished I finger press it, pulling it more or less into shape. That usually gets rid of puckering and ruffling, showing what the finished piece looks like. I think the yellow thread must have been some vintage stuff, because when I pulled it into shape the split ring broke. Foundation row. Everything else is connected to it. Broke in the middle.

It can be fixed. I think. I un-tatted several split rings to get thread ends long enough to hide. IF I fix it, I'll have to match the variegation of the foundational row of split rings, then I'll have to tat in the first broken ends. As I'm tatting the split ring I'll have to join into the second row of tatting, but there aren't any picots to join into, the picots were on the foundation row and what's left is the joining. That means joining into something that isn't there which is going to make the connection of the repaired part tighter than the original on both sides of the split ring. Then if I succeed in doing that, I'll have to invisibly incorporate the 2 other broken ends along with the 2 new ends from the new split rings.

You know what? I'm just going to scrap it. It's a pretty design and I'm just going to re-tat it. Re-doing 3 rows of lace will be faster and easier that trying to fix this thing and life's too short to waste time when I don't have to. So I guess that means I only have 13 bookmarks done or sort of done. I'm off to hide and bunch of ends and make a bunch of tassels.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Better late then never

In 2007 I started embroidering 8x8 inch squares in butterflies, thinking that I'd make enough for a quilt. After I'd done a few, and couldn't find pictures on line of things I wanted to use and a little bit of math told me that it was going to take years to have enough patches embroidered, I scrapped the idea. 

In 2018 I finished larger bird and flower picture which is also an odd size that's hard to find a frame for. Not being able to frame this picture made me think again about what I could do with a few very densely embroidered patches. The problem is that an 8x8 patch works for a quilt square and not much else. Then I had the bright idea of stitching the small patches onto a bigger square and mounting the larger square onto some masonite that would allow me to stretch and block the embroidery flat. Concentric rows of dense embroidery results in hugely puckered fabric so stretching was definitely necessary.

I had some 11 inch square sections of masonite which I used. The embroidery was done on cream coloured fabric and the outer square was white. I wanted a royal blue mat large enough to cover over the white fabric so that all that would be visible was the original 8x8 patch and a plain 11x11 frame. I kind of just wanted a blue frame, but I couldn't find what I was looking for and couldn't find anything in the appropriate size frame. There's no way I'm going to pay for a dozen customized frames. So the patches have been stitched up sitting here waiting for years for me to do something with them.

I kept ruminating on different ways the I could get the blue framing I wanted. I have the mat and that would cover the top, but then what do I do with the sides........if only the white fabric could be covered with some way to wrap the colour around the edges.....Then I had a Duh! moment. The obvious solution was to rip off the white fabric and replace it with royal blue!  A week's worth of effort and here are the pictures with blue frames stretched and blocked and finally, finally hung. It only took 15 years.

I got smarter, when I embroidered the flowers I did in the winter of 2019 and spring of 2020 and bought the frames first. The pictures were made to fit the purchased frames so that all I had to do was stuff the embroidered fabric into the frames. So easy!

Now if I can only find a frame for the large bird and flower picture they can all get hung!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Pretty, but...

 It's gorgeous, I love it, but I'm keeping the windows open to air the house out and cut down on the fumes.  We used gel stain on the cannonball bed and the day after we did it both of us were feeling really awful, which we chalked up to the fumes from the stain. Once we got the first layer of  gloss Spar on it the smell dropped way down and once we'd finished 4 coats of it, everything was fine.  Except that I can still smell the Spar finish. It's too hot to leave the windows open during the day, but we've been keeping them open at night with the ceiling fans going.

It is petty.

I need to get back to tatting, at least the only headaches I get from lacemaking is knots that don't belong!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Has it been a year already?

It's September again. I feel like I'm coming up for air after a year of non-stop activity. We wanted to replace the old broadloom that was coming apart, but to get to the floor in my sweetie's office, meant getting under 2 large cabinets 4 short filing cabinets and several desks full of computer equipment. The first job was building a wheeled platform to hold the filing cabinets, adding solid bases and wheels to the large cabinets, followed by adding heavy duty steel brackets to the walls to support a long countertop for the computer equipment.

We had all of our windows replaced, which necessitated moving everything away from the windows so the contractor could get in to work on them. Unfortunately most of the computer equipment was right under the window so that required rewiring the room to move the equipment to a different wall.

We intended to put down wood flooring to replace the carpeting and once everything was up on wheels, moving heavy pieces around was a lot easier. The short filing cabinets just roll under the counter top, and the tall storage cabinets can be rolled wherever we want. That left us free to start on the floors, or so we thought.

Once the carpet was ripped up in the office we discovered that the water leak from the bathroom years ago had literally rotted out the floor in the back of the closet adjacent to the bathroom. Good thing there was nothing heavy back there or it would have ended up in the kitchen downstairs! Hubby pulled out the rotting section, replaced the joists under the floor and fitted in new subflooring. Sounds easy, but he had to work inside the corner of the closet, under the dividing wall between the bathroom and bedroom, and under the side wall forming the end of the closet. There were a lot of expletives being used! 

All of this, just to get to the point of putting down new flooring. We started in his office since that was where the carpeting was the worst. Once we got started, putting down the flooring took us a couple of days and wasn't that big of an ordeal. There was a lot of running up and down stairs measuring and cutting planks to length and a lot of pounding things into place with a rubber mallet, but overall not too bad. Except... hubby ended up rubbing the skin off both knees and with a really sore shoulder and pains in his neck that put him out of commission for a while.(Before someone comments to tell me that he should have used knee pads, he did, they didn't work very well.)Actually he was in agony for a while, unable to sleep for the pain. After several weeks he recovered somewhat and we went back to pick up more supplies to do the next room.

We're old and getting older and knew that this wasn't going to be a quick job, so we specifically asked before we started if the product we bought was likely to be discontinued and were assured that it was one of their most popular items. Guess what? It was being discontinued only one month after we had been assured that it would be available for a long time to come. Since we'd already done one room we had to make sure we bought enough to do the whole upstairs. 

Knowing that we were going to be putting down flooring it seemed like a good time to paint the walls and move the shelves from the wall in the next bedroom where they were kind of an eyesore, into the closet to allow for more storage. Once hubby recovered enough from hauling around dozens of cases of planks, we proceeded with hardly any issues at all, except for more skinned knees, persistent pain in his shoulders and arms and the advent of heart palpitations. Two rooms down, one room and the connecting hallway to go.

After another extended rest we tackled the adjoining hallway again painting all of the walls  and up into the stairwell before we started the floors. We had to invisibly connect 2 doorways into the hallway, where it just happened that the same plank had to join the office, hallway and second bedroom. It took 2 tries, but we finally got it done and then on the other side of the hallway we had to connect the bathroom doorway and the master bedroom doorway. 

To complete the last room, the master bedroom, we again had to put the dresser, the large storage cabinet for my craft supplies and my bookshelf, all heavy pieces, up on wheels. Altogether hubby put 36 casters on various pieces of furniture before we were through, but we were done at the end of June. Fun and games. We ended up replacing all of the drapes and drapery hardware to finish off the facelift.

In July hubby started on a project he's wanted to make for decades, a cannonball bed. A cannonball bed is a 4 poster bed with decorative turned finials on the posts that are capped by a large round ball, like a cannonball. Not having made such a large project before, he was reluctant to spend a lot of money on wood only to find out part way through that what he had planned wouldn't work so he decided to use ordinary 2x4 studs that were cheap and easy to find.

Step 1 was to plane the broad side of the boards to make them flat and even. Step 2 planing the narrow side is trickier because when you put the narrow edge through you hope that the finish board will come out as a rectangle but it might go through an an angle and the end might look more like a diamond than a rectangle. To make sure that we had squared off corners my brilliant sweetie cut sections of threaded rod and bolted 3 boards together at either end. The bolted together planks could then be fed through the planer until all the rounded edges were cut off the narrow sides. 

Step 3 was to put the straight boards down side by side and glue the edges together clamping them down with a bunch of F clamps to make one large panel. We also wrapped several short temporary boards in clear tape so that we could clamp the boards top and bottom. Without the tape these temporary boards would have stuck to the panel we were making. After drying we took off the F clamps and pried off the temporary boards. Then we put the finished panel back through the planer. Any little holes were filled with wood filler and little splinters were glued back down. One long panel done, and we started on the second, going through the same process. It took a full day to make each panel which had to be clamped and left overnight to dry.

Hubby has previously used his lathe to turn spindles for making stools, but they were narrow and he could start with square wood stock. For the bed he needed something that was 3 to 4 inches square and the stores just don't carry anything like that. As with the 2 panels we had done, we started with 3 2x4sbut this time we glued them in a block rather than a sheet. The throat of the lathe only opens up to roughly 36 inches which wasn't going to be long enough, so he decided to make the decorative finials separate and connect them with threaded rod. It not only solved the problem of the posts needing to be less than 36 inches, but it also would make the finished post stronger.

He did a trial finial just to see how hard it would be to turn a perfectly round ball, especially using cheap studs. It turned out surprisingly well and one large post was cut into 4 roughly 8 inch sections that he turned on the lathe. Making one finial was easy. It was more challenging to make 4 that looked the same. He watched several videos on the internet and decided that a precut template would help with the process. Being able to hold something against the piece he was turning to see how much more he had to take off was a lot faster then checking repeatedly with a caliper. Each finial took a day to complete and like with the panels, wood filler was used for any holes and raise slivers were glued back down before everything was sanded smooth.

The posts were made in a similar manner to the finials but the planned shape had to be modified a little as the first post going through the lathe developed a nasty splinter. Once that happened all of the posts had to be made in the same way. They were left mostly square, with the edges rounded off, a taper to a rounded foot at the bottom and a rounded taper at the top where the finials were joined. Again, each post took a day to complete. 

The finials had a hole drilled up halfway through and the hole was tapped for the threaded rod. Likewise the posts had a drilled and tapped hole for the other side of the threaded rod. When complete the 2 pieces were screwed together.

That got 4 posts and 2 long side panels done. We still needed the headboard and the connecting panel below the headboard as well as the footboard. The panels were made in the same fashion as the earlier ones, except that for the headboard and footboard we wanted wider pieces that could be cut down to a decorative edge but they couldn't be any wider that 12 inches in order to fit through the planer.

Carboard was used to make a template for the decorative border which was then drawn right onto the wood. Running a 4.5 foot panel through the bandsaw is rather difficult and as usual I'm hubby's 3rd hand holding up the unwieldy end of whatever is being worked on. My brilliant other half does lots of projects that need someone holding the other end of long boards or holding extra pieces of whatever it is he's working on. So I often say we did this or that and mostly it's him doing it with me adding in a bit more to the effort where it's needed. I'm just the cheering section!

After cutting out the general shape the top edged of the head and foot were routed to give it a nice polished look. The top edges of the long boards were also rounded off since those are the bits that get leaned on getting in and out of the bed.

You'd think after that it was pretty much done, but it wasn't. Angle iron - actually it was aluminum angle stock was cut drilled and chamfered so that the pieces could be screwed together with the screws counter sunk to keep them out of the way. Five panels (2 at the head) were screwed on each side to the 4 posts so it was 10 brackets with 6 holes in each.

We assembled the whole thing and dropped in the box spring and mattress to see how it would fit, it wasn't quite right. The length was fine but it was a little too wide. It was hard to tell just how much of an adjustment fitting the posts in would add to the overall width. We had to take all of the shorter panels and cut off a bit from each side. It was fortunate that the design hubby chose could easily have that bit cut off each side or we would have had a real problem.

To hold up the box spring and mattress a board was attached at the bottom of the side panel with channels cut in this rail for the slats to lay in. After that all of the pieces were stained with gel stain which resulted in both of us feeling sick from the fumes. Bleck!! Stinky, stinky stuff. 

We had to wait 24 hours to Spar Varathane it all and seal in the stink. Four coats of Spar required, with an hour between coats and since there were so many pieces we had to do one side, wait an hour, turn the panels over and do the second side and then repeat for 4 coats on each side, Since the posts would stand up we could do all sides of the posts and finials at once so they only took 4 hours to complete instead of the 8 hours needed for the panels. The rails and slats only got 2 coats since they're totally hidden. 

We started this project July 25th and finished it last week. We use 32 - 8 foot long 2x4s and filled 4 large yard waste bags with sawdust in completing this project. It started out to be a fun idea, but after 30 days we just wanted to see the end of it. It's done now and I can truly say to hubby, you made your bed now lie in it! Whew! 

If you're interested in woodworking projects and you'd like to see a more comprehensive story of this saga, check out hubby's web page at