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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Number 25. Tatting a Christmas Camel and a Snowflake for you.

Well here I am at Number 25 the end of my challenge and in just under a year. There were times when I thought that I would never finish it. I finally did have to admit that I just didn't have time to tat all the patterns from different, and even the same designer for each animal, but maybe some of them will be revisited later.

I have enjoyed this so much, it has focused my tatting time to a great degree, tho' I have managed to tat a wealth of other things too. The challenge has also made me look more closely at patterns and developed my ability to change them a little. It was so nice that Jane liked my changes to her, flamingo, meercat and pig so much that she even published them as variations to her patterns. Who knows one day I may even design an animal of my own....only please don't hold your breath.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog half as much as I have enjoyed writing it and that my sometimes zany humour added to it!

My final animal is a Camel, dressed up in all his finery for Christmas.
He brings with him my Christmas wishes for all my tatting friends whose number is growing by the minute.

This is the most fabulous pattern and was designed by Dolly Hollander, downloaded from the net a few years ago I am not sure where you can find it now. I blocked the middle red/green section to come out in a 3D like bowl shape and it looks fab in the deep frame.

My one was tatted in size 10 thread Flora, he stands about 11cm tall and 14cm wide. I did start tatting him in Flora 20 but he is now a UFO!!

Did I say something about a snowflake?!?!?!?
Well my brain has begun to work at last and I have designed a snowflake, my Christmas gift to you all, to give back just a tiny fraction what the tatting community has given to me. Hope you will like it.

A couple of years ago I bought a selection of large sequins so that I could tat Jane Eborall's Sequin mobile. Large sequins were very hard to find and still are. Thinking about what I could do for Christmas this year I remembered these sequins and dug them out, I also remembered that I had seen in Karey Solomon's 'Tatting Times' that Sue Hanson had made a mini flake on a sequin. Mmmm that looked way to hard to start with, but she did say that it was possible to punch a bigger hole in a sequin. She had used a 10mm sequin and I had a packet of those in a gorgeous gold holographic material and so off I went to design something simple, really simple. I have since seen Jennifer Williams's Christmas bauble on a sequin but this had not influenced me and I don't think it is all that similar to my design being that all simple designs by their very nature are bound to be similar to many others. All this preamble is to say that I believe that this is truly my own design but if I have trodden on anyones toes it was unintentional.

I have called it Scintillating Snowflake 'cos that's just what it does.

You will need a 10mm sequin...holographic if possible.
I tried using a punch to enlarge the hole but my punches were too blunt. The best way that I found was to use a round needle file, amazing how tools from another craft come in useful. I used to use these small files as part of enamelling on copper.

Just keep twisting the file in the hole in the sequin until it is the right size. Turn the sequin over from time to time to get a fairly clean hole. Could have made a much larger hole if necessary with this method.

It should now look like the second image.

The thread used was Coats Mercer Anchor size 20.
You need 2 shuttles wound continuous thread. I am giving the amounts of thread that I needed. Bear in mind that your thread may be thicker than mine and that I am a tight tatter. I really like to know how much thread to use so this will give you a fair idea.
Shuttle 1 needs about 85cm and 6 beads
Shuttle 2 needs about 1.25m and 18 beads.

Bead up Bead down...bring a bead from the back of the hand and another from the shuttle.
DNRW...Do not reverse work
Join into sequin....join into the sequin by pulling the thread round your hand through the hole from the back to the front and down past the edge of the sequin. Pass the shuttle through and tighten until the core thread lies at the edge of the sequin, when tatting the next stitch make sure that the core thread still lies neatly at the edge of the sequin.

*R 3 - join into sequin - 3 Cl and RW.

Bring a bead from Sh 2 to lie at the base of the ring then

Throw off a ring using Sh2, place a bead round the hand.
R 3 - B up B down - 3 Cl DNRW

Bring a bead from Sh1
Ch 6 RW *

Repeat from* to* 5 times

Cut leaving a few inches to make the hanger. Tie into the base of the first chain making sure that the bead lies between the first and last chain. Tie a knot to make the hanger at the desired length. I personally prefer to thread a fine thread through on the the beads so that it hangs from a point. I tie the ends from the tatting in a reef knot, applying the tiniest drop of PVA glue after the first part of the knot. Pull it really tight and cut very close and the knot is hardly visible.

I also have one variation which looks pretty too.

This one uses the same amount on shuttle and ball(or sh2 if you prefer) 85cm I used.
You will need 6 beads on the shuttle and 24 on the ball thread.

The only difference in the pattern is that instead of throwing a ring off the chain you make a beaded picot with 3 beads from the ball and one from the shuttle (3B up 1B down).

Last year I showed you my antique tree filled with tatting(click on the link to Christmas). This year it is the turn of my tiny tree. This also is quite old and belonged to my parents.

Only 17 inches high it is trimmed with mini snowflakes and tiny, tiny glass baubles.


Oh and I think that I will have to continue this challenge....50 animals here I come!!!

STOP PRESS.....21st December....If you have been reading the comments you will be delighted to know that Riet Surtel and Tami Drader have come up with the url to the Camel pattern complete with it is.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Number 24. Tatting pests strike again!!

I've been SLUGGED!!
Yesterday when I went to get out some lettuce for my lunch what did I find??
It was crawling, yes crawling with slugs....yuk! Slime trails all over it and a big group of them munching away!! Click on the photo if you want to see all the little blighters!

Now you all know that slugs feed by rasping away with their mouthparts...on MY I can see why these slugs are green.....just like my lettuce!

Here they are in action!

Looked for something else to eat and found they were also trying to eat my come on slugs..... the skin is much too tough for you!! and in any case you are the wrong colour..that proves you dont eat mangos!

Put me right off my lunch I can tell you.

You know who is to blame don't you....yes Jane Eborall AGAIN! Her fleas escaped from Palmettos and drove my Meercats bananas and now she goes spreading slugs all over everyone at Palmettos again and the little blighters end up in Ireland again.

I know we are all going green but she should be stopped!

Time to have a closer look at a slug. Sid the scintilating slug she calls him. Scintillate he does with his aurora borealis beads and that dreadful slime he leaves behind everywhere he goes. He was tatted in Altin Basak 50 thread and his body is about 2cm long. I have to say it is a cracking little pattern (available on the Palmettos 2007 CD).

Gets me thinking as to what eats slugs........well frogs, toads, hedgehogs for a start.

Slugs you had better watch out!!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Number 23. Parasites!!

Well I tatted that pesky irritating! little flea and now it's the turn of a genuine parasite. Parasites generally cause serious harm to the host rather than just being annoying and this one is no exception.

Martha Ess designed and tatted a nasty little parasite as a pair of fun earrings for a friend with whom she worked. I have been attracted to this pattern since I first saw it a good while ago. Mmmmm I though that name that sounds familiar! In the far distant past when I took my Zoology Degree we did a course on parasitism, so out came my 'Girls Book of Parasites'(doesnt everyone have one??),actually it's 'Introduction to Animal Parasitology' by J.D. Smyth. When I found it my first though was 'Aw my gawd I used to know all this!' well some of it anyway!

This is the drawing I found of this nasty little critter (Sorry but I have had to remove the name of the parasite from my blog as a huge number of my blog visitors don't come for to see tatting but have looked up this name and been directed to my blog as an information source!!).

It is described as looking like a 'tennis racquet with out a handle' and has a somewhat comical face like appearance. It is a protozoan single celled animal that swims around using it's four pairs of flagellae. What seem to be eyes are in fact two nuclei. A parasite of man it lives in the duodenum and I think there we should draw a veil (a tatted one of course!)over it's lifestyle!!
Martha's design is the stage illustrated in the diagram, this is the active part of the life cycle rather than the cyst stage where it passes from host to host mainly through contaminated drinking water.

OK enough of the science stuff lets get to the tatting!!
Martha tatted hers in a pale green and I got to thinking what colour would a parasite of the gut be? First choice was a cheery bright apricot in size 10 flora, no point in telling you what this one measures!!

Second version in a rather more gut coloured dusky pink Flora 20, that's much more realistic!

Putting it all together I think Martha made a cracking job of it,and this pattern is a little gem. Anyone else want to tat it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Number 22. Tatting Dragons!

Next animal to fly off my magic shuttle is a Dragon. Yes, I know I said I was going to tat realistic animals...but who really knows if dragons really do exist.I am sure we all know a few contenders!!

This is the only dragon pattern that I have (I think) tho' I know there are lots around.
This is Paprika the Dragon from the endlessly inventive mind of Martha Ess. What would I do without her!

This trial Paprika is tatted in size 10 Flora and measures nearly 11cm head to tail.

But he isn't really a good paprika colour so he had to have a friend and more. The beauty of tatting an unrealistic animal for a change is that it doesn't have a realistic colour that has to be aimed for.

These little fella's are in Flora 20 and measure 8cm head to tail. One has a fringed tail which saved hiding ends! He really is in Paprika colour.

It's a nice pattern to tat.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A little Tatting history!

Jane Eborall recently blogged about her favorite doily (Nov 9th 2007).
Mmmm!! I thought, that looks familiar! So off I went at a run into my craft room to look at my doilies, fastened to my display board, where they have hung since 1985 when I took a demonstrators test.

Secured with bits of Scotch tape (ouch!) there was my doily. Amazingly the tape left no sticky marks at all and the doily was perfect.

Yes, indeed my doily did look exactly like the pattern that Jane shows, but Jane's own very frilly version looked very different. Here is my doily.

It looks pretty sensational to me, apart from the horrific little frayed knots that jump out at me. Tatted in a fine thread prob 60 it measure 9 inches. I guess I made this in about 1984, in the days of good eyesight and lots of patience!
Jane says that it is called 'Snowflakes' and is from Penelope Book 4.

By 1984 I was the proud owner of 2 shuttles and 4 tatting books, Coats Learn to Tat(nowhere to be found now!)Coats Learn Tatting (1088),Coats Tatting (919)and my absolute favorite The Craft Of Tatting by Bessie Attenborough.

I had never heard of Penelope Books until recently so where did I get that pattern? I wonder if I found tatting books in the library, that seems so unlikely.

Now given that I only ever tatted 3 doilies in my tatting life until this year (see earlier entry on doilies), it seemed pretty amazing that Jane and I should have made the same doily way back when!

I learned to tat in about 1958 from a school friend, using a vulcanite/hard rubber (I think)shuttle inherited probably from my great grandmother. That and my Learn to Tat book were my only tools until the 70's when I acquired a Milwards Shuttle and the two Coats leaflets in Ireland. These were riches indeed!

My very first doily must have been from Learn To Tat, I even made it again in pale blue (gosh we had colour!).

Again made in Coats Anchor Mercer 60 it measures 7 inches, and must date back to the 1960's.

My 3rd Doily is from The Craft Of Tatting, my copy is a reprint dated 1984 so I guess that is when I made the doily.

This has to be the biggest thing I ever made, in size 60 thread it measures a full 11 inches, wow. I can't believe I made this.

It was actually made for a test run under the Country Markets Produce and Craft Programme. The Tatting test required an article made entirely of tatting, an article trimmed with tatting and a sampler showing stitches and a variety of medallions.If one got an excellent in the test one could take the Demonstrator's Bar test which involved making a whole lot more visual aids and really knowing your stuff. I took these tests in 1984/5.

The award is called a 'Brannra'. The original brannra is a bread iron made by a Donegal blacksmith and was used to cook oatcakes in Irish country homes. This simple design stands for country craftsmanship at its best and was chosen by Country Markets as its sign and Test Award.

After that I went into tatting decline!! suffering from too much white! and a bad neck and shoulder 'till I looked up 'tatting' on the internet in 2003.

WOW!! how different is what I do now.

That's enough reminiscing for now. must get back to my challenge.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Number 21. Ginger Toms!

Another cat post!.....(this may be a long post so better sit down with a cuppa!)
Well cats are soooh variable they almost count as different species ( except that they can interbreed!), different enough to blog seperately anyway!
Siamese cats with their blue eyes, Burmese cats, Persian, even Manx cats with no tails. Just read that there are 36 recognised breeds of pedigree cats around the world. Most common tho are the Moggies found in almost every household, Tortoiseshell ones, Scary/Lucky Black ones, Tabby ones, Black and white ones and my favorite the Ginger cat.
So this time I am tatting Ginger cats, are they the same as Marmalade cats I wonder, or do they have more brown in them.

This time I am going to start with the most complicated pattern I tatted. This one is by Inga Madsen from her book of Tatted Animals.

When I first tatted this cat in 2005 I came across T.S.Eliot's poem the 'Old Gumbie Cat' and for me Inga's cat will always be a Gumbie cat even tho' my cat is not quite the colouring described in the poem.
I hope that is is ok to quote a few lines from the poem


I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits—and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.
And when the family’s in bed and asleep.
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned about the mice
Their behaviour’s not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teaches them music, crocheting and tatting.

Tatted in variegated Flora 10 he is 9cm wide and 12cm tall. It is a lovely pattern to tat especially if you enlarge the diagram (it's a diagram only pattern) and colour in each ring and chain as you tat them so that you know exactly where you are.

Jane has also designed some Ginger cats,standing , sitting,and sleeping but I just haven't got around to tatting them yet.

I did try Mark's scary Halloween cat (see last post in this blog) in ginger threads and boy does it look as if it is about to spit!

Jane gave me a tip to leaving the scanner lid up to get a black background and it works a treat.
The big cat is in Coats Floretta 20 variegated and measures 5.5cm from toe to highest part of arched back the little cat is in vintage J&P Coats tatting thread 70/80 and stands at 4cm tall.

Next up are my favorite cute cats by Martha Ess from New critters on the block. These cats are so cute that I couldn't stop making them.

This one is made in Flora 10 variegated and is 5cm tall.

Next a smaller one in variegated Oren Bayen 50 (tats like a 30) he is 3.8cm tall.

This is such a rich colour mixture and I am getting to like the Turkish threads for tatting animals. I would just love to have thread like this that had some darkish brown in it too, as lots of animals have that sort of colour range.

Getting smaller still a teeny weeny kitty in vintage J.P.Coats tatting thread a 70/80.
Again a super colour combination.

He is 2.6cm tall and has a bead for his nose.

Here you can see the relative sizes.

When ever anyone sees my work they always ask me what I am going to do with it and I usually answer nothing, I just make them and look at them. But this time I actually made a card with a cat on it. It's for my SIL's (son in law/son in love) birthday.

Second photo gives you a better feel for the materials, the T shirt is origami made with black crepe paper and it is mounted on gold holographic paper which really makes it 'zing'.
Why the black T shirt...his favorite colour.
Why the cat.....well. My daughter and SIL moved into a new house in the summer and with the house they inherited a you do!
There are 3 gorgeous ginger toms living near us and there is almost always one draped on my car or flat out on our deck..think one of them particularly likes to get away from grandchildren!
Sorry I digress...back to their cat, Mrs Norris (Harry Potter fans will recognise this name!) Mrs Norris is a stray, fed by several households!

............'Dogs have owners, Cats have staff'
..Anon... Now how true is that!

She (probably a he!) was NOT a house cat,NEVER came into the house but had a smart little house of 'her' own outside. 'She' seemed to be the perfect pet especially as my DD has allergies to animal fur. She loves cats but this one was not a lover of people, HATED to be stroked or fussed over, not that they could get near enough to 'her' to try.

I had expected 'her' to be a scraggy, grumpy old cat but when we went to visit found that 'she' is a very pretty cat indeed.

'Twas true that whenever anyone went near 'her' she would always turn 'her' back and walk away.

"For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat."
- Anon

'She' was quite happy to eat 'her' meal just on the other side of the patio door, in fact 'she' would wait there in hope but never ever ventured inside.

Within a short time my husband who has a certain love of all animals remarked that Mrs Norris DID like to be stroked, in fact purred with contentment. Had he found a way through 'her' shell of indifference!!

Imagine our surprise when the next time we went to visit there was Mrs Norris as happy as only a cat can be, on her own blanket in an armchair, admittedly near enough to the door for a quick escape if necessary.

I wonder what will happen next!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Numbers 19 & 20. Bats, Cats and all things Halloweeney!

Just can't be doing an animal challenge and not include some Halloween favorites so Happy Halloween to all my tatting buddies. Click on the picture to get a better view.
I just loved making it.

First to be tatted were the bats. Ruth Perry's 'Tootie Fruity' the Southern Illinois fruit bat was just asking to be tatted.
I didn't have any trouble with adding the bead using a 'beaded double core reverse ring' and after a few tries managed to get the bead sitting in the right size ring! Pity that I didn't have magnetic haematite as they would have looked cool, in my kitchen,and the non magnetic haematite beads I had were too small. The wings were a little tricky to get just right, again just needed practice.
This is my best attempt. 5cm wingspan in Coats Red Heart 20

And together with a few of him misshapen siblings!
a few of my earlier attempts.

Next up was Mark Myers's (Hi to long lost cousin Mark!) bat. This was my favorite bat as it was so easy to tat. Made in Flora 20 he has a 5cm wingspan too.

Back to cats again,black cats this time, not Siamese! so I think I can call it Animal 20.
I have been itching to tat Mark's Cat on a Broom

Mark's pattern was only in diagrammatic form and I did find this a little difficult to follow ( but isn't that part of the challenge!)especially the brush part of the broom which being yellow didn't show up very well in the less than intense light used while tatting and watching TV! A little bit of jiggery pokery and I soon got a much larger deep blue image to follow and suddenly it was almost all plain sailing!!
The cat was also hard a bit hard to follow. Being right, left, upside down back to front challenged I always find it difficult to know which way round to start the first ring!! The ring numbers were great but arrows would have helped.Got that then made a major mistake in joining one of the rings in the wrong place which actually worked out quite well as it pushed the cat's head further to the left and made him even more sinister. Just proves that there is no such thing as a mistake...just a new pattern!

Second attempt and got him as Mark intended! See the arched back and much more upright stance.

Oh! but I did add large, well huge beads for the eyes(had to increase the stitch count). I loved Mark's slanty eyes( the cat's that is!) but since I learned from Jane how to add a bead in a ring all my animals have to have beaded eyes, and doesn't it make him look sinister!!

Made the cat on a broom in flora 20 mainly and it measures almost 16cm from the tip of his whiskers to the end of the broom. Used a slightly thicker thread(Red Heart) on the broom handle the second time to give it more body.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Number 18. Just a little mouse!

Yup that's all this is.....just a little mouse, a little grey mouse.

Kinda cute, another from Martha's book. The last of this particular genre...apart from a few stray cats that haven't made it to the blog yet.
Made in Coats Red Heart 20 he is 5cm tall.

Oh no..there's more.... A little white mouse from my past has snuck in to my blog.

When I was a little girl, I had two white mice as pets looking exactly like this one. Albino mice with red eyes and pink noses. Well...when we went on holiday the mice were left with a friend and were given back on our return. But they seemed a little different to me, they didn't know me!
But I put it down to our long absence....all of two weeks...things change in a long time like that!
Twas only very much later that I learned that some dreadful mishap has overcame my details supplied!! and my very kind friend's mother had substituted new mice rather than deliver the bad news. Parents knew but they never let on!
It must have been quite a job to find mice that were about the same size.

This little mouse is also made in size 20 thread, Coats Mercer Anchor 20 and he only measures 4.5cm. just shows how much thicker the Red Heart thread is.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I have been tagged by Snowy to share seven facts about myself.

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged.
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

7 facts about me. I am sure I will think of more interesting ones as soon as I have posted this.

1. I love shopping, not often the clothes kind. Don't always need to buy anything, just like looking for a bargain.

2. I hate wearing a skirt, denims are my favourite attire. Do like a bit of 'bling' on my clothes espec' when my daughter comments that I 'can just about get away with it!!'

3. I am a collector of so many things, I think I am growing out of stamps, coins and phone cards and in to gecko brooches as well as shuttles and.......................all things gecko and chameleon, and all things tat.

4. I love 'stuffies' espec' bears. Long time favourites ones are Limey and Bluey, who were made by daughter and me for her 13th birthday. They have celebrated their 21st's and are still going strong. I used to make lots of soft toys and dolls.

5. Favourite alternative medicine treatment is acupuncture. Two and a half years of it finally brought me back from a severe neck problem caused I think by too much craft work(leather work) that had jammed my vertebrae together. Was asked if I had fallen off a horse head first into the ground!! Craft work should come with a health warning.

6. I am a Virgo and I hate it. The motto of Virgo should be 'Perfection is almost good enough!!' I am even a Yorkie Virgo....wonder if that makes it better or worse!!

7. I have lots of Bonsai trees, nothing very old and nothing very valuable. Mostly common or garden trees.
A garden is never big enough to have a lot of trees, this way I get lots to enjoy thro' the changing seasons. Maples are my favorite.

I tag Carol
and Sue

Friday, October 12, 2007

Number 17. Pigs might fly!!

Mmmmm!!! pigs are another one of those animals that conjure up images of 'cuteness' and I guess that's why Jane Eborall thought of them when she designed one in her series of chubby round Onion Ring animals. Here is her pattern for the tatted onion ring pig
This was my first venture into tatting onion rings and I soon realised that a bit of practice tatting basic onion rings would be a good idea.
A few rings and small motifs later I was ready and dived into the pattern with my shuttle loaded with variegated peachey coloured Flora 20.

I began to think that 'pigs might fly' referred to my ability to get a pattern right the first time, as this little fella is lacking his tusk!
Second time and he is complete.

This pattern has to be one of the most difficult things that I have tatted. The onion rings work out fine for the first three rounds getting progressively more difficult to pull up and the fourth ring is a ***!!!! But please don't let this put you off trying it as the result is well worth the pain!!
Third try in plain piggy pink Flora 20 and still having trouble getting that curly tail right.

Fourth try in a brighter pink Flora 10 and I think I have cracked it! tho that tail still isn't very curly.

Flora 20 pigs measure 4cm from rump to snout and Flora 10 5cm.

Now to make a flying pig which Jane also figures. Jane's pig is two dimensional with only one wing but having made his wing my dearly beloved asked where the other one was!! and that it would look much better with two wings. Well he did have a point and it was worth a try so I gave him a second wing. The pattern for this will be on Jane's sight soon if she likes it!!

Of course 3D animals are difficult to display so I decided to let him fly freely in a sparkly copper bracelet and he is hanging next to my computer.

I can still hear some sceptics out there saying that pigs can't fly. Well I was in Zurich last weekend and chanced to see a flying pig on a stall at the most fabulous flea market.

I know this has nothing to do with flying pigs but I also found shuttles at the flea market, four of them. I was so delighted as I have never seen an antique shuttle outside of ebay before. This one I bought is very narrow 1.3cm and only 6.5cm long.

With much tighter ends than I had first thought.

AND Sue Hanson you have now started me off collecting Lizard/Gecko brooches. I found that I had this little one already from I don't know where!!

Spotted this one also at the flea market and yes Sue it is curving the other way!!!