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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas 2010

I have got so far behind with everything tatting,
I do apologise for not keeping up with my blog reading or writing about the things that I have promised to.
My resolution for 2011 is to do better and get back to normal...whatever that is.
Thanks so much for everyone who enjoyed my Gingerbread post, I will have more pictures to show next year!

We have had the most outrageous weather ever known, we are not used to -5 deg C and that's much rmer than most of the country.
But at the moment we have to turn our water off until after the thaw..whenever that I must get this posted NOW.
To every one that I couldn't send a hand made card to I
love you all, hope you all have a great Christmas,talk to you in the New Year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate and Gingerbread!

Before I start there is something that I intended to say yesterday about ChocoMango,
It was dyed using the same principles as ChocoRaspberry and ChocoLime, but when I saw it, it reminded me of Yarnplayers Tigers Eye......there is no way I want to copy someone else's threads.
Luckily I have some of that thread...I tatted a gecko in it.'s similar but very different I think...the yellows are different and she has a darker more grey brown as the darkest shade...not chocolatey at all.
Hope you agree Yarnplayer?

So you are waiting to see the new colourway.
Here it is!
The 'inbetween' colour I was going to call Caramel Mousse ...
until I saw it ..washed and dried...for the first time.....
and it shouted at me....
well actually it shouted at me 
but... you probably wouldn't know what that is........more on that later...
I tatted my favourite heart...

OK back to the Parkin...
I lived in Yorkshire until I was 12 and every year around this fact just when I was outside in my dye studio...there was Bonfire night. We didn't celebrate Halloween in those days.
November the 5th.
Very near to us was a field where all the kids...and adults used to build a gigantic bonfire. You would see then dragging branches behind them going down the street. It was a time to clear out anything that would burn. 
Kids would be out on the streets wheeling along a 'Guy' that they had made and dressed in old clothes, shouting "penny for the guy".
I am sure that you will all know the story of how Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London.
You can't imagine the excitement..waiting for the bonfire to be lit. We would watch from the bedroom window to see a glow in the sky. 
Especially when it was raining and we would wait to see if it would be lit at all....if it wasn't then dad would usually go out with an umbrella and try to light our fireworks in the garden.

When we saw the glow, we would all four of us go round to the bonfire, carrying our precious few fireworks.  We each lit our own fireworks when there was a lull in the activity.
The Roman Candles, Rockets on a stick that you placed in a bottle to light and the Sparklers that we could hold, it was magic.
We made sure that we kept checking the ground to get out of the way of the jumping crackers that would be moving erratically around or the bangers that would make us jump out of our skins.
All so very dangerous, it would happen now.

Mums would take potatoes wrapped in foil to cook in the ashes and dads would poke them into the bottom of the fire.
Mums would also take trays of 'cake'.....sounds idyllic...well that's how I remember it!

The day after would would go around collecting the empty firework cases to see how many we could find.

Our cake would always be Parkin...real Yorkshire Parkin...Sue Hanson are you there? do you remember this?
It's a very very sticky kind of gingerbread made with oatmeal. It was so sticky..and before the days of non stick cake tins..there would always be a lot left on the bottom of the tins.....just right for scraping out with your fingers!
This is my mum's original recipe, just as she made it.


10 oz Self raising flour
5oz medium oartmeal
9 oz Golden Syrup
3 oz melted Margarine
5oz Brown Sugar
1 teaspoonful Bicarbonate of Soda
1.5 teaspoonsful of ground Ginger
1 Cup of boiling water

Just mix it all together and pour into a greased and floured tin( about 10" by 8" I think)
Bake in a moderate oven 350 deg F if at the bottom of the oven, 325 degF if at the top.
bake until risen and firm (or it will sink!)..about 40 mins.
Cut into squares.
I can smell it now.

Back to the thread, well still in Autumn mood I had been tatting Tatman's Cat on a Broom

.......and in my new threads.....

I was stunned by the result, loved he way the ChocoMango showed all the lovely colors in the broom. Each untwisted thread in the fringe is solid colour the dye really did dye all the way through.
Wondered if Gingerbread might be too 'samey' for the cat..but it complemented it beautifully. I think.

I have dyed some of the individual solid colours...not many as I totally ran out of brown dye ...used such a lot to get saturated colours.
Here they are....

Turned out to be a Spice collection....these are just what I wanted for tatting of the things that drew me to dyeing in the first place.
So from Gingerbread we have Ginger, Cinnamon and Cloves....and a stranger slipped in there!
I misread my recipe for Ginger and ended up with another shade altogether. showed my friends and they loved it. said I should keep it and call it Nutmeg!
Was hoping to show you a collage of little butterflies in all the colours. but still haven't dyed them all!
maybe tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot Chocolate for Christmas!

Interruption to my travels because I just HAVE to show you my latest thread!

I tried to get myself back to normal (whatever that is!) but shunting myself out into my dye studio.
My mind said whaaa!
whats that all about?

You remember...dyeing thread in gorgeous colors!
Yipee! said my mind...but how do we do could you have forgotten!

Ok mind lets start with something that you know......remember the Hot Chocolate series.....
ChocoRaspberry and ChocoLime
well there was another one that I tried out.....and loved...but didn't have time to complete.

I am now proud to present the results of a heck of a lot of work....taken me forever! at least a month to get it perfected.
 Inspired by yet another yummy bar of chocolate.
Do I need to describe ChocoMango to you or are you already drooling! (Hope so!)
The Chocolate sauce you already know and the Mango is a delicious ...well mangoey colour and the colours in between...well more about them later! 
So hard to show you the actual colours.

Of course I had to tat my favourite heart...
Hearts desire by Susan Fuller
The left one is in Coats 20 and the right one in Lizbeth 40 which i am trying tatted up beautifully.
 Here it is again tatted in Chocolate Sauce and Mango
Next to tat was of course...a Spinning Wheel glass mat...much beloved by Lace Loving Librarian and me...and many others.

I did actually send Lace Loving Librarian and Steph (from Steph's Tat Stuff)
these are tatting image that they sent me and they kept is all quiet for all these months and months..thanks lassies.
Aren't they super?
At this point..there is one thing that worries me.....a manufacturer of tatting threads is looking for ideas for colour combinations and I would hate to think that some bright spark might suggest the hard researched color combos worked out by me and by the other thread dyers. I hope that tatters are more honorable than that. nuff said.
The next question is...will I live long enough top use all this thread!!!!
Remember the derivatives of ChocoRaspberry and ChocoLime.......Raspberry and Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Ripple with Real Vanilla, and Antique Bronze.......well will show you tomorrow(hopefully) what Chocomango spawned...and it's gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Exciting Times Part 2!

Sorry that it's taken so long to get back to Part 2......Life! mmm next day turned into 6 weeks or more!

When we woke up and looked out of our window there was frantic activity going on. 
The road along the beach front was closed to traffic and stalls were being set up.
While along the walkway nearer to the hotels, canopies were being errected over trestle tables....for the lacemakers..whooeee!

By the time that we got out there....the lacemakers were setting up their displays in earnest.
Mostly they were bobbin lacers from all the guilds in the region.

You can't even begin to imagine how many there were...each guild displaying their banner.....

or the quality of the work they were producing....
                                                            ..... It was such a sight to see...
Look at the long pillows like we saw on the sculpture...and the fabulous way of keeping the bobbins together in bags. Even tho bobbin lace may have hundreds of bobbins, only two pairs are in use at any one time.
We were given several table to work at and we worked on Carrickmacross, Limerick, Youghal laces as well as Irish Crochet, Mountmellick Embroidery and probably much more.....
I of course worked on my tatting watched by Tadgh....working on Yarnplayers Arches doiley.

He was delighted to be there ...until he had a bit of a shock.....he was so embarrassed...but he refuses to talk about it!!
There was a great deal of interest in our lacemaking and my tatting drew admirers, and helped a few lacemakers who were struggling with tatting.
I gave out little flower bookmarks and received a pretty butterfly in return.....
...from this lovely lady....
..... her husbands tie was made of bobbin lace.....made by him.
Every lacemaker was given a plastic beaker of 'hot chocolate' and some local 'sponge fingers' to dip into it...if you wished.
The chocolate turned out to be pure melted Belgian chocolate and was like molten lead....even after dipping all my sponge fingers into it and walking around looking at stalls...I still burned my lip drinking it!!!  yummy tho!
As well as lacemakers there were vendors of lace making supplies....

I did come home with a  stack of bobbins, some hand carved some mass produced...for my bobbin lace career....still in it's infancy...but i do know how to do it...if I can remember that is!

The place was buzzing ...all morning..
...until sadly in the early afternoon...they all packed up and went home...I wished that they would have stayed all day.
Everyone was so happy...except poor little Tadgh who didn't come out of the hotel until it was time to leave!

Please do not use any of these images for any purpose...they are copyright.

I may even get to show you Part 3, our day in Barcelona

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Exciting times! Part 1

Gosh it is almost a month since you saw a blog post from me...and even then I was away having adventures.
It has taken me a long time to settle down again, four adventures in about 6 weeks was too much.

You read all about the wedding....a couple of weeks after that I was off to Spain with my Lace Guild.
A year ago our Chairman happened to be holidaying on the Costa Brava....near to Barcelona...when she chanced upon something to excite her.......near to 300 lace makers...making lace....on the sea front.

Remember she took us to Northern Ireland last year...well this was an opportunity not to be missed....and she had soon arranged that we would visit ....and hopefully take part.

About 50 of us from Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland arrived in Lloret De Mar in early September...ready to soak up some sun, before cold, cold days set lots of shopping and make some lace!
The view from our tiny hotel balcony was fabulous.
Tadgh was loving it.
Even more gorgeous at night.
The day of the Festival was the National Day of Catalonia....celebrated throughout the region which wishes to be independent from Spain.

Just behind our hotel was the old town...beautiful.
The influence of Gaudi was everywhere.
The night before we were treated to a spectacle of Catalonian dancing. We watched them setting up the area.....
knowing that when we were too tired we could continue to watch from our balcony.
There were several groups of dancers, a wonderful sight.

Throughout the area were wonderful statues.....
of dancers...

...and also of lacemakers....can you spot the lacemaker in the bottom left...the statue covered in graffiti!

I determined to restore it to it's former glory with a little computer magic!
She is a Bobbin Lacemaker using the traditional tall pillow that we were to see later.

Lots of shopping.....a visit to a tropical garden...
....look real Flame Lantana....remember that??????....

Shopping was a delight in the company of friends....we shopped til we couldn't take any more!
Look at this shop selling nothing but fabulous pure white cotton.

You wouldn't I know expect me to come home with out a gecko....they were everywhere.

This one is all mosaic and mirrored glass and is huge.....2ft long...phew he just fitted in my suitcase!
I bought him to hang outside but the DIY elf thinks that he would disintegrate!

I couldn't resist this little resin gecko...only 4in long.....

...or this little Gaudi style fridge magnet...only 3.5 ins...he lives on my cooker hood with his mates.
animal Gaudi style that you could imagine.
Some more fab purchases I have yet to photograph.

Now we were ready for the main reason for coming....the Lace Festival. there was just about every
Tell you about that tomorrow!!