Monday, 15 September 2014

Mellow Fruitfulness

My son and I took our dog a long walk tonight.  I love that time of day when the sun is setting across the fields; the light is so beautiful.  We remembered to bring a bag with us and collected some lovely, juicy blackberries.  As my son said, the stings from nettles (there always seems to be some around blackberry bushes) and blackberry thorns are a price worth paying for being able to collect this beautiful fruit.

Most of this batch of blackberries is now cooking in a cake in the oven.  I shall gather a lot more to make some jam soon.

You've probably seen them enough by now but I thought this latest pair of Mimosa earrings went with the blackberry-blue-pink theme of this post.  I like them in this colour way, very soft and romantic.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Happy with it!

Ok, that's it.  I'm happy with this design now.  This is the pair which I will send to a friend.  I like the brass earring findings I received in the post this morning, they compliment the earring colours so much better than silver.

In the pair above, the trefoil is made using SCMRs and I like the shape this creates but I decided it's probably unnecessarily complicated and in the next pair I'm making (below), I've tatted regular rings for the trefoil but attached the trefoil to the chain for extra stability.

I've used both tiny size 15 beads and size 11 for extra interest as well as the pearls in the centre.

I made a pair for my daughter last night and she's wearing them today.  She only wanted one colour of seed beads but I like using two colours and different sizes.  Notice she had the perfectly matching tank top!

Thank you for your answers on "stiffening" in the previous post.  It was interesting to read what other people do.  I'm going to go with unstiffened.  After all, this is lace and it should be soft to the touch rather than hard, shouldn't it?  I have been wearing a version or other of these earrings for many days now and I have found that the ring of pearls works very well and they keep their shape very nicely as they are.

As for the way they hang, in the end, I decided to go with a small jump ring to attach the lace to the finding.  That way it's metal rubbing on metal instead of a small tatted ring and I think the jump ring allows for better movement of the earring when worn (as seen in the bottom cream pair).

I've not had any luck selling actual lace in my Etsy shop (well, just a very few pieces over the last four years) but I decided to put a couple of pairs in there anyway to see if there's any interest.  I concluded long ago that people much prefer tatting the items themselves (hence patterns are very popular) rather than buying ready-made lace.  Maybe I'll have to write the pattern for this one too?

I find this design very versatile and for the last week or more I have been wearing a pair every day (today is a short turquoise one, as seen in the previous post).  I like the short version and I like the long, you can have more or fewer beads, it can be tatted with just one round for a smaller earring or two for a bolder look.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Still working at it

I've continued playing with the earring design (one of them anyway).  As you can see, I've made lots of samples with tiny variations on each.  One problem is how to attach the findings for best movement, positioning, finishing of the item, etc.  Should I make a tatted loop or attach a ring into the tatting?  I'm trying different options.

I'm happy with the solution I've found to tat with the pearls in a circle in the middle - that's a winner and something I will no doubt use again in future designs.  I tried the earrings with a trefoil at the bottom and without.  I decided I like both versions.

This morning I received more of the little pearls I'm using in this design so tatted yet another earring in colours for a friend (she loves olive green) and I think the new bronze pearls I got look nice and blend in better with the green.  I decided to make two rows around the pearls in this one and I like that too.  Now I'm trying different ways of treating the trefoil to give it more stability.

The cream pair I've been wearing yesterday and today.

I'm making progress on this and enjoying the process.

And the last question, which you may help answering, is whether to stiffen or not stiffen earrings.  What do you think?  Those of you who make tatted jewellery, do you prefer tatting in its natural state or do you like to help it a bit to keep its shape when worn by stiffening it?

Just adding beads in the centre of this design already does give the lace more weight and stability which helps keep the earrings into shape when worn.  But I still always wonder about stiffening.

Look forward to your answers!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 31 August 2014


Yes, sometimes I feel like a butterfly:  flitting from one pretty thing to the next!  I have a fair amount of projects to complete yet I still get distracted by other lovely tatty things along the way.  When I saw Robin Perfetti's new snowflake design, I just had to make it straight away.  I have really enjoyed Robin's previous designs and this one is just as pretty and satisfying.

I also found her tutorial on how she designs using her iPad and a Kaleidoscope program really interesting and a great read (also to be found on her blog).  She uses the snowflake above to illustrate the different steps she goes through from the iPad drawing to the finished tatted motif.  I tried the app (fun to make random images) but found it quite challenging to get enough control for specific tatting-looking images so I am amazed by all the lovely designs she comes up with using this method.  Mine is all pencil & paper and a lot of trying and cutting!

The centre part is tatted with DMC Cordonnet Spécial in size 20 in écru and the second round is tatted in Lizbeth.  I found my tatting to be smoother and more evenly worked using Lizbeth.  I thought I would like DMC just as much but in the end my preference is for Lizbeth.

Now I must really try to get some of my WIPs finished!  A couple of doilies (maybe three even!), the earrings from previous post, the mystery flower project…

Oh, and I nearly forgot to say:  I'm back home!  We had an absolutely wonderful time with friends and family and did lots of exciting outdoor activities.  It was a "special" long holiday this year for me and two of my children and we really made the most of it.

But brrrrr!  It already feels like autumn here in the UK!

Best wishes,

Friday, 22 August 2014

Pearls & Beads

I found a bead shop, was very restrained and only bought two tubes of beads and one string of pearls to play with.  I've always liked pearls and when I was making jewellery, incorporated them in most of my designs.  Now I like them a lot with tatting too.

I'm playing with some earring ideas.  I like the light Mocha thread with pearls and beads or I may try some cream which I also have.  Unfortunately the small ivory Delica beads which I thought would look nice with the pearls are a little lost with the mocha thread as the colour is very similar.  I might also try my red thread with cream or grey beads.

I quite like the design on the left but I want to find ways of adding pearls to it for a little extra weight.  Tatted earrings are so light when it's just thread!  I quite like the design in the centre (with the circle of pearls)… but nothing's finished yet.  They're all just little sample bits.

We're doing lots of outdoor activities with the children, walking, cycling, climbing mountains, jumping into rivers, etc.  But whenever there is a little free time, out come the shuttles!  Makes for a nicely balanced holiday.

Best wishes,

Monday, 18 August 2014

Earrings - Still Red & Black!

This is Elizabeth Zipay's "Tigereye Earrings" pattern.  I needed a new pair of red earrings (I'm in a red mood lately) so I tatted this little pattern up.  I like the shade of red (again that's all I have with me) but I'm not so pleased with the black beads in this case.  I'd like something a bit more summery.  I may have to go in search of a bead shop.  That's why I only made one for now.

Best wishes,

Friday, 15 August 2014


I tatted it again - Orsi's Snowflake.  This time using smaller beads around the centre which is a loop-tatted ring.  I like this version better.

Not "snowflaky" colours at all of course but again, it's due to the limited supplies I have with me at the moment.  I really like the shape of this snowflake and it makes a lovely quick-to-tat gift.  This one is already hanging on my brother's wall with the other snowflakes I've sent him in Christmas cards over the last few years (can hardly bear to say that "C" word in August!!!).  He keeps them hanging there all year round which I thought was rather nice.

The loop-tatted ring is another great technique to have in your "tatting arsenal".  I don't use it very often but on special occasions, it can be the perfect technique to achieve a specific look you're after.  It may seem a bit daunting to execute at first, but as with all new techniques, just a little practice and you'll soon get the hang of it.  I slip the loop over an empty bobbin and slip that into a shuttle to work the loop-tatted ring instead of finger-tatting.  It's much quicker that way and you get better tension on the double-core thread.

Best wishes,