Monday, December 27, 2010

Motif 21: Plain sized snowflakes

I have chunky snowflakes and tiny snowflakes, so these are just plain medium sized snowflakes.

These are from Jon Yusoff's snowflake book. The first is Oasis in Anchor perle 8. The second is Floret in the DMC perle 8. The last is Astral done with 3 strands of metallic embroidery thread, 2 blue one silver. Next time I use the metallics, I won't mix colours. The effect is more heathered instead of sparkly.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Motif 20: Christmas rose

This design is called Rose du Noel so this seemed like the best day to show it. It's by the immensely talented ElisaduSud, translated and diagrammed by the equally talented and generous Mimi Dillman.


It's done in DMC perle 8. I'm rather disappointed with this thread. It's pricier than the Venus crochet cotton I normally get, so I expected better quality. Instead the dye doesn't go to the core of the thread, so little white blips show through.

I was making these clunies privately, in the wee quiet hours of the morning. I was getting comfortable, so I popped it into my bag to tat-on-the-go.  This was a bad idea. Let me show you...

Clearly, my clunies aren't quite ready for public life.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Motif 19: Rings for a choker

I love the internet. It gives you an opportunity to see different interpretations of the same design. I little while ago I saw a lovely pair of 5 point rings turned into earrings by Mary Robinson. I'd already started the same design, but seeing hers was encouragement to keep going.

To recap, this is Jon Yusoff's Melati design for her Tatting on Rings book. This version is done in DMC 80 tatting cotton. The ring is 1.5 cm in diameter.

The idea is to sew them on to a ribbon and make a choker. Right now I'm deciding which ribbon to use; green and cheerful or black and elegant. Right now, I'm leaning toward the green.

This last picture is for Claudia. She left a nice comment about my thimble rings. This was meant for Chloe Patricia's photo sharing, but was a bit late. I don't know if this is a positive or negative example (this isn't my best stitching). I suppose it's meant as encouragement (hopefully) for anyone wanting to make one.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Motif 18: Suncatcher 2 (perhaps a snowflake)

This is the second window picture from the Burda tatting book done in DMC Cebelia 30. It would look better mounted, but I can't find the right size ring.

This motif has a bit of a sad story to go with it. I was working on it while riding in the car. When I got out, I thought my tatting was safely in my bag. Unfortunately it wasn't. It fell out of the car and got left behind. It's a split ring design and I was in the middle of adding new thread, so I lost not one, not two, but three shuttles.

That's not even the worst part. The worst is that two of them were English Aeros, the first shuttles I ever owned.  They were probably over a decade old, yet still capable of that distinctive old Aero ratcheting click. I could just cry.

I could go shuttle shopping.
Those new pastel clovers sure are cute...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Motif 17: Fantasia Fan

This is Teri TATBit's Fantasia Fan. It's been finished for a while, but I'm in awe of Teri Dusenbury and it took me a while to work up the nerve to ask for permission to show a picture. She kindly said yes when I asked.

It's almost completely rings (lots of split rings), and some pieces are done separately and attached as you go. It took several tries, cordonnet cotton and a bit of blood to finish this. It's worth it though. The design is gorgeous; the only piece of tatting I've ever felt like framing.

Perhaps the blood needs explanation. Below is my unpicking tool. It's a tapestry needle stuck in some polymer clay. Normally, when retro-tatting 2-3 stitches, it's comfortable and safe to use. However, when retro-tatting dozens of stitches (while cursing your own inability to count), the unpicking gets ...vigorous... Puncture wounds are the result.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Motif 16: Tiny snowflakes

I'm still working my way through Jon's snowflake book. I've stayed away from the black thread, so my taste for tiny things has returned. These are all made with size 80 thread or smaller. Although tatting with tiny thread is OK, trying to wield a needle to hide the ends is still daunting. I'll wait for the morning, and better light.

The first is called 'Circle of Crowns'. With that name, it had to be worked with gold thread. This is two strands of clover embroidery thread; yet another metallic thread that I now hate. This stuff is like barbed wire. I have a bandage on my finger because it was shredding my ring making hand.

The other two are 'Radiance' and 'Minaret' in Anchor 80. I think I'm being slowly converted to Anchor instead of DMC thread. The variegated colours are more fun.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Motif 15: Butterfly

This is the vintage butterfly from Heidi Nakayama's site. It's a simple, elegant pattern, but for some reason I kept making mistakes and had to redo the upper wings two or three times. I think when there are no split rings to keep me on my toes, my mind wanders.

The original plan was to put this on a tote bag for myself. I made a tatical error though by leaving it out on my table. The little lady found it. With shining eyes, she told me it was 'sooo pretty' and could please I make her a dress with it. Sigh, who can resist a four year old with a smile and a please.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Motif 14: Suncatcher (not a snowflake)

How do I know it's not a snowflake? It's got 8 arms!

This is one of the 'window pictures' in the Burda Tatting book, done in DMC Cebelia 20. I really want to make the block tatted doily on the cover of the book, but I'm a bit intimidated. So I'm warming up to it with the smaller motifs. Maybe next year I'll try the doily.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Motif 13: Crossing snowflakes

Tatman showed a tatted cross and challenged people to figure out how it was made. I was intrigued, probably because the instructions sound like origami. In tat-talk: "Use two shuttles, no cutting". In origami-talk: "Use a square paper, no cutting". Origami is the first craft I ever learned, so the terms are stuck in my brain forever.

Crosses really aren't my thing, so I added two more 'arms'. I asked for permission to show a picture. I think he said yes, but if I misunderstood, I'm really, really sorry and I'll take the picture down. It counts as one motif, because it involved quite a lot of head scratching. It's done in Anchor perle 8.

It's done pretty much as he outlined except that one arm is just normal split rings, simply because I like making chains of split rings. Tatman promised a pattern. I'll put a link here when it's up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Motif 12: Chunky snowflakes

I finally got around to buying Jon's snowflakes book last week. I paged through trying to find a favourite to do first. I couldn't pick one, so I decided to them in order.  I've been working with black thread, giving myself eyestrain and realizing that my eyes (if not the whole of me) are not as young as they used to be. So, to save myself pain, these are done chunky and not actual size.

The first one is Alladin, done in 3 strands of DMC metallic floss. I am never tatting with this thread again. It's like working with tin foil. My teeth fillings are still zinging.
The middle one is Effloresscence done in multi-colour Anchor Perle 5. Even though it looks like an exploded clown, I rather like this one.
The last one is Sweet Rose in DMC Cebelia 20.

It's the last month of the year and my count is 13 motif's short of 25. I've decided that failure is an option, so these are grouped, just like I normally would. You never know though, sometimes I work well under pressure.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Motif 11: Pair of hearts

I have a copy of 'The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye' by A.S. Byatt. The first story, 'The Glass Coffin', has a certain crafty charm.

In this story, a tailor has adventures and gets the girl. In the end, he misses being a tailor. So, according to the story, 'He ordered to be brought to him the finest silk cloth and brilliant threads, and made for pleasure what he had once needed to make for harsh necessity'.

Silk cloth? Thread? Now that is a proper happy ending! Today I have some silk to show, and that happy ending is tumbling around in my head.

Here's the first bit of silk. It's a pair of tatted hearts, in chunky silk thread. The one on the left is Jon's Mother's Day heart . The one on the right is from Iris Niebach's site. Hmm, looking at it now, it's a bit wonky. I think I'll have to try it again in cotton. They are both technique hearts, one has daisy picots and one has dimple rings.

The next bit of silk is a pair of Japanese thimble rings for Chloe Patricia's monthly photo sharing. I like making thimble rings, but making them with silk thread is positively addictive. Chloe Patricia is working hard to promote this wonderful craft, so if you have the time, please do visit her site and look around.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today, I just have some random crafty bits. Here's a monthly thimble ring from a few months back. It's stitched in unravelled bunka thread. Bunka is a strange thread to work with. It has kinks from being unravelled, so it pop-pop-pops as pulls through. Very disconcerting, but it works up quickly. Great for crafting when deadlines are looming.

Next are the little lady's pants. She was a bit annoyed because her brother was showing off his 'baju melayu', with 3 pockets in the top, 2 in the pants. She told me she wanted pink pants, WITH POCKETS. Personally, I agree with her. Why don't they put pockets in women's clothing? Anyway, these are the results. My pink tolerance is quite low, so I opted to mix and match.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Motif 10:Lacy medallion

The last time I tried this motif, I lost a row. I managed to redo the row, but in the process, I found 3 little mistakes. Then, managed to add 2 times as many chains as was needed, resulting in a ruffle. I told myself that I liked the ruffle, that no one could see the little mistakes. I took a deep breath, and tried to accept my little doily...

It didn't work. So here it is again, lying flat like it should. (This is the Lacy Medallion from the Tatter's Treasure Chest. The first attempt is done in Olympus perle 8, the second is DMC Cebelia). It seems I have to tat everything twice to be happy.

Here's another little top for my little lady. I should call it the 'Jon' dress. The larger snowflake is 'Featherline' in DMC cordonnet 20, the little ones are 'Hearts in a Snowflake' in DMC 80, both from Jon Yusof's excellent site.

I tried a different approach to finishing this dress. Instead of facings for the neck and armholes, I lined them with contrasting satin bias binding. I like the little splash of colour it adds, but I'm not happy with how it puckers the armholes. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Baju kurung onslaught

It's the day after hari raya and I'm watching the sunrise after a quiet/busy celebration yesterday; quiet because we didn't visit too many people, busy because small children (my pair and my brother's little guy) lend a bit of chaos to any event.

It's traditional to have new clothes for hari raya. In my parents' time, it was a big deal because this might be the only time in the year you get new clothes. Now, we mostly keep it up for the kids.

This year, I made quite a few baju raya (hari raya clothes). For some reason, I feel compelled to document my endeavours. I'll give a warning first: "Boring post ahead, many ugly pictures"

First here are 6 sets of baju kurung I made for my friend. She asked me if I'd tailor for her little girls, and I said yes. I spent a lot of time worrying as I was working on these. I worried I'd run out of fabric, that I wouldn't finish in time, that I'd ruin some little girl's hari raya by making some terrible mistake with her baju raya.

In the end, it worked out Ok, and I actualy managed to turn my handiwork into profit. The last time that happened, I was 9 years old, selling origami models to my class mates for 5 sen. My school was a bit strict, so my mother put a stop the enterprise, but it was fun then. It's still fun now.

Next are the ones for my family, in all their unironed glory. They are unironed because I was in a hurry to get a group shot before my newphew's set went home with my sister-in-law. Year after year I tell myself to buy something that doesn't need ironing, but then I go the Kamdar, and hear the siren call of the cottons. I'm a sucker for natural fibres and can't resist the wrinkly stuff.

There's one big one for my brother, one with sparkles for the little lady, two baju melayu for my big guy and my nephew and one inadvertant extra. The little lady's has beading on the neckline (I'll get a close-up when it comes out of the wash). The extra is because I mismeasured my nephew and made his too small. There was extra cloth so I opted to just make another one. I'm not sure what to do with the extra. If you've got a 2-3 year old boy and would like a baju melayu, drop me a comment.

The next one is my current favourite (you can tell by the extra wrinkles). The skirt is linen and the top is Japanese cotton, a really yummy combo.

This last one is a mother daughter set, one for the little lady and one for me.

So there we go, 14 baju kurung, 11 of them finished in the last 3 weeks. Hari raya is a time of forgiveness. So, if any readers made it this far, I beg your forgiveness and wish you grace on this fine day. 'Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin'.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost row

I lost the last row of my current doily to stupiditis (missed the first ring of the row), so no finished tatting today. Grrr...
I've decided to console myself with cookies or, since it's fasting month, just a picture of some cookies.

These are the cookies from my daughter's birthday goody bag last week. I bought pink sanding sugar because the little lady loves pink. Now I am spoiled for life. Making pink cookies is just sooooo much more fun making white ones. The baking goods shop has sugar in green! blue! purple! ...Sigh... I'll never be able to make plain old white sugar cookies again.

I was able to be a bit more crafty for the little lady's birthday. Here are her goody bags, made of wrapping paper.

And here's her birthday dress. She calls it her 'rodes' dress (she still has trouble with the 'zzz' sound).

I'm pretty pleased with it. It has box pleats on the bodice, a hand stitched piped neckline, roses on the pleats, and roses on the sleeves. She likes it too. She's worn it 3 times this week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everything's pretty

I made this thimble ring last week, just in time for Chloe Patricia's monthly 'Share your thimbles'. I wasn't very happy with the colours (not enough contrast). I showed it to my little guy and told him it wasn't very pretty. He told on "Oh Mak (Mak means Mom in Malay) I think it's pretty. You can make it any way you like, it's still pretty to me!". He's such a sweet heart.

The little guy turned 6 last week. For the past two years I've made him origami to give to his nursery friends. Two years ago, he even had little hand sewn totes as goody bags. This year, he told me he didn't want origami. He wanted normal plastic bags, with chocolates, jellies and sweets.

I was a bit sad, because, well, he's growing so fast, developing his own opinions. Sigh, sometimes we all wish they could be babies forever. I was also relieved. Origami takes time. He still wanted baked goodies though, and we had to negotiate a bit to get the baking down to acceptable levels (60 choc chip muffins and 12 cupcakes). Here's a picture of one of his birthday cupcakes. The silver balls are a compromise too. I hate them, but they are his favourites.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Motif 9: Snowflakes

It's already July and I'm still in single digits for the 25 motif challenge. Either I've got to tat faster or stop grouping my motifs. Oh well, I it is supposed to be a challenge. It wouldn't be fun otherwise.

Motif 9 is a trio of snowflakes done in DMC 80. The first is pristine white, but those darn colours were impossible to resist.

The first is Jon Yusof's 'Hearts in a Snowflake'. I really like working Jon's designs. Her diagrams are very clear. I didn't block it properly, so the hearts don't show. The second is a round snow crystal from 'Tatter's treasure chest' and third is Kira's Star by Birgit Phelps. I can't seem to find the pattern online anymore.

I'm contemplating a largish design in size 80 so these snow flakes are for practice. For the past year, I've tried to to do front and back side tatting. I do modern joins (as taught by Teri Dusenbury) and I post my shuttle back to front (as outlined on Elizabeth's Lace).

My tatting still doesn't look that professional, but I think the picots and joins are getting better, so I figure it's worth the effort. However, with these itty-bitty snowflakes, I can barely see the stitches. At this size, wonder if it's still worth the effort...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thimble ring stitching

I was sad that I missed Chloe Patricia's 'Share your thimbles' last month. So this month, I'm starting early. I'm also doing a thimble ring post, just for my own reference.

From her blog post (third picture down), I think Chloe Patricia takes her stitches from the middle to the edge. One of the Japanese books shows how to stitch from the edge to middle.

I tried both ways, but for both methods, I kept turning the ring over and over to get the needle at the correct angle to take a stitch. To avoid tangling and needle pricks, I ended up unthreading and rethreading the needle after every round. This was causing shredded thread and frustration. Threading needles is hard on the eyes.

I really wanted to work out a way to keep my needles threaded between rounds. Here's the method that works for me.

So here's a bangle in progress. It has 6 paths. At this point, 4 paths have been started and I've secured the thread to start the 5th round. You can see the 4 needles stuck in the base fabric and the 5th needle waiting to go.

Here's the first stitch. The needle goes from the edge to the middle (right to left) with the thread under the needle.

Here's the second stitch. The needle goes from the middle to the edge (still right to left) with the thread still under the needle.

So I just go around this way to get a full path. With this method, I just hold the ring vertical with my left had, rotating the ring as I go and always taking my stitches from right to left. I leave my needles threaded and stuck in the base fabric as I stitch.

Here are the 3rd and 4th stitches.

I also found some computer aid to help me do base markings. I use this site to generate graph paper. I set the horizontal grid spacing to the height of my ring. I set the vertical grid spacing to the width of a section. Then print, cut and use.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Motif 8: Button bookmark

I wasn't able to completely give up the colour, but I did tone it down a little. This is Jane Eborall's elegant bookmark with buttons, done in DMC cebelia 20. Personally, I think it's much pretty to hide away inside a book.

The overlapping bits had me a bit worried, but it was a surprisingly restful project. The only problem was loss of portability. I had to sit a table so I could rest my shuttles on it. If I didn't I ended up with an impressive tangle.

It's a good think I like to untangle things. It was one of the first crafty things my mother let me do. She'd let me play with her knitting things and as punishment/reward, I'd get to untangle the resulting mess.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Motif 7: Unintended colour study

The plan was to make one doily, in one variegated colour. I was having ...umm... dye lot issues. So there was a change of plan, and now there are two doilies. This is the Scalloped doily from 'The Tatter's Treasure Chest', done a piebald selection of hand-dyed and store-bought unidentifiable perle 8.

I'm not sure whether or not I like these. I've been admiring the beautiful colourful tatting on other people's blogs, which is why I wanted to make some for myself. Now that I have them, some part of me can't help thinking 'lace should be white'!

Motif 6: Puffy flowers

I finished the latest of these a few months ago and forgot all about it. They're perfect for keeping my hands busy while I wait for downloads and other annoying computer things.

The one in the lower left corner is the Carnation Boutonniere from 'The Tatter's Treasure Chest', done with DMC 80 . The others are all variations on the design, done with unidentifiable crochet cotton from my local craft shop.

Here's one I made last year, made up as a hair comb for my sister-in-law. I'll probably do the same thing to the others, but as barrettes. The comb works great for my sister-in-law's lovely, bouncy curls. I have stick straight hair; I need a barrette.

I have an urge to make a baby bonnet. It's an illogical urge, since my kids (and all my friends' kids) are long past babyhood. Oh well, if I were being logical, I wouldn't be making knots in thread. Does anyone have any pattern suggestions?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Magic thread trick

I read about using floss threaders on Jon Yusoff's blog (also in Crazy Mom Tats) . I was so excited when I found some at a local pharmacy. Unfortunately, it didn't work well with my current project. Maybe the perle 8 was too thin and squishy. Maybe I had the wrong brand.

Anyway, it did get me thinking about other things to use for the magic thread trick. Here are two that I'm trying.

The one with a circle on the end is a needle threader. I've read about using them in other places (Teri Dusenbury's blog and as a tool here). The longer one is a twisted wire needle (used for beading). The eye is collapsible, so it pulls through very easily. As long as I keep my stitches loose, it works great.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thimble rings

My son spotted my bag of thimble rings and asked if he could play with them. He arranged them and counted them and told me there were thirteen. I was surprised. I didn't realize I'd made a full baker's dozen of them.

Before I show mine, let me show the master thimble. I won this in a lucky draw from Chloe Patricia's blog. It almost hurts to look at; the stitching is so fine. I'm using it as motivation whenever I get too sloppy with my stitches.

Here's a super bright one from two months ago.

This is from last month. I think it looks like peacock feathers.

Here are the latest ones. The blue-green one is my current favourite. It's very calm.