Friday, December 30, 2011

Motif 17: Potholder dragonfly

I thought I'd try something different from flowers and butterflies.  Unfortunately, inspiration proved elusive so the best I could come with was this little dragonfly.  I know, dragonflies are almost the same as butterflies.  This is Lisa Reichert's dragonfly, worked in chunky size 2 thread.  It's a simple, effective pattern, but I'm not so sure about my version.

A while back, I made up some skeins of thread, mixed up some batik dye and let the kids loose.  The result is a little container of mixed up HDT.  Some of the threads came out quite pretty.  Others came out looking like turmeric mixed in mustard.  Both are nice in food but neither is nice on fibers.  Still, add some beads and it's an interesting looking dragonfly; in a macrame potholder sort of way...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Motif 16: Pearly flowers

I still have flowers on the brain, so today's motif is a little flower brooch from Tatting Lace by Sumi Fujishige.  These are done in Anchor variegated perle cotton 8.

It would probably have look better with darker beads, but on the whole I'm happy with it.  I think it's proof of the enriching potential of tatting.

Start with some cheap beads.

Add some knotted thread, and get pearly flower buds!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Motif 15: Someday magnolia

I first saw Nancy Tracy's tatted magnolia on Umi & Tsuru's blog.  It's impressively cute, so I saved the pattern and planned to do it someday.  I can see from Umi and Tsuru's post that this was over a year ago.

Oh well, today is someday, so here's my version, in bud, and in bloom.

After tatting the pattern, I'm even more impressed.  It's clever as well as cute.  The way the base supports the center, the ruffly middle bits, the overlapping petals, all of it clever.  The only tricky part is getting the chains between petals going the right way.  I'm putting this picture here for reference.

See, the chain comes out the front of the first petal and wraps round to the back of the next petal (Many apologies to Nancy Tracy if I got that wrong).  I have a feeling I'm going to need this picture in future.  I'm planning to make a whole bouquet of magnolias someday...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Motif 14: Flying SCMRs

I had a sudden itch to tat self closing mock rings, so I went straight to the GR-8 page and tatted some butterflies.

In the spirit of fairness, I won't point out which ones are THE butterfly and which are 'Da Udder' ones.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Motif 13: Peaceful snowflake

The beaded tatting was making me beady eyed, squinting to get the thread through those tiny holes.  So I took a break and made another of Hajjah Jon's elegant snowflakes.

This is the Adan snowflake from Elegant Tatting Gems, done in heavenly blue Cebelia thread.  There's something peaceful about the changes of direction in this design.  Ahh, so restful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Motif 12: Double edged butterfly

This is Jane Eborall's Large Fancy Butterfly done in DMC Cebelia along with a rather alarming number of beads.

The fancy edging is unusual and makes for a striking motif.  To be honest, I'm not sure I got the edging completely right, so I just tried to be consistently wrong so the wings would match.  The edging is not that hard to do, but it does require more equipment than usual.

Here's what it looked like in progress.  There are:-
  • three (3!) shuttles
  • a little string of beads on a floss threader, ready to go on the picots
  • paperclips, paperclips and more paperclips to hold the beads in place
  • print out and pencil so I could keep track without losing all my brain cells (Jane Eborall functions magnificently with brain cell #3, but I definitely need all of mine)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Motif 11: Light on bracelet

The little lady seems to know that the best way to get me to make her more stuff is to use the stuff I've already made.  She's been wearing her blue beaded bracelet lately, so I started a new one for her.

This is the 'Bloomer' bracelet from Marilee Rockley's 'Boutique Tatting' book.  The yarnplayer does two things I like very much.  First, she sells PDF versions (great for avoiding shipping costs) and second, she gives people a way to sell things made from her designs.  I admire the work that designers do, but being able to execute a design is also a skill.  The sort of license the yarnplayer uses lets the designer and the design-user interact in new ways.

The yellow seems awfully bright to me, so I think of it as a 'lit up' bracelet.  That's my hand modelling it, but the little lady takes possession later.  I probably should have reduced the number of repeats to fit her little hand, but she's been doing a lot of growing lately.  I'm reluctant to shorten anything for her.  All her dresses are midis now.  I could have sworn I bought them full length a few months ago.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Motif 10: Interesting?

This motif is number 26 in 'Beads and Beads Tatting 1' by Mituko Ikuta.  The book is great, in that it has some nice techniques and some usual bead uses, but some of the designs look a bit dated.  So for me, this particular design is more interesting than attractive.  I'd love to get a look at book 2 and 3 in the series.

There are some mistakes there; some miscounted chains and stitches the 'wrong' way around.  Still, split rings makes me happy, so I'll leave it as it is and chase perfection some other day.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Motif 9: Green beauty

I got Jon's new book, Elegant Tatting Gems, last month and made this snowflake.  It's been done for a while, but apparently weaving in ends and taking photos takes weeks and weeks.

The book is very inviting, so I grabbed the first thread that caught my eye and did the first pattern in the book.  This is the Adiratna pattern done with Oren Bayan metallic. Jon gives the meanings of the names here.  So, loosely translated, this is the 'Green Beauty' snowflake.  In hindsight, I should have started from the back.  The last pattern is named 'Zamrud' or Emerald.  A green emerald would have been more poetic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Motif 8: Onion doily

Those onion rings are still occupying space in my head, so I made this little onion ring doily.

This is the 'Green Vedallia' doily from Roger AKA Freedman's needle tatting site.  My version should be called 'Yellow onions and shallots'.

I have great memories of the needle tatting boards.  I learned to tat in my teens, but I had trouble getting past simple one ring edgings.  The problem was those old line by line patterns.  I didn't know it then, but I' miserable without a diagram.  I slogged at it though, because I really liked the look of the lace.

Then in my twenties, I found the needle tatting boards.  There were many lovely intermediate patterns that I wanted to try.  The things is, I don't needle tat so half the instructions sounded like gobbledygook.  The instructions didn't make sense, but Roger AKA Freedman has some of clearest pictures I'd ever seen.

It finally hit me that I didn't need the words.  I just needed the pictures and the stitch counts and I could figure it out myself.  It was a eureka moment for me and I've been a happy tatter ever since.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Motif 7: Clever onion rings

Today's motif is a little onion ring butterfly from Tatted Butterflies by Adelheid Dangela.  I haven't done a lot of onion rings, so I googled and found some lovely tutorials from Jane Eborall and Georgia Seitz.  The onion rings are worked as concentric rings, with a single shuttle.  I thought, "Oh, that's clever.  Let's try it!".

It turns out I was being too clever.  My onion rings didn't look like the picture.  The stitch count was off and the rings wouldn't lie flat.

The pattern clearly states "Work using 2 shuttles".  Onion rings with two shuttles are done by working the center round as a normal ring and the outside rounds as a series of chains.

Here's the final butterfly, with two shuttle onion rings.  I think it looks better.  It certainly lies flatter.  So, perhaps the moral of the story is: It's more important to read the instructions than to use clever techniques :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Motif 6: Butterflies old and new

I have two butterflies to show. The first is this little motif from Tatted Butterflies by Adelheid Dangela, done in hand dyed Cebelia 20. I just got the book last week. There are no written directions, just some charming hand drawn diagrams. I love it! No words means I can just dive right in and tat.

Next is this butterfly from last year. The little lady claimed it, and I finally put it on a dress for her birthday earlier this month. I tried a new technique for attaching the butterfly. First, I sprayed the back of the tatting with spray mount. Then I stuck the butterfly on the dress and stitched down the picots with a sort of running stitch.

The spray adhesive worked much better than the method I used for the little lady's snowflake dress. For that dress, I pinned down the snowflakes. The pins distorted the motifs and I ended up pulling out a lot of stitches. The spray mount made the butterfly stick, sort of like masking tape. I could stitch the picots down very quickly, and the spray came out easily in the wash. I probably wouldn't try this on an heirloom, or something delicate, but for something utilitarian, it works great.

Here are some close-ups. Here's the butterfly on the front.

There are pink bias binding strips for straps, and a teardrop for the back. The button is purple. It doesn't match, but it's the little lady's favourite colour (after pink of course).

I'm making a lot of sleeveless dresses lately, for two reasons:-
1) There are few things lovelier than a little girl in a sun dress
2) I'm afraid of sleeve caps

Anyway, that's all from me today. My workload hasn't really decreased, but I've found that trying to make more time by not crafting just makes me cranky and unproductive. So hopefully the next post won't take a whole month.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Utilitarian and reversible

Deadlines are thick on the ground, so I can't seem to manage any crafts that require counting higher than two.  Tatting is right out.  That leaves me with garter stitch knitting, crochet snakes, and strangely, fine hand embroidery.

I've also been doing some machine sewing of the utilitarian sort.  First is a set of chair covers and bags.

The chair covers are to save my mother's lovely solid wood chairs from having felt glued to their backs.  My mother wanted to put the chairs against the wall, but was afraid the backs would scratch the wall.  The bags are a wedding gift for a friend.

Next are some quick draw string bags to hold the birthday loot from my little guy's big day last week.  There were three, but the last one went home with my nephew.

I think household stuff works better and lasts longer if it's lined.  If I'm going to go to the trouble of lining something, I might as well make it reversible.  Everything here is reversible, which is why there are two pictures of everything.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Motif 5: Final snowflakes (or maybe not)

These snowflakes have been done for a while now, but for some reason, they were feeling shy and felt they needed blocking.  How does the saying go again?  90% of the effort is in the last 10% of the job?  I believe it.  Blocking, taking pictures and posting seem to take 2-3 times as long as the actual tatting.

These are the last 3 snowflakes in Jon's Tatted Snowflake Collection.   From left to right, these are 'Milky Way', 'Carousel' and 'The Twirly'.  Originally, I had all sorts of plans to make these in metallic thread, or silk, or using some fancy new technique.  In the end I just used DMC Cebelia 30 and a pair or Aero shuttles.  I love learning new techniques, but sometimes it's good to remember how much fun it is to tat.
These are just in time too.  Jon just showed the pictures for her new book.  Ooo, what fun!  These won't be the last snowflakes after all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sun dresses

It's hot here.  You'd think that being in a tropical country, this would be an obvious statement.  Right now though, it's hotter than normal.   It's almost too hot to tat since the double knots won't form properly when the thread is wet, and sweaty hands make for wet thread.  It's almost too hot to crochet and knit, because who wants to look at warm yarn or wool when it's hot.

So what's a crafter to do?  Make sun dresses!

The first is a dress for a neighbour's one year old.  It's made from a batik sarong.  The sarongs in Malaysia have borders and panels in different patterns.  So if you cut the pieces right, you can get nice hems without any effort.

For the finishing touch, I put little green flower buttons.

Next is a dress for the little lady.  Clothes for the little lady always involve a lenghty discussion about fashion sense and sensibility.  In this case she chose the fabric herself (Can't fault her taste there.  I'd have snagged the piece for myself if she hadn't picked it first).  Then she told me it should be a princess dress! with puff sleeves! and bows! and hearts!  I told here, ummm....  how about some flowers...

So, a few ribbon flowers on the bodice, and a few more along the hem, and we are both happy.  I avoid making puff sleeves, and she has a 'be-u-diful' dress.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Scrambled tatting

I'm trying to teach myself some new tatting tricks, and it's giving me a bit of headache. The first trick is to tat without shuttles. I'm trying to learn this because I'm in love with the Riego join as taught by TATBiT.  It's just so clever and beautiful, with one thread slipped into the other, no extra bulk, no blips.  The thing is, it requires that the thread be off the shuttle. The only tool I'm using is a little floss threader to pull the thread through.

It's actually pretty comfortable just finger tatting.  At first, I worried about having to do a lot of adding new thread since I'm working with shorter lengths.  It turns out that it's not that much of an issues since using encapsulation, adding thread is actually one of the easier things to do in tatting,  The only issue is that the threads tend to tangle, which makes the whole thing less portable.

The second thing I'm trying to learn is to tat Reverse Riego, again as taught by TATBiT.  I still prefer to tat using the slip-n-slide method, but with beads, it causes problems.  First, you just can't get a lot of beads onto a shuttle. Next, once the beads are on there, they have to be 'managed'. All unused beads have to be wound up into the shuttle.  If they get loose, they get caught in the stitches, messing up the works.

Both of these problems drove me nuts when I was working on a Nina Libin necklace.  In desperation, I switched tatting styles, and it worked!  The Reverse Riego method is somehow looser than the slip-n-slide.  There's a lot of slack in the thread, so there's time to push the beads out of the way before the stitch closes. It means I can spend more time making stitches and less time winding up beads.

Also, with reverse riego, you can use just about anything to hold the thread.  As TATBiT suggests, I'm using a netting shuttle.  It's shocking how many beads this thing can hold.  It makes the whole bead tatting experience more pleasant for me.

My Aeros are looking a bit sad and empty right now.  It think I'll start some snowflakes and give my brain a rest.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FO Friday: Headbands

The headbands are done.  I haven't quite figured out how to do those 'take pictures of yourself in the mirror' pictures.  So, I got my little guy to take the photos.  He's a sweetheart, so he was enthusiastic and patient for the photoshoot, although he still doesn't quite understand what a blog is (he's 6).

Here's a group shot.  My mother says these headbands should not be worn by anyone older than 12.  She's right in a way.  These clash horribly with my current waredrobe (t-shirt and jeans, with a striped shirt for meetings).  I must have been channelling my inner 12 year old when I put these together.

It's a Saturday here, but it's Friday elsewhere.  So now I'm going to start my weekend by browsing through the FO's on Tami's Amis.  Hope everyone out there is enjoying a nice weekend too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Headbands

A friend of mine gave me this cute headband.  I think it's one of her first projects, so I'm honoured to be the recipient of this gift.  There's a saying that goes 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'.  I'm not sure I agree with the saying, but in this case, the headband did inspire me, with lots of different variations running through my head.

Here are my versions. Hopefully those rolled up bits in the middle will look like roses when I'm done.

Since it's Wednesday, there are a lot of lovely WIPs on Tami's Amis. Stop by and take a look if you have the time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

FO Friday: Mermaid Hello Kitty

Thanks to Tattingrid, Sue, Tami and Faizon for the encouragement.  It really helped keep me on track.

A few deep breaths and some perseverence later, I have an FO!  It turns out I only needed 44 flowers to cover the doll (not sure yet what I'll do with the extras).  There's also a hibiscus tucked behind her ear, giving her a Malaysian flavour (the hibiscus is the Malaysian national flower).  The little lady wants to put the Hello Kitty doll on some pillows and pretend that she is a mermaid basking on a rock in the ocean.  She has a sweet imagination.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Overlapping path thimble ring

I'll be sewing on little flowers today, but before that, I thought I'd put up a short post.  Here's my latest thimble ring (bracelet sizes).  It's the first thimble ring I've done where the path overlaps and goes around the ring twice before ending.  I had it started, partway done and was planning to add it to Chloe Patricia's photo sharing.

Then I learned a valuable lesson about overlapping paths.  The starting point matters.  When the path does not overlap, I can restart a round anywhere on the circle.  It doesn't make a difference.  With an overlapping path, there is a bottom and a top layer.  If I start on the wrong layer, the places where my threads cross looks wrong.

This lesson cost me several hours pulling out and redoing the stitches, and I missed the deadline for the photo sharing.  One of these days, I'll learn not to do my work last minute...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Mermaid Hello Kitty

My little lady has been gently (and not so gently) reminding me that I'm making a Mermaid Hello Kitty for her.  I'm putting it up for Tami's Ami's WIP Wednesday so that hopefully it becomes an FO soon.  It's actually almost done.  The only thing holding this up is the f... ff... ff.... (hyperventilating here)...

Ok, let's try that again without the panic.  The only thing holding this up is the set of FIFTY little flowers that need to be attached to her tail and body.

Making them is not too hard.  It's the hiding ends and attaching that scares me.  The original uses yellow felt centers that look like they're glued on.  I'd prefer to sew instead of glue, so I'm planning to use french knot centers.  Yikes, I'm short two.  I could have sworn there were fifty last week...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Motif 4: Brooch & FO Friday: Cyber Zombie

Today I have both and FO and a motif.  I know some people separate their crafts into different blogs.  It does make for a nicer reading experience, but I don't think I could manage more than one blog.  So, with apologies, I'll leave it as, a jumble reflecting the insides of my jumled up head :-)

In no particular order, here's a the Kerongsang motif from Jon Yusof's Tatting with Rings.  I love the names of the patterns in this book.  Jon named them after all sort of pretty things in the Malay language.   Kerongsang means brooch, so I'm planning to put a pin on this and use it to jazz my baju kurung.  It's done in the sadly discontinued Altin Basak metallic polyester.

Fellow Malaysian, Paul, made a nice comment on one of my cluny attempts.  He said, "Everyday when you do a part of it, it reflects you that day; so one part will be wonky, one part will be too tight and never really often, perfect."

I like that thought.  A mistake is not a mistake, or rather, not just a mistake; it's a record of life events.  This particular motif is a record of living through a house renovation.  There are tight rings from when they used the electric saw (which made me clench my teeth).  The uneven wrapped stitches are a record of the uneven zzzt... zt.. zzzzt of the drill that completely threw me off my rythm.  Still, the crafting is helping me keep my temper and my sanity through the noise.

Next is an amigurumi for Tami's Amis FO Fridays.  As I understand it, the idea of the WIPs and FOs is to socialize and get feedback and encouragement.  I like the idea and I've been looking around at all lovely crochet and knitting, but still feeling a bit too shy to comment. 

My many WIP heads yielded only one FO; this Cyber Zombie from Creepy Cute Crochet.  This is a nice book to have for making toys for boys, but a lot of the charm of the dolls comes from the finishing details.  All the embroidery and embellishments have to be done right in order for the doll to look good.  Personally, I find this quite difficult.  This is the second time I've made this pattern, and only now am I able to get the exposed wires on the arm somewhat presentable.