Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Lacking Efficiency...

I don't know what's the matter with me at the moment but I seem to struggle to get things done! Everything is taking too long and I'm not accomplishing all that I want/wish.  Do you have times like that too?  Even my blog is suffering a bit at the moment.

This pattern for example... has taken me aaaaages!  I think I'm getting there with it but it's been way too long in the making.

I kinda like the fact that the little crystal star in the centre
sits inside a star made by the chains around it,
which in turn is at the heart of the larger star.

A star within a star within a star!

It helps to look at it from further away to see this I think...

Still, I never quite got to the "YESSSS, it's done now, I like it!".  I kept fiddling with it and fiddling with it...  Not completely satisfied but I think this will be it.  I've made so many samples already that I should have enough to send to family and friends and hopefully it has given me ideas for other designs.

Look at that lovely stack of stars!
... and more have been made since.

Anyone has a suggestion for a name?
I've called it "Crystal Star" for now
which is not very imaginative.

There were some questions on the original post about how the crystal centre was made...  I was trying to avoid using a loop-tatted ring as I think many tatters may find that technique a bit daunting. What I ended up doing is making one really large picot and adding all the crystals to that same picot and making joins into it.  It's just a matter of getting the right size of picot and manipulating it as you add each new crystal.

Oh, I just noticed...
the yellow thread inside the crystals
make yet another tiny star!

I will draw 5 names from the comments to this post to receive a free pattern.

And don't forget, if you have a better name suggestion,
it would be gratefully received!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

And the Random Number Generator Says...

And number 31 is...  Beth!  Please contact me with your information so I can send you the shuttle.

Thank you to everyone for all your comments on the previous post, I didn't reply to comments to make it easier to count when it came to the draw!  I particularly liked Andrea's poetic one.  To Jane, I will talk about how to make the centre with crystals soon.  Michelle asked how long it takes to make the star snowflake... I will try to time it when I next make one but I would say 1.5 hours?  A very approximate guess but I will try to confirm soon.  To Muskaan, yes, there are stitches between the beads on the sample I showed in the previous blogpost but the new method looks different.  I'll post a photo soon.  Happy Dogma:  thank you!  You reminded me how much I like apple butter!  I think I'll have a go at making some.  Ancolie: Paris n'est pas loin du tout!  :-)

Again, thank you to all who contribute to this blog with their comments.  It's always lovely to read you all.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Autumn Giveaway

I thought it was a while since I held a giveaway...  I'm offering one of my shuttles.  This one is called "Oriental Blue".  It has a slight flaw in the finish and couldn't be sold so I thought I'd give it away instead.  I must have been working too late one night when I was making that one because I didn't notice the flaw until the shuttle was completed, and no longer "fixable".  Anyway, the shuttle is fully functional and the flaw is not very visible.  I hope someone will enjoy using it.

It was perfect autumn day yesterday so I went outside to take the photo.  These are apples from our tree which we are enjoying eating at the moment.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the draw which will take place on the 11th of October.  I will ship it to the winner anywhere in the world!

Meanwhile I'll carry on working on my star design.  I want to come up with a nice way of making it without beads too so I have a bit more work to do on it yet.  AND, I'm excited that I've found a new way of placing the crystals in the centre, one that doesn't require the use of a "loop-tatted ring"!  I'm pleased because I know that loop-tatted rings are probably a bit daunting to many tatters and I want everybody to be able to make this lovely crystal centre if they wish.

These are still prototypes
but I'm making progress.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Star is Born?...

Just kidding!  I couldn't help myself.  Each year I like to make a new snowflake/ornament to put in the cards that I send to family and friends.  It's coming to this time of year again and on this occasion, I decided I'd like to work on a star (five-sided) for a change instead of a snowflake (six-sided).

Here are a few versions of it...  it's mostly the different centre I've been working on... and I'm not convinced I've found he best one yet!

The simplest one was the first:

Then I thought I wanted to emphasise the star shape in the centre
so I made pointy chains:

Then I wondered whether it would be better
to fill the centre space with little rings...

And I also added beads on the joins,
going from smaller to larger
(a seed bead, then a 4mm bead, then a crystal)

Then I thought how much I liked Swarovski crystals
in the centre of Bentley and perhaps they would look nice here too

It took me a while to figure out how to get that centre of crystals in there
whilst keeping the one pass only design...

Eventually it clicked:
Yes of course, I needed to use
the loop-tatted ring method!

This is a bit of a blurry photo but I wanted to show the crystals
and also the sparkly thread (one strand of shimmering filament added to the cotton)

So that's where I'm at so far.  If possible I'd like to come up with a design that works with or without beads as I know not everyone likes to work with beads so it's nice if the design can work out well either way.

I'll work on this a bit more and hopefully come up with a final design.  Any input welcome!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

December Motif... in September!

A lady contacted me recently from Poland.   She wanted to know if she could use my "December Motif" (see pattern page) for an online tatting class.  I agreed and she did a nice job of presenting the pattern with really clear photos.  I like her version with large pearls and I also like her version where she replaced the beads with a small ring and picots.

Another lady contacted me shortly after, asking about the same motif to add it to their tatting members' newsletter.

This inspired me to tat it again and as I had last played with Swarovski crystals for Bentley, I decided to make it with crystals and matching blue seed beads for the tips.

December Motif

This is a quick pattern to make and I think it looks effective with beads and adds extra sparkle for use as an ornament.

I still like to use a sparkly filament added to the cotton thread, particularly nice when making "snowflakes" (I made a blogpost about this and here as well).  It's always hard to photograph but hopefully you can see it in the blurry photo below (on the right-hand side).

I thought I'd also try Anetta's version with rings instead of beads so if you're not a fan of using beads in tatting, this is what the motif looks like without.  I'm going to play a bit more with placement of picots as I'm not totally happy with this version but it does show how easily a pattern can be adapted and many variations made from the same design.

Also in the beadless version above, I used mock rings (a chain joined back at its starting point) instead of thrown rings to see how that would look.  A thrown ring looks more "delicate", hanging on by two threads so to speak, whereas the mock rings look more... "sturdy"?  It's different and I like both.

Best wishes,

Monday, 5 September 2016

Shark Attack!

Still very much enjoying crochet as well as tatting at the moment.  I have several (yes! several!) blankets in the making and then a couple of days ago I made this shark pencil case for a young person's birthday.  And now my own children have seen it, they want one too!

I think he's rather neat.  I chose a red zipper to close his mouth and his teeth are made of white felt.  The body is crocheted in one piece and then the dorsal and pectoral fins are added after.  My son wants a whale version of him (I will make it without teeth, a much smaller dorsal fin and the tail on the horizontal instead of the vertical)... and my daughter wants a narwhal!  So now I need to figure out how to add that tusk!

Best wishes,

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Lucky Clover Completed

It's finished!  I'm pleased with it.  Though if I was being a bit critical, I would say that I think the centre is slightly incongruous in this design.  The doily is all lovely curves and then you have these very straight long chains in the middle that look a bit out of place.  I'm thinking of designing a new centre...  I like the second and third rounds very much.

Makes me think of ship's wheel in the centre...

A bit closer up...

A lady was selling beautiful sunflowers from her garden in a village nearby.  We were just driving past when we saw them at her gate...  We took a few stems home.  Most were all yellow but we had a stem of sunflowers with red in them like this one.  They are very striking.  Mind that red background was a bad choice - red is always so hard to photograph!

Best wishes,