Saturday, April 6, 2024

Tatted Animal Bookmarks and Bobbin Lace Progress

 Hello, my friends. I took a break from working on pattern creation with Inkscape to just have some fun. Summer holidays will begin in a few weeks and I wanted to make some fun bookmarks for my grandchildren to use and share with their friends to add a little extra fun to summer reading. Here you see the Gold Fish and the Alligator. Neither are exactly like the patterns (noted in the photos) as I just can't seem to resist tweaking as I go when something more convenient or interesting suggests itself, but they are close. I highly recommend both original patterns. Both are tatted in size 20. The fish was done with a Manuela thread still in my stash and the the alligator was done with a hand-dyed thread I bought many years ago.

My first bookmark was actually an adorable bobbin lace fish, but I mailed it off as a birthday present to a young relative of mine without thinking to take a picture first. I plan to make another one, though, so I hope to get a picture of the next one.

I also completed this Three Stitch Sampler (source in the photo) which certainly highlights my need for plait practice. I gained some wonderful help with the instructions and some great tips to improve those troublesome plaits with my next practice.

April also saw my first needle tatted project completed as part of Natia Vallee's Needle Tatting Classes, part of the Online Tatting Classes through It isn't too late to join the class. Just visit the website to find out more.

I hope your own projects are coming along well.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

One project at a time or Multiple

 I usually try to force myself to work on one project at a time, but I'm finding I'm actually more productive switching from project to project. I'm getting things done as well as learning and exploring new things. My old approach sometimes seemed laborious and it was easy to lose interest. Now I'm just having fun.

These are some of the things I've been doing this week.

In the top left, the Catherine Wheel Join practice piece is now big enough to hold my favorite mug. My shuttles were empty, so now I'm just trying to decide if I should continue it in some way to make it a little larger. (Manuela size 10, variegated pinks)

The top right image is the completed Cloth Stitch Bookworm on page 22 of Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace by Gillian Dye and Adrienne Thunder. This is my first Torchon project in about 20 years. I used a slightly smaller pricking with Caron Wildflowers Emerald Green and Pine Forest.

The center top is the beginning of my second Torchon project--Half Stitch Bookworm, page 28 of the same book. This one uses the original pricking size with DMC Perle Cotton size 8 in colors 311 and 995 (down the center).

And lastly, I'm tatting up my teddy bear pattern as I work on an updated version of the pattern that includes a diagram.

So what works best for you? Do you prefer to complete one project at a time, or do you prefer to have several different things going and move from project to project?

Have a fun and productive week, my friends!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Beginner Tatters Can Design, Too!

 When my daughter, Sarah, was new to tatting at age 12, I encouraged her to start creating her own designs right away--just play with what she knew.  She had learned to make a ring, rings on bare thread, and rings and chains. She used these three elements to create this bookmark. It's a great way to use the last of the thread left on a shuttle. She shared it only with our close little tatting group at first, but when Mary McCarthey published it in the March 1997 issue of her newsletter, KNOTS!, Sarah was thrilled.

Sarah has given me permission to share this edited version with you that includes how I tat it in two rounds instead of three along with her original instructions. 

I eliminated the need for a separate starting ring soon after she designed it, by starting with the bare thread element and then combining the 'starting ring' with the ring and chain round resulting in two rounds instead of three. I am sharing the pattern as she originally made it, but including a diagram so you can explore other paths through the design. The long segments of bare thread combine with the tassel to create a fluid look that reminds me of jellyfish. I love it!

Designing and publishing your designs are two separate things. No matter your skill level, don't be afraid to play with your needles or shuttles. You may be amazed where your imagination and your fingers take you.

Have a great week, my friends, and happy tatting!

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Catherine Wheel Joins and Torchon Cloth Stitch


This is my practice piece for the Catherine Wheel Join. It has plenty of bad joins as well as some good ones. I think I've finally got it, but I plan to keep practicing until it's large enough to serve as a coaster for my favorite mug.

Progress on Torchon! I completed three inches. I love that this project lets me practice cloth stitch as well as the effect of twists within. Just two more inches til completion.

Inkscape and I are becoming friends again, too. I'm learning from the YouTube channel of Sue Fuller who does the Design Classes for channel and from my own mistakes. I completed my first diagram--a simple pattern my daughter is sharing with all of us. It's been so long since I used Inkscape, but some of it is coming back as I work. Most important lesson I learned last week?--Save, Save, Save! Hours of work were lost when the program crashed and efforts to re-open the document crashed the program again and again. Things are working much better for me now. It crashes, and I open my last manually saved copy, which usually means repeating only the last change I made.

Til next time!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Starfish WIP complete, Reminiscing on Past Bobbin Lace Projects


Lisa Trumble's Starfish is finished in size 20 Lizbeth Color No. 136, variegated light blue and white. I've also been relearning the Catherine Wheel Join as I practice Catherine Wheels for design class. 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I want to pick up bobbin lace-making again. The images to the right are scans of the very first pieces I made years ago using the two books also in the picture: The Torchon Lace Workbook by Bridget M. Cook and Lace for Children of All Ages. I gave away my work as fast as I made it, so there are no actual samples. I have a folder more than an inch thick of prickings and notes I used back then. The members of were a tremendous help and resource. Sue Hanson corresponded with me by email and snail mail. One letter from her speaks of my start into Bedfordshire lace. I'm afraid I have only vague memories of some of what I did. I do remember making the bobbin lace version of cluny tatting and finding it quite easy after all of the tatted ones I had made. I'm thankful my memory is currently functioning well, but I can't help regretting the loss of so much.

Anyway, I've been trying to decide just where to start as I begin again. I've narrowed it down to a couple of different bookmark patterns from other books. 

I'm making progress in Inkscape, too!