Saturday, 17 August 2013

Improvise, Adapt... you know the saying now!

I took away my beads and threads to finish some bracelets while we were away.  But when I got there, I realised I'd forgotten... beading needles!  Those tiny seed beads are a bit of a job to get on the thread without the right tools.

I thought about it and came up with an idea to solve my problem.  Here it is:

"Twist Ties"!  Is that what you call them?  You know those tiny wires wrapped in plastic that you use to tie your plastic food bags?  You can see them at the top of the photo above.  Well, they're perfect!  Take the plastic off and remove the thin metal wire inside.  Fold it in two.  Put you thread through it, twist slightly to keep it together and there you have it! Works perfectly for threading seed beads onto your tatting thread.

The day was saved!  I could tat away happily.  So there you go.  If you are stuck without a beading needle, a simple twist tie will do the trick!

Best wishes,

Friday, 9 August 2013

Finished Bracelet... and more

I've carried on playing with Jane's pattern and completed the first bracelet in autumn colours.  I ended up adding a flat back pearl in the centre as I wasn't completely convinced I liked the look of the brass findings on their own... they seemed a bit unfinished to me.  I do like it with the pearls though.

I think they really finish the look.
I found some bronze pearls which I ordered today
and they would probably look even better
with this colour scheme.

I like this design so much I started another bracelet straight away.  All the beads give this lace jewellery a nice weight and it's a lovely piece to wear.

The bracelet is called "Starry Button Bracelet" but I think I will stick with my buttonless version of it.  I like working with the metal findings and I like the look.

Here's a blue one:

The first two were made with variegated threads so I decided to use a plain colour for the next one.

Here's the last one... and my favourite so far.  I have a slightly different arrangement for the beads and the way they are placed around the centre finding.  

This is plain green thread with five different colours of beads,
plus a centre pearl.

I'm pleased with the idea for an alternative centre I've come up with and plan on using it for a future design.  The pearl in the centre makes it look like little flowers...

Best wishes,

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Beaded Bracelet

Ever since Jane Eborall posted the first of these Starry Button Bracelets, I've really liked them.  Took me a while to get around to tatting one as I have to admit that I don't enjoy working with beads as much as Jane obviously does!

But for this gorgeous pattern, it was worth having to deal with the numerous beads (more than 100 to be strung on each shuttle plus others to be added as you go).

First I thought I'd try just one element.  Then I only had one button that was the right size (and even then I think it was a tad too big) so I played with other centres.

Apologies for my laziness, I didn't sew in the ends...  not yet anyway!

The left one is with a button as per the pattern; for the middle one, I made my own centre with some silver beads and the one on the right has a metal finding in the centre.

After those samples, I thought it was time to tackle a whole bracelet.  I decided to use the bronze findings (no more buttons of the right size!) and so thought that Lizbeth Autumn Spice would look good with the bronze.  I am limited in my stash of beads so the only ones that went with that colour scheme were some red seed beads and some larger green and gold beads.

I have to thank Miranda for the little bronze findings (they were perfect with 8 petals!) - she had kindly sent me a selection of findings a while ago and I'm glad I found something nice to use some of them for.  I so appreciate it when people send me stuff even though sometimes it can take a while before I find just the right thing for them.

They're not really colours I wear unfortunately but they look good together, yes?

I managed to go wrong in a few places but now I've got the design figured out so the next one will be better.  Definitely need a trip to the bead shop tomorrow.

I love the pattern Jane!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Look of Needle Tatting... with a shuttle!

Sometimes the chunky look of needle tatting appeals to me.  For certain things.  Last night, I wanted to make a chunky black bracelet so I had a go at making one with a needle.  One thing I don't like about needle tatting though is that knotting after each element makes the tatting go a bit "twisty".  Also, for me, it's slow going.

So I gave this a bit of thought and came up with a solution.  Here is my shuttle tatting with the look of needle!

The top one is needle tatted and
the bottom one is shuttle tatted.

Can you see how they are just about as chunky as each other.
But for me, the shuttle tatting is much smoother, consistent and lies flat
(as in, no twisting of the elements)

I had already thought about this when I made my roses for which I also wanted chunkier petals.  For that pattern, I had doubled up my thread after having made the centre ring with a single thread.  It worked well.  But in this case, as you are moving from chains to rings, you cannot have a doubled thread as you end up with four thicknesses (two core and two working).

My solution was to attach a loop of thread (in this case I'm using size 10) to my shuttle going down the side of the bobbin so it doesn't get tangled up with the thread of the shuttle.  You then make the stitches with three thicknesses as your core but you pull the loop back out of your stitches before finishing the chain or closing the ring.  It isn't as difficult or complicated or time-consuming as it sounds!  And it works really well to give the chunky look of needle but (for me) the ease and consistency of tatting with a shuttle.

The extra loop only needs to be about 6-7 inches long
so it's easy to pull it back out and it doesn't get in the way.
In fact when closing rings, it just pulls back out
by itself as you close the ring, so no extra work involved at all.

So there you are.  I realise this is probably a minority interest and I don't know if anyone will find this useful but for me, it solved a problem and enabled me to create a tatted piece with the look I was after.

Best wishes,