Little bears and other animals

These are some really tiny bears and other animals that I made. The smaller they are the fiddlier!

And a couple of small but not miniature bears. I had forgotten I had made these until I looked through my albums.

A miniature dog and a tatted rosary.


Carrickmacross Lace

Two pieces of Carrickmacross Lace from my albums. These were both my own design.

For those who haven't met this type of lace before it involves a layer of organdy over a layer of net. You sew the two layers together in places and cut out part of the organdy. Then you can work stitches into the net. And it always has a little row of hand sewn picots round the edge. It is time-consuming and fiddly, but very pretty when finished.

I entered this one for a competition. I was very cross when the 'judge' explained that, as a knitwear designer, she had no idea what to look for and so had chosen the largest piece in each class as 'she supposed these must have taken longest'. So I lost out to a rather coarse, but undeniably large, piece of hardanger. I should not have minded losing to it if the judging had been intelligent. But I was so cross at this that I never entered another competition - I didn't like the way it made me feel.


More Bears

Some more bears from my albums today.

This one is a glove puppet.

A knitted bear, a knitted monkey and an embroidered bear.

I think these ones were all commercial patterns from the 1990s.


Bobbin Lace

Years ago I used to make bobbin lace but found I only really liked Torchon Lace - the geometric patterns appealed to me.

This is the last piece I made, from a Japanese pattern. My problem was, after that there seemed nowhere else to go with Torchon lace. Also the fragility was a problem and the inability to wash it. So I decided I preferred the robustness and infinite variety of tatting.

As you can see, the framer, who assered me he was experienced in framing needlework, used a glue which has stained the lace.



Two of my very big bears and a little one today.

As far as I can remember the big ones were made from bought patterns.

This little one was from a magazine pattern. He is one of my favourites. The tatted collar was an early effort by a friend I was helping with her tatting. It made him a peftect collar!



Two examples of patterns known in Japanese as kogin. It is a counted thread technique. The thread is worked horizontally over and under the appropriate number of threads and the pattern gradually builds up. It is sometimes called pattern darning in English.

This is an evening bag worked in the same technique. It is amazing how just horizontal stitches build up to form diagonal patterns.


Japanese Inspired Embroideries

Two of my embroideries, more experimental ones this time, both based on Japanese themes.

The sumo wrestler above was based on an actual photo of a wrestler.

This one was based on a combination of  the map of the islands of Japan (but rearranged) and the Japanese rock and sand gardens. The rocks are raised work covered in green wool couching - because most of Japan is covered in heavily forested mountains. The raked sand is couched cord. I made my own cord by running a cord fast through the sewing machine with the machine set to a zig-zag stitch. By using a lot of different, but similar threads one after the other, in both bobbin and top-thread, a very interesting cord can be made. This does, however, use up a lot! of thread.


Lace from China

My husband had a large piece of calligraphy in an exhibition in China last autumn.

His piece won an award and one of the things he received was this mat. It is made by hand, in China, and I am intrigued by it.

The fillings of the central flower petals are needlelace, beautifully evenly worked, obviously by an expert. The bars are buttonhole stitch bars of the type common in needlelace.

 But the tape has me puzzled because it is not a woven tape. If anything it looks like side-by-side rows of very fine crochet, but I cannot think of any crochet technique that would produce just this result. I am wondering if it is done with some sort of chain stitch sewing machine. Any Chinese out there who could tell me how it is done?



These two scarves don't look it, but they are both made using my favourite fancy rib.

x4+1 sts
Every row: K3P1 to last st which is K1

Knitted using average size needles for the yarn gives the result on the left (DK yarn and 4mm needles in this case.) It is a very stable, tight rib, which does not spread in wear.

But if you use much larger needles than normal (in the case of the green version, two strands of fine laceweight yarn and 4.5mm needles), you can block the result into a much wider, more relaxed fabric that looks very different.

 I had some left over Manos de Uruguay Lace yarn left over and used it two strands at a time to make this wide, light scarf to keep my shoulders and upper back warm.

One of the joys of knitting is that you can make the same stitch do such very different things!


Cut-work Embroidery

I picked out some pictures of cut-work from my albums  for today.

The ones above and below were my own designs.

The one above was worked from an old Portuguese book that my mother had brought back from a holiday in the early 1950s. It took me ages, but is a lovely design.

This is a tablecloth. In the 1990s it was possible to send for a linen tablecloth with one's choice of design printed on it. This is the one I chose.

This one is NOT my work. A friend brought it back from Singapore for me. It is amazing work obviously made by someone really gifted at this kind of work.



I have no idea how many scarves I have knitted. My daughter and husband are both quite prone to losing them! And then of course I have to knit replacements.

The one above is pure silk, knitted in a very simple lace pattern. The great thing about silk for lace scarves is that they shake back into shape so easily.

This one is silk too. I think the lace pattern was probably one of Stahman's.

This is the one I never lend to anyone. Some years ago a friend in Canada startled me by giving me some quiviut yarn. It is just beautiful, whisper light and startlingly warm. I often put it round my shoulders in the house when I'm feeling a bit chilly.


Knitted Lace Doilies

I've got yet another raging sore throat this morning so I suppose I'm going down with a new virus - grrr!

Here are a couple of knitted lace doilies from my albums.


Charm square quilt

This quilt is the only one I made using charm squares. I cut them in half diagonally and used one piece right side up and the other piece wrong side up to add interest. (It is always worth remembering that fabric has two sides and you don't only have to use the side the manufacturers intended to be the 'right' side!)

The central strips to the blocks were made from a limited number of fabrics to give some unity to the design.

Our bedroom gets no sun at all during the day so I arranged the blocks to give an impression of a patch of sunlight in the room.


Knitted raised leaf patterns

This is one of Annie Coles' patterns. I am fond of all the various raised leaf patterns that were so popular in the Victorian age. This one is one of my favourites so I made enough of the blocks to form a double bed size bedspread. As it is cotton I just put it in the washing machine so it is very convenient. (Bedspreads in my flat always get muddy paw-prints on them, sometimes before I have even got them straight, so being able to wash them easily is important!)

This is a cushion I knitted as a gift for someone. Both sides are the same. The pattern will have been one of the traditional ones, I forget which as there are so many similar ones. I hadn't realized until I looked at the two photos together that they are clearly either the same pattern, or very similar ones, though I know they came from different sources.


Teddy bears and their friends

These are some more of the bears I made. Some of the patterns were bought ones, some came from the bear magazines that were so common in the late 1990s.

The two above were made with very long-haired mohair, and I am particularly fond of them.

The monkey was great fun to make. I think the pattern came from a magazine. His face was a very clever double layer construction with the eyes slipped between the two layers.

The dog was made in a very clever mohair that had red fur on a blue background.

The two colour bear pattern came, I think from a book. You will have guessed by now that I like bears with eyelids!


More dollshouse dolls

Some more pictures from my album showing the dollshouse in bookshelves. It was such fun making underwear for a doll, but of course she couldn't fit with dressed dolls so I made a bathroom for her. You can just see the tatted edgings on the towels.

You can see the knitted lace curtains here (just purse stitch, but it makes quite a good lace curtain, I think.) There is a knitted dressing-gown on the back of the door and a couple of blankets, both knitted. You can just see the tatted edgings on the pillows.

Here is the nursery. Children and baby dolls are such fun to make. The little girl's doll is a 1/24th scale baby doll.

Hope you enjoy these pictures!


Hot Water Bottle Covers

It is weather for hot water bottles and covers for them are really easy to knit.

Bottles vary quite a bit in size so it is better to knit a cover to fit your bottle.

With your chosen yarn, needles and the stitch pattern you are going to use, knit a sample to establish your guage.
Now measure your bottle across and cast on enough stitches for that (with one or two extra for ease if your stitch is one of the less elastic ones.)

Work a buttonhole band placing your buttonholes where you want them, and making them the size to fit your buttons. I recommend 4 flat buttons as this keeps the flap closed and is not uncomfortable. Work band  until it is wide enough to take your buttons. Leave this piece on  a spare needle.

Now cast on the same number of stitches and work the same width of band for the buttons to go on. Then change to your main stitch and work a few centimetres.

Then you need to decrease at both sides to accomodate the bottom curve of the bottle. You can work straight but it looks better if you treat it like the shoulder of a garment. Make a note as you go of what you have done!

When you are happy with that continue, but this time increasing the same number of stitches that you previously decreased until you have your basic number of stitches again.

Continue straight until you have reached a point level with the start of the button band. Now you can change to knitting in the round. (There are ways of doing the bottom section in the round too but they are a bit fiddly so I don't usually bother.)

Overlap the two bands you made and when you get to the end of a row just carry on across the stitches you left on a spare needle. You can either continue in the round or, if you only have straight needles, just go back and forth across the whole width (at least you will have one fewer seam to do).

Continue straight to the start of the bottle's shoulders. Here you decrease at both sides again as for shoulders. You can go back to working the 2 sides separately at this point if it is easier.

Once you have got to the start of the neck I recommend some sort of ribbing. Work enough for a polo neck for the bottle. Cast off reasonably loosely.

Sew on the buttons.  Sew up any remaining seams. Insert the bottle through the buttoned opening.

Keep warm!


Feeling Ill

I am down with something remarkably like 'flu despite having had a flu jab in the autumn. So here are some pictures of Tigger and Ginger as kittens to cheer me up.


Tatted Heirloom Doily

When I was looking through a box of items packed away especially for my daugher to inherit I found this doily. I had forgotten all about it and now I cannot remember where I got the pattern! I remember, I think, that it was near the back of whatever book I was using, but I have such a large collection of tatting books and patterns that that is no help to me!

Anyway, I am grateful to whoever designed it. It has made a spectacular doily.

Edited to add that while I was doing something else I suddenly remembered where the pattern came from! I looked for it and I was quite right. It is one of the patterns from Floriade by Ben Fikkert. I knew it was from a book I had made quite a number of things from.