Finishing lock down projects part 4

Hello again friends. I keep looking through my photo gallery and craft cupboard and finding more items I worked on last year. I will continue to blog them over the next few weeks. This week I’ll cast back to show a comparative project: the same pattern made in a plain and a variegated thread. The pattern is Linda. S. Davies “oval doily in Ecru” it uses split rings and split chains, reducing the number of ends to deal with. Link to Linda’s clever design here: look on the right of the page for free pattern links, and click on oval doily. This will download the pdf instantly for you. Thanks Linda for an amazing pattern.

I made this variegated version a couple of years ago. I love it as it reminds me of confetti or fairy sprinkles. I blogged about the finished version here:

I have recently finished the solid colour version of this. The thread is altin basak 50 in a fuschia colour.

I like how both of these have turned out. I might try one with the combination of variegated and solid colours that I am starting to use on more of these larger doilies. The only problem will be when using a split ring to climb out of a round, the ring will be a combination of colours. I’m sure I can figure out a way around this problem, as I really like how the variegated thread can make the solid colour pop, like in this “Amanda” doily from Laura Bziukiewicz on face book.

Amanda doily pattern from Laura Bziukiewicz on Facebook, thread is size 40 variegated wildflower and solid lilac from AlenaLea tatting on Etsy.

I enjoyed making these doilies. As always, the joy of tatting is in the process; choosing thread and colours, choosing the right size and type of shuttle, winding the shuttle, beginning the rings and chains, feeling every stitch form under my fingers, sliding the stitches to make the ring, snugging up the stitches to get the chain to curve the right way, holding my breath to make sure the split rings or chains don’t knot as I make them, relief when I climb out with a faux picot, and when it is all complete that feeling of pride at the heirloom I have made. Then, the inevitable longing to start the next project and do it all again!

I wonder what aspects of tatting, or crafting, keep you enthralled?

Until next time, happy tatting

Fiona T


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Finishing lock down projects part 3

Some of my favourite projects are for my family. This crochet dress was started before lockdown for my niece, who was four at the time. I began by following a pattern in the Better Homes and Garden’s magazine, and using some beautiful Bendigo Wool Mills Imperial blend. As the dress grew, the wool was just too heavy to be practical as a dress for a five year old.

So I changed tack, pulled out the dress and got my mother in law to help make a cotton fabric dress to attach to the neckline. This made a beautiful long dress, which I worked on a little more with my mum to hem, using her over locker. I also made a little dress to match for my niece’s favourite bunny. My niece loved it, and has called it her wedding dress! So cute, and I will take it as a great compliment!

Speaking of weddings, during last year one of my nephew’s got engaged and set the wedding for December 2020. With lockdowns we were unable to attend the wedding, as it was in another state. So I got to tatting a “something blue” to send over for the bride to be. This blue handkerchief was in my stash, along with the matching pale blue size 80 lizbeth thread. I began by crocheting a header row around the hem-spoke edge, and tatted directly onto the crochet. The tatting will outlast the hanky, and so the crochet row can be cut away in future and the tatted edge reattached to another handkerchief or cloth if needed. I hope this becomes a lovely family heirloom. We are hoping to visit the happy couple as soon as we are all immunised for covid 19, and so able to fly interstate again.

I enjoyed both of these projects for family members, and hope they are enjoyed for a while to come. Until next time, happy crafting,

Fiona T

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Finishing lockdown projects part 2

Last week I blogged about some of the craft I had begun or completed during the pandemic.  Today I’ll show a few more pictures of finished projects.  But first here is a project that has been in the naughty corner for a couple of years, the tatted clock.  I am abandoning this one for now,  as the final step was to join all the pieces together. There was one major problem,  the centre of the doily is too small for the clock work to fit through. Back to the naughty corner for it, for now.

Next, this crochet project brought me great joy to be a part of. The Scheepjes Natural History CAL 2020 was a wonderful crafting  experience.  I have tried over the last few years to join these CALs, but trying to fit it in with family,  work and writing my PhD just didn’t work.  Finally,  despite the pandemic, I was able to make the time to spend each week with the CAL, and Esther’s fabulous video tutorials. It took me until the beginning of March to finish the whole blanket,  and I loved every minute of it. 

It was based on the book “All the light we cannot see” By Anthony Doerr. It ticked all of my science, history, museum and craft interest boxes, so I had to take part in the read along and crochet along too. I found myself wondering,  more than once,  just what the main character, who is blind,  would interpret from the richly textured blanket we created. 

I enjoyed the journey of making this blanket, from receiving my kit in the mail, to using the stonewashed wool for the first time, to changing the little elephant motif to dinosaurs for a section of the blanket, as some creative people shared their ideas for adaptations on the international facebook group. You can find out more from:

My completed Scheepjes Mineralogy Natural History Museum CAL completed blanket.

I’m now picking up my ubuntu kit again, and hope to make some visible progress there too. I’ve also completed the fuschia doily, so will blog about that journey next time.

Until next time, happy crafting,

Fiona T


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2021- finishing off lockdown projects

It is fair to say living through a global pandemic has put us all in a bit of a spin. What were normal routines have been disrupted by lockdowns and uncertainty. I live in Melbourne, so we had extended periods of severe restrictions and lockdowns across 2020. I was relieved to be able to work from home, learning to teach my secondary students remotely. Like many of you, my crafty friends, I was also appreciative of having my crafts at hand to support my mental well being.

I was crafting regularly, but found at different times I couldn’t concentrate on some patterns. So I scaled down my expectations and used some basic patterns to make sure I could still get my crafting fix. I’ve ended up with at least one of each of a basic knitted, crochet and tatting project on the go at most times across the last year.

I have realised that I didn’t blog much at all last year. I did spend a lot of time on various projects, and photographed many of them, but just didn’t get around to the blogging part. Over the next few weeks I will share some of my projects.

Near the beginning of the year I was lucky enough to win a shuttle give away from Lorraine Kolusa for valentine’s day. It took a while for the shuttle to travel across the world, but when it arrived I was really happy to have such a lovely shuttle in my care. I had wound it thinking I would use it for Jon’s Threads that bind doily, but have ended up using it more recently for Laura’s Amanda doily.

The beautiful Valentine Shuttle
Valentine shuttle loaded and ready to tat.
Amanda Doily from Laura Bziukiewicz on Facebook. Made in size 40 thread, mauve lizbeth colour 632 and Alenalea wildflower.

I also made two lovely crocheted items with Scheepjes whirls. First a Grinda Shawl, made in a woolly whirl for my Mum.

Grinda Shawl in progress

And second a granny square baby blanket for a family friend. I was going to use the bakewell blanket pattern, but it was one that was too complicated for me during the second lockdown. Though I did manage the bakewell pattern during the first lockdown.

A successful bakewell baby blanket, in an acrylic 8ply.

I also had some knitting projects, with an “in threes” baby jacket and three knitted “can I borrow that” scarves which I made as part of a knit along through Unwind cafe.

That’s probably enough for today’s blog. I’ll upload some more projects soon.

Happy crafting,

Fiona T

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Tatting Using Electron Configurations

Tatters are a creative bunch. Over the last couple of years there have been quite a few brilliant tatters designing and sharing patterns or developing interesting ways to use tatting elements and techniques. More recently there have been a number of tat alongs and new patterns shared through Facebook. It seems that when tatters around the world have some ‘free time’ they begin to ‘tat’ down those ideas that have been rattling around in their heads and share them.

I have recently begun the ‘Threads that bind’ doily, which dear Jon Youseff has shared a week at a time though facebook. I was impressed and excited when she opened up the last round of the pattern to others to design and share. There are now several versions of this last round (in some cases rounds) for tatters to drool over and then re-create themselves.

This morning I woke up to a post from Natalie Rogers on facebook where she has begun sharing her ‘tat you own adventure‘ poker cards again. If you join the Facebook page, she will draw some cards for you too. This poker card format gives you elements to play with, to design your own motifs and patterns. Last time she ran it, I managed to keep track of the elements and began drawing some possibilities. They didn’t make it to my shuttle, but it was a fun process.

My notebook with the first tat your own adventure poker draw

My notebook with the first tat your own adventure poker draw

The most recent tat your own adventure poker draw from today.

The most recent tat your own adventure poker draw from today. Cards drawn are sketched along the top of the page, with one possible pattern drawn out underneath.

Now, this poker game and designing phase has reminded me of an idea I had last year in November. So I thought it would be a great time to share with you all now too.

As you may be aware, I am a science teacher. Walking past a colleagues desk I saw a pile of worksheets for her Chemistry class. On top of this pile was a page listing the valence electron configurations of some elements. The notation reminded me of tatting patterns, and so the idea was born. (*Thanks to my colleague Fi1 for sharing her lesson and not thinking I was too crazy while I muttered about double stitches and picots.)

Part of the Electron configuration worksheet I noticed on a colleagues desk. It reminded me of tatting patterns.

Part of the Electron configuration worksheet I noticed on a colleagues desk. It reminded me of tatting patterns.


My notebook from November 2019 with the electron configuration sheet that started my idea.

I decided to try and make a motif of Krypton. The first step was to make a decision about the translation of the valence notation into tatting elements. I used the numbers in each orbital, along with the letter, prefix and superscript to make a pattern in tatting.

The outer orbitals I used for Krypton (Kr) were:   5s2 4d10 5p3

I defined the letters in the orbitals as:

  • s= ½ Double Stitch (Josephine knot)
  • d= Double Stitch
  • p = Long picot
  • f= faux picot to climb out of a round
  • If the orbital has a prefix, this may be used as the number of stitches of that type.
  • If the orbital has a superscript, this could indicate the number of repeats, for a section or a round.

Perhaps once you choose an element, the final round is always chains showing the long picot repeat?

Of course, you could change any of these elements to suit your ideas and style of tatting.

To make my Krypton motif I found the final sequence to work:

  • 1st round: Rings of 5 Josephine knots, and 2 small picots, chains of 4 p 4 p 4.                5 repeats for the round.
  • 2nd round: Chain of 5 picots, join to previous round’s chain at picot. Repeat.


A close up of tatting with electron configurations: Krypton motif

Of course, this is just the valence electrons (electrons in the outer shell) of Krypton. If you wanted to include all of electrons and orbitals for this, the 36th element, you would make a doily instead of a motif.

This lead to me thinking about a “First 20 elements Doily”, where the rounds would be built up of each element’s electron configuration.

More notes and thinking for tatting with electron configurations

More notes and thinking for tatting with electron configurations

The only problem I can see is in the execution of this idea.  When an “s= Josephine knot” Hydrogen and Helium are very tiny and fiddly to make. So maybe, for this experiment, we would need to redefine “s” as a double stitch, and “d” as 2 double stitches, or even a padded double stitch.

The first two rounds of this doily could then be represented as:

  • 1st round: (H) 1s [ Ring 1ds p 1ds p 1ds], Chain (He) 1s2 [1ds p 1ds]
  • 2nd round: (Li) 2s [Ring 2ds p 2ds p 2 ds],  Chain (Be) 2s2 [2ds p 2ds]

I haven’t tested this yet. I would be interested to know what you all think.

I have been having fun looking up other elements and their valence electron configurations. Here is a link to a table with the electron configuration of every element:

If you wanted to make a Krypton doily you could base it off this:

36 Kr Krypton 1s2 2s2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6

Well, I hope that has given you some ideas to work with, and maybe you’ll try and define your own tatting elements from the electron configurations. I would love to see and hear about your own tatting adventure with the periodic table and valence electrons 🙂

As always,

Happy tatting!

Fiona T


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Crafting in the pandemic

I think it is fair to say that the last few months have been a rollercoaster for all of us. It is times like this I am glad I have my regular crafting routine. From age 7 when I learned to knit, crafting has been part of my everyday experience of the world. It is as much a part of my identity as my love of reading and science. I am pretty sure for most of you it is the same, the processes of crafting are part of our “being in the world”.

*Edit: I have realised the date once I posted this- Happy international tatting day!

I have been focussing on finishing the baby blanket began in December/January. The colourful wedges baby blanket, from Purl Soho, was a fun knit, it uses only garter stitch and has taught me how to do short row work too. I made it in Bendigo Wool Mills Imperial blend (wool, alpaca and silk blend) which was a limited edition release last year. It is a beautiful yarn to work with and makes this blanket soft and drapey.


Starting the Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket. Pattern: Purl Soho Wool: Bendigo Wool Mills Crafter: Fiona T


Beautiful wool from Bendigo Wool Mills to make clothes and baby blankets


Blocking the Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket


Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket Finished and ready to wrap


You may also recall that I began making a dress for my Neice in the same yarn. I really like the look of the crochet dress, but I think I will have to adapt this a little as making the full dress in the yarn is too heavy for practical daily wear. I think I will pull the dress part back, and use some fabric to make a dress and attach to the neck and shoulder line. So it will still have the cute granny square colour burst, but not be too heavy for my niece to wear.


Beginning of a crochet dress for my niece


Progress on the crochet dress

I have also been tatting along with the Arleta doily, from January. I am using Alenalea’s beautiful threads, which reminded me of the colour of irises. I was surprised recently just how close her colours are to nature, as my Iris had a midseason bloom. The picture below shows just how close these colours are.


A pale pink and purple iris matches exactly to the variegated thread colour “Gorgeous Size 20”


Progress on Arleta doily

I am tempted to join in Jon’s tat along on Facebook and have a shuttle wound for it. A very special shuttle from Lorraine Kolasa’svalentine giveaway.  It took a few weeks to get to Australia, but it was very welcome when it did arrive. It is so beautiful, both to look at and to feel. Thanks so very much Lorraine for this super generous giveaway. I am eager to take this shuttle for a test drive.


A well-packaged gift


The beautiful Valentine Shuttle


Valentine shuttle wound with wildflower size 40 thread, ready for Jon’s pattern

I am also working on a few other projects, and have found some very old UFOs as I tidy up shelves and cupboards.  I will share their progress next time.

I wonder what craft are you getting done during the pandemic?

Happy Crafting

Fiona T

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Tatting along-Serwetka Arleta

At the moment I am tatting a sweet little pattern from Laura Bziukiewicz which she has shared through a facebook event:

You will need to join the facebook event and message Laura for the pattern if you would like to tat along too.

It is a nice pattern for a beginner, and I have levelled it up a little by using split chains to climb out of rows. I am working on round four now, and it is coming along nicely.


Round one of the Arleta tatted doily, in size 20 Gorgeous Alenalea thread.


Round two of Round one of the Arleta tatted doily, in size 20 Gorgeous Alenalea thread.


Round three Round one of the Arleta tatted doily, in size 20 Gorgeous Alenalea thread.

Laura has also released a few patterns on her facebook page, all of them look lovely. I hope to finish this one soon so I can try another that has caught my eye. Thank you Laura for sharing your talents with all of us!

Until next time, happy tatting

Fiona T

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Lego block baby blanket

Welcome back. As long-time followers will know I enjoy multiple crafts, not just tatting. I always have several projects on the go, and will choose to work on different projects each day depending on my mood, energy level and if there is a deadline for a project. In last week’s post, I spoke about choosing two baby blankets to make for my new Nephew.  In addition to the knitted colourful wedges pattern, I also wanted to take the opportunity to make this crochet Lego style blanket: . It is a paid pattern by Bethany Miller which I tracked down on Ravelry. The individual blocks are made with a moss stitch to ensure even edges, making the blocks quite elastic.  It took a few trials (read: most of September and October) to find the right stitch count for the yarn I was using. I am using milk cotton from OzYarn, which I chose as it had the best bright colour range for this style of blanket.

Here is an image of my progress so far, I’m about a third of the way through:


As well as learning two new stitches- the chainless foundation (aka Foundation Single Crochet- FSC) and the moss stitch -this project is also an opportunity to work on my tension/gauge with crochet. I have had quite a few frogging episodes where the end of a longer block is shorter than the foundation, and so I have had to rework the sections. I also needed to note down the hook size I used for the round buttons on the blocks, as the ones I began to make for the blue blocks varied in size from those in the red. I am experimenting with different hook sizes and am sure I’ll figure out the right size and tension soon.

Overall, I am enjoying making this blanket and hope to have it completed by April/May before our winter here in Australia. I hope the colourful wedges blanket will also be completed by then. I’ll just keep chipping away, a little each day.

Until next time, happy crafting,

Fiona T



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Learning new techniques- Colourful wedges baby blanket

When we found out during 2019 that a new baby nephew was on the way we were very excited. As usual, I searched for some cool patterns to make for the new arrival. After a few hours of searching, I found two I really liked, and this is one of them. The colourful wedges baby blanket from Purl Soho:

This blanket uses garter stitch and wrapped short rows to great effect. I ordered Bendigo Wool Mills Imperial 8Ply for this project, it is a blend of wool, alpaca and silk. It has a lovely drape and beautiful muted colours, perfect in my mind for a modern baby blanket.

Practising the short row wrapping before beginning this baby blanket- colourful wedges baby blanket from Purl Soho

With the recent very hot weather I was able to organise my yarn stash and begin the blanket. I decided to work the alternate wedges in grey, so this blanket doesn’t just have to be a baby blanket. The second blanket pattern I liked is also in progress, and I will share that next time.

The first 2 and a bit wedges on this baby blanket. BWM 8ply imperial - wool, alpaca and silk blend.

The first 2 and a bit wedges on this baby blanket. BWM 8ply imperial – wool, alpaca and silk blend.

You may recognise the colours, as I have used the same yarn to make a crocheted dress for my niece…which is also nearly finished.

What kinds of things do you make for new arrivals?

Until next time, happy crafting

Fiona T


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Happy New Year 2020- review of 2019 tatting

Happy New Year! I thought I would spend a few minutes uploading some images to review my craft adventures during 2019. I really didn’t think I had done too much crafting, as I was teaching, finishing my PhD thesis, spending time with family and friends and we also got a puppy. It seems I managed to squeeze in a fair bit of crafting though! The photos below show a wide range of fibre crafts I have begun, and many I have completed. In looking through these images, there are a couple of projects I had forgotten about too…like the Mary Konior Spinning Glass mats experiments, and a monthly bookmark challenge I set myself. I am pleased that I have been able to blog semi-regularly and managed to have a giveaway too. I hope 2020 will see regular posts, and that I can share more of my creative ideas with you all too.

I hope your year has been filled with great things, including crafty fun. I also want to wish you all the best for 2020. Many thanks for following, as always happy crafting,

Fiona T

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