Tag Archives: Love

What I learned while tatting a doily

Guess what everyone? (anyone who already follows me on twitter knows this one already)

The Doily is finished!

start of doily

I started this doily back in november 2012. I can’t remember exactly why this started but I do remember how. I have probably mentioned before that I am not the only person who knows how to tat in my family; my gran was my inspiration to learn although she lives too far away to have taught me. I had been talking to her on the phone about how I really felt that tatting was becoming a passion and few days later an envelope arrived with all of her pattern booklets in it. She had gone through and ticked the patterns she had done and beside a couple had written comments. Beside this pattern she had written “did


this one often”. I never pictured myself being a doily maker but if I was ever going to make a doily, it had to be that one.


I put it down to make items for Christmas presents and it got picked up and worked on sporadically over the next few months. Much of the work on this was done in breaks at work, or while my student was doing practical work. It became quite the conversation starter.

But a couple of days ago I was finally finished, and it has taught me a few things. I’d like to share them with you.

1. Life is too short for bad thread

Never, ever, jump into to any kind of large project with tools or materials you are not completely in love with. I grew to hate this thread with a passion. It was a splitty, twisty, difficult to unpick, the colour not as fully saturated in some places as in others… It wasn’t even a colour I was drawn to. You are probably asking yourself why I used it in the first place then, right? I had it to hand and it was a free gift with an order of a completely different thread. This leads me nicely on to lesson two.

2. Sometimes things are free for a reason

I love free things. I love a bargain. This thread was free. It was free quite probably because once someone had worked with it once they never wanted to go near it again! It is lovely to the touch, silky and smooth. It only reveals its true nature when you’re too far in to turn back. leading to lesson three.

tatting progress

3. Swatches are not for gauge alone

Many people who read this blog are crafty people, especially yarn based crafties. Those of you in that world will most likely fall into one of two camps: “gauge swatches are a necessary evil” & “gauge swatches are for wusses, I laugh in the face of gauge swatches!”. I was closer to the latter. I though a swatch was something that you only needed to do if you were making an item designed to fit a specific person. Even then, I’ve been told that gauge swatches lie so why bother? If only someone had mentioned I had listened when people told me that swatches had other functions. They are for practicing new techniques. They are to see what properties the fabric you are making will have. Lastly, they are for showing you that you hate the thread you are about to trap yourself into using for a project that will take hours out of your life over a span of time with a fiery passion! if I had played with this thread a bit I’d have known, I possibly could have finished much sooner because I would not have procrastinated so much out of fear of the frustrations brought on by bad thread.

4. When dealing with any tatting pattern, make sure it is in your preferred format.

This one is quite specific. I was using a vintage pattern in this instance. The older the pattern the more verbose the instructions become. The instructions are written out in full. Great! Erm… nope. In about a size 8 font all of these repeated words swim together for me and mistakes get made. Some tatters work will with this kind of instruction. Not me. On about round four I decided enough was enough. I transposed the instructions into a format better suited to me, I used the short hand. Numbers, dashes and abbreviations, and each separate step on a new line. That is what worked best for me. Had I been born with a better functioning spacial awareness I may have chosen to diagram it based on the written instructions and photograph.

Tatting close up

5. Some mistakes are meant to be there

Ok, they aren’t meant to be there per se, but if I was to un-pick back every time I spotted a missed join or an incorrect count I may never finish. I can see a few mistakes, I’m not going to point them out to you, that would be silly. I discovered something about myself doing this. There was a funny moment, I realised I was going to have to cut back to the mistake I could see. I got the scissors and started to shake a little holding them so decided it was a step too far for me that day. The mistake was there to stay. When I stopped unpicking back to mistakes beyond one join, the mistakes slowed right down. Resigned to a lack of perfection, I relaxed and got a little closer this time.

6. Never underestimate the power of a deadline

I decided half way through that this doily would make a good present for my gran (ok grandpa, message for you here, you are the tech-savvy one, so if you are reading this DON’T TELL HER!!). In March, April, even May August felt a very long way away. In June and July? Not so much. Deadline, however arbitrary, motivated me to get the monster done.

7. Never underestimate how a shared passion can bring closeness across miles

I’ve always been closer to my grandpa than my gran. We always seemed to have more in common. Also, he is a big softy, it’s easier to just sit and be with him. Gran has always more energy than the rest of us. Gran is a busy bee. We didn’t know we had a shared passion in common until recently. In the last year and a half I have had more conversations with my gran than ever. We share stories about tatting. I tell her about new ways patterns are written now, the effect of the internet, the invention of needle tatting and all other areas in my craft life. Gran tells me about the patterns she liked, the fact that she has almost none of her tatting because she made it all and sold it in sales of work to raise money for charity. Although she doesn’t tat any more, although my grandparents live 400miles away, I’ve never felt closer to my gran.

So there you have it, a few mistakes I hope to not make again and hopefully a few land mines flagged for others to avoid too. Please leave your own long project discoveries in the comments. I’d love to read them.

KT :-)

Finished Tatted Doily
Finished Tatted Doily

Day 207

Day 207

Mum and I had an interesting chat this evening. We were talking about the choices that people make and how you can often see the consequences before they even happen. You can see exactly what result they are about to get that is exactly what they don’t want. Jillian Michaels talks about this in her book Unlimited. She talks someone who has found themselves in rather a mess because of a sequences of events all sparked by choices.

This all got me talking about my choices, I want to understand exactly how I got here. This is not where I thought I’d be at this point. I am not doing the job I want, I don’t have the money I thought I might, my flat isn’t what I thought. But here is the really funny thing, we tracked back through my entire life, talking about the first time I remember consciously choosing things for myself. Were there things I could have done differently? Of course. But here is what I discovered.

I always thought that choosing chemistry as my degree on leaving school was a bit of a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the time… I wanted to do other things but they never really seemed like a real option. Tracking through from then until now here is why it wasn’t a mistake.

  1. I met one of my best friends on the very first day (I fell down the steps outside the building and landed on her – we’ve been friends ever since)
  2. I wouldn’t have had the chance to take a placement year and live in Edinburgh. That would have changed me into something different to what I am today.
  3. I would not have gone on to work where I did after, meeting people I am still friends with now. I also wouldn’t have been made redundant from there which paid my uni fees for my sign language interpreting course.
  4. The biggest one of all. I wouldn’t have met the man-shape. He was friends with my 3rd year lab partner.

That 5 year course went a long way to forming who I am today.

Thinking about my choices my mum did say she didn’t think I had made any real clunkers decision wise. Sure, we all make little decisions every day that shape us. Some of them are good decisions and some of them are total clunkers.

Where has this all come from? Well, I am at what I would call a pivot point. I could go a number of different ways right now. I have gotten through to the final interview stages for a job that is not what I want to do. I felt I had to take a couple of hours to understand my choices up until now to make sure that what choices I make now are the right ones for me right now. (There is no such thing as THE right choice I don’t believe, but there are

some that will make me happier) The closer I get to being offered this job the more I start to hear the little voice shouting in my head: “You’re going the wrong way…”


So, here is the plan. Go for this job, see it through to the end, have the option. Meanwhile, pursue what I really want with as much vigour as I can. My intention has been thrown out into the universe. Now I need to be ready and prepared to catch it when it appears.

And one last thing, going back through my choices both big and small, I can start trusting in my own judgement, because you know what? I’ve done not too bad making decisions for myself up until now. I can do the big ones, now to master the little every day decisions.

KT. :-)


Day 189

Day 189

Late post again. I guess that is what happens when I actually live my life, I forget to tell you about it.

Day 189 was a surprise, the man-shape and I had a spontaneous late celebration of our anniversary (7 years last month). I had picked him up and we were on our way back to my flat. Now, to fully understand the significance of the events that follow you need to know that the man-shape is not only a comic book geek but specifically a massive Spiderman fan. As we’re driving back he randomly mentions going to the cinema. Cinema trips are one of our favourite treats, for him a good film is acting school, film making school and entertainment all rolled into one and I love a well told story. As we’re talking I throw in that he had mentioned he really wanted to see the new Spiderman movie in an IMAX cinema. Next thing I know we have made a spontaneous plan, I have set a course correction in place for Edinburgh. We split the various costs between us and had a great day. Amazing Spiderman, here we come!

The film itself was possibly the closest thing I have ever seen to a perfect film. I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly why I liked this film so much more than the previous Spiderman films but then I realised. The best way to describe it, my personal feeling, this film had heart. I wish I could explain it better but really that is it. The characters are well written, well acted and you care about each one of them, including the bad guys. I cried a couple of times but anyone who knows me knows that I cry at pretty much everything.

I loved the music, it was perfect, subtle, non-intrusive but emotional and quite powerful when needed. I liked seeing some of the other characters that aren’t always used in the screen adaptations of the Spiderman story like Gwen Stacy. I love listening to the man-shape tell me his favourite stories from within that universe and many of them have involved Gwen Stacy in some way so to see her on screen I now feel a little bit more included.

As spontaneous days go, it was perfect. We laughed, we chatted about all things random, we ate some amazing pizza, we watched a great film, we came back to my flat and we relaxed with computer games for him and knitting for me and after all that fun and gentle adventure we woke up refreshed and ready to face whatever comes next.

I feel like I have had a weekend and for someone not in regular employment at the moment that is a real solid achievement. It was awesome! (“awesome” has been my adjective of choice all weekend, for me, everything has been “kinda awesome” this weekend and I’m alright with that!)

Have an awesome weekend (what is left of it) and an amazing week ahead!

KT. :-)

Day 183/184

Day 183 & 184

I let myself get too tired last night and I ended up missing a blog day. Quite a bit to talk about because I’d like to tell you a couple of the stories behind Saturdays pictures too.

On Saturday I visited Galloway Wildlife Conservation park. The park is run by a Deaf couple and I was there with a Deaf group (and an interpreter friend) for a fundraiser visit. It went very well, I learned a lot about the animals and had fun, mostly in my second language, BSL.

Of the photographs I shared, I held the tortoise! I didn’t realise quite how heavy they are, or that you can age them by counting the rings in the squares on their back – the same as ageing a tree.

The baby meerkats were only born a few weeks ago. They are the kind of cute that you feel so deep it is almost painful, they are cute till it hurts!

You might have noticed that the picture I posted of the grey wolf didn’t have any of the tell tale signs of an enclosure in the way, no bars or wire? That was because I was in the enclosure with the wolf. What a special moment that was. There is something very powerful about wolves, and you can feel it when you are so close to them. This wolf is new to the park and a little bit of a poser so I took a couple of good photos before just standing watching him (I think it was a ‘him’) for a little while. It was special.


Yesterday I spent time with the man-shape, just relaxing and being ‘us’. I’m glad that we still make time for days like that. To the outside world they probably look like lazy days but downtime, both separate and together is very important. Well, I believe it to be important anyway. I believe it grounds, settles the individual and also helps build the togetherness in the relationship too, even if you are just introducing the other to a new tv show you like, or are knitting while the other plays computer games… It was a nice day.

Today has been a little frustrating in one way. I was expecting a form to arrive in the post to be filled out for my police checks. It didn’t arrive. My membership pack to the association for my future career did arrive but with the wrong address for me and the wrong year on my card so it appears like my membership expired before it began… Is the universe trying to tell me something?!

The rest of my day was taken up by a little experiment. I did a very large food shop, for as cheaply and healthily as I could. I did my shop across 3 different supermarkets. Two were the well known “cheap” supermarkets here and the other was a mainstream “big 4″ supermarket. Thanks to this experiment I now know where sells what and and roughly what prices. I know that cheap supermarket number 1 is best for cheap fruit and veg with number 2 close behind. But most of the frozen food I was looking for was only available in number 3. I should be eating well for at least a couple of weeks with what I bought and in a couple of weeks time a small fresh food shop will see me right through to next month (If I meal plan with what I have now)

All in all, productive day but not how I imagined when I woke up. Tomorrow is jobcentre sign on day and provided the post I am waiting for arrives, a day of form filling. Yippee! (I need a sarcasm font…)

Keep smiling!

KT. :-)

Day 174

Day 174

Today was great! I took advice from Kyle Gray the Angel Whisperer and thanked the angels for a good day when I got up this morning. The weather was rubbish but the day was cheery.

The man-shape and I took a little jaunt through to Edinburgh. He had a prop to pick up from a play he did there a couple of weeks back and I wanted to get out of my flat so off we went. We had lunch in one of the places we went early in our relationship (it was both cheap and nostalgic). We then headed to Forbidden Planet, one of our favourite shops that sells comic books and other pop culture and memorabilia.

On the way there something kinda funny happened. The man-shape is taller than me, that’s not difficult though, I’m only 5’2″. We were walking across the road, his arm around me snuggled up and he sort of smirks and says “you’ve got a grey hair”. I rather indignantly reply that I know I have some pale blonde hairs scattered among my dark hair but I do not have any grey. This minor bicker goes back and forth until we reach the pavement on the other side of the road. He is totally adamant by this point so I demand to see… Now, the only way I am going to see this grey/white hair on the top of my head is if he removes it to show me. So there we are him leaning over me trying to only pluck this one hair out without causing me too much pain apologising before pulling and generally looking like an ape picking my flees. He removes the offending hair and what do you know, it is one very wiry, pure as snow, white hair. I couldn’t argue it was blonde, not even in jest.

So there it is, I’m going grey apparently! Well, if one lonely plucked out white hair is anything to by. Oh and that one random one that grows out of my left eyebrow every now and again for no earthly reason…

KT. :-)

Day 170

Day 170

Well, I am already starting to feel better. I spent most of today with the man-shape and never has it been more needed (for both of us I think). We talked about the business we want to run some day and were talking proper concrete plans. The hardest part by far will be funding. But we have a big dream and the drive to make it a reality.

Something else happened a few moments ago. I, by chance, heard a song I used to love when I was younger. The song was Want You Bad by The Offspring. It is such an upbeat song and I love the lyrics. The man-shape (and a few others) would most likely tell you that, I’m paraphrasing the song here, my one vice is I’m too nice. I always saw that song as being my permission to misbehave a little (ie do what I would like to rather than what I think I should do). And that song always makes me smile so much.

I love it when a song comes out of nowhere and changes how you think, feel or behave. And this song reminded me of one of my mission statements from this year: “I aim to misbehave”. Thank you Mal Reynolds, one of my favourite Joss Whedon creations for that one.

So here I am, reminded, refreshed and happy and aiming to misbehave (but only a little…!)

KT. :-)

Day 160

Day 160

What is romance?

I have been watching a LOT of tv today so please forgive this little side step from your usual programming.

So, what is romance? For me, romance is akin to chivalry.


Romance is being offered a mans coat when it is cold. It is being cooked a lovely meal. It is looking at the stars together. It is taking a walk in silence. It is being introduced to family with pride and a thank you for just being you. It is holding hands. It is having the door opened for you. It is that look across the room that both asks “are you ok?” and says “you are beautiful” in one. It is the private joke that nobody else hears. It is letting future plans spill out while you are under the influence of alcohol and not being ashamed of those plans in the morning.

Romance is sending flowers by text message when you can’t be there in person. It is believing in each other even when you don’t believe in yourselves. It is doing something completely unexpected and outrageous to surprise the other just because you can. It is stroking my hair and saying it smells nice. It is making something small to cheer the other up. It is hiding secret love notes in those things you have made. It is punching my arm gently and pretending to run away.


Romance is being proud of me and saying so. It is laughing together over something totally stupid that nobody else gets. It is forgiving me for my flaws. It is not noticing my flaws in the first place. It is dancing together, music or not. It is all the little things, and the big gestures.

In short, romance cannot be separated from love.

KT. :-)

Day 147

Day 147

Not sure what to tell you today. I’ve spent time with the man-shape today. It had been nice although I was still a bit down about yesterdays interview failure.

Bad news on a sunny day. When you get bad news on a sunny day it doesn’t seem real some how. I have mentioned that the man-shape’s gran has been in hospital and very ill for a long time now. She has come back from the brink a couple of times but this time is seems it really is time. She is being stubborn, but I hope she can rest soon and not suffer too much at this time. I am very sad.

I’m sorry I haven’t any photos for the last few days. Hopefully I can remedy that soon.


Day 145

Day 145

What a quick but relaxing day! I’ve spent pretty much all day with the man-shape and it was lovely. We had sunshine, we’ve had hugs, we’ve had laughs.

And to top it all off, I have an interview tomorrow. I need to go for an early night, make sure I’m fresh and help ward of any nerves. This could be both a fun and rewarding job and a major step in the right direction for me is so many ways. I don’t want to say too much in case I jinx it!

KT :-)

Day 136

Day 136

The difference a day makes!

Well, today has been a much better day. A bit of a slow start but productive and mildly unexpected. It’s been one of those days where it looks like things might just start to fall into place. Just maybe… No holding my breath just yet.

A job has been advertised that could possibly be perfect for just now. It is still a freelance contract so is a step in the right direction. And in addition to that possible opportunity another opportunity has come up from me blindly sending my CV to people who might be interested. Another freelance opportunity that as well as putting me on someone’s books (if I pass the skills test) I am also being included on their next training course free of charge in anticipation of me being linked to them! I am excited. But it shows me that I have a whole lot of work to do. I need to get myself registered in a number of different places and at the outset that isn’t cheap. I am graciously accepting help with it and can work towards paying any and all help back.

My downer is over. I held on, trusting that it would all come good and just when I was beginning to doubt that, new doors present themselves. It is up to me to figure out how to open them all.

With these things cropping up and new adventures starting for the man-shape too, life is good. And all that sorting of paper work will have been worth it.

Oh, and it looks like I’m going out tomorrow night so that mixing with people that I asked you all to do will be done by me too. Check me out, practicing what I preach. Hee hee!

KT :-)