Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pattern for Tatted Bridal Garter

Here is the link to the pattern for the tatted bridal garter, which my cousin wore at her wedding. Congratulations Leslie!! This is an esnips site, so simply check the design and download.

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Let me say again that the pattern has not been proofed, so tat at your own risk. It may need some stitch count adjustments as well, according to your tension and liking.


Happy Birthday to Me!

This is my birthday cake that my daughter made for me. Look at all those candles!!! Forty-four to be exact. The doily under the cake was made by a very special friend of mine, Mary Ann Brooks. I love it! It suits my dining room table perfectly. I will always cherish it.
I didn't think we would ever get the last candle alight before the first one lit melted down, but we did and I had an amazing birthday. It was a perfect conclusion to my 44th and entrance to my 45th year...OMG!! I'm so close to 50!!

Christmas in NZ

I don't think I will ever get use to Santa Claus wearing shorts and having a picnic. I found it amusing when I first arrived to NZ, but thought I would be use to it after 7 years....nope!! I miss the cold breath on Christmas Eve and my grandmother's fireplace on Christmas day. It does however make being homesick easier to cope with during the holidays.

The internship has been fun and I've learned so much about how to handle and catalogue items of value. Besides textiles, I have grown fond of the printed word...not only books, but also diaries that have handwritten entries by soldiers or emigrants. I have an interest in print culture and am looking forward to studying more of the subject in next year's classes.

Design, obviously, has taken a back seat. On the one hand, I'm annoyed by it...on the other hand, I see it as a turned page that I can always go back to. Calligraphy, for the moment at least, has taken much of my time. Oh, I've managed to work a bit on cross stitch, but only because this particular project has sentimental value since the same pattern was made by my mother for my grandmother years ago and hangs in her corridor. I wanted the same in my dining room. My daughter began it a couple of years ago, but put it down and hasn't touched it since. I decided to finish it and have been working on it for a week now. I hope to finish it before classes begin.

I also hope to complete the bracelet I began. I have promised one person in particular to design the bracelet and make the pattern available. I do want to keep my promise.

Additionally, the garter pattern will be up soon for downloading. It is on a pdf file but be fair warned, it has not been proofed, so tat at your own risk.

And lastly, I hope to complete a hussif I began 4 years ago. Funny only needs a couple of hours to complete. How could I have put it away without finishing it then? Go figure. It is really silly when I think about it. There must have been something more important at the time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Blog

I've begun a new blog devoted to learning calligraphy. This helps me to be more organized and also keeps the two interest separate for interested reader/viewers. You'll find the link to the calligraphy blog on the right of the page.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Work in Progress

The bracelet design will continue soon. I've put it aside while I am finishing Christmas gifts. Hopefully...hopefully I'll get back to it Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mourning Sea - Center Motif

This is the pattern for the center motif of 'Mourning Sea':

Coats and Clark Dual Duty Plus (Black)
14mm bead for Center with a horizontal hole
0.65 steel hook
36 delica beads (light turqoise)
needle threader

Use the double thread technique

The work must be located to the left of the bead. Enter the end of the thread at A and exit at B. Pull end through leaving about 5" of tail (this will be longer than you actually need). Now repeat again then bring the end back and across A and letting it hang to the right of the bead. Now grab the working thread, pull under both strands and chain 1. Adjust the threads around the side of the bead in equal length. The loop should be large enough that you can work comfortably.

Continue working over both threads with the following:

*4 sc, ch 5, remove loop from hook, insert hook into 1st sc made, replace loop on hook and pull thru stitch, ch1, work 6 sc in ch-lp* (6 times). Elongate the loop on the hook and remove hook.

Pull the tail just enough to see which thread begins to shorten. Once you located the right thread, pull that thread from point B. This will cause the second thread to tighten around the bead. Pull tight so that there is no space between your work and the bead. Now pull the tail again until the this thread is tight around the bead.

This is the first half. Repeat for the second half. A needle threader will be necessary to pull the thread thru the center. Sl st to the ch-1 of the first loop.

* * * * *

To be cont...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The second ring was not working so I removed it. Can you see how nicely this design can be used as a pendant as well as earrings (with some minor adjustments). I plan to add a ring on the other side and then I'll decide how I want to complete the bracelet!

Mourning Sea Bracelet

As you can see, the bracelet is in the making. There is much work to be done. I've decided the center is fine. I am working on the pattern for it at the moment. The beads are not crocheted into the work, but are added later. The same is true for the Irish crochet rings; however I am trying to make the rings so that you will have a double thread to add the beads with. The less ends to hide, the better.
* * * * *
I found 2 threads are best for beading, otherwise the bead work will not sit on top of the crochet stitches. Plus, I think it gives me more choices. The ring location is not definite at the moment. I don't think the bead count is right. Still, it would probably work anyway since it is a bracelet. We'll see!
* * * * *
The background is not great in this image, but I kept getting a glare when I put it on a preferred background.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Internship

I am participating in an internship at one of the historical villages here in New Zealand. I have really enjoyed it so far and know for sure that I would like to be involved in museum work when I finish my degree, if not sooner. This village is similar to Amish Acres in Indiana, but there is a lot more history since it deals with early settlers in Auckland. Take a peek at their website:

So, what have I learned so far? Well, as an intern I am training how to handle precious objects such as leather books, dishes, wooden objects, and textiles. The only tedious job I've done so far is having to sweep dust from inner crevices of books, page by page. Yep...very tedious work; but it is really interesting to read the diaries of some people. That to me is the rewarding part - to know first hand experience of someone who first came to New Zealand.
I've also learned some aspects of database entry for museum cataloguing. It's a good thing I took that optional computer science class after all. I didn't think I would ever use those silly of me...duh! At the moment, my training is Collections work which means that I handle and clean itmes, and then catalogue them. I also might have a go at Curatory work, which entails research and display. I like to clean items because it gives me the opportunity to see how they are made and their details, some of which is astonishing. Curatory work is interesting too because of the social history each piece tells. My goal is to get a job at the Auckland Museum working behind the scenes. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Design underway!

I have been able to squeeze in some time to start a new bracelet. This one is going to be simple so that I can make the pattern available for download. The beads will mostly be added by hand after the motifs are completed. At least that is the idea I have in mind at the moment. I would like to experiment more with beading and this will give me the opportunity.

About scanning...unfortunately, I am not able to scan anything at the moment. I wanted to scan my progress of calligraphy, which by the way is highly addictive. There is nothing wrong with the scanner, but it is not compatible with the laptop I am using. I do hope to have the compatible connection in the coming days so that I can begin scanning the progress of both the bracelet and my calligraphy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Abbreviations for the Irish crochet snowflake motif

Finally! My deepest apologies for taking so long.

The flower pattern is not included in the instructions. You can use any 6 petal traditional rose.

PC - Padding cord. This is a #10 thread. Sometimes the stitches are made on this thread only (UCA) and sometimes the stitches are made in both the work and the cord together.

UCA - Use cord only. Work the stitches on the #10 thread only.

TC - Tighten cord. Pull the #10 thread to squeeze the stitches together.

FJ - Flat Join. This means to remove your work from the hook, insert the hook where indicated, grab the loop of your work and pull through. Adjust tension. You may or may not need to ch 1, depending on your tension.

Note: I think it is better to refer to this as a 'right side join' when the slip stitches are made to the right, but since I've seen the stitch termed this way in vintage books, I've used it.

I hope this makes it clearer for those of you who want to make the Irish crochet snowflake.

A Calligrapher Wanna Be

I am one of those people who LOVE to write beautifully, even if I can't. I would spend a lot of time making my handwriting look nice when I was school. I think part of that has to do with the creative side of me. I could never draw, but I did have nice penmanship (at least I thought).

It's funny how my brother could draw beautifully but had the worse handwriting. I don't know why that is. I pitied his teachers. You would think his handwriting to be flawless. I think it might be a male/female thing?

Anyway, I bought a book a while back in preparation for summer. I started the night before last and am really excited about it. If you have ever seen illuminated'll know why. I can actually visualize myself spending hours forming letters and decorating a page.

I'll post my work as I progress.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Second Year of University Completed!!!

Finally! After a very long and tiring year of study, it's over. I have my life back to do whatever my little heart desires. What does that include? Hmmmm.....

1- Losie 10 pounds
2- Making Christmas gifts for family and friends
3- Cleaning the blinds...the hard way
4- Lose another 10 pounds
5- Put away all these course handouts and notes (so many!)
6- Celebrate 3 birthdays, including moi
7- Lose another 10 pds
8- Design!!
9- Go to the butterfly house (can't wait)
10- Buy a new wardrobe...LOL

Now that my 'to do' list is all planned out, I can get started.

Of course, waiting for my exam results is going to be long. They will trickle in. The good thing is that next year, I will only have 2 exams as opposed to 8!!!! We don't sit exams in history in the last year of our BA's. Well, you aren't let you off that easy. I will have an extra essay to write and they are longer, and God forbid if I have to give a speech...yikes!!

It's summer time in New Zealand...let the fun begin!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Okay...7 facts about myself:

1- I bit my fingernails until I was 17...ewe!

2- I pierced one of my ears when I was in trouble for it...then my mother approved for a neighbor to do it (after my ear healed). Then when I was 17, I pierced a second hole in both my ears...stubborn...argh!! But it looked GOOD.

3- I got caught smoking when I was restricted to my room for a month for that one. Good on you Mom and Dad :). I deserved it.

4- I played the clarinet until high school.

5- I wanted to be a cosmetologist...still wish I had done that :(.

6- I was so obsessed with Starsky n Hutch that I recorded the programs...good grief!!

7- I use to open all my Christmas presents before Christmas and re-tape them so no one knew...naughty girl!

Well...back to exams :). I finish exams next month and then it will be back to blogging....yeah!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Abbreviations for Snowflake Pattern

I have been requested by several visitors about the abbreviations used in the Irish crochet snowflake pattern. I will post them as soon as I find time. It probably won't be until sometime in in September when I have a mid-semester break. Please bare with me :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Second Semester Begins

Second semester begins on Monday and so I will be taking another break from the blog. I was happy to finish at least a couple of things during my break. Unfortunately much of my break was spent cleaning house. Oh well, someone has to do it.
* * *
Second semester looks intriguing. I will be taking a course on Children's literature...yippee!!! Speaking of books...only one week left before the last Harry Potter book is released!!! The anticipation is killing me. I am second to read it in our family. My youngest is first. She has been a fan since the 3rd book. Of course, she insisted that I read them to join in the excitement. I read all of them before the 6th book was released. Now, I don't know who has become more obsessed...her or me, who always tries to think about the little girl inside.
* * *
Have a great summer to you all!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hat Pin!!!

Look what I found! I hat pins a while back with the thought of shortening them to make stick pins. I decided not to shorten it. It is so lovely!! The scan and picture do not do this pin justice.

I tried to play with the image. Obviously it did not work. The beads at the top and bottom of pin are simply a bead with a large center hole with the seed beads added...voila!
* * *
Making Christmas gifts is looking better all the time!!

Beaded Sunflower

I chose this picture because the color of the paua shell stands out. The true color fo the beads don't show up well. They look green here, but they aren't.

This picture shows the beading on top the crochet clusters. I have a lot to learn about beading, but it is so fun that I look forward to learning! I like adding beads to crochet rather than crocheting them in to the work.I feel I have more choices with beading patterns this way...besides the creative and fun aspect of it. Of course, I am referring to jewelry designs and small motifs.

This is the true color of the beads, but the picture is blurry. I LOVE the color. It is so magical.

I was able to scan the back to show the beading clearer. Funny thing...I didn't mark the holes of the paua shell to insert the memory wire. Good grief!! I can also see where I miscounted beads...argh!!! Well, I'm not sure what kind of bracelet to make with it...tatted or memory wire? I will probably go with memory wire though. I have some pearls that I think would look lovely with this design.
* * *

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paua Sunflower

Paua Sunflower
I've just begun this design which is the center of a bracelet. The paua shell doesn't look so colorful scanned, but it is beautiful when the light hits it. Worked in a 60 Coats thread, the stitch around the bead is not a Clones knot. This is a backward cluster stitch. By backward, I mean that the back of the stitch is facing. You actually make the stitch with the back of your work facing you, make the cluster, then turn work to front and join...voila!! It is a beautiful raised stitch. I haven't decided whether I will use memory wire or tat this bracelet.
* * *
I will add the beads tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

6 petal flower

6 Petal Flower
I like the red seed beads in and around the petals (sorry the scan is so bad...argh!!). I do NOT like the center bead. Black is no good...too depressing. I so wish I had used a different bead center. The seed beads (Delica) were added by hand. The center bead is added with the triple loose ring technique. I always use this technique for center beads.
* * *
Other mistakes? Yes, I should had made only 8 clones knots. I made 9. I know, I know...calculate.
* * *
I'll try to take a picture with a digital camera. Except for the center bead, it is a pretty flower. Why did I use black???!!!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Flower Bracelet

Flower Bracelet
This is my first time working with memory wire. The background is the wrong color and doesn't do the thread justice. The thread is peach Dual Duty Plus button craft thread manufactured by Coats. The center bead of the flower and large beads in the bracelet is glass, the beads in the petals are black Swarovski Bicone, and the seed beads are a vintage glass bead given to me by a know who you are ;)
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This is also the first time I have worked with jewelry pliers. I think I could really get into making jewelry...some day!! I need to experiment more with colors and beads. I didn't plan ahead and ran out of the Swarovski beads...argh!! Just a little more practice and these will make lovely gifts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

First Semester Completed!!!

Yes, first semester is finally over and I am on my mid-year break!!! What an amazing year so far too! The more I learn about history, the more I love it. I think I've pretty much decided it has to be either medieval history in particular or European history in general. Of course, I wouldn't mind learning more about American colonial history too, especially the from a woman's perspective. Maybe in the future!

* * *

The photo is the fuschia in my garden which I planted a couple of years ago. A very dear friend gave me part of her fuschia tree and I planted them in both corners of our garden. This plant is the better one. It is taller than me already!! It doesn't have many shoots yet, but I'm sure it be more full this year. I also have a favorite tree that is on our street, but I can't find the photo of it...gosh darn!! Whenever I do, I'll post it. Of course, it is Winter here in NZ at the moment. These are photos from Summer...yep, I'm really S-L-O-W.

* * *

I've been enjoying my break, which offically began yesterday, although I finished my exams last Friday. What will I be doing? Well, I've already begun window cleaning...I know...what a great way to spend my break. Well, it has to be done, right? The condensation in NZ is dreadful. I finally bought a squeegee...yes, I have to use a squeegee every morning. And get this...each window collects about 1/2 cup of water!!! I was amazed myself.

* * *

Any projects planned? Hmmm, I can't imagine NOT tatting or crocheting something, but I'm not sure what it will be yet. I really want to get my hands on some beads and maybe improve my last design, if not start another one. We shall see ;). I've got 3 weeks...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blogging posts slowing down

Well, I tried...I really did. I had hoped to be able to keep designing and posting while in university, but to no avail. Classes resume in a week's time and I am gathering sources, researching, and taking notes for 4 essays due next month. Its no wonder I haven't been able to blog.

I did manage to start the pin design, but it NEEDS adjusting, so I will be waiting until exams finish to make those changes. In the mean time, check out Melody McDuffee's crochet jewelry. I can't wait until the holidays to play with this technique!!! I think crochet jewelry is going to be a huge success. And if you want to see more eye candy check out Jeanne Wertman's micromacrame.

The blog will slow down even more...but I will post when time permits.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The brooch is coming along nicely. I like the beading in the back, but I think it needs is a pearl bead in each beaded loop in the last row. This would look more consistent with the MOP in the center and make it an authentic piece of jewelry. I also I need to bead with wire instead of thread because it is a bit flimsy. The center plastic ring has done an adequate job for keeping it firm in the center. Now I just need to have a little extra firmness and wire should do the trick.
This project will be put aside until I've made a trip to the bead shop!!

Monday, April 9, 2007


I do like this design better. The chain loops accentuate the beading. The Clones knots were not quite right for the design. Besides, I don't like the look of closed Clones knots in a #20 thread. I plan to add more beading behind the chain loops. I can visualized it, but until I actually do it, I won't know for sure. I've also decided to keep this as a brooch. I think it would look pretty as a pendant, but not with these colors. It looks quite vintage, don't you agree?
To be cont...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

New Pendant Design...Needs Work

We are on our 2 week semester break, so I've been designing...Yippee!!! This is a pendant...needs work though. I like the center: Mother of Pearl disc, encased by a round plastic ring, Clones knots (of course), and beading, which I think is a bit off.
I DO NOT like the beading between the filigree petals...YIKES!! In fact, I might change the filigree altogether and perhaps go with another Irish crochet concept. Eyelet loops? Perhaps. I'm also considering another type of petal. I just know for sure that I don't like the beading.
I was aiming for a traditional Irish crochet background design in beading, but needless to say, it isn't working in this design. I also used a #20 thread, which I don't like to use for Irish crochet, but with this design, I think it works. It took time to crochet around the ring with a #20. I can't image a #40!!!
Yes, I do like the center. Hmmm, I wonder if I should just bead around the Clones knots and leave it at that?
To be cont...

Sunday, March 25, 2007


We had daylight saving in this part of the globe last weekend. We had to Fall back. Funny thing is, my mother had just sprung forward the weekend prior.
I chat with my mother once a week. We have done so since my brother died in 2005. There are times when something comes up and I can't be home to chat with her, but that seldom happens. To be honest, I have become so wrapped up in studying that I have forgotten a few times. Nobody's perfect.
So back to daylight saving...We have our chats on Friday 10pm Eastern time which is on a Saturday for me. The day of our chat is perfect since it is the weekend, but the time does fluctuate. For six months out of the year, I need to be on the computer at 2 in the afternoon, and for the other six months I need to be on the computer at 4 in the afternoon. The tricky part is that our times don't change at the same time. She has her daylight saving time before I do, in this which case I have to be on the computer at 3!
So, how does this effect me (Is that the right effect? I always get affect and effect mixed up argh!!). Well, the day of our change over, my mother and I were talking about how the weather was becoming warmer, the grass was going to need cutting soon, Easter is around the corner, and my cousin has had to postpone her wedding because all the receptions halls are booked (Spring is wedding season), and so forth. In other words, I was in Spring mode. So, when it came to change our time that night, naturally I set all the clocks forward when I should have set them back! No wonder I burst into my daughters' bedroom stressed out because we were going to be late for our appointment to have our family portrait taken. Of course my daughters set their clock correctly, so the joke was on me.
* * *
We use to live in Indiana and there is one county there that doesn't change their time (the voted not to). It was always weird because we had friends in that part of the country whom we sometimes visited and we always had to adjust our gathering time when we visited each other. And do you want to know something really funny?
I lived in Qum for several years. This is a town in Iran. They began to use daylight saving time when I was there. I was accustomed to it so I didn't think anything of it but the majority of the people were really upset about it. They opposed the idea and many refused to change their time. So, for 6 months out of the year, everyone was saying, "I'll meet you at 2:00 the old time" or "I'll meet you at 2:00 the government time". Can you imagine the confusion?
* * *
A week has past and I've made the adjustment to the new time. I like daylight saving time, despite the stress it causes me. It's nice to 'think' I have gained an extra hour every year. Of course, you feel short changed when you loose an extra hour in the Fall. But the reality is, time is a state of mind. We don't really gain or loose an extra hour. Still, daylight saving time has that wonderful psychological effect. A little 'extra' time is what we all want, right?

A Sonnet

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies,
How silently, and with how wan a face,
What may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure if that long with Love acquainted eyes
Can judge of Love, though feel'st a lover's case;
I read it in thy looks, thy languished grace
To me that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me
Is constant Love deemed there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Thos lovers scorn whom that Love doth possess?
Do they call Virtue there ungratefulness?

--Sir Phillip Sidney


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Essays, essays and more essays!!

The mid-semester break will begin in a couple of weeks time. Until then, I have another 2 essays to complete and a test. I'm looking forward to this weekend though when I hope to squeeze in a little crochet. I was writing an art history essay last weekend. After I handed it in, I realized that one of my sentences separated from a paragraph...argh!! Good grief!!

Poetry!! Okay, I do love poetry (not modern). I just wish my analysing would improve. I knew I had a wild imagination, but I've taken sonnets to a new world.

History!! Love, love, love history... can't get enough of it. You gotta be nosey, which I am, to love history. I have to know everything: why did that happen? who said that? why didn't they do that?, etc.

Art history!! We had lectures about the history of printing this week ... so cool!!

Still, I can't wait to get some crocheting time...maybe I'll get to finally make my bracelet? Probably not.

* * *

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spiders and University

While at a friend's house, my daughter took a picture of a Tunnel spider's web that was spun in a tree. This is so cool.
Do you see the center where it looks like a faint ring. That is the entrance of the tunnel. It is so neatly engineered. The next tunnel I drive through (and there aren't many in New Zealand) will be seen from a different perspective. I'll never view a tunnel the same way again!

* * *
This is the park located across campus. The University of Auckland is located downtown. It's actually a great location because not only is the park beside the campus, but also the Auckland Art Gallary and the museum is about a 15 mintue walk, or for me a 5 minute drive.
Isn't the park a terrific place to have lunch!!

* * *
This is the water fountain at the instant stress reliever.
* * *

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday, March 3, 2007

University & Dyslexia

My second week of university classes begin tomorrow. My first week was great! I'm looking forward in learning about medieval poetry, art, and history (both medieval and New Zealand).
I've always been intimidated by poetry and find that I still haven't crossed the mine field. You would think at 43 years of age I would be more confident but I'm actually more timid. Youth is a wonderful confidence booster. You can look death in the face and still feel you'll come out the winner. Yet, I am optimistic and hopeful that I will do well...fingers crossed.
I have come a long way. This time last year I was waking up around 4am feeling nauseous and panicked. Pacing back and forth on my patio that early in the morning, consoling myself, must have seemed odd to anyone who may have been watching. Bit by bit, the days got easier. After two weeks had passed, I felt I should have been wearing a T-shirt that said "I survived the first two weeks!" The rest of the year was wonderful except for the pressure of exams...I loathe exams. I don't work well under intellectual pressure (pressure for designing is great though because I can push myself and still get the results I want).
Towards the end of the academic year of 2006, I had myself tested for dyslexia. This is going to sound really peculiar, but ever since I came to New Zealand I've had my right and left direction switched. Go figure! I say "Go right.", but I point left, and "Go left.", but I point right. And if anyone says to look at the beautiful house on the left, all heads turn to the left but mine, which is turned right. I can't tell you how many 'beautiful' scenes I have missed since we came here. It took me 2 years to get my driver's licence because I feared I would not be able to follow the directions of the person testing me. I did, however, pass the test :)
When I explained this to the person who tested me for dyslexia, naturally I saw a look of amusement on her face. However, after telling her that I have to dial a telephone number several times because I dialed them wrong, she took me more serious and ran me through 4 hours of testing. The result was that I didn't suffer from dyslexia but rather a poor short and long term memory. Yes, that does explain a lot, but it doesn't explain the left/right directional dysfunction I have. She couldn't explain that.
I also learned something else from those tests...I am an intelligent person! I didn't think I was unintelligent...I just thought that after being around children, my constant companions for 20 years, that I had lost my ability to reason and think. I did read over the years, but I have never been a critical reader or thinker. I've never interacted with what I read. The most challenging aspect of university is not the notetaking, assignments, or exams. Rather, it is the opinion you must formulate and argue...yikes! An opinion? but I've always kept my opinions to myself. Well that sure changed in 2006. It was an enlightening experience.
Knowledge is Power.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Materials for Fish

I have revised the pattern and added the materials to the instructions. For those of you who have already printed it out, the materials are:
  • #40 Coats thread (or other 6 strand thread)
  • Padding thread is several strands of working thread
  • 0.60 crochet hook
  • Kreinik metallic thread
  • 1 - #9 black glass bead

My apologies for leaving them out of the instructions.

Fish Pattern Link

As promised, here is the fish pattern.
The instructions have not been tested.
If you have pattern questions, please ask.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

IC Fish Design Completed

Irish Crochet Fish 2007

I finished the fish design yesterday and have the instructions ready, but my Frontpage software has been deleted and I don't have my pdf software installed on this computer yet...good grief! This is my version of the fish I imitated and added to my blog last week. It is very different from the fish design I have a photocopy of. Certainly more fish-like.

I thought I would put the photo of it up anyway as a sneak preview. I'm happy with the result. It's worked in #40 thread and Kreinik metallic thread. It measures 4.5cm from tip of nose to tip of tail. The pattern does indicate where one could use the padding cord which is used in Irish crochet, but it is an option only and not necessary. This way the pattern is not restricted to Irish crochet lacemakers. I also didn't explain how I added the bead for the eye. That would have to be diagrammed and I don't have the time right now. The eye can be sewed or crocheted it in the work.

I'll post when the pattern is uploaded.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bracelet Completed: Ocean Treasures

Ocean Treasures

Hurray!! I finished the bracelet tonight. It hasn't been sprayed yet.

The materials used are: discontinued #60 Coats thread for the Irish crochet, #20 Coats thread for the knotting and tatting, delica beads, fresh water pearls, and a paua shell center, and silver coated claw clasp and ring.

My daughter named it Ocean Treasures.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thread Size Correction

Did I say I used a #40 for the center bracelet? Ooops! Make that a #60. I hadn't realized the mistake until I began working on the band...good grief!

Garter Completed!

Yes, I have been a busy bee this morning and I've only just begun! I've been up since 6am working on the bracelet center and hiding ends of the garter. All that remains is the ribbon and then it will be ready to fly to North Carolina!
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This pattern will be made available soon.
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I do plan to make the pattern for the fish available (after a few design changes), so don't forget to peep at my blog ever so often :)
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University classes begin on Monday. Time is running out on my design splurge. I've enjoyed it and hope to continue bit by bit throughout the academic year.

Bracelet Center Completed!

This had turned out just the way I imagined it would...go figure!
I haven't sprayed it yet. That will be after I have tatted the band. I hope to finish the bracelet over the weekend. Too bad it isn't for me :(

I love this color of thread. It has been discontinued. I bought it thread several years ago when a bobbin lacemakerr at our guild passed away and her supplies were sold to members of the guild for charity. I have a little bit left, so I use it sparingly.

I will be adding fresh water pearls to the band. I really am excited about this bracelet. I hope to make one for myself just like it someday...someday.

To be cont...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What to Name it?

I spent some time on the new bracelet design tonight. I drew the center on paper before attempting to crochet it. I still managed to miscount the number of stitches. I will have to crochet it again...argh!! This center will have one more row before it is finished. All in all, I like it.
I still haven't decided if I will tat the band or crochet it. I guess I'll decide when the time comes.
I used a different technique of adding the beads to the filigree part. I like the technique, but I'm not sure if I like this particular effect. Still, the technique is great and the best part is that I don't have to thread the beads before hand.
To be cont...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My First Time Fishing

When my brothers and I were in junior high, father would sometimes pick us up from school to spend 'quality time' together. He had Mondays off and so would take us to the park or where he worked. Being the only girl in the group, I always felt out of place. It was actually father and son time. I was only there because they couldn't leave me out.

One of my fondest memories was an occasion when my father picked us up to go fishing (I think we went to Lake Norman). My brothers had fishing rods and a tackle box. They couldn't wait to catch their first fish. On our way there, we stopped by one of the little shops to buy live worms....yuck!! I wanted to fish but was told: "We only have two fishing rods. Besides, you are a girl. Girls don't fish". I was annoyed. Being 'xy' sure had its ups and downs.

We arrived at one of the small piers, or maybe it's called a dock? I wouldn't know because I was a girl. I watched as my dad twisted the worm around the hook piercing it in one end, then in middle, and lastly in the other end. It was gross, but I still wanted to fish. I just didn't want to touch anything that wriggled. I watched as they threw out their lines and reeled them in, only to find the worm was gone, as was the fish. I spent an hour waiting to see the first catch of the day but it hadn't come. Brian was really frustrated. I was really bored.

I finally asked my dad to please let me give it a try. I was so keen to catch a fish. My brothers objected, "We only have two fishing rods!" Dad finally succumbed to my whining and said that I could fish off the edge of the pier using some fishing line and a hook. I asked him to 'hook' the worm for me. I wasn't going to do that...ew! With a look that would curl your hair he told me, "If you want to fish, you have to hook the worm yourself". It was my turn to succumb and so I did. It smelled horrible and made me queasy, but I did it anyway and then dropped my line over the edge. I waited for about two minutes when I felt something tugging on my line. I first thought my hook was caught on something until dad said, "Mindy, pull it up quick!". I did, and at the other end dangled a small fish. It wasn't fish bowl size either. It was large enough for one person to eat. I was thrilled!! I had caught a fish...and I was a girl.

I noticed my brother's faces change to different shades of red. In part that was caused by anger, but mostly they had become more determined to catch their first fish. On the one had, I felt sorry for them. It wasn't easy to maintain an ego as big as theirs. But on the other hand, I felt proud and yet cautious. Could it have been beginner's luck? Probably.

I dropped my line over the edge again expecting nothing, but two minutes later I had another tug on my line! I pulled it up and sure enough there squirmed another fish the same size as the first one. I gleamed with excitement. My brothers felt rage. Their fishing rods were proving to be useless to them.

I thought I would give it one more try - just to prove girls can fish. In truth though, I was sure I had used all my luck but I dropped the line over the side anyway and what do you know...I felt another tug at my line. I was ecstatic. Victory never felt so good. My brothers felt defeated and quit. I could hear them rambling on about girls and fishing and luck. I knew I had proved my point and decided not to drop the line over a forth time. I didn't think they would be able to handle another catch.

We went home that evening with three fish, two angry boys, an very uncomfortable father and one happy little girl!!

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The fish in the photo is worked in Coats #40 thread and Kreniks gold metallic thread. It is an imitation of a pattern a friend gave me some years ago. The instructions are in a different language (Dutch ?). I simply added a bead for the eye, tried my best to make it similar to the picture, and added gold fins to give it a sparkle.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Working on new bracelet design

I began a new design today. I nearly nailed it. There should be 6 petals...argh!! I've never been good at planning out stitch counts. I had better get my act in gear though because who has time to waste?
The center is a paua shell disc. Paua shells are native to New Zealand and are so beautiful with all their multi-color dimensions. It is surrounded by Clones favorite...and lastly the petals are made using an Irish crochet edging pattern. I used a #40 thread, of course.
I didn't add beads this go around, but I will. Beads are so crucial to the look of jewelry. Of course, often times simpler is better...we shall see!
To be cont...

Blog fixed!

I finally solved the blog problem. I had to 'cache' my computer. I think that was the term used. I basically had to delete my internet files. It took about 10 minutes for them to be deleted!! I'm hoping that may have solved other computer problems I've been having as well.

I've uploaded photos of the 'A Touch of Irish Crochet Lace' book series I self-published in 2003. The photos are on the right hand side of the navigator. Scroll down to the bottom to see. Some books are still available, so if you are interested please contact me. I'm out of stock for book 5. It was the most popular of the series. Everyone loves hearts don't they?

Blogger Frustrations

It was all going so well until yesterday. I've been trying to work on the format of my blog and darn if my computer keeps freezing on me. I simply can't add or delete my page elements...argh!! It's so frustrating. Computer problem, you say? Perhaps!

Look what I found while searching for more projects to upload in my albums. This is the first authentic Irish crochet project I made. Several members, including myself, on one of the lacemakers group decided to have a workshop together via the group. We used the Priscilla 'Irish Crochet: Technique and Projects' publication.

By 'authentic' I mean that the motifs were first worked and then basted onto a design. Then the background was added, and lastly the edging. This was so difficult to me at the time. I thought I would never be able to finish it, but I did! Now, when I compare this doily to the collar, I see I have come a long gratifying!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Lonely Block

When my son was accepted in the university, I wanted to make him something really special and I thought what better gift is there but a 'handmade' quilt.

I found a simple pattern on the Internet since this would be my first quilt. I knew I wanted to use a Celtic design in the stitching and so bought colors that I thought suit the theme and yet something a guy would appreciate.

I bought the fabric and then, like every other project that is not crocheted or tatted, put it in a drawer. After some time, a member of our guild encouraged me to take the plunge and start the quilt. She gave me a long sheet of art paper and showed me how she quilts. I found her manner to be easy and fun. I went straight home and cut the pieces. I gleefully 'hand sewed' my block and looked at it with pride. I was on my way to making my first quilt. I was excited of the challenge and couldn't wait to get to the stitching. I love Celtic designs!!

Well, that was it. I haven't touched it since. The picture is of the only block I have made. The fabric is again put away. My son will be graduating this year and he still hasn't received his 'handmade' quilt.

I hope I'll be able to finish it someday...maybe for his son? Maybe for his grandson...definitely not!!! I doubt I'll live that long and even if I did, I'll have already become blind from all these years of needle arts.

So my block will probably be forever lonely, longing to be joined and whole again...sniff, sniff.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Two Weeks from Today

University classes begin 2 weeks from today!! I'm looking forward to the 2007 academic year and excited that my daughter will also be attending. There are now three of us, my son, myself, and my daughter!!
I'm going to be taking Shakespeare this year...yikes!! For all you Shakespeare lovers, I'm sorry, but this man intimidates me :( I will, however, walk in that lecture with a postive attitude. I figure my fears are more related to my junior high school English blunders rather than my intelligence. We shall see!
I will also be taking New Zealand history for a first time. I'm looking forward to that. I loathed history in junior high. Well, it wasn't the subject that I disliked. It was that obnoxious teacher (I have a few other choice words I'd rather use, but I'm trying to keep this clean). Excuse me while a blow a little steam...
Mr. Ohler, where ever you STINK!!!! You call yourself a teacher?!! You made every day a miserable learning experience for me. You were an arrogant 'fat head' bully. I wish I had a cell phone to film your teaching techniques in class!! When I get my degree, what I'd like to do is shove it up .......
Okay, I feel a bit better. No, I don't truly harvest bad feelings any more...well, just a little. After seeing the bullying my children have had to watch or experience over the years, I now realize that there are teachers who shouldn't be in this profession. Some simply don't have teaching skills while others take advantage of the power they hold in their classrooms. Still, I've had teachers in my early school years that I adored. Miss Craig...I love you!!! However unfortunately, I didn't have one teacher that inspired me...not one!
My inspiration has come from reading about personalities who value education. I've also seen how other parts of the world have limited educational resources. That made me have a different perspective of the opportunities that I was born into as a Westerner. Last but not least, I've learned that knowledge is power. It can be used in an abusive way, like Mr. Ohler, or in a postive way - to make the world a better place!!

Thread Piddles?

Playing with ideas

I went to bed with several design ideas last night. I made a decision several days ago to start drawing instead of spending extra time piddling with thread. I drew a couple of the ideas in my Design Book. Hey, that's an idea...a Design Book!! To Do List - 'buy a Design Book'. Okay, in truth, I only drew it on a scrap piece of paper but I really will buy a book to draw them in ;)

Are those my thread piddles in the picture? Nope! My thread piddles ends up in the trash. Those are practice pieces. The red is simply trying out bead ideas. It also proves, to me at least, that Irish crochet should not be worked in #20 thread. It is bulky and unsightly. Compare it to the bottom left clover. Now that's pleasing to the eye!! It is worked in #40 thread and doesn't it look dainty and crisp. I know the red design ideas will work great in #40 and make a lovely centerpiece for a bracelet. Hopefully some day soon.

The blue is not crochet, but knotting. I wanted to see what a cork screw effect would look like around a bead. I like it, but I need to work out several problems. I actually wanted to crochet a 'twist', but I know knotting would be quicker. I try the crochet stitches another time.
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

and...That's All She Wrote!

I think this was the Christmas of 68
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After reading about Teri's haircut history on her blog, I drug out one of my favorite childhood pictures of my brothers and myself.

My oldest brother, Doug, is in the foreground. Do you know what the box in front of him is? It's the box top of a Creepy Crawlers set! If you have never heard of Creepy Crawlers, it's basically a 'make your own insect' kit. I think they were made with little hot plates that came with the set. I can still smell the melted rubber that permeated the room when they were making bugs. The set is on the floor next to Brian, the little one with the crew cut. Look at that blonde fuzzy hair! Look at those ears!!
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That's me wearing high heels. Remember those? They have a little flower where the toes are. Do you see anything unusual about me? Look closely...there's something missing. Yep! This is my worse haircut photo. I have no BANGS. They're gone. Gasp!!I wonder what happened to them? Well, leave a certain little blonde headed boy alone in the room with his sister with a pair of scissors and...That's All She Wrote!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Bridal Garter

Bridal Garter

This is my current project. I've nearly finished it. It's funny how sometimes when you see the finished line, you take a annoying!!!

The photo shows the first garter I tatted which I designed in 2004 for my cousin's best friend. I named it 'Two Hearts Joined'. The second photo is a closer look. Do you see the heart rings? I made those using the Josephine knot. I used #30 Coats Mercer thread (great for tatting and crochet). I basted the ribbon in place with French knots of gold metallic thread. I also made a casing with 2 ribbons (the back ribbon is finer than the blue) so that I can simply slide the elastic in the casing, which gave it a nice even effect.

Now that I am tatting this garter for a 2nd time, I think there needs to be adjustments in the stitch count where the beading is. However since the garter is going to be gathered, I wasn't concerned about it this time around. Perhaps it doesn't even need an adjustment. Maybe it's just my 'perfectionist' side (which I'm beginning to view as my enemy now) that's toying with me.

I am tatting this garter for my cousin who is getting married this year. She is the last of the grandchildren to be married. Well, I guess the time has come for the great grandchildren to step up to the 'wedding vows' plate.

I know this garter would be so much prettier with beads, but that would have to be the next time a family member is married.

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This pattern will be available soon!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

First Day of School in New Zealand!!

My youngest daughter, the last of my three children who has yet to finish high school, began the 2007 academic school year today. She was excited and happy to be back amidst books and assignments. Yes, my daughter LOVES school.
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I thought I'd say a little bit about what the New Zealand school year is like. It begins in February...this is February, right? Uh, yyyeah... and ends in December. The school year is comprised of 4 terms. There is a two week break between terms one, two, and three, and a 6 week summer holiday...not enough time for total house destruction, but plenty of time to be reacquainted with the dreaded, whiney, nagging, "I'm bored".
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Okay....back to school. We Americans say 'grade' to indicate levels; here the words 'year' and 'form' are used. 'Years' are used to describe primary school, for example 1st year, 2nd year etc, thru to 5th year. Primary school are years 1-5, intermediate school (junior high school) are forms 1 and 2, and highschool begins with 3rd form. To say that my daughter is a 4th former is to say that she is studying her 9th year of school, or the 9th grade.
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Mandatory subjects are English, math, science, social studies, music, art, and physical education. There are also optional classes which have a wide range of subjects. Home economics is no longer taught in New Zealand. Instead there is a class called 'technology' which include woodworking, cooking, fabric, and I think something to do with metals (can't remember).
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Once a student has reached 6th form, science and math are no longer mandatory, but if a student wants to attend university they would have to give it serious consideration depending on what they want to major in.
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Fifth form is a very important school year in New Zealand. Students sit their first 'major' set of examinations. It is a crucial year. Sixth form in interesting in that students are not legally required to continue school once this form is completed. Students who do not plan to attend university tend to drop out during this form. The senior year is 7th form and ahs the least amount of students. Students in this form sit university entrance exams at the end of the year. My eldest daughter sat her exams and will be attending the University of Auckland this year. We will go together...mother and daughter!
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Monday, February 5, 2007

The Ali Victoria Bracelet

Ali Victoria Braclet 2007
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I always spray my Irish crochet with water once completed; it's still a little damp. When sprayed, Irish crochet 'shrinks and pops' to reveal all its detail. Isn't that neat!
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This design is a combination of Irish crochet (Clones knots), tatting, and finger knotting with beads. Overall, I'm pleased with the design. I would use a darker color for ladies. Darker colors are more striking. Since this is for a 12 year old, I chose pink. I would have preferred to use slightly smaller beads to replace the larger beads in the band, but this was what I had to work with. I'll experiment with different beads another time.

Looking Nice!

I began the band this morning in hopes of finishing the design so I can continue with the, work, work--VBG.
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The photo shows my plan of action. The top of the braclet shows the first side I made. I thought it looked too plain where the large bead was so decided to add more beads. I wish I had a slightly smaller bead for the to replace the large ones in the band. They actually look larger than the center bead even though they are the same size. The extra beads balance the design. It is a noticeable improvement. Now all I have to do is correct the other side and I'll be finshed with the bracelet!!
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I know one thing for sure...I need to work on my knotting tension.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Pretty in Pink!!!

Center Bracelet Version 2
This is the final version of the center of the braclet. I am very pleased with it. The scanner has smashed its beautiful dimensional quality, but it is lovely. I haven't decided if I want to add another. It is about 1" in diameter from bead to bead.
I used both Delica and Czech beads. They match the center bead which is blue glass with a copper edge. The Delica is a copper metalic and the Czech are blue. I did try to work with a blue thread thinking it would look nicer, but I was wrong. I guess I will just have to accept the thread visible through the center. I will get around to making this with brown thread. I know it will look very nice. Since this bracelet will be for a 12 year old, I wanted it to be a soft pink...something girlish.
This little motif can be used as several variations, which I find exciting. It means I can play with the different versions rather than redesign a bracelet.
I will begin to add the band tomorrow. I have a couple of ideas for the band. It will be finger tatted and knotted with beads.
To be cont...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Main Attraction II

I definitely like this one better. The design adjustment I had in mind did the trick! The scanner doesn't do this sweetie justice though. The Clones knots gives it a very nice raised effect but scanners are not made to scan two dimensional images, so...ew!! I might have to adjust the stitch count too, but I won't know until I have reworked it with beads. Speaking of beads...
I do like this flat bead but the thread is the wrong color for it. I would need to use a blue thread to match the bead because of that unsightly threaded center! It looks as though I have strung the bead into the center of the motif...and I didn't. This is all crochet. Don't let the threads at each end trick you into believing otherwise.
This is also the first time I am using Czech beads and mercy me...I love these beads!! Delica are, of course, my all time favorite but these are more affordable.
This center is worked in a #40 thread. I tried with #20 but I was petrified with the end result. My eyes have paid for it though. I look like I've been reading non-stop for a week. I am learning to turn away and give my eyes a rest. And speaking of tired eyes...I finally found magnifiers that fit the specifications my eye doctor suggested...victory!! You wouldn't believe how hard is was to find a 1.00!! Everything is from 1.50 to 2.75...jeesh! I found ONE, yes only one, pair of 1.00. I guess it was fate.
Lastly, this bracelet will be called 'Ali Victoria', named after my niece. I am designing this bracelet for her birthday.

The Main Attraction: A Filigree Center?

Two Versions of the Filigree Center

Between preparing for the new school year for three students in the house and tatting a garter, I've actually managed to continue working on the design of the bracelet center.

Filigree is what I'm heading for. The design on the left is basic design. It is very simple....maybe too simple. I did add beads and was very happy with the finished look, however the stitch count was wrong and it curled up on me....argh!! Then my youngest daughter told me that it needs some dimension. Why did I ask??? Naturally I had to explore her idea and so have added Clones knots to the this design along with the beading placement I used with the second design.

Clones knots make this design too crowded but it can be remedied. I have an plan that I hope will do the trick. I'll try to work out the kinks throughout the day. When I have finished it, I'll decide which one works for the main attraction. I have a feeling both will be pretty!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Traditional Irish Rose with a Modern Touch

Irish Rose with Beaded Center

This is my first attempt at adding beads to the center of an Irish rose. It was tedious to say the least, but worth it. I think a little practice will do the trick.

These beads are not added the traditional way. I never have liked the look of beaded crochet. The beads seem to sit on top of the work rather than 'in' the work. I love the way Ramona Lee adds beads to her crochet! Check out her chokers...beautiful!

The center of this rose is made with the 'Triple Loose Ring Technique'. I added beads to both the ring and the working thread. And though they have been added to the working thread, that doesn't mean they are 'crocheted' in the work...they aren't.

The first row of petals are behind the beads. Personally, I prefer the each back petal to fall between 2 front petals. That won't work with this pattern, but the beads to liven up this traditional Irish rose.

Threads for Irish Crochet

One of the many problems thread designers face when they begin a project is the thread size. Most magazines prefer nothing finer than a #20 be used. I was lucky that a couple of my designs were accepted for publication eventhough I used a #40.

The problem with #20 thread and Irish crochet is that the work becomes too unmalleable. Joins are less neat and certainly more noticeable. Also, a motif is not as versatile in larger thread. The beauty of Irish crochet is that it has alot of delicate detail. This is lost when large threads are used. In short, what works with a #40 or #60 and finer will not work with a #20, let alone #10 (Ew!! Shudder at the thought of using #10).

Various Thread Sizes

Irish crochet was originally worked in very fine threads. The image above shows the different sizes of Coats thread. A #10 is mostly used for padding cord (though not a must). I like to crochet with #40 though the finer threads are not too difficult to work with. I have a #80 around the house, but I haven't located it yet. You may not notice to much of a difference in the photo, but you definitely notice the difference when you work with them. The last strand is not Coats, but rather a bobbin lace thread that is #120; however I'm not sure if it would have been used for Irish crochet since there are differences in size depending on the manufacturer.

Vintage Motif

This is a vintage motif worked in a very fine thread. Click on the link to see a close-up image. It is only 2" tall but just look at the detail. The background has Open Clones Knots.Each one is about 2 mm long!!! Click here to watch how I make them.

This image is the same vintage motif and another motif I made of the same pattern. I used a #60 thread and crocheted this motif by eye as I don't have instructions for it. If I had to guess, I'd say the vintage motif is crocheted in a #180 thread (though I won't swear it).

Monday, January 29, 2007

That's a Given

I definitely like this design. Having a flower bead in every 3rd ring looks nicer...not too little, not too much. I'm using a size #20 thread and I think these are #9 beads.

Working on designs for the center of the bracelet, this is the filigree idea and is crocheted...hmmm, needs work. I like the center glass bead (blue), but if this design is going to work with the band, I would need a metalic bead (maybe something celtic?) I basically wanted to experiment with having a center bead incorporated into the crochet. I can't imagine having to sew beads in my work...ew!!

The method I used for this center bead is the same I used for the eys in my Celtic Owl design. I'll continue to work on this filigree design to see what I come up with. I have an Irish crochet design in mind too, but this is the simpler of the two.
A trip to the bead shop tomorrow will trigger some ideas as well. I wonder what goodies are available? I'm in the mood for beads!!!