Sunday, August 4, 2019

Not Frustrating

So this effort was much more successful.
It's not the final version but the tweaks I'm planning on are more cosmetic than structural and even though  it didn't work out exactly as planned (and quite frankly planning is all very well but you can't imagine yourself married to any plan because that's just certain disappointment. Pretty certain: occasionally I do in fact plan perfectly) I'm overall happy with the way this turned out.

For reference, from the top of the bail to the tip of the central dagger bead is about four inches or ten centimetres. In the region of.

There were previous versions in which the lacing up on the reverse side distorted the front a bit so that the bezel didn't lie in the same plane and to tell the truth I'm not a hundred percent confident that what I did will work for all bead colours and finishes because sadly, bead size varies somewhat by colour and finish. But this bezel is mostly structurally sound.

The very first version which had grotesque herringbone wing-like things was almost completely awful but it at least produced something from which I could build. No, there's no picture, yes, I cut it up.

And in other news the bother I was having with the ceiling fan installation last weekend is over. No, I didn't give up and call an electrician: I did it myself and I have to tell you I'm quite pleased.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Oh Hello

Quite honestly, the long absence followed by a sudden appearance should not be taken as predictive of anything at all, just so we're clear.

I've been close to completely losing my mind lately: I've become obsessed with a beaded bead that isn't quite right and so I keep trying but it keeps getting worse. It started with an Instagram post in which pictures were carefully oriented to show the best side of the piece so you couldn't really tell how cockeyed it was.
It was all going to very nicely until the last two sides of the cube, at which point things got squished and pushed and pulled and the rivolis started looking like Marty Feldman's eyes in Young Frankenstein: not quite pointing in the right direction.

I made another. Same thing. It's currently staring at me from inside a baggie, least skewed side facing.
Then I tried something different and that one was even worse. I cut it up.

Then I tried another technique which might be successful but it's impossibly unpleasant to stitch and the needle broke so I tried to distract myself by seeing just how out-of-date this blog is and so I deleted links to classes past and when that was done I thought I might as well just talk about something since it's been so long and I'm so frustrated that I have not be beading. Like whine about beading.
Also about electricity; specifically the wiring in my house.

It all started some time ago when I decided that the nasty dim flickering fluorescent lights in my basement studio just had to go, so I bought LED fixtures on Amazon and then was too chicken to try to swap them out myself.

A work friend took pity and did the job and when I saw how simple it was, my confidence goaded me into buying a new dining-room fixture and installing it myself.

Successfully in case you were wondering. There have been no sparks, sputters, flickering or fires.
Then I decided that surely I could replace the hideous ancient ceiling fan in my family room, and once the box with the new fan had spent sufficient time in the corner of the room, getting comfortable, adjusting to the new surroundings, it was time. The day before yesterday.

Because I'm all about the joy, I spread the removal of the old fan over both days of the weekend. Also because I couldn't figure out what else to unscrew in order to release it from the ceiling. Turns out that twenty-plus-year-old rubber washers get kind of gluey and will happily keep a heavy ceiling fan connected to the ceiling.

It's not that I'm not confident about installing the new fan; I'm pretty sure that if I follow the instructions in the box I will be successful. The problem is that I'm also pretty sure that some non-electrician dude hacked the installation of the old fan because the electric box is NAILED into the wood above it. Hint: you want screws that can't slide out the way nails potentially could. It's not that I use the fan often, but if I were an avid fan user (I'm not) I suspect there's a good chance the vibration would have wiggled those nails loose and I'd have had a fan come crashing down on my floor, breaking tiles and scaring the cats.

Also the hole in the ceiling is wider than the canopy of the fan so hiding it will be ugly.  Also the wiring box isn't dead centre in the hole in the ceiling and also it's not flush with the ceiling and even though the nice man at Home Depot said I could stack washers on the screws to mount the fan flush to the ceiling and not inside it, my confidence definitely does not extend to that level of electrical sophistication so here I am at my beading table with yet another non-starter of a beading project.

What? Ugh, anything I start lately.

Knitting seems to be going pretty well, except for my hands but that's a whine of which I'm already bored.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

No Excuses

Things are as they are. Deal.
 There were class samples made.
 This one with the jade used some very, um, mature items from my stash. I mean I buy beads for no reason other than because they're pretty but sometimes I find myself with various items which seem to insist on being together so I bag them up and then more often than not I have a Need and the group gets split up - but sometimes I find the perfect project and sometimes it apparently can take ten or more years.
A friend had access to a lovely old house in Hermann last month so we had a beading weekend where I taught the above necklace. It's related to one of my Bead & Button classes but is dissimilar enough that there are no contractual violations or anything like that. (I'm not supposed to teach the same class within a certain time or distance from Milwaukee in June. So I don't).
 Another class sample for a class which ended up having no students. Too bad; I think they'd have enjoyed this one.
 The cuff bracelet is sort of a class sample; the class is actually for a pendant but I've been wanting to combine multiples of the motif and thought I should probably try it before asserting that yes, you can make a gorgeous cuff by joining them together.
This is somewhere between a class sample and kit colour-way. I'd used these beads and rivolis in a different project for a different class that needed kits but somehow never got completed so fortuitously I have most of the supplies for a whole other kit.

I've been knitting quite a bit but as usual have no pictures. There's been ripping out too; one project was too small to be accurately described as "slouchy" so was partially ripped and is now complete and is officially clothing (I've worn it a couple of times).

The other had bleeding issues and (a) it wasn't all that attractive and (b) I got tired of blue hands so the whole thing is undone and the yarn is thoroughly washed and re-overdyed.

I'd be annoyed at myself if by my sloppy dye job I ended up with yarn or roving that bled all over me and ruined the other colours in the project but I'm pretty ticked off that someone had the gall to sell such a crappy dye job. If only I could remember the vendor I'd never buy from them again.

Actually I probably in fact will never buy from them again because I have so much yarn and spinning fiber that I'm going to be hard-pressed to use up even a respectable fraction of it even if I won the lottery, retired tomorrow and became a full-time fiber recluse, forgoing all else for knitting and spinning. Which in the grand scheme of things is unlikely for so very many reasons, chief among them that I've never in my life bought a lottery ticket.

Besides, that sounds pretty boring.

If I retired tomorrow on lottery winnings I'd travel a lot and live in New York and San Francisco and London and Sydney and have a cottage on a beach somewhere or perhaps a boat.

Honestly I haven't given it much thought though.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

For the Record

Not that I was actually working towards my not-really-a-challenge but I definitely did meet it.

I started off my four-day weekend with the beaded bead in last Friday's post.

On Saturday I made another one in different colours to prove it wasn't a fluke.
On Sunday I made a pair of knot bags.
 On Monday I made a few more.
Then on Tuesday after work (yes I know that's not part of the long weekend however it was part of my effort) I made another.
I had been hoping to use up fabric scraps but to tell the truth I didn't feel like piecing and that would have been the only way to be as thrifty and practical as I'd hoped to be.

The maroon bag exterior is from leftovers, as is the lining of the frog bag but otherwise everything else was purchased for the express purpose of making knot bags.

My goal was to make pockets all the way around, inside and out, but various shortfalls prevented that; almost all of the bags have all the inside pockets but the outsides vary.

They also all have nice sturdy ultra suede bottoms with extra stiffening because one of my personal criteria for a useful bag is that it has a base upon which it can stand.

Sometime over the weekend in the course of cooking I was quite taken with my vegetables pre-roasting and fully intended to take a post-roasty picture but I forgot. Or started eating them before I could remember to do so. Something.
Pretty food. Always a plus.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Excuse Me While I Take This Detour

I'm not sure if I'm more pleased when I've sketched and planned to the hilt and the execution works out perfectly, or when I sit down to make something, get an idea about something else entirely, promise myself that I'll just try it out briefly and next thing I know it's almost 10pm and I have a new favourite Thing.
 You can't see (because I photographed its good side) but it took a couple of repeats of the motif to get it right. I cut up a few false starts where thread was showing, so I added more beads, different sizes of beads and they weren't right either and honestly on the back of this thing there are a couple of extra size 15s that are a Bad Idea.

Oh. One of them can be seen in this second picture. Whoops.
This is a riff on a motif that was part of a bracelet but which I turned out to not like very much after making it up, but with a little bit of a change it makes a perfect beaded bead.

It's pretty sturdy and I think it might even be firm enough for someone who doesn't stitch as tightly as I do.

It's relatively lightweight as it's hollow and doesn't have rivolis or fire-polished beads or any other large, bulky beads, just seed beads and two-hole triangles.

It's also quite big, almost two inches across and because it has sticky-out bits (the regions with two-hole triangles) and indented bits (the areas with round seed beads), it's a perfect fidget piece as your fingers fit so delightfully in the valleys as they glide over the hillocks in search of the next valley.

I'm also charmed by the fact that I've used triangular beads to make a beaded bead which is a cube even though it doesn't look like one. Much.

So now my challenge (which I actually don't care whether or not I meet so I suppose it's silly to call it "my challenge" as that implies I'm all fired up which I may be in terms of making things but the notion of a challenge when it comes to things I do for my own pleasure seems quite frankly slightly ridiculous) is for each day of this four-day long weekend to be as productive.

I actually have some ideas and they aren't even all beading-related.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

To the Bone

My fingers.  Worked.

Well, not literally, but it sorta felt like it, figuratively speaking.
 I swear this took. For. Ever.

I say that as though it was unpleasant to stitch it; it decidedly was not. Each repeat starts with a fresh new length of thread and then gets joined to the previous one. They go fairly quickly and because I made so many of them, by the time I got to the last ones I'd made so many improvements in the thread path that the only pain in the making was caused by the cursed Deadline.

It looks more intricate than it is which is always a plus: impress the hell out of the muggles with minimal effort but also I'm always charmed when the same skeleton can progress in a number of different ways so not only is there this crazy bangle but there are two versions of earrings you could make to match it. And the simpler earring motif could be joined rim-to-rim to make a bracelet or necklace too but I ran out of time. And also? I wanted to finish watching Season 3 of Broadchurch.
 Somewhere in the middle of the stitching I took a break and made these cute beaded beads. Turns out that if you nudge the pinch beads to arrange themselves neatly in a circle, they pretty much stay there, probably because of the triangular cross-sectional shape of the beads.

I'm not saying that you need no thread tension whatsoever, but my suspicion is that crazy tight may not be as vital as I like to say it is. ("These are hollow self-supporting beaded beads which rely in large part on thread tension to help them keep their shape so I suggest that you work at keeping your thread tension very firm"). I think that's pretty close to my usual beaded bead schpiel when I teach.
Actually I took another break during the bangle and banged out a few pairs of earrings which I initially thought had to be made with drop beads but as you can see, rondelle beads actually work too. This is always one of my favourite types of projects to share since you only need small amounts of each type of bead so those tiny oddments left over from that exhausting project can be used up completely. Unless you have an odd number left over and then you're on your own buddy.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Percolation from the idea to its realisation wasn't done yesterday and it might not be done today but even though I've moved away from the original idea, I think it's been improved.
My colour choice may not be ideal because the fire-polished beads don't add as much interest as I'd intended, but the shape of each link pleases me more, and because of they way each link connects to the next, the chain as a whole is much more fluid. Bendy. This one will absolutely hang properly as a longish necklace without any alteration except obviously in the number of links.