Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just the One

I'm not sure why, but I had this urge to use lots of colour (the rivoli is actually bright fuchsia) for this class sample to test my notes and stabilise the design.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, even though it's a full marathon from my usual palette.

In other news, the kitten and I have an ongoing disagreement about grooming and personal hygiene and rest, and she's currently winning: she doesn't approve of the way my hair is styled at the back, which is most obvious at around 4 in the morning when I roll onto my side, making it all-too-visible for her excellent night vision. It is so objectionable that she feels compelled to fix it by licking my hair, but I strongly feel that I should be allowed to sleep. She remains unconvinced, in spite of the fact that when the alarm scares the hell out of me (as one of her entirely voluntary - and surprising - duties she has assumed the thoughtful task of adjusting the alarm volume upwards by about the size of the national deficit), I shower and undo all her careful work anyway.

As she is capable of sleep while perched on my shoulder, she is at a loss as to what my blathering about lack of sleep is all about. Perhaps she doesn't realise that where I work I do not have access to beds, or for that matter, anywhere convenient (or appropriate) for napping.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Green Day

Not the band, though I am a fan, but somehow I've been working in green. Not just greens in general, not just matte greens, or olivey greens, but the same actual colour of seed beads.
I had said that I wouldn't make another one of these, but I had to. I'm a member of the Etsy Beadweavers Team, haven't entered a challenge in a while, and the next one coming due is "Bollywood", which I think this fits really well. So I had to.

I used green garnets in the centre, olive green faceted teardrops, lavender metallic seed beads for the main accent, and deep, rich gold and bronze for the other accents.

I always associate a really yellow gold with Indian jewellery; I'd heard that much of it is made from fourteen- or nine-carat gold, but then plated with twenty-four carat to give it that unutterably decadent feel.

It's not yet listed in my Etsy shop, but it will be, soon.

And then - spoiler alert! - August earrings, which are packed up, but not yet out the door.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Plodding Along

It's been a slow week in terms of Things I Can Photograph, but I did finish a class sample.
I made this design, and stitched three units a couple of years ago, but I didn't use so many colours, I didn't make stripes, I didn't use fringe beads, and I did it in grey and black. I never finished, because it was just as blah as could be, so it went into a dark corner.

These are odd little shapes; one gets the feeling some complicated origami-type folding was done to get them this way, and they look surprisingly good on the wrist, making a chunky but not clunky bracelet, if that makes sense. Because each shape is beaded, and is hollow, and because you don't need superhuman thread tension to get them to keep their shape (moderate tension will do. Sloppy will not), they're just soft enough that they're actually comfortable to wear. Count me surprised (in a good way).

I'm also working on something I said I wouldn't (it'll be ready for the camera shortly) which is taking long enough that I want to be doing something else, so I did.

I made a little pair of earrings for my Etsy shop.

I realised that I haven't finished a single handspun thing since before last SOAR, and it's about time. I have a stalled handspun sweater (it's in thin yarn and is at a tedious stage and then it'll require sewing up, and I haven't been in the mood for quite a few months) which really doesn't count, so I started something new, something I can get my teeth into.

Something for which no swatching is required, except very minimally to determine if yarns are compatible, and that's more along the order of "Whoops! That didn't work. Guess I have to rip and do it again with a different yarn" which is really my kind of project.

And to appeal to my frugal streak, I can use up odds and ends of yarn, since it'll be constructed piecemeal, using various modular techniques: triangles and mitred squares and the odd stripe, either knitted on or knitted-to (in which the current knitting is joined via a knit 2 together on the last stitch).

Planning is minimal and is eminently suited to changing one's mind.

So far I've completed two cuffs and am working on the bottom band, and I haven't been able to find enough yarn of the correct grist, so I'll probably end up double-stranding here and there, or else (not my first choice) having a Main Colour (I have twelve ounces of deep purple that I'd rather use for something else. I'm not certain exactly what, only that it's Not This).

As I said, I can always change my mind.

They say that cats are fastidious creatures, usually in reference to food intake and output (these are good areas in which to be fastidious), but it turns out that they (at least at the kitten stage) also like to point out lapses in housekeeping by exploring small spaces, getting samples of the dust bunnies, and spreading them over your clothes as you're about to leave, just in case you don't believe them.

Yesterday was her first vet visit, which was fine except for the travelling in a cat carrier part. If she had a wider audience, I'd be awaiting trial for Cat Right Violations, because clearly I'm a severely deficient human being if I could bring myself to subject her to such impossibly heinous torture.

Fortunately she'd rather nap.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just This Once

I absolutely do not intend for this to turn into an overlong chronicle of the limitless cuteness of my new kitten, but she's still a novelty, and already reigning queen chez moi.

I thought I'd bought a new bread basket. Apparently not. It works much better as a fort from which to launch attacks against unsuspecting pom-poms or feet or plants, or even her tail.

Who knew?

In the interest of making her transition into our family as smooth as possible, quite a bit of time was spent Not Beading, though I did manage to finish one of the two outstanding class samples.
This incarnation of the technique is on a 2-stitch/4-bead herringbone rope, and the leaves are spaced about half an inch apart, but it could equally well be applied to a thicker or twisted rope with more leaves. The leaves are added as the rope grows and avoids the tedium of what can feel like twice the effort: one pass to build the base, and another pass to add embellishment.

I don't believe that these bear more than a passing resemblance to leaves actually found in nature, but I think that judicious use of multiple colours could help somewhat. If it matters. I make a very neat little increase to insert the beads that will be the base of the leaf, but which could probably just a easily grow into some other shape; a flower (ish thing), a tassel, some nameless shape.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I don't yet know her name, but I do know that she won't pose for photos, so this is the best I can do.
She seems to be settling in. She ate, napped, played, purred, meowed, used the litter-box (not necessarily in that order). She likes to climb up things. Us, for example. With claws.

In other news and even worse pictures, I finished this last week.
I had the hardest time getting a picture, as the lens kept misting over, as it's so warm and humid outside.

While I was away I did some knitting.
The ball of yarn looked way more attractive, colour-wise that is, than knitted up. I'm not worried, as I'm not afraid to dye.

I haven't done any new beading, as in new designs, but in the interest of resting my back last weekend, I decided to stitch along with my Sunday afternoon class. I put together a couple of red kits, and thought I'd like to see how it looked made up.
Given that red isn't my favourite colour in the world (I don't hate it, and it certainly doesn't provoke such violent feelings of antipathy as royal blue), I kinda like the way this looks. I guess I ought to finish it.

I did make a class sample (due yesterday) since I sold the original.
But I'm saving the best for last (again, awful picture, but trust me, it's gorgeous).

My son, my over-six-feet baby, made me this gorgeous cherry table for my living room.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Pictures

I have no pictures of anything, so I've been silent, but I'm not gone.

I swear there's been travel and weather and flight delays and San Francisco and teaching and knitting and beading and interviewing a kitten (getting the job; starts Friday), but none was captured visually and therefore may not have happened.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Double Deadlines

A week from today, I'll be having dinner (or perhaps finishing dinner) with Nancy, Adriana, Sunita and Bob in San Francisco. I'll also have finished two days of teaching: Saturday being an introduction to seed-beading, covering as many stitches as possible, and Sunday comprising two project classes, Verso and Flat Russian.

I already have instructions for Sunday.

I've spent much of the weekend compiling instructions for Saturday.

I actually thought I'd be able to cut and paste a whole lot more from my little library, but it turns out that much of what I've done is sort of specific, having detailed instructions to achieve something in particular, and not necessarily well-suited to introducing a particular stitch.

So I've had to make new instructions.
This means making samples which get photographed at every significant step along the way.
Sometimes the sample that results is just a little thingy.
If I'm showing beginning and ending too, the sample can be an actual thing, like a bracelet.
Sometimes when I really liked the sample, I added stuff to make it prettier. This one was actually an interesting exercise.

I know that I like the look of silver-lined seed beads in herringbone stitch, particularly flat herringbone. I also know that I like the way it looks using size 15 seeds, and both Japanese and Czech size 11 seeds, and that I don't care for the way it looks using Czech size 6 seeds.

Turns out I also really like the way it looks with Japanese silver-lined size 8 seeds.

A week from now I'll be days away from having to turn in my teaching proposals for October through January, which is about a month earlier than expected, due to bead store anniversaries, open houses and the like.

I confess, not the very best of timing for me.
I did devise a fun zig-zaggy motif which I've repeated and flipped and joined to make an airy bracelet, though it would also make a rather nice cuff as a single long strip. I may well not have time to make that sample though.
I've started on what I think will be a pendant, and which is so far appearing to be growing according to plan, even though I managed to forget a design element on the very first try.

Unfortunately this is unlikely to get finished quickly, as each section takes somewhere between half an hour and an hour to complete, and there are probably still about six more. I'm considering trying to bead on the flights to and from San Francisco, an activity I've hithertofore not been very interested in trying, as I'm rather fond of my flying time for knitting, and also I'm not sure I can accomplish it without spillage and loss (at best) or pokeage and expulsion (at worst).

Not to mention, I'm dying to start the next knitting project. And dyeing to start it. Actually I've done the dyeing, it's just now drying, and I'm merely anxious to start.

I mean, it's not as though I don't have to prepare (pack beading supplies, complete instructions, assemble kits, that sort of thing) for the trip: I probably can't count on large uninterrupted blocks of beading time before my proposal deadline.

Looks like I won't make the Bead & Button deadline again this year.

Realistically, I should have used the last fifteen minutes for beading rather than blogging, I suppose.

Not news that my priorities aren't always entirely expedient.