Monday, November 28, 2011

I Can't Get Up

There's apparently no stopping The Attack Of The Cute because I did it again.
I was thinking that I'd made only one pitcher (the prototype doesn't count because it's ugly) and two urns (although now that I think of it, urns can be handle-less too) and so it was time to balance the numbers of each.

So I did.

I couldn't help myself, and I'll tell you something else: this is not the last of them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taken Over By Twee

OK, I admit it.
I've been subsumed by alien minds who like Cute and Whimsical.

All I want to do is make adorable little amphorae (quick, I need an Asterix fix) and pitchers.It's not my fault.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Might Be Broken

Not my bones or my skin or anything physically obvious, but somewhere deep inside.

I mean, I don't usually do whimsical, but then this happened.
It's not as if it was even an accident, because I have sketches to prove I was thinking about it and planning it, and anyway, it's not as though I stopped either.
I made another one. An improved nother one.
And in spite of myself, I like it.

I'm a little afraid, quite frankly. I might have regrettable taste. If I put it in my Etsy shop, what's to prevent me from being Regretsyed?

On the other hand, I still maintain a shred or two of sanity, I think.

I made earrings which I hope are not hideous or twee; at least not too much.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Very Boring


Raking them, or blowing them, or otherwise herding and taming them when they are no longer useful and green, but have reached the stage of their existence in which they're no better than garbage.

My lawn guy used to take care of this onerous time-suck of a task, but I fired him because he would mow anytime there wasn't snow on the ground (we don't get much snow here. Most of winter is snowless) but now I realize what a bargain I was getting in at least the disposal of all those dead leaves. I bought a blower because I'm such a delicate flower that rakes and brooms give me instant blisters (this fragility and eagerness to blister is related to my lack of skiing experience), and besides, my garage somehow went from the condition of having two rakes and one snow shovel to having no rakes and four or five snow shovels, which is ludicrous since we don't get all that much snow and anyway there's never more than one person here who is motivated to shovel it.

I lie. Once when I was car-pooling and my buddy's car has seriously pathetic tires, he helped shovel my driveway so that we could go to work but otherwise, seriously, there's not a lot of shovelling that happens.

So a blower seemed like a better, if more expensive choice than a rake.

I suppose shovelling is as boring as raking leaves, but it's a better workout and doesn't require such an investment of time; at least not here, where it's Grand Central for leaves, or so it seems. Turns out there's also a huge difference in terms of Getting It Done as to whether the leaves are bone-dry or not quite a week post-rain. On the plus side, if they're not dry and crumbly, mulching doesn't result in leaf dust in every orifice and on every surface of one's skin.

Still I was delighted when I'd done enough to call the job more or less complete, so that I could finish my sample for the instructions for Tuesday's class.
I made earrings too, just in case.
The seed beads are my absolute favourite colour of Czech seed beads: silk dark bronze. They're a velvety assortment of metallic patina colours: golds, browns, green, pinks and my only regret is that the Japanese manufacturers don't have anything comparable, because if they did, I'd be all over it.

This is one of the few seed beads that doesn't lie: it looks as good (and almost exactly the same) when sewn up as loose, or in a tube or a hank. I can't count the number of times I've splurged on ridiculously expensive seed beads (ahem, Toho hybrids), only to find them dull and utterly uninteresting (except for the apollo colours, which are quite nice) when used in a piece of bead-weaving.

While I don't share any of the often-popular disdain for Czech seed beads, they definitely are not suitable for every application. Like Japanese beads, they have their strengths and weaknesses, and netting as in this necklace is without a doubt a strength.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not Quite There Yet

I'm not as obsessed with beaded flowers as I once was, but it's not as though I'm completely over them or anything; it's just that I've realised that while I want to make them, I might not want to own them or wear them, but that's not enough to stop me with the needle and thread.
This red one was the first in a series, and oddly enough, it might be the best of the bunch in terms of shape and structure.
Sure, the blue one has teeny-tiny daggers and fire-polished beads.
And the green one has polka dots on the front daggers, but the rivoli isn't seated straight exactly and the tiniest seed beads may do what they're supposed to (firm things up and hold the daggers in place), but they're definitely not doing it with anything remotely resembling grace or style.

Fortunately it's a long weekend and I have time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


If one is going to cut up one's beadwork, it had better be peyote, because anything else is just too irksome, and there's a measure of satisfaction in sliding those beads off the ends of the thread.
Still, I prefer not to.

What you can't see at the left of the photo above is that there's an oval crystal cabochon held in place by the darker beads. Clearly this was not a useful design.

I bought a bunch of them as soon as the local bead store started carrying them, made one abortive pass at bezelling them, and then gave up in disgust when it didn't work terribly well.

The baggie with the crystal and the seed beads and my notes folded very tightly mocked me every time I opened the rivoli drawer. I'll get to it. One day.

Last week I thought that day was imminent, as I had an Idea, which turned out to be a Bad Idea, or at best, not a Very Good Idea. Hence the scissors.

Turns out that the Rather Bad Idea led to what turned out into something I'm happy to post, and not as a cautionary tale.
It doesn't have a working bail and yes, the drop is a bit pink, however it's a start in the right direction.
The colours are a little Bollywood, but it works, though the thread path was rather too convoluted.
Much better. Doable, which is to say explainable in instructions.
The back's pretty too.

We won't go into my other activity today, except to say that it involved leaves, a blower and a mulcher, and even though my back insists that it's all squared away because if not I may never walk again, there's a front yard and a pile of leaves in the back yard that vehemently disagree.

I always take counsel from my back. It's so the boss of me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So I Did

I made another Kell pendant and thoroughly enjoyed it again.
I used these large faceted teardrop beads which are quite a bit longer than the slender oval beads I ususally use.
A couple of months ago I tried using beads the same length but more zaftig, and they didn't work well as they crowded each other so badly that the shape of the pendant was compromised. Even though these teardrop beads are rather heavy in the botty department, they actually do work as their largest circumference is nicely balanced by 8mm beads which you can see in the upper part of the picture below (the brown beads encircled by grey-blue-green seed beads).
Because the teardrops are so much longer than the oval beads, I had to add extra seed beads and a rondelle between the narrow end and the fat end, but I think it still works.

I really like having options to vary the beads like this.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Semblance of Busy

It doesn't feel as though I've been very busy because I have nothing much to show for it, but it feels as though I've been so busy that I've had no time to make anything.

It's a little confusing, actually.

I did make a pendant.
Not a fabulous picture because you can't see that there's a triangular crystal donut captured in a frame of seed beads, but now you know. I spent ages trying to come up with something more interesting (sad to say, I played a part in the destruction of trees because of all the bad ideas I sketched, and all the sketches I tossed), but ultimately nothing really shook me by the lapels, so to speak.
I made a class sample as I was proofing my instructions. I forgot how much I like this pendant, how much I enjoy actually making it. Some things are fun to conceptualize, but then the execution turns out to be a little too much "Just shoot me now"; some things just sort of happen, and you're satisfied but not necessarily excited with the results, and some things go together so pleasingly, taking just the right amount of effort and ease in just the right proportions and just a perfect amount of time, and for me, this is one of them.

Perhaps I'll make a few more.
And Janel's Sekla, kinda like the one I made for myself, but slightly different, subtly bluer (I didn't make the whole thing since my last post; I had started it some time ago and ran out of one of the beads which arrived here yesterday).

I guess it looks as though I was busy, doesn't it?

Monday, November 7, 2011


I think this shows promise.
I'm not sure exactly what it's promising, but apparently I'm pretty trusting.

This was going to be a slider-thingy, but it seems it needed to be a regular pendant so that I could use daggers.

So far it hasn't broken my heart - to tell the truth I'm not all that invested in the relationship yet, but I'm hopeful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What I Like

No appointments, dates, meetings, plans, obligations, duties, chores (well, I have those, but I chose to ignore them): a day when there's nothing I have to do but what I choose, when I choose.

And I chose beading in the morning.
I know it's not startlingly new, clever or refreshing, but I've been wanting to make star-shaped donuts forever (I keep finding older and older sketches) so it was time.

And I chose knitting in the afternoon and evening, punctuated by reading, exercise and playing with a cat and a kitten. I also visited a bead store, briefly (they were about to close).

All pretty idyllic, really.

I'm really enjoying the way this cardigan is turning out. It started off green, but then I realised that I have at least three green cardigans already, so I added some teal and some smokey blue to move it away from the warm fall tones, and added in splashes of pink and purple and brownish-red - basically any small amounts of handspun that vaguely seemed to coordinate in even a small way.

I started off changing colours on right-side rows, but I much prefer the blending that happens in garter stitch when you change colours on wrong-side rows, so that's what I switched to.

This is my favourite type of knitting. The only preparation I needed before starting (apart from picking out yarns) was to decide what size needles would yield the fabric I wanted (not too dense, but not so loose that it would stretch and lose integrity).

I started knitting a triangle until it was big enough (the back neck width), then made another three the same. I joined two together and knitted until it was as wide as the back, then knitted each of the other two until they were half as wide (plus a front button band) and then joined them all up, and now I'm knitting until the front bands (oh yes, I just realised that I forgot to make buttonholes. Oh joy. I guess it won't have any buttons. No more than two, anyway) are long enough, then I'll knit until the side "seams" are long enough, and at that point I'll work each sleeve separately, all the while switching colours and using up those vaguely coordinating odds and ends.

I'll knit on a neckband, and depending on how impatient I am to wear it and whether or not I have any coordinating yarn left (I'm guessing I will), edgings along the bottom fronts and cuffs.

No swatching and no stitching seams. The only needle-and-thread work I'll do will be sewing on one or two buttons.

My favourite.

The kitten seems to like it too: he purrs whenever he sits on my lap while I'm knitting. Truthfully, he purrs on my lap even when I'm not knitting, but still, I choose to take it as a sign of approval.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Out of the Handbasket

I've been meaning to do this for ages.

Make a little star-shaped donut.

It was quite satisfying.