Sunday, July 28, 2013


Finally I finished this class sample. I'm not sure why it took so long, because each unit goes quite quickly and is pleasing to stitch; I like the colour combination - and yet somehow it was quite the act of will to actually finish.
 I was so relieved that I made a pair of earrings.

Actually that's not true - the relieved part, because as you can see I did in fact make a pair of earrings.
I'd only ever made this motif with twin beads and I wanted to verify that super-duos worked just as well.

They do, if not better.
I had the hardest time matching a set of three seed beads to these super-duos, and even now I'm still not quite one hundred percent certain, but I think it might be pretty nice.

After all that, I probably should have made a bracelet.

All this beading didn't hurt nearly as much as helping my daughter move from one apartment to another, and I do mean physically hurt, emotionally I'm pretty even keel, thanks. I packed boxes, loaded boxes into my car, drove to the new apartment, and unloaded the boxes into her new apartment - three times.

Let's just say that this body is no longer quite as young as it used to be, although my not-quite twenty-one-year-old son seemed as exhausted as I was. To be fair, he did actual Heavy Lifting, but still.

The move went well (she had plenty of help, and I took them all out for Greek food afterwards which I think was better than the standard pizza, as it didn't make everyone comatose) although her cat violently and vehemently disagrees, poor thing is literally having hissy fits.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Big and Small

I'm so done with this. About four pounds of grey-brown Luke (a Border Leicester) and oddments of purple kid mohair in an oddly variegated three-ply yarn which I think I've been spinning since there were dinosaurs.
 Earrings for Luise (maybe. She said "blue" but wouldn't commit to any particular blue so I guessed).
 And more earrings, just because I wanted to see if I could sub tiny crystals for seed beads.
Yes I can.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Class Samples

That's it, really.

On the plus side I improved on the way this is built in terms of ease of construction, but it's still rather fiddly.

I knitted a lot and am much happier with the pink silk thing. I have a better plan and what I have so far doesn't have the Eau de Disappointment that the version I showed you last post had.

I finally finished spinning the <some number greater than one and probaby greater than two and perhaps even greater than three but either way what seemed like an endless amount> pounds of smokey purple roving that is mostly Luke, a brownish-greyish Border Leicester I met in Tennessee many years ago, and a selection of purple silk and/or kid mohair.

Some time ago I posted a picture of skeins and bobbins. I spun up all of my Lendrum bobbins - ten I think - then plied them all and started spinning again. Last Spinners I ran out of bobbins so I plied three of them, and today I finished spinning and now I'm on the endless task of plying. At least it's a three-ply, which is way faster (like one and a half time faster, right?) than two-ply.

So far I'm at three episodes of The Tudors, one over-filled giant bobbin (that's somewhere in the twelve ounces area) done and five-ish bobbins still to be plied.

There's a coat in my future, I imagine: a roomy, a-line coat with a hood and patch pockets and roll-back cuffs. And cables. And I might still have yarn left over.

But first: more plying.

Monday, July 15, 2013


So here's the thing.

I knit because I like it. I knit because I like the things I make.

I say "I'm working on this" but what I really mean is "I'm doing this fun project".
The thing is though, that I've been working on this top for many many hours and it's taking forever and I'm just not loving it at all and it really isn't fun or enjoyable but i'm getting closer to done and I might just like it once I have a finished garment but I'm. Jus. Not. Feeling. It.

I think I know where this is headed, but I can't figure out what replaces it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Turns out that the flower of the African Violet is yummy to some cats, the leaves less so.

Who knew?

So I made another spoked wheel slider.

And another Mace.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

And Again

Even though I have already made up my mind about this one (I like it), I still think it's a good idea to make it again using different beads. Different finishes, different types of colours (inasmuch as "different" may not be all that different from another shade of muted <something>).
Still, this was useful.

Although pretty in the photograph (there's the shiny) I don't care for the transparent pinch beads in real life quite as much as the matte finish in the first version. You get a reflective and colourful effect, but the slightly strange effect of the surfaces of the pinch beads in this design is mostly lost, although you can sort of see it in the dark beaded bead in the front of the picture on the right, and then again in the one four away.

So the next time I go shopping for pinch beads (and I have in mind an experiment in structure rather than colour) I know what sort of finish will help me reach a conclusion about which versions I like better.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Running Away

No, I'm still here, but the week just raced past me. I really don't miss it, though I do regret not being able to manage spending more of it asleep.
 I still like these little things. I'm not sure if they're floral or if they look a little like my grandmother's flocked wallpaper (now there's a fashion we don't miss even slightly), but they stitch up quickly, are big enough for earrings (but not too heavy), and are comfortable in a bracelet or necklace, and because they use so many different beads, you can really go to town with colour, not that I availed myself of such wildness.
I know it's really simple, but I'm very pleased with this little necklace, and if I hadn't just submitted classes for the fall, this would be on the list.

I've probably said it before and I'll probably (well, definitely actually) say it again, and I'm certainly saying it now: I love being able to use a selection of beads in different shapes and sizes in a familiar stitch, and without anything much else, end up with something that appears more complex than it really is. It's soothing and rhythmic to stitch, is suitable for almost all beaders and there's no having to embellish after you feel as though you're finished.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dress For

So the other day I started making a dress with fabric from my stash but it turned out that there really wasn't enough to actually complete the dress, so I obviously had to go out and buy some coordinating fabric because really what's the point in the beginnings of a project? (Don't answer that).

And while I was there it turned out that linens and linen-cotton blends were half off and so really, how was I supposed to resist, especially as I can whip up a skirt in minutes?
OK, so I exaggerate.

Still though, I do have a new skirt for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Yes I Did

It bothered me that my non-lethal little glass mace was so awkward, so unwieldy to construct, and (I just love this) I woke up this morning and absolutely knew how to make it doable and so I did and so it is.
Well within reach.

And what, you may ask, does one do with such a thing? A delightfully edgy yet girly purple beaded weapon?

Wear it, of course.

Friday, July 5, 2013

It Wasn't the Last One

So as it turns out, there was another variation in the wings. 
 Technically, it's a variation of the last variation: same bead counts and thread paths, but a different bead in one of the rounds.
I really like this one the best.

I also finished a class sample.
 And then I played with spikes.
 Two (slight) variations.
So here's the thing. This is not a difficult or new or fancy or in in way a sophisticated shape, but the spikes make it rather awkward. Because of the shape of the base, and the placement of the holes, you need a certain amount of coverage so that they don't wiggle (version 1, now mercifully put out of its misery by way of scissors was rather too wiggly), and a certain amount of thread tension to ensure same, but then the problem is that there's no space to insert the needle into the beads at the vertices. There's a lot going on in a very tight space.

It's very awkward. Not conceptually difficult, but until those spikes are well-coralled, it's slightly impossible to see what's going on; you just have to know, and for those who don't have the whole 3-D visualisation thing going, more than slightly impossible.

So perhaps instead of beginner/intermediate/advanced, we can categorise the required skill level for knitting/beading/crochet/wirework/woodwork/etc. patterns as:

  • I can't understand until I see the video
  • Don't confuse me with pictures, just describe it in very precise detail
  • Don't confuse me with words, just give me tons of excellent graphics
  • I score above the 95th percentile in visial/spatial part of the IQ test so you can just describe the general concept
Not a hundred percent tongue-in-cheek, mind you because it sorta-kinda makes sense, doesn't it? I mean we've all come across the first-timer who gets it before the others in the class do, haven't we? Not to name names or anything...

Third's a Charm

I think this may be it.
It's more like the first than the second, but the first didn't look finished somehow. There was something too stark, too dull, too minimalist about it.
So I added extra embellishment to the rim and I think it's better.

Oh wait. Damn. I think there's a Version 4 in the works.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Off But On

There's something about the beginning of a long weekend.

Four days of space and time and any pressure (self-imposed or otherwise) that seems to gum up the head, sticky up the creativity and generally not be conducive to getting vast amounts done is just absent when time stretches ahead of you.

Even just four days.

First the instructions for Tuesday's class.

A sample for the upcoming batch.
 Completely done.

A variation on a sample I already made for the upcoming batch.
Done too - but now I need to figure out which one is better. Perhaps I need to make the other variation with long magatamas (but I'm pretty sure it won't work out. They never do) or the other other variation with fringe beads.

And the best thing? It's only Day One and I even managed to slip in a workout.

Off work, but man, I'm ON.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Never Rains

I knew I had another one bursting to get out.
Not a great picture because (in part at least; the rest is just my lack of skill with the camera. Perhaps I have a crappy camera) the Czech-mates are pale and clear and there's not much contrast, but still: a cute little wheel with spokes. What you can't tell is that the spokes form little triangular windows, so in spite of its solidity, it's also quite airy.