Wednesday, December 10

Worktable Wednesday: Knitting Scarves

I thought I'd share a knitting pattern that I'm just loving.  Half the fun is buying the two colors of yarn and then the other half is the knitting to see how those two colors complement each other.

The cowl pattern is called Embers and for my first one I duplicated the yarn featured by Madelinetosh, because I just loved how that yellow peaked through.  It also was the perfect combination for a special person in my life.

After knitting two other cowls in a different pattern I decided to go back to the Embers pattern and create one for myself.  The color in the photo is showing a lot of blue, but I think it's because I shot the photo so close and in weird light.  The colors are Coquette (hot pink) and Black Velvet, which is greys and darker pink rose.  When I finish it I'll take another photo in natural light, because it really is an amazing combination.

In my desire to get the other two cowls off to their surprise recipients I forgot to take photos!  So... I'm going to beg that they take photos of themselves wearing them.  If they agree I'll post those later.  I used some lovely Malabrigo yarn for them and they're much longer.  Anyway, stay tuned!

I haven't posted in awhile!  I'll try to do better.  My thoughts and feelings have been very internally focused as I worked through some stuff.  My jewelry and fiber work has been meditative and I am thankful to have had it to keep me busy.

To my friends who have been so wonderful this past year, this is for you:

"A Friend should be radical,

They should love you
when you're unlovable,

Hug you when you're unhuggable,
And bear with you
when you're unbearable.

A Friend should be fanatical;

They should cheer
when the whole world boos,
Dance when you get good news,
And cry when you cry too.

But most of all,
A friend should be mathematical,

They should multiply the joy,
Divide the sorrow,
Subtract the past,
And add to tomorrow,

Calculate the need
deep in your heart,
and always be bigger
than the sum of all their parts."
~Billy Sprague

Friday, October 31

Why do I Love Art Retreats?

As I start packing for a return to Little River Rug Camp near Mendocino I'm remembering my first Little River retreat last year and how it was a true respite.

So, why do I love retreats?

Sometimes the location is enough.

I am amongst members of one of my tribes.  We all have them and know how comforting and fun it is to be with those that get us.  Maybe they're your fellow Giants' fans, master gardeners, or hiking pals?

The myriad ways that colorful wool strips can transform burlap and linen into art wall hangings, rugs, and even totes reaches into that part of me that hums and dances.

And by the end the connection I've missed with myself and what matters most to me is restored.  

Wednesday, October 1

Wheely Fun Jewelry Challenge Reveal

Many of my beading friends like to challenge each other from time to time with interesting items we come across in our travels or shopping trips.

This past summer our local Ben Franklin store closed its doors.  I'm real sad to see it go, as it was nice to have local access to art supplies and framing.  Before it closed they had big discounts and the longer you waited the more discounted items became.  Also, of course, the items became more and more obscure.

I saw these wooden toy wheels and thought heck, we could make some interesting jewelry with these!  Like the good friends they are my beading friends agreed to participate.  They all have reported back they're ready and actually sounded like they were excited to reveal.

Well, for me it was a real challenge.  I set a wheel at my desk and fiddled with it off and on for weeks.  The only consistent thought I had was to bezel a Swarovski rivoli in the center.  I tried several colors.. then let it sit some more.

Then as time neared it dawned on me to create something that was just a desk top folly.  Well, I'm not using folly properly, because it means a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose.  But you get the idea, right?

I created something that is sparkly and pretty to fiddle with while coming up with new ideas or just meditating.  It's a work in progress, too.  I plan on adding more crystals and beads that move around the hub.  I also want a better base to spin it on.  I found it has to be just the right size to spin well though.

There's a lot of talent in this group so I'm very excited to see what they did with the wheel.  Shall we go see?

Beadsong Jewelry:
Crafty Hope:
Therese's Treasures:   

Sunday, September 28

Three's a Tassel Charm - using patina

It was as simple as coming across three golden tassels in my stash and seeing these golden daisy lampwork beads by Debbie Sanders.  I'd bought them some time ago apparently, because I couldn't remember who the artist was, and when I was directed towards Debbie by another lampwork artist, she couldn't remember how long ago she'd created them either!   I thought it was cool that another lampwork artist (Donna Millard) knew whose beads they likely were!

I really dislike making the same thing twice so I decided to play with patinas to subtly change the color of the tassels.

For the gift I gave a dear friend who is moving away I used one of Christi Friesen's Swellegant dye-oxides called milk white.

Although navy is my friend's favorite go to color she loves the glamour of white for accessories.  Some of you may remember the beaded rope I created for A Stitch in Time 4 done in chenille stitch.  I always intended to create a charm out of the cowrie shell for her since I found it on our Carmel getaway, but I delayed completing any of it in dumb hope that if I didn't finish it... she wouldn't move.  Well, it didn't work and she gets two pendants!

The dye-oxide is like water so I sponged the dye-oxide on several times to build up the oxide until I was happy with the result, let it dry a couple of days, and then put the sealer on.

For the tunic length Daisy Tassel I decided to get some rosy copper look going since the vintage chain had glints of it.  I used Rub 'n Buff Autumn Gold to give this tassel some dimension and glow.

Daisy Tassel - tunic length
Rub 'n Buff is easy to use.  It comes in a small tube and it's like toothpaste.  I just used my finger, but you could use a soft cloth.  I did use a soft cloth to buff in between applications so I could control the level of patina on the tassel.

The third daisy tassel is given a patina with Baroque Art's Gilder's Paste.  I used African Bronze since the chain I wanted to use was closest to that color.

Daisy Tassel in bronze

Gilder's Paste is the consistency of shoe polish that comes in a tin.  It takes longer to apply which can be a good thing so you can go as subtle as you want.

I love how all three turned out.  I played with lengths as well and found they looked great as a regular pendant length of 18-20 inches all the way to 34" for tunic length.  Although they have a daisy theme, the metallics make me think of Christmas ornaments and holiday celebrations.  Makes them pretty versatile I'd say!

Thursday, September 25

Six More Days until the Wheely Fun Jewelry Challenge!

Tune in on October 1st to see what the bead ladies created with a wooden toy wheel.  

(that's bead, not bag...)


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