making_stuff: (Sewing)
Cotton fabric is an addiction, I swear! In the past couple of weeks, no less than five pieces have followed me home. And each is 100% pure cotton, with nary a trace of the icky stretchy gunk that is everywhere these days. (Every time I see a fabric bolt labeled "Cotton, with 3% spandex for ease" a little part of me dies.)

After the great shirt-a-thon of last year, when I made over two dozen shirts, you'd think I'd be done with shirts for at least a year or two, right? Apparently not. Looks like there will soon be five more.

As for the loot, well, there are two solids: a smooth, sturdy broadcloth in my favorite royal purple and a soft, floaty lawn in a very red red, and then there are these:

Flannel, poplin and pure heaven )
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
Short version: monochrome bead mixes work very nicely indeed.

Long version: After stocking up on Ming Tree 11/0 beads in three colorways (and on the special J-hook needles!), I set to work. In each case I mixed equal parts of four beads – lined, opaque, transparent and luster – and I'm pleased with how that worked out.

Something I learned making earrings : when one strings transparent and opaque beads in the same piece, the eye is tricked into seeing the opaque beads as larger, giving an impression of texture that I like a lot. That's especially apparent in the blue, where the turquoise opaque really stands out.

More things I learned: You get what you pay for. Ming Tree is a bargain-basement brand of beads for a reason. They are great for stringing like this, but I wouldn't use them for, say, peyote stitch, because they are very uneven in size and shape compared to even mid-range beads like Matsuno DynaMites. Also, color-lined beads do not play well with the big-eye bead-bowl needles – the holes are often too small and jam on the needle and if you force them over the eye, the eye will break. (Guess how I know? *g*)

Individual pix behind the cut )

Bottom line: I am so doing more of this. *g*
making_stuff: (Sewing)
The puzzle was how to transport and display jewelry. I wanted neat, attractive, compact and with no setup time, so that, for example, I could show my stuff to somebody during lunch break at work. The solution: a brocade jewelry roll.

First attempt:

details and another pic )
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
New gadget glee! I got one of those bead-stringer bowls and have been having great fun with it. It's perfect for keeping my hands busy while watching movies, the way some folks knit. You can click to a video demo from that page I linked above. And it really does work as shown. Very cool.

It only came with one needle, and that broke (I might have hurried the process by forcing the occasional small-holed bead over the eye. Heh.) so I have to wait until my next Fire Mountain order to lay in a supply of needles. But I finished this before the needle gave out.

34" long, 40 strands. It weighs over 10 ounces. The beads are a random mix I bought on clearance several years ago for something like seven dollars for a pound, if I recall. Always had a necklace like this in mind but the thought of stringing the beads by hand put me off.

Since this bead mix is unique – and I don't do well at creating multi-hued mixes on my own – I'm considering making up some monochrome mixes to string more necklaces. A single color bead in several styles (transparent, opaque, silver-lined, inside-color) and finishes (luster, rainbow, matte, shiny) should make a gorgeous blend.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
Inspired by the black earrings from the previous post, I added a coordinating slider bead for a necklace. Started with the same bead selection as for the earrings and added one more size – the 6/0 black for the spine of the spiral - for coordination without duplication. The necklace is tigertail strung with some antique hex-cut beads. I like how it came out.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
These are even more fun than tube beads. They look so complex when all they are is pure even-count tubular peyote using graduated sizes of beads. So much fun )
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
Still more tube beads. This time a bracelet for me.
This started with the focal bead, which was originally meant to be yet another pair of rainbow earrings, but once the first one was made, I decided the zig-zag wouldn't look nearly as good as the spiral does in that context, so plan B was to use it in a bracelet, which worked out pretty well.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
How I love making tube beads. It's such fun to make a pretty little rectangle of flat peyote and then zip it closed to create a bead. They are so sturdy and yet squishable, and the design possibilities are boundless. For example: Cut for length )
making_stuff: (Handspun)
There's a group on Ravelry for people who commit to spinning for 10 minutes each day. That caught my imagination, so I got the wheel out of the den, where it has languished for what seems like forever (two years and nine months to the day, actually), and sat down this morning, intending to spend 10 minutes. Two hours later….

I didn't spin all of this today, mind you! It was mostly done back in March '07, like so:

when I got sidetracked by something – the story of my life – and never got around to going back to finish up. Feels good to have finally done so! And, considering I've not done a lick of spinning in all that time, the newer yarn looks pretty good. Not as even or smooth as the stuff from '07 when I was in practice, but not too bad. The next yarn should come up to my old standard, I hope.

This bobbinful has been an interesting learning experience. It's a variegated merino roving from The Yarn Wench, about half of the 4 oz or so that I bought in this colorway, that I'm spinning very fine with the intention of making Navajo 3-ply out of it. I'd never spun merino before and I find that I prefer a longer staple; this was so short that it kept trying to get away from me. It spins up beautifully fine, but I'm not a diligent enough spinner for merino. Give me Romney or Coopworth any day; I can spin them in my sleep – or while chatting, as I used to do at spinning demos - or looking around and daydreaming. Merino wanted more attention than that. Still, it sure is pretty. Can't wait to see what it feels like plied up and with the twist set.

Now I've got to decide what to spin next. I've got a half dozen more variegated rovings from Lynn at the Yarn Wench – all of them gorgeous. Some each of Romney, Falkland, Domestic and Blue-Faced Leicester. It's an embarrassment of riches, is what it is. Decisions, decisions. I've never spun BFL before which makes it perhaps not the best choice while I'm still rusty – but I like the blue/green colorway best… Nah, I'll go with some nice familiar Romney - in a most unusual-for-me color. Meet Hoochie Mama:
making_stuff: (Handwoven)
I've been so distracted by beading lately since I made this entry that I had been neglecting this project. But today I sat down and wove for several hours and rediscovered the excitement. This is where I am:

A bit over 4" done now, and the pattern is starting to emerge nicely. I did the cartoon on Excel and I'm using it to track my progress, by updating to remove the cell borders (the grid lines) on each row I complete. This is what it looks like today:

I really like this piece. I have to avoid getting sidetracked again, and keep working to get it done. Perhaps I should set myself a daily quota of x number of rows. Hmmm….
making_stuff: (Beading)
The ornaments are coming along. I have made nets for 18 and embellished three seven so far.
The nets:

And the embellished ones:

I got a bunch of plastic pearls from the craft store, both 6mm and 12mm, and have gone a bit overboard with them – or could you tell? But if there's a right time for overdoing the decorations, it's Christmas, I figure. Pretty much everything else is over the top, so why not get into the spirit. All kidding aside, these ornaments do look good hung on a tree, if I do say so myself.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
A necklace with matching earrings:

The necklace started with the focal bead, which is a Cellini spiral made of #12 black AB, #10 black, and #6 black AB seed beads. I strung the necklace around it. It's tigertail strung with #6 black and black AB seed beads, plus black glass puffy rectangles (like Chiclets) and black dyed wood points. Mag clasp and crimp cover beads. 17.25" long. Earrings to match. Crystal is pleased with them - she tells me she is wearing them to a big party on Saturday- and I am pleased with my logo. All is well with the world.
making_stuff: (Default)
It was time for a logo for Weaverbird Designs. I've always wanted one because logos are cool, and it would come in handy, especially now that I am selling a piece of jewelry now and then – and may at some point sell beaded ornaments. I wanted something simple and a bit abstract. And it had to be black and white, so that I could print hang tags or whatever on my laser printer. So I asked a graphic designer friend, Crystal Burnett of if she was interested in a trade: logo for jewelry. To my delight she said yes! Working from my description of what I was looking for – terribly vague and unhelpful – she created this lovely thing:

What do you think? I'm over the moon –I keep grinning at the print out of it I've got tacked up next to my monitor and going, "I CAN HAZ LOGO!" (My inner lolcat got loose in all the excitement, clearly.) More than worth what I traded for it, in my opinion.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
A friend commissioned me to make her a bracelet. She wanted something bangly in cool colors and crystal/clear. I hadn't made a proper bracelet before so it presented me with some design challenges. Bracelet 1.0 (the flash washed out the color, but it is actually a nice, dark cobalt):

I made tubular peyote beads an inch long out of #11 beads in cobalt transparent, cobalt transparent matte, and crystal. The silvery beads are from the stash. Strung them on tigertail that is strung end to end with transparent blue seed beads. Crimped the ends and attached the clasp with jump rings. First time using a magnetic clasp and I am in love. Good thing I bought a bunch because I'll be using them! I worked peyote over the crimps and the loops of tigertail to hide them – a pain in the butt, but effective. Result: ok, but not great. The tubular beads are too long and make the bracelet angular instead of round.

On to Bracelet 1.1 (same beads, just better lighting for a truer color):

This time I made the tubular beads ½ inch long. I spaced them with 6mm clear glass druks (that fit part way into the ends of the tube beads, neatly hiding the tigertail and making stringing seed beads on the wire unnecessary), cobalt glass donuts, and some pewter beads from the stash. AND I attached the mag clasp directly to the tigertail this time – no jump rings. Also used crimp cover beads to hide the crimps, for a much smoother look the piece. My friend loves it. Success!
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
I finished the earrings begun in my post from 28 October and my friend is pleased.

The neon orange should just suit her granddaughter and she loves the silver ones for herself. The silver ones are better made than the prototype: I got some longish header pins to make the spine and then popped the tubular peyote over it. I decreased at the top of the tube to keep the bead centered over the pearl. They swing much more freely than the prototype and look much better. Add that to the Things Learned file.
making_stuff: (Jewelry)

Shiny! Peyote stitch, with a beaded toggle and loop closure. Fun to make and very instructive.

details behind the cut )
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
I tried working some flat peyote stitch with Delicas today. Wow. I see why people get so attached to them. Too bad they are three to five times as expensive as the humble Japanese seed beads I usually use. They are worth it, but damn. I only have these because an acquaintance was tidying up her stash a number of years ago and gave me a few grams of four colors, no doubt in the hopes of converting me. They've been sitting in my stash ever since, smirking at me. So today I threaded a #12 sharp with some black "O" size Nymo and gave them a try. I made myself a ring.

click for some more details )
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
Earrings! Someone at work, having seen the silver necklace and unable to afford it, asked me if I do earrings and I said yes - although the only ones I've ever made before were the Cat Bead Earrings. Fools rush in and all that, right? So, based on her descriptions of what she had in mind, I made some prototypes.

She liked the grey very much and ordered a pair, and she wants the tiny ones made in neon colors for her granddaughter. The fuschia ones didn't fly - but she wants another design in those colors. Pretty cool - especially considering that I've never worn earrings and so don't have a feel for them. We will see.

And another co-worker would like to see bracelets. This could be fun. *g*
making_stuff: (Jewelry)
Continuing the seasonal theme begun here. This one in winter colors. It reminds me of moonlight on snow.

I've changed the design a bit - doing away with the cuffs between nuts. Now instead of a long tubular net, I made a net for each nut individually, linked to the next with tubular peyote. Much cleaner look. And this one is shorter, with a clasp. Here's detail of the net and connector between nuts:

Thinking of putting this one up for sale, but with the economy the way it is, there isn't much market for expensive frills - and I won't sell this for less than it's worth.

Next up, Spring and Summer versions. Summer will be deep greens and golden yellow, with unpainted hazelnuts. Spring is still in the planning stages. So far, I'm thinking bright greens, blues and pinks - all matte - with pale green hazelnuts. But that could change.

Earrings to go with might be a good idea. Hmmmm....
making_stuff: (Handwoven)
Inspired by pictures I've seen recently of some gorgeous knotted pile work (carpets and some astonishing silk handbags) I warped up the loom with some sturdy multi-ply cotton seine twine (very like butcher's twine, but a little thicker) at 8 epi, 2 yards long, 12" wide in an 8-dent reed.

I plan to make a bag. 36" of fabric will wrap around to make a bag 12" high, 2" deep, with an 8" flap. For the sides and strap, I plan on tablet or inkle weaving a continuous strip.

Played around with Excel to get a cartoon. (set row height and column width to match – I use 20 pixels – and then color the cells, just like using markers on graph paper only faster and so much easier to tweak) and came up with a four-color simple design of interlaced diamonds that looks interesting.

Then I pulled down the bags and bags of rug wools I've had stashed on the top shelf for a million years. They are mostly browns and burnt oranges and a really lovely maroon that makes me think of oak leaves in the fall. (I want to do a tapestry of oak leaves with this stuff at some point.) Best of all was a bag of a slate blue that looks like it's been dyed with indigo.

Lots of pondering ensued, and finally I picked the blue, the maroon, a chestnut brown and a dusty salmony pink and got to work. Sixteen rows of Ghiordes knots later, it looks like this:

The lighting does terrible things to the colors in this shot, but at least the knots are clear . I'll get some natural daylight pictures as the weaving progresses.

It's weaving up at 10 rows of knots per inch. That makes 17,280 knots in the planned 36" of bag fabric. Meep. This is pretty ambitious, considering that the only other knotted pile I've done was a 6"x8" sample for a spinning/weaving demo, but the knotting is going very smoothly – I got into a rhythm right away – so it should be fun, especially when I get to the more complex bits of the pattern.

I've cut a bunch of each yarn, using a nifty jig that's marketed to the latch-hook crowd, and keep it in mugs, sorted by color, next to the loom. Knotting with pre-cut yarn is much speedier than the traditional method of passing the ball of yarn around the warps (and around and around) and then cutting the pile for each knot. Eesh. Tradition is lovely and all, but that's way, way too slow for me. I'll ditch it in favor of efficiency, thanks.