Something Borrowed, Something New

Jewellery-making continued…

Key Necklace:
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A remake of a necklace I made a while back with an old fob watch on it, but never wore it because it was too long and heavy. This is lighter and tidier.

Netted Stone:
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I’d seen something similar, with rough crystals and leather, on Pinterest. I used linen thread. It looked fiddly, but it turned out to be very easy. You don’t have to hold the stone while tying the knots. You just knot a round and test the net for size now, then repeat until it’s big enough. The closer together the rows of knots are, the less flexible the net is width-wise.

Amethyst and Linen:
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Adapted from a necklace in Micro Macrame Jewellery. I used the same linen from the Netted Stone, and amethyst chunks. There’s a lovely weight to this necklace – light but substantial.

After that I was drawn toward back to paper beads. But I found I didn’t have enough of those I’d made previously to do what I wanted to do, so I’ve wound up making and decorating beads instead of jewellery this last week. And resting my hands, as work is stirring up the rsi.

Typical Craft Twitch

I guess it was inevitable…

Friday night: untangled, culled and sorted jewellery
Saturday morning: bought lamp, mirror and materials to make jewellery display board
Saturday afternoon: made board, set up dressing table
Saturday evening: pulled apart some culled pieces and added to jewellery-making supplies
Sunday morning: culled and reorganised jewellery-making supplies
Sunday afternoon: read jewellery-making books and pinterest during work breaks, sketched ideas
Sunday evening: started fixing and making new jewellery, sketched ideas
Monday morning: culled more costume jewellery
Monday evening: made more jewellery
Tuesday morning: blogged about it

… but I’m not complaining. I’m relieved that I finally found my craft mojo again. Jewellery-making has always been an interest that comes in sudden bouts of inspiration, lasts a month or so then ebbs away. It’s good for a quick crafty fix, but it also reaches that ‘I don’t need another x or y” stage pretty quickly. That’s why a cull tends to lead to creating – it ‘makes room’. And the bonus is that I can pull apart and reuse the bits of pieces I’ve culled. This time I’ve taken that a step further, and culled things so that I can reuse components.

What have I made so far…

Map bead bracelet

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Pen nib pendant

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Geometric necklace

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Charm bracelet

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I also had fun taking the photos. Ah, bokeh, you’re almost retro already.

A Bit of Dressing Up

I’ve just finished a little weekend project, which had the added bonus of motivating me to unpack yet another box: a new costume jewellery board.

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Back at the last house I kept my costume jewellery on two pinboards I bought and covered with calico:

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There’s no convenient alcove to use as a dressing table here. Initially I wanted to put a shelf in the walk-in-robe, but there wasn’t room for it. The next choice was having an actual dressing table in the bedroom. Using the old Singer sewing machine table seemed like a good option as it’s small and cute and it means we don’t have to buy another piece of furniture, so I put it in position… and covered it in unpacked boxes of bags, shoes and jewellery.

I had a table, but what about a place to display jewellery? For a while I flirted with the idea of turning my old printer drawer into one, but most of my costume jewellery is necklaces and the compartments are the wrong size.

So I eyed those old pinboards. They were the wrong colour for the bedroom, so I’d have to sand and repaint, replace the fabric, and make two new holes in the wall to hang them. Or I could take that old metal poster frame with no board or glass that’s been hanging around in the garage, buy a new board and come cork squares that happened to be exactly the right size to fit 2 x 3 in the frame…

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… then glue the tiles, assemble the frame and hang it up by a chain to a new nail in the existing nail hole, stick some pins in it, unpack, cull and hang the jewellery…

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The end result looks great and was pretty quick to knock together. The cork and black frame match the sewing table wood colour and cast iron base. I also bought a lamp and mirror on the same trip to get the tiles and board. And I’ve moved my make-up and perfume into some decorative boxes.

The old pinboards are going into the craft room, where I’m sure I’ll get plenty of of use out of them as inspiration boards.

And speaking of inspiration, I now feel the urge to make some jewellery…

Craft WIPs

Tapestry Bracelet – Abandoned
I went off the boil with this project. The trouble is, though I’ve sewed in the ends, the flower yarn is slippery enough that they worked their way out again. And it’s was such slow work. This is about five or more hour’s worth. Zzzznore!

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Art Necklace – in hiatus
I was going to fill the frames with little paintings of eyes and ears and mouths, then after I started embroidering I got the itch to stitch something instead. But I couldn’t think of a subject. Lately I’m thinking photos of my ancestors might be better – and much faster.

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Double Trouble Baby Blankets – picking up again
Inspired by a weaving group meeting on multiple projects on one warp at the Guild, I cut a warp for two baby blankets late March. I lost momentum for this project for a little while, but resumed warping a few weeks ago. Last weekend I finally finished and started weaving. I’d really like to give one of the blankets to a friend who had a baby in April.

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Two Heddle Leno Scarf – established
Another project inspired by the weaving group, after a meeting in which we explored bead leno. I got to thinking that bead leno should be possible on the rigid heddle loom if it had two heddles. Well, I didn’t manage to do bead leno, but worked out a way to do doup leno with tabby between.

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Gift Yarn Jacket Modification – current tv project
Adding another band of ribbing to this:

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Eye Embroidery – poised to begin
The skull was a great ongoing brainless portable project that I could pick up while watching tv or work on while travelling. Now that it’s done I’ve got this eye ready to go.

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Stitching

This was the only embroidery project I started while overseas. I got the ‘eye’ of the feather done, then finished the branches at home. It’s done with cotton floss, using one thread.

Mounting it was easier than I hoped. I’d cut an oval of clear plastic the same shape as the setting’s interior to stretch the fabric around, and stuck double-sided tape inside the setting to hold it in place. I’m relieved and rather chuffed that both ideas worked – the fabric stretched smoothly over the plastic and the tape appears to be holding it securely in place.

I gave the front of it a spray with shoe waterproofer in the hope this would prevent staining. Then I stole a chain from another necklace.

It’s definitely a winner in my eyes. I love it!

In other embroidery news, I’m still working on the skull:

It’s slow but satisfying work – also done with one thread of cotton floss. I’ve also started another pendant design:

This one’s using with three threads of floss which is giving it an appealing bulk and sponginess, though I might do the veins and arteries with single threads.

Tidy Up

I’m loving how spacious my workroom feels now, and it seems to have inspired me to do some crafting (pics later).

Here’s the corner of the workroom where the day bed used to be:

As you can see, it’s bright and airy. The cat has accepted a basket as a replacement for the day bed, which is now downstairs in the lounge.

I’ve come to the conclusion that shifting things from the edges of the room to the centre back in 2012 was a mistake. It felt too cluttered, even if it did mean I could fit more into the room. This is the plan I drew up during that reshuffle:

Looks good in 2D, not so good in 3D.

Discovering that the drawing board converts to a table also makes me very happy. It’ll get much more use like this, and I can always swivel it into a vertical position if I want to draw.

I’d left a few unfinished projects scattered over my old wooden table when I went overseas so I’ve been tackling a few of them (or deciding they weren’t such a great idea after all – time away can give you a fresh perspective). I used fabric pens to draw on two buttons I made when testing if I could make badges with fabric:

And I framed the cat embroideries:

I also used up some more wooden beads to make this simple necklace:

And I sit and stitch of an evening, when I’m not nodding off thanks to the lingering weariness from a very busy month overseas.

Jewellery FOs

Most of the to-do list items that I was able to put in the TV Craft list were jewellery projects. Tackling them in the evenings meant I got through them in a few days, so fast I wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before. I guess I really was in a ‘meh craft’ mood these last six weeks.

Back when ordering some jewellery findings online during that last big jewellery making obsession I saw some interesting beads on sale. Tagua nuts, also known as ‘vegetable ivory’, come from a species of palm and, when dried, resemble elephant ivory. I loved the bright colours and the organic shapes, and I was intrigued, so a pack went into my cart.

There were five flat beads. I made one into a simple necklace:

I have plans for combining others with silver clay shapes, so they’ll need to wait for Jewellery Day.

The flat beads came with several small round ones in the same colours. I wasn’t as keen on them, mostly because the backs are flatter and obviously the ‘wrong’ side on a bead you can’t easily prevent flipping over. It took me a while to come up with a design that got around that. the answer: put them back to back:

I’d picked up the parts for the next project at the recent Quilt and Craft Show, and it was just a matter of assembling it:

The inspiration was actually the leather strap, meant for bag handles, but I figured it would need a large pendant to stop it looking too much like a collar. The gemstone caught my eye, transparent at the top and opaque below, with greys between.

Two other projects on my to-do list were scratched. One was to turn some pieces of chain maille (long story) into new jewellery, but I found the rings too tough on my hands to bend open and closed.

Another two just needed some superglue, including this bracelet:

Yeah, that’s the one I wove with one side of the clasp the wrong way around. I had to cut the rings on the clasp and carefully thread the stings onto a needle, turn the needle around and transfer them on again. The thread is so fine it gets caught in the breaks in the rings. Hopefully the glue will stop them slipping out.

The only item left for Jewellery Day is to try silver clay. Which will happen in two stages: one for shaping clay, another for firing once it’s dry, then polishing it and assembling pieces.

Superhero Accessory

Once I decided I needed a Golden Age of Comics accessory, I immediately thought of my friend Margaret, who makes fabulous bags and jewellery – some with movie themes. I contacted her to see if she had anything already made. She didn’t, but she did have some fabric with a Superhero theme and made me this awesome clutch:

I also sent her a link to some great non-character-specific comic themed jewellery. There wasn’t time to commission any, and Margaret was keen to try making something similar using Shrinky Dink plastic. I created the ‘ZZAP!’ design and sent it to her, and she came up with the rest. A few jewellery findings later and we had this:

I’m all set for some heroic partying!

Teev Jewellery

I’ve put a ban on jewellery-making. What started out as a bit of fixing, finishing and refashioning turned into (mostly thanks to Pinterest) a bit of a mini obsession. My jewellery hanging boards and hooks are getting crowded and I’m beginning to wonder when I’ll find the opportunity to wear it all.

The trouble is, I discovered that I could whip up a new piece of an evening while watching tv, which is why knitting was such an easy hobby to get addicted to. I’ve put a box of interesting objects to draw and a sketchbook there instead, or else I turn off the tv and get some reading done.

Here are the last pieces I made. First, a turquoise and black necklace with a magnet closure:

Designed to be the right length to turn into a bracelet:

And I’d been wondering what to do with these droplet beads until I saw this lovely necklace on Pinterest:

I had enough chain and beads to make a bracelet to match.

The ban is only temporary. Paul and my parents bought me, on request, a silver metal clay kit for Christmas. But since the firing requires a dark but well ventilated room, the only safe place is the garage, which at this time of year is likely to be uncomfortably hot. So I’m saving that for autumn and cooler weather. In the meantime I can plan and read up on it, which is a good idea since the silver clay is VERY expensive.

2012: Craft

The machine knitting:

Not as much weaving compared to previous years, but a lot of time went into inkle weaving:

I also didn’t do as many home decorating projects as usual, just a bit of macrame and a garden seat:

But I did make a LOT of jewellery:

(Some of the jewellery I made during the year is missing, as I decided I didn’t like it and returned the parts to my jewellery-making box.)

I also made some paper beads:

And I had my usual bout of the refashioning bug in Spring:

During Blogtoberfest I revived a stamp making hobby and made lots of wrapping paper:

And, of course, I made Christmas cards: