Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Friday, 23 June 2017

Little details ....

Hi Everyone
If you are a regular reader, you will know, I've been working on a series of new projects over the last few weeks and I'm sharing one of the finished pieces today - a  Kumihimo bracelet. Read back a few weeks for more on this project and the range of projects involved in my series.
My finished Kumihimo bracelet  is here :

                   
I've used a range of blue/grey beads with blue cord as well as a little Bee charm. The bracelet has turned out quite well and is pretty to wear. I added the beads in two sections with a small space in between  - just big enough for a few silver rings and a charm. I'm not sure about the lobster clasp - I think, I would prefer a much larger version. I'm on a mission to find one !
My other very important task on Fridays is to report progress on my Hanabira. The Hanabira is a crochet cardigan, again, read back on Fridays to check out the detail on the Hanabira.Unfortunately, I've not made too much progress on the Hanabira this week. Last week, I mentioned starting the body section of the cardigan. I'm still there ! The body does not seem to have grown too much. I think, I may have completed only four or five rows. However, I will get there - eventually, so I will just keep going.

                        
I'm hoping the sleeve openings are sufficient but not too large ! At each stage of the make, I'm nervous about my approach, mainly because my crochet pattern reading skills are limited. I've decided to just go with it, the worst thing that could happen is I need to pull it out and start again !!!
 I need to make a new pledge to myself - two or three rows each day. That's my goal for next week.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

New Tool

Hi Everyone 
I'm sharing the necklace (almost) that I made yesterday. This is my final Kumihimo sample, although I do half a plan to develop earrings using the Kumihimo technique - will report here on the blog when so have something to share.

                     
The necklace braid has a variety of beads combined in a random pattern. I simply changed the bead when I felt I'd like a 'change' in the threading stage. The result is a very pretty 'look'. I need to add some form of clasp and will do that today. I'm looking forward to wearing the necklace and think it will be a good length for many of my dresses and tops I have. I tend not to wear a necklace very often but I think this one maybe an exception .

My other job today will be some work on the Fabric Bracelet Project (see background here). I've acquired a new tool to help with the job - amongst other projects in the planning. The new tool is a Bias Tape maker. 

                       
If you are not sure what Bias tape is - take a look here for more information. I have owned a similar tool before but this one seems easier to use and comes in four different sizes. My idea is to create a neat and easy tape with folded edges in a fabric of choice - rather than using a limited range of plain colours (usually the only Bias Binding tape available). The process starts with a long length of fabric, cut to a specific width and on the bias. The length of fabric is fed into the tool and both sides are folded (within the tool) to produce the tape. As the tape appears from the tool, it's ironed into a permanent neat tape.
My plan for the tape (in this project) is to use the tape as a type of ribbon rather than a binding fabric, although I may use this approach too.
I'll post my results when I have something to share.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Kumihimo plus

Hi Everyone
I didn't manage much progress yesterday, I had a lovely day - 'lunching' and looking for interior decoration ideas at IKEA. I'm happy to say - I found lots of new ideas. However, progress with my projects has suffered. I did manage to create a new bracelet sample (top) :

                            
The new sample has a gap in the beading - I'd like to add another element to this part of the bracelet. I'm not sure if I should  make a beaded tube or add a polymer bead, designed for the job ? My plan is to add the fastening and go from there.

The last sample (bottom row) - is underway ! The mess (bottom left) is using longer lengths of braid with a wider variety of beads. The beads (bottom right) will be spread across the braid which I'm hoping will be long enough for a complete necklace. As I need more length for the necklace, the individual braiding threads are more difficult to manage. I'm using little flat thread bobbins (7) and testing a metal washer (1) to hold the beads as well as try to organise the threads. It's a bit of a fight at the begining ! I want the final braid to be neat and even and I need some control over how I add beads to the braid, hopefully I have the system to do this !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Project Week Progress

Hi Everyone
I'm having an extra week working on my new workshop projects this week. I'm hoping to develop little steps from each of the five projects and complete by Friday. Yesterday, I worked on Dorset Buttons and the Kumihimo Braids. The Dorset Buttons involved making more samples - this time with multiple colour buttons. Both new buttons used cotton embroidery thread.

                          
As you can see from the photo - each of the new buttons introduced three colours of thread and I simply tried different stitch patterns to create different interest in the buttons. I'm thinking of one more sample using seed beads.
The Kumihimo Braid Project samples have cord ends - I now need to choose fastenings. 

                        
Ive started another braid in a teal colour and will try a different style of bead braiding with this one. I also have lots of wide cord ends in my stash - much too big for the braiding I've made. I'm thinking of experimenting with thicker threading to see if I can make cord to suit the ends, so will aim to make another braid. My plan is to have a total of four completed braids.
Today, I'm concentrating on the Kumihimo Project so should have more to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Dorset Buttons

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the Dorset Button developments from last week today. I've started to experiment with different threads to find my preferred finish but have stuck with the traditional weaving pattern on the buttons for my first samples.

                      
My first button, pink, was a little messy and the mustard shade ended a little short of thread. However, I managed tomproduce a purple mauve button which turned out well. All these buttons were made with the same size brass ring and covered in the same way. I used  a fine wool yarn for the mauve and purple sample,the others are made with embroidery cotton.
There are lots of different sample stitches for these buttons and my next move is to try out a variety of weaving finishes. If you look at my inspiration buttons from Friday, the different colours and variation in stitch patterns give a completely different look.

                            
I'm hoping to try a few different patterns on new samples later today. I'd also like to find a variety of ring sizes to add another variation.

Thanks for calling in today.



Friday, 16 June 2017

Project Roundup

Hi Everyone
It's the last day of my new projects week and today it's Dorset Buttons. If you never heard of these items, Dorset Buttons have a long story. Just to give a little background, a Dorset Button is a style of hand crafted button originating in the English county of Dorset. Their manufacture was at a peak between 1622 and 1850, after which they were overtaken by machine-made buttons from factories in the developing industries of growing cities in England. During their heyday making Dorset Buttons was a big and very important industry, practiced by many people. 
The buttons are created using a ring (in my case - made of Brass) and thread or yarn. The yarn or thread is wound and woven around the ring in various ways to form many different styles of button. I'm taking inspiration from a couple of Pinterest examples to develop my project.

                     

The necklace maker can be found on Etsy here and the earrings here. I'm not quite sure what my end project will aim for at the moment ? I'm focused on practicing the actual Dorset Button basic technique today and will find inspiration while I'm making. I quite like the idea of using different colours within each button but I've no fixed ideas.

Details from my other projects  this week can be found on blog episodes each day. I've made prototypes for each project and costed for a workshop. I need to make some modifications for each and will write up tutorials over the next few weeks. Hopefully, I will have 5 new workshops - ready to go by the end of June. I'm planning further work on the series of workshops next week and will share photos here on the blog.
Just a little peak at yesterday's initial results of the Paper Flower project :

                     

As its Friday, I'm  also sharing progress on the Hanabira crochet cardigan - 

                       

Read back for more on this project (each Friday). I've started to crochet the body of the cardigan. The top part of the cardigan is complete and the arm holes are prepared. I'm feeling the project is going OK at the moment. I've mentioned before, my reservations about my own crochet skills and the potential sizing issues but at this point -  I'm enjoying making this garment. So all is well !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Paper Flowers

Hi Everyone
It's Day 4 of my new project week today. My next project is called Paper Flowers.

                       
The flowers will be made from coloured crepe paper with florist wire for stems. The stems will be covered with green florist tape. I will experiment with different colours combinations as well as bloom sizes. I've developed a number of paper templates for the petals and am hoping to learn how I can use the petals to build a realistic flower. I will need to adjust sizes and possibly petal shapes. I may need to use paint on the individual petals - I'll decide after a I make my first flower. Photos to follow tomorrow.
I'm also wondering how to develop vases to hold the flowers ? I had some ideas for felt covered bottles ? - not sure at this stage. I will produce some sample flowers and decide whats needed.

I didn't manage any work yesterday, on the previous 3 projects - so nothing more to share (read back yesterday for the latest update).

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bead Loom Project

Hi Everyone
It's Day 3 and another project in my project development week. This time it's a Bead Loom bracelet.

                        
I've modified a bracelet that I made a while ago and will develop more samples to accommodate a variety of clasps for a workshop. The beaded section in my photo will probably get the slide clasp with the safety chain but I also have a couple of other clasps which need the design to be changed slightly. I have lots of ideas for different sized beads and will try out some new combinations. I'll spend some time on this project today alongside the previous two (read back earlier this week for more information on project 1 and 2).

Now for an update on day 1 and 2 projects : 
Day 1 - Kumihimo Jewels

           

Day 2 - Fabric Cuff

            
Both projects have moved on and I'm reasonably happy with progress. I will keep going with all three projects today - I only have a half day today, so probably won't make too much progress. The Kumihimo project is almost there but the Fabric Cuff needs more experiments. I've broken down the further development of each project into sections so have a good idea of what I need to do next.

Thanks for calling in today.


Fabric Bracelets - Day 2

Hi Everyone
It's Day 2 of my project development week. Today, I'm working on a Fabric Cuff style bracelet.

                     

I'm inspired by these cuff bracelets and will go for a similar design using fabric and ribbon. I'd like to try and develop polymer Charm Labels. I'm going for a metal- like clay and will experiment with rubber stamps to get my words onto the charms. I'm not sure about the fastening at the moment ? Perhaps, I'll go for a button or possibly a standard clasp ? - will see how things go.

Now for a quick review of the Kumihimo Day 1 experiment.

                  I've worked with a variety of sized beads on my initial necklace - I didn't care for the colour combinations so this sample came out. However, I'll make another using these size beads - I like the idea of this one. I also used something called Fray Block for the first time. This is a gel substance which turns the ends of the threading cord into a needle like 'tool'. Picking up beads can be tricky and this gel worked brilliantly. I can highly recommend the gel. All that's required is to stick the ends of the cord into the Fray Block tube, pull out and wait for a few mins. - miraculously, the cord turns stiff and maintains this state - ready for picking up beads (directly onto the cord) from a bead mat.

My second Kumihimo sample is a simple bracelet braid with two types of small seed beads -

                      
I particularly like this design - it's blue (of course) and will be a simple, easy to wear bracelet.

I'm still working on the Kumihimo project and will hopefully develop both projects (day 1 and 2) 'side by side' today.
The aim of my week was to develop a new body of work for workshops, not necessarily that all projects will be finished. Realistically, I'd like to get outline designs by the end of the week which will be the basis for a range of workshop projects or not !  It could be that my ideas are not practical for groups of new makers .

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Kumihimo Experiments

Hi Everyone
I'm starting a week of new projects this week. Each day, I'm hoping to develop a new project which will work up to a Making Workshop. I've a number of different techniques to try out each day. In total, I'm hoping for five new projects.
My first experiment for today is a Kumihimo braided necklace. 

                                


Kumihimo  is a Japanese form of braiding. My experiment will use a foam disc and cord to interlace the strands. A Kumihimo  is Japanese for "gathered threads". I've used this technique for braiding before but will need a bit of a reminder and am hoping to use a variety of different sized beads. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow, I'll share my results and introduce my 'Tuesday Experiment'.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Knitting and crochet - Plan B

Hi Everyone
Having re started the Hannabira crochet cardigan with a Plan B (read back earlier this week for details), I've also created a Plan B for my most recent sock knit. I've actually finished both socks too ! Although, I can get the socks onto my feet (with a bit of a struggle) the fit is much too tight. 
I've decided to pull back the leg part of the socks and enlarge the 'instep' area. I may need to accept that the sock pattern does not work for me ? but I'm going to give one more try to improve the fit.

                         

I'm also keen to get onto my next sock project - which will use a sock blank, very exciting !

As it's Friday, I'm also giving a brief update on the Hannabira. My plan is to record the progress of this project each week and will share how things are going with photos and a little details about the pattern. I'm calling this week of the project - 'week 1' (I'd quite like to forget about my previous attempt) !
 I re started the cardigan (only a few days ago ) AND I'm pleased to say, I'm a little ahead of where I was - prior to Plan B ! I'm still on the first part of the pattern which is called the Neckband - so, very early days. I'm about half way through the Neckband section. The Body section comes next.

                         

This project will challenge my crochet skills but I'm pleased how things are going, so far.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Mosaic Flowers

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a new project today. This new project is another one of my experiments at this stage. 

                         

I've been playing around with the idea of making something which could look good in a garden (my garden for now ! ).

 I've taken a wooden core, shaped as an organic, flower head. At the moment, I've simply tested out ideas on the wooden core and played around with placing colours and shapes of  small ceramic pieces of tile. My plan is to adhere the pieces onto the wood and grout them. The 'flowers' will then acquire a stake (in a pre made hole) to place them into the garden position.

I'm not sure exactly how I want the final samples should look ? I have collected some old broken white tiles as background 'filling in' material but I'm also considering crushed glass or aggregate of some sort ?

My next move is to get the ceramic material attached to the wood. My inclination is to keep the colours very simple by adding a background of the white small pieces of tile. I did consider covering all the wood core with ceramic pieces but I'm warming to the idea of painting the edges and the back.
I'll let you know what happens when I pluck up the courage to actually stick the tiles pieces to the wood ! - after sticking the tiles down, there is no return  for this experiment. However, there will be more 'flowers', I feel there needs to be lots more to provide an effective display.

Thanks for calling in today.

Hanabira - reborn

Hi Everyone
I know it's not Friday (my designated day for updating my current crochet project) but I am excited to share 'Plan B - the new Hanabira' crochet cardigan project. I think, I'm back on track ! You can read background on the project here.

To restart , I swatched 4 different options for the fabric and eventually decided on this one :
                     
                        
I've gone for a 6mm crochet hook and Merino sock yarn. The colour is a lovely Pistachio Green and very soft. Compared to my previous version of the Hanabira which used a linen mix, the yarn is so easy to work. I'm confident, at the moment !, this plan will work out and eventually - I will have my cardigan. I'm begining to enjoy the challenge again.

So far, I've created the Foundation Chain and organised the neckline markers for the pattern increases :


                          

As per the last plan, I'm hoping to crochet a little everyday and will update each Friday showing my progress.
Wish me luck !

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Beading Experiments

Hi Everyone
I've been spending a little time beading recently. I know lots of Makers, new the beading, often struggle making a beaded ring with a Peyote style technique. So, I've been developing a simple, step by step tutorial to help our Makers succeed. I'll report on my success after the first session !

                   



These particular experiments are linked to a Making Workshop later today but I've also been testing out some new ways of using a beading loom with small seed beads and developing additional polymer beads for use on the loom. The idea is to create a component from polymer which can be added to the loom and beaded in place. I'm experimenting with making several holes in the clay component 'in line' with the loom threading. The finished item, initially, will be a bracelet and the component will feature in the centre of the piece. I'm not quite there yet ! - but the first polymer component is similar to the beaded example (see photo) in a 'tartan like' pattern. More to follow over the next few weeks.
My sample above will adorn a fibre bracelet after the workshop today. I'll post an image of the finished piece when complete along with other samples created by our talented Makers.

Thanks for calling in today.

Working Progress

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing an update on my latest knitting project today, this the Miette Crop Cardigan by Andi Satterlund. I started last week while watching lots of tennis on TV and trying to work through a flue virus. I was feeling a bit better by the end of the week so spent most of two days knitting with my feet up ! This is the result :

                     

I was hoping I would have enough yarn (from a stash bag) to finish but it's obvious I will need a few more balls. The yarn is a linen mix and I'm holding two strands together, it knits up quickly but also takes up lots of yardage.I've almost finished one sleeve and I think that's probably all I will get from the yarn ! I'm planning to order more later today. 
I've been trying on the cardigan as I go and I do like it. I've altered the pattern a little - it's more boxy in shape and longer in the body and I've changed the shaping in the sleeves slightly to make them fit with more positive ease.. I need to complete both sleeves, add the button bands and neckband. I'd also like to add a ribbon backing for the button bands and have possible ribbon in my stash. I'm not sure about buttons ? - I don't think I have any candidates. I could possibly make some from polymer clay - will keep thinking about that one.
This project will go on hold for a day or two, until the new yarn arrives. I'll keep you updates on progress.

Thanks for calling in today. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Plan B

Hi Everyone
It's Friday's update on the Hanabira crochet project - you can read more about this project here. If you are a regular reader you will know, I'd already started this project a few weeks ago. Well - it's been ripped out and the yarn has gone elsewhere and doing very nicely as another cardigan. However, I'm determined to make my Hanabira so it's Plan B time. The problem with the previous yarn was the weight. It was definitely much too lightweight - the resulting fabric was tight and very heavy. So, Plan B - I've acquired some new yarn - not exactly the yarn in the original pattern but very close. I'm hoping this new yarn will act as the patterns directs.

                          
I haven't started working with the new yarn yet but having completed the initial neck section, I'm confident about how to start and I will complete a swatch before starting to check the gauge.
As I've said, the new yarn is a heavier weight and I'm  hoping the project will grow a little quicker than last time - I should be back on track soon. The colours in my photo are not quite showing the bright mustard/lime colour of the main part of the Hanabira. I'm very pleased with the new main colour - all is well there ! It's not quite the colour (again poor light is not giving a true mustard colour) of the first attempt but I will, of course, have a cardigan in that shade ! - again this is great news.  I also have a few more colours to choose from when it comes to the contrast sections, exciting choices to be made in due course, I'll decide when I get to the bottom and the sleeve cuffs.
I'm hoping this is it and I can get going later this afternoon. My hope is that I can set aside a little crochet time each day (as I did last time) and all will be well. I'll report on my progress next Friday.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Making Workshop

Hi Everyone
I'm doing a little preparation today for our next Making Workshop. We are still working on the Fibre Jewellery Project, which is in its 3rd and final phase. Read back a few weeks for more on this project. This time, the focus is on making some seed bead rings to embellish either bracelets or necklaces.

                      
Our regular Makers have developed some lovely items over the last couple of sessions and this ring embellishment idea is something which can be added to change the look of the piece, making it a more versatile item. 
Making beaded rings from seed beads can be a tricky process. Often, Makers new to beading find the construction of the ring rather difficult at first, so we will take it very slowly. I'm hoping everyone will be able to design and make their own rings after our session. I will be using a very simple Peyote technique.

I've developed a few rings for demonstration purpose but I'm hoping to embellish a new bracelet of my own too during the workshop. It will be interesting to see what our Makers come up with.

The Fibre Jewels Project has been a very satisfying project, all out Makers have developed interesting and innovative pieces. I will take some images of the jewels at out workshop (next Tuesday - 6/617) so we can share their Art.

Thanks for calling in today.