Monday, April 30, 2012

and Bright Blue Beads

I've noticed "collar" style necklaces in the shops lately, but they're two chunky for my taste. Here's a much more delicate take on the idea.
Please excuse my dusty old black t-shirt, fresh from a bout of house cleaning. And please admire my cleverness in photographing the necklace in action. I suddenly realised that I could point the camera at myself and check the viewfinder in the reflection. The focus isn't brilliant, but it's better than the funny effects I would have got from the grotty mirror. Believe me! 

Just one more bit of cleverness to cap off a good day. I'm typing this on Sunday afternoon, but have scheduled the post for tomorrow morning when I'll be busy elsewhere. I know lot of people schedule posts, but I've never done it before. I'm hoping it will work.

Edited to add:
Not so clever after all. I've just got home and published this manually. Whatever I did to "schedule" it wasn't right. I'll have to try again sometime.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Brighten My Day

I'm stitching away at this hand-dyed bamboo fibre.

It's smooth in my fingers and bright to look at--and an easy pattern. All perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon.

It's a little birthday project, so no more details at this stage.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Doing and Undoing

I don't know if you noticed that my beading attempt on the blue-green cabuchon used the same base as my free-form wiring attempt. I deliberately broke and pulled off the silver wire wrapping I'd tried previously.

I like the empty shell of woven strands of wire better than I liked the original setting. I think I'll work with that idea. As for this cabuchon, I've already pulled the beading out twice and it's still not working the way I would like it to. I think it might be the size of the beads I'm working with, so I'll have to try some different ones. I do like the effect of the teal beads against the stone, so I'll stick with that idea.

By the way, it took quite a bit of effort to break off the improvised bail from the free-form wiring. That's good news for when I want to make a piece using this technique.

Friday, April 27, 2012


My small experience of printing from my linocut the other day has warmed my creative juices and fired up my imagination. As usual I'm generating a thousand ideas and will struggle to implement a few, but the energy of all those possibilities is a good thing. So I picked this grevillea flower on my way home from my walk today and kept getting closer to it with my macro lens, trying to see elements which I could use for a design. 

I didn't pick--but looked with interest at--lots of other leaves and flowers which might also become designs. Probably I should start with something simpler, but it's good to dream.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I woke up late and missed my walk. I didn't get out to the studio, but had enough bits and pieces in my living room to do a bit of beading in the little pockets of time I didn't think I had.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get organised and finish the job.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank You

I just spent an afternoon learning about printmaking. I'd carved a lino-print for a project and then  found myself stuck, having never printed anything of that magnitude before. My limit was handcarved stamps a couple of inches across.  Amanda has heaps of experience with printmaking, but isn't used to working with fabric. We met at Sussex Neighbourhood House and ended up with this.

The process was slower and richer than I had expected. And the thought of being able to make my own prints on fabric is absolutely thrilling. Thanks Amanda!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quick Post and Another Confession

I was sure I didn't need any more fabric when I agreed to meet a friend at a local fabric store the other day. My plan was to enjoy her fabrics and head off for a coffee, however when I saw these two prints I didn't even try to resist.

In case you want some, the selvedge says, "world of Susybee for Hamil Textiles Design # SB 20049" and "20052".

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peyote Practice

I finished the peyote stitch cabuchon with a little beaded bail. And made a couple of little earings to match.

I'm thinking I'll string the cabuchon on a ribbon, since I'm not sure how much wear the beaded bail will take. The earings are a simple strip of peyote stitch using the same beads. I'll string them on jump rings since they're nice and light.

And no, I'm not planning any grand occasion for these classic beauties. I think I'll use them to dress up a plain t-shirt.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


It's been a week of cool misty mornings clearing to sunny days and I've been taking advantage of the opportunity to walk as often as I can. My regular track follows a nearby creek--lots of trees but not many of them deciduous. Nevertheless the weather has me thinking of autumn colours. I spun these up this morning.

These are not so much the colours I see around me this autumn. Maybe I'm trying to capture some of the feel of autumn and the promise of warmth. Anyway I've got enough for another pair of wrist warmers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Subtle Things

I came home from my walk today with several sprigs of evergreen.

I like to think about the subtle differencs in colour, texture and pattern. And the scent . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today I finally got around to beading this semi-precious stone teardrop that I bought years ago. It's so long ago that I can't even remember what the stone is called, but I still love it. Originally I had hoped to set it with silver-clay, but that hasn't happened. Today I had a go with little seed beads and peyote stitch.

Funnily enough, I thought I was going to be working on this when I made my twisty beaded thing on the weekend. Apparently I wasn't in a regular mood at the time. Today I was happy to take it slowly and carefully. I think I'll add one more row of beads to secure the front. Then I'll have to figure out how to make a beaded bail so I can hang it on a chain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's Treasure

I picked up this little feather on my way home from my walk this morning.

I have new patchwork students starting today. It's always fun to see the fabrics they choose for their first 9-patch blocks. And the topic of contrast always comes up. So the little feather on birch table-top is in honour of contrasts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ruffled Now

The garter stitch scarf now has its crochet ruffle.

It's a gentle ruffle as ruffles go, more like gentle waves lapping at the edges of the sea colours.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I was still in the mood for experimenting. The light isn't very good this morning, so this is shot in artificial light, but it should give you the idea.

The beads themselves were rather irregular, plus the bead-weaving was a bit random--based on a circular shape with uneven increases to give the twisted and ruffled effect. I think I'll wear it today.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I've had some fun with freeform wire work before and I've been keen to try some more. I decided to see what I could do with this large bead. Unfortunately I've used up all my thicker wire on this project. And I haven't been able to find a local supplier where I can buy more. I'll have to order it from the USA. Anyway, I decided to try working with four thicknesses of the finer wire--it's 26 ga.

I'm not entirely happy with the result, but it was certainly worth the experimenting time. I like the pattern of wild-weaving I ended up with. I think the multiple finer strands work well there, but the finishing was really difficult. The finer wires don't tuck in well. I didn't want to end up with any loose ends or scratchy rough areas. And the bail was too fine. I tried to thicken it up by winding extra strands of wire around it, but I don't like the effect in contrast to the smoother texture on the rest of the bead. I'm also not entirely convinced that the shiny metal textures around the surface make the most of the underlying semi-precious stone.

My alternative approach for this bead is to nest it in some bead weaving. I don't have time for that today, so I'll just let this sit for now.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Walking Again

I took another long walk this morning and came home with this twisted leaf.

Now I'm off to the studio to see if I can get inspired or at least into some sort of work mode.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Small Things

I've been regularly walking again the last week or so: a long walk through several adjoining parks. It's good for my body and mind. And I come home with little treasures like this.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where Are They Now?

The baby booties are all knitted up. I decided I need to block them somehow. There are a few oddly stretched looking stitches as a result of the short-row shaping which forms to foot of the bootie. So, here they are floating in my bathroom basin.
When they've had a good soak, I'll tug them around a bit and see if I can get those stitches to sit nicely. Then I'll have to find somewhere to let them sit to dry slowly. There's a row of eyelets around the ankle, so a little bit of ribbon is also on the list. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm hoping to finish this pair of baby booties today.

The combination of 8-ply yarn, 4 mm dpns and a small item is feeling rather clumsy in my hands, so I've been procrastinating, but now they're just about done. The pattern is from Yarn Thrower. The yarn is leftover from my new bright blue baggy beret. There's also a bottom-up version of this pattern. I may try that next. Or I might cast on another pair of socks for me. I turned the heater on for the first time yesterday--winter weather is coming on.

Now, back to the knitting and I should have these done very soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unhappy Needle

My planned ruffle was not a success. I guess I tried to force too many stitches into too small a space. This was the result.

I don't think it can be fixed, so I'll need to replace it. Meanwhile I've ripped out the offending stitches and am back to a plain garter stitch scarf. I guess it will have to be a crochet ruffle.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Garter Stitch Plus

I have been knitting this scarf. The base is plain garter stitch in a combination of sea colours which I spun up a while ago.

I'm now knitting--would you believe a ruffle! I'll do one along each long edge of the scarf.

And you can see my dogs are still being up close and personal while I take things easy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Two chocolate Easter bunnies have disappeared from my home in recent days.

I have been knitting, but not much else. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Pair of Socks

I finished another pair of socks this morning.

This is the first time I've been seriously tempted to abandon the second sock. The fit isn't as good as the others I've made. I think that's because the cuff is a bit too short, plus continuing the rib through the top of the foot pulls that in a bit more. I've given myself a bit of extra length in the foot to compensate. I'll see how they feel when I wear them. Even if they don't turn out to be my best pair, I'm learning and gaining experience, so it's OK. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ruffles to the Max

This crochet collar began with a bit of leftover wool. It was spindle-spun, hand-dyed Finn-Cashmere, so a rather special scrap. In my ongoing exploration of neck adornment possibilities I made a rough elipse. My next step was to add a few freshwater pearls. I wanted some matching seed pearls to finish it off, but there were none to be found. So it sat for a while. Then I dug out some hand-spun silk. It's usually a bit of a gamble to try to dye a matching shade, but I decided to try anyway. It worked! Today I stitched around the basic shape with the silk. Once that was done, it was time for adornment.

I endeded up with a mass of ruffles. I like ruffles. In this context I'm thinking of them as being like coral--a sea blue-green coral collar. It should be fun to wear in the coming cooler days.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Things

Melt-in-my-mouth soft, sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes from my friend A's vegie patch

And an unexpected couple of hours spent brainstorming with another creative soul this morning.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Subtle Colour

I've been experimenting with necklaces lately. I have some new tops which call for a slightly different length than I'm used to. I've seen several silver necklaces like this in the shops, but I wanted just a touch of blue for mine.

The test will be when I've worn it a few times, but for now I'm happy.