I Hate You, Sweater

Still making slow progress on the Kayleen Pullover, though I’ve grown to hate the thing. It’s tedious and boring and the worsted weight cotton moves so sluggishly on size 6 needles (last time I made a sweater with this yarn, I used 10s and it was no problem.) Here’s how it looks now, though I still have an inch to go before the interesting detail stuff starts to happen.


(Little thing learned the hard way: don’t join a new yarn on the reverse stockinette side; it’ll make a lump.)

I didn’t want to get distracted by other patterns while I was working on this one, but I need a break desperately. By happy coincidence, a certain crochet pattern appeared on the front page of Ravelry, and I knew what my next stashbust had to be. It’s unusual in that it involves breaking the yarn to make fringe after every row; this is nice because (1) no ends to weave in, yay! and (2) it’ll be great for all the scraps and mini-balls I have left in Caron.com Naturally, which was one of my favorite yarns a few years ago.


Here’s what I have so far. The Vs are going to be diamonds as I progress. I like it so much I might just have to buy more yarn (a hazard of making stashbusters out of regular, non-random color patterns.)

Here’s the free pattern.

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Filed under afghan, crochet, knitting, sweater

My Twenty-Two Cents’ Worth

I don’t have much to show for this week, which is not to say I haven’t been busy. I have (don’t laugh) started to watch the DVD that came with my camera, and have been fiddling with settings and menus. I’ve been picking at my Kayleen Pullover, but it still looks much the same, only longer–haven’t gotten to the interesting detail parts yet.  And, most of all, I’ve been playing around with this thing I bought a few months ago and forgot about.


This little device will bore a hole of 1.5mm or 2.0 mm into a piece of metal up to 16 gauge. It’s not bad, and I used it to play around with that dome you see there in the middle. The only drawback is that it can be hard to see exactly where the hole is going to be made, even if you mark it, so if you need a hole to be precise you might want to do it another way. Also, you should always be sure to hold your metal in a pair of pliers or tweezers or something, especially if the edge is even remotely sharp, because your metal can cut you if it turns.

For fun, I used it to put center holes in some coins. It worked.

play3I also flattened the dimes a bit with a hammer before doming them. I may have been a bit too aggressive with both operations.

When I went to dome the new penny, I learned some new things.


(1) Go easy! and (2) Wow, there’s really not much copper on a penny these days, is there?

And the last thing I’ve been working at–unusual stone captures with copper scraps and glass cabochons:


That top one, when soldered, is going to feature one of the discarded “leaves” I made for my mother-in-law’s bracelet a few months ago as a kind of cage for the teardrop shaped cab on the left. I think it will hold securely; whether it actually looks good, I don’t know yet.

The bottom one uses a bit of scrap that discs have been cut from to hold a round cab; I made tab slots in the copper disc for the ends to fit into (though not as nicely as I could have; still, it works.)

So yeah, nothing much to show off, just experiments, which are important in their own way.

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Filed under experiment, practice

Day 31: Last Hurrah


Oooh, I just finished up a cute thing for the last day of my July daily post challenge. This is a pendant based on a project designed by Janice Berkebile called “Copper Pocket,” which appears in the book Metal Style. This is a book I’ve had for a while but haven’t dug into much yet. Its focus is on cold join techniques (riveting, tabs, wiring), and many of the projects inside involve found objects, which I always find fascinating (if nothing else, get a look at how an antique scissor sharpener is used on the cover project.)

So, since I had made a few large, plain discs in the studio last week, I thought this was a good time to try my hand at one of my favorite things in the book. My version is a bit different, and maybe a bit simpler:




In lieu of stamping the discs that make the body of the piece, I dug out all the little steel wire scraps (from when I made wind chimes) that I just knew I could use again someday. I arranged them on the discs, taped them down, and hammered to make an imprint. Then I used a set of three nail punches to add little dots.


Oh, how I love this. In future I am sure I”ll make more elaborate wire designs to texture metal with.


Drilled some holes (carefully! Front must match back!) and wired everything together as specified, although I made my danglies different and decided to forego the springy silver bail in favor of a plain, hammered handle. That was actually the most difficult part, and I regret I couldn’t get them through as neatly as I’d have liked (holes in curves can do that to you) but I’m really, really happy with the results. I even discovered that I can slip things into and out of my pocket as I choose!


One thing, though: it seems no matter what you do, there’s going to be a little slippage and so front will not stay perfectly aligned with back. Yes, this was a cold-join project, but I’d actually like to do it again with solder (that might solve my bail problem too!)

Well, that’s that. I’m now going back to posting only once or twice a week, although I’ll be keeping up the almost-daily jewelry schedule I’ve established this past month. I think I might practice some of the riveting projects from this book, too. Whatever I work on, I’ll be posting about it soon!

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Filed under metals, pendant

Day 30: Fold Formed Pendant

Once again, I’m hating and loving this month-long blogging challenge, because it’s forcing me to do things I’ve been putting off doing. Like making a reversible pendant from this tube bead (of sorts) I made a couple months ago: fftubebeadsThe one on the right, I mean; the one on the left is pretty rough around the edges and might be suitable for some kind of non-wearable ornament.

The challenge all this time has been how to get a chain to stay in place; I didn’t want anything sloppy or dumb hanging out the bottom, and although I tried a few things with beads, wires, and domes, nothing seemed to look quite right. Finally, I decided I’d run a wire through both sides, put some beads on the bottom (including a cute dangly I rejected from some other project) and wired that to a copper chain that is so fine, I can only use 24 gauge at most to link it to anything.

reversible1The mellow side.

reversible2The crazy flame patina side.

I am so, so happy with this now. I had a lot of difficulty getting decent pictures of it, though. I’ll be glad when August rolls around because my next 30-day challenge is definitely going to be learning all about digital photography. Perhaps by September I can post better shots of copper jewelry and other shiny things.

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Filed under metals, necklace, pendant

Day 29: Finished that Metal Bead

In the end, I decided on a bail made of brass tubing. It goes from one side to the other, with the ends nearly meeting unseen in the center of the bead.beadwithwire

The nice thing about this, I discovered, is that hammering the tubing flat makes a nice line down center, giving it a little extra interesting detail. It’s work hardened enough that the bead won’t pop off, but it’s also loose enough that you can spin it, which is fun. In fact, it’s giving me all kinds of ideas about metal beads like this with stone beads rolling around inside. Perhaps–since I like sawing so much–I could put a filigree design on some of my discs (or just drill out patterns of holes?) and put them together with something caged inside . . . right now I am at that stage where I keep moving pieces around my workbench–will this go with this? Or with this?–so it may be a while before this comes to fruition. But I really want it to.


Meanwhile, this is all ready to go. And now I’ve got a few pieces of unfinished business to finish up before this month of daily posting draws to a close.



Filed under beads, metals, pendant

Day 28: Most Random One-Off Project Ever

So I mentioned a couple weeks ago we had some basement work done involving concrete. Well, what I didn’t mention was that the contractor smoothed it out, left the room for two minutes, and when he came back, he found this had happened:

print2Bad kitteh.

We’ve been working on removing some old vinyl floor tiles in the area, which involves a lot of scraping (and which is certainly giving a whole new meaning to the term “home gym,” as my flabby middle-aged triceps are getting quite the workout). Eventually we’re going to cover the prints (which the contractor left because we asked him to) with new tile, but the other day I remembered that I had a bit of Sculpey polymer clay lying around. Now clay is really not my thing, so I was excited to have something to use it up on. So I took a positive impression of kitty’s print, stuck it in the oven (on a way too high temperature; I forgot how to do it and was too lazy to look it up–DON’T BE LIKE ME!) The edges of the gold-ish colored clay turned very dark, so I painted the whole thing today with gray acrylic paint. And now I have this:


Ha ha!  And now my Sculpey’s all gone and I’ll probably never talk about polymer clay again.

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Filed under yak yak yak

Day 27: Secret Message Bead

As promised, I did some riveting last night! I even got it rather straight. So this:


Became this:

beadSpot the wee spirit animals I threw in for fun.

I like the rustic, kinda primitive look of it, but I am dismayed that I can’t make a perfect large dome to save my life. Little ones, I can do no problem. I think this is because my dapping punches are not big enough to fill up the inside of the large domes, and so they wrinkle up a bit at the edges where there’s nothing to stop this from happening. I can fix them a bit by hammering them gently down against the walls of the dapping block hole, but not entirely. Maybe I need to find some tutorials on that.

So, it’s called a secret message bead because . . . well . . . there’s a secret message inside. My teacher has done this project with preteens and tweens a couple times, and she’s encouraged them to stamp their initials on the inner disc, or leave a secret or private message inside. (Preteens being preteens, more than one of them apparently professed their love for Justin Bieber. But I am not here to judge.) I got my husband to write me a teeny tiny love note on a wee scrap of paper, folded it up super small, and popped it inside before riveting. So now I can wear a secret too.

I plan to make a bail for this soon, but no rush (and anyway, if I leave it in the basement for a couple weeks, it will patina naturally and I won’t have to screw around with nasty old liver of sulfur.) What I really wanted to do after this was to saw something, because I really enjoy it, so I got to work cutting pieces from this scrap I mentioned last week:


I don’t know exactly what I’ll do with the pieces I cut, but I did sort of come up with this, which I might solder to a piece of brass sheet for an art deco kind of look:

mixmetalpendantmaybeWith two perfectly-formed little bitty domes, I might add.

Who knows. Tonight I think I’ll do a bit of filing/sanding cleanup work on a few pieces I made recently that have a few areas a bit sharper than they should be–one of those things you don’t notice all that much until you try wearing them.

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Filed under beads, metals