Category Archives: amigurumi

I Still Exist!

And I’m still making things!

I won’t linger over the details anymore, but I’ve been busy in the metals lab since I stopped keeping up with this blog. Here are a few things I’ve completed.


This is a labradorite bead riveted into a silver frame. I like the look of these riveted projects but I’ve become tired of trying to find long beads that are drilled through cleanly and without chips around the ends (which can cause the rivet to bend and distort.) I had to really ream this one out–but it was so worth it.

 

 

Ah, I finally found something to do with the copper “crazy quilt” disc I made a couple years ago when I was experimenting with copper solder. I really like how this turned out (and I also recently made a bead with nine little texture samples on each side like this, but don’t have a picture.)

 

Here’s a bit of fun made with some scraps. I got the color with a power stripper.

 

Malachite is always good for some drama, I think.

 

Inevitably, when you get a reputation for making jewelry, friends and coworkers come up to you with broken jewelry, hoping you can fix it. This piece is pretty much a copy of a cheap, plated bypass ring that someone I work with wore for years until the band snapped at the point where it adjusts to size. She’d hoped I could fix it–nope. But I thought about it, and made a band that night with a piece of sterling wire and a hammer and a mandrel. From there, I got the OK to recreate the ring (tip: get the shell bits out by heating the back with an alcohol lamp until the epoxy weakens and they fall right out.) She was really pleased with it, and I am too. It was a good learning experience (and I made the band thicker so it won’t break this time!)

 

After I finished the above piece, I still had bypass rings on my mind, so I hammered out one for myself and tried out different stones until I fell in love with the look of this red agate. Soldering was tricky, but I’m getting better all the time.

 

I bought this stone a few years ago and made a few failed attempts to design a pendant and set it (remember?):

 

Well, here she is now! That brass framework was a real . . . challenge. I bought my own solderite board to bring to the studio–perfectly flat, and with grooves carved into it to hold those pieces exactly where I needed them. The end result comes close to what I had in mind all this time. Still waiting for the chain to tarnish a bit, though. I randomly melted some silver solder around for an old, industrial look (note the solder around the joined areas) but it doesn’t quite show up on the links yet.

 

Here’s a fun scrap piece I made with some wire bits I melted together some time ago but never knew what to do with. At one point last spring I was making a simple ring with this stone (and, for the first time, adding a jump ring inside the bezel to make the stone stand taller) when I held it up next to the scrappy bit and thought, “Wow! Perfect!” And that’s how this happened.

 

Remember these old dudes I hammered out back in the day? The two on top became earrings, and I hung onto the big piece for a long time, trying to think up a good necklace idea. A little extra piece and a little crochet later:

I rather wish I hadn’t punched holes in the corners, but I did, and that made what I ultimately came up with a bit more difficult than if, say, I had soldered loops on the back. Still, I’m loving the simplicity of this one. I’m glad I waited on it.

 

I sketched this out last October, hoping to make use of this neat sardonyx cabochon I’d been holding on to. This piece turned out a bit difficult due to its size (and trying to solder on square copper wire bits without silver solder blorps everywhere!) The back has a pin mechanism that was a bit tough–the pieces are so tiny and need to be placed exactly, and you have to be sure not to clog up or fuse the catch during the process . . . but I pulled it off. I even made a pin/pendant converter with a piece of tubing and wire.

 

My teacher, Bob, was recently given a huge box full of jewelry supplies, casting stuff, sterling silver, you name it, from a donor who had retired from jewelry making and didn’t want the stuff anymore. Among the treasures was a spool of 30 gauge argentium which he had no idea what to do with–but knew that I would, as a knitter/crocheter. I ended up buying it off him (with proceeds going back to the studio) and made this crochet cuff with some beads and a sterling frame I made myself. It’s got a bit of beginner’s wonk to it, and I ought to have practiced more before making the real thing because one side of the strip is looser and sloppier than the other, when I started really getting the hang of it. But this was interesting–and I’m in the middle of using the remainder to make a kind of mesh amulet bag from instructions I found in an old Lapidary Journal from the 90s.

And last but so, so not least. Remember when I started futzing around with wax to carve rings?

I finally got these both finished after months of inactivity, messing up one and doing it over, and just generally worrying about doing something wrong and ruining all that work. Last week, they were cast in silver.

They’re still not done (clearly), but man, is it a relief to have gotten this far! They are heavy as hell–I wish I’d carved away more wax on the interior but the wax was getting delicate and I was nervous about breakage. I shouldn’t have been, though. The thing on the left, if you’re wondering, was a slice of ring wax that I’d carved into with a new set of wax working tools as a kind of technical exercise. I figured if I made the design well enough, I’d cast it. And so I did–with a different design on each side. It’ll be a reversible pendant when I’m done.

And that’s about where I am on the jewelry front. As for knitting, I haven’t bothered all that much. I’ve got two pairs of socks made with crazy rainbow yarn I tried to dilute with solid colors, and a clone of my cat.

Pattern: SlipStripe Spiral

 

Pattern: Ugly Duckling Socks

 

Pattern: The Parlor Cat

And that is . . . probably . . . all for now! I’m sure I’ll catch up again in a few months. Until then, keep crafting!

 

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Season’s Greetings!

Well, my husband is sick and family Christmas time is postponed, so here I am blogging about some little gifts I made for my niece and nephew, respectively.

melbracelet

I think this will fit a six-year-old. Well, I hope so. I made this with a super cheap and crappy set of alphabet stamps I got from a big box craft store with a 50% off coupon, so they were like 8 bucks. Mind you, a good set could run at least 75 dollars or more. I’m not terribly happy with them, but I knew what I was getting into, and they’ll be good for marking things and experimenting, anyway.

img_8967

My nephew is into sea creatures these days, so I dug around in my Ravelry favorites until I spotted this sweet Little Blue Lobster pattern. I’d have liked to use blue yarn, but I actually don’t have any since I’ve been working on a scrapghan. Fortunately, I did have just the right amount of scrap bulky red with a charming fleck in it–and ah, sadness, I think I got it from my knit night friend who has just moved away as her husband has a new job in Chicago. So he turned out super cute and the pattern was easy, fast, and enjoyable.

And just because I’m too lazy to write a separate post:

2ndclasp

Here’s a bracelet I (finally) just finished up. I don’t think I ever talked about it or took progress shots, but I’ve been working on that box clasp since last fall. Actually, I finished that a while ago. I found it easier and more enjoyable than stringing up beads and putting crimps on (I don’t even know how I got the tongue end of the clasp on backwards, but I did on my first attempt.) I might get those little c-shaped crimp covers you put over them and squeeze down with pliers, but we’ll see. Anyway, I’ve had those red creek jasper beads for nearly two years now and I’m glad I finally did this–and I have four beads to spare, so there might be some fun with them in the coming year.

And so it’s not been the best year, but it’s been a creative one, and I can’t complain. See you in January!

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Here Come the Droids

bb8andr2d2

I’ve been working on these two for a while. They’re BB8 and R2D2 from . . . well, you know what they’re from, and if you don’t, I envy the rock you live under because I’m not really a fan. But my knitting, non-crocheting friend Sarah is, and so is her daughter, who calls R2D2 “Arty Dooty.” Who can resist that story? And so I have made these for her at Sarah’s request.

The pattern is here. It’s fairly straightforward, but with a lot of detail work (i.e. embroidery and Sewing Stuff On). The results are pretty stinkin’ cute though.

Hmm . . . wonder if I have a bead in my stash I could use for R2’s little red light?

UPDATE 3/5/16: Finished a second set! I liked it better this time around. Also paid more attention to getting the details stitched on right. Hope my sister-in-law likes them.

Actually, I just hope her dogs don’t eat them.

droids2

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Mystery Project Complete!

Now, what was that green thing I was getting at last month?  It started out like this:

kitt1

And then . . .

 

. . . it got like this . . .

 

kitthix progress

 

And finally . . .

 

. . . after a lot of swearing . . .

 

. . . and seaming . . .

 

. . . and stuffing pipe cleaners into narrow channels . . .

 

. . . it’s . . .

kitthixdone

Yeah, you don’t want to see something like that in your bathroom for reals.

It’s the Spider pattern by the incomparable Hansi Singh!  It wasn’t my favorite pattern in Amigurumi Knits, but I took notice of it last year when I went to a members-only open house night at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (one of my favorite places in the whole wide world). There was a . . . ah, what do you call a spider specialist? Arachnologist? there who was showing off some of the interesting things in her office, like a shed tarantula skin, and a spider stuffie made from this pattern! She was using it to show some kids the various body parts of a spider, and I thought that was awesome because it was a non-scary way of doing that. Also, adorable.

So, I started thinking about getting around to making it, and then I started playing Baldur’s Gate 2, one of my favorite video games, again, and decided on colors based on this:

kitthix

The happy fellow on the lower right is Kitthix, who can pop out of a black spider figurine once per day and help you fight your enemies. Not the most powerful ally, but I like walking around with a giant spider, what can I say.

So I’ve got a few other knit/crochet projects going on right now, including (finally) my first pair of socks.  I’ll get to talking about that later, as well as my recent misadventures in metalsmithing.

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Mystery Project Solved on the Next . . . TALES OF INTEREST!

So, a couple posts ago, I had this:

zoidmysteryWhat could this mystery thing in progress be?

Any guesses?

No clue?

Not a hint?

Scroll down, why not?

minizoid1It’s John [bleeping] Zoidberg from Futurama! In bathing costume, no less.  I’ve always liked the blue and green stripes against his red-orange shell.  In fact, I’d hoped to crochet the body and knit the bathing suit separately, but as you can see, this is a teeny-tiny mini amigurumi (embroidery floss, y’all) and there was just no way.  Not for me, anyway.  Managing a small number of knit stitches in the round is hard enough when using worsted weight yarn; I couldn’t possibly fiddle with needle-thick DPNs here.

If you’re curious about how to do color changes in the round with single crochet, take a look here.  This is the project I learned the technique on some five or six years ago.

While we’re on the subject of knitting/crochet, this week I started learning how to do continental knitting (i.e. holding the yarn in my left hand, not the right.)  It’s still awkward and fiddly, but when I get better at it I want to try doing two-color projects with one yarn in each hand.  Cause I’m hardcore like that.

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Octoplushy

I’ve been wanting to make this since I got Hansi Singh’s Amigurumi Knits for Christmas 2009.  Finally, I have.

octoplushyThis wasn’t too difficult, but a bit fiddly, as you might imagine from this mess:

octoprogressI suppose if I were to host an Epic Battle of Amigurumi, I might put him up against Pai Mei.*  Wonder who would win?

octoplushynpaimei___________________

* I crocheted Pai Mei a couple years ago from scratch, no pattern. Just watched his scenes in Kill Bill over and over to get the outfit right.  If you ever see the movie (again), take a good look at his costume.  It’s really beautiful, actually.

 

 

 

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Lady Smaug

A few mods, a little improvisation, and she’s done.

ladysmaugGetting the living room painted is still taking most of my time, but I’m nearing the end.  When that’s done, I’m going to make a new curtain for the kitchen window . . . and speaking of that, when my husband and I went to find a suitable fabric for that (boy, did he hate my first choice!) we came across some Japanese looking fabrics he really, really liked.  He wanted to buy some just to have them, but for what?  And how much?  When I pointed out how expensive it was, he agreed we should just leave it.  But it got me thinking.  He’s got a birthday coming up in November, and I have friends who know how to quilt.  So maybe I can find a pattern and figure out how to use those fabrics.  And I’ll have time to use all the 40% off coupons I get in the mail, ha ha!

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Filed under amigurumi, crochet, presents