Category Archives: knitting

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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Filed under amigurumi, beads, bracelet, casting, crochet, knitting, metals, necklace, pendant, pin, ring, riveting, socks, soldering, stones/gems, wax carving, yak yak yak

New Year, Clean Bench

cleanbench

This state of cleanliness lasted all but an hour. Still, it’s been a few weeks since I really sat down to work here, and it helps to take a look at where everything is and what I was doing and what still needs to be done. Class starts again in a couple weeks and I’d like to say I’m preparing for it, but I’m not . . . yet.

I’d also like to say “It’s 2017 and I’m going to start a business and be a real artist!” but that’s not happening either. I like Making Stuff, but I don’t have the entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve checked out the books, signed up for basic bookkeeping, talked to people who have done it (surprise: they didn’t always find it a positive experience) and have concluded that I’ve screwed around enough. For now, anyway, it’s time to find a full-time job, take care of some things. I’ll keep taking classes, and I’m starting to focus on developing my own designs, but there are no plans. No real ones, anyway. And maybe that’s all right. There are benefits to being a “Sunday painter,” like being able to truly create whatever the hell you want and not having to worry about business, customers, and the market.

In other news: knitting. My husband and I drove down to Memphis for a couple days during the last week of the year and had a great time. Some of the car ride was spent on these:

hotbutteredsole

They were quick and easy and meant to use up the yarn left over from this:

hownowbrownscarf

I suppose I’ll keep up with socks and the like for a while, to use up my stash, which is my only knitting goal for the year.

And finally, I think this might be it for the blog. It’s been fun working through and talking over what I’ve been creating for the past few years, but I think it’s time to go. I don’t know what the next stage will be, but I’m sure . . . of nothing.

Goodbye, and keep creating! I know I will.

images

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Filed under knitting, Uncategorized, yak yak yak

How Now Brown . . . Scarf

So I had two skeins of sport weight yarn I had no idea what to do with–too much for some projects, not enough for others, sick of scarves–so I searched around for an appropriate pattern and decided on the Cancun Boxy Lacy Top, a simple, shapeless affair made of two rectangles that would looks stunning on a skinny twelve-year-old, and absolutely no one else. I did most of the front rectangle, held it up, confirmed my skepticism, and made a second rectangle. I had an idea I’d just stitch them together on sort of an angle to make a diagonal, poncho-type thing, but in the end I didn’t have the energy for it and just seamed them together to make a–whoopee–scarf. It is a nice scarf, though.

hownowbrownscarf

And there’s enough yarn left over for a pair of ankle socks, which should get me through holiday car trips and the next knitting guild meeting. Honestly, I’m about done with fiber arts, or I will be when I’ve depleted my stash. I want to turn more attention to jewelry and plans for the new year.

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When QBert was Q*Bert and Asterisks in Search Terms Weren’t a Thing

I started–and soon abandoned–a stashbust crazy quilt style knit blanket three years ago. This week, I decided to pick up the needles (and acrylic yarn!) again and get to work on something I always wanted to do.

scrapghan1

Intarsia is not my favorite thing, and the instructions I’d been trying were troublesome as far as adding new threads goes. With the help of some better YouTube videos, I got off to a new start last weekend and had my Q*Bert square made in a jiffy. Or, almost a jiffy. I screwed up a few times and had to re-do some rows (reading charts is also not my favorite thing), and managing all those yarns–ugh.

scrapghan2Mother of God.

Yeah, weaving in all those ends took an entire two-hour knit night with the group, and I didn’t even notice until then that I had somehow carried one of the orange yarns from Q*Bert’s butt to the top of his head instead of adding in a new yarn. Or did I? I tried to follow the yarn to see if it was just an end I mistakenly wove in the wrong place, but I don’t think so. More to the point, I’m past caring. I don’t think I’ll continue with intarsia unless it’s for some brief detail with two or three bobbins at most.

And now that I’m done with socks for a while, as I’ve said before, maybe I’ll get back on this afghan and make more squares. I’m nervous about the reverse side, though. Maybe I’ll use the bajillion skeins of black and white that I have to make a backing afghan and just stitch them together back to back or something, because most of the squares I’m doing definitely have a wrong side nobody needs to see.

scrapghan3

And just how I’m going to get all these different squares stitched together nicely is .. . a project for another day.

 

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Yipes Stripes

yipes1

My days of one-month socks seem to be over. This pair took me two. That’s okay. I’ve got other things going on. Like this.

benchmess1

But back to the sock. It’s Mystik Spiral in Patons Kroy (a really good sock yarn you can find in big-box craft stores). I altered the toes for slantiness, which suits me better, and used the Fish Lips Kiss heel, although maybe a different style would have looked a bit better.

stripesheel1Meh. It’s ok.

Now that I’ve tried it out, learned it, and like it, I’m ready to do this pattern again with a very special sock yarn.

A very special, neon sock yarn.

It will be . . . totally awesome. Outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. To the max.

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Knitfinger

Here’s something I finished recently:

whizbang3

If you’re a bit tired of this pattern, well, maybe I am too. It’s definitely my go-to for very colorful yarns (all the slipped stitches certainly break up the pooling) but I’ve done this, what? three times now and I’m ready to move on.

Also, my finger might need a rest.

knitfinger

Wonder if that could become permanent? Maybe my tension is way too tight.

Next time around: a new (to me) pattern with diagonal stripes in it. Diagonal! Should be fun.

 

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Last Sock of the Year

lastsocksoftheyear

And so the Year of the Sock draws to a close. I made 10 pairs, not the hoped-for 12, and actually I only have 9 because the pair above was a do-over because this pair never did fit quite right:

indiansummersox2

I still have a few skeins of sock yarn in my stash, and could keep going–I do have some intriguing patterns that I haven’t tried yet–but for now I want to get back to my “crazy quilt” knitted stashbushter. I started it probably two years ago and set it aside with maybe five or six squares done.

sampler squares

twiningtreesAnd these appear to be all the photographs I have of them right now.

So, onward! There’s a particular intarsia square I’d like to make, but it’ll probably take me forever . . .

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Filed under afghan, knitting