Tag Archives: cat

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

We’re All Anxious Here

This week I’ve been preoccupied with job interviews, business casual shopping, and a new cat situation, so jewelry has been off the table (hmmm, literally) and knitting has been going at a slow pace. I did, however, finally start something I’ve been wanting to do since Stitches Midwest 2013: use my first/favorite sock yarn:


I have to admit I’m a bit “over” this yarn; it’s a lot busier than I thought it would be. That’s why I’m doing the simplest sock possible. I tried something a bit more fancy and it just . . . ugh . . .

froggedI’ll be sure to try this pattern with a mellower yarn, though.

I’m really liking the toe-up socks, mainly because I don’t have to deal with the tubular cast on. And I’ve gotten better at the figure eight cast on. Somehow I need to work TBL on the top row and not the bottom to keep the stitches from getting twisted. Well, whatever, it looks good.

castonThe markers were for the star toe on the pattern I rejected; not my favorite toe, either.

Last weekend I paused this project to whip up a little something for a potential new friend. A kitty friend. It’s been about six months since old man Mongo shuffled off this mortal coil, and I’ve been feeling the need for another cat. So we went down to a local shelter and picked one out, a two-year-old girl kitty with black fur and big round yellow eyes. She was sweet in the kennel and let me pet her and rub her belly, so naturally I fell in love.

And so this.

intarsiaMade with love and catnip. Lots of catnip.

This is my first intarsia project, a technique I’ve been wanting to give a try. It took some fiddling to get going because the written instructions I had were not that helpful. As it turns out, all you really need to know is that when you change yarns, you twist the old with the new. When you first add a color, the end hangs in front, but after that, all the changing action happens in the back. And it can get a bit fussy, like at the top of the heart where it changes from blue to fuscia to blue to fuscia to blue again–all separate strands.

intarsiaprogressBobbins? We don’t need no stinkin bobbins.

Turns out this isn’t my favorite technique in the world, but it’s good to have in my toolbox of skills.

As for the kitty, well, we brought her home a few days ago and she’s too petrified to play with it. Or eat. Or come out of hiding. She was a feral cat who took some time warming up to the volunteers at the shelter (at which point she did become one of the resident cuddle bugs.) I can’t even show you a picture of her because I literally can’t get one. But . . . it takes time, and I’m doing my homework on anxiety in cats. I think I understand. All this interview business has had me crazy stressed because I’m the shy type too (spent a lot of time this week reviewing my old standby, How to Control Your Anxiety Before Your Anxiety Controls You by Dr. Albert Ellis–highly recommended.)

So . . . we’re both going to survive, no matter what. Our systems just don’t believe it yet.

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Filed under knitting, socks

2011 Called; It Wants its Joke Back

I’ve been out of town again, and it feels like I’ve returned to a dozen half-finished projects and no time to really mess with any of them.  I did, however, take this Sunday morning to finish up a novelty project I’d hoped to have done by Halloween.  Oh well–turns out my Halloween was spent driving around in Mississippi in some pretty heavy rain.  Anyway, after making the rainbow-maned unicorn hat for my friend Sarah, I started thinking about other rainbow projects to use my stash on.  And then this happened:

nyanblanket1If you’re not familiar with the cute/obnoxious (pick one) Nyan Cat video, take a look. I’ve been thinking about it since my own Lao bears a passing resemblance to the Pop Tart-wearing kitty.

IMG_3422This blanket is going to go on his kitty bed; perhaps I should have made him an actual costume, but dressing up cats would put me into a category of Crazy Cat Lady where I don’t want to go.

Coming soon:  wool mittens, box clasp progress, and a commission.


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Filed under afghan, crochet

Mystery Solved!


Finished him!  Minus paws and most facial features.  I was going for simplicity and the bright-eyed, caught-in-the-flash photo look.  The pattern is Window Cat by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, available at Ravelry.  Now all I need is a photo of Lao snuggling up with his mini-me . . .

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Filed under knitting, Uncategorized