Monday, September 22, 2008

Some sewing projects I've finally photographed

I finished sewing these weeks ago, but somehow kept forgetting to photograph them. So here's more from Alabama Stitch -- the Rose Applique Shawl, and beaded applique skirt:

The skirt was made from a kit that I mail-ordered from Alabama Stitch. The pieces were cut out and stencilled, and the kit included all the thread and beads that you need.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We interrupt this blog’s usual fiber-related content…

… for a detour into another of my hobbies, jewelry-making.

I love browsing on Etsy, and I’ve noticed a number of interesting pieces of jewelry incorporating a twig motif. So I decided to create one of my own.

The twig is made from precious metal clay. If you’re not familiar with it, PMC is an amazing product. Fine silver particles are bound together with a clay-like substance. While it’s soft, you can work with it just like any other type of clay. Roll it, shape it, texture it. But then when you fire it in a kiln, or with a torch, the binder burns away, the silver particles fuse together, and you’re left with a slightly smaller piece of pure silver that retains all of the shape and texture it had in its clay form. The pure silver isn’t as strong as sterling, but because it’s not alloyed with copper, it has a beautiful whiteness in color as compared with sterling.

Back to the twig – for this piece, I used PMC in paste form, thinned with water to a consistency that can be painted onto things. I painted ten thin coats of PMC onto a dry twig that I found in the woods, allowing the paste to dry thoroughly after each coat. Then I fired it in a kiln at 1650 degrees for two hours. When it had cooled, I soldered a jump ring onto each end and then gave it a slightly matte finish with a stainless steel brush. I prepared some silver chain, jump rings, and a handmade clasp, by oxidizing them with liver of sulphur. I attached the pieces of chain to either side of the twig, and added the hook and eye closure. Then, as a finishing touch I suspended a faceted tourmaline briolette from one end of the chain.

I haven’t done much jewelry-making lately, although I’d been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks. My new twig necklace has definitely inspired me to try to design some more pieces!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A few baby gifts, finally finished

I finally got some baby gifts finished and packaged for shipping. For some reason, these projects having taken me ages to get finished. First, there are two pinwheel blankets:

These are knit from the pinwheel blanket pattern in the book knitalong. The yarn is superwash merino from Tess' Designer Yarns.

And this little Baby Surprise Jacket has been 98% finished for months -- all I needed to do was to sew up the seams at the tops of the arms, and add buttons. The baby it was originally intended for has probably long since outgrown it, but luckily there's a new baby in the family that I'm going to give it to. Maybe I should stick with blankets, since they can't be outgrown?!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

This year's vacation wasn't terrribly exotic, but it was fun and relaxing ... and I had lots of time to knit, sew, and read. We spent nine days on the coast of Maine, enjoying the sunshine, the cool temperatures, and the beautiful ocean views. We did a little bit of sightseeing every day, but spent lots of time just hanging out. That gave me time to finish the Harry Potter socks that I started for my daughter ages ago. These are knit from a hand-dyed self-striping yarn that I bought on etsy. The cuffs are a basic 2x2 rib, and the toe is the star-shaped toe from Sensational Knitted Socks.

And I was able to knit another pair of socks for myself, too. (all those hours of driving back and forth to Maine allowed for plenty of knitting!) These are knit with a self-striping Lorna's Laces sock yarn that I bought at purl. The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe, with ribbing all the way down to the ankle and a slight modification at the toe (after doing half the toe decreases, I started decreasing every row rather than every other row, in order to make a less pointy toe).

And I got a good start on the blocks for a quilt that I'm working on, from Alabama Stitch.

What a shame to be back at work, instead of making things! Oh well, the weekend's coming.