Sunday 18 February 2024

Evendoon Cardigan

 

This week I've been wearing my new favourate cardigan!

I started knitting Kate Davies Evendoon Cardigan just before Christmas and found it a really easy knit.  It helps that it's not the biggest either!

Once I saw how fast it was knitting up I decided to aim for a meeting I was due to attend in the actual office on 12 Feb.  Could I do it?  Yes I could.

 

On top of knitting the cardigan itself.  I also wanted to make matching buttons.  The pattern said I would need between 7 and 12, so I had to make them in batches.  

 

I have special button hole mandrals, but I only have 5.  So over January I made batches of 5 buttons each time I was in the studio.  This gave me 20 buttons, although a couple broke and some had sharp bits.  I had plenty to find my perfect 7. 

I used 3 balls of Stylecraft Special DK in Cypress and really love the colour.  My buttons are effetre glass - ivory with transparant light turquoise dots. 

 

I'm very pleased with the fit.  I was sure it would be too small, and I was worried the buttons would be too heavy.  If I make it again (and I am tempted to make some in other colours) I would make it a tiny bit longer in the body and the arms, but otherwise I'm very pleased with the fit and the buttons were perfect. I'm looking forward to my next in-person meeting already.

Sunday 11 February 2024

Sea Glass Necklace

 

Following on from making a silver chain bracelet at the Frensham Old Barn Workshop, I decided to go back for one of their 5 week jewellery classes.  They have a varity to chose from but I decided Friday mornings would work best for me.

So for the past 5 weeks I've been learning more about silver smithing.


If you are brand new to all this, they can set you a project to work on, but me being me I already had a project in my head.

Last year I bought a small bag of sea glass and having looked through it came up with an idea for a set of jewellery - necklace, bracelet and ear rings.

 

So I took the glass and my drawings with me, and Beth our tutor, helped me turn it in to a reality!

I started with the pendent as it was the biggest and so would be a little easier to work on.

 

To start I made a loop of 1.5mm silver wire the same size of the glass, before making the 'prongs' by melting balls on the end of 1.2mm silver wire and soldering them to the loop.

 

Lastly I added a small piece of tube for my chain to run through to try and keep it sitting square when I wear it.

After a lot of filing, sanding and polishing I was ready to set my glass. 

 

I also finished both ends of my chain - adding jump rings and a clasp.

I am dead chuffed with the result.  The design has been sitting in my head for so long it's crazy to see it in real life now.

 

With the pendent finished I moved on to the bracelet.  I followed the exact same process, except the pieces are smaller with 5 'prongs' rather than 7, and they don't have a tube, but will have jump rings soldered to them in the end to join them altogether.  I've only made one and a half so far but I hope to go back in the summer to finish them off.

Getting ready to make a bracelet
 

I'm really enjoying working in silver and I'm wondering what else I can do incorporating silver with my own glass beads?

Sunday 4 February 2024

Needle Felted Butterfly

 

Just before Christmas I came across a needle felting project in The Butterfly Conservation magazine.  I could buy the kit and join an online class to be shown how to make a Jersey Tiger moth and support The Butterfly Conservation all at the same time.

How could I say no!

This was very similar to a workshop I joined to learn how to make needle felted dogs to support The Dog Trust a few years ago.  Probably because it was run by the same team at The Makerss.

However, if you've been paying attention you'd notice the post is titled butterfly not moth!  When my kit arrived if was for a Chequered Skipper butterfly rather than the moth I'd been expecting. 

It's all sorted now and I have a moth kit to make soon, but on the day of the workshop all I had was the butterfly kit, so that's what I made.  They are very similar to make, but just a different shape to work to and reference photos to look at.

 

As it's a flat pattern you are less likely to stab yourself as you work, which I enjoyed!  And you can spend as long as you like on the patterning of your butterfly/moth to get it as realistic as you want.

I'm aware that one wing is slightly bigger than the other, but otherwise for a first attempt I'm quite pleased.  I'm wondering if I can convince 'im outdoors to make me a small box frame to sit him in?

Sunday 28 January 2024

Tumbled Glass Beads

 

When you make glass beads they naturally have a lovely shiny finish.  But sometimes that's not the look you're looking for.  Sometimes you want a softer look.

To get this you can put your beads in strong chemicals and etch them, but I don't think this is the best way to do it.  (I've heard it's hard to get rid of all traces of the chemicals and if they can have this effect on glass I hate to think what effect they might have on you if you are wearing these items!)

Before
 

But there is another way.  You can tumble your glass, a bit like it being in the sea for year to get that frosted look.

So a couple of weeks ago I bought myself a small 2kg tumbler and set it up in my studio.  I used some old gravel that 'im outdoors didn't need anymore and the grit the tumbler came with and put a selection of beads in.  Then I set it to go and left it for a week. 

(I did try it in the house to start with, and it is pretty quiet but the constant rattle was too much, so it had to go down to the studio.)

 

I was nervoues to open the tub.  What would I find inside?

What I found was an orange mess.  I think this was from the gravel.  But once I rinsed it off and found the beads I couldn't be more pleased.  At first I didn't think it had worked.  But once I'd dried the beads off I could see how beautifully frosted they were, and they feel like silk to handle.

 

I'd been reading up on this method before hand, and had come across a recipe for beadwax - to give a light coating once they are done to give them an inner glow.  This was the perfect finish, a little buff and they just seem to glow.

If I need to run it for a week to get this effect then I will need to make sure I've got a full batch to tumble, but that's fine with me.  I'm looking forward to making more like this.

After