Friday, 12 February 2016

kumihimo with beads

Whilst doing a bit of blog hopping yesterday, I came across a blog called... the crafter's apprentice.  It's a wordpress blog, set up in 2014 (I've been here since 2010).  Surely it's unlikely that someone else would think up the same strange blog name and not check if it's already taken?  I feel a bit strange about it.

My experiments with Kumihimo braiding began in August 2013 and lasted most of the summer.  I don't think I've touched my discs since, but I've always wanted to try kumihimo with beads.  I bought a kit to make a beaded braid at one of the shows and I finally took it out and had a go.



It was really easy.  This is a mixture of pearls and glass faceted beads, so it's nice and sparkly.  Hard to get a photo of...  Unfortunately, there's a major flaw which I discovered the next day when I put it on.  The clasp is absolutely pants.  I doesn't work.  That little toggle is far too small and just drops out and down the bracelet falls!



The toggle is part of the end cap which is glued in so I have no idea how to fix this.  Anyone got any bright ideas?

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

needlepunch pouch

Before i start, I'd like to say thank you for the comments on my last post. I had some messages of support which were lovely to read. It real does help to know people understand and/or care.  So thank you.

I made a little needle punch / punch needle picture ages and ages ago... let me have a look.  Oh!  February 2013.  So three years ago.  My WIPs just get older by the day!  Anyway, I pulled it off one of my many WIP piles and made it into a little pouch.



I don't know what the fabric is that I used, but I wanted something that went with one of the threads used on the main piece.



That unsightly buldge on the back is one of my needle punches, see...



I lined it with an old Petit Ecole print that I thought matched the colour scheme.  



I've made loads of pouches in my time and I STILL can't get the zip ends neat.  I don't know how other sewers do it.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Viennese Waltz - update 11

Another three weeks has flown by and it's time for an update on my Viennese Waltz cross stitch.  Here is where I was:


I have to admit to barely touching this since the last update.  I've been so busy at work I don't leave until 7, and I have yoga on Tuesday nights and silversmithing classes on Wednesdays - I'm not sure if I told you about that?  On top of all that, I'm reducing my very high dose of anti-depressants as I can't cope with the side effects and think I can cope emotionally on a lower dose.  The withdrawal symptoms are horrific.  Enough about that, on to the update.  Here we are:


I have added a bit to her skirt on the right, and I've started the ground/shadow underneath his foot.  Better than nothing!  I really need a final push and I can get this done. When I've finished writing and scheduling blog posts tonight (it's Saturday evening), I'll get on to it, if the world stops spinning long enough.


I'm sewing along as part of a SAL, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Craft Book Review - Seed Bead Chic

The generous publishers at GMC sent me another book to review.  Although the book was provided for free, all opinions are my own and I was not told what to write.  The book in question is Seed Bead Chic, which you can see on Amazon here.


This is a beautiful book full of gorgeous projects.  This is definitely not a book for the beginner, some of these projects are pretty complicated.  A few that caught my eye are:


This Art Deco brooch, I think I'll make this one at some point.


This tube necklace.  I had intended to make this, but didn't get round to searching for the tubular material it's strung onto.


This lovely summery piece which I may well make, but I'd probably make it in copper as I'm not a fan of yellow gold.


This lovely bracelet.  This is actually the project I chose to make, but I made it into a necklace.  See below for more details and pictures.


This is another one I intend to make at some point.  I don't like the giraffe print beads much so I need to find a nice alternative.

I decided to make the bejewelled barrel bracelet as a necklace.  It required 2mm Swarovski rounds (as do a lot of the projects in this book).  I did some searching on line and bought some from Mail Order Beads / The Bead Shop Nottingham, not out of loyalty but because they had the best price on Swarovski.  I paired them with white 15/0 seed beads and clear 11/0 seed beads.


The actual necklace is a copper herringbone tube which was really easy to do, though it took a while!  The barrels are stitching in place so they don't all clump together when wearing it, as I'm going to prove in the next photo.  Oh yes, a photo of me.  In fact, my very first selfie!


I love this necklace and have worn it a lot.  The instructions were really clear and very easy to follow, I didn't have any false starts or any moments of "eh?  What does that mean".  Though remember, I do have some experience bead weaving so can't vouch that a beginner would be able to follow the instructions.  The weaves themselves are set out at the beginning of the book with easy to follow diagrams and written instructions.  Overall, I like this book and think it's a great addition to the library of intermediate to advanced bead weavers.

Let's finish off with another selfie:


Product details

Monday, 1 February 2016

Finishing off

In a previous post I mentioned a box of jewellery WIPs I have lying around.  Back in the autumn I started to tackle them, and some other WIPs lying around.  It was slow progress!


I made some silver links and a silver heart in the silversmithing class Mr CA and I took in September.  See here.  I finally got round to adding some chain and a little porcelain bunny to one of them.  They are designed to wrap round the neck, then the part of chain with the dangle goes through the coil to hold it in place.  They don't really work and I need to rethink the design.  They fall off a lot when I wear them.


Also in September, wonderful mum and I went to a mosaic class, which you can read about here.  My tray needed finishing.  I'd bought a little pot of tester paint and over Christmas I set to work painting it.  Finally it is finished and in use!


In a ceramics class in August, wonderful mum and I made brooches.  She had hers all finished and ready to wear the day after the class.  Mine were ready in December!  You can see the original post here.


The second from the left isn't ceramics, that's a beaded cabochon I made for a blog hop back in June!


It was nice to get these pieces out of the box and into use.  I still have quite a lot of projects half-finished.  I need to get better at finishing!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Knitting basket

Way back in 2010 I made myself a crochet bag.  I have just spent 20 minutes hunting for the post about it, but can't find it anywhere. You're just have to take my work for it.  I also made a shorter version for mum which you can see here.  

At the Festival of Quilts, she asked me to make her a taller version with pockets round the outside.  We chose the fabric and then of course, I did nothing!  When my sewing motivation returned at the end of the year, I got right on it.




There are two things crying out to me in this photo.  Firstly, it looks out of proportion.  Funnily enough, in person it doesn't.  Maybe it was the camera angle.  Secondly, fabric direction.  Yes, I messed that one up!  It is lined in the same green spot fabric that I used for the top of the outer pocket.  The pockets go all the way round and I've separated them with lines of stitching, leaving pockets of various widths.


I think the proportions look better in this photo.  I used the same pattern as for the first ones, but only the measurements and the base template.  I put it together in the way that made sense to me, and of course the pocket was my own invention (clearly not a new one!).  It stands quite firm as it's got a layer of fusible fleece and a layer of medium-weight interfacing.  It's not quilted as mum's not a fan of the quilted look.


The inside is possibly not as neat as it could be, but the lining isn't baggy so I call it a success!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

brooch and bracelets

One night at the beginning of January (I made so much over the Christmas break it's going to take me a while to show it all!) I felt in a jewellery mood.  I have a little plastic box with WIPs, half finished projects and components I've bought for a particular design.  This one took my fancy. It was a bag of different sized lucite flowers and a donut sieve.  I should have taken a photo of the sieve, but here's what it looks like.


My first experiments with threading a size 10 seed bead and a flower onto a headpin didn't seem to be working so I switched to 0.4mm wire and wove in and out, that worked much better though the wire snapped a lot!  The photos I took were terrible, so the one above is blurry and the one below is in the distance!


I've glued a brooch back on so I can wear it on my cardigan.  It had been snowing outside when I took the photos so it was all a bit wet.  The bunny run is the best place to get pictures in these conditions, and it also has the bonus that you can play a game of "spot the bunny poo"!  Not a difficult game, mind...


Next out of the box was a coil of bracelet sized memory wire and some miracle beads.  The purple and lilac beads are 3mm strung in a 3-3-1-1- pattern.  I cannot for the life of me get a decent photo of miracle beads which seem to glow from within so go here to see what they really look like.


This red and bronze one is strung with black fimo heshi disks in between.  The miracle beads are 4mm and I think I prefer this size.