Sunday, 21 October 2012

Where does the time go? October is almost over and it's been months since my last entry. So a bit of catching up is in order. Last month I bought a Grand Calibur (manual die cutting and embossing machine) something I had my eye on for some time. And I love it. The dies are expensive, but I am still hoping to sell some of my cards to finance this hobby There is still a lot to learn, but I am beginning to get adventurous. And for that I must thank some of the demonstrators at Create & Craft (TV channel) especially Sue Wilson for Spellbinders encouraging us to look at dies not just as a whole, but taken bits of it, and Ali Reeves  on inks and stamps. There I am just starting out.
Well the first card with the Grand Calibur is the one below, and I am pleased that it sold very soon after listing it for sale on Thank you Jan

Not only is this using a very pretty die, but I have used a stamp without smudging.. Now for the next one. New dies to try and also new stamps. I can't believe that it took me almost a week to put this card together. I started with using a large die to emboss black card with the machine. Nice, but not spectacular. Then I remembered seeing embossing powder being used on embossed card. So I inked the card and used gold embossing powder and the heat gun. What a transformation! Still, the rectangular piece of card was not what I wanted, so just in time I received the set of dies with matching rubber stamps. I used the largest on the black & gold card and cut a piece of cream card with one of the smaller dies. Then I stamped on that and while ink was still wet, embossed it with gold. I like it. The very intricate background is a semi circle die, which I fell in love with and then didn't know what to do with it. For a start, it cuts out the pattern, but still stays attached to the card. I also learned how important it is to use a bit of tape to secure the die. I didn't and the die moved. At least the mistakes are not visible and I have learned a lesson. As I said earlier, I spent days moving the pieces around but in the end I finished up with this:

any comments are greatly appreciated

Thursday, 10 May 2012

My latest knitted item with beads is a small black and gold lurex knitted bag with the front covered in gold beads. I am trying out Etsy for this one. We will see what happens. But back to the knitting. Because I used fairly small beads, I threaded them on to the lurex thread. Well, I have learned that that wasn't the best idea I have ever had. Knitting with 2 threads twists the yarn in the course of knitting, which is actually a good thing, except when you have to push beads up every so often. So you spend a fair amount of time untwisting the threads, which slows the knitting process down considerably. So the moral of this story is: if you knit with 2 threads and beads, the beads should be on both threads or you could end up throwing the project in a corner in frustration - I came close to it a couple of times. And the back of the bag is plain knit.
Here is the finished item

Friday, 20 April 2012

Knitting can be hazardous to your health

As you may have noticed knitting has been at the top of my activity list. Especially with beads. While at the Olympia fair I chatted with a knitter who was working on pieces for a patchwork blanket. The pieces were knitted over 2 needles effectively knitting the main part and the lining at the same time, but casting on and off as one. I really should have asked her how the casting on was done, but I forgot. Anyway, I thought about this and got the idea that it would be a good way of knitting a bag - naturally with beads. So I cast on twice as many stitches as I wanted and on the first row I knitted one and then slipped one on to another needle and when I got to the end I knitted the slipped stitches - now I was knitting in the round. I did after a while decide it was easier to divide the stitches over 4 needles. Now you may be wondering what is hazardous about that? Well, I knocked my knitting off it's perch without noticing when I got up to get something and as I wasn't looking down on returning to my chair I stepped on the knitting. (I am always bare foot in the house) So I had the dubious pleasure of extracting a needle from my foot. Yes, it did hurt. It's not to be recommended. But it had the effect that I hurried to finish the knitting. And below is the finished article, though it will need to be steamed

The colour hasn't come out very well. It's a random dyed blue sock wool with pale pink seed beads and will be auctioned off this month on  from the 24th to the 28th April 2012

Friday, 13 April 2012

Knitting Nancy or French Knitting

We are still in April so I am catching up. Some of you will know that I found an old Nancy recently and had to ask for help on how to use it. Thank you very much to all that did. Shortly afterwards the craft show at Olympia had a workshop on French Knitting with beads. I signed up for it and , oh boy, am I hooked. It's such an easy thing to do while watching TV, so I am not getting anything else done. In the workshop we learned 3 different ways of using beads: 2 where the beads are threaded on the yarn before use and one where the beads are added after. Now you cannot complete 3 projects in an hour long workshop, so we only made samples which I turned yesterday into keyrings: 

The first has a small bead between every stitch

The second has  large beads inserted into the finished knitted tube with pony beads in between 

and the third has one largish bead between the first and second stitch

Now with the fast approaching YDC charity auctions on I thought I might try and raise some pennies with knitted jewellery (I like to try and offer something unique if I can) So this is what I have produced to date

This is knitted in black lurex with a crystal bead every four rows

Black lurex again with 3 green seed beads between each stitch every other row. I have made earrings to go with this, but I haven't received the findings yet

This is the insertion method. Black lurex, dark wooden beads and sparkly clear pony beads

This was the first one made from green DK yarn and square glass beads

this is red lurex yarn with the inserted wooden beads and pony beads

I have one more finished necklace and matching bracelet. This time it is the black lurex and the green seed beads again , but a single bead between each stitch every other row. The effect is quite different. (sorry, no photo yet) I have a few ideas on how to vary the spacing and type of beads to use, but right now I have run out of beads!

Monday, 2 April 2012

more workshops

We are now in April and I seem to have missed the month of March. So let's go back to the workshops. No 2 was hosted by a lady calling herself and her business The Stitchwitch. She deals mainly with patchwork and quilting, so this is reflected in her workshops. This time we did something, that wasn't new to me, although I didn't know it at the time of booking. For the life of me I cannot remember what she called this, but in German it is known as Artischockentechnik. (artichoke technique) I learned to do this with pieces of ribbon, but here we worked with squares of folded fabric. I have been trying to find the finished item to remind myself of how it was done (it differed from the way I learned it) but can't find it. But here is a photo I took much earlier

The folded fabric pieces are pinned to a polystyrene shape (in this case an egg) which can be hung or used as table decoration. And you can see from the picture that it resembles somewhat an artichoke

The last workshop on this day was bead embroidery. But that I haven't touched yet, so that is something I need to finish in the next few days. And of course I have been to another craft fair last month. This time at Olympia and managed to get 3 workshops in: card making run by Debbie Moore, Hardanger for the terrified (I wasn't) and French knitting with beads. I have also knitted an orange and a purple wig, and auctioned off a quilted wall hanging for charity.

excuse the model for the hair

Thursday, 9 February 2012

One of those days

I was going to write about my 2nd workshop this morning and may well do so. But true to the title I better tell you about my faux pas today. I have a nice card making cd (well, I have loads) that I decided to print some sheets from this morning. I pick up the suitable heavy paper, insert into printer, decide on what to print and press the right button. All goes well; at least that is what I thought. The second page printed shows a line across it and you'll never guess what I did: I had picked up sheets with adress labels and printed on that !!! I do try and keep things tidy (I can hear the family members snigger) but anyway the top sheet was what I wanted, and somhow the labels got into the wrong pile. So now I have some nice tartan backing paper printed on sticky labels and also a sheet of pyramage. The backing paper won't be a problem, the other will need a bit of thinking about, but I think it'll be usable.
Is there a lesson to be learned? Probably more than one. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

OK, folks, we are now nearing the end of January 2012 and I feel I should write a bit more often. At least once a month....but don't hold your breath.
Anyway, every January I spend a day at the craft show at Sandown, and although this was planned for today I went yesterday. As usual I spend most of the time doing workshops. In fact I sat in the same spot from 12 - 4, just changing instructors. I had Fabric Flower Centrepiece, Power and Passion, Knit a beaded bracelet and beadwork on canvas. And because I have it finished and photographed I'll talk a bit about the knitted bracelet. I have always been interested in knitting with beads and although I have seen a number of written instructions I have never tried it. So here was an opportunity to see it demonstrated and do it myself. And it is sooo easy. It takes time to string the beads onto the yarn, but if you know how it's not difficult. I ended up unravelling mine once, because I could have done with smaller needles, but making a special effort to knit tighter  the finished product is very nice. If you knit too loosly, the beads will slip through the loops and not sit on the back of the work as they are supposed to. That I learned very soon and I am pleased to say was the only thing that caused me any problems.
So here is the photo, though I may try to take one without the arm at a later date