Monday, October 5, 2015

Wave Hello

A girl just has to swatch if she wants to create new design ideas. It may not feel productive to knit up a little square, but it is a critical piece of information about whether your finished design will actually work like you think it should.

This past weekend I was on the search for some kind of ripple or wave pattern to use in an Outlander-inspired scarf/shawl. So off I went to the my knitter's bible bookshelf to consult the Barbara Walker Treasury books and found the Old Shale pattern, a traditional Scottish knitting stitch.

Next I consulted this great book, 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns, by Jane Eaton. She has a couple of Old Shale variations in her collection.

The cool thing about this book is that it includes both knit and crochet stitch patterns. It's a great resource if you like to make afghans!

I made a half dozen swatches before creating a favorite variation. The swatch in the photo was the last one to be made before I decided what to do for my shawl.

I'll be writing some more about the Old Shale pattern later and sharing photos of the project in progress. Meanwhile, here is a treasure for you. It's a baby blanked called Old Shale Variations, by Mary Spanos, that uses over 40 different variations of the Old Shale pattern, and it's a free Ravelry download. Cool find! (There was one pattern almost the same as mine, but not quite.)

Have fun exploring, and share in the comments any of your ripple experiences, or what you are working on now.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Feature: Collars

Imagine yourself wearing a collar. Not the one attached to your clothes. A collar that exists on its own, with its own intention.

Lace, ribbons, beads, felt, dramatic would you go?

Black Beaded Neck Piece, Embroidered Collar by ALUMAhandmade

Ammu Felt Collar by kneek


Elizabethan Ruff ELIZABETH II by Blaubluth

Crochet Wire Necklace the Elemental by dragonswire

Victorian Antique Collar by blackmirrordesign

Crocheted Gold Wire Collar by OnlyHandmadeJewelry

Okay, imagine you have the perfect occasion for it, which one would you choose and what's the occasion?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Knottin', Honey

It was not to do nothing that I was away from the blog all those months this year. You won't hear from me any detail about the absence, but it involved a lot of stress. If you are glad I'm back, with no questions asked, that is unconditional readership, and you are a gem.

One of the things I did to de-stress this past summer was to make jewelry.  It was a nice change from working with fiber, and who wants to work with yarn in the heat of the summer!

"Pearl-knotting" was one of the types of jewel-making that I did. It can be very relaxing and soul-healing.

 Pearl knotting is easy to learn. If you are interested check out the great videos about it online.

 Hand-knotting beads has a nicely paced rhythm, like a slow foxtrot or a waltz.

It has a meditative quality, especially when working with smaller beads, like in these last two items.

Best of all, when Mr. Cha Cha asks what I'm doing, it's so fun to say "Knottin', Honey."

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Fantastic Pentastics!

I call them the Pentastics. Penta for five because each of these new bangles has 5 baubles of larger beads on it. They are a little narrower than most of my current stock and a little more flexible.
Some of these charmers are showing up in the shop today and the rest will follow this week and next. I have a limited supply of these fashion colors, so shop soon!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Giving Thanks to the Village

So many people helping in so many ways. The last few years of my parents lives were filled with connections, and for that I and my siblings are eternally grateful.

My parents were not overly social. They were churchgoers who did not mingle with the crowd after mass. They were not wealthy, but would always contribute to causes for those less fortunate. Dad often visited families in need with food baskets and clothing, frequently taking along one of my younger brothers. We always were instructed to have humility, to share with others, and not to judge. Both of our parents were generous, loving, and close to family.

In their final years, lots of giving was bestowed back to them by extended family, friends, health care workers, the clergy, and strangers. The generosity of others in helping me and my siblings to care for our parents in their final years was overwhelming. You all know who you are. Bless you, and thank you.


Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Thank You Note Cards (Set of 10)

If you know someone to thank who has had breast cancer or who has helped someone or loved someone with breast cancer, this set of thank you cards by CricketPrinting on Etsy would be a good purchase. 100% of the proceeds of the sale of these cards will be donated to the Avon foundation to support breast cancer research, and help in the fight against breast cancer.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mother Would Like That: Pink Jewelry

Monday was the one-year anniversary of my mother's passing. This week there has been such a memory flood going on for me and my sisters. One thing that we all have in common is that when we are out shopping, we always see things that make us think, "Mother would like that."

Moonstone, Rose Quarts and Druzy Bracelets by StRaine

It was such fun to buy gifts for Mom because she took such pleasure in receiving them. It was the thrill of the surprise for her, so it did not matter how much or how little the gift cost.

Pastel Pink Bracelet Helper by PPBejwelled

Her favorite color was pink and she loved jewelry. Also, when she passed she had survived breast cancer by almost forty years.

pink crochet brooch by SuzieSue1972

So today's post is in honor of her, and so will be a series of posts from now through October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You be seeing a lot of pink.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Dollop of Fashion Drama: Romantic Handmade Clothing

For those days when you want to pretend you are living in another time,  or you are starring in a rock concert, or you have a really fantastic arts event to attend, you can find some very cool handmade clothing on Etsy.

These pieces are absolutely inspirational. You are sure to agree. I'll be sharing a series of my favorites items with you over the next few month.

The first dress (since my last post was about brooches) is this artistic dress that has a beautiful moth shoulder brooch incorporated into the design:

Hand-painted silk dress with moth brooch by ChicComplement

This Habotai silk two-layer dress is great for travel. You just twist it up and pack it. The moth brooch is made with layers of silk and organza, and it is both hand and machine embroidered. The moth rests on a hand-painted tree branch. The dress will be custom made to your size with 10-14 days lead time. Be sure to follow the link in order to see a close-up photo of the moth and to read more about the dress.

If you favor butterflies over moths, then this next dress may be for you:

Linen Dress Butterfly handmade Summer tribal fashion couture art wear by lummedesigns

This made-to-order linen dress has hand-dyed soft tulle ruffles, hand painting and printing, butterfly image transfers, and black satin ties with which to vary the shape and length.

If you are more in the mood for separates, you must see this stunning skirt with an asymmetrical hemline:

Summer Harvest Embroidered Suede Skirt by Jarmolowska

The skirt is made of a thin, delicate suede, embroidered with neutral-colored poppies, and decorated with rivets and Swarovski crystals.

I feel pretty just looking at all these garments! How about you?

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Soupçon of Fashion Flare: Romantic Brooches for Autumn

Bohemian, dramatic, or romantic styling would totally be my fashion thing if I were not of a certain age. When I was merely twenty years old, you could find me always dressed as if a music festival was just about to happen, and I was going to be one of the performers.

For a lot of jobs, like my office day job, you have to dress in fairly boring clothes, and if you are over 35, a casual or Bohemian style comes off looking a little too much like "mutton dressed as lamb".

A way to get around that is to wear the boring grown-up clothes, but to add a little pinch of fashion flare with a special accessory or piece of jewelry. Today's post features some of my romantic favorites from Etsy that would be a perfect choice for autumn.

First up are two rare vintage treasures. In the first treasure, a 7pt. diamond is set in the center of a bow and a beautiful 6mm pearl drops from the bow in the center:

Bow Antique 14k Vintage Enamel bow pin wreath pearl and diamond

The second treasure is this rare Victorian diamond encrusted crescent that would be like wearing a little moonlight on your shoulder:

Rare Platinum Antique Stunning Victorian diamond encrusted crescent brooch 1800s

Now for some handmade treasures. This first bead embroidered brooch is made to order by its seller.

Bead Embroidered Jade Brooch Cabochon Brooch

This last handmade item is made by one of my all-time favorite Etsy shops, FleursBoheme:

Embroidered and beaded brooch, mixed media

Now, perhaps you are not of certain age, or you really are going to star in a rock concert.  Well then, you might want to come back and check out Wednesday's post, in which you will find some awesomely dramatic clothing.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Wrap to Treasure

It's for me. That's what I decided after spending 40 hours on this wrap, because I became so attached to it. Here it is scarf style:

This wrap/scarf was fun to make. I was going for an organic look that was somewhat wispy but weighted and textural. It is made from a lightweight single strand of soft merino wool by Madeleine Tosh. The product line is Prairie and the hue is French Grey, which sadly is a discontinued color. In some light it looks grey, but mostly it looks taupe.

Here it is as a wrap, lightweight, but surprisingly warm:

The techniques used were knitting, crochet, hand-stitching and beading. In the close up photo you can see the beaded edging:

Now I'm working out ideas of how to making something similar that won't take as long, so I could make some that would be more affordable and easier to document if I ever get around to pattern writing.

Meanwhile, come on cool weather! I'm ready for you!