Monday, March 21, 2011

With Heart for Japan

Mayumi, Hiroshi, Uka, Mieko. . . their names ring in my memory and their sweetness dances in my heart, but after so long I struggle to remember their faces. During a period of time between 10-20 years ago, there were many Japanese students in my college courses. They always impressed me with their seriousness and dedication to studies, the gentleness of their spirits, and the sweet smiles they brought along to class everyday.

Some faces remain in memory, but which name goes with which countenance? My heart breaks for them, and I wonder where they are. Did they marry? Do they now have babies? Have they survived? These questions have waken me in the middle of the night and have kept me awake for hours during the past ten days. Such sorrow this world can bring.

Many Etsy sellers are offering donations to Japan Relief for some of their merchandise. I have chosen to connect you with some generous sellers who are offering 100% of proceeds on some of their items toward the Japan relief effort.  The items below all have such offers:

Honeysuckle Jade and Sterling Silver Necklace by Erika Price

Delicate Ruby & Freshwater Pearl Bracelet by AcornAlleyDesigns
Original Canvas Painting Tohoku Miyagi  Woman  6 x 6 by mikaart

Textured Silver with Copper Dome Earrings by SusanLeeStudios

Asian Fusion Embroidery Necklace by cosmiksouls

Japanese Inspired Feather Earrings by Stilltreejewellery

Red Ruffle Purse by sueperino

Mehndi Paisleys - OOAK painting 6 x 6 by dezyner

Red & White Flower Hairclips by loveforjapan

To all my many students from Japan,
love and hope for you:  愛とあなたのために願っています

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yarn Tree with Swatch Overgrowth

It's the busy season at our company, so rather than drive myself crazy using every spare minute making inventory to stock my Etsy store, I have decided to use this time to experiment and learn. A machine knitting class series at the Portland Sewing School has had me making swatches galore.

You only see a small bundle of them in the photo of the yarn tree below, but soon there will be patches of swatches choking the life blood out of that seven-foot tree.

There must be a better way to store swatches. Some people block them all and put each one in its own plastic protector sheet. All the sheets then go in a big old ring binder. This is the purist's method. It works best for those with plenty of time on their hands.

Others don't bother with blocking and just throw the swatches in a box or hang them on rings. The latter method is the approach you see here. Each sample has a little card-stock tag giving particulars on stitch techniques/hand manipulations used and machine settings. 

(Confession: I also have some ring binders full of samples from several years ago when there was more time and also some binders that came to me from the previous owner of a couple of my machines.) 

Soon all these swatches will be forming a union and will ask for a closet of their own. I might honor their wishes, but only to the extent that no additions have to be made to the studio.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Bling for Today!

There's a good Mardi Gras dance in town tonight with three Cajun/Zydeco bands. If I can get all my work done, I might be able to go. The bling is all ready. Remember the bangle I made it last year? It pairs great with my gator hair clip and the flashy beads, don't you think?

Don't you worry, I'll wear more beads than this. (Did I earn them? You'll never really know for sure 'cause I won't tell.) Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the Studio: Back to Bead Knitting

I've been doing a lot of bead crochet lately while developing some class ideas for this summer and realized that I haven't done any bead knitting for a while.

This project was hiding in the work-in-process pile:

It's a simple beaded wristband for those blue-jeans summer days. It's being worked on size 00 knitting needles. It will be good practice before returning to working with the smaller size 0000 and the tiny size 000000 needles that were probably similar to the ones used for the parasol in the previous post.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fashion Tapas: Bead Knitted Parasol

Definitely not for rain:

Bead knitted parasol c. 1805  - Fashioning Fashion Exhibit LACMA

Those were the days. You had the time on your hands to make a bead knitted parasol, and then the time to sashay down the boulevard with it on display.

Bead knitting, in which a bead is locked into the knitted stitches, and not just stranded between or in front of stitches, is the perfect technique for making pictures similar to needle point. The workmanship on this item was exquisite and the colors much more vibrant than what I was able to capture with my little point-and-shot camera.

The fiber is silk and the beads are glass and metal.