Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rosary Finished, Now What to do?

Finished the rosary by buying a cross.  I couldn't manage to make a cross out of wire without torquing it badly so I decided to buy one.  It was easy enough to attach to the rosary.  I got a critique of the rosary and it is to long and could have been made with smaller beads.  But it is pretty and sturdy.  Next time I will try and make it smaller and will look into a special rosary tool.  I'm so glad I stopped working on the pearl rosary it would have been to heavy to lift!  Now to start making gifts in earnest.  It would have been so much better to have started in October.  Will have to finish making a list of gifts and start making stuff.  Definitely need to make lots and lots of earrings! 

Added the Cross with dove to rosary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silk Ribbon Initial

Silk ribbon embroidery can be rather fun when you just sit and doodle.  Today I worked on a piece that will be made into a needle roll.  As a few posts ago I sharply realized that a proper needle roll was important.  So I started one for myself with my initial.  It has gotten a bit out of control, I keep adding bits of embroidery to it and in some parts embroidered over embroidery that didn't look right.  That is the problem embroidering without a plan and doing only rough sketching on the fabric.  Before I started the project I wanted it to be very ornate and tried to remember pieces of old ribbon work that I had seen.  So I couldn't settle for just a pretty initial it had to be surrounded with stitching and then more stitching around the other stitching until it threatens to take over the whole piece of fabric.  Now I'm trying to deciding whether to add a crown!  I think it is quite ornate enough and will wait to decide on anything further tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Make a No Chain Start in Crochet Tutorial

This is such a clever way to start crochet projects without making a foundation chain.  It doesn't work for all projects but many projects especially afghans it does.  One of the biggest reasons that I gave up making afghans is the starting chain.  Sometimes more than 200 chains to just get started and then a few extra just in case you miss counted.  Then I found the chainless start in a 19th century book and I'm so happy I sat down and learned this trick.  The tutorial is for making a row 1 of double crochets.

Step 1:  Make a slip knot and tighten it around the hook.

Step 2: Chain 4, the first chain loop takes the place of the chain start and the three make up the first double crochet.

Step 3: Yarn over insert hook in fourth chain from hook.  Yarn over and pull through, there will be three loops on the hook.

Step 4:  Yarn over and pull through 1 loop, 3 loops will be on the hook. The loop you just pulled through becomes the foundation chain for the next stitch. 

Step 5: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remain.

Step 6: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, stitch is now completed.

Start of next stitch.

Step 1: Yarn over and place hook in the bottom of the last stitch.  In the picture you will see that I left the chain stitch loose so it was more visible.  Yarn over and pull the loop through, 3 loops on hook.

Step 2:  Yarn over and the pull thread through 1 loop, 3 loops on hook.  This is making the foundation chain for the next stitch.  You can think of this as making the original starting chain while crocheting the stitch.

Step 3: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remaining.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull though 2 loops, 1 loop on hook.

Step 5: Repeat the second set of steps 1 through 4 until you have the correct number of stitches for your pattern.

Need chain spaces?  It is easy.

Step 1: Chain number of chains in pattern  This example will use 1 chain space.

Step 2: Yarn over and place hook in the bottom of the last stitch.  Yarn over and pull the loop through, 3 loops on hook.
Step 3: Now yarn over and pull through as many times as need for chain spaces in pattern.  In this example we will use 1 extra space. Yarn over and the pull thread through 1 loop, yarn over and pull through 1 loop again creating a chain one space and the foundation space for the next stitch.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remaining.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull though 2 loops, 1 loop remaining.

I hope that these instructions are clear enough and someone finds it helpful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cross for the Rosary

Today wasn't very productive.  I've been working on a cross for the rosary.  So far I have been trying to string beads on wire to form a cross using the rose quartz beads.  But the tension is hard to get right.  The rest of the day I made lists and got stuff ready for the coming Holidays.  Tomorrow I hope to get the tree ready.  It is supposed to rain starting Wednesday so have to get ready for that also.  To many rainy days means fewer chocolates made.  I have been looking at a recipe for a chocolate and raspberry candy that sounds delicious.  Lots to do!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rose Quartz Rosary

Last night I decided not to continue with the pearl rosary. So today I found the rose quartz beads. They are a very delicate pink because I don't usually buy dyed stones. The dye will fade over time and buying them undyed also gives them a more translucent look.  They are size 5 beads so this will be a much smaller and lighter rosary and I was able to use some of the gold chain I have.  
I chose square separator bead.  It is a lot of work wiring all those beads.  Last night I also looked up about prayer beads.  Turns out many religions have prayer beads and they usually differ on the numbers of beads in a strand.  According to Wikipedia the English word bead is from the Old English bede which means prayer.

Rose quartz Rosery.  All it needs is a cross.
Pearl rosery with a wire cross I made.

So I stayed up rather late last night because of all the sleeping I did during the day.   I stopped making the Rosary and started a silk ribbon decoration for the clear glass ball ornaments.  It was stitched onto crinoline which was horrible to the silk ribbons.  I had to use short lengths of ribbon because of all the tearing. But after embroidering the crinoline I cut out the design and used markers to match the edges to the embroidery.  Then I glued it to the ball and it came out beautifully.  Now I need some rest!

Work in progress on embroidered glass ball.
Embroidery cut out.
Embroidery glued to glass ball.
Another view.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rosary part deux

Today I slept over 17 hours so I haven't worked much on the rosary.  However I realised that there are 5 sections of 10 beads not 4.  So by the time I am finished with the piece it will be very long and heavy.  It is beautiful and I made the links as small as I could but the size 8 pearls are making it very long.  Besides that the cross I made is to small for the rosary.  So now I have the dilemma of whether to finish it or to break it apart into 2 necklaces.  Either way I will need to buy more silver chain to make a new or finish the current rosary.  I'm not sure at all that I can afford some more chain with the price of silver.  So I will look at my own jewelry and see if I can find a strong enough chain to recycle.  I'm just sad because I wanted to give the gift next week.  Perhaps the size 6 rose quartz that was purchased for another wedding will work!

Lee is working on the kitchen so I will have lots of space to start baking gifts.  I'm still not sure what I want to bake but the stollen was so good last year that I have a feeling I will be making more!  The only problem is will I just eat it instead of sending it!  Of course there must be truffles, at least they are easy to make.  With luck the first package will go out Tuesday!

Just finished "Pride and Prejudice" now for "Sense and Sensibility" and "A Study in Scarlet".

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pearl and Crystal Rosary

On they have a few instructions for making Rosaries.  So today I started one for a friend.  I used 20 gauge wire and started making wired pearls.  I used the smallest pliers so that the loops would be small compared to the size 10 pearls.  Then between the sections of 10 wired pearls I put 5 links of silver chain and a size 12 AB round crystal.  So far it looks alright, but the cross is going to be hard to decide on.  I was thinking of making the outline of a cross in heavy wire and then flatten it on an anvil.  With a smaller gauge wire I was thinking of stringing small crystals inside the cross.  I had hoped to finish it tonight but it was just to big a project for one afternoon and evening of work.  Maybe tomorrow I will be able to finish it and I will have another gift done!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks (personal)

Today is a special day of thanks because 8 years ago today my doctor released me from her care and I was cancer free.  As I was leaving her office I said I would see her in 25 years.  She stopped me leaving and explained that the cancer was not an easy one to beat and most people had only a remission of three years.  So after 8 years I really may have beaten it.  Unfortunately after the seizures a few weeks ago my doctor insisted on tests because the cancer often comes back in the brain.  They found nothing in my head which I have been saying for years!  So today is special for me and I am grateful that my doctor was cautious and wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pearl Jewelry

Today I took out the pearls left from the wedding and made some abstract earrings.  These look a lot like the pearl earrings I made back in June.  Then I decided to make a matching 22 inch necklace.  The necklace is made of silver wrapped pearls that I added a pendant to.  The pendant looks like one of the earrings.  I thought they both came out nice but I may add a chain strand with pearls every 3 inches. 
Pearl earrings that started it all!
Wired pearls and close up of pendant.
Then while I still had some hand strength I also made a 23 inch strand of silver wrapped pearls and crystals.  Not to bad a day of crafting making two gifts!
Necklace with alternating large crystals and cream colored crystal pearls.
The second necklace was made with larger loops and a medium silver jump ring between each wrapped sections.  This gave the necklace a lacier look.  There are two types of alternating sections.  The first is a pearl with small crystal bicones on either end.  The other is a crystal with two small pearls at either end.  The pattern is two pearl sections and then one crystal section.  I hope that it will be as easy thinking of other designs for gifts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ultimate Embroidery Experience

The thing that all embroiders fear, I sat on my needle roll and had to pull four needles out of my butt!  You know that sooner or later it will happen it is just a matter of time!

Today I started an Elizabethan style embroidery.  The pattern is from "Exploring Elizabethan Embroidery" by Dorothy Clarke.  The pattern I chose is called blossom and features flower petals that are needle woven in button hole stitches.  I want to turn it into a Christmas ornament for the tree.  It is on a unbleached muslin background and I am using one strand of cotton floss.  Looks like it will be nice.  But since I have had a needling experience I think I will just read tonight!

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Copper Snowflakes and Easy to Decorate Glass Ornament

Today while picking up the copper snowflakes I placed them on top of each other and they were beautiful together.  Now instead of two six pronged snowflakes I have a beautiful 12 pronged snowflake.  So I made two more today and wired them together.  Then I made some burgundy satin roses from fabric and decorated a glass ball ornament. 

The decorative glass ball is so easy to make.  All I did was take the top off and put about 30 crystals in two shades of green and clear and added some copper metal beads.  They look great and is a good way to use odds and ends of beads.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time to Get Started on Christmas

It is very late in the year to get started on Christmas but then I never get started early.  As I've said in other posts I make everyone the same thing.  Doesn't seem very fair to force the same things on everyone but it works for me!

The first thing to do is setup the tree and work on ornaments.  This year I want to decorate the tree with a garland made out of copper necklaces.  Definitely different!  It seems to me that interlinking necklaces to make a garland and then giving away the necklaces as gifts is a cool idea.  So far I have 70 inches of copper necklaces already made.  The real problem is how to decorate the rest of the tree!  The only idea I have is to make little wirework ornaments, they could be decorated with colorful crystals.  So far I have made a wirework frame with six spokes.  It is decorated with copper beads held on by wrapping 26 gauge wire.

Strange but pretty, the frame I made bent so it isn't very even.

Purchased 6 x 6 inch snowflake frame.
That didn't work out but is something to try again later.  Then I took a steel snowflake frame and added green and copper beads,  I bent the ends of the frames because I wanted to be able to reuse the beads after Christmas.  Copper snowflakes are definitely different!

Copper clear crystal and green crystal snowflake.
Close up.
Second green crystal and copper snowflake.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Altrusa Tree Finished Updated

Update: The Victorian tree brought in lots of money for the charity.  Many people thought it was lovely, and the woman who got the tree was really happy.  It was a great experience.

Today the tree was setup to be raffled at the Elks Club.  Our tree was the best one there of course!  It was very lovely and everyone did a beautiful job.  It is one thing to make some ornaments but quite another to pull it all together, Linda made it magical.  The tree spilled out to the gifts so that it was hard to know where the tree ended.  The gifts were wonderful and would make any Victorian Lady happy.  An umbrella at the back was made with recycled slips from the 1890's.  Very clever recycling!  The tree skirt was lovely and most of the ornaments were handmade and embroidered with silk ribbons.  The top of the tree had branches coming out the top with pretty birds sitting on them.  There was even a bell jar with a bird in it.  There was a beautiful tea cup and even a miniature tea set on top of cake plates.  There were vases and candles and the dressmakers dummy was made of lacy iron work and so lovely.  I even donated the fake chocolate dipped strawberries.  The only bad thing was that my pictures didn't come out very well.  But here is what I could salvage of the tree pictures.

Umbrella at back of the tree.
Ornaments on the tree.
More ornaments.
Still more ornaments.
Close up, near the top of the picture is a ballerina costume.
Wirework mannequin.
Last of the pictures, back of the mirror decorated with ribbon embroidery. 
One of the pictures that didn't come out was of a embroidery frame with a canvas work picture of a country cottage!  I'm sure that everyone will agree that this was a great tree!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Post 200! Burgundy Doll Dress

Wow!  The 200th post since May!  That is a lot of posts, hopefully someone thinks that it is worth reading.

We are expecting rain and it has been quite a gloomy day.  I got up early today considering all the sleep I had yesterday.  I am surprised that I slept at all last night.  Sometimes when I am very sleepy I keep getting up and searching through my supplies.  This is one of the reasons things get everywhere.  Ideas for projects keep me from falling asleep.  Last night I had an idea of decorating a 8 inch dressmaker's dummy made of paper.  I was searching and couldn't find any paper or fabric that I liked for decorating the dummy.  Then I found a doll pattern that I bought ages ago and have never used.  Sewing is not a skill I have and patterns often don't get used.  Then the idea struck me that I could use the pattern tissue to decorate the dummy.  I copied some of the pieces and then started arranging the patterns onto the dummy.  Then what usually happens happened!  I got distracted and finally fell asleep. 

This morning I was trying to remember what I had been thinking the night before.  I saw the pattern and it has lots of cute clothes and so I decided to make a party dress for Barbie.  Not exactly what I had planned last night!  So I hunted and found a deep burgundy satin that surprisingly doesn't fray easily.  So I cut out the pieces and started sewing the dress using a running stitch with a lot of backstitches.  I used a tiny needle and the Gutermann thread I purchased recently.  It only has two pieces a bodice and an off center skirt that is shorter in the front and is floor lenght in the back.  Anyway I decided to get it put partially together and hemmed before starting to embroider it.  The only problem is that I can't find a doll to make sure the dress will fit.  Finally decided to use pink silk ribbon and silver thread on the dress.  If this goes well maybe I will try another pattern.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last Minute Altrusa Plans

Today I slept almost the whole day.  Guess I wasn't feeling as well as I thought.  I woke up around 6 pm and worked on the last of the Altrusa ornaments.  The pink crocheted basket is finished and it has a pink ribbon rose on it.  The pink crocheted tea cup only needs to be starched a bit and it will be done also.  My friend has invited me to see the tree at the Elks club on Saturday.  She got a dressmakers mannequin as one of the gifts so everything is coming together!  I have only one more thing to find, a pearl necklace I made for another gift.  This tree is going to be a Victorian dressmakers dream!

Basket ornament.
Tea cup ornament.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teneriffe Lace Using the Stitch-Around by Posi-Bendr

After reorganizing mount craft supplies I worked on learning Teneriffe lace making.  There seems to be very little available on the subject.  I found two books one printed in the early 1900's and another in 1980.  The technique of Teneriffe Lace by Alexandra Stillwell is quite good.  It offers a very thorough understanding of making Teneriffe lace or Sol lace as it is also called.  The author explains how to use a handmade tool and the instructions are really clearly illustrated.  There are also lovely examples in the book.  A PDF copy of the book can be found on this site.

Many years ago I had purchased the Stitch-Around I think it was from snowgoose here is a link to their Teneriffe stuff
Snowgoose is a great company to buy from and they have a variety of lace supplies that are hard to find as well as kits.

Since I last saw my teneriffe tool all I had done was to thread through the holes.  I had never actually started a motif.  So Yesterday I found the instructions and the loom again.  I had found one or the other for years and I knew I had to try making some lace before I lost something again.

The first motif I made was very simple in fact so simple it is barely holding together.

Lace motif one.

So I started another motif using the book pdf file for instructions. I had made the second motif the wrong size so I couldn't make all the rows in the pattern but it did look nice.

Second Teneriffe motif.
The second motif was 2 inches woven with size 20 crochet cotton. The best thing about the Stitch-Around is that by using different rings on the tool the motif size changes from 2 inches to 6 inches.  So I wove the threads through a 3 inch setting and now have two much space because I used a much finer silk thread.  It is hard to see so I may wait until tomorrow to finish it. 

Third motif still on Stitch-Around.
Looks like I just need to practise making motifs to get the hang of sizes of thread to motif size.  One project in the teneriffe book is a small mat made of 5 motifs, I would like to make it as a gift.  Of course what I really want to make is a mantilla, which was at one time traditionally made of Teneriffe lace.  I first saw a mantilla in college, Teneriffe was taught in the general needle arts class.  But this was long ago when it was not as easy to track down needle art tools.  So we learned using pins to weave around.  This method can be very frustrating as the threads try to tangle everywhere and it takes a while to set up the pins.  So I didn't have a piece finished for class but I don't remember anyone else finishing a motif either.  I am very proud that I was able to make my first two motifs and I will at least make a mat or decoration for a pillow.  I also have an idea of using teneriffe motifs to form lace flowers, they would be pretty with the ribbon roses from earlier blog entries.

I almost forgot that in the 60's there was a tool called a knitwit.  It was a little handheld tool that had spokes that were retractable.  You wrapped yarn around it and then popped off the motif.  The knitwit made daisies and it was often called daisy work.  It was a very very primitive form of teneriffe work.  I have some old instruction books on making daisy layettes.  I had started an afghan but the daisies were so small it was just to big a project.  I would love to get another knitwit, about 5 years ago they were popular for a short time.  Maybe one of these days I will make a daisy afghan!  Here is a link to an instruction book from the 50's.

I hope that this has inspired someone to try this form of lace.

Back Again (personal post)

Took a little break from blogging but I think I'm back again.  My doctor didn't take my seizure as lightly as I did.  So he wanted tests and reduced one med that can cause seizures.  The tests all came out wonderfully.  So this last nine days have been busy ones running around.  But I also worked on projects, I just didn't feel up to photographing and posting about them.  I've also been watching a lot of old movies. 

The weather has finally changed to cold!  It is finally time to start baking again because we need to warm up the house!  My mom would bake when it got cold and I would call it baking season.  I can just see my mom warming her hands with the oven slightly open.  Just have to find the energy to bake and clean. 

The crystals are roughly sorted and I'm considering making jewelry just to keep from having to sort them anymore!  I did finally get the jewelry drawers out of the bedroom.  Right now I can't see me doing anything this year for Christmas.  I still owe Christmas truffles from last year when carpel tunnel got me!  So maybe it is better if I don't try to do much this season.  I'm still working on the only gift I started.  It is just that with Pattie's kids leaving the nest I would like to send them chocolates for their holiday traditions.  Along with a link to this blog for the tutorial on how to make them.

Still have to finish the Altrusa tree ornaments, just three more to go!  Maybe I will be able to see the tree all decorated but I doubt I will get to it!  I hope it earns lots of money!

In any case I will try and move around today and see what I can get done.  Need to go through the supplies for baking, I am tempted to make more Stollen this year.  I absolutely love it!  So much for losing weight!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ribbon Flowered Necklace

Fabric Necklace.
Close up of necklace.
Close up of left side of necklace.

Yesterday I had one of those moments of inspiration!  I went to Beverly's to show another crocheted teacup that I made in ecru and pink.  The pattern is easy enough but I don't like how small the cup is compared to the saucer.  So I keep trying to adapt the pattern.  In any case I was told to move onto other projects for the tree, we still need poinsettias for the tree.  The problem is that I'm not sure how big to make them.  The tree is due in 13 days so I need to concentrate on the embroidered mirror as well as the flowers.  Beverly's was really busy because they had a 65% off fall stuff.  Sadly I didn't have the money to buy the glass pumpkins.  But I did get a spool of pink thread, pink felt and they had the large size of the clover flower tool.  The large size Kanzashi Flower tool seems to be different from the small.  So I will have to play with it a bit more before I decide if I like it.

So instead of standing around at Beverly's I went to Cafe Noir and had ice tea and Russian tea cakes.  There was supposed to be a write-in for Nanowrimo at Cafe Noir from 12:00  to 3:00.  Only Lee and I were there.  So Lee was writing and I was working on poinsettias when I felt inspiration hit me like a 2 ton weight!  The night before I had tried to cut straight strips of pink satin fabric with the idea of some how making them into flowers.  The price of ribbon is so high right now that I really can't afford the ones I want.  In fact Betty's Fabrics have some very old silk ribbon that is half the price of the new poly ribbons!  So if I want to continue making flowers I needed to adapt!  I was looking at the Kanzashi Flower tool when inspiration hit!  I took out the pink fabric strip and started folding a rose.  I started by rolling a center and then folded the ribbon back and sewed the rolled center to the ribbon making a petal curve.  Here it got tricky because the unfinished edges were showing.  So I gently folded the raw edge under the ribbon and carefully tacked it down.  Not the easiest thing to do because of how much the fabric frayed.  I made two more folds and then started gathering the rest of the fabric.  First stitching close using small stitches and then spacing them out gradually and making longer stitches.  Once the fabric was gathered I pulled it tightly.  Then with another thread I started to sew the gathered fabric to the rolled center.  I found that the tighter the fabric was gathered the better the flowers came out.

The fabric flowers turned out to be really lovely.  So I decided to make a fabric necklace with the flowers.  I took some of the cotton cord that I made the fabric basket out of and wound green ribbon around it.  Then I sewed some white lace over the green.  I decided to curl the ends for interest.  Unfortunately the flowers were to big for the necklace.  So I made some runched flowers and rolled roses out of 1 inch pink ribbon.  One of the large roses I put on the necklace over the close.  I added gold and pink pearls and gold crystals.  It was hard to decide where to place everything.  Then I remembered that I have a dressmaker's dummy.  So the dummy was helpful in arranging the flowers,  I really love the necklace but some more leaves and pearls will be needed to finish it.  I worked all day on it because I was afraid of loosing the momentum but now it has been a two day effort and I need a break.