Thursday, 23 August 2018

Odd, uneven time

August rain: the best of the summer gone, the fall not yet born. The odd, uneven time.
Sylvia Plath

I am grateful for cooler weather. 37.2 is the record in my studio. 

37.2 degrees C is too hot to make beads in

I have had to abandon my studio so many times early in the afternoon due to getting too hot, it's severely affected the turnover of my business. I work in a glazed shed (one of those summerhouse style ones for the light) so it acts a bit like a greenhouse. I have all three windows and both doors flung open to their greatest degree but the South facing window is shaded. Add to that I'm hunched over a flame powered by Butane and Oxygen running at over 1000 degrees AND sat next to a kiln programmed to 520C ... well it's no wonder really.

Apologies to all who enjoy the heat but for me, a weather forecast in the early twenties means I can finally work all day again! 

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Grapefruits and their pips ... a metaphor

I observed today, after breakfast, that MTM had six pips in his grapefruit at breakfast whilst I had only one. He laughed and said that it was typical of his life, he always had more pips than anyone else. He ruffled Bongo’s ears and said “in the grapefruit of life, YOU are NOT one of the pips”. 
Aw ... :-)

I said “No, that’s me, I am a ruddy great big pip in your life” (I have been  difficult to live with this week, he puts up with a lot from me). He smiled and disagreed. Aw ... again, he’s brilliant isn’t he? 

He’s gone out for a haircut now and whilst he is out, I am cleaning the beads I made yesterday and have been pondering and turning over the pips in my mind which have now become a metaphor for all the crap that life chucks at you ... the proverbial fag-end in your beer can or stone in your left shoe.

When MTM gets pips, he just spits them out, chucks ‘em away and forgets. Whereas I swallow, digest and slowly absorb, therefore allowing them poison me from the inside out. I should learn to spit like MTM.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Flowers, flowers and more flower beads

This is the first set of pink flower lampwork beads I have ever offered for sale in my Etsy shop. There has been much experimentation and recording of what colours I put with what before they were perfect.

I have made green, orange and blue ones in the past

I'm delighted to announce that the range has been expanded, first with the pink ones I kicked off this posting with but purple, aqua and teal are also new.

I'm trying to push the colour range even further and am currently experimenting with red which is tricky to work with but I shall keep trying. Watch this space for news of my success (soon ... or later ... it may very well be later ... I am nothing if not persistent). 

I can imagine these flower beads being absolutely gorgeous as a pair of earrings with matching bracelet teamed with some silver, Czech glass and/or swarovski beads. I'm sure that lovely gardener, Carol Kline - whose earrings often feature flowers - would look fabulous in a pair if some enterprising jeweller sent her some!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Never mind stay out of the sun ... stay out of the studio

I had to abandon my beadmaking studio at lunchtime today. 

I’ve never enjoyed being hot at the best of times, when I’m trying to work, it’s doubly hard. I love England’s inclement and temperate climate, I’d rather be too cool than too warm. If I wanted hot weather I would move abroad ... #nevergonnahappen 

I need recommendations for cooler countries to emigrate to. 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Crochet lacy dress scarf - written pattern

I published the chart for my lacy dress scarf at the back end of last year. It has had a lot of hits on it recently, I imagine people are looking for lightweight scarf patterns for summer. A few have asked for written instructions and I'm delighted to now be able to oblige. I’ve included some photos as well. I know when I’m following a pattern for the first time, pictures can be very reassuring.

All instructions are written in UK crochet terms

This version uses 2.5mm crochet hook and 2 x 50g balls of Rico Creative Melange laceweight yarn although much will depend on how long and wide you make your scarf, adjust yarn amount accordingly

ch - chain
dtr - double treble 
sp - space
dc - double crochet

Foundation row:
Make a slip knot on your hook, ch multiples of 7 plus a further 8. For this version, I chained 43, ie 5 x 7 = 35 + 8 = 43. (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 10th ch from hook * ch 1, skip 6 ch (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in next ch, repeat from * until 5 ch remain, ch1, skip 4 ch, dtr in final ch, turn

Row 1:
ch 7, dc in first 1 ch sp, (see photo below for the place)

ch 3 * skip 2 dtr (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp, 3 ch, skip 2 dtr, dc in 1 ch sp, 3 ch, repeat from * until you reach 9 ch at the end (see picture below for how work will look at this stage)

(dc, 3 ch, dtr) in 9 ch sp, turn

Row 2:
ch 5, * (2dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp marked “1”,

ch 1, repeat from * working only into the 1 ch sp inbetween dtrs indicated by numbers on the photo until you reach 7 ch at the end, dtr into 7 ch sp, turn 

Row 3:
Same as row 1, except the ch sp you work into at the end is a 5 ch sp

and this will be true for all subsequent repeats

Repeat rows 2 and 3 for the length desired ending on a row 2, do not fasten off. 

Bottom finishing row:
ch 4, skip (1 ch, 2 dtr)

*(2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp indicated above, ch 3, skip 2 dtr,

dc in next 1 ch sp indicated above, ch 3, skip 2 dtr, repeat from * moving along the row, ending on (2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp

ch 4, dc in 5 ch sp indicated, fasten off

Top finishing row:

Turn work upside down with yarn tail to your left. Rejoin yarn in 7 ch sp at right hand corner indicated above, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later, ch 4, *skip rest of chs in the ch sp

(2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in ch sp indicated above, ch 3, dc in 6 ch sp, ch 3, repeat from * ending with (2dtr, 1 ch, 2dtr)

ch 4, dc in corner st indicated, fasten off. Weave in ends.

Add a fringe of your choice or you can make the one I did. I originally found the instructions for this bobble fridge via Pinterest on Once Upon a Pink Moon's blog. I thoroughly recommend you go look and see all the things Robin gets up to on her blog, she is a very creative and talented lady. On that website it's written in US terms so I've converted it to UK terms for you here and I have modified it ever so slightly. I'm including a few photographs here to show you exactly how to add it to this scarf.

Step 1 - Rejoin yarn by making a slip knot loop and pulling through the first 1ch sp (indicated above), ch 1, dc in same sp

Step 2 - ch 9, yo, insert hook in 3rd ch, yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (2 loops on hook) *yo, insert hook into same ch, yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (3 loops on hook), repeat from * once (4 loops on hook) **

Step 3 - yo, pull yarn through 4 loops, ch 3 (see below for how your work will look)

Step 4 - yo, insert hook into 3rd ch from hook (indicated above), yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (2 loops on hook), repeat from * to ** twice 

Step 5 - yo, pull through 4 loops. Insert hook into the V of the ch at the bottom of the first bobble indicated below. This has the effect of “folding” the two bobbles on top of each other.

NB It's quite fiddly to do, you will need to wiggle the tip of the hook into each side separately, it is quite tight because of the number of stitches worked into it already.

Step 6 - yo, pull yarn through (2 loops on hook), yo, pull through both loops, ch 6, skip (2 dtr, 3 ch, dc, 3 ch, 2 dtr), dc in 1 ch sp indicated below

Repeat steps 2 to 6 all the way along, ending in final 1 ch sp with dc, fasten off. Repeat the fringe on the other end and then weave in all ends.

The scarf will benefit from blocking, it brings out the lacy stitches beautifully. Drop the scarf in a bowl of tepid water and then very gently squeeze the excess water out (do not wring!) Roll it up in a dry towel to blot out some more. Lay the scarf on fresh dry towels (I needed two laid end to end) over carpet or a blocking board and then pin it out gently, stretching it a little as you go using rustless stainless steel pins. Pay particular attention to the "points" created on the finishing rows by placing a pin in the 1 ch sp, being careful to keep them in a straight line.

Leave to dry overnight and then you can wear it!