bling

 

20180512_gem_necklace_lowres

Another trial with the fude fountain pen today. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. It was nice to be able to switch between fine lines and block shadows without skipping a beat. Next I’d like to try and get variability into single strokes if I can. I’d like to try it out on an urban landscape scene – I think lots of vertical lines would suit this pen well.

20180512_gem_necklace (1)

I added colour via pencils and pastels as I don’t think the sample ink that came with the pen is waterproof. When I’ve used all this I have some waterproof ink I can try.

20180512_gem_necklace (5)

 

shiny crochet sardine

IMG_20180429_180004

This little guy has been swimming around in my head for a while now.

Today he finally got out.

I always thought pilchards and sardines were different fish. Actually, I never thought that before today. This is the first time I ever contemplated pilchards. But I wanted to know what to call this post so i looked them up. It seems to depend where in the world you are but generally pilchards are longer than 15cm long so this is a sardine :)

IMG_20180429_175825IMG_20180429_180004

bead & jewellery bowls

bead_bowls (23)

These bowls are made from air dry clay and decorated with watercolour and acrylic gold paint. I experimented with a few different methods, shapes and styles. Some are large and deep for finished jewellery and some are shallow with a spout for beads during jewellery making that can then be easily poured back into their bags. Read on for a step by step and some tips if you want to try it for yourself.

bead_bowls (33)

I picked up the air dry clay from Hobbycraft with no particular project in mind and it sat around for a couple of months. It was £3.75 for a 1kg block and I used about half to make all these bowls. So that worked out at ~16p each. Plus a bit of paint – call it 20p per bowl. Other things I gathered were talcum powder to stop the clay sticking to my hands (something I read online somewhere and it worked really well), a rolling pin, a scalpel, a silicone mat to work on and a round bottomed glass.

bead_bowls (1)

2. My plan was to roll out the clay to ~5mm thick, cut out a circle and mould it around the glass bottom into a dish shape. Then pop it off, put it to one side to dry and repeat – easy!

hmmm, not so easy. It rolled out and moulded ok but it would not “pop off” the glass. It just peeled off the glass and instantly became a flat disk again.

bead_bowls (2)

3. alternative plan needed. I would need to leave the bowls on the glass until dry. many more glasses needed. I ran around the house like a headless chicken, gathering up anything that would do the trick. I found a few things but didn’t want to risk ruining anything so only a few plastic lids.

bead_bowls (3)

4. This set back also gave me the opportunity to try other ways of making the bowls. A few I just moulded by hand as you would generally imagine working with clay. Another method was to slice into the rolled out disk around the edge and then overlap the sections. the fewer/deeper the cuts, the deeper the bowl with sloping sides. Lots of small cuts gives a shallower dish with vertical sides.

5. I thought that moulding a spout might be difficult but actually it was fairly straightforward and just kind of fell into place. Once all the bowls were shaped I put them to one side with the intention of leaving them to dry overnight.

bead_bowls (10)

6. About 40 minutes later I happened to be walking past and saw that the bowl moulded around the blue glass had cracked in half!

7. Of course, the clay would be shrinking as it dried! It was too late to save this bowl but I needed to take the other bowls off the glasses before they also cracked. They mostly popped off fine and held their shape. (now they pop!)

bead_bowls (12)

8. one did crack as I peeled it off but not all the way through so I rushed it to the sink and patched it up in a scene that was not in the least bit evocative of Demi Moore in ghost. Since it was so soggy I thought i’d experiment with dripping and splashing some paint and see what happened. I liked the effect and left it hoping that it would look just as good once dry.

bead_bowls (13)

9. The next day I splashed paint (watercolour) on all the dried bowls and let that dry.

bead_bowls (17)

10. I then added gold acrylic paint to the edges in various ways to finish them off.

bead_bowls (31)

bead_bowls (26)

bead_bowls (27)

the cracked/repaired/swayzed bowl dried great btw

bead_bowls (32)

the little spouted bead bowls also turned out great

bead_bowls (33) I’m really happy with them – they look good and do exactly what I wanted. They’re all slightly different shapes and styles, different colours and different techniques of adding gold but similar enough to look like they belong together as a set.

bead_bowls (22)

bead_bowls (20)

bead_bowls (25)

epoxy resin jewellery

I’ve been experimenting with resin the last few months and finally at a point where what I’m making is good enough to wear and sell. I’d like to share some of the process with you.

IMG_20171117_105206

I watched a lot of tutorial videos and read some blogs while I waited for all the supplies to arrive. It seemed there were lots of things to be aware of:

  • mixing needs to be done very carefully so as not to introduce bubbles
  • but mixing also needs to be very thorough so that it cures correctly
  • proportions of the two epoxy parts need to be measured carefully also to ensure correct curing
  • whatever you mix in to the resin to colour it could also effect curing
  • maybe I need release spray so the resin doesn’t stick to the moulds?

This was my set up for the first attempt. I had my A and B epoxy parts, silicone moulds, mixing sticks and pots, oil, a paint brush, toothpicks and grease-proof paper:

IMG_20171029_164733

plus some metallic leaf (silver, copper and gold) to embed in the resin.

IMG_20171029_164738

I brushed oil into the molds so that the resin wouldn’t stick and measured out 10ml of part B followed by 20ml of part A. Then I started mixing. very slowly and very carefully for ages and ages :)

For my first few attempts I tried various different substances to colour the resin – the results were not always predictable:

acrylic and oil paint did not work well at all. It just wouldn’t mix into the resin but stayed as small solid lumps:

IMG_20171102_131212

nail varnish mixed in well but whatever colour it was in the bottle the resin always turned a yellowy beige colour – ok if that’s the colour you want I guess…

IMG_20171030_132008

colourant for soap worked ok but was really tough to mix in – I guess it’s water-based and just didn’t want to integrate.

I saw a few tutorials using eye shadow – this was great but only gave slight tints of translucent colour. I wanted to experiment with a more opaque finish – acrylic ink was quite successful.

I now have some ‘official’ epoxy colourant but it’s good to keep experimenting I think.

everything I tried cured perfectly but sometimes it took a very long time. The time on the box says 24 hours, the reviews said more like 48 and I would agree with that. It’s winter here and the temperature makes a big difference to setting time. It’s more like 24 – 48 hours in the airing cupboard or 3 to 4 days in a regular room.

I got a bunch more moulds and realised that the oil (or any other release substance) was not needed. You need to be careful and ease the rings out gently but I’ve never snapped a ring trying to get it out of the mould. I have squashed them though because it’s too soon and they’re still soft! Even the thin rings are very strong once fully set – there’s no way I could break one with my hands – probably if you purposefully propped one up and then stood on it in solid shoes you could do it.

after a few rounds of this and seeing that everything turned out ok in general I started to experiment. Since the setting takes such a long time I might as well use that to my advantage. Monitoring the moulds over time I started to take the pieces out when they were not yet completely solid. soft enough to cut and shape but solid enough to hold their shape and not pick up finger prints on the surface. By cutting with a scalpel and then applying more metallic leaf I could achieve some great effects looking like raw stone, carved stone, or some kind of metallic ore.

bow_grey_gold (2)

rough_white_copper (1)

then I left them to set for a few more days and brushed on a fresh layer of clear resin to seal the metal leaf. A few more days for that to set and then we’re done.

final touches for all the rings included sanding down any rough or uneven edges with increasingly fine sandpaper and then a quick polish.

 

eyeball brooch

eyeball felt brooch (1)

Below are instructions for making a bloodshot eyeball brooch for Halloween or maybe a gift for that difficult to buy for friend :) If you’d prefer to buy one ready made then you can do that from my shop: bloodshot eyeball brooch

What you’ll need:

  • small amount of white felt
  • tiny amounts of black and either blue, green, brown or other iris colour felt
  • safety pin or other brooch fastener
  • cotton thread in each of the following colours:
    • white, red, black and your chosen iris
  • white crochet cotton or thin wool
  • various needles to suit thread and wool
  • a marker pen
  • sharp scissors

1. with the marker draw two circles on the white felt of the same size (free hand or find something to draw around. I used an ink bottle) and cut out

2.  choose one to be the front and sew on veins with the red cotton thread, branching out from a central point. Machine sewing is quicker but hand sewing gives you much more control.

eyeball felt brooch (5)

3. cut a small circle from your iris coloured felt (for the iris… obviously) and an even smaller circle from the black felt for the pupil.

eyeball felt brooch (4)

4. with matching coloured cotton sew the iris over the veins on the white felt. Again, you can use a machine or hand sew.

eyeball felt brooch (6)

5. with white crochet cotton (or you could use thin wool or regular white cotton thread) sew a small patch of white on the black pupil.

eyeball felt brooch (8)

6. with black thread sew the pupil on top of the iris.

eyeball felt brooch (10)

7. for the back take the other white felt circle and sew the safety pin (non-opening side!) or other brooch back to the centre with white thread/cotton/wool.

eyeball felt brooch (7)

8. place the two white circles together and sew all around the edge with white cotton thread to finish, making sure to tuck any ends from previous sewing inside. You could also add a little stuffing to make the eyeball slightly rounded.

eyeball felt brooch (11)

9. wear and enjoy!


Copyright & Legal Stuff: I’m happy for you to sell items you make from this pattern but the images and words are mine – I worked hard writing & testing & photographing so don’t copy or distribute any part of this pattern. If you want to share it then link to this page. Thanks & happy sewing


crochet brooches (2)

Easter bunny

IMG_20170414_131538

Easter bunny brooch – felt with pom pom tail. Fairly simple to make if you have the right tools – a very sharp yarn needle is needed to sew on the tail and safety pin – mine is sort of flattened and triangular rather than a normal cylindrical shape so it cuts through the felt. I’m sure it’s a particular needle meant for a specific job but I don’t know what this is and can’t find anything similar in a search.

What you’ll need:

  • a sharp yarn needle (see above)
  • a regular sewing needle
  • a small amount of brown felt
  • a small amount of stuffing material
  • scissors
  • a safety pin or other brooch back
  • a small amount of white yarn for the tail
  • a small amount of coordinating yarn to attach the pin
  • brown cotton thread

IMG_20170413_181225

  1. cut two Matryoshka / Russian doll shapes ~5cm tall and two ear shapes as in the photo above
  2. with the white yarn make a tiny pom pom by wrapping the yarn around a fork or just your fingers, tying off and trimming
  3. use the yarn needle and coordinating yarn to sew the non-opening side of the safety pin onto one of the body pieces of felt, as shown below
  4. use the yarn needle to sew the pompom onto the other felt body piece

IMG_20170414_120823

IMG_20170414_121632

5. place the two body pieces wrong sides together and sew around the edge using the smaller needle and brown cotton. sandwich the ear pieces between the body pieces and sew through all three layers as you go around.

IMG_20170414_123244

6. when 2/3 of the way around add a small amount of stuffing to the body and then complete sewing around

IMG_20170414_125016

7. Sew all around again to secure the shape, tie off and sew through the body to hide the ends

IMG_20170414_131509

et voila!

if that seems like too much hard work then you can always buy a brooch from me instead. Currently featuring the diamond and strawberry brooches shown below, i’ll be adding more soon. Happy Easter!

IMG_20170410_091316.jpgIMG_20170410_091429

Fish & chips brooch

Friday is fish and chip supper night!

fish-and-chip-crochet-brooch-5

This was inspired by the “peas” on my pizza slice brooch. Also I was itching to make something with silver thread. My favourite part though is the little final touch of a felt lemon slice. You can tell that these are fish & chips from a restaurant rather than the chip shop because:

  1. The fish has a head
  2.  you only get four chips
  3.  the chips are huge

🙂

fish-and-chip-crochet-brooch-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza slice brooch

This is my favourite brooch so far. If no one buys it then I’ll happily wear it myself instead.

pizza-crochet-brooch-5

The crocheting for this was done in the same tightly packed way as for the oyster shell. It doesn’t need to hold a 3D shape like the shell but it’s good to have a solid and robust feel to the fabric. The toppings were great fun to come up with and I’m very happy with the combination of crochet thread applique mushroom, beads and button. In my mind the button is a slice of pepperoni and the green seed beads are basil because that’s my favourite topping combo but if you fancy a veggie-tastic pizza slice then the button could easily be a slice of tomato and the beads could be peas. I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas but I’ve never had peas as a topping. I think they’d work though – if sweetcorn is good then why not peas :)

Oyster shell brooch

oyster-crochet-brooch-5

This is the improved version of my shell brooch from last week. It is smaller and sits properly when attached to a lapel. I used a very small hook in order to create a thick and sturdy fabric that will hold a 3D shape. It makes your hands ache but is worth it. I created uneven rings of brown, then purple, then beige. I then surface crocheted rings in contrasting cotton and metallic thread and finally added the cluster of glass beads and a drilled pearl. The back is a separate brown piece of crochet to form the outer shell and has a safety pin attachment (I’ve tried various brooch backs and they are either fiddly to operate or not very secure – safety pins are brilliantly perfect for the job). I didn’t use a pattern and just went with the flow to get the feel I had in my mind.

oyster-crochet-brooch-6

If you want to try making one then my main advice would be to use a hook at least half the size that is recommended on the yarn, crochet tightly and practice crocheting around the safety pin. If all that sounds like too much hard work then you’re in luck as I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell some of the things I make. I’ve also put a few other brooches on there that I’ve been beavering away at and will blog about them soon.

oyster-crochet-brooch-10

 

Clamshell crochet brooch

I had an idea for a crocheted shell as a brooch with surface details, beads and a real pearl. This is the result. I didn’t have any starting point or pattern – just went with the flow. It felt much more like sculpture than crochet – definitely satisfied my creative itch.

clamshell-crochet-brooch-4

It’s not very practical to wear though as it is a little bulky and the position of the pin means that it tilts down when attached to a lapel. I’m going to take all that on board and make another.

Broomstick lace

broomstick_lace_neschof

 

Here I’ll show you how to make this cuff as a way of learning the broomstick lace crochet stitch. Even though it looks intricate it’s actually quite a simple stitch so jump in and give it a go.
The photos for this tutorial are from a left handed perspective but the instructions work just as well whether you crochet left or right handed.

˜bracelet 2

˜

Using fluffy or highly textured yarn would be a bit of a waste with this stitch – you need a nice smooth yarn that will show up all the stitches. Select your yarn (you don’t need very much for this small project – the finished bracelet with buttons weighs less than 10g) and a suitably sized hook – here I’ve used bamboo cotton and a 4mm hook. You also need something thicker – the broomstick from the name of the stitch. A thick knitting needle would be perfect because of the tapered point for sliding stitches on and off. I used a 15mm crochet hook. The thicker your “broomstick” the longer the lacy clusters will be.

Step 1. Chain 15 and pick up your “broomstick”.

˜broomstick 1

Step 2. Pull out the loop on the hook and place it over the broomstick. Using your hook work your way down the chain, pulling a loop of yarn through each chain and without twisting it placing it around the broomstick.

Step 3. Once you’ve worked your way down the whole chain you should have 15 loops around the broomstick with a straight chain backbone:

˜broomstick 6

Step 4. Turn the broomstick around so the length of working yarn is at the top. Insert your hook under the first 5 loops on the broomstick as shown below. Yarn over the hook and pull under all 5 loops. Yarn over again and through the single loop on the hook. This is a slip stitch completed just once at the start of every row.

Step 5. *Insert the hook under all 5 loops as before, yarn over the hook and pull under all 5 loops. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. *repeat 4 more times (5 stitches total)

˜Broomstick 11

Step 6. Push this group of 5 loops off the end of your broomstick.

˜broomstick 12

Step 7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the next group of 5 loops.

˜broomstick 13

Step 8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the final 5 loops and remove the work completely from the broomstick.

˜broomstick 14

Oh dear – it doesn’t look very lacy and swishy like all those lovely photos you’ve seen does it? Not to worry – pick up the work and hold it vertically so the starting chain is in one hand and the row of stitches you’ve just completed is in the other.

˜broomstick 15

Pull these rows apart to reveal the lovely loopy broomstick stitches. There’s no need to be gentle – the work should be quite solid and able to withstand some tugging. This is where using smooth yarn gives another advantage as straightening it up is much easier. If it’s being stubborn then pull on individual loops to even them up – again don’t worry about being rough – you can always pull them back – nothing will unravel.

Phew! That looks much more like it. Row 1 is complete and you should have 15 stitches.

˜broomstick 16

Step 9. pull out the working loop and put it around the broomstick as you did in step 2. Just like step 2 work your way down the row of stitches pulling loops through the work and putting them on the broomstick.

At the end of the row you should again have 15 loops around the broomstick.

Step 10. Repeat steps 4 to 8 to complete this next row.

Continue repeating this process and after a few rows your work should look something like this:

˜broomstick 21
From the couple of sites I looked at I think this is generally considered to be the front of the work but I much prefer the other side which seems more delicate and lacy:

˜broomstick 22

Continue adding rows until the bracelet fits snugly around your wrist. I needed 9 rows. Fasten off and weave in ends.

˜broomstick 23

You could add another row or two and simply slip stitch the work into a ring for a loose bracelet but I preferred it to be snug and actually think the buttons look good and I wear them facing out. If you want buttons then sew 3 onto the front side of the starting chain end. The loops of your last row will act as button holes.


Pay what you feel

If you liked this pattern and want to contribute to my wool stash so I can make bigger and better things then you can donate whatever amount you think this pattern is worth here. To donate more than £1 just increase the number of items 😉 Thank you!

£1.00



Copyright & Legal Stuff: I’m happy for you to sell items you make from this pattern but the images and words are mine – I worked hard writing & testing & photographing so don’t copy or distribute any part of this pattern. If you want to share it then link to this page. Thanks & happy crocheting


 


broomstick_lace_neschof