Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome, spring! So long, winter!

These bracelets were inspired by a spring-y day that snuck into the winter weather a while ago. (I couldn't post the photo until the jewelry was unwrapped, in case you were wondering about the delay. Read the next post and all will make sense, I swear.)

I simply can't decide which colours I like better: the palette of intense greens, or the sweet, soft blend. My fondness for crystals obviously held sway.

Christmas in April

Here are two scarves I knit forever and a day ago as Christmas presents for two good friends. Unfortunately we had a little trouble getting together for a Christmas gift exchange until this past weekend. (Have you noticed that getting together a few people, especially from all different towns, can be almost as tricky as planning a space shuttle launch?) I bought the yarn even longer ago, I think during a late summer craft shopping excursion with my mom. Not only is it amazingly lovely yarn, but it's for a great cause too. Check out www.besweetproducts.com. Luckily the scarves are for decoration not warmth, so the timing worked out quite well!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A life of leisure

It may have seemed to the untrained eye that I was neglecting my little blog out of crafting and blogging laziness. But in fact I was enjoying the good life in France. I've got a few things to post from crafts past, including my handwoven scarf I didn't get a chance to wear before my vacation kicked off and now will have to keep waiting until next fall.

As my holiday buzz wears off, I face the daunting task of sorting through my photos. At least I only took one camera on this trip! This photo is from a visit to Monet's garden in Giverny, which was in full bloom. Well, all but his famous waterlilies. I guess I have an excuse to go back!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This past Saturday I said goodbye to Sofie, the sweetest kitty ever. With the most brilliant blue eyes, as you can see.


After a delay caused first by a dead camera battery, and then what seemed like a deadly stomach flu, I snapped some photos of my novelty yarn.

Here is my first attempt at thick and thin yarn plied with a thread core during class:

This is what I tried at home with a different fibre. It was much fluffier than what I used in class, so it because a much more delicate yarn. Those fluffy swirls wouldn't stand up to much, certainly not a curious cat who decided to do a little chewing. I won't name names.

Next I tried a firmer fibre and it worked out well. The thick and thin yarn was nice and solid.

Then I tried to get things under control a bit and make slightly less chunky thick and thin. I really like this one I named Carnival:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting funky

I had so much fun last night at my novelty spinning class! It's being held at Shall We Knit in New Hamburg, and taught by one of the uber-talented women of the Roving Spinners. We made some thick and thin yarn, then used that to make twirls and beehives. So cool! I really embraced the free spirit of novelty yarn and made super chunky thick and thin. Luckily I had my new wild flyer, and all the fibre slubs easily slid onto the bobbin. I will post a few photos soon. That is if I can get the yarn off the bobbin without being swallowed up in all the twist!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Oh yeah . . .

Taking photos for my blog is so much easier now with my fancy new digital SLR. I used to struggle forever with my old point-and-shoot digital camera. The focus just couldn't handle the teeny beaded items. It got so frustrating! But now it's a breeze getting good photos of my handmade items with my new camera. And I got the cutest camera bag to put it in. It looks like a nifty bag and a far cry from the usual boxy, utilitarian camera bags.

Twirly pendant

This pendant is a gift for my mom's birthday. (Well, sorta since she's a leap year baby and didn't technically have a birthday this year.) I picked up the lampwork bead at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto back in the fall. I came up with a sorta new design. Usually when I make earrings and pendants I have a flat swirl at the bottom. This time I twisted it around and stretched it out. I think it looks pretty cool. I grabbed the crystals this morning not remembering the colour of the focal bead, but they're a perfect fit! How often do thinks work out that wonderfully? (I also bought sapphire-coloured crystals - so beautiful and on sale! My two favourite things!)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Delectable fresh fig

I spun this deep purple yarn from fibre I picked up at Wellington Fibres. They have such an amazing selection of fibres in wonderful colours and blends. This one - appropriately called fresh fig - jumped out at me right away. Ever since I learned how to spin, I wanted to make something special for a good friend who's a super talented, and prolific, knitter. I knew this box of purple fibre would be the inspiration I needed to get back to the spinning wheel.

Once there, I soon realized I still have a lot to learn. The double-ply yarn turned out pretty well, for a novice. And I figured out a lot of stuff along the way. I certainly got good at checking my wraps per inch to get a consistent yarn. As a treat to myself after finishing, I got a plying bobbin to make the next skein go easier. Plus, I got a special flyer to spin bulky and novelty yarn. But I think I'll need a bit more practice with the basics before I get wild!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Getting warped

Tonight in my second weaving class I got the warp on my loom. Now that is some painstaking work! I have a new appreciation for my handwoven tea towels, and I already loved them so much! (Weird, yes. But they are so very nice to dry dishes! You really have to give a handwoven tea towel a spin to understand.)

If I had a picture from the class, it would be of me hunched over a loom with a rather perplexed and tense look on my face, perhaps a little dark cloud hovering above my head. We all did surprisingly well and even got out a few minutes early. The tedious work will all be worth it next week when we get to start weaving. Of course that hinges on my not having made a monumental mistake along the way and, boy oh boy, were there many opportunities for that. Cross your fingers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weaving 101

Yesterday my mom and I took a weaving workshop with the local guild. In just a few hours you learn the basics of weaving and finish a whole scarf! (It helps tremendously that the instructors do all the tricky and time-consuming set up.) I caught on pretty quickly, although I had some sort of brain hiccup that caused me repeatedly to make the same mistake by missing two rows. Luckily we caught and fixed most of the mistakes. Alas, one remains marring my lovely scarf. Although I think crafty wisdom says every project should have an imperfection to prove it's handmade. Wise, placating, words indeed.

Today I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at my spinning wheel. I finished spinning and plying a jumbo box of fibre in a deep purple called fresh fig. The niddy noddy is hanging in the shower with the yarn drip drying. I can't wait to twist up the skein and see how it looks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Boy, oh boy

I am the worst blogger ever. I should have made New Year's resolution covering this. Alas, I did not. I could give a bunch of excuses - I'm outside breaking my back shovelling, I've been preoccupied with other unblogworthy pursuits, the dog ate my craftwork - but I'm just a slacker, pure and simple.

I am resolved to get back on the right track soon.

I did make this cool miniaturized version of a photo from my visit to a Vienna palace . . .