Friday, 28 May 2010
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
This is the blog of Chicago-based knitter Franklin Habit. Whenever I see that Franklin has blogged I always smile because I know that I'll be in for a good read. His sense of humour is fantastic and he knits the most fabulous things. Fellow 'Cast On' podcast listeners will know his voice - he has read stories for 'Cast On' many times. If you knit (and even if you don't) do pay a visit to Franklin's blog - you will not be disappointed!
4. Print & Pattern
I thought I'd give a shout-out toOff-Mandrel. This is where I buy a lot of my glass from. They have have a walk-in shop in Glasgow but they also do mail order. I cannot fault their customer service - delivery is fast and everything is always presented really nicely. Fab place!
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
My 'Lonelies' beads are all first quality. They are experiments, one-offs and leftovers from sets. This particular strand is 300mm long (12") and contains 41 beads - 20 patterned and decorated ones and 21 spacers. That's a lot of jewellery-making potential right there!
If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this strand all you need to do is enter my prize draw. Regular prize draw entrants do read on as I've changed the prize draw rules ever-so-slightly. They are are as follows :
~ The draw is open to anyone anywhere in the world.
~ It's one entry per person BUT if you have a blog and you blog about and link to this prize draw post I will enter your name twice. Bonus!
~ To enter you need to leave a comment on this blog post. If you've blogged about this draw please say that you've done so in your comment and I will do the two name thing.
~ Please leave a name of some kind, be it your actual one, a nickname or your blog username - just something rather than an anonymous comment.
~ Entries need to be in by 7.00pm (UK time) on Friday 4th June.
~ All entries need to be made by commenting as opposed to emailing me. Commenting is really simple and you don't need a Blogger account to do so. Just leave your name in your comment and check back on 4th June to see if you've won!
The thing about CiM greens is that they really fill a gap in the 104 palette. Sherwood is a proper 'natural' kind of green. You could use it for vine cane and leaves and it wouldn't be too in-your-face and garish. (Yes, Effetre Grass Green, I'm talking about you!)
The photograph below shows Sherwood compared to other glass colours :
Beads from left to right : Sherwood, Sherwood etched, Sherwood thinly encased with Vetrofond clear, Sherwood thickly encased with Vetrofond clear, CiM Split Pea, CiM Commando, Effetre 216 Light Grass Green.
Here's a list of my Sherwood findings :
- Not at all shocky.
- Melts nice and smoothly - on a consistency par with Commando and Split Pea.
- A little streaky, as in it produces striations.
- Loses its crispness and definition and tends to spread when used as stringer.
- Etches really well.
- Has a tendency to bleed at the edges when encased BUT it is an opaque green and opaque greens do like to do that!
The photo below shows Sherwood as polka dots on a Dirty Martini bead encased with Vetrofond clear :
So yes, Sherwood is a nice green. I'm not a massive fan of opaque green glasses (because they don't always do what I'd like them to do, but hey, that's probably just my glass control freakishness thing) but if I was going to make some realistic looking floral beads then this would be one of the greens I'd go for.
Monday, 24 May 2010
The result was this large(ish) set of beads which I've named 'Softly Softly'. This strand sold last night but I re-photographed the beads in the morning sun and I thought I'd blog the pictures for you.
Looks like it's going to be another warm one today so I'm off to make beads right now before the conservatory turns into a sauna!
Sunday, 23 May 2010
They look extra delicious in these photos because they're taken in direct sunlight. I always love sunbathing beads, especially transparent ones because they cast their colourful shadows all over the show.
These beads will be for sale over on my website at 9.00pm (UK time) tonight.
I hope you're enjoying your weekend? It's mighty warm here - I've actually got a skirt on! Without leggings! Anyone who knows me knows that it must be warm if I've got my legs out.
The sky is so blue and Melvin, the local Red Kite, has just flown over. I meant to mention him/her the other day. A couple of weeks back I was pegging the washing out and I heard a really unfamiliar bird noise. I went through my RSPB Birds App on my iPhone but couldn't identify it. Then a few days ago I was sat outside eating my lunch and I heard the noise again. I looked up into the sky to see a huge bird with a really distinctive pattern on its wings and a forked tail. The bird was really graceful, just gliding through the sky. I knew it must be a bird of prey and with a bit of Googling I identified it as a Red Kite. Its Latin name is 'Milvus Milvus' and that is why I've nicknamed the bird Melvin. It's quite a sight to see such a beautiful bird against a bright blue sky. I tried to photograph it but alas, my camera is too wimpy so I've just had a scout about on Flickr and found this image :
This wonderful photo is by Andrew Withey and he's got some really amazing shots in his Flickr Photostream. Please click here to take a look at them.
All righty then. I'm off to melt some glass and make some beads .....
Friday, 21 May 2010
And in answer to your question, Sue, fitting a new relay is really easy. The longest part of the process is unscrewing/replacing the dozen screws on the base of the kiln to get to the workings. Aside from that it's just a logical process of moving the wires carefully from the old relay across to the new one. I call Robin at Electric Kilns whenever I need a relay or if I'm having kiln trauma and he is always so amazingly helpful.
So anyway, with Kenneth in full working order I was able to make a few beads. Not many because by the time I'd mended the kiln and had a celebratory bacon sandwich it was afternoon and also the conservatory was 31°C (sudden sunshine-a-rama today) and I was wilting a bit. So the small set that I do have ready are those pretty 'Ballerina' ones up there. Soft pink (CiM Desert Pink if you're interested) and grey. Very '80s, don't you think?
I will be making beads all weekend to make up for what I haven't been able to do in the past couple of days so do check in over the weekend to see what glass creations I come up with. Then I'm reckoning that I'll be selling said beads on either Sunday or Monday night.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
They are pretty bright but I like bright! The yarn is from Violet Green and it's Sappho in 'Pale Lime'. The yarn is nice to knit with and it has a lovely sheen to it. The pattern is 'Laurel' from Wendy D. Johnson's book 'Toe Up Socks For Every Body'. I like the yarn and I do like the pattern but I can't seem to love these socks 100%. They kind of dragged on a bit and I did quite a bit of frogging as I kept missing the occasional yarn over at the start of rounds (always an easy and annoying mistake to make) but maybe they'll grow on me. I did think about abandoning the socks halfway but I decided that I have far too many single socks and I carried on and finished them.
And the winner of them is Val from Suffolk, UK.
Keep your eyes open for more Random Giveaways in the future .....
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
I've decided that I'm going to share five of my web finds with you every Wednesday in a feature that I'm going to call 'Webnesday'. Get it? (Don't try and say that word as it probably won't work - it's more of a visual thing.)
1. Pursuing The Art Of Curiosity
Firstly I'd like to draw your attention to Jennifer Dangerfield and her wonderful blog 'Pursuing The Art Of Curiosity'. I have known Jennifer (on a virtual basis) for years - we've never met but we have sent each other countless emails and she works the most amazing wonders with my beads. The 'Cherry' choker above is just one example of that. Jennifer has recently returned to blogging after a long hiatus. I'm delighted about this as I have missed her. Please click here to read Jennifer's blog and click here to visit her website which includes a gallery of her fabulous jewellery.
2. So What's New Today?
Now for a web shop. You know I like yarn. You know I like socks. That means I like sock yarn and I know that some of you do too. I'm aware that a few of you have been inspired to take up sock-knitting because of me and my sock-knitting obsession and for that I apologise. Not to you but to your other halves. I know that Chris thinks of my sock-knitting as quirky and very Laura but sometimes he just cannot hide his Sock Shock when I put on a completed pair. The other day I finished knitting a pair of green socks, put them on and then set about getting dinner ready. When he glanced over and saw my feet he let out an 'Argh!', recoiled and guffawed. Thinking back I was wearing lime green socks with a purple dress so I guess a lot of his shock stemmed from that wacky colour pairing. But anyway, if you do knit socks then you may or may not know of Artist's Palette Yarns. They have an amazing selection of hand-dyed luxury goodness and their sock yarns are particularly delicious. I am currently knitting a pair of pumpkin-coloured socks with their Smoothie Sock yarn. Please click here to have a browse.
4. Howard The Drummer
And that concludes today's Webnesday feature. I'll be back soon with photos of those green socks that shocked Chris .....
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Hippo is an opaque grey with a hint of brown about it. It's very similar to CiM Khaki but in my opinion it behaves a little bit better. It's great to work with - it's got a nice medium consistency, it doesn't reduce or devitrify and it looks fab when etched. It also encases really well.
The photo below shows a strand of test beads I made to compare Hippo with other colours :
Beads from left to right : Hippo, Hippo etched, Hippo thinly encased with Vetrofond Clear, Hippo thickly encased with Vetrofond clear, CiM Khaki, Effetre 268 Pearl Grey and Effetre 252 Dark Grey.
As I say, Hippo has got a hint of taupe or ecru about it which means that it works beautifully with brown. The 'Earthy' polka dot beads below have a core of Hippo encased with Vetrofond clear. The polka dots are CiM Adamantium and the spacers are CiM Mink.
Hippo works quite nicely as stringer too. It's quite crisp and smooth and only spreads if you really, really heat it. The beads below show Hippo paired with Adamantium.
It's a shame that Hippo is a Limited Run because I really like it. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to grab a stash of it while I can!
I have been travelling to see Chris every other weekend for almost three and a half years. That makes :
- About 90+ return train trips, not including random ones here and there
- Approximately 340 hours of travel
- About £3,100 in train fares (thank goodness for my Network Railcard!)
I have also consumed umpteen travel sandwiches, bottles of water and packets of Wine Gums while journeying. I have read many books on my travels too. I've got through two little wheely suitcases - a wheel fell off the first one and the second case is hanging on for dear life but I can't complain as it was only a tenner from Tesco.
I have also discovered that :
- A lot of people do not understand the concept of 'Keep Left' and 'Keep Right' when using the escalators and walkways around the London Underground.
- The idea of letting people off the train before you get on seems like a pretty simple one but it challenges many people.
- Some passengers on trains do like to sit and call everyone in their phone book and relay the same story over and over beginning each conversation with 'Yeah, I'm on the train' with no awareness that the person sitting next to them might not want to hear about their relationship woes or office-related talk. This is where I heartily thank Apple for inventing the iPod.
- It is actually quite satisfying to ask someone if you can sit in the seat next to them, upon which they have carefully arranged their bag, coat, laptop case or shopping in an attempt to stop anyone sitting next to them. Why do people do that? Everyone deserves a seat on the train. Stick your luggage up on the luggage rack and prepare to interact with fellow passengers - I've had some really good conversations with total strangers just because the seat next to me was free.
So what's with the calculations and train talk?
Well, pretty soon the regular train travel will stop.
Like, next month.
I feel that we're pretty much through all the niggly might-go-wrong stuff now so I can tell you that Chris and I have bought a house in Cambridge. Almost. All the big things are done and we're waiting for the solicitor and contract malarkey now. The survey, mortgage and other big scary things are all sorted and we're in that house-buying limbo. We put in our offer about ten weeks ago and I've managed to keep quiet about it all this time - I didn't want to jinx it, you see.
So that is why I was compelled to work out all that train stuff. Obviously I will be using trains to travel back to see Dad and everyone but not on a bi-weekly basis. I think I may have to make about two more Cambridge trips before the move and that is such a bizarre feeling, I can tell you. I'm almost there .....
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Sunday, 9 May 2010
But CiM's Dirty Martini is alcohol free - it is a very pale green glass with just a hint of grey about it. Since it's been available it has been one of my favourite glasses as it is just so well behaved! It is a clean, crisp colour with a slightly stiffer consistency to it which makes it superb for encasing with transparent glasses as it holds its shape and doesn't drag about the place. The 'Apple & Blueberry' beads pictured below are Dirty Martini encased thinly with CiM Mojito - a proper cocktail of glass!
I've heard some people say that they think Dirty Martini is a little too grey. On its own it does tend to look a bit pale but all you need to do to 'lift' it is to add stronger greens to the mix and I promise that this will make the Dirty Martini sing - the pale green beads in the 'Springtime' set below are a good example of this :
I'm always on the hunt for new colours to use for my fine stringerwork. I actually have quite a limited palette when it comes to that because only a handful of glasses behave exactly as I need them to. I am super-pleased to discover that I can add Dirty Martini to my Perfect For Stringer List. The beads below have a core of CiM Oz encased in Mojito and the stringer is Dirty Martini. You can see that it keeps its definition, doesn't bleed or spread and it also yields that wonderful reaction line - the slightly darker line you can see running through the centre of the stringer on the scrollwork bead :
So all in all I would say that Dirty Martini is a must-have colour. It's unlike any other shade in the 104 palette and it is absolutely wonderful to work with.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
These 'Slate' beads have an opaque core which has been encased in transparent grey and decorated with pale grey stringerwork. They've also been etched to a soft velvety finish.