Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Tied in knots

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

Ages ago I bought a load of waxed cotton with the intention of combining it with my beads to make bracelets. The cotton got put in a box under my desk and forgotten about.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

The other week when Chris and I were tidying up to prepare for him working from home, I rediscovered the box of cotton and remembered my plan and finally I have made some macramé bracelets!

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

I used to make those friendship bracelet things when I was a teenager, you know the ones made out of embroidery thread and a million tiny knots, so I'm not unfamiliar with the whole knotting thing.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

I wanted to keep these bracelets simple; plain beads and basic macramé knots. I wanted them to be for everyday wear, so nothing fussy.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

After a bit of faffing to work out how many beads worked best, how many knots in between them gave a balanced look, and getting the beads and the knots to sit as neatly as possible, I decided on this design as my basic macramé and lampwork bracelet.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

The bracelets fit a medium 6–6.5 inch wrist but because of the sliding macramé fastening they can be adjusted for a larger wrist, or for a looser fit.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

I wore the prototype bracelet all day yesterday and it's ever so comfortable.

Handmade macramé bracelet with lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

I've written notes for potential different designs that will incorporate more beads, in more than one colour, and also ones with fewer beads – possibly slightly larger, decorated ones – so yeah, prepare for more knottiness!

Monday, 30 March 2020

CiM Testing: Candlelight

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Candlelight

As soon as I saw this glass I knew I would love it and I was right. I think that’s why I put off using it until towards the end of testing; I was saving the best for last and yep, Candlelight is probably my favourite out of all of the new CiM glasses. It's perfectly named too.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Candlelight

Candlelight is a transparent very pale yellow. It melts *perfectly* and it is just the right consistency to work with. Sometimes pale transparents can be quite stiff but this is just right. The glass has a wonderful clarity to it – no bubbles. If I get my hands on more of this I swear that it will never see the tumbler because this glass needs to shine; the way the light plays with it is magical.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Candlelight

Oh, and this is probably irrelevant but I’m saying it anyway: the way it looks when it is molten is absolutely marvellous! While hot it is the most amazing golden yellow and it’s mesmerising to see.

LOVE LOVE LOVE.

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

CiM Testing: Luzern

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Luzern

This cloudy transparent is called Luzern because its colour matches the logo of Crea-Arte who are located in Luzern/Lucerne in Switzerland. Crea-Arte will be the main place you can get this particular glass.

Handmade lampwork glass bead earrings by Laura Sparling made with CiM Luzern

And what a glass it is! I love it. It's a gorgeous, rich orchid pinky-purple and judging by its original number it's a variant of CiM Heather.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Luzern

It melted with no trouble and I only wish I had more of it to play with. Beautiful glass!

Handmade lampwork glass bead earrings by Laura Sparling made with CiM Luzern

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

CiM Testing: 2020.11.17 60203

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead pendant by Laura Sparling made with CiM 2020.11.17 60203

In rod form, this unnamed glass* is a very nice tanzanite blue colour but upon heating and after annealing it turns into a very intense cobalt blue. The glass is a cloudy transparent.

The glass worked fine and I had no trouble with it.

Handmade lampwork glass bead earrings by Laura Sparling made with CiM 2020.11.17 60203

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

* There's only a very small amount of these glasses that have a number instead of a name. Because there's only a tiny amount of each one Kathy at CiM didn't feel it was worth naming them.

CiM Testing: Rosaline Pink

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Rosaline Pink

Rosaline Pink is another cloudy transparent and it's quite similar to Morgan, although it lacks Morgan's slight subtle shimmer. Rosaline Pink does have a slight yellowness to it, though.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Rosaline Pink

This one was a tad shocky but only mildly so; the rod did that fracturing thing as opposed to the full pop-and-send-hot-bits-flying thing. Apart from that, it was fine to melt.

The bead was photographed indoors in natural daylight.

CiM Testing: Adriatic

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Adriatic

Adriatic is the misty opal partner of Daydream.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Adriatic

Although I didn't encounter any shockiness with Adriatic, I did have a little bit of typical blue fussiness in the form of scumming, but nothing so bad that I couldn't pluck it out.

The bead was photographed indoors in natural daylight.

CiM Testing: Fruit Punch

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Fruit Punch

Another cloudy transparent, this time in an unusual, slightly brownish, orange-red brick kind of colour called Fruit Punch.

Handmade lampwork glass heart bead by Laura Sparling made with CiM Fruit Punch

The glass was quite stiff to work with but apart from that, which is just an observation and nothing negative, it was great to use.

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.