Monday 3 July 2023


Handmade lampwork glass flower Ditsybeads by Laura Sparling

I've always said that you never stop learning a craft. There's always new knowledge to be had, skills to be honed and new materials and techniques to try. Whenever I make a bead design that I've not done for a while I enjoy applying my current knowledge of glass to it. Oftentimes this knowledge is minor but it's knowledge that the me of three years ago didn't possess and it allows me to understand the bead better. I am aware that I'm probably sounding really wanky but I'll carry on anyway.

Handmade lampwork glass flower Ditsybeads by Laura Sparling

With these Ditsybeads there are several things required to get the effect I'm after. The most important of these is the dot placement for the petals and making sure they're arranged correctly so that when melted flat the petals stay in a nice neat flower shape and don't end up like a vague splat. The dot-melting part is also really important and it's not just a case of bringing the bead to an all-over even heat; I concentrate on one flower at a time in a very particular way.

Handmade lampwork glass flower Ditsybeads by Laura Sparling

Handmade lampwork glass flower Ditsybeads by Laura Sparling

Adding the flower centres is also carefully done so that the dot touches all five petals and then it's heated to be slightly raised but not too flat. If it sounds fiddly and time consuming that's because it is. I worked out the Actual Price* of one Ditsybead the other day and almost laughed my tits off at the thought of asking that much for it.

Handmade lampwork glass flower Ditsybeads by Laura Sparling

Anyway, all of the Ditsybeads scattered throughout this post have new homes now but there are more on the way.

*By 'Actual Price' I mean what the bead price tag should be if I paid myself minimum wage based on time taken, and also taking into account materials, gas and electricity. I don't factor in the cost of nineteen years of skill because that would be the Actual Actual Price and I would never sell anything at that rate.

In crochet news...

I finished this blue shawl last week. It was one of those patterns that was so straightforward it kept catching me out. You can be lulled into a false sense of comfort when there are so many unfancy stitches involved and it only takes one stitch too few or too many to muff up an entire row.

Blue crochet shawl

This pattern is called 'Destination Unknown' and it's by Lisa Cook of LisasAttik. I really love Lisa's designs - all those straight lines and blocks of pattern are right up my street.

Blue crochet shawl

The blue shawl is available in my Etsy shop.

This week I've been mostly...

Listening to:

Cast On by Brenda Dayne. This is a knitting podcast that I adored back in the day. I kind of stopped knitting when the whole knitting-is-racist thing occurred in 2019 and then I nuked my Ravelry account a bit later when they decided that only 50% of their users could talk about politics (Trump supporters weren't allowed to voice approval of him, and no, I'm not a Trump lover but I am pretty flipping fond of free speech) and those two things combined with the behaviour of certain knitting people I'd formerly greatly admired kind of shat on knitting for me. I think I've knitted three pairs of socks since then and crochet has filled the knitting hole. However, discovering that Brenda has got back to podcasting after a six year hiatus was wonderful. She restarted Cast On during the pandemic but I only realised this last week so I've got many episodes to catch up on. Brenda is even making me want to fish out the old pointy sticks. Maybe. We shall see.


Ashes to Ashes. Every now and again I need a dose of DCI Gene Hunt and I do a Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes rewatch and right now I'm halfway through season three of the latter.

Ashes to Ashes

We cancelled our TV licence about a year ago so now we live in telly-gone-by and it's marvellous. Anything from the now that we do want to watch (rare) we get as a DVD, digital box set or download. I do not miss live television at all.


Wild: Tales From Early Medieval Britain by Amy Jeffs