Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Boro Beads....It's Been A While

Borosilicate glass, aka boro, is so different to work with compared to "soft" glass, or soda glass.  Most glass beads are made with glass from manufacturers like Effetre (Italian), Lauscha (German), or Bullseye (American).

Borosilicate, or Pyrex, glass, was developed by Corning and is the glass that "Corningware" used to be made can go from cold (refrigerator) to hot (oven) without cracking.

Coloured borosilicate glass yields beautiful, ethereal hues and is a very different palette when compared to soda glass, where most of the time WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

Here are some new boro beads I have listed in my Etsy shop:

Boro beads are wonderful design elements in's a bracelet using shades of violet with copper.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sunshine on a Clear Day...Handspun Yarn

I've just finished plying my new handspun yarn...I plied the single novelty yarn that I made on my blending board with a Saffron merino top. It's about 111 yards.

I have it measured and tied up, now to set the twist, let it dry and find a pattern that will show it off.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My New Fiber Blending Board & Inspiration From Art

Vintage Vw Volkswagen Van at Beach - "Playing Hooky" - Fine Art Print - 16x20

I received my new fiber blending board last week and finally had some time yesterday to experiment with it.  For those of you who may not know a blending board is a piece of carding cloth with many, many "teeth" and it's used to blend different colours and fibres to make rolags which can then be spun into yarn.

I took my inspiration for my colour palette from a wonderful print that I recently purchased from Danny Phillips on Etsy...this picture just makes me smile!

So I went through my stash of fibre and came up with some wool roving, silk throwsters, and a novelty yarn that would match.

Below are a few pictures of how the blending board works and the yarn I'm spinning from the rolags.
...stay tuned....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button??

Well, with my new fibre addiction I decided to start making glass lampwork buttons again.  I've made them over the years, but I have so many beautiful colours of roving and yarn now I just had to see what I could come up with to coordinate with them.

So I started making buttons to match...

I can see this being a great addition to a sweater or a neckwarmer...more to come!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Discovering the Joy of Fibre

I've done a bit of needlefelting over the past couple of years, mostly round beads to incorporate into jewellery, and so I've accumulated a stash of small balls of brightly coloured roving (combed sheep's wool).

Just before Christmas I purchased a drop spindle to try spinning some of this roving into yarn.  My family and I went on a fabulous trip to Peru over the holidays and the Andean women are expert spinners and weavers.  I was hooked! I bought a whole lot of alpaca fleece to comb and spin into yarn.

 This is one of the Peruvian women in our hotel, with her lamb...that's milk in the Coke bottle.
 This is a display of some of the plants and insects that the natural dyes are made from.

I also purchased some natural Corriedale roving from an Etsy friend, Uli of KnittersNook, and spun my first roving into a chunky yarn single.  Using the Andean method I plied it back onto the spindle..woohoo!!

Well, excited as I was, this little bit only measured 16 yards...not enough for knitting anything yet. So....spin, spin, spin.
I bought some acid dyes from Dharma Trading Company and dyed my natural yarn to a rich brick red.

Finally, I knit a simple hat using a free pattern from Ravelry, crocheted a scalloped edge around the brim, made a chainstitch flower and a matching handmade lampwork glass button, and voila! first, handspun, handyed project was complete.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love is in the Air....Valentine's Day

I have to admit that I always forget about Valentine's Day until the last minute.  It's not that I don't want to do something special for my wonderful husband, but we do loving little things all year long for each other. 

For example, I'm really not "gaga" over chocolate or roses, I'm much more of a practical gal.  I make my own jewellery so he doesn't buy it for me.  A new, cool tool, or a wedge of really nice cheese is more up my alley.

I like to make red jewellery but I don't really want it to scream "Valentine's Day", I want it to be worn year 'round.

Here are some pieces I currently have made up...see what you think.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm a Little Batty I Think

I don't do a lot of sculptural lampwork but when a customer asked me to make some "ghoulish" beads for a Goth friend of hers I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's a set which is destined to be a necklace, maybe with a pair of earrings.

The bat is designed to hang upside down (like bats do) from her red toes...and the black spacers have raised red dots that are "blood droplets".

Now, I know it's February, the time of Valentine's Day...not even close to Hallowe'en, but I hope she'll enjoy her "spooky" necklace all the year 'round!