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Saturday, December 06, 2008

6 December 2008

A long time between posts, but a few pics of newly finished work finally. Most recent is my just finished vest made from 100% soya yarn. Mostly machine knit, with the bands and finishing by hand -
soya vest

And some jewellery
Another 9k gold chain - just waiting on some ends and a clasp when I next make a trip to Perth to get some.

boulder_opal gold_filled_nugget
And a wrapped boulder opal/sterling silver nugget combination to make into a focal for a bracelet or necklace. The last is an experimental nugget of gold filled scraps melted together - hopefully will find a way to hold some small opals in some of the open areas and turn it into a pendant.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

27 August 2008

About 6 month old size hat & shoes knit from 4ply Bella Baby yarn used double throughout.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

16 August 2008

Just over a month ago, I bought recycled sari silk yarn from and took a couple of weeks to work out what to make first with it. I finished a scarf about 2 weeks ago and finally got a photo of it today (it really needs to be on a white background to see the pattern clearly though)
recycled sari silk scarf
It's a modified version of the Clapotis by Kate Gilbert

I'm also attempting a tote bag or 2, then probably more scarves with the rest of the yarn.

Monday, July 14, 2008

14 July 2008

A couple of finished things for a change! First is a rainbow jumper made from the food colouring dyed wool, for my niece ~
rainbow jumper

Next is a skirt that I'd almost finished and then forgotten about and found again last week. The elastic in the waist needed shortening, but other than that it fits my niece as well ~
knit skirt

Sunday, June 29, 2008

29 June 2008

What do you get mixing food colouring, vinegar and wool? besides a big mess that is? A pile of very bright wools!
After seeing this blog post, I dug out a very old stash of pale cream coloured pure wool (probably around 20 years old and never used) and some food colouring I had in the back of the cupboard and first made this -

The top ball was using the old food colouring from the cupboard, then I bought another box of 4 colours the next day and dyed the second ball. I don't know if the difference was just that the first batch was old colouring that may have started going off. The bright mix will probably end up as a jumper for my niece.

A few days later I found separate bottles of food colours in a different shop, so got a couple of bottles of blue and red to make this batch for me -

And I tried some older dyes I had bought for cotton fabrics, but hadn't used because I found on the instructions inside the jars that they were wool dyes.

They were both supposed to be rainbow mixes of turquoise, red and yellow, but most of it washed out and left one ball as a light mint and the other as a peach colour.

Now that I've used up that old stash, it's time to go looking for some more mess!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21 2008

One of the hazards of making up knitting patterns as you go, is running out of yarn before you finish, and even worse, when it's a handspun yarn that you can't just go and buy some more of to finish off. So I've been starting and knitting a lot, but not finishing anything! I am getting plenty of experience with circular knitting though, and learning how it works, so at least it's not wasted time. With all the restarts though, I don't have any new pics yet.

On the jewellery front, I have plenty of ideas, but until I can figure out a feature signature logo component to use in my wire and metal work, I don't expect to be showing any photos of finished work (too many people copying or attempting to copy my work right now to make more without some form of protection for it). I have some supplies for bead stringing though, so there will be some spiral rope bracelet and necklaces pics soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

23 May 2008

a quick change of style over the last few weeks with some wire wrapping pendants

first is a boulder opal with a salt cast sterling silver nugget wrapped onto it. Turned sideways, the cast silver looks like a sea horse. This one took about a week to make at night after work. The actual size is around 3.5cm across by 3cm high (including the bail).

and a slice of pink dyed agate, wrapped with sterling silver wire and embellished with sterling barrel beads and crystals. This one took about a week and a half to make, and has the second side with a different random arrangement of the crystals and barrel beads. Finished size of this one is 5cm wide x 4cm high (excluding bail).

and making slow progress still with knitting bamboo yarn.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

6 May 2008

This is the first prototype of a new bracelet/bangle design. It'll need a bit of adapting for the next version to have the crystals showing through the knit more.

It's made using copper tubing, around 12 or 14 gauge copper wire and 24 gauge sterling wire for the metals, and indicolite, ruby and white alabaster swarovski crystals. The knit section is filled with 4mm bicones, and the ends are filled with 6mm bicones.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

4 May 2008

I've been busy with spinning, dyeing, knitting & working on a new bracelet design, so I've missed a few weeks here.

first thing is that I needed some stitch markers for keeping track of the start of rows on circular needles, so I've made up these wine charms to slip onto the needles as markers.

this next pic is black alpaca fibre and random dyed tussah silk tops in blues and purples spun into singles then plied together.

silver grey melanian wool spun and plied, then random dyed with pink, purple and blue Ashford dyes.

this last pic is a new pattern I'm trying with my random dyed bamboo yarn. I had been knitting it into a moebius scarf, but undid it because I didn't like the way it was turning out.

My new knitted bracelet experiment isn't quite finished yet, so a pic of that will have to wait til it is finished.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

10 April 2008

a much quicker update this week -

a watch with floating crystals in the watchface, and band from sterling silver jumprings in a hollow cord filled with clear swarovski crystals.

I'm finally getting some of my inspiration for jewellerymaking back after having lost it in January from the insult of having some of my work copied, with the copier taking full credit for coming up with the design and technique. It was a fairly stressful time, but she did agree after 3-4 weeks to remove the copy from sale and also take down the photo and comments she made relating to working out the technique herself.

It has meant going back to basics though and starting with basic wire weaving and chainmaille, making pieces for myself and as gifts for specific people, rather than making more involved original styles for sale, so I'm expanding my jewellery collection for now and spoiling myself with new sparkly things.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

6 April 2008

With a few projects on the needles right now, I didn't have any finished for an update last week, but have 2 finished caps for my 2.5 year old niece (assuming they fit, seeing as her mum didn't measure her for me) from some of my handspun yarns. The model is a bit small for the caps though.
Natural bamboo handspun -

Bright pink merino (spun after finishing the first cap)

and ongoing project progress - moebius scarf in dyed handspun bamboo yarn

This one has 300 stitches per row on either side (or 600 for the full round).
I've also cut a batch of sterling silver jumprings to make a watch, but still experimenting with weaves before deciding which one suits the watch face I'm using.

Friday, March 21, 2008

21 March 2008

My first finished gold bracelet!

I attempted soldering the finals onto the chain first, but haven't got the hang of it yet. It turned out to be much easier to fuse the final & chain wire than to solder it!

I'm still working on a moebius scarf (300 stitches per side!) using dyed bamboo yarn, and being slow at handknitting, this one will take quite a while.

On the jewellery front, I'm experimenting with making a 2 colour knit bracelet using silver as the main colour & copper as the accent first. Once I get a working technique, I'll be making it as a bracelet or necklace with gold replacing the copper.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

16 March 2008

My gold wire turned up on Monday morning, but it took til Wednesday night to get the nerve to cut it to start weaving. While I was working up the nerve to start with the gold, I finished spinning the last of my dyed bamboo fibre.

My progress so far - I've finished the chain, and now that I've measured the diameter, I can order the order some finals (end caps) and a clasp to finish it off next week.

I'm still working on the spiral knit from black diamond yarn, and just starting using the dyed bamboo yarn for a moebius scarf.

An update on the wire/metal swap from on Beading Forum dot com dot au.
This was the pendant I received in the swap, from Heather

My swap partner hasn't received hers yet though, so I won't spoil the surprise by showing a photo here until she has it.
update: the pendant arrived, so here is the pic I took before posting. The lower drops aren't lying right because I didn't have something to hang it off properly to get the pic -

For more of the swap pieces and info about the swap, check out Toni's blog.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

9 March 2008

This week has been making use of the second week of a bout of insomnia, with dyeing and spinning bamboo fibres.

I forgot to take photos of the natural bamboo before spinning, but did take photos of the dyed lots

dyed bamboo fibres lot 1dyed bamboo fibres lot 2

I started with about 500g of natural coloured bamboo fibres, and spun about half in the natural colour and dyed then spun the other half.

spun bamboo yarn

The colours aren't quite right, so I'll try for another photo during the day, when I get time. The cream coloured skeins are about 260g and almost 500m in length. The dyed yarn skein is 100g and 176m, with the remainder of the dyed fibres still being spun - the top bobbin shows some plied, and the bottom bobbin is 1 lot of singles ready for plying when I finish spinning the remaining fibres.

After this batch is finished, I'll be taking a break from spinning to make some more jewellery. I finally took the step of ordering some 9k gold wire (along with some more silver) to make my first solid gold chain bracelet and the order should arrive early this week.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

1 March 2008

Well, I finished spinning up the black diamond fibre, hand dyed soy fibres and melanian wool/black diamond blend and started knitting. Unfortunately though, The circular needles I was using broke at the cable/needle join and gluing a few times didn't work, so I had to go looking for replacements. I couldn't find any of the same size though, so I gave up on the first idea, undid it all and started over from scratch.

I've been a bit obsessed with circular/spiral/pinwheel type designs lately, so I had a look round for some patterns to give me ideas to get started with and found this doily pattern at Yarn Over logo
Using the central spiral from the doily pattern, I'm working on a design for a jacket using the black diamond fibre. With my handknitting being so slow (specially when I keep changing my mind about design and undoing it), I'll have to settle for progress pics for now -
spiral knit progress pic

I'm planning to make this spiral wide enough for a jacket back, then work out the spacing and number of stitches for armholes and knit over that section with some waste yarn, then continue the spiral pattern til it's wide enough to wrap round for fronts as well - above the armholes can then fold back as the collar. Then I plan to thread the loops either side of the waste yarn onto a circular needle and knit the sleeves from the shoulder down to the cuff.

I have no idea if it'll work yet, but I'll find out in a week or so - if it doesn't, then I s'pose it'll be turned into some sort of shawl!

Monday, February 25, 2008

25 February 2008

I've just been taking a short break from the fibres to make a pendant for a metal/wire swap on Beading Forum dot com dot au. I can't post a photo of it yet, because we haven't swapped yet, and it'll be a surprise for the recipient. As soon as my swap partner receives it though, I'll put a photo up here (expecting mid-late March).

The swap specifics:
no particular theme, but the creation MUST include at least 1 pearl..

Make a pendant with a Pearl incorporated to the value no greater than $5 (cost of materials) -it can contain any form of metalwork (wirework, chainmaille, smithing and anything else you can think of) in any metal (precious or other including craft wire), with or without the addition of stones.

I think it'd be safe to say that it was the first time in about a year that I lit up my gas torch to work with metal, without giving away any hints to potential swap partners. The partners haven't been assigned yet, but only the senders will be told who they're sending to.

It's also got me thinking about buying some glass and mandrels with my next supplies/tools purchase to do more torch work and start learning to make glass beads.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

12 February 2008

A couple of weeks ago I finally got my first spinning wheel - an Ashford Traditional.

spinning wheel

and have spent my spare time since then spinning fibres starting with some silver-grey melanian wool (below right), my own hand carded/hand dyed alpaca fibre plied with cotton(below left) and a wool fibre labelled as lumpy "lollypop" wool.

then ordered some soysilk fibres, bamboo fibres, "black diamond" bamboo fibres and latte (milk) fibres. Some of the white soysilk I random dyed with 2 shades of pink, a shade of bright blue and a shade of turquoise, then spun it into this -

I also blended some of the "black diamond" fibre (below left) with some melanian wool (below right) and hand carded to the mix in the centre below.

Below are the results of spinning up those fibres -

left is pure black diamond fibre, centre is the melanian/black diamond blend, right pure melanian wool.

I'm probably about halfway through using the black diamond/melanian blend, the remaining pure black diamond fibre & dyed soysilk fibres, so I'll probably be busy doing more spinning for another week or 2 before knitting up some of the yarns into scarves.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I make jewellery from wire, with most of the chains being viking knit or chain maille weaves, usually using sterling silver wire and occasionally solid 9k gold wire. I sometimes experiment with new weaves and teach using copper wire.

Some of my techniques in viking knit and other techniques I use with metal are transferred and refined from fibre & textile crafts that I have done for a number of years.

I have also been learning to spin yarns from fibres such as melanian wool, merino wool, alpaca wool, bamboo silk, soy silk, black diamond bamboo silk & silk latte. Some of these fibres I have blended, others are hand dyed and the remainder are natural colours. The yarns will be used for patterns I'm developing for knitted jackets, scarves and hats.

When I have spare time, I also sometimes hand dye cotton fabrics to use in quilting, which I usually do entirely by hand.

Direct links to my websites

Cas Designs
Handmade Jewellery, Textiles & Fibre Crafts
Flickr Photo Gallery

SRAJD #99 (Self-Representing Artist Jewelry Designer)