Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Presents - Wrist Warmers and Silk Flower Brooch

It was my friend Nicki's birthday yesterday and I made her some wrist warmers in purple cotton.

Purple Polka Dot Wrist Warmers

When the cotton yarn I'd ordered from eBay arrived, the purple was dull and dreary. It's a lovely yarn but the colour was terrible. So I ordered some yarn dyes and dyed it. The result was a lovely deep purple, much more intense and a lovely shade. I am so pleased with my first attempt at dying yarn. The only problem was, despite tying up the two balls of yarn in skeins, one tangled up so badly it took me 3 hours to just untangle a quarter of it! It's still all tangled up... luckily the other one was okay and I could knit with that.

The pattern is my own. There's a small pattern along the bottom of the front and then the lacing with the polka dot ribbon.

On the back I've used a cable pattern as I find it means that the wrist warmers keep their shape better this way, which is especially important as I've used cotton. Cotton tends to loosen up when you wear it, and it usually means washing the wrist warmers to make sure they tighten up again.

Nicki seemed very pleased with them, especially as she'd been nicking the wrist warmers I made for her daughter (see here, Funky Punk Wrist Warmers) for Christmas. These match Nicki's coat much better. :-)

Instead of buying her flowers, I made her one to keep and wear.

Rhapsody in Silk Flower Brooch

This is my first silk flower made with dupioni silk in wonderful shades of duck egg blue, turquoise and purple, teal taffeta, ivory organza and hand crocheted flower and petals. Each layer of silk and taffeta was embroidered with embroidery cotton.

There's a lovely turquoise button in the centre with three teeny purple fresh water pearls for a finishing touch.
I am pleased with how the silk flower turned out so will make more. I like the vintage, shabby chic feel of it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Water Lily Brooch - Present

This is yet another flower design - even more petals (not layers):

Water Lily Brooch

This is a present for my friend Liz whose birthday it is tomorrow. :-) It is here presented with my gorgeous teal silk scarf.

The picture below shows the colours better as it's the only one I managed to take without a flash. I've used teal taffeta, dark green, turquoise and fluorescent green crystal organza and blue and pale mint tulle. The centre is a teal button adorned with teeny tiny pearlescent Miyuki drop beads.

The brooch is about 9 cm (3.5") in diameter but very light and will look good worn casually or elegant.
This is the third of my designs.

Currently available:
  • Poppy design
  • Peony design
  • Water Lily design

in a large range of colours and sizes either as hair barrettes, hair clips or brooches. Contact me for a custom design. Prices vary depending on design and size.

Raspberry Shawl

This is the shawl I've been knitting for the past week.

It was a bit of a mixed bag as far as the knitting was concerned. I'd just knitted several lace patterns and this pattern seemed to be boring compared to knitting lace, which made it difficult for me to focus and meant I made mistakes, although none of them are obvious. However, I did make a few changes, partly because of the mistakes. My edge wasn't as clean and tidy as I'd hoped so I edged it with crochet and emphasised the ridges to get even more of a 'shibori' look, which I like better. It's also longer and I didn't include the tabs from the original pattern.

The Rowan Kidsilk in Vino I've used is absolutely stunning and the simple pattern and texture work perfectly together. My lovely flower brooch matches as well. :-)

All in all, I am very pleased with the finished result and think it was well worth it. Laura's book 'Boutique Knits' contains lots of lovely patterns that can easily be adapted to suit you. I'd highly recommend it to who wants to knit something a bit different.

A Little Heart of Two Hearts - Commission

Here's a heart necklace I made as a commission for a dear friend.

I made her heart earrings for Christmas and this is the matching necklace ordered by her husband and sons for Mother's Day.

The heart was cut from sterling silver, filed, shaped, a hole punched into it so I could attach it to a chain. I also bashed the living daylights out of it to give it a textured look and stamped two tiny hearts into it.

I included 2 prehnite faceted beads into the design:

Below you can see the tiny little hearts stamped into the big heart.

Here are the matching earrings:

I just had a text from her and she loves it. :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nest Brooch

I definitely had fun with this! I have been admiring the 'nest jewellery' I'd seen on Etsy, but something never felt quite right. Nests are supposed to be messy, there needs to be camouflage, something to soften the twigs, and something to keep the eggs warm and cosy. But all the nests I saw were bare and cold. :-(

So here's my take on a 'nest'.

I wanted it to be as natural as possible and to fit right in with it's surroundings, hence the pictures of the brooch on some bay leaves (above) and some rosemary (below).

And here it is again on my garden table:

I've used lots of different materials. The nest itself was made from antiqued copper wire, which I have combined with green Habu steel yarn (100% wool over steel yarn), Habu paper moire in a mossy green/brown colour and teeny tiny guinea fowl feathers.

The eggs are freshwater peals which have been threaded into the nest, so they won't fall out. The nest has been placed on a brass filigree (which you can't see unless you're looking at the back of the brooch). There are more guinea fowl feathers on one side and a black marabou feather on the other side.

The nest and feathers sit securely on a brooch pin, which is just under 4cm (1.5"). The brooch itself is 12.5cm (approx. 5") wide and the little nest is 2.5cm (1") in diameter.

Despite the amount of wire I've used the brooch is still quite light. I wouldn't use it on your best silk shirt, but it's fine on something a little more substantial.

Nest and Spring in Paris will be available in my Etsy shop later this week. I am determined to upload some more items to my Etsy shop this weekend. However, if you can't wait, the brooch is £15 + P&P.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring in Paris

Spring is here - three days (at least) of sunshine and here's my offering to the goddess of Spring, Persephone:

Spring in Paris

This is another long necklace, but this time I included a clasp so it can be worn wrapped around your neck twice.

And doesn't it look just like Spring in Paris? It's elegant, romantic and a little whimsical with a shabby chic edge to it. Lipstick and sugar pinks, pale fresh Spring green, soft cream with a floral theme set off against stark black and with the vintage touch of the verdigrised filigrees.

I've added another organza/tulle flower, with layers in mint green, dark brown, burgundy, pale pink and cream and lovely gorgeous watery green Miyuki beads.

The flower is set onto a filigree with three more watery green Miyuki beads as a counterweight and so it looks pretty just in case it does turn the wrong way round. The filigree has been hand painted with a verdigris finish in acrylic paints and covered with two layers of special varnish.

Below you can see the details:

Little filigree hearts - painted verdigris - set between beautiful floral fabric beads that have gorgeous leafy bead caps in matte black. The fabric beads have come all the way from France again from the little beadhive shop on Etsy.

The pale green beads are amazonite rounds and the black ones are gunmetal beads.

The sugary pink beads are reconstituted pink turqoise and the bright lipstick pink ones are trade beads from Africa.

I've used two types of chain: one is a gorgeous matte black chain (new) that has little crescents strung together with (soldered) jump rings. The other chain is a vintage chain with a very dark patina and teeny tiny links.

The chain has a dangle that overhangs the small clasp with more watery green Miyuki beads.

I've also made a commission, but since it's for Mother's Day I won't show it on here till next Monday... just in case.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring is in the Air - More Flowers

Over the weekend I spent some time preparing more flower petals with a new template. The new template adds more detail -and makes the finished flowers look even more like rose or even a peony.

In addition to that I've started to add different materials to the original 'pure organza' designs: taffeta (red, brown and dark teal) and lurex tulle, vintage and new ribbons, marabou and guinea fowl feathers. The guinea fowl feathers come all the way from France where they're collected from a neighbour. Check out the little beadhive on Etsy. My feathers arrived within 4 days and they're the prettiest I could find, especially as these feathers have different spot patterns, some are small, some are larger, some almost look like polka dots.

I made 3 hair barrettes and one brooch (the red/pink flower - 2nd from the top). Details for each flower are below.

Cherries and Chocolate Fascinator

Almost a Black Forest gateau! :-)

This is more of a fascinator than a simple hair clip. Perfect for a night out or even instead of a hat at a wedding. The barrette the flower sits on is quite small (6cm) so the fascinator will work even in fairly short hair.

I've used organza in a soft dark chocolate brown and a cherry/burgundy red. The tulle is black and I've also used gorgeous dark brown taffeta that has a silky sheen.

The feathers are the lovely, gorgeous, fluffy and soft guinea fowl feathers from the little beadhive and a burgundy red marabou feather.

I've used some teeny guinea fowl feathers in the centre of the flower together with a shiny black button and black/bronze Miyuki beads.

Dragonfly Blues Hair Barrette

This is so pretty and lovely - the picture doesn't do it justice. The colours are vibrant and shimmery and really look like a dragonfly's wings.

I've used organza in turquoise, taffeta in a gorgeous shimmery teal, tulle in pale mint, mid blue and lurex blue.

In the centre of the flowe is a shiny square mirror button with Miyuki beads in watery green and teal blue.

Lemon Sorbet Ribbon Hair Barrette

This would make the perfect accessory for a bride or a bridesmaid. The colours are light and reminiscent of Spring with their pale yellows, creams and green.

This flower has been made with organza in antique gold, and pale cream. The tulle is cream and a pale mint green.

There's a shimmery flower button in the centre adorned with some creamy pearlescent and watery green Miyuki drop beads.

The ribbons cover the hair barrette underneath the flower. I've used a vintage lace ribbon that I've 'aged' even more with some coffee and a pale green organza ribbon. The ends of the ribbons are weighted down with freshwater pearls and more of the Miyuki beads I've used in the centre.

Raspberry Peony Brooch

I've always had a thing about the combination of red and pink. If mixed right the two work really well together, but the shades have to be exactly right or the whole thing looks garish. It's perpetually difficult to take pictures of anything that's bright red. It seems to reflect light very differently from other colours... My best efforts are below.

I've used red taffeta, organza in wine and pink, tulle in pink, red, and burgundy red. In the centre of the flower is a bright red button embellished with red Magatama beads.

The flower brooch is to go with my new Pseuda Shibori shawl from Laura Irwin's book 'Boutique Knits'. I'd highly recommend it for lovely and interesting patterns.

The hair barrettes/fascinator will all be available from my Etsy shop.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gift Flowers - Flowers in Your Hair Campaign

More flowers in your hair - this time presents:

Stacie's Pink Sorbet Flower

It was Stacie's 21st birthday on Friday, 13th March and to make her day I sent her one of my flowers to go with her new top. You can see a picture of Stacie wearing both here. Doesn't she look lovely?

Lots of layers of bubblegum pink, raspberry red and fluorescent pink organza, pink tulle, a clear flower button in the centre adorned with fluorescent pink faceted beads.

The flower sits on a small hair barrette that has been covered in a red velvet and a white satin ribbon, which has an edging of teeny cut out flowers.

Caroline's Cornflower Blue Flower:

Organza in shades of black, pale blue, cobalt blue and turquoise are layered with tulle in cornflower blue.

The centre is made up from a button in turquoise blue with lovely frosted Miyuki drops in turquoise blue.

Order your own flower...
... next to come a flower in the colours of a black forest gateaux and one in red and pinks to go with my new shawl (see below) . :-)


I am working on knitting a pseudo shibori shawl a pattern by Laura Irwin in fuchsia Rowan Kidsilk Spray.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dragon Lace Scarf and Fingerless Gloves

This is my latest offering - another lace scarf, romantic and elegant and with a definite Spring theme. The weather might not look much right now, but Spring is coming. Definitely. :-)

I wanted to make a versatile scarf that would go with almost anything and that was light and could be worn in lots of different ways. This scarf is long enough to be worn as shown above, just with a single loose knot or as below with a big bow. It can also be worn wrapped around your neck twice. Either way it looks like Spring around your neck.

Below is a picture of the scarf in flash light which shows off the shimmer of the Habu silk yarn in pale green.

The main part of the scarf has been knitted in a lace pattern that reminded me of a dragon's scales in the pale green Habu silk; the lace at the bottom is crocheted in a web pattern in a a lovely soft cream linen and silk mix. I have also used the cream linen/silk mix for the edging around the main (green) part of the scarf. Habu moiree paper linen and Habu steel covered with moss green wool knitted in a vine along the ends of the scarf separates the main scarf from the lace at the bottom and adds texture and an organic feel. The flower on each end has been knitted with a mix of three of the yarns used with 2 buttons in the centre of each flower creating a focal point.

Below are the matching fingerless gloves. Like the scarf they are my own design. The pattern for the dragon lace came from a Simply Knitting magazine (March 2009/Pattern Library).

I have used the pale green Habu silk yarn and the silk/linen mix from the scarf to make the gloves. The area around the wrist has been knitted in the green Habu yarn in the dragon lace pattern. It is split at the side and laced up with a cream organza ribbon that has a pearlescent coating. This allows the glove to be adjusted to your wrist size. The upper area of the glove has been knitted in ribs in the round with a picot crochet edging at the top, around the bottom and around the thumb of the glove.

Above you can see why I called it dragon lace.

Like the scarf the gloves continue the Spring theme not just with their colour scheme but also with the flowers above the wrist. The design for the flower is by Nicki Epstein - buttercup - although I added a flower button in a pale yellow rather than the suggested French knot. This time it was just knitted in the Habu silk.

The gloves would fit a medium sized hand/wrist, although there is give in the yarn. If you're interested but not sure if the gloves will fit, feel free to contact me and I will send you exact measurements.

The scarf and gloves will be sold separately in my Etsy shop, although together they would make a great set for a wedding or special occasion outfit. The gloves have been sold but the scarf is still available.

News: What's to come?

First, I think, it will be another lace scarf/fingerless gloves set, this time in Habu silk in a pale red with a fishtail lace pattern and more crochet lace in cream. I might add accents in burgundy rough silk yarn.

I also just managed to get some salmon leather - leather made of salmon skins, which normally would be a waste product of the salmon industry. The leather is fantastic, with a soft finish (just like very soft thin leather) and a scaly texture, and it doesn't smell of fish one bit. Check out this shop on Etsy for pictures: Gatsu Shop. I have several projects planned for this.

Another thing I managed to get was some gorgeous silk remnants. The idea is to combine them with some of my other techniques/materials to make handbags and accessories.

Then, there's that gorgeous faux Shibori scarf I really, really want to knit...

Then, there's that shrug I really really want to make in my gorgeous teal seacell and merino yarn... and many, many more projects.

There will also be more organza and tulle flowers in various colours, some fascinators with gorgeous feathers and whatever else I really, really need to make....

So watch this space.

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