Friday, 10 July 2015

That's no moon.... it's a space station!

Oh dear, it has been far too long since I last blogged - I am so sorry!
I have been wanting to blog about a piece of beadwork I made for quite some time (I actually finished it in January), but I had to wait until the judging of a competition before I could publicly share it.
I decided to take part in the Beadworkers Guild Crystal Anniversary Competition; it was sponsored by Swarovski, so it had to be something bling.
I'm not often a very sparkly beader - I have the odd moment when I go crazy with crystals, but usually, I'd prefer pearls.  After my first geometric beaded sculpture being accepted as a finalist at the British Bead Awards, I decided to make another piece along the same lines.  Still 60 triangles, but joined together in a different arrangement, to make a stellated dodecahedron (a round(ish) structure made from 12 pentagonal pyramids).

To show off the crystals to their best, I decided to make the majority of the structure from white delicas.  Buying delicas in 50g packs was something quite new to me... it felt very odd!  To complement the white, I added a pale pink (think coconut ice) and a matte copper to embellish the edges of the triangles. 
I chose five different finishes of Swarovski chaton to include, and a generous sprinkling of Swarovski sequins to add some shine to the vertices.
As my first geometric structure ended up with a nickname (sixty flippin' triangles), this one did too - I jokingly started calling it The DeathStar (I am a secret sci-fi geek).
When I had finally finished making it and stitching all of the triangles together, it was so close to the deadline... I only just made it!  I took some photos and submitted them, and I was honoured to find I had been selected as a finalist in the competition.  The Beadworkers Guild website has a gallery of all of the finalists and winners.There is some incredible work on display in the gallery, it is well worth checking out. 

I wasn't selected as a winner, but I am grateful to have got through to the final round of the judging.
Here is my DeathStar... It's so nice to have it back, proudly displayed in my living room.









Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New Year's Resolutions

A slightly late post, but I wanted to share my new year's resolutions with you all.  I made two resolutions this year:

  1. Learn to knit properly
  2. Avoid being diagnosed with cancer again
Ok, so the second one I couldn't control all that much, but I've managed to keep it so far... despite investigations to exclude bladder cancer.  I've got the all-clear... phew!

So, learning to knit properly.  I've included 'properly' in this as I could just about knit... not really purl, I certainly could do any shaping.  I started a little early (between Christmas and new year), and bought myself a Craftsy class - Knit Lab, by Stefanie Japel.

Hours later, I could cast on, bind off knit and purl... I could increase and decrease in many ways and I'd made a lacy scaflet!  




So, what to knit next... I though a scarf and hat would be good... not matching though.... I'm never that co-ordinated!



The scarf is bamboozle yarn, it's thick and thin in places and has the most amazing mix of colours.  It reminded me of spring, and was a great excuse to practice stockingette stitch.
The hat was worked flat in Sublime cashmere, merino and silk blend and stitched up the back.  It's cosy and soft and lovely to wear.



As my husband has a love of funky hats (he wears a hat every day, whatever the weather) I thought I'd knit him a stripy one (to practice changing colours).  He loves it, although it's not as warm or distinctive as his usual head-wear.

My next victim (or recipient) was my niece... she is a gorgeous little girl, always smiling... this was my first attempt at using double-point needles, knitting in the round.  It was made using the left over cashmere, merino silk blend that my hat was made of... and the pompom on top was made from the left-over bamboozle.


Next I decided to tackle cable knitting... after a couple of practice squares, I moved onto another hat... this one in grey aran wool/acrylic blend.

So, after all that, I thought I should probably make a garment of some description... and I didn't want to start a massive project knitting for  me (plus-size knitting takes a lot of time and a lot of yarn); so I opted for something for my niece again.  This is a kimono-style cardigan, designed by Mary Kate Long.  Again it is made in Sublime, cashmere, merino and silk so it is lovely against the skin, and I finished it off with cute little flower buttons.  
My pet-panda, Barry, decided he wanted to model it, but very soon it will be worn by my niece... I just hope it fits!!