Sunday, April 24, 2011

Checking In; What I Have Been Working on Part 2

Sorry for the delay in posting. It all started a little over a week ago with a severe migraine at 3 am. I managed to get that under control by the time I had to get up and go to work. However, probably due to the medication, I had an upset stomach for most of the morning. When I got home in the evening, I still felt "off". I just didn't feel right. I woke up the next morning with a full blown cold. I didn't feel like doing anything. So posting, and most other things were put off until I felt better. I also opted to stay in the city this past week. I really didn't want to make the 3-3.5 hour drive to my parents, only to lay around in bed all day. I could do that here. I will be going away this week instead.

So like I said I haven't really done anything new this week. I haven't touched my chainmaille shirt. I don't have any photo of my progress of it either; maybe next time. I did manage a few new jewelry pieces, however:

The earrings are the only items I managed to make this week. I tried to get some decent photos of them so I could list them, but I couldn't get them right. I think I went outside too late. So the photos were taken inside. Not much to tell you about them. The pendant is currently listed. Again not much to tell, except this is the first pendant I am offering with a "proper" chain. Up until now, I've been sending the pendants on adjustable cotton cords. But my main supplier began offering a stainless steel cable chain which is really nice. It's strong, will probably last a lifetime, and adds a very professional touch to the pendant. I'm toying with the idea of offering all my pendants with a proper chain. But I'd have to increase the cost accordingly. Mind you, I've been putting some serious thought in increasing prices store wide; I've been increasing the cost of the Sterling Silver jewelry for months now, but nothing else. The rising value of the Canadian dollar (it's worth more than the US dollar now) means that I am loosing money though currency conversion. Another option would be to change my shop's currency to Canadian dollars; I think that may work, I'll have to look into it. I'll look into this when I get back, so if anyone is interested in anything, you may want to buy it now. Don't forget the coupon code on my left sidebar too.

I also remade the Box chain necklace that I wear:

My original chain is on the left. My new one in in the middle. It's about 1/4 inch (0.6 mm) wide. I made the chain on the right just for kicks. I made that one using some substantially larger rings in a heavier gauge. It's slightly over 1/2 inch (about 1.25 cm) wide. It's heavy! You may be wondering why I remade the chain. As I mentioned when I first made it (almost two years ago), it was never intended to be a necklace/chain. It was the first draft of my belt. I was still pretty new to chainmaille and hadn't quite learned the whole ring size verses strength concept. I learned that with this chain. The rings were waaaaaay to weak for a belt. Anyway, some of the rings weren't closed quite right; whenever I bent down, the chain would roll down and get caught in my beard (we won't discuss the incidents involving chest hair when it was necessary to wear the chain under clothing). I'm happy with my new chain and will probably make another one to go in my shop. It's a nice manly chain, if I do say so myself. You may be wondering what I will do with the third heavy chain. While it might work for a larger guy, I didn't like wearing it. It will be opened up and made into a belt.

I think that's about it. As I mentioned last time, I hope to get some tatting done while away. Spinning is on hold while I wait for some natural wool roving to arrive (there's also some bamboo and cotton roving coming too). I might take some of the rings I am using for my shirt to preclose them. Preclosing rings enables so called "speed weaving", using both closed and open rings, so one can weave faster. Till next time

Happy Easter!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Little of This and A Little of That, 1 of 2

Wow! Where has the time gone. I've been busy at work, and then the expected change in my work schedule occurred, starting this week, which has thrown me off schedule here at home. As the title indicates, I've been busy with a number of things since my last post. Unfortunately, tatting hasn't been one of them. I did pull out my tie, and tatted a few more four ring squares. It hasn't changed enough yet for me to post a new photo. Don't worry, I will be tatting again soon. I am planning on going to my parents house early next week. I have to work Easter weekend  (so does my dad) so this is the best we can do. Tatting will probably be the only thing I can easily take with me and work on. A few of you have asked about how my spinning is coming along. Well, let me show you.

I received the new spindle on Tuesday. Of course, I had to start playing with it that evening (new toy and all). One problem though, I couldn't remember how. The spindle I bought is also a top whorl, and the one I made was a bottom whorl. Relearning how to spindle spin wasn't very difficult to do. As is turns out, I have an invaluable resource now that I didn't have years ago when I first learned spinning. YouTube. A few videos later, here was the result:

Not too bad. Could be better, but I'm not complaining. I made several small balls of yarn yesterday afternoon. I plied them in the evening. Here is the result of that experiment:

And a better look here:

Again, not too bad. It is uneven, and thicker than I'd like, but I'll get better. I've been wishing after I started spinning that I had purchased some undyed roving to practice with. Unlike some of you, I hate practicing with the pretty stuff (thread, yarn, roving). I've also decided that I'll have to find a project or two to use the yarn. No point making the yarn if I won't use it. In case you're wondering the skein of yarn above contains about 25 feet of two ply yarn, equivalent to a bulky weight or so. I have two skeins of approximately the same size, plus enough roving left for another single strand of yarn.

As it turns out the spindle I bought is pretty small. So I either have to make lots of short lengths of yarn, get my yarn thinner, or buy/make a larger spindle. Browsing though Etsy, I noticed a lot of the wooden spindles, not all but a fair number, were simply wooden toy wheels attached to a dowel with a hook on one end. I figured that since I'd be in the area today that I could pick up what I needed from Michaels. Unfortunately, they didn't have any wooden toy wheels larger than one inch in diameter. I needed a 3-4 four inch wide wheel. Oh well, I'll keep it in mind and keep using the one I have. Probably a good idea to practice with the smaller one anyway. As always, I'll keep you guys updated.

That's about it for now. I've been working on my chainmaille shirt, and have the front section about three quarters done. I'm going to start on the back section probably tomorrow. I did some other chainmaille as well, but I'll post about it in a couple days. Till next time.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Doily Thoughts, Rosace Thread, and Some Chainmaille

Yup, I did it again. I really meant to post again last week, but I guess something came up. I have to admit, I haven't done much tatting since my last post. I did tat another Windmills motif. Though, this time in DMC Cebelia size 10. I wanted to see how big it would be. In case you're wondering, it measures 3 1/4 inches (8.25 cm) across. Done in size 20 thread, the motif is about 2 1/4 inches (5.7 cm) in diameter. Based on my Cebelia motif, I figured that my Windmills doily would be around 21 inches in diameter, if I had done it in size 10 thread. I won't bother showing you a photo. I'm sure you won't mind. And before I forget, thanks to all of you for leaving your comments on my last post. I'm glad that some of you liked the oval doily. It would have been a good idea for me to mention that the doily is being made for a rectangular table. I still intend on making the doily oval, though it will have to be put on hold again. Honestly, I have gotten tired of making the motifs, again. Since I haven't done much tatting, you're probably wondering what I've been up to then. You'll see.

However I want to show you what I got in the mail earlier this week. Some of you may remember that Gina, and Susan both mentioned that Rosace Embroidery Threads were offering three free skeins of embroidery thread. I couldn't pass that up. Here they are:

I hope to tat with these, sometime. Embroidery thread isn't the best for tatting, IMHO, but it was free. I'll share if/when I get around to tatting with it.

As I recall, I mentioned a PITA chainmaille project that I was working on during my last post. Well, here it is:

The chainmaille part was easy, it was getting the thing attached to the ring that was a PITA. And yeah, I know it's a bit Christmasy, but I wanted to wanted to make one of the included patterns. I don't know if I'll offer these for sale, or if I will just give them as gifts.

Finally, I'll show you what I've been working on lately instead of tatting. I ordered the rings necessary to make a chainmaille shirt on Tuesday. They were ready for pickup on Thursday. I went and got them Friday before work. I've been working on it ever since, making small sections each day. I currently have the top of the shirt completed. And here it is:

Above is the result of four days work, where I spent about 1 1/2 hours per day working on it. And in case you are wondering (and so I can keep track), the top section measures about 20.5 inches by 17.5 inches (52 cm by 44.5 cm) when relaxed (ie: when it is lying flat on the floor, not on me). It currently weighs 4.6 pounds (2.09 kg). I started working on the front, which is going to take some time to make. As always, I'll provide updates as I go.

I think that's about it for tonight. I still need to shave and trim my goatee tonight as I won't have time in the morning. And I should make a grocery list too. I normally go grocery shopping on Thursdays, but since the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's Book sale starts on Thursday, I want to go there after work instead. As I've done for the past few years, I'll be keeping my eyes out for tatting books. But as always, I'm going with the expectation that I won't find any. It's less disappointing and way more fun that way. Till next time.