Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hatching a baby dragon!

I saw this delightful dragon online courtesy of Marjorie Crochets, and realised I needed to have a dragon in my portfolio! My eldest daughter collects them and we both have a dragon tattoo (though hers is much more impressive than mine!) so it's almost sinful that i haven't made one for some time.
 This was my result, using her pattern, but lots of odds and ends of different wool, so my tension was a bit dodgy, to say the least - my fault, not hers! So I had another go, using all the same yarn, and tweaking it a little bit, to use my favourite button joints.
Having sculpted the face, too, I think it's a great improvement! However, to my mind it can't be a dragon, even a baby one, unless it has wings!  Spikes up its back speak to me of a baby dinosaur, rather than a dragon, and lovable though a baby dragon is, it really shouldn't be a bit fluffy and soft - at least a hint of irridescent scales should be present!
So this is the result! Twitter & Instagram offered me several names, and I've settled on 'Lyla' and she will go on my Etsy shop soon ( I shall twaek the design a bit more, I think the tail needs to be a bit longer and thinner, and more ideas are bound to suface in the middle of the night - design is always a work in progress!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Knitting Necklaces

I have been knitting necklaces for nearly 2 years, having started because a friend has sensitive skin, and metal made her skin sore.
I have been selling them at By Local, in Cheltenham for nearly a year, and, having recently opened an Etsy shop I decided it was time to offer them to a wider world!
 Each one is made by threading the beads on to embroidery silk, fine cotton or Goldfingering yarn, in the reverse order to which they will be incorporated (i.e the first bead to be threaded on is the last one to be knitted in) which requires me to really have my brain in gear! Then I cast on, slipping the beads into place as I go, till the lower edge is created.  I then use a short row technique to shape the centre of the necklace, including the beads in order as I go, so that the necklace will hang in a nice curve.
 This is the necklace I have just put on Etsy, and I call it 'Spring Garden', because it made me think of the crocuses that are coming up, and the way their colours sparkle in the dew & raindrops on the grass around them!
This is what it looks like when I'm about half way through the actual knitting! I use bamboo or wooden needles for this job, less likely to lose everything when I put it down than I would be using slippy metal needles.
 When i've finished knitting it looks like this.  I still have to put on a way of fastening ( I use normal, garment hooks & eyes, as proper jewellery findings are much too heavy - believe me, I've tried, disastrous!)  I then wash them and pull them into shape, hanging them to dry in the shaped curve they need to lie in on the neck.
Finished article! They mostly work out between 16 - 18 inches long, can't always predict exactly, as they stretch differently when washed, so they sit neatly at the base of most necks. I can, of course, do longer ones to commission, but this seems to be a popular length.  There's another one on its way, keep an eye on my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Branching out - and back into the past!

In 1997 I started a small business, making one of a kind, hand stitched collectors bears. By 2005, although I was doing quite well, a combination of arthritis and RSI meant I could no longer make the bears, and I closed the business.
In 2007 I fell, and completely destroyed my right elbow, leaving me unable to even feed myself for 2 years, and in a frightening level of pain. However, in 2009 my lovely consultant surgeon found a new joint, which could be used in my situation, and he fitted it for me in May of that year - one heck of a birthday present!  Having a very low boredom threshold, I returned to small scale knitting as quickly as I could, and my physio encouraged me to keep it up. By late 2010 I was knitting little bears to my own patterns.
By spring of last year I was selling my knitted bears, at The Brewery Arts Centre, in Cirencester (thanks, Tracey!) and at By Local, in the Regent Arcade, in Cheltenham.  Before long, I just had to see if I could still sew bears, and I was off again!
Many of my Twitter friends encouraged me to make them available online, so I looked at Etsy, and finally my bears are back online, here so I've gone full circle!  I will add other makes, such as necklaces, and other furry creatures, but I'm excited to see where this takes me!