I’d Rather Be Cruising – sneak peek!

I’m just working out the test knit for the single skein version, and then this baby will be available :) 2 rows to remember for the body, 2 rows to remember for the lace, 2 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts, and a delicious 70″ wingspan. What’s not to love?3V8A3648

The Latest Goodies, and Musings on the Blue Brick

IMG_9150Tito and I have been extremely busy people lately, but we finally have our first confirmed art show! We will be at the Frogpond Farms Organic Winery on June 20th and 21st, participating in their annual ‘Art in the Vineyard’ show. There will be great food, great wine, and many other talented artists, so if you’re in the region of Niagara-on-the-lake then come on out! We’d love to see you.

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I wanted to show off some of the work that Tito and I have been doing together. While I still do use some commercial bezels, I much prefer the uniqueness of Tito’s hand-wrought copper pieces. We’ve even placed an order for sterling silver, so we can start creating fine jewellery with resin and flowers. We appreciate all the inquiries we’ve gotten about purchasing a piece (it’s so encouraging!) and we’re hoping very much to have a small Etsy sale around the end of March. It will be a tiny update, maybe 10 pieces or so, but we’d like to make sure we can ship in time for Mothers Day so the sale will last only 1 week.

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I have been working on a few other things behind the scenes as well, and one of them is changing the Blue Brick’s blog into an e-commerce site, with the blog nested within it.

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I’d really like to free myself from Etsy; I don’t agree with the policy changes that they made which allow resellers and mass-produced items to be sold on their site. I was one of the lucky ones, I don’t pay my rent using Etsy, but my sales did take a tremendous hit.

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I am not looking to knock the lives of factory workers. I’m sure the work is hard, difficult and even dangerous. But what system would you rather support? It may be cheaper to buy costume jewelry at Walmart, but would you rather have dozens of cheap things, or a few, carefully selected handmade treasures?

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I believe in supporting handmade, buying ethically, and when I can, locally. I do it with my choices in yarn, food, and even clothing. To me, a part of the Blue Bricks development as an Indie handcrafting business will be to free it from having to deal with Etsy, so look for some site changes in the near future :)

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Which brings me to my big announcement. The Blue Brick is officially a business! I feel very grown up. I officially own a tiny, indie crafting business and I’m proud as punch to say it. This small change has had a huge psychological impact on Tito and I, as we’ve made the transition from hobbyists to business owners. We feel inspired, energized, and it has shown in our productivity and our latest pieces. It was a huge step for us, but we felt like it was the right one, and it can only bring good things!

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Noro Scarf

Sometimes you just need the weaving equivalent of instant gratification.

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Warp and weft are both Noro Taiyo Sock. I didn’t try to keep my colours in line or do anything special, just wove it on a 10-dent heddle the same as if it was all one colour, and let the fabulous Noro colours do their thing.

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You can definitely see the warp much more than the weft, and I confess I was hoping for the colour shifting in the weft to be more obvious, but I’m still very happy with it.

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2 skeins on a 10-dent heddle gave me a scarf that’s 70″ x 18″, not bad! The scarf was easy, fast and super gratifying.

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It’s a good canvas to show off one of the shawl pins Tito and I have been churning out :)

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Spring is here, but as of last week the lake was still largely frozen. Old man winter can’t hang on forever though!

Preparing for Summer – Hydrangea Jewellery

Tito and I have been a serious production house lately! I’m not planning to put any of it on Etsy at the moment (though there are a few pieces up there still, and I might plan something small just for Mothers Day!) but I still wanted to share them. Today I decided to showcase our work with hydrangeas. I love how that deep blue colour still comes through, even after my drying and preservation process. As always, if you’re interested in giving it a try yourself, check out my book :) As we set up our craft show schedule I’ll definitely post the details to the blog, if you’re in southern Ontario I’d love to meet you!

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Sneak Peek – I’d Rather Be Cruising!

My latest design; simple, mindless, but super lovely. 2 skeins, 2 colours (and therefore generously sized, no neck kerchief this time!), 2 rows to remember for the body, and 2 rows to remember for the lace. You can cruise through this thing while watching TV, or going on vacation. Hence the name ;)

Sample is in Tanis Fiber Arts Cosmic Blue Label Sand and Blue Label Deep Sea.
I’m knitting up my sample just as fast as I can!

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Family Pendants

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Some friends of mine requested a family set of pendants, made from purple tulips. There are 2 mothers, and 3 children. To celebrate the thought of family I chose to make all 5 pendants from the same flower by carefully preserving the flower to lay all of its petals flat.

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Once my tulips were ready for resin, and I was satisfied with the colours, I chose one flower to cut all 5 pieces from. I used jewellery-grade resin to preserve the beautiful colour and texture of each petal.

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They’re going in the mail today :) I hope they love them!

If you’re interested in my methods for preserving flowers, or want to try your hand at making your own, check out my e-book on Resin Jewelry :)

The Improved Colour Shifting Scarf

DSCF0136I created a second colour shifting scarf for Tanis, and I made some tweaks that I think really improved the design.

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I used a 10-dent heddle instead of 12 which greatly improved the drape and allowed me to warp to 80”, which meant that after I cut off the loom waste Tanis was left with a more generous sized scarf at 65” long and about 15” wide. Because I had fewer dents to work with, I warped 6 threads of each colour instead of 7, and when weaving I wove 12 picks of each colour instead of 14. She loved it :)

Click here for the hemstitching tutorial I wrote while weaving this scarf.
Click here for the original tutorial on how to make this scarf.

DSCF0134I also decided to include my hack for getting even fringe on scarves. I’m sure there are tons of other ways to do this, from measuring the fringe to using a ruler and a rotary fabric cutter, but here is my fave:

1. Line up the 2 ends of the scarf so they overlap perfectly

DSCF01232. Pin the 2 ends togetherDSCF01263. Use a wide tooth comb to comb your fringe out nice and neat

DSCF01274. Lay a heavy straight edge of some kind on top (could be a book, a ruler etc.)

DSCF01295. Use this edge as a guide to trim your ends

DSCF0130Voila! Reasonably neat ends :)

DSCF0133I just took another gorgeous scarf off the loom that, alas, my kitties got to while it was blocking. I came home to an open bedroom door, two innocent faces, a clawed up scarf on my blocking board and a little nest of blankets that was still warm from sleepy furballs.

What happened to you? I'm busy occupying this tea towel...

What happened to you? I’m busy occupying this tea towel…

I didn’t know whether to scream or cry, so I made a cup of tea and glared at them for a bit. They looked back at me, 2 pictures of the innocently befuddled. 2 faces that said ‘I found it like this’. I drank my tea, and Tito tried to wrangle warp threads back into place, if we can get it to look decent I’ll share pics. :/

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