My stories of jewelry making, spinning, knitting, and all things fibery.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Strange and Golden Brew

My skeins of handspun yarn have been mordanted (see July 17th post) and they are ready for the next phase of the dyeing process.

The little yellow coreopsis plant outside my door has been steadily yielding golden blossoms for the last two seasons. I have kept them frozen in ziplock baggies up until now.

The flower heads, along with some marigolds blossoms are roughly chopped up and are added to my enamel dye pot with just enough water to cover them. They are simmered for about an hour and then the liquid is separated from the spent flower pulp.

Meanwhile the skeins are soaked in water and then immersed into the dye bath. They are left there for quite some time to take in the color.

The fiber is checked for color intensity every now and then.  After about an hour the yarn is lifted out, rinsed, spun out in the washer and hung to air dry.

I am so pleased with the lovely sunny yellow color!  The skeins will be carefully wound into balls and will patiently wait to be knitted into something special.  Creating this yarn has been a long but very rewarding process.  I have taken a raw fleece, scoured and combed it, hand spun it into yarn and dyed it with natural organic plants grown in my yard.  Projects like this one really open my eyes to the lifestyle of women generations before me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Labor of Love

This crocheted wrap was truly a labor of love. Very fine 100% cotton thread and a tiny hook were used to create each square motif in this a pattern that was adapted from a 1950's table runner. The squares were then crocheted together and an edging was added.

Today it will be blocked and stretched into a gorgeous finished garment that I am not sure I will be able to part with. Originally it was intended to be sold in my Etsy shop, but I'm really getting attached to it...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Malachite ~ Mysterious Green Beauty

Today StoneandFibers's Malachite and Green Swarovski Crystal Bookmark has been chosen by ExoticTreasuresJewel to be included in their latest treasury. They are a mother-son team of talented jewelers on Etsy who create beautiful and unique pieces using semi-precious stones and minerals.

Malachite is an enchanting and vibrant green stone with dark veining or matrix.  It is said to be a protector of children and to help promote loyalty in one's relationships.  Long ago the Romans and Greeks used it in ground up form as eye shadow.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Got Gold?

Can't believe that gold prices are at $1600 an ounce!  I can remember when the shiny stuff commanded a mere $800.  Today's treasury features many of my Treasury League pals in a collection inspired by this new gold rush!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Dye Pot

 Recently I stumbled upon the most wonderful old enamel pot at a yard sale that I plan to use exclusively for fiber dyeing. 

Today I used it to prepare four skeins of my handspun yarn for dyeing.  Soaking the fiber in a mordant is required for the yarn to "take" the color of the dye and for it to last, especially if you are using natural dye.

 After simmering in a bath of alum and cream of tartar on the stovetop for about an hour, the skeins are rinsed, drained and hung to dry until next week when they will take on some color!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The tile top patio table is complete! I mixed up the grout and water to a dry paste consistancy and spread it thickly over the entire surface of the table. After 24 hours of drying it was given three coats of sealer to protect from the weather.

Next project...floral chair cushions for color!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Always A Bridesmaid

Remembering the days when girlfriend after girlfriend got married and I seemed to have an endless collection of rather ugly bridesmaid dresses!  I'm sure you have some too.  Enjoy my latest treasury here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Gift Tutorial

Later this month I need to give a gift. I have decided to make a necklace and hear that the birthday girl likes amethyst it will be! I've scrutinized my bead collection and found some beautiful chips and nuggets that I can combine with delicate ivory mother of pearl beads and gold findings.

Step 1:
Gather stones and supplies.

Step 2:
Lay out design on bead board, checking for proper length.

Step 3:
Cut length of flexible beading wire and string stones in sequence.

Step 4:
Attach clasp!

Step 5:
Wrap it all up real pretty!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I was in a kind of a country living sort of mood today and I created this treasury.  Hope you like it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trying My Hand at Tile Work

I have often been intrigued by tile work but have been hesitant to try.  With my house in a mess for months now due to some ongoing remodeling, I have decided I need a pretty oasis somewhere to collect myself and regain my sanity.  My sights have been turned to my tiny outdoor deck, truly in need of a facelift and a tile topped table!

I purchased a simple parsons table at a local big box store and added a quarter round molding edge using my trusty miter box, wood glue,  finishing nails and a hammer.  The molding frame will make a finished edge for the tile when completed. 

Next I spray painted it with two coates of almond semi gloss paint.

The tiles were cut to fit and put aside while a thick coat of tile adhesive was spread evenly over the table's surface.  The tile sheets were pressed firmly and evenly into the adhesive.

The project was left to dry for twenty four hours.

Next post ~ grouting and finishing!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Look What's New on the Needles...

It seems to work out that I bead and knit in spurts.  Right now I have quite a few new jewelry pieces to list in the shop, so the beading is winding down for the summer.  I've started knitting a classic cable scarf for the fall line and like it so much that it will probably be available in three colorways at least.  The yarn is acrylic and unusually soft!  I'm not a big synthetic fan and prefer wool and alpaca, but this fiber will make a fantastic utilitarian scarf that will be warm, classic and low maintenance.  Just perfect for shovelling snow or running to the market.

I would like to search for a rich rust, cranberry and a teal blue.  What colors would you like to see for the fall?