Thursday, March 20, 2014

Super Soup! Bead Soup Party Blog

Well, I got my bead soup for the 8th annual Bead Soup Blog Party in the mail yesterday from Kumi Fisher Are you kidding me!???!!! Not only was there a stunning tree of life focal, a whole handful of beautifully enameled pieces, a wonderful handmade clasp and plenty of matching accent beads, Kumi also sent me a box of quite decadent chocolates, a sweet Hawaiian carrier bag and a cup to carry around my hot drinks in this chilly climate. What a sweetheart!

It's going to be a big challenge to make something nice enough to do these beads justice for sure. Mahalo so very much!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

8th Bead Soup Blog Party- Ready to Roll!

Time for the Bead Soup Blog Party bead exchange to begin. My partner in this endeavor is Kumi Fisher who lives on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. My lucky beads get to go live with her there, while her beads are traveling to the freezing cold climes of upstate New York. I can see the packages waving at each other as they pass by in some post office somewhere in California- Aloha! Mine filled with lampwork and hers filled with some of her wonderful handmade metal beads and adornments.
I can't wait to see what Kumi makes out of her bits and pieces, and to be inspired by the bits I find in the package she has sent.
Kumi does a lot of experimenting with metals- it seems like she's tried a little of everything- enameling, using alcohol inks, hammering, coiling- you name it! What started out as a little something to do in her spare time has turned into a passion that can't be stopped!

Here are a couple of pics of the things Kumi can expect to arrive in her mail box shortly.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spin, Spider, Spin: Experiments With Whorls, Spindles and Yarn

A spindle experiment with double whorl
Handmade spindles and glass whorls- sometimes it seems things just happen and sometimes you have to make them happen! This little tale is a combination of those two things.
Mmm... pink!
In the beginning of January, I went to the Black Sheep Spinners Guild ROC Day
 celebration. Spinning is such a big deal around here, and it's something I've always wanted to learn more about. While I was there I met a wonderful woman who showed me how to use a drop spindle (OK, it's gonna take a lot of practice to get it right!).

Masked style pattern
One thing led to another and before I left I found out that she was in search of a glass bead maker who could make her some rather large beads in particular shapes to use as whorls with her handmade Viking-style spindles. We had a short chat, I got down some basics, and we agreed to stay in touch.

I really like the design on this one!
I went home thinking- make big beads, make big beads. We met again a couple of weeks later for show and tell- she with spindles, I with some rudimentary whorls. These are smaller than a standard whorl and would be used to make light or lace weight yarns.

Love this shape!
Well, one thing led to another. I made myself a fun little drop spindle with a dowel, a wooden wheel and (of course) a glass bead for a little extra weight and got to practicing. What I do is called 'park and draft', which means I spin the spindle, stop and make the yarn over and over. It's how all the kiddies start out!

We met again, I made more whorls and started looking at all the fun shapes and styles that were traditionally used. And then we went to the monthly spinners guild meeting with our new spindles and whorls. Folks loved them! We're still working on a little bit of standardization and in the meantime, I'm having a lot of fun testing out different designs I might be able to offer.
Drying my first yarn

Stay tuned for- hopefully- some spindles and whorls for sale in my etsy shop soon!