Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Ramble

My Christmas ornament beading has temporarily come to a halt. Due to problems with hand-eye coordination, depth perception and other frustrations, I put the beadwork aside for a day or so.

I decided to try a little crochet instead. I found a beautiful pattern and a small scrap of sport weight yarn and attempted to make a swatch of the pattern.

I ran into a few problems. The first one: I haven't crocheted in so long I'm not able to hold the thread properly to maintain steady tension, so my stitches aren't even. With practice, I'm getting better and holding the work is becoming more natural. The second problem is: although I've been crocheting for 70 years and reading word patterns since I learned to read, I've never crocheted from a computer generated diagram. The pattern didn't come with a symbol legend and some of the symbols were unclear to me.

I went so far as to download a free crochet stitch program in order to find and decipher the symbols. I'm not too old to learn. No, I'll probably never make crochet patterns with it, but it was a great help.

I discovered that although bead weaving and crochet are both needlework, they each require different hand muscles, different ways to hold the project and a different approach to deciphering the pattern.  I feel that I need to go back to some of the handwork I grew up doing in order to keep my brain, and consequently my hand-eye coordination from deteriorating any further.

Now it's time to get back to the Christmas ornaments. Second angel is in the works. One more angel, three drums and one snowflake to go.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Christmas Ornaments 2015

I've finished 10 of the 17 Christmas ornaments I need to make this year. Five wreaths and five twin snowflakes. 
I made the wreaths first then the snowflakes.  On the fourth snowflake, I noticed that all of them had a stained glass effect due to matte transparent, transparent and opaque beads being used in each ornament.  It wasn't planned at all. I was sifting through my bead stash and that's just how things came up. Since nine of them were stained glass, I deliberately made the tenth one the same way. 

Now I have to decide which ornaments to make for the youngest group.  I haven't come up with any inspiration for that type of ornaments yet this year, so I'll have to choose from the 2009 collection or the 2010 collection. I need to go back through my notes and see who has what.

Everyone thought I was stressing over nothing when I was having such a hard time getting the wreath pattern to work, but what they didn't understand is how slow I am at brick stitch, so the last phase of ornaments not only contains more ornaments than the first two, but it will take me longer.  I just have to keep calm and breathe.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Exploring Other Needlework Crafts

This weekend I just couldn't stay focused on beading and getting Christmas ornaments finished.  
First I found a free kindle book on Tunisian Crochet.  This is a stitch I learned as a girl known only to me as afghan stitch and I only learned the single and double crochet version.  I never thought of it as  crochet that could have various stitches just like regular crochet until I started looking through that book.
I did some research on the internet and came up with this site, Tunisian Crochet by Stitch Diva. I then remembered that I'd seen beaded Tunisian crochet and started looking for pictures.  I found several, but they weren't free to copy. I finally found a pattern for the necklace above.
Not a complicated pattern but I thought about trying it. Then I remembered you have to string the beads onto the crochet thread first. . .not my forte so I gave that up. 
Next I found an adult coloring book for free and downloaded it.  

I've spent Sunday and Monday telling myself to put the colored pencils down and get back to beading.  When I've finished the 17 ornaments for this year, maybe I'll get back to learning the intricacies of Tunisian crochet. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Look Back

I've had quite a bit of trouble getting on a schedule, communicating and creating for a long while now (ever since my first cataract surgery).  Lately, I've been pretty depressed thinking about my current productivity, so I decided to take a look back to see what I've accomplished. 

The picture above is of a bracelet made two years ago with Pondo (African Circle Stitch) and is a new stitch I'd just learned.  Learning new things usually keeps me going as I get bored and my inspiration lags continually using a stitch I'm familiar with.

Not long after that, as stated in the post linked above, I learned Authentic African Pondo. This is a much simpler stitch, but challenging and new to me, never the less.

Going back through my previous blogs and social media posts has shown me that I've slowed down but have still accomplished something worthwhile. 

Both of these patterns are available in my Craftsy Store, along with many other patterns featuring a wide variety of stitches.


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