For the longest time I associated crochet with yellowed doilies on worn armrests and dusty sideboards. I really believed that that was all that could be produced with that funny little hook, so it's little wonder I had no desire to learn this craft.
Thanks to the wonderful of Etsy and the internet a few recent discoveries have left me enlightened. As you may be able to tell from my ring designs I have a fondness for flower shapes, bright colours and intricate circular patterns, all of which are reproduced in these crocheted creations.
I don't know exactly when it was that the faded doilies became fab dresses, but I suspect it has been for some time, and, as usual I'm a bit behind. Now, of course, I'm desperate to learn this versatile craft and hopefully whip up a few pretty things of my own.
I've had my mum visiting from Namibia and she's done her best to teach me a few basic stitches but I'm still a long way away. To be honest, I'm actually even struggling just to hold the thread and hook correctly. Yes, a very long way away...
Fortunately, being a Taurean, patience and determination are my strong points, and, thanks to a recent BrisStyle post, I have also discovered a wonderful place right here in Brisbane called Tangled Yarns. Not only do they sell a stupendous amount of crochet and knitting stuff, but they also give classes for the very uninitiated like me.
Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing Easter weekend.
I had to work today but have the next two days off to spend with my family. Mum is visiting from Namibia and my sister is here from Canberra. It's so seldom that we all get together so I treasure these times.
I adore African craft! I don't think I appreciated it enough when I lived there. Now, whenever we go back for a visit, we come back loaded with unique treasures, like these cute miniature animals.
The detail is amazing considering that only wire and beads are used, and no fancy tools.
This 'framed' 3D picture hangs in our kitchen - it's one of my favourites! We bought it in Cape Town while we were stopping at the traffic lights - literally through the car window - for A$20-00.
The creativity blows me away and as a beader, I can really appreciate the effort that went into making it. The frame is made from coat-hanger wire and the background is chicken-wire.
Recycling, upcycling, re-using is all the rage in Australia but in Africa the locals have been doing it for years. In a future post I think I will have to share some ingenious recycled gems from Africa!
I have a niece. She's only 5, so I can't show you her face.
Everytime she comes to visit she makes a beeline for the dining room table (oh how I wish I could say 'studio') where all my beads are laid out in their various containers, packets and tubes. Unfortunately the beads I work with are so tiny (and so precious) that they don't make good toys for 5-year olds, and I always feel like the mean aunty for not letting her get her sticky fingers into them!
For months she's been asking me to make her a ring but even my smallest ring bases are too big for her. So I used some elastic cord and my biggest beads (almost) and put together this little ring for her.
I couldn't really tell if she loved it but she did wear it all day at her birthday party. Definitely the youngest supporter of Afrikitten so far.
One of the best things about belonging to groups like BrisStyle is that you get to meet lots and lots of like-minded people who make lots and lots of cool stuff. And sometimes it may even happen that someone wants something of yours and you want something of theirs! In that case a swap is most definitely in order.
So I made this...
...and got this!
This very cute and funky owl brooch is part of a new laser cut range by Kellie Christie. Rumour has it that she is about to add some more animal shapes very soon. I just know that I will not be able to resist a cat...
Feel like some armchair shopping? Every Saturday the BrisStyle Blog hosts a virtual shopping experience that allows BrisStylers to share their favourite Etsy finds. How could I not play along? I literally have hundreds of favourites stored in my wishlist. Here are today's picks:
With Valentine's Day coming up I thought it would be a good idea to list some heart-themed rings.
What I didn't think was how challenging it would be. My beadwoven rings are created with a circular peyote stitch, which starts in the centre and increases towards the outer edge. By using different colour beads at different stages I create the various designs. I don't work from any patterns and just experiment with ideas as I go along. Trying to make a non-circular design in a circular weave is pretty tricky.
This was my first attempt. Tops are too pointy!
Second attempt. Love these two colours together but they are all wrong for this design, which needs a strong contrast. I couldn't see what I was doing and it ended up being too lumpy around the edges.
Third attempt - success! Still not perfect but this is as good as it gets.
So here it is. There will be only one Valentine's contribution after all. After spending a whole afternoon trying to figure this out I've decided to put it into the too hard basket. Definitely a one-of-a-kind creation!
This is what I've been waiting for! A heavy padded envelope was waiting for me at the front door this afternoon with an absolute rainbow of Japanese seed beads.
Like so many other crafters I know, I source most of my supplies from overseas. When I first came to Australia from Africa I was thrilled by the selection of beads available in bead shops and used to spend hours just browsing the many colours, shapes and sizes. Fortunately I have a sister who enjoys this activity as much as I do.
But even the best bead shops could not compare to what I found online. America is a treasure trove for crafters. It's probably a good thing I don't
The downside of course is waiting for your parcel! But for now my wait is over and when I tipped all these bags of beads out of the envelope I almost got a creative anxiety attack.
So many colours! So many options! Where to start? When to start?
If you don't hear from me for a while at least you know
Thanks to a link shared by Kellie Christie - the original button jewellery designer and now also button maker - I've decided to show you what
I'm working on today.
In between the housework, filing and grocery shopping I've started another beaded ring. Still waiting for a long overdue delivery of hundreds of brightly coloured seed beads so I'm using what I have at the moment.
This post will be linked to Kootoyoowhere players get to do a bit of show and tell every Thursday, so if you're making something why not play along!
With heartfelt acknowledgement of our fellow BrisStyle members as well as all the Queenslanders who have been affected by the recent floods, we have put our crafty goodness towards raising funds, as well as awareness of those in need.
Visit the BrisStyle Blogto see hundreds of amazing items that BrisStyle members have donated to raise funds for the Flood Appeal.
Towards the end of last year I learnt how to make a beaded bead.
A wooden bead is used as the core, which is then 'wrapped' in seed beads using circular peyote stitch. Any size bead can be used and on its own looks great as a pendant. A whole lot of beaded beads strung up also make a very striking necklace - watch this space!
But as most of you will know, rings are my thing and I had to find a way to use my newly learned skill to create a wearable ring. A bit of internet searching turned up the perfect size cabochon and then the fun began. Working out the right amount of increases and decreases to match the curve and size of the cabochon was trial and error. For every successful ring I've produced I've taken apart at least three!
But I think I've got it now and have been having such fun experimenting with different colours to create patterns. The possibilities really are endless and there are not enough hours in the day for me to try out all the ideas I have! I went on a rather large seed bead shopping spree (how good is the Aussie dollar right now?!) which I hope will be delivered very soon, so expect to see a lot more fun designs in my Etsy store.