Thursday, May 01, 2008

Craft addiction

Readers will know that I am addicted to many kinds of craft. Today I will share with you the booty I brought with me, had sent here, or bought here. Judge for yourself whether my addiction is out of control. Here it is, all collected together.

First, I brought with me my tatting, the perennial tatting. This is the almost-finished second placemat which might one day become four placemats which may one day get joined into one big tablecloth. I like tatting for many reasons. It is small and portable, it goes on planes because it uses a little plastic shuttle, not needles or hooks. You don't need to see much to do it - it can be done in relatively dim lighting. And once you know the pattern (and I know this one very well now), it is mindless and soothing.

I also brought the filet lace kit my sister (bless her soul) gave me for my birthday. What you see on the stretcher frame now is my next doily, with a pattern this time. You also see the pattern I am using. Making the pattern is a fascinating combination of dotting in the squares you want to fill, then tracing a single continuous line around them all. Then you follow that with your (long ball-pointed) needle and thread.

On a trip up to the Lyon Aboretum with Julie and Martin we stopped for lunch at Kailua. There was a bead shop, and there was a 50% off sale on Swarovski crystals. I bought their stock of purple velvet small bicones, which will become a beaded rose with baby's breath to form Martin's buttonhole for The Wedding. I have made two experiments, and we think these crystals will be perfect. We hope so!

Before I left Sydney, I placed an order with Beadwrangler for two beadspinners - a small one for seed beads and a larger one. Fill the bowl of these twirly devices with beads, stick a wire or needle and thread in at a certain angle, spin... and the beads just climb onto the wire or needle. As one who enjoys knitting, tatting and crochet with beads, and making beaded flowers, these spinners are going to save me hours of hand-stringing time. It is so boring, and I hope these are going to work. Included was a free pack of amethyst coloured seed beads, and a wooden spool for the strung yarn or whatever.

There was a trip to the Temple of Craft in Honolulu, Flora Dec. I love this place. It is jammed with goodies - eyelash yarn to make leis with, craft wire, stickers, paper punches, artificial flowers, and so much more. Beads, glitter, you name it. Michael was amazed at the amount of stuff. I reckon half or more of Hawaiian craft souvenirs start here. It is a great place to buy non-flower leis, they are beautiful and reasonable. I might have to make another expedition there, as I didn't even dare peek into the huge warehouse section.

I was on a search for coloured craft wire, with which to make French beaded flowers. In particuar, the rose for Julie's Boy's buttonhole at the wedding. In general, flowers to grace the house or become gifts for people. They are fun to make. I found the coloured wire, and you see it here. Green stem wire, green wire for leaves, purple wire for flowers, and a variety pack for whatever I think to do with it. I found florist's tape (for binding the stems). I couldn't resist a spool of lilac silk rattail, for maybe making a crocheted lei out of the dark red eyelash yarn I bought on the last trip (with instructions), or for Chinese Knotting. (although that's hard to do and I haven't mastered it by any stretch of the imagination.)

Here's the Flora Dec haul:

Julie the Knitter was most willing to accompany me on a visit to Isle Knits. This is a tiny shop on the 14th floor of an office building in downtown Honolulu. A treasure trove. I was on the hunt for tiny circular needles for bead knitting. Knitting beads on rayon thread on metal double-pointed needles is an exercise in slippery frustrating. Perhaps the technique of two circulars will serve me better. Did she have any OOO circulars? Yes. She even had 0000 circulars. I took two for the bead knitting. My sister also sent me a book on using two circulars for sock knitting, so I bought two of the appropriate size for that purpose. And while I was there, there was this lovely silk alpaca that Julie said would be enough to make a Swallowtail shawl with, so the appropriate amount leapt into my shopping bag.

Here is the haul from Isle Knits:

The common thread running through most of my crafts, I realise, is exactly that - a single continuous thread (or wire, in the case of the beaded flowers.) I love what you can do with a thread. That fascination extends to string games too, which I will blog about one day.

You can never be bored if you have a thread.

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