“Rosie the Riveter” Headband

•February 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Much of my time this past few months have involved traveling out of town for funerals, attending funerals, recovering from funerals. The most recent one was for my wonderful grandfather who passed last month, a week before the original ‘Rosie the Riveter’. I made sure to take my craft supplies and some yarn with me on the six-hour train ride. Many thanks to Squirrels & Curls’ “Rosie the Riveter” headband pattern for keeping my hands busy during a very trying time.

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I ended up using a 4mm crochet hook and my SMAKSuperFibers “Once Bitten” fingering weight yarn. Red and grey being two of my favorite colors, I was quite pleased with how this turned out.

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By hook…

•January 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

In St Louis for a funeral — the new year is off to a rough start. To keep my hands busy, I started a new crochet project with the SMAKSuperFibers Ka-Pow! fingering wool blend I purchased last month. This color is called “Once Bitten” but the emerging striped pattern reminds me of Baby Selwyn’s onesie from Dead Alive.

Happy New Year, I’ve got a life to lead

•January 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, it’s been an interesting year.

My girlfriend and I spent most of New Year’s Eve afternoon in our pajamas and dressing gowns. We had a wonderful lunch – savory oatmeal and chorizo scramble. She played games while I watched Bake-Off and attempted to make Australian bacon and cheese rolls. We each drank an enormous amount of coffee as per usual.

Last year, I wanted to set 2016 on fire while it was still breathing. People surprised me in 2017 – journalists, lawyers, park rangers, climate scientists, everyone who showed up at the Women’s March and the trans marches. We didn’t lay down and take any of this and, because of everything I said in paragraph 2, we’re not going to take it in 2018. I have a good life and I feel very, very sorry for anyone who tries to take it.

So, I’m walking into 2018 like 2017. I hope you are too.

Vintage Chicago Spoon Ring

•December 31, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Generally, I get a lot more out of my fiber crafts — knitting, cross stitch, embroidery — than I do out of my jewelry and metal craft attempts. There’s something about a project I can start on the couch and then take on the train with me in the morning, but I also did get my start designing and beading jewelry, so I return to metal stamping and new jewelry crafts frequently, particularly when something that seems impossible to do at home catches my eye. This time around, it was spoon jewelry.

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Designed for the 1933 World’s Fair, this particular spoon commemorated the construction of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, then referred to as the Michigan Boulevard Link. After the city ruled out building a tunnel underneath the Chicago River (…how?), they spent two years designing and constructing a bridge to unite the north and south sides of the city. When I lived in Lakeview East, I used to take the bus to work through Lincoln Park (and over the 10,000 plague bodies buried underneath) and over the bridge every day, past the Wrigley and London Guarantee buildings also featured in the design.

Bolt cutters
Hand file/needle files
Steel or aluminum ring mandrel
Rubber mallet
Bernzomatic butane micro torch
Butane
Firebrick or charcoal block
Jewelry/beading tweezers
2 small tumblers or bowls (one for water, one for pickling solution)
Pickling solution: white vinegar, sea salt, hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda
#0000 steel wool
Paper towels

A few years back, one of my aunts asked if there was a craft that I couldn’t specifically do. I wrote out a short list, which included “using a blow torch.” I still haven’t quite made it to that level, but — once I used the cutters to separate the bowl of the spoon and my files to smooth the rough edges — annealing the sterling silver handle in order to bend it around the ring mandrel required the use of a butane micro torch. It also required a block to fire it on, and a pair of tumblers nearby — one with water for quenching the heat after, one filled with pickling solution in order to aid the removal of fire scale.

The heat from the torch also ended up turning the silver black with oxidation. To aid with the removal from the detailed engraving, I used baking soda to lightly scrub it and the #0000 steel wool to remove it further. Altogether it worked to soften the metal enough to bend it with the rubber mallet and give the ring itself a gorgeous patina.

A bit shaky (and not quite round) in places but not bad for a first effort.

Favorite Videos: “Slay Ride” The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

•December 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I may be a little biased, but every festive holiday mix should have a cheerful song about Herbert West stealing bodies from the local cemetery.

Trans Pride Coffee Sleeve

•December 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Another fun thing that comes out of many commissions — prototypes that can be re-purposed. Everyone has done a sweater that was too small for them or, in this case, a wristband that was too big. This particular wristband — the first one I knitted before the days-long intarsia adventure — was far too big on 34-year-old me let alone an 11-year-old boy. So, I weaved in the ends and turned it into a coffee sleeve.

Brilliant! And now I have measurements for future coffee sleeves.

Favorite Videos: Love Actually, “The Carol Singing Prime Minister”

•December 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’m pretty flexible on most rituals and rites during this time of year, but Love Actually is one of those traditions they’ll have to pry from my cold dead hands.

 
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