Saturday 1 August 2020

hot stuff for Winter

The coldest part of Winter where I live is from now to the end of September. I hate the cold because poor circulation means my hands and feet are frozen like great blocks of ice and hurt a lot. I don't run any heating in my professional studio due to the enormous quantities of fabric stored there. The possibility of a thread or a little bit of fibre fluff falling into a heater and setting the whole place on fire is too real.

Oscar the maltese terrier appreciates a nice fire too

So with the cold weather and social distancing requirements of the pandemic I've been able to justify staying home for months huddling by the warmth of the wood heater in the lounge room and watching back to back Netflix. 

Just watched the whole 5 seasons of the "The Bureau" in the last couple of weeks and what a great series that was. Unfortunately it is made in France so was subtitled in english meaning I had to watch the screen almost all the time to keep up with the story. That was "unfortunate" in the sense that it was hard to do any small lap size craft projects because of needing to watch what to do. 

Nevertheless, I persevered to make cloth beads for this necklace.

The round beads are formed by scrunching a tuft of fibre fill (salvaged from an old pillow) and winding yarn around it. When its the desired size I either embroider directly onto the surface with stranded embroidery thread - as in the black and white bead at top left, or wind fragments of cloth onto the bead, sew them place and then embroider the details - as with second and third beads down on the left side.

The tube beads are made with a length of the stick from an earbud in the centre. If you pull the cotton buds off the end they are usually a rigid plastic tube with a tiny 2mm hole down the middle (sometimes they are cardboard or solid plastic). I wind thick quilt batting around that, then the outer cloth and embroider onto that. The hole in the middle of the earbud stick may or may not be useful when you come to string the beads. Its main purpose is to simply keep the bead straight and rigid. The beads tend to be too soft and bendy without the support otherwise.

When the beads were strung I liked the juxtaposition of using them with some brass metal beads and some bone. The white beads with black streaks on them and the smaller ones with spots on them are carved from horn. I bought these from an Etsy shop along with some other amazing beads made by people in the country of Mali. I only use them for special projects. 

Above is a close up of earrings I made on the same day. I bought the superbly detailed glass parrot beads from another Etsy shop. I love parrots because there are real ones in my backyard that come in for a feed every day. Some of them have become so tame they come in the windows and walk around the house! Below is an Australian King Parrot sitting on my lounge room window sill.

To finish off today heres a picture of another cloth and embroidered necklace and earrings made last year. I still really like the shape of the earrings so plan to make another in colours.

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