Showing posts with label jewelry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jewelry. Show all posts

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tatting for the 21st Century

I was reading Franklin Habit's February 26th post on his first foray into the art of tatting last Saturday morning when I remembered that I've been meaning to write about tatting for my own blog. This tatting post intention is actually of such long standing that I thought perhaps I already had written about tatting, but the search tool assures me I haven't.

Very well then. Tatting is about 200 years old, emerged as a way for women to make their own lace at a time when real lace was extremely expensive to purchase, and declined as commercially made lace became affordable. Georgia Seitz's amazingly thorough article on tatting in the 19th century will probably tell you all you want to know about tatting's history. There are three kinds of tatting: shuttle tatting, needle tatting (which is similar to shuttle tatting but looks slightly looser and thicker), and cro-tatting, which is a combination of crochet and tatting, employs a tatting needle with a crochet hook at the end, and is reportedly the hardest of the three to learn.

I first heard of tatting when I was little girl and my grandmother told me of it. She mused over the idea of teaching me but said she didn't know whether she "could learn me to tat or not." She wasn't sure she could remember how herself and she also didn't know whether she still had her tatting shuttle. So the tatting lessons never happened. The closest I got to tatting was when my mother complained bitterly of the "tats" in my very tangle-prone hair every morning before school. I instead learned the craft of English paper piecing from Grandma. Over the years I have often toyed with the idea of learning to tat in memory of my grandmother and because I always want to learn every craft going anyway. But whenever I've picked up a book on tatting I was put off by the fact that I had no use for any of the projects therein. I mean, that picture on the cover of the book above is one impressive piece of work, but what the hell would I do with it? The patterns in the books were always all about collars and lace trim, edgings for handkerchiefs and table linens, and doilies. And I don't particularly like lace. I do have tastes that are so retro they're anachronistic, but they run early to mid-twentieth century, and lace is Victorian. Unless you count knitted items that have lace patterning (I don't), I don't have a single lace-trimmed garment in my entire wardrobe unless you count my underthings (and no I don't make those). I use tissues, not handkerchiefs, and lace-trimmed table linens wouldn't suit my house, though I do dream of someday embroidering some. And who even uses doilies these days? My 75-year-old mother thinks they're hopelessly antiquated. But... my urge to learn to tat would not die. So when I researched this post I also tried to find justification for my acquisition of the skill. Surely someone somewhere was tatting things I would like to make.

I did searches and found the expected traditional collars, cuffs, lace-trimmed linens and handkerchiefs, then upon digging a little further some less traditional uses such as pasting pieces of tatting on cards for special anniversaries or using it artwork, seasonal decorations such as angels and baubles for the Christmas tree, which was more interesting but still wasn't the kind of stuff I'd want to make. These, which are by deviantArt user a asfina, are lovely, though.

I'm happy to say, I now have the excuse I wanted to learn to tat. The tatted jewelry I came across really got my attention. Deviant Art and Pinterest have loads of great examples of tatted jewelry. Necklaces and earrings and cuff bracelets are suitable for tatting, and there are even some fabulous masks for the goth/steampunk types. The necklace and earrings above are by deviantArt user asfina, whose blog is worth a look.

From asfina's blog. I wouldn't wear anything like this except on Halloween, but it's pretty awesome.

These earrings are by deviantArt user spinstermaiden.

This incredible necklace is all the reason I will ever need to learn to tat. It's from the blog Yarnplayer.

How fabulous is this one? I do a little beading, and I'll be learning to tat as an adjunct to that skill.

A tatted lace bookmark might make a good starter project. This one is the work of deviantArt user seandreea.

I'd say my first task is to pick out a tatting shuttle. I'm most drawn to shuttle tatting purely because I get to buy a lovely shuttle to work with. Shuttles are made from every possible material: wood, metal, bone, plastic. It's possible to buy antique shuttles, though when purchasing those you'll be competing with collectors who don't even know how to tat. The shuttles above are made from acrylic, brass, decoupaged, sterling silver, and carved wood. If your local craft stores don't have shuttles to your taste, try eBay or Etsy for an antique or hand-crafted shuttle. The decoupaged shuttles above are made by Etsy user La Cossette, and the acrylic and wooden shuttles by Grizzly Mountain Arts.

How does one learn to tat? YouTube has many instructional videos, such as the one above, which is first in a comprehensive series. There are plenty of other resources on the net, such as the British-based, international tatting organization Ring of Tatters, and Tatting Pattern Central, which has tutorials and tips for beginners as well as the patterns the name suggests. Do be prepared to be patient. Franklin Habit reports his first five-hour attempt at tatting resulted in a knot so small it would have disappeared up his nose if he'd inhaled deeply, and it's not like he's a stranger to crafting.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Knitty Knitty Bling Bling

I love jewelry and I love knitting and I always perk up whenever I see any examples of knitted jewelry — but I usually wind up deflating again. While knitting techniques can be used to make jewelry, yarn generally does not make satisfactory jewelry. Yarn jewelry usually looks clunky and kitschy, like something made by a child during arts and crafts hour at day camp. And though, consequently, children can get away with wearing it, adults who want really wearable, elegant jewelry are best to knit it out of the kind of materials jewelry designers actually use. I've previously done posts on the wonderful and inspiring knitted jewelry of designer Niiro and also on how to use the technique of Viking knitting to make jewelry. Today I offer a selection of knitted jewelry patterns. Some of them are even among those few yarn-crafted jewelry pieces that actually work.

The necklace above is the Scallop-Edge Beaded Necklace, by Carol F. Metzger. It is knitted from yarn but looks polished enough for casual wear at least. This pattern appears in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein.

Here's another yarn necklace I like, the Cheerio design, by Laura Nelkin, although I would substitute pretty beads for those rings, which look a little too utilitarian. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

Cuffs are the one category of jewelry where the use of yarn is pretty easy to pull off. But I'd still go with lots of beading to dress them up. This is the Stereo Cuff, by Laura Nelkin. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

I went through 20 pages of patterns tagged with "jewelry" on Ravelry in order to research this post, and this was the only knitted ring I found that I liked. This is the Bella Knit Reversible Ring, by Andi Javori. This pattern is available for $4.50(USD).

Bracelets knitted from wire and beads are probably the most common form of knitted jewelry. This pretty Bauble design, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is a Knitty pattern and therefore available for free.

The Emelia Lace Choker, by Jennifer Tallapaneni, is one of those pieces that are on the borderline between jewelry and accessory. It could definitely add a bit of old-school elegance to a modern outfit for those women who have enough neck to carry this look off. Alas, I regret to say I am not one of those women, being a Swan only in name. This pattern is available for $3.50(USD).

Another pretty cuff. This is the Emerald Beaded Bracelet, by Heather Murray. This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

Like rings, earrings seem to be a difficult item to knit successfully. Most of those I saw on Ravelry just didn't look polished enough. These are the Bijouterie earrings, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill. This is a Knitty pattern.

Dee's Bracelet, by Hannah Banana, is a variant on the wire and bead bracelet, with lots of pearls. This pattern is available for $0.99(CDN).

The Wire Knitted Bracelets, by AkashasCreations. This pattern is available for $2.00(USD). I read on another knitted wire and bead bracelet page that this style of bracelet is easy to make: just thread the beads on before you begin and knit stockinette stitch for as wide and as long as you want the finished item to be. Don’t use anything under 30 gauge wire, as it’s far too hard on the fingers. To finish the bracelet, you can do a UK single crochet around the edge and fashion a clasp from a bead and more crocheting.

This Sweet Nothing choker, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is a pretty little confection, with chiffon ribbon woven through the mesh and used to tie the choker in place. This pattern is available for free.

I'm not thrilled with this particular conception, but this I-Cord Necklace, by Elaine Phillips, employs a brilliantly creative technique: one strings beads in and on I-cord to make the necklace. This pattern is available for free.

Here's another interesting technique: braiding knitted beaded strips together to get a necklace that looks miles away from any braided lanyard. This is the Knitted Braids Necklace, by Marika Cowan. This pattern is available for $5.00(USD).

Romi's Gems, by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, is another piece that's on the borderline between jewelry and wearing apparel: it's both necklace and scarf, and it's elegant, distinctive, and eye-catching, yet totally wearable. This design appears in 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters: A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn, and Life.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Knitted Jewelry of Niiro

As some of you might have gathered from my knitting magazine reviews, I'm not often kind to designs involving knitted jewelry made out of yarn. It tends to look like something made during arts and crafts hour at summer camp, which is to say it's cute on children but is generally too naive a look for adults. However, knitted jewelry made from metal wire can be a brave new world for a knitter, and one designer who has tapped into knitted wire's potential is Rosanna Raljević Ceglar, also known as Niiro.

Niiro is a jewelry designer located in Slovenia. A graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, she finds inspiration in the forms and textures found in nature, and her work does have an organic quality to it, as though the pieces were rare species of sea creatures cast in metal.

To view more of Niiro's work, you can visit her website or check out her Facebook page.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Pinned Up

Today's post is about the jewelry of knitting: the shawl pin. You might need a way to keep that drape front cardigan or lace shawl securely in place, and obviously your lovingly and intricately hand-knitted pieces deserve so much better than even the most discrete safety pin. So I've put together a sampling of shawl pins for your perusal. This doesn't pretend to be a "best of" post, as there are far too many beautiful shawl pins out there for me to choose among. No, these pins are simply some of those that caught my eye, and if you'd like something different I recommend a image Google search along the lines of "wood cat shawl pin" or "silver Celtic shawl pin" or whatever style and material you'd like.

Some of my favourite shawl pins were traditional Celtic pennanular brooches. You're in no danger of losing the pin with this style as it's fastened to the ring. The large silver penannular brooch above is from Isle of Mull Silver & Goldsmiths. Do remember that the penanular brooch is properly worn with the pin sticking up.

Love the quiet distinction of this one, the Off-Center Disk Shawl Pin, from Dreamweaver Yarns. The stick is rosewood and ebony.

This is the Sweet Pea Vine Shawl Pin, from Dreamweaver Yarns. The stick is rosewood and the ring white bronze.

This is the Garnet Heart Yarn Pin, from Adorn Handmade Jewelry, and it's handmade out of sterling silver. I recommend a look at the other styles available at Acorn Handmade Jewelry too.

This is the Filigree Sterling Silver Stick Pin from Goosepond.

This mother of pearl round pin is from Mary Maxim.

This dragonfly pin is from Sassy 2 Stitch. It's hand-carved from buffalo and steer horn.

This simple wooden pin is from Colorful Stitches.

This is the Flared-End Penannular Shawl Pin, from Stitch Diva Studios. A very simple, spare style of shawl pin might be the way to go if you want only one shawl pin, because then it will be likely to go with everything.

This is the Summer Stripe Wavy Shawl Pin, by Bonnie Bishoff Designs, available from Halcyon Yarn.

This shell shawl pin is from Annie's Crafts. There are many carved shell pins available, and they do tend to be among the least expensive shawl pins, although I can't answer for how well they'd survive a drop to the floor.

I would be remiss if I didn't feature some of the non-ring-and-stick style pins that are available. You can get a shawl pin that is just a simple stick pin, such as this Flower Stick Shawl Pin by Bonnie Bishoff Designs, available at Halcyon Yarn.

The other style available is the closed pin that resembles a safety pin. It's probably the most secure type of pin, but I do find it much less aesthetically pleasing than the ring and stick style pin. This orange bead pin is designed by Gina Reynolds, and is available from Knitting Boutique.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Luceting: I-cord's Older, Stronger and Possibly Cooler Cousin

If you need cord to finish off a knitted project such as a drawstring bag (or the perfect, period-accurate take-along project for when you're headed off to a Renaissance Faire), one option is to learn luceting. The technique for lucet cording dates back to the Viking and medieval periods, is fairly easy to learn (it may take a few cords before you get the tension down), and only requires a single tool, such as the one shown above, available from Stitch Diva Studios.

This video from Stitch Diva Studios will show you how to make a basic lucet cord. Once you are comfortable with the technique, it's possible to move on to adding beads to the cord, and even to making your own jewelry. Ziggy Rytka has written a book and a DVD on advanced luceting that are available from The Lucet Co.

When shopping for a lucet fork, you'll find it's possible to get styles ranging from the very simple and functional to quite decorative, such as the ones above, which are offered by Wooden Knitting.

This one from Grizzly Mountain Arts was too beautiful not to include, though it seems to be a one-of-a-kind piece made back in 2009 and that was sold on eBay, so if you want one like it you're probably out of luck unless you can either carve wood or know a woodcarver who can be talked or bribed into making you one. I do wonder whether a lucet fork needs a handle as it seems to me it would easiest and most comfortable to use if it had one, but there are plenty of both handless and handled lucet forks available for sale on the web, so it's plainly not absolutely necessary. It does look as though the handle is useful when it comes to making a very long cord, as the cord produced can be tidily wrapped around the handle.

This lucet fork is definitely not available for sale, being "a whalebone line-winder incised with the figure of a bird" Viking artifact from north Norway. Those Vikings certainly knew how to make cord.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Viking Knitting Isn't Just for Vikings Anymore

The Vikings, pillagers and plunderers that they were, were the possessors of quite a bit of metal that needed to be used in some way. So they made jewelry. By the 8th century they had created a technique that is called trichinopoly or more commonly "Viking knitting", although it is really a type of weaving. It's possible that the jewelry was used as currency on those occasions when the Vikings actually paid for their acquisitions, like some sort of wearable bank account. Ostentatious types, those Vikings. It's not like anyone in our society would string twenties together and wear them around his or her neck. I suppose when you're known for your ferocity and lawlessness, you don't have to fear being mugged or looking nouveau riche.

If the Viking style of adornment appeals to you, you can learn this technique and make your own Viking-style jewelry. It's less complicated than it looks, and you don't even have to know how to knit in order to learn. You can learn to make the bracelet above through the accompanying tutorial here.

Here's a YouTube instructional video by, and there are a number of other such videos on YouTube.

Once you master the basic technique, you'll be able to start improvising by adding beads and findings. The necklace and earrings above are from the artist behind Woven Wire Jewelry, who offers a tutorial in the Viking knitting technique for $10 here.

I found quite a lot of lovely pieces on the net, and just included a few of my favourites here. I don't know who made this necklace. If you made it, please let me know and I'll be more than happy to credit you and add a link back to your web site or online store.

I found this necklace quite stunning. If you do, but you have no interest in learning the Viking knitting technique, it can be ordered from A Myriad Vice on Deviant Art.