A Happy New Year!

I don't know what the new year will bring for me and also for all of you. I am crossing my fingers and the cats' paws for 2014 to be a good year for all of us. Healthy, peaceful, creative ... let's be helpful to others, open-minded and don't forget to be good to yourselves.

I'm quite sure there will be headdesks, though. I practically ended the year with them, and I'll tell you why.
Earrings. I like them. A lot. Dangly ones mostly. I like to wear them and I like to make them. That's not completely true. There have been many times when I loved earring #1 and went crazy over #2, and not crazy in a good way, from excitement how wonderful it was. Because sometimes #2 just doesn't want to be wonderful, but does everything to make me hit my head on my desk.

Cabs can only be so small to be used if you crochet or knit with wire. They need to be safe in their bezel which means you can't make it too loose, but you don't want to cover all of them with wire, either.
Sometimes I challenge myself to see what I can do. I grab out the 1.4 mm crochet hook (I broke the 1.3 mm one, shame on me or rather the wire) and go to work. For smaller or narrower cabs I found wire knitting to work better than crochet as the structure is more open, so the wire doesn't take over, also it is easier because your wire "mesh" is more flexible.
I started knitting a bezel for this aventurine. The hard part is to knit high enough, but not too high, and then to hold your small cab in that bezel while closing it up with the last row. More than once a cab decided on a last second jump to freedom. This one was quite cooperative. Being on a wire and pearl path at the moment I added some pearls all around, and I was really happy with it.
Then came #2. It didn't like me from the start. First it refused to sit still in its bezel. Maybe it felt hurt because I was "watching" a documentary about the Hope diamond at the same time. There's not much that a little aventurine can hold against a diamond of that kind. We finally came to terms with each other regarding the bezel, but when it was time for the pearls to appear on the scene, suddenly the wire didn't want to play along anymore. Can you believe it broke three times until I decided we all needed a break until the next day? The (not so) funny thing is that I don't like to add wire in a piece like that which meant the cab spent its night in a bag with the other cabs, but in relative freedom after I took the bezel off again ... which was probably what it had planned all along.

A new day, a new attempt. This time we were all playing nicely, and so here the earrings are now, in my DaWanda shop. Phew! Maybe not a bad way after all to end the old year.


Interview with the artist - Ashton from Craft Crater

It's time for another interview with a friend from deviantART. Please welcome Ashton and let's dive right in as always.

Tell us a little about who you are and where you are from.

My name is Ashton, and I'm from Canada, specifically a little town called Mattawa, Ontario. I'm 21 years old and a recent grad from the University of Guelph, in the field of Microbiology. While my science background isn't too obvious in my crafts (I haven't got any bacteria or virus plushies - yet), the principles definitely influence how I work. My lifelong loves are reading (particularly fantasy) and animals (particularly my pets) though my interests have expanded over the years to include gaming, certain TV shows and of course crafting.

Soot sprite treats necklace

What's your craft and how did you get to do it in the first place?

My main craft is crochet though I dabble in knitting, engraving and origami as well. I first started looking into crochet around the end of my second or third year of University, when I wasn't finding the time or inclination to read for pleasure, and had started watching more movies and series to relax and satisfy my cravings for stories. But I was so used to multi-tasking (and had rewatched the same things so often) that I wasn't finding it fulfilling enough, so I started browsing the internet for things to keep my hands busy. I had brief flirtations with embroidery and origami, but neither lasted very long. Then I stumbled across a picture of an amigurumi Chinese New Year Dragon and fell absolutely in love, wanting my very own. So I decided to learn how to crochet, and I haven't looked back since.

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

At this point a lot of my inspiration comes from my books, shows and games - I create a lot of fanart though I am slowly transitioning into wanting to create original works as well. Another important source of inspiration for me is to think of how I can make my creation useful, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Moving around much of my life, combined with living in small dorms and apartments during school, has given me a dislike for too many purely ornamental things - they take up space, collect dust, and are a pain to move, often being fragile and easily broken to boot. Obviously the largest break in this ideal are my amigurumi, likely why I've moved away from making them as much lately, though I'll never stop of course.

Crocodile cowl

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I tend to pick up accents when I read or watch certain things - I always come out of a Forgotten Realms novel or Lord of the Rings marathon sounding like a dwarf.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I dabble in knitting and glass engraving, with some occasional origami on the side.

Engraved glass

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

Choose between my babies?! What madness is this?! Just kidding, of course I have my favorites, like any creator. So far I think my amigurumi Charizard is my favorite piece because he was the largest thing I had done to date, had a lot of parts to sew, and it was my first time with working with wire of any kind, yet with all that he came out looking like he flew right out of the anime and onto my shelf. I even won a competition with him, and I don't win competitions!

Amigurumi Charizard

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

There's a long list, and it grows every day - Catrin Maier is there for one. (Cat: Oh my, I swear I did not pay Ash to say that!!! ;-))

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

Furls luxury crochet hooks, mmm .... pardon me while I get a tissue to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

Do you sell online, if yes, where we can find you?

Yes, I have an online shop at Storenvy, Craft Crater. I also take commissions on my deviantART page, for other people who are members there.

Broomstick lace scarf

Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?

Respect each other, love all life, and don't run with your spears.

Thank you for sharing with us! Now, guys, go and explore Ashton's pages to see more!


Quote of the week

A last bit of Christmas mood before we walk on into a new and hopefully better year.
I doubt I have to say much about this movie.

A little bell on the Christmas tree is ringing.
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy! Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey (smiling at her): That's right. That's right! *winking towards heaven* Attaboy, Clarence.

It's a Wonderful Life, USA, 1946


Have you had yourself ...

... a merry little Christmas? Yes, I know I am late. I'm giving up on explanations or excuses why my blog is neglected. Sure I am hoping it will be better next year, but who knows?
Anyway, I hope you had a great time and most of all I hope you got a bit of peace and rest, on the outside and the inside.

What I want to show you today, doesn't have to do with Christmas, though. It's just another one of those posts that are sadly overdue.
There is this friend of mine, you know. She's crazy, she's lovable, she's funny, and she made something for me that made me freak out when I had to pick it up at customs.
Sharon is a bead loomer, too. Actually that's how we first met. Not in person (yet?). I'm not even sure if the planet would be able to survive us meeting in person. The way it is she's in California and I'm still in good ole Germany.

I don't want to keep up the suspense any longer. Meet Denis, my Cat's Wire logo loomed from Delicas in a beautiful and very personal tapestry. Can you imagine my gasp at the office customs when I pulled it out of its envelope? Can you imagine me telling the clerk more than once that this was my logo? From beads? Made by my friend? For me? My shop logo?

Thank you again, Sharon! You really made my day with this!

To remind you, this is the original logo that my dear friend Denis (hence the kitty's name ;-)) designed for me.

Sharon does not have a shop at the moment (if/when she does, you'll be sure to find an interview with her here), but if you want her to make a tapestry or anything else for you, you can contact her via e-mail sjkrauss@gmail.com
You won't be disappointed!


Interview with the artist - Jenny from Bug Eater

Lace weight cowl or nachaq (From the description: "A nachaq is basically the hood of a parka (atkuk). These days it is also a word used for hat since not everyone wears parkas anymore." Bet you didn't know that. I didn't.)
Mix and match crocheted newborn baby hats
Fingerless armwarmers made to order in different colors


Quote ... erm, goof of the week

Today's post is a bit different.
The other evening my sister and I watched one of our favorite X-Files episodes "Bad Blood". I have always been a fan of the "Monster of the week" episodes and if they are funny, I love them even more. I can't say how often I have seen this one already.
Sis was about to doze off when she suddenly said "Hey wait, did you see that??" See what? When? How? Where was I? She went back a few minutes to the scene in which Mulder breaks a chair to get a stake for what he thinks is a vampire (I won't spoil it all for you). And there it clearly was. A hand reaching into the picture to place a stake on the broken chair that Mulder was still stomping around on.

What do you think? A real goof? On purpose to make it even funnier? And why have I never noticed that before??
I need answers, and I need them now!! ;-)

The X-Files - Bad Blood, USA, 1998