Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Celtic Brooch with Alexandrite

Here is a Celtic brooch, a penannular brooch, which I just finished making. John helped me set it with

10 mm alexandrite, lab created gem stones. These stones change color according to what light
they are in. In full dalight they are a royal blue. Indoors, under electric lights, they are purple.
Sometimes they seem to be both colors at once! I think its really amazing.

Below is a photo showing it pinned to a hand woven silk scarf.
To fasten, you push the straight pin in
and out of the fabric, swivel the circle so that one end goes under the exposed point of the pin, and
the pressure of the fabric on the pin is what holds it fast.
Very clever, those ancient Celts!
This pin is about 2 inches across. I made it for a woman who weaves, but is entirely blind. She is giving it as a gift, with something she has woven, for a very special friend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ewes Not Fat, Ewes Fuzzy

Here is Petunia, in all her splendor! She has on
a year and a half worth of fleece, and glad of it.
She is so cozy in the miserable north-wet weather. She is a Sennybridge Welsh sheep, as is her pal Lillibette. They have gotten two apples each this morning when they came bahhhhing at the back door. When they hear John's voice they know its time for a morning treat. If the apple has a worm in it they will not eat it. They are strict vegetarians!
Look how nicely groomed her fleece is! She & Lillibette use the apple tree to rub against for grooming and back-scratching.
And we have noticed that they have begun to chew on the bottom branches of the Christmas tree! We'd better bring it in the house!
I am working on the very-fancy sterling silver Celtic brooches today. One has given me trouble with the settings, but I have one setting done. And am hoping it all going easier today. I cannot wait to see how it comes to look when it is all formed and polished and set! Making magic things is ever so fun. I will surely post photos when they are done.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Views in the Smithy

Here is a huge old fir stump. We got this stump on Stuart Island when we lived out there at anchor in the sloop Grace. A huge storm had brought down some big trees, and a park ranger in Prevost Harbor cut the trees up. When the ground began to thaw, one stump got rolling down the hill and chased John down, on to the ramp, and all the way out to the dock! He decided we should bring it to the smithy which was then on the far end of that harbor. We loaded it in the 6 foot dinghy (!!) and rowed it to the smithy. Its a good solid thing to work on!
On the stump you can see our light cross-peen hammer, a T-stake, and my graver and jig for holding bone cabochons to incise them.
This is a tray of sterling silver crochet hooks John is making. They are all different sizes and designs. And not spoken for yet, if you would like to to order some.

Here is our lovely anvil. It weighs 170 pounds, and we bought it back east from a man whose father was a smith from Sweden. Since we are living on an old Swedish homestead here on Lopez Island I think the anvil approves. Our favorite hammer is on top.

Here is my system for making sets of double pointed knitting needles and not confusing them.
Yes, those are popsicle making molds. They work great! You can see a nearly done set of sterling silver dp needles , and some bronze I cut up to make size #1 dps needels. I also have a shawl pin and a sleying hook in there, waiting for the final polishing.