Viking Knit

Along with learning how to wire wrap cabochons, I've also been taking classes on how to weave a chain out of wire. Surprisingly, it is super easy. I have never heard nor seen this before, so I was intrigued. The process is called, "Viking Knit." If you googled those words you could easily find how to create your own loom and create your own chain. Seriously easy-peasy.
Here is the first piece I created, a bracelet. It wasn't intended to be anything... but it ended up being long enough to fit around a wrist, so "ta-da" a bracelet! I pulled it through the draw-plate as far as I could which created the super tight weave-- which I don't particularly like, so I won't pull anymore this tight in the future. I created a second  length of Viking Knit with the remaining silver that was on the spool. Practice makes perfect. The second piece measures at 15 inches. I would have liked this one longer but ran out of wire. Again, I feel I should have stopped pulling the wire knit through the draw-plate before it got so compressed.

Here is another piece I made, this piece was made using super cheap/common 24 gauge copper spool wire that cost about $3.00 a spool. I have been pulling off wire from this spool for years, even so with what remained, it made a woven length that measured at 18 inches straight off the loom. Once you pull it off the loom, you use junk wire to use as a pulling handle to tug it through the draw-plate.
After pulling it through the plastic draw plate it created a wire woven chain that measured at 36 inches. Pure magic I tell you! The absolutely hardest part of creating a Viking Knit chain is not making it long enough to have a really nice length of chain. I had read online that you can make a super long Viking Knit chain and cut it up and use the pieces as it doesn't unravel because it is wire.
So, with that in mind, I just kept using the wire off the spool until I ran out. That is how I determined the length....figuring I could cut it to make it shorter with no heartache. The length is actually perfect so that was a happy outcome.
 To make the ends of the necklace I made some coils and added that over the thicker end wire attaching the clasp as I created the ends.
 Actually, the necklace is long enough that it doesn't need an actual clasp, but I like how it looks.
I like making the Viking Knit chains. They are super easy and are nice to have a "go-to" project I can work on mindlessly while talking on the phone or listening to the television. Plus, it is a nice way to get rid of all my junk wire. *wink*
big hugs,



Camp "Rock"

The Fresno Gem and Mineral Society that I am a member of hosted a weekend retreat up at Camp Sierra here in California.
I had never been to Camp Sierra before. If you are familiar with California it is located between Shaver Lake and Huntington Lake. There is a teeny-tiny sign pointing to a small road that leads to an even smaller one lane road that leads into camp. There are cabins tucked in among the trees...
 There is no shortage of wildlife... Look deer! TWO OF THEM! Get my camera QUICK!!!
 Let me get a close up.....
Ok, in my defense... I was NOT wearing my glasses. There was a few little roads/pathways that led to someplace spectacular I'm sure. Not even thinking I wore the wrong shoes.... Sperry's. Yep, boat shoes. Slippery, no tread, boat shoes.
 I did manage to find a lot of beautiful flowers to take photos of without falling down....to much. *wink*
 There are signs that say your not allowed to pick the vegetation.
Which is fine because I swear there was poison ivy very close to every.single.flower I saw.
 The dandy-lions were almost the size of a tennis ball! I sooooooooooooo wanted to pick those and bring home the seeds and blow them all of my yard.
The weather was just perfect for a fabulous, relaxing time spent with delightful people.
 Here was a pathway that led up to an outdoor chapel...
 There had been a wedding the prior weekend.  Sweet.
The last day of the retreat we had breakfast in the dining hall. It was an old and charming building and the food was cooked by a professional chef and boy could you tell! Yum.
During the weekend retreat we had several small classes of wire weaving. I liked the weave of this piece, but I didn't finish the piece until I came home so I could GLUE it. What can I say, I'm a gluer.  I glued the section of beads and then felt the piece was missing something, so I glued a metal flower at the top. 
  I also managed to snag some time working on the Lapidary grinders. A.K.A. genies. I was lucky enough to be able to jump on a machine when someone was a "no-show" for a session. I didn't have any slabs to work with but found these sitting next to the trim saw-- I asked if I could have them, and of course the answer was "yes" because here they are! The two bottom ones I was told are amethyst.... oooooh-ahhh-lovely! They are not finished yet. I like to use the first three grinding wheels on the genie the best as they really knock away a lot of the stone and help you get them into a shape... the last six wheels do more of the "polishing" of the stones. These free form stones are needing a little more work done to them before I polish them... But it was FUN getting them to this point :-)
There was even a large saw that they had brought up and they sold and cut Geodes... I bought a few, here is one of them.
One evening, I learned how to play the game, "Mexican Train." Lets just say, I'm now addicted to the game. We stayed up super late playing and laughing, it was so-much-fun! What a great weekend, filled with great people... and lets not forget... great food. The work that went into making this weekend retreat happen was incredible. It seemed to be well organized and flawless. What a great experience, I can't wait for next years event! 
big hugs,


Wire Wrapping

Even though I'm super busy doing a million and one things lately, I've started taking wire wrapping classes again. I really didn't get into it the last go around due to everything else taking my attention-- this time I'm actively trying my best to keep focused and follow through with actually going to the classes... I'm enjoying learning how to do it, although like all things I create, it's super tight! Here is the beginning of my first project...

It isn't bad to have it wrapped tightly, it actually makes it look really good when it is finished-- but you just better make sure you don't want to move the wire because it is locked. In. Place. The stones I'm playing around with are not the cutest, but you have to start somewhere right?
I've got a lot of Cabochons to work with, some I've made myself and a lot I've bought from various places. The nicer stones I'm saving for when I get really-really good at wire wrapping. Here is my first cabochon all done....
 It's a process, finding your comfort zone--- things you like, things you absolutely hate. I like the idea of adding a bead at the top of the bezel, I think I'll keep working on that...
 I really don't like the curly-cues of the wire ends. Everyone does it--- but it doesn't mean I have to like it! I'm sure over time I'll find another way of doing something with the ends so that I'm happy with it. Here is an attempt at something random. I created this with a mother of pearl large flat bead and some small vintage round mother of pearl beads. I like how it turned out. (even with the curly-cues)
 This one I opted not to have any curly-cues at all....
 Here is a bead that I wrapped... calm on one side...
 and cray-cray on the other side!
I have a LOT of beads, so I figured I'd pull some of those out and wire wrap them. These ended up being really small, they are all a little bigger than the size of a quarter. 
 I've bought myself all the supplies a person needs to really get into this latest crafting faze I'm trying to dive head first into.... like most things, the buying of the materials has been super fun... the actual making stuff... not so much because you actually have to work at it!!!
big hugs,



Treasure is starting to become bountiful again... Can you tell I've been searching for cabochons and rock related things?
I've been going to meetings at our local Gem and Mineral club. I have no idea what any of these rocks are called, but I'll play around with them in my wire wrapping class none the less. This piece below is silver with a cabochon and a long pearl. There is a piece missing which will be any easy fix when I cut/polish/fit a stone for the piece. *sorry it is blurry*
 I always buy religious items....*sorry another blurry shot*
 Silver is everywhere for pennies...
 ahhhh...  buttons, my kryptonite.
 I got all this below for only $3.00... One bag is full of beautiful crystals, another bag is full of clear glass beads..
and the bread bag? That was filled with a bazillion strands of beads.
Strands upon strands of seed beads and plastic coated larger beads. I had to have them... if nothing else they look cute in this jar. *wink*
Still more rock related items....

I think these rocks have been dyed.

This old tin was filled with marriage, birth and death certificates .50¢
 I also got a huge lot of fabric... all this shown below was only $10.00. I looked up the small scissors online, they alone were $25 bucks when bought new... they are still in pristine condition.
 I went to Morro Bay's city wide yard sale -a few weeks back- and bought the following. The corner shelf $1.00, the glove hand mold was $5.00 and the ruler was .25¢ (etsy has them for sale for $30) The lantern was .25¢ and the blue/beige vase was $1.00. Those two things will go out in my pirate yard.
 A box full of jewelry... $5.00
 another $5.00....
 The two large teeth (I think are Buffalo teeth) and the small beaded Indian were tied together according to my friend whom I bought it from. It was all chucked in the $5.00 box...
Actually this little beaded treasure is an American Indian spirit doll. If you look closely you can see the leg and claw of an animal that represents legs on the doll. Obviously one is missing. If I had to guess I would think it came from the Zuni Indians....
 I'm always a sucker for old photographs and super old ephemera. All of this was $3.00...
 This box of clay tools was only .50¢
More strands of beads... some are mother of pearl (my favorite) some are rock related... and the clear beads I'm going to hopefully-one day make some snowflakes with.
Well that is my big haul from the past few weeks. I've been extremely busy with "who knows what" but it seems to keep me from doing the things I want to do!
big hugs,