25 May 2010

Making bags.

Just a quick shot here of the work area I clear off my trashed computer desk when I’d rather not be down in the workshop away from the television. Ya know, when History or something has a programme about the P-51 Mustang or something equally awesome.

I’m working on a batch of bags for a customer, and here you can kind of see them in various stages of completion.

Batch Bag project 01

I guess I do my bags a bit differently than most. I like them a little more flat on the bottoms when they’re fully stuffed with dice or whatever. So I used a ton of expansions in the first few rows, Here it’s 16 on the queen ring, then 24, then 36 and a few rows of 36 before I contract back down to 30 ring sides. This has the effect of keeping the bottoms more or less squared off rather than hanging in an arch.

These in particular are 1.6mm stainless steel with about a 6.4mm ID

While I have a confessed hatred of expanding circles, bags like these are a very simple project for beginners. Especially fellow gamer geeks. If your dice start to outgrow your bag, you can always add more rows at the mouth, or get ambitious and scale the entire thing up by adding more expansion rows for the bottom. With a nice tight weave they’ll hold coins just as easily. I even made a large one to carry my pliers and a couple of pill bottles for rings for travel projects.

Have fun

27 April 2010

Dogwood Festival, day one.

Well, my first fair, first day.

Umm, there were some tent problems, namely the cold, a little rain, and the fact that the walls I had were not made for the canopy I have… I appreciate that Mom was willing to help and buy the shelter thingie, really; but you’d think when buying separate components you’d make sure they’d match. So I get to try and find walls this morning.

Aside from that, and the cold, well, it was a slow traffic day for all the vendors. A fair amount of cards went out, alot of people wanting to come back later in the week, and a put a pair of earrings on hold for someone. I can live with that.

The fair itself is pretty much the town’s spring carnival. Complete with the high-school choir, portable carnie rides and games, and teenage guys getting dragged around by their girlfriends to look at jewellery. Hey, that’s a good thing on my end. A little cold and rainy to spend much time outside. I figure day two should pick up.

Day one was kinda cold.

Have fun

19 April 2010

Up to stuff.

Figured I’d toss up a quick snap of what I’ve been playing with lately. I think this is the third attempt to get rings in the right AR for this weave. Vipera Berus 4-1. Don’t ask, I didn’t name it. Looks pretty though.


I think I want to turn this into a full set. Also I’ve got a couple more colours I want to try for this one.

In other news. I’ve finished another whip. This one for a friend.

Carrie's Bullwhip 01

More accurate than my own Snakewhip. But I have to admit some of the plaiting isn’t as clean. It shows a gap or two down in the 10 and 8 strand areas of the thong. I managed a lead shotbag in this one, and a 16 plait overlay. The extra weight means it hits hard, my arms can tell you all about it.

I really need to work on getting nice round foundations for my heel knots. I’m not sure I like the gearshift look I’ve been using.

Much to learn, have I, mmm?

Have fun

01 April 2010

Stygian Chains and Nostalgic Collections team up for a giveaway.

Yep, this one’s no joke, despite the date. Running the entire month of April you can win this bracelet:

Bracelet GA 1

It’s a continual piece with stretchy neoprene rings woven in. Clasps are for suckers. Click the image above to see details of the contest rules. I just supply the art, she’s running the show. Good luck peoples!

Have fun,

16 March 2010

Creatve Handmade Artisans Host a Buy and Replace

  Everything under 30$

BNR 301610

Click on the image and see the current treasury. Expires at 1PM EST this Friday. So get em quick, leave a comment, and be featured!

Have fun

04 March 2010

A copper and tree jade choker.

Finished this little beauty a couple days back, just getting around to saying much of anything about it.

More copper, in case that’s a surprise to anyone. ;> With a single oval piece of tree jade at the end of an inverted E4-1 triangle. The real neat thing about this piece, I think at least, is the body of the chain is a brand new weave. Developed quite by accident by Celeste while attempting something else. These little accidents are quite often as awesome as two ninjas taped together. She named the weave Arkham, though I never got around to asking if it was a reference to the asylum in Batman, or something else. Either way, I think it’s a damn awesome weave and it makes for a very nice band.

Have fun

19 February 2010

“Secret Project” not so secret anymore.

‘Cause, I’m done.

SnakeWhip 01 SnakeWhip 03SnakeWhip 02 SnakeWhip 04

My first whip. A Nylon six-foot, twelve-plait, single belly, shot loaded SnakeWhip.

I dunno what else to say, this has been what I’ve been working on the last few days. I made a couple small mistakes, nothing I couldn’t recover from though. My main concern is the foundation for the Turk’s head knot being a little, less than solid, hence the odd knotwork immediately beneath it.

For those that are wondering, yes, it cracks. Loud enough to annoy the neighbourhood dogs. I’m not quite used to wielding it yet but it falls as accurately as I can throw. I managed to pick out a couple of large icicles and teach them not to hang around on my roof and be cold, little bastards.

I’ll practice the nylon whip making a bit more when I can afford to, and if I get a positive response maybe even start selling them.

If you have to be addicted to crack, make sure it’s the crack of a sonic boom.

15 February 2010

Earrings for the time constrained mailler.

Stuff I had to do, just to say I got something finished this week. Two pairs of Layered Polyhedral earrings.

First in Brass, Copper, and German Silver.

And again in Stainless, Copper, German Silver.

The inner set of copper rings contrasts well with both the brass and the stainless. I just might have to make these a regular addition to my Etsy Shop.

In other news, I’m still working on a non-maille super-secret project that I’ll debut here upon completion. Why does that sound like a Mad Scientist wrote it?

Have fun,

12 February 2010

What I should be doing.

  Yeah, I know. Sorry I havn’t been detailing alot of Maille lately. I’d like to do a couple follow along posts soon. Show works in progress and things of that sort. My work space will be expanding soon, currently, it’s a chaotic wreck not worthy of photographs as alot of things are being packed, or being moved so I can pack around them.

Aside all that, I haven’t been doing alot of original work lately. Promoting a bit more than I had been in the past though.

I guess, this post just sortof serves as filler to let everyone know I’m still breathing and havn’t forgotten about you. I say this alot, I know: Expect a little more in the future, when I can see my desk beneath all the junk again.


Have fun

09 February 2010

Found Maille

I hope Jim Davis doesn't mind me reproducing this here. I couldn't figure out how to directly link to the proper app where I found this.

It's nice seeing any mention of maille out of the normal world. Reminds me that maybe I'm not so crazy. Eh, who am I kidding.


05 February 2010

What did you just say about me?

Honestly, it was very sweet of them over at Total Art Soul to throw me a surprise blog feature. Nice people over there. They’re just starting out, which only means the community is small and you can get to know pretty much everyone. Some amazing artwork in their gallery as well. Take some time and check them out… after reading the pretty stuff they wrote about me, of course.

In other news, keep your eyes on Nostalgic Collections as I’ll be donating a bracelet as the prize for an upcoming giveaway. Not sure what I’m making for them just yet, but I promise it will be something new from me.

Right now, I’m off to deal with the complete lack of oxygen in my brain.

Have fun

03 February 2010

For Technocrati


27 January 2010

Product Review: Gemstones Etc. Koil Kutter


I’ll start this by saying, I’ve been cutting rings by hand with a jewellers’ saw for about 8 months. This does the job perfectly, but slowly. I’ve wanted a powered cutting setup for quite some time. I’ve looked into several options including buying a stand alone slotting saw arbor and rigging an old drill. While it works, it really requires a solid rig to secure your coil. Something I haven’t made the time to do, and I figured I only really needed it to cut stainless, since the hand method was working.

Well, time became a factor, I wasn’t getting even copper rings cut fast enough for my liking.

Enter, the Koil Kutter.

A grooved aluminium box with a slotted lid of sorts to secure a pre-cut coil, a saw arbor and safety guide to fit a Dremel, also available in Proxxon and Foredom compatible models.

Starting with the coil holder. It’s well machined, with attention paid to rounding off corners, not to perfect symmetry, but the look of a tool is beneath secondary to it’s function. Not getting jabbed by right angles is very nice. The box will secure up to a 1” coil easily. I haven’t tested it for a minimum size yet, but if you’re working with a coil smaller than this can handle, your cuts need a microscope to examine. The slotted top secures with a pair of hex driven machine screws, hex key included in your kit. Nice touch there. If I have to be picky about anything, it’s the lack of a baseplate that can be secured to your bench; but it does fit nicely in a vise. Overall finish is a utility brushed look. Again, function over form is perfect with me.

The safety collar screws on in place of the Dremel’s collar. It’s made of durable PVC and notched to fit over the coil holder and guide the blade directly into the cutting slot. While I have to say the notching on the PVC isn’t a precision job, the cuts and corners are a bit rough but it still accomplishes the intended effect perfectly, and to accommodate any variations between your particular rotary tool and the next one a pair of thumb screws allow for some adjustment. All told it’s a simple; yet strong solution.

The blade arbor on the Dremel model doesn’t suffer from any flaws that aren’t inherent in anything else made for a Dremel. Namely the need for that stupid little wrench everyone loses, but you’ll only need it for about a quarter turn after hand tightening. The included blade is .010” thick, with 3/8” keyed hole. Secured with the same hex-head machine screw. It’s well balanced, doesn’t seem to induce any of it’s own wobble. Most importantly, it does the job, and incredibly fast.

So far, I’ve cut 1.2mm copper, .8mm bright aluminium, and .8mm nickel silver without a single snag, and only one ring marred. But how does it cut? Fast, a 4” long coil is slit open in about two seconds. Faster if I could turn the Dremel up to 11…

I’m not going to assign an X out of 10 rating or anything, not my style, but what I will say is this: If you want an inexpensive and effective, powered ring cutting setup, the Koil Kutter is a prime choice and I’m perfectly happy with it. Not spending multiple hundreds of dollars on an alternative option now feels like a good decision.

Have fun

Dave Arens of Gemstones Etc. may be contacted directly for orders and inquiries by email gemstonesetc@gainbroadband.com

17 January 2010

New Team, new direction.

A couple weeks ago, some of my Etsy friends and I decided it was time to start our own team. Now that things have settled in somewhat. The craziness of the transition and the New Year settled down, and I feel like posting again. I’ll tell you what we’ve become. Creative Handmade Artisans. Not to say we weren’t any of those things before, but that’s what we named the team. So our Etsy team page is up, and we’ve made a home for ourselves on Ning. We’re also setting up a page here at Blogspot. Well, it’s up already, it just doesn’t do anything yet. Follow it though, I’ll be posting there on occassion, also Heather of Heather’s Haven, and Suz of Suzie’s Armoire and quite a few others will be running the place. So I can be confident in telling you there’s going to be a good show from every branch of the craft world. And of course, plenty of Maille.

Speaking of Maille, I’ve seen some horrible excuses for such lately. Everyone here’s been double checking their closures and not chewing through the anodized layer on your coloured rings right? Pliers with teeth suck unless you’re working on stainless.

Hey, Stainless, on the subject, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not suited for anything but armour.

Stainless HP3-1 Bracelet 04

Segue again, I’m off to re-take photos of older creations, it’s long past-due.

Have fun