Sunday, December 20, 2009

Most recent handspun Art Yarns...

I've been having a relaxing time recently with my Majacraft Pioneer spinning wheel - getting some practice in! Doing coils, supercoils & 'granny' coils (!) with a bit of corespinning and also add-ins such as pompoms. These are my latest yarns - all on the huge/super bulky scale of things!

I wish I could spin all day - but 'interesting' things happen when my wheel is left unattended for periods longer than 10 seconds - my kiddies think its a racing car as it has 2 pedals.

I bought an Ashford drum carder a while ago & now need to spend some time getting to know it better & feed it some interesting fibers (or small children).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Arm Tubes with Beaded Jewellery sewn on...

I hate having to wear a jumper over my T-shirt when its not quite cold enough - so I made these Arm Tubes (aka arm warmers). I figured they would be cool with some built-in/sewn-on beaded & felted jewelry.

The watch is set to afternoon tea time (3pm). There is also a ring & a bracelet. The gold wool is a little too hairy though.....?

These are off to The Little Gallery Of Fine Arts in Tairua - which is getting nice & busy for Christmas crazy tourist season. Yay!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

AROUSAL Brooch with Optic Fibers

I have been playing around with fitting fiber optics with LEDs into a piece of jewellery. This is my first attempt, which I'm excited about - but I'm hoping to make my next one more interactive. With this piece the optic fibers are either on (pink) or off. Which is a bit boring.

'Arousal' - because I bought this fab piece of wonder stone (from to do a piece for an exhibition called 'Erotica' - which was unfortunately cancelled so I never made the piece I intended to. But the gemstone reminded me of something quite female!?

AROUSAL Brooch - featuring a large collectors Wonder Stone. This is a stunning bright piece of Wonder Stone with perfect detailed bands & a high shine (55mm x 18mm, 5mm thick).

Also featuring tiny pink lights when 'aroused' (i.e. the battery is fitted to the holder on the back!).

The brooch looks cool without the lights on too - as the fiber optics are hardly visable, being transparent!

Other materials: Faux bone, UV resin, glitter, merino wool (pinks, cream, green), copper, mixed metals washers, micro screws, fine silver snow rings (Fair Trade from the Thia Karen Hills Tribes), fiber optics, conductive thread, coin battery & holder, pink LED, sterling silver brooch pin, sterling silver wire.

The battery is easily replaceable & removeable when not in use.

Approx size of center part (without tendrils): 11 cm x 7.5cm

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Xmas Tree Lights Knitted Capelet.....

I finally finished knitting up my Xmas Tree lights yarn into the base of this capelet! I handspun all the yarn for this myself (except for the top neck bit) - and even had a bash at spinning in some locks.

I ended up having to crochet the lights on, instead of knitting, as the yarn wasn't very flexible with all the wires in there. The batteries (3 x AA) are hidden inside in a sewn on felted pocket (using the same merino roving as the base yarn). Still nothing has caught fire yet!

Shame its summer here & doesn't get dark until 9pm - which is past my bedtime, so I haven't worn him out as yet.....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Eye Cry Silver Tears

Another sad one - with vintage 1940s 'blinking' dolls eye.

This time I made it darker by antiquing the sterling silver 'tears' with liver of sulphur.

Also with copper, purple merino wool, natural raw diamonds, Faux bone & UV resin with purple glitter.

I have a whole drawerful of different colours of glitter in tiny pots (mica powders mainly) & I refuse to let my little girl use any. Its more expensive than the stuff at kindy! She gets most upset & accuses me of being Mean Mummy.

Well at least thats an idea for Santa? Must write it down before I forget.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eye Cry Pink Pearls Necklace/Pendant

Just finished this one - she is crying natural, freshwater pearls!

With Faux bone & merino wool, copper, 1940s blinking dolls eye, sterling silver, UV resin.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Xmas Tree Light Yarn update!

Yay - I soldered the lights back onto the battery pack and must have got my +s & -s round the right way as my yarn lights up! I plied some more of the same colour wool with glow in the dark thread to give me something easier to knit with.

So far nothing has caught on fire! Bonus.

I am imagining a hat knitted from the top down, so finishing with the lighted part as a trim - as it will be a bit more difficult to knit/crochet. Or maybe a cowl? The 3 x AA battery compartment I will cover with a felted pocket (using the same coloured wool) and maybe add some kind of brooch to it?

Plus I want to experiment with building a smaller battery pack, now that I remember how to solder & calculate the currents/voltages/resisances (vaguely)....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Corespinning my Xmas Tree Lights!

I haven't been pracitising my spinning for a while now as I've been up to my armpits in felted soaps as they are going down well as Xmas gifts.

And then the day after Halloween we put up our Xmas tree (for the kiddies of course) & it got me wondering if I could fit the lights through the orifice of my spinning wheel and then, if I spun them into a yarn - how would they knit up?

So I gave it a bash today - using the Xmas lights as the core thread and then spinning an overspun single around it as 'supercoils'. Now I must locate a soldering iron to connect the wires back to the circuit. Its just a small(ish) 3 x AAA battery pack, so portable. I think I can make the supply much smaller by wiring a couple of those flat circular batteries together instead? I did an engineering masters degree way back in a previous life, but it is all rather vague & mainly involved concrete.

I will post another picture of the yarn all lit up - my soldering skills permitting. If you don't hear from me again, you will know it didn't work out too well.

Hopefully - I can then knit my Xmas tree lights into a nice hat! Or will the elecromagnetic radiation fry my brain?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eye Seem Blue Pendant

Fun & quirky (if a little creepy!) - & managed to get some merino wool into this one so I'm happy.

It features a vintage 1940s 'blinking' dolls eye. The eyelid 'winks' when moved from horizontal to vertical (just as in a doll). I'm getting low on my Ebay 'find' of these unused vintage dolls eyes (all my Eye pieces are humanely created - no dolls faces are slashed open in the process). I found soem modern ones, but the quality is just not the same. Sigh.

I set the eye in glittery resin in Faux bone which is surrounded by needle felted merino wool fibers in turquoises & blues and antiqued sterling silver.

It can be worn as a brooch pin or as a pendant.

Approx 7cm wide.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

EYE In The Back OF My HEAD Slouch Hat

Most of the woollen yarns is this knitted creation were drum carded and handspun by myself using corriedale, merino, romney & wesleydale plus a couple of stripes of shop bought stuff. I also added some angelina to give it some glitz....

I have been experimenting wearing it around the house either long and pointy - or rolled up and stubby, depending on my mood. My kiddies think the handy 'Eye In The Back Of Your Head' is most amusing - but they now know that I AM watching them! Beware......

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blinking Eye Brooches/Pendants

I've managed to tear myself away from my woolly things long enough to make some Blinking Eye pendants/brooch pins.

I must go and count my Eye stash - I think they are multiplying there in my dark drawer.....yay!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Verdigis Garden Art Yarn with Flowers!

Very excited as I found some time to get my spinning wheel out again last night!

I've been too busy felting soap recently (but at least my house smells nice!).

I attempted my first corespun yarn with some fabric flowers added into the mix and also 'beehive' pink buds. Now to test how it knits up! I think it would make a cool 'Garden Hat'....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crochet Rainbow Woolly Hat

I finally got around to crocheting up my first spinning attempt (the rainbow 'lumpy' yarn) into a funkytastic hat!

The weather here in NZ seems to actually have got colder, despite there being hints of summer being on the way - so I can actually wear it out!

Friends think it looks rather like one of those vintage rubber swimming hats.....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crinoid Cube Brooch/Pendant

This one has been sitting on my desk for a while and is finally finished! Its another piece using a funky fossil crinoid cabochon which I purchased from Heart Of Stone Studio in the US.

Crinoids are lovely and graceful-looking sea creatures that resemble fern-like plants but are really animals. Commonly called sea lilies, they're Echinoderms, relatives of sea urchins and starfish, and they are one of Nature's success stories, having been around for 530 million years. Ancient Crinoids sported feathery arms sprouting from a stalk anchored on the ocean floor, while their modern descendants mostly don't have stalks. Their soft , filter-feeding bodies are supported by a framework calcium carbonate segments called ossicles, and it's the ossicles that you see in these fossils.

I set the fossil crinoid into Faux bone using glittery purple UV resin. The outer frame is needle felted merino wool in greeny/blue shades with a crochet surround of thin argentium sterling silver wire, amethyst cubes and tiny fine silver beads handcrafted by the Thai Karen Hills Tribes (purchased Fair Trade).

I found crocheting the wire quite tough on my fingers this time around so I must have been doing something wrong.

This piece can be worn as a brooch or pendant.

Size: about 5cm square (approx 2 inches)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Spinning Wheel Has Arrived!

Yay! My spinning wheel has arrived (a Majacraft Pioneer) - and after a couple of hours trying to assemble it (bearing in mind I have an Engineering degree....) it is working, I think.

I had my first spinning lesson a couple of weeks ago and so was raring to go!

This is my first yarn. Rainbow wool roving spun thick & thin (i.e. I couldn't get the tension/drafting consistent!) and then coiled/plyed around a pink laceweight yarn. Not sure I'm using the correct terms, but never mind I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!

Maybe I will knit this into a nice woolly hat ready for the NZ summer?

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Just finished this piece - which is an achievement since I am mainly felting soap full time at the moment!

I've called it LOVE NEST - as the lower part has 'love' etched onto it and the top crochet wire makes it look like a bird's nest, especially with all the fiber inside.

Its made from merino wool, pink silk fibers, Fair Trade resin orange ring from Indonesia, base metal, sterling silver, fuschia chalk turquoise, Faux bone, chocolate brown pearls, spinel, amethyst, seed beads, copper (etched) and mica powders.

Length - about 13.5cm (approx 5 inches).

My first attempt at crochet with wire and my fingers are ok after!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heart Felt SOAPS

I've been busy felting soaps handmade by the lovely Leanne from FeelAtHome.

She handmakes natural, luxurious & organic cold pressed soap here in New Zealand.

Her soaps are really fun to felt and my hands have never smelled so good - in fact my whole house smells great - quite lemongrassy!

We got together in this collaborative effort when I started doing Hobbs Wharf market on Sunday mornings and she was on the stall next to me. Funny how things happen....

About felted soap:

When wet, the soap lathers up and the wool gently exfoliates your skin.

As you use the soap, the wool keeps shrinking around the soap and when the soap is gone, you are left with a tiny felted pouch that can be used as a scrubby, or cut open to store little treasures or placed in your linen drawer with a few drops of essential oil to make your linens smell gorgeous.

Ideal as a unique gift for travelers and college students as no washcloth is needed!

Keep in a dry dish between uses.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo of Anemone Ring

This fantastic shot of my Anemone Ring was taken by Melissa Cowan ( for the 'handSTAND' catalogue at this year's New Zealand Jewellery Show.

I love it - its so cool!

Its the first ever photo of my work that has been taken professionally on a model. Very exciting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I just finished my first knitted hat (yay!) - first time using those double pointy needle-things and they weren't as scary as they looked.

I bought this amazing handspun crazy VEIN yarn from the artist Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit. She is amazing - I have her Sit & Spin DVD too and can highly recommend it.

(The baby blue stripe is just 'normal' commercial wool).

Modelled very stylishly by my daughter (for a small edible bribe).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Horny Fungi Ring

I am really happy about how the colours came out in this one. Constructed from merino wool which I first wet felted and then needle felted. I also used UV resin at the base of the felted structure with natural rough diamonds.

The ring base is Faux Bone with sterling silver tube rivets.

The ring size is a US 7.5 and stands about 12cm above the wearer's finger.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Floating Opalina

This is my third (and final) piece made for the 'Melodious Art Exhibition' (31 July to 13 Aug 2009) at Uxbridge, Howick's Creative Center (

It features a stunning Opalina gemstone which I bought from the fantastic Heart Of Stone Studio. Opalina is unique to Peru and the colours are very intense turquoise accented with deep teals, rich greens and mustard yellows.

Other materials that I have used are - merino wool, silk thread, plexiglass, copper plate (with heat patina & prismacolor), resin with glitter, tiny sewn beads and Swarovski crystal bicones in pale blue.

'Floating Opalina' may be worn as a brooch or as a pendant.

Length: 11cm

Width: 8cm

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Carnivore Crinoid Brooch

I sold a piece! Yay! This was my entry to the Regal Castings Contemporary jewellery competition - which was part of the NZ Jewellery Show, Auckland. I didn't win anything but my piece actually SOLD!

This brooch features a piece of fossilised Crinoids that I bought from Heart Of Stone Studio. Crinoids are lovely & graceful-looking sea creatures that resemble fern-like plants, but are really animals. Commonly called sea lilies, they are Echinoderms - relatives of sea urchins and starfish.

They are one of Nature's success stories, having been around for 530 million years. Ancient Crinoids sported feathery arms sprouting from a stalk anchored on the ocean floor. Thier soft, filter-feeding bodies are supported by a framework of calcium carbonate segments called ossicles and it is the ossicles that you see in this piece of fossil.

I created a man-eating, parasitic, Triffid-like base structure for the Crinoids to happily live and lurk within (even though Crinoids don't actually have teeth).

Other materials used: brass sheet, bronze sheet, patina (green & heat), prismacolor, plexiglass, sterling silver, merino wool roving, microscrews, fine silver heishi (Thai Karen Hills Tribe - Fair Trade), brass heishi, pink natural freshwater pearls, brown pearls, thread, craft wire & plastic aquarium plants.

Friday, July 17, 2009

TANIWHA - First Place Winner!

YAY! Lisa-Jane Harvey of Born To Bead NZ and myself collaborated on a piece for the annual Step by Step Beads magazine competition. We just heard that we won first prize in the 'Other' category for our entry called 'TANIWHA'.

TANIWHA is the Maori word for 'Fabulous Sea Monster' and this piece can be worn as a pendant or brooch.

Lisa-Jane is an amazing lampwork artist and made the gorgeously coloured beads. I did the felt stuff. Her website is at

You will be able to read about TANIWHA later in the November issue of the Step by Step Beads magazine and it will be also announced on their website.

Very exciting!

Just to note, the other material used are Faux bone, sterling silver, Thai Hills Tribe fine silver beads (Fair Trade), merino wool (wet felted & needle felted), various metal washers, stainless steel micro-screws, tiny seed beads & vintage (1940s) 'blinking' dolls eye. The silver discs are stamped 'Taniwha'.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Blinking Eye Rings!

Made some more of these rings as I was asked to!

They are all made using cold connection, sterling silver, UV resin with mica powders & glitter, vintage circa. 1940s blinking dolls eyes and the ring bands are adjustable and stamped "eye spy with my...".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Musical Sea Jelly

This is another piece for the 'Melodious Art' Exhibition at Uxbridge, Howick's Creative Centre during August 2009, again inspired by The Hebrides Overture.

Its a jellyfish and the focal gemstone is a brilliant piece of Shattukite turquoise from Designer Cabochons in the UK (note - they have some AMAZING boulder opals for sale). This is a rare type of turquoise which contains red cuprite and only small amounts come out of the Congo each year.

I've also used merino wool, silk threads, plexiglass (clear), copper (heat patina and prismacolors), brass microscrews, amethyst cubes, sterling silver chain, sodalite beads, brown pearls (very yummy), fine silver tiny beads purchased Fair Trade from the Thai Karen Hills Tribes & a sterling silver disc stamped 'Musical Sea Jelly'.

The bone skulls on the tentacles are cool as they are handcarved in Tibet from yak bone! Making me feel like Halloween already.

Musical Sea Jelly is a total of 26cm long (the body is 8cm long) and is a pendant/brooch. One more blue/musical/sea piece coming up next week I think......

I'm really busy with my knitting at the moment. Or addicted to it - can't put it down. Finished my first scarf last night and have now moved on to a jumper for myself - as only I will ever appreciate all the effort that is going into it. Its the most lushious carribean sea / tropical parrot colours and I will post a photo when it is finished, as I think I'm going to be very chuffed with it! No dropped stitches so far.......