beading, fiber arts

Xmas crafts

So I started making a scarf for my dad for Christmas.  I ended up using Lion Brand Wool-Ease because I knew it could be machine-washed, and I knew it was available.  So far I’m liking it, but then I’m a tactile kind of person and it feels nice in the hand.

I went on Ravelry and looked in the comments on Wool-Ease — a lot of people say it pills, which could be an issue with this yarn, because it’s a ribbed scarf pattern.  But I’m guessing that if it’s shaved in the short direction along each row, it should be ok.

As an added point, I also looked around the Yarn section for superwash worsted wools that wouldn’t be scratchy.  The two I looked at — Cascade and Swish — both had comments that they either pilled and/or felted with washing.  So…maybe it wasn’t such a bad buy.

Can you believe that I only got the yarn 4 days ago?!  The scarf looks like I’ve been working on it much longer.  It’s a very simple pattern made with single crochet — you just work into the back loops only.

I found out that I’d been starting my first rows wrong — I’m supposed to put the hook under the V, not under the “top two” loops, which of course varies depending on how you’re holding the chain.  This is where Maggie Righetti’s _Crocheting in Plain English_ saved me from confusion.

Other than this…I’ve completed a lot of jewelry for Christmas.  I should really photograph what I’m going to give away so that I have reference photos in case I want to re-create what I’ve made.  Or, in case I want to study them to see what went right with them.

I’ve already made a bracelet version 2.0, based on one I made for the Secret Santa thing.  I’m going to have to make it 2.1 soon — I used a purple Swarovski for the center, bordered with Violet and Alexandrite Swarovski crystals.  The thing is that my skin washes out pale colors, and the purple next to what are essentially tints makes the center of the bracelet stark.   I’m going to replace the Alexandrite with Montana Blue and see where that takes me.  I’m hoping it won’t wash out the Tanzanite colored crystals, but I think it will…so there may be a version 2.2.  :)  If there is a 2.2, I want to use something more like a Capri Blue.

EDIT:  I should note here that the bead store I normally go to has started stocking “Turkish Silver” in their metals collection.  I looked up “Turkish Silver” online and apparently it’s an alloy of silver and cadmium, from the one source I viewed.  If you’ve worked with pigments, you know that cadmium is highly toxic, and cadmium oxides — as used in Cadmium Red, Orange, and Yellow — can be absorbed through the skin.  (Cadmium Red Hue, etc., on the other hand, denotes that a synthetic pigment was used to mimic the warm tones of cadmium oxides, and they’re normally safe).

I’m just hoping that anything that contains cadmium (or “Tibetan Silver” [which may not be mainly silver]), or any of these other alloys with potentially toxic metals (lead, antimony, etc.) are labeled so we know what may be hazardous.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a law in place that says that producers of metal must disclose when the metals are hazardous to health, in jewelry — despite the fact that this stuff is made to be worn next to skin.

I wanted to note that down to myself just in case I forget why it was that I was hesitant to use the base metal clasp in one of my bracelets.

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