Scraphappy October 2020

You might have noticed (if you catch my social media occasionally) that recently I’ve been boasting sharing the reviews I’ve been getting from recipients of a #HookerRing

The most popular options are stamped with a metal punch, to give a repeated design over a strip of silver, that I’ve previously sawn, filed and sanded to size

I had a photo of all of the variables on my hand to share with you here, but it must have looked dangerously saucy; WordPress has blocked it !

Here’s one of the variants instead:

Well, I’m still not as good at stamping metal as I’d like to be, which often means that I miss-hit a punch when I’m trying to stamp the pattern in. Especially if I sneeze at the same time as trying to hit it (note to self, keep fewer flowers in my studio and do more dusting)

I’ve also been crocheting since May*, making my first proper project, which has been FABULOUS. Slow, and often I’ve had to redo a square 4 times, and I redid all of the first 8, but oh, I’ve enjoyed it far more than I thought was possible. So much so that when I finished it yesterday, I began a cardigan for #MrG.

I’m in the midst of developing some stitch markers to add to my gadget range (I had a request from a customer) and the first batch have been very successfully beta tested by a couple of people, so I’m now about to adapt the design to try and accommodate their super constructive feedback.

One of the drawbacks of prototypes is the potential waste. Of course, the drawback of not making and testing a prototype is greater waste 🙂

Although silver has increased (and continues to) in price massively this year, it’s still my time that is the most costly part of a small item, so I hate to waste anything and I often make my prototypes in silver because that is easier for me to recycle successfully than copper.

I learned from my crochet that a stitch keeper was essential (for people who don’t crochet; when you set it aside the working stitch is effectively a very loose loop of thread that’s easy to catch and then undo all your earlier stitches) I had been using using a plain, large jump-ring to catch this, but when I created a shadow stamp again on one of my pieces, I had a light bulb moment, and made a stitch keeper to match my hooker ring.

It works really well, and so I’m going to add them to my shops in the next couple of days.

Heart StitchKeeper

The stamped bit is made from the rest of the ruined hooker ring blank – I stamp all the way down the strip, filing then sanding either end, sawing the design off, filing and sanding the new end again, and then once I have all my tiny pieces, I grip them in my pliers and do some more filing and sanding. This is far more cost effective than tossing the whole 7cm of waste into the ‘melt it down’ pot

Then I take any long left over and thick wire ends from other projects, file and sand (there’s far more filing and sanding involved in jewellery making than you might think!) and hammer one end to flatten, finally soldering on the design. That then anneals the piece, enabling me to coil it.

A bit of pickling and a trip in Betty, and boom.. Stitch keeper 🙂

*I’ve been making the Natures Walk blanket using the Open Fields colourway, with the addition of some purple ( I wanted it to pick out all the colours in our front room) and some extra squares from Elle. I found the combination of charts, and the traditionally written pattern, in conjunction with Bella Coco instructional videos and my books incredibly helpful. Links to all these resources here:

Black Sheep Wools (where I ordered the pattern and yarn)

Bella Coco website

Elle website

Link to brilliant Crochetopedia book (but bought in a local shop, not here!)

The rest of the #ScrapHappy gang are:

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn (well, you are here already), Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, and Nanette

Posted in #HandmadeHour, #HookerRing, #StitchKeeper, Crochet, ScrapHappy, silver, Stuff I love, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Ring A Month – September 2020

Well, it’s not really September’s. I’m cheating a little

September’s theme was ‘New’. I’ve used this challenge to incorporate something new every month so far, and I had intended to continue my journey into flush setting with a simple, stacking ring band, flush set with tiny, tiny 1mm stones, but as sometimes happens, life got in the way and I was fabulously and surprisingly busy with commissions and orders. Yay!

So, I’ve cheated slightly, and used a ring I remodelled in July for a customer who’s become a good friend. This conversion from customer to chum has happened a few times, and is a wonderfully unexpected and joyful bonus of doing what I do for a day job.

Anyway, she had a ring that she never wore because it came as part of a set. It was always too large and ‘too catchy’. It can be classed as new in September because:

it was the first time I sold a piece before sending it away for assay (the law was temporarily relaxed due to C-19, permitting UK makers to make and sell pieces without Assay – provided we then sent them off later) this was sent off for assay in Sept, in accordance with the relaxed legislation

The brief was to remodel it into something wearable, and uniquely DGD-ish

I have a number of ways I try to understand what a customer wants, depending on

a) how well I know them

b) if they are local or if we are doing all the designing remotely

c) how keen they are to use technology

Sometimes we will create a shared Pinterest board, so they can pin everything they like that’s in a similar vein to it, and also stuff they hate (I’ve learned that’s really useful!), sometimes they’ll email or message me photos, and sketches and doodles, sometimes I get a doodle in the post, and sometimes we can arrange a face-to-face where they can pick through my stones etc and see what they’d like.

In this instance the ring was dropped off, and I dismantled it. Foolishly I didn’t take a photo of it before removing the glass (I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about it then!)

But here’s a photo of the setting and the band after I removed the glass. It was an interesting method of setting, not one I’d considered using myself.

Then I made a new band as we’d agreed, wide using one of my texture sheets from my favourite supplier Jewellery Bench Cafe she’d chosen

The piece of Roman glass was really quite large and deep, so I needed to make a bezel that would curve round the ring band, which I did treating it a little like a top hat.

I knew we were stacking some little stampings (thanks to Deborah at Cold Feet Studio for her blog that has inspired me since the beginning of my silversmithing journey) around the setting, so I used little sticky dots (I use and reuse these all the time, they are fabulous for holding a stone to the top if a box, or for pulling one from a setting, or or positioning the components whilst I decide where best to place them) to position the stampings, and then soldered them to the bezel base.

Finally, once I’d ensured the solder had taken properly and everything was secure*, I sawed the excess silver off, and soldered it to the band.

*I find the absolute best way to test this is with a trip in Betty-The-Barrel-Polisher. If everything is still on after 30 mins of being battered with steel shot, then it’s secure

It went for another tumble in Betty, and then I set the glass.

At every stage I sent WiP-Pics. I love to do this, even though it does add a little time to the process – I find it helps to prevent ending up with something that’s not what was envisaged at the outset, makes my customer feel involved and also gives an insight into why hand made is costlier than off the shelf.

Here’s the finished piece.

If you have something you’d like remodelling, do get in touch.

NB – First blog post using WordPress’s new edit options. hope it’s legible!!

Posted in friends, Gems, processes, resources, RingAMonth, Ring a month, RingAMonth2020, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Wild Twinches are ScrapHappy

One of the blogs I follow as a direct result of my occasional #ScrapHappy , is Wild Daffodil.

She’s running a new project, called Wild Twinches and in August I received my little scraps and had a go.

I love embroidery, but I don’t have the artistic flair or patience to do any myself, however back in my teens I bought a book (see below), which is a fabulous compendium of instructions and photos of different techniques and stitches. I often looked through it for ideas, and it’s never lived in a box (unlike some of my other manuals!)

I’m going to double this post as September’s #ScrapHappy because I’m using vintage threads I inherited from my Nan, and beads left over from other projects, mostly again from my teens.

There’s no jewellery element to this at all, which feels extremely weird!

Anyway. I received two layered squares of vintage fabric, and looked through my embroidery book to select stitched. After attempting to use contrasting threads, I ripped out the result, stopped trying to be clever, and ran with what felt right!

It’s nothing exciting, but here’s what I achieved.

(pre embellishment on the blue background, post on the wood)

ScrapHappy is  organised by Kate and Gun (see below) and is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?  Contact Kate , or Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of them know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you have something to show, so they can include your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy – some every month, some less often

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn (well you are here already!)Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

Posted in DGDCheeryUppy, friends, ScrapHappy, Stuff I love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

How did I do that? Flush Setting

I did my first bit of flush setting recently16-IMG_0759
I mentioned this in my last post, and had some enquiries about the efficacy and durability of this style of setting, and also about how it affects the light refraction within stones.
I’ve always felt that every question is a valid question, and it’s been my experience when in a group (or training a group), when one person has the courage to ask a question, odds are someone else wants to know, but didn’t have the courage to ask. so I always like to answer a question when I can (Yes, I have also always been that person with the questions!)
So.
What is flush setting?
Why use it in place of a raised rub-over or claw setting?
What are the pros and cons? Here’s what I’ve learned so far. It’s not a full explanation and I’m bound to have missed lots of the pros and cons, but it should help explain a bit.
Flush setting is also described as gypsy setting and royal flush setting, depending on where you live, and is when a (usually brilliant cut round) gemstone is flat to the top of a piece of metal.
You should be able to run your finger over the piece, and barely be able to feel the stone of the setting.
There’s less wear on the rubover part of the setting, because the table (ie the flat top) of the stone and the rest of the metal sits slightly higher than the metal that’s in contact with the stone
It’s done by drilling into the body of the metal, rather than assembling a setting that sits proud of the metal, which means that it’s ideal for tiny stones where it would be unfeasible to create a setting (see diagrams below), pushing the stone into this recess and then burnishing / rubbing over and down the tiny area of metal that is around the drill hole, over the top edge of the girdle, part up the crown, but not so far it reaches the table
Why opt for a flush setting?
The surface is smooth, so there’s no risk of catching or snagging the setting
It’s ideal for stones of under 3mm , partly because creating settings would be so fiddly, which means it saves time and materials and therefore money
Why not?
You have to factor in the depth of the stone because the point (culet) should not be proud of the reverse to prevent any damage to the stone or the person
Stones have to be hard – 7 on the Mohs scale or more
Light is only going to enter from the crown or the culet
Here’s the result of my test piece*  and 13-IMG_0756how I made it.

Tools required  / used:

Digital verniers, drill, drill bit, ball burrs*, stone setting burrs*, bees wax, steel ball tool

(*see images below)

Three 2.5mm CZ’s bought from one of my regular and local suppliers

 

I also used a bit of reticulated silver from my scrap pot, that had begun life at 0.8 mm thick, before the reticulatulation
After checking the diameter and the height of the stones with the verniers, I drilled holes of 1.6mm, soldered 2.5mm jumprings to the reverse** to bulk up the thickness of the silver in those areas, and ball burred and cut seats using burrs measuring 2.2mm and then 2.49mm. (I’d have used my 2.3 or 2.4 setting burr, but I couldn’t find them, dammit!)
I had been avoiding learning this technique, as I didn’t think I had the right tools or skills, but after watching a few YouTube videos about grinding down old burrs, I realised 21-IMG_0764I have these tiny balled tools I bought for metal clay work a long time ago (I think they are sold in sets for nail bars)
I used a hole in the centre of my peg rather than any setting cement to brace the back of the piece, and ‘poked’ the silver at compass points to anchor the stones, before simply running the ball tool round and round repeatedly. This tool was perfect. I then flipped it over and tried to prod the stones out.
1-19-IMG_0762 - Copy
**You’ll notice the pointy end of the orange CZ
is protruding exactly as I said it shouldn’t
That’s cos I managed to drill the jumpring off having been distracted whilst soldering it on.
I’m going to pretend this was deliberate, 😉 as I’m going to use this as an example for a customer who wants some large stones flush set into a ring.
Then it’ll be a gift for my mum so she can have something to wear whilst gardening instead of the posh necklaces. Don’t tell her!
Resources for the diagrams – Ganoskin Project.
For the courage to begin – YouTube – Nancy Hamilton and the book Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers by Melissa Hunt
Brilliant cut stone element names   Diagram of the stone after drilling, before setting
Ball burrs                                           Stone setting burr
Ball Burrs Setting Burr
Posted in processes, resources, ScrapHappy, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Ring A Month – August – Celestial

If only I had got my act together earlier and procrastinated rather less, this would have done double duty as August’s #ScrapHappy!!

This month the theme was ‘Celestial’

I had lots of ideas, (rather too many, to be honest!) ordering some sunstones and lapiz lazuli to use in my project, but then I received a few orders for reticulated silver pieces, and, whilst repeatedly describing the texture as moon-like, I realised I could utilise some left overs plus incorporate a new technique – it’s always really important to me to keep waste to a minimum, but at the moment there’s a particularly relevant financial issue – have you seen the current price of bullion?!

I had my first go at flush(also known as gypsy) setting this month.04-IMG_0747

Oh, but that’s fun!! I made a pendant, again using some scrap reticulated sheet, and some 2.5mm cubic zirconias. I am very happy with the result, and have started ordering in teeny tiny gemstones to use wherever and whenever I can now!

To make this ring, I looked through my scrap pot and retrieved the disc I had sawn from my earlier ring from June’s (travel) ring, firstly filing the edges smooth and round, and then heating it to the cusp of destruction. I used some old leather from my bookbinding days, and my doming block to reshape it to a gentle cup, soldering the beautifully textural disc to a ring band I’d made for an order that hadn’t completed and added a fine silver ball, that I created from a failed nose ring I’d made ( I made a few of those this month, and had a few failures whilst I ascertained the optimum length and ball size)

I wanted to use the flush setting technique again whilst I still grasp how to do it, and as it happens, I have 14 tiny weeny dark blue sapphires that I liberated from a ring I found in 1995, in Covent Garden. I’d reported it to the police, but no-one ever claimed it, so it became mine. It was a little battered, and not to my taste at all, but I never quite knew what to with it. I sawed the gold off and used it to embellish some other projects, and reserved the sapphires, the largest of which is 1.8mm.

05-IMG_0781

I picked out the pointiest of them, and using a variety of drill bits and burrs and my new flush setting skill (!) set it into the ball on this ring, which I’m calling ‘Moon Landing’

It stacks beautifully with other rings, and again, it’s a ring I’m regretting not making in my size!

I’ve put it in my shop, at a bargain price, because it’s part of the challenge 🙂

 

 

Posted in #HandmadeHour, Challenge, RingAMonth, Ring a month, RingAMonth2020, SciFi, ScrapHappy, silver, Uncategorized | 21 Comments