Friday, April 13, 2007

April showers around May flowers

I finished it! ten or twelve hours of work (several discs worth of Sue Hubbell's Broadsides From the Other Orders and a little quality time sitting out on the deck when it got warm again), and it's done — my sterling silver 26-gauge, three-strand, 11-lead, 20-bight turk's head bezel for Laura's Iris cab.

For sure it's not perfect. The main body of it actually is pretty close. But the edges are a difficulty. Leaving aside that there are three places where I flat goofed on the first pass and made an edge loop go over-over instead of over-under, I find it very difficult to get the three strands to lie parallel at the edge. After I finished and stretched this, I realized that I should actually have them tighter, almost overlapping, as I do it. Because when the broad open form is stretched, all the edge bends flatten out and get straighter, so they don't need so much clearance for the outer strands to curve around the inner. But when I was finally able to stretch it enough to get the cab in — a really good tight fit — it did make most of the fabric form up nicely into a neat silver weave.

The middle of the process was the most time-consuming, the end of the first pass and much of the second. After I made the five or six first leads where you just go around the jig overlapping each strand, I had some trouble keeping straight what was supposed to be over and what under (witness those three wrong edge-loops). And then after I had it off the fixture I had a good deal of trouble persuading the somewhat thin little wire to slide in beside the space-creating needle as it ought. Finally I had an inspiration and threaded the end of the wire onto an embroidery needle and "sewed" it through, and the third pass went much more quickly.

Currently it is strung on a satin cord, threaded through holes I poked in the weave near the back edge. I'll probably put silver jump rings in there and a chain someday.

I don't suppose I'll do anything else exactly the same size, so I guess my 1-1/2" dowel can go back to the basement, with its two rows of 20 little nailholes in one end. My stretching device was a pool-cue butt and a hammer handle, inserted together and levered apart. If I'm going to make finger-rings, I will really need to get a real ring-stretcher.

Anyway, it's done. And it's all mine!


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