Jewelry by Kate Wilcox-Leigh is now available through Michigan Market in Williamston

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Jewelry by Kate Wilcox-Leigh is now available through Michigan Market in Williamston

They are a specialty foods and gift shop located in the heart of historic downtown Williamston on the first floor of Keller’s Plaza. Michigan Market carries only products made in Michigan.

I am thrilled to have my jewelry placed in such a warm and inviting shop. I have enjoyed gift shopping there myself. Their product range is well rounded from fine soaps, candles and jewelry to attractive and delicious items to outfit your dining room table.

Stop by and see their great selection of Michigan made items. Mothers Day being just a few days away is the perfect opportunity to shop local!

110 E. Grand River Ave., Suite 2
Williamston, MI 48895
(517) 655-8696
shop@themichiganstore.com
www.themichiganstore.com

 

My First Adventure With My Vintage Brother KH 35 Knitting Machine

Brother KH 35

Brother KH 35

I happened upon my Brother KH 35 at an antique mall during the summer of 2011.  Fortunately it was fairly complete accept sadly the machine had been separated from its manual. Not bad for a machine that originated in the 1950’s.  After an intense search I found that Knit & Sew World had the manual for sale and I was able to purchase it September of the very same year.

Many events kept me from experimenting with it until recently when I was granted a significant amount of dedicated time to feed my creative desires.  The first task was to remove the felt bar so I could exchange a broken needle in the center of the bed for a better one.  That went okay but I found the felt had considerable wear on it and is in need of replacing.  I will tackle that in time.  I believe the machine will work better and have less dropped stitches once that is done.

Once I was satisfied that I could actually cast on a garment I chose Infinite Loop designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.  In my opinion this is the perfect beginning project for the machine knitter because of the beautiful simplicity of the garment.  The length and amount of stockinet stitch makes it an excellent candidate for machine knitting in general.

Knitting Machine At Work

Knitting Machine At Work

I cast on after breakfast and this project consumed me.  The first day I dedicated 10 straight hours to it including breaks for lunch and dinner.  The machine knitting portion should have been done within this time but I experienced a huge number of dropped stitches.  I had to inspect each row before I went on to the next one and make repairs as needed. The garment came off the machine twice when the yarn escaped the holder.  I had gotten too far to give up so each time I carefully put the live stitches on a hand knitting needle and picked up the dropped stitches.  Perseverance won and I was able to complete the machine knitting and properly take the garment off the machine.  I grafted the ends together and picked up and knit the armholes by hand.  As my two year old would say “Ta Da!” it is officially done.

Infinite Loop Designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Infinite Loop Designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

I love the project and I love what this knitting machine is capable of doing.  After I take a long break from it I am sure we will be friends again. I will look into replacing the felt bar and anything else I can do to improve its performance.

I look forward to experimenting with unconventional materials like wire. I would like to learn how to do decorative stitches and shaping as well.  In time I believe I will be creating interesting pieces that I look forward to sharing with you.

Thanks for reading. Until next time; If making things feeds your soul then do everything in your power to spend at least a small amount of time each day making it happen.

Jewelry, My Passion…..Obsession

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Jewelry, My Passion…..Obsession

I suppose I have always been interested in jewelry, even in my youth.  My parents tell me of a sleepwalking experience I had as a child.  I apparently woke up in the middle of the night and was knocking on their bedroom door exclaiming that I had to make sure Mom’s jewelry was okay and that I needed to see it.  I don’t actually remember this experience but I find it an interesting anecdote that sheds some light on my childhood.

I have always been intrigued by jewelry as long as I can remember.  Friend’s and I would go to the mall and buy multiple pieces of cheap jewelry because that was what we could afford.  I would pile it on and occasionally when a piece broke I would fix it (to the best of my ability).  Those parts that I could not fully repair, I would tuck away for future use.

I had quite a collection by the time I set foot in a bead store for the first time.  What I found there gave me the means to put some of these things back together. I was still interested in the jewelry I saw while looking in different stores but I found it frustrating when a piece wouldn’t fit me properly.  I also found my self critiquing different pieces and figuring out what I liked and didn’t like about the work.  I was thrilled when a jewelry making class was offered to me in high school.

Kate Wilcox-Leigh First Earrings

First Earrings

The first pair of earrings I made was a complimentary set.  As I look back they were actually pretty out of the ordinary.  I had been playing with the four letters that made up my name and I split the KA and the TE.  I cut them out of a sheet of nu-gold with a jewelers saw.  I filed the edges smooth and then I emery papered them to death (practically).  I had begun with an 18 gauge sheet of metal and ended up with two very sharp and thin earrings.  My desire to make them “perfect” was so strong that the strength of the pieces was compromised.

I remember being very frustrated in my inability to do what I had set out to do.  At that moment of time I HATED jewelry making and I wanted to drop the class. Well I guess the metal and the process got under my skin because not only did I complete the

Art Scholarship Alert Best Three Dimensional Piece by Kate Wilcox-Leigh

Best Three Dimensional Piece

semester but I went back for another and another still.  The third one was an independent study.  I also was a teacher’s aid for a class my jewelry teacher taught.

Art Scholarship Alert awarded me best three dimensional piece in my final year of high school. Since then I have acquired a BFA in Crafts focusing in Metals from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  I continue to seek more education today.

 

I love the power jewelry has as an art form.  Jewelry serves its function when it is worn and viewed by others. Jewelry has the ability to be a reminder to the wearer.  It can commemorate a special event in a person’s life.  It can serve as a talisman of an important person or religious figure to the wearer.  It can provoke emotions and ideas.  It has physical mass; it can be oppressive or light as a feather.  One can wear jewelry on the outside of clothing to be seen by others.  One could wear a pendant under cover to be there for the sole purpose of the wearer.  Body adornment has been a part of the human existence for a very long time because of its personal expressive nature.

Thank you for stepping into my world for a moment.  Hopefully we will meet again soon