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On Acknowledging Your Accomplishments

On Acknowledging Your Accomplishments

There were many things I had intended to create and improve upon before participation in my first widely known show – South University Ann Arbor Art Fair. We all have hopes and dreams right? They push us to do better and to be better at what we value as important to us. Let me pause for a moment and say this is not intended to be a complaining session. Please read on…

I was not able to finish my most important pieces before the show. I had a torch malfunction on the Saturday during the 4th of July holiday. This was my last bit of scheduled studio time before the work was to be completed and submitted.

Smith Little Torch with new hoses in place

With the help from family I was able to get it resolved; though it was not the easy repair it was suppose to be. Four days later I had a superbly functioning torch but under the pressure of only being able to squeeze two more days in the studio I folded. I was devastated.

It took me a few days to pick myself up again and to realize all was not lost. When I did take a step back I saw that I actually accomplished quite a bit. For starters I redesigned my business card, hang tag and product cards all in time to get them printed. I was also able to send an additional ring to be molded and cast. Under normal circumstances it too would have been included in my offerings at the show. My biggest accomplishment was that I designed my makers mark in time enough to have the tool produced and be able to stamp my newest pieces. This is huge!

While I did have my moment of feeling like a complete failure I still accomplished an enormous amount of things in a short amount of time. Though I was not able to show my latest rings this time, they are closer to being ready for the next opportunity. It’s important to give yourself credit for the things you do accomplish. As long as you keep working toward your goal; each step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Don’t ever forget it!

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My First Adventure With My Vintage Brother KH 35 Knitting Machine

First garment knit on KH 35 by Kate Wilcox-Leigh
Brother KH 35 knitting machine from 1952
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.

Brother KH 35 Knitting Machine At Work
Brother KH 35 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.

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Adornment by Kate Wilcox-Leigh

You have found the blog of Adornment by Kate Wilcox-Leigh where I will reveal my latest hand crafted jewelry and accessories. I primarily work in metals like sterling silver and 14k gold but I also work with a variety of other materials such as leather, glass and wool.

Here I will describe some of the processes I go through to create my work. The techniques I use vary from those traditionally used to work metal to those used in other mediums that I apply to metal.

I will share with you my thoughts about art, design and what it means to create. I will let you in on what inspires me to create what I do. Perhaps you will find inspiration to try something new.