My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


The Sparkle Factory

I recently got this very fun-looking book for review in the mail.


This is The Sparkle Factory by Tarina Tarantino. I will confess that before hearing about this book, I had no idea who Tarina Tarantino is. But now I know. She is, according to her Wikipedia article:

an American costume jewelry and accessory designer, based in Los Angeles,California. Known for her flamboyant pink hair, she has been described as having “a pretty cult-like following here in LA” and as “the haute designer of playful jewelry for grown women”.

So this is not a knitting book, but a book for those of you who are multi-craftual. According to the description of the book on her website:

Fashionistas, aspiring jewelry designers, and DIY lovers will learn how to make 20 of Tarina’s most essential pieces including statement earrings, cocktail rings, hair jewelry, stretch cuff bracelets, embellished spectacles, and more. Fans of Tarina will also learn about her brand history, getting inspired, creating themes and stories, sourcing materials, essential tools and techniques, how to wear and style your jewelry wardrobe, and more. The text is complemented by tips and hundreds of full-color photos throughout.

Now, my style runs more towards large emerald-cut diamonds in Art Deco platinum settings and Jess MaHarry conflict-free diamonds set in rose gold (how’s that for specific?), but I found this book quite fun to thumb through. A long time ago I took some jewelry-making classes and learned how to string beads and knot in-between them, attach clasps, set stones for stud earrings, etc. I enjoyed jewelry-making immensely and was amazed to find how quickly I could rack up a huge bill in a bead store and walk out with a wee tiny bag of purchases. (I see some of you nodding in agreement out there!)


Back to the book: as the description states, there are complete instructions for making 20 different pieces. I was looking at one of the ring designs — the Paris Apartment Cocktail Ring.


Look at the “ingredients” it is made from:


Sculpey clay in several different colors and a crystal or cabochon! Totally do-able! And there are beautifully clear photos that illustrate the step-by-step instructions for making this ring, as there are for each piece in the book.

In addition to the complete instructions for making the pieces, there is a great deal of good information about inspiration, finding raw materials, the tools you need, and how to wear your jewelry.

I am very, very tempted to keep this book, but hesitate to slide back down the rabbit hole of jewelry-making. And, as I said, the pieces are not really my style. I think I need to be younger and hipper to pull off some of the pieces. 😉 Not that I couldn’t use the techniques taught in the book to make things that are more my style . . .

But no, I will be nice and offer this book up to an aspiring jewelry-maker. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing to receive my review copy of The Sparkle Factory by Tarina Tarantino, please leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00 Eastern time this Sunday, August 18, 2013. The Random Number Generator will choose a winner at that time.

The winner will be required to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry for me. (Just kidding! But I am quite taken with the Sugar Skull Stretch Bracelet on page 105 . . . I am quite sure I could pull off wearing that!)

Knitting Modifications

I finished the body of my Pomme de Pin cardigan yesterday. With some mods, of course.

Note that if you are making the largest size of this design, the shoulder shaping on the left and right front pieces do not match — the directions for the right front are wrong. I just noticed this quite by accident but thought I’d point it out. But if you just follow the left front shaping instructions and reverse them you will be fine.

I added some length in the hem to armhole portion of the sweater, and again in the depth of the armhole. For the 5 sizes given for the pattern, the armhole depth varies from 7.75 to 8.75 inches deep. I know from experience that I would fine this vastly uncomfortable: way too tight. Particularly  if I plan to wear the cardi over something with sleeves. I realize that the lace pattern used is stretchy, but I prefer an oversized cardi to one that is straining at the buttonholes when I button it. Tightly-fitted clothing bothers me and makes me feel too warm. Hence my adjustments.

My other issue with this pattern is how the sleeves are designed. You are directed to knit long tubes for the sleeves that have the same diameter at the cuff as at the upper arm. Yeah . . . no.

As I said, I understand that the knitted fabric for this design is stretchy, but I simply do not “get” how the sleeves are designed. For each size, an additional “x” number of stitches is added to the cast-on. For the smallest size, the sleeve is 10″ around, from cuff to armpit. And the largest size is 16.4″ around, from cuff to armpit. That cuff would be flapping in the breeze and the sleeve would be pretty fitted at the upper arm. I find it hard to believe that’s what the designer wanted: such a difference in the look of the sleeve from smallest to largest size.

To make things easy on myself, I did a Ravelry search for free sweater patterns knit at the same gauge as this design, and cobbled together a sleeve pattern from the results. My sleeves will have fewer stitches at the cuff and gradual increases up the arm like a traditional sleeve. This is not what the designer had in mind, clearly, but it’s my sweater. 😉

Last night I started a sleeve.


At some point soon I will join the body fronts to back and pick up for the neckband/front bands. Then I can knit on the bands at home, and keep the sleeve for commuter knitting. I need to be done with this project by the end of August for it to count as my Camp Loopy project, and I’m still on target.

I was a little concerned about timing, what with a new kitty and all. But I can knit fairly successfully in Loki’s presence. I just need to be careful not to flaunt my yarn in front of him. He will from time to time show interest in what I am doing and sniff at the yarn. During these times I hold still and hold my breath. But so far, so good.

I am fairly certain, however, that blocking lace will not be possible in his presence. I do not have a space large enough to block lace that can be shut away from a busy kitty, so I will not be doing any lace knitting for the foreseeable future.

Loki sez:


Who, me?




  1. Loki is adorable, the sleeve mods sound reasonable, and I dabble in jewelry-making, and would love to own this book.

    Shoot, I’d even make you the sugar skull bracelet.

  2. I am older than you but my jewelry style tends toward tween girl style. I think this book would be great!

  3. Loki is a looker and, I think he knows it. The book looks interesting, I’ve done jewlery making,yeah it can it can take a lot of money.

  4. Loki is so darling! I have a boy cat too–a tuxeudo.

  5. The book looks interesting. I would be glad to take it off your hands. Love the new kitty.

  6. I’m interested in the book as well. I was a big fan of her make-up line when it was out (Sephora carried it).

  7. I’d like it! I’d also like to just touch Loki <3
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Spindle Bag-Little China Girl by lazysockmonkey

  8. That book looks so bright and fun! Loki sure is a cutie too. 🙂

  9. I don’t want to win the book, but did want to say that maybe you could block some smaller lace pieces in the back seat of the car? With three orally fixated cats at home and no doors other than the bathroom’s, I block in my office at work (Pin on a blocking mat after work, pick up at the start of the next day.), but I think you’re government so that probably wouldn’t work for you.
    sprite´s last blog post of those afternoons, fourth row, and invitation

  10. Smooch for Loki – what a cutie! Like you, the jewelry thing may not be for me, but I have a sister in law to whom I would give this with full confidence that it would get used, extensively!

  11. I love Loki’s little grey nose! I’m assuming that he also has claws, which would make lace blocking a bit treacherous. Such a cutie!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..PREORDER Flo in CocoLand Anna Clutch by ThreeBagsFullStudio

  12. I love Loki! And jewelry making looks like a fun thing to try.

  13. I’d love to have this book. My step daughters love this designer! Loki is adorable!

  14. Great mods for your Pomme de Pin, sure makes sense to me 🙂
    My daughter would love the book, she has made quite a few things.

  15. Mary E Osborne says:

    What a precious kittah!

  16. Katy Sullivan says:

    I Would love to have this book. I have 3 little girls who love making jewelry! Love the new pattern amd kitty Loki too.

  17. Hi Loki,

    I think the jewelry book looks fun…. I hope I win it!

    hmm maybe not, then I would have to make something.. LOLOLOL

  18. Wow! Thanks for offering your copy of the jewelry book. I’d love to be entered in the draw.

  19. Wendy,
    It hurt my heart so to hear about Lucy. She’d have insisted that you keep that jewelry book and make her a collar. I know you and Loki will take good good care of each other. He is one handsome doll!

  20. Cutest pic of Loki yet…Interesting tuffs between his toes…Maine Coons have tuffs and long hairs out their ears…never seen a white one though.

  21. I occasionally try my hand at jewelry. This book looks like fun.

  22. I still dabble in the jewelry making. I even mix beads into knitting now and again. What have you made for Loki?

  23. Omg. Loki! The cutie pie!

    Also, omg the dark hole of jewelry making! I have supplies, I should probably look into this book to make use of some of the stuff I’ve already got lurking in my home office!

  24. Wendy, you could still block lace just accept that it will be a different experience, such as an adventure,Who knows, maybe Loki will be a true gentleman about the whole thing.
    maryanne´s last blog post ..Getting Gauge

  25. curious about the lace blocking, hope it’s a case of too soon to tell. He looks like such a sweet boy! Book looks cool, what’s another black hole, ‘eh? thanks for the opportunity!

  26. The book looks amazing and I would love to make you a one of a kind piece of jewelry!

  27. Toe fluff!

  28. I have been wondering how you would go about lace blocking with Loki. I hope you find a solution, as I love your lace work.

  29. I would love sharing this book with my 13 year old fashionista granddaughter. I so hope your random number machine picks me!!!

    I like this photo of Loki the best so far.

  30. Tarina’s book looks absolutely amazing!

    I’m also so very glad to meet Loki, it’s nice to see a fluffy face around here again.

  31. Oh, those kitty paws!!!
    Susan´s last blog post ..2011: A Fibery year

  32. Loki is adorable. Such a sweet little face. I’m sure he gets into everything. Twice.

    That’s a really interesting technique for a ring. There’s a modeling compound called silver clay. You put in a kiln, and all the clay burns away, and you’re left with silver.

  33. Sandra Kerr says:

    Love the new kitty. And would love the book!

  34. I’d like to have a chance at the book. It seems like it would be lots of fun for my daughter; she loves fun, sparkly jewelry.

  35. I’d LOVE to be the randomly chosen winner of that books! Mee! nMee!

    BTW, I love those little tufts of fur sticking out between Loki’s toes. In our Northeast winters, we call those “boots”.

    Love your blog!

  36. Looks like an interesting book! And Loki appears to be full of mischief;O)) What an adorable boy!

  37. What a cool book! Loki is adorable! He does look like he’s plotting some mischief.

  38. I have to do my blocking in my garage. No place in the house that has enough room and no cats.

  39. That book looks lovely!
    Cassie´s last blog post ..Slow-Cooked Dry Rub Oven Chicken

  40. I’m knitting the pomme de pin as well and having issues with the sleeves too. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one having questions and fit issues over the sleeves. I’m knitting the smallest size and with a 10.5″ cuff (before blocking) my tiny arms were flapping around and it looked like my husband had been wearing it lol. So I’m modifying the cast on for the cuff and trying to work a few pattern increases. But this trial and error is sucking my love and desire to knit the sweater so it’s been on hold for almost a week 🙁
    Rachel´s last blog post ..Episode 41 – Curse of the Sleeves

  41. I am totally not interested in the book, so if you pick my number, pick again.

    I just had to comment on the toe fur on Loki though. How cute! What a ham!

  42. This would be a fantastic gift for my very crafty daughter. Thanks for the chance to win it.
    And that Loki sure is a sweetie! I’m glad he’s come into your life.

  43. Deb in NC says:

    My college daughter would love this!! She is so into that type of Bling. Mom may like a few of the pieces, got to keep things interesting.

  44. Gina Zahra says:

    OOOOhhhhh – I will gladly go down the rabbit hole 😀 I would love to try this book with my two teenaged daughters….fingers crossed!!!

  45. Jeri Weiser says:

    I am a beginner-intermediate knitter and am intrigued while reading about modifications to patterns. It makes total sense to make the sweater the way you want it, but I’m just not there yet 🙂 Do you keep and wear all of the garments you make? Anyway, I love the color of the Pomme de Pin cardigan.

    I have a jewelry-making girlfriend I would give the book to if I win.

  46. The Sparkle Factory looks fun. Great for idea-generating! and I love following your knitting.

  47. Love Loki’s toe-hawks!

    Count me in for the book drawing – this reminds me that I have a large-ish container of jewelry-making supplies, tucked away in my craft closet. Maybe since I’m not able to knit right now due to shoulder problems (waaah), I could dig that out…

  48. Loki is sure a handsome guy; I love his paws; they look so cute hanging over the edge of the table.
    I would love to win this book; my daughter loves her designs and yes I can completely understand walking out of a bead store – poor with a little bag. I have a collection of beads; but for some reason I can not find in my stock the perfect bead or color to go with what I am currently knitting or crocheting so off to the bead store 🙂

  49. I’m multicraftual. In fact, I was a beader before I was a knitter! I know, hard to believe, but it’s true!

  50. Such a pretty little kitty. I have only made a pair of earrings so I would love a book to learn how to do more. My daughter is just now becoming interested in jewelry and it’s something we could do together.

  51. Have you seen how he reacts around blocked objects yet? If not, it might be worth your time to knit a swatch of lace and see how he behaves while that is being blocked.

    BTW, I’m amazed how at 2 years old his face still looks like a kitten’s. Ragdolls mature slowly but he’s retaining his kitten features.

  52. My twelve year old daughter would love this book! And I have toyed with the idea of learning about jewelry making. Not that I need another craft to compete for my limited time, but …. I’m glad that Loki is settling in and starting to feel comfortable commenting on the blog!

  53. I fell down the jewelry making hole years ago. Haven’t climbed out yet…. and LOVE those tufted toes on Loki! What a sweetie!!

  54. I’ve been out of the loop and haven’t read your blog in a few weeks. I’m SO sorry to read of Lucy’s passing. She will be missed. {hugs} Loki looks like a sweet guy. I bet he’s quite a charmer. He seems to be adjusting to his new home and family. It probably won’t be too long and he’ll be showing off lace shawls just like Lucy used to.
    Stephanie S.´s last blog post ..Pinspiration {week 1}

  55. I would love to win the book. I’m so happy for you that you got Loki. I know he can never replace Lucy, but he will be a very great friend and a lot of company!

  56. That looks like an interesting book! I have to admit that I’m still expecting the Lucy pic & am surprised to see someone else’s face on your blog!

  57. Patti, oldgoatwoman says:

    small bag of beads = big bucks, totally agress. now, if someone can show me how to thread a big eye bead needle with c lon thread in less than 30 minutes, I’d love it!

  58. Wendy, In addition to needlepoint and knitting I also do beading so would love to win a copy of this book. Please pet Loki for me, he is so adorable.

  59. LaVelle Nott says:

    Loki’s picture today really makes him look like a kitten. How sweet he looks. I would love to win this book. my Daughter and grand daughter would have a blast with it.

  60. What an interesting book! Oh I’m so glad to see Lucy in your blog header. It will take me a bit to get used to seeing another kitty at the end of your posts.
    Love Loki’s toe fluffs! I’m sure Lucy would approve.

  61. Love the new man in your life LOL

    That book looks very intriguing, I would totally make one of those cocktail rings.
    judi´s last blog post ..hidden potential, maybe

  62. Your new kitty is so adorable! What kitty can say no to a good ball of yarn or lace 🙂
    Tanya´s last blog post ..Three Key Characteristics of a Smart Social Media Policy

  63. Oooh, Loki has toe feathers! (That’s what we call them in our family, anyway.) What a sweet face he has; still very much the kitten look.

    And no, I don’t need another rabbit hole in which to fall. Please DON’T enter me in the book draw!

  64. My younger, hipper, daughter would love this book. (And I’ll secretly use it too)

  65. It is amazing isn’t it — go into a bead store, come out with purchases that will fit in the palm of your hand, and be $50 poorer. that said I love beads and dabble in jewelery making, so I wouldn’t mind a copy if your random number generator should so decide!

  66. Sparkle…and Loki…how could the day be any better?!
    dobarah´s last blog post ..July HPKCHC

  67. I’d love to win this book, but if I do it would be for my daughter. She’s a crafter at heart. This week has been all about duct tape bracelets.

  68. Linda from Kansas says:

    What a pretty boy he is. Will he darken like a Siamese cat does with age? Lucy seemed darker but maybe she was naturally darker. I have a dog now but miss my cats (one lived to 19 years young – they never seem to age.) He has a good mama to care for him.

  69. I likes the shiny things, particularly if they glow in the dark.

    My two newest shelter kitties will sit on my lap very happily while I knit and then only bite the yarn if I haven’t pet them enough. So randomly. And if I don’t notice and stop them, Tiger Tom bites it clear through and I have a very soggy join to do.

  70. Looks like fun Count me in for the book

  71. Ooooooh sparkles. And pink hair!

  72. as you said, you can get quite a large collection of beads in no time. This book just might inspire me to use some of them up and empty my stash. It looks interesting. Thank you for offering it.

  73. Loki’s sweet. I bet it’s so nice to be greeted when you come through the door after work. The book looks interesting. I have nieces galore to make jewelry for.

  74. I’ve been looking for a good jewelry making book. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my daughter. Thanks for doing a giveaway!

  75. Multi-craftual!! LOVED IT!
    Yes, I am afflicted. But nothing soothes like knitting (or kitties purring). Glad Loki is settling in nicely.

  76. First, I absolutely love your new baby! Secondly, please enter me into your jewelry book drawing. I am addicted to making bangles out of new and vintage finds. Thank you.
    Holly Olsen-Pierce´s last blog post ..#L121-Charm Bracelet/Necklace add a little black for drama

  77. Love Mr. Loki! He looks like a fun cat. I would love to use some of my archive of supplies to make jewelry! Tks for offering this book!

  78. I’d love the book! I already have quite the stash of jewelry making supplies along with e yarn stash!!

    I love how you say you can’t “flaunt” your yarn!! LOL
    Lee Cockrum´s last blog post ..Getting back on the horse! (And a rant about the poor writing I find on various blogs!)

  79. I can just see Loki wearing a jeweled collar!