Coming Soon to an Arm near Me…


Remember this? No? It’s alright. It’s hubristic of me to assume I have a repeat readership.  Welcome, first time reader! I promise I’m not always this disjointed.

The hand drawn sketch was nice and all, but maaaan it took a long time, and if we’ll allow “Time-Poor” to be a phrase outside of the self-help and lazy journalism fields in which it originated then I am a chronological pauper. I’m actually thinking of filing for temporal bankruptcy.* So rather than spending time that I don’t have, I made with the GIMP-ing.**

I laid out my own jewellery on a table to make the branches, took a picture of said jewellery, then super-imposed some awesome, wistful-looking magpies I found on an image search. And so I have my next tattoo design. It’s getting done on one of my arms at this place on October 17th. Feel free to come and point and laugh if you’re in the area.

I’m pretty pleased with it, although one day I have hopes of expanding it to include some of these guys:


Because headless dive-bombing magpie is the bad-assed-est.  Undeniably.

* That’s where all the people I haven’t managed to make time for have to forgive me even though I haven’t found the time to say sorry.  In legal terms it’s slightly less silly than a super-injunction in the social media age – BOOM! Satire. BACK

** It’s like photoshopping but it’s free. I assume it’s called GIMP because it’s constricting and you have to be more than a bit of a masochist to persevere with it. BACK


Beads-in-a-Net Bracelet

bead bracelet loop

I promised that I’d found a legitimate use for a knitting nancy and here it is. I know my taste is not to everyone’s but I think it’s rather nice. It’s a quick make, too.

You’ll need a tapestry needle or crochet hook, and one of these fellas:

“Who? Me?! Interrobang again?!?!”

If you’ve ever used one of these you might understand why he’s pulling that face. For those who haven’t: thread or wool goes in through his head, and a tube of knitting comes out of his backside like a really long poo. He’s actually mortified. Perhaps I’m being crass – I usually am – but why else are these are made to look like people? You can make one out of a cotton spool and four nails that works just as well and is utterly without expression, similarly without shame.

Now that I’ve made everything super creepy I might as well own it. So here’s a tutorial written in the style of Buffalo Bill*:


It takes some beads and threads them onto some cotton. It threads them until the beaded thread measures 3-4 times the circumference of its wrist.


It threads the end of the cotton through the hole until it comes out at the bottom. Then at the top it loops cotton around the pins like so. Clockwise or counter-clockwise doesn’t matter, it just has to pick a direction and stick with it.

nancy 2

It loops the cotton around a second time, or else it gets the hose again.

We don’t have pictures for this (do we, Precious?), but it takes a tapestry needle or crochet hook, and pulls the bottom cotton loop up and over the head of the pin before letting it go. It does this on all four pins.

It should then have a single loop on each pin, and can loop around again with the cotton to produce new top loops.

It repeats this motion – bottom loop over pin head – pulling the work through the hole as it goes by pulling on the cotton thread coming out of the nancy’s bottom.

It does this every time it’s asked, or until it’s produced a long enough chain to either tie off the bracelet or attach a clasp.

nancy 3

When it’s ready it pulls up one of its threaded beads, and traps before looping its next loop.

nancy 4

It does this before each new loop, creating pretty a web effect.

It stops this only when it has a suitable length for a bracelet, or necklace, or belt, or leash, or harness… whatever it’s making here.

Then it goes back to plain looping without beads, until it has another length for tying or attaching a clasp on the other side of the work.

nancy 5

It cuts of the cotton, leaving a tail. It threads that tail onto a needle and uses that to thread through the remaining loops, pulling them off the pins as it goes.**

bead bracelet on
Would you wear this? I would wear this.

It puts the lotion on its skin, and then it pulls the beaded chain out of the nancy’s ass.

And now I’ve thrown up in my mouth a bit. I am truly (a bit) sorry. Next time: an unholy union of cross-stitch, collage, origami, and Latin.

* If you haven’t seen Silence of the Lambs, be prepared to understand none of what passes for humour in this post. If you have seen it and you still don’t find it funny, please put it down to me having just spent 5 days being Withnail-drunk in a field. BACK

** Sorry about the nose-dive in image quality. That there night-time done went and happened. BACK