Third Leather Project

The difference between our initial two-hour evening session versus an all-day class? Projects get completed! Doesn’t hurt with our doing a little “homework” on the side either…

Project #3 is a billfold wallet using contrasting leather, smooth versus textural, and our first time using grain leather! The color palette for grain leather is a lot more extensive than the one for smooth leather so choosing a combination becomes exponentially more difficult! 😉 Fortunately I wanted to make this for hubby so could at least narrow the decision down to “manly” colors…



Currently in progress – eyeglass case where we will learn how to add a leather-covered snap! 😀

Oh… after that, there are  five projects between me and my FIRST TOTE! Stay tuned!!!


Second Leather Project

My second Leather Project at Amblard Leather Atelier’s Beginner Session was a Notebook Cover. It’s a reinforcement for the first Card Holder project – exact same techniques but only larger.

I went with my favorite dark green smooth leather again and my hand pricked stitches on the interior came out straighter than before!


Close up of the stitches and finishing.


Comparing the size of the two projects:


Nephthys Shawl

Now that we have completed our annual MKAL (Mystery Knit A Long) on our Ravelry group, enVision, the full pattern of my latest lace shawl design is released!

Nephthys Shawl is a deep-crescent shaped shawl named after Nephthys: an Egyptian goddess who was the personification of darkness and all that belongs to it and sister to goddess Isis. Nephthys means “lady of the house” but in this case, it’s referred to a house of worship, thus referring to the goddess as being in the role of a priestess rather than a homemaker.

Nephthys is a mostly solid shawl with lace accents and is the result of Hayley’s current love of knitting lace and her early obsession with cables. Nephthys uses approximately 675-750 yards / 615-685 meters for the regular version and 825-1050 yards / 755-960 meters for the large version in fingering-weight yarn. It may also be knitted in heavier weight yarn for a warmer and cozier shawl. Nephthys may be knitted with or without beads.



Test knit by Jutta
Test knit by Di



I asked some friends if they could guess which new medium I recently got into – and none came up with the answer! We went through the long list I had played with – drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, sewing, knitting, pottery, woodworking, metal clay, jewelry, glass, metalsmithing – and when I said, “Leather!” Somehow it came as no surprise!

My love for leather dated back to when I was eight years old when my cousins from Toronto came to visit bearing a small leather wallet as a gift. I can’t remember the design exactly but will never forget the sweet smell of genuine leather and all the little compartments and pockets it contained. Yet it wasn’t until my sister bought me a Cartier wallet did I truly appreciate the premium craftsmanship of a high-quality leather piece.

Finding Beatrice Amblard was a total coincidence through Google for classes on working with leather – and was not even the type of techniques I was looking for. But as soon as I found out that a Hermès trained master artisan was teaching the centuries-old craft of refined leatherworking right in my neighborhood, I simply couldn’t pass up this amazing opportunity! Moreover, within 12 hours of my finding Amblard Leather Atelier online, I received an email from my sister with a link to the EXACT same workshop! (To learn more about Bea and her incredible work, check out this wonderful article – she’s the last artist featured so scroll towards the end.)

Without further ado, we signed up for the non-commitment evening class and on our second class, we opted to do the all-day Saturday workshop when the new 12-week session starts in October! To say that we are hooked is an understatement!

Our first project is a card holder – completely crafted by hand! – something small so we can learn every step of each technique. I am a long way from creating that tote of my dream but I sure am enjoying the journey . . .



What sets this apart is the finishing of the edge containing four layers of leather!

Finley – My First Portrait!

After my last blog post on my Craftsy’s class project, I went searching for a subject for my own colored-pencil portrait. I just so happened to come across a picture of Finley, the most adorable boy of one of my students, Vanessa. Children are much easier to draw than adults – pigmentation and wrinkles require a lot more work! 😉 With Vanessa’s approval, I immediately dove in, especially since I just received my new set of Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils!


I think I am ready to draw an adult next! …

Colored-Pencil Portraits

I have been drawing since I was a little girl. In high school and college, I always had a sketch book with me and my favorite subject was pencil portraits using photographs in magazines as a base. I can’t tell you how many times I have drawn Brooke Shields!

After intense drawing and painting classes in both undergraduate and graduate schools, my love of drawing was cast aside by life’s other more pressing matters. Once in a while though, I’d still dust off those neglected pencils and did a few sketches but the urge never lasted.

Then came the Craftsy’s class Step-by-Step Photorealistic Colored Pencil Portraits with Karen Hull. I first discovered Craftsy classes for knitting and then expanded to jewelry making when I started doing metalsmithing. I also love that Craftsy is not subscription base so I can go at my own pace as well as go back and watch the video classes as often as I like.

I have always wanted to work with colors – did acrylic and pastels in school – and although I really would love to get into oil and watercolor, colored pencils are more suitable for my lifestyle at the moment due to its ease of use. No set up or clean up – just open the box and go! And “go” I did!

Karen recommended Faber-Castell’s Polychromos and Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils for their light fastness but I couldn’t wait and just used what I had old Prismacolor and some Derwent. I did take advantage of the sales and purchased some Polychromos and Luminance for my next project! 😀

Step-by-step I followed Karen’s detailed instructions on drawing a girl named Katie…

As soon as I did the first lesson on her left eye, I was hooked! I did the right eye the same time as her left (yes, there’s a lesson on the left eye but I have never been good at following instructions in sequence!)


I skipped ahead and did her lips next (did you expect otherwise? ;0)) …


Then her nose… Karen’s instructions on seeing different hues and layering the colors to shape are invaluable!


And finishing her face


Even though Karen said the lips were the hardest, I was most worried about her hair.


With the potential wax bloom of the Prismacolor, I decided to not worry about covering the tooth of the paper and called this drawing complete – for I am anxious to try my newly learned skills on a subject of my own!


Sibylle Shawl

Sibylle Shawl is a large deep-crescent shaped shawl based on the Herbert Niebling’s pattern of the same name. Sibylle is worked from the top down with increases throughout the body. The original pattern, in half, is a half circle. I added patterns to the two edges for a softer deep-crescent shape. I hope to continue modifying these amazing designs – Sibylle is the fourth one after Quadratische Decke (QD), Pfingstrose (Peony) and her sister, Simply Peony, and Blattkranz (Leaf Wreath) – into a shawl shape with well illustrated charts and clear instructions so more knitters will discover and enjoy the magic of Niebling.

Sibylle uses approximately 985-1020 yards / 900-930 meters of heavy-lace-weight yarns. It may also be knitted in lace-weight yarn (765-820 yards / 700-750 meters) for a more open look, or fingering-weight yarn (1095 yards / 1050 meters) for a denser fabric, and even larger shawl. Sibylle may be knitted with or without beads.

Join us in our Ravelry group, enVision, for a Sibylle knit along this month!


Test knit by Tish