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Posts Tagged ‘kiln’

Acrylic, remember, and sparkly too

Acrylic, remember, and sparkly too

Apparently it is possible after all. A while back I made a few swatches of different yarns, sandwiched them in glass and baked them in the kiln. None of them were a rip-roaring success, but one showed possibilities. The problem was that is was knit from a deeply unpleasant pink acrylic with a metallic thread (which is the bit that survived the firing process) and I haven’t been able to bear to knit with it further. Can you blame me?

So, I have since managed to acquire, by processes over whih I shall draw a veil, a small reel of fine silver wire. Wire fine enough to knit with, if you try. I’m struggling to work out the right sized needles to use, and can’t manage to get neat stitches, but perhaps I will acheive that some time. And it’d be – well – neat if I could, because then I could produce “swatch” art glass using different stitch patterns.

In the meantime though, here are three prototypes: the first swatch was simply soldered (with lead-free solder) onto a stained glass copper-foiled pendant, the second was just laid on top of a single piece of random glass that was then fired, and the third was sandwiched between two layers of Bullseye and fired.

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The first one I quite like, but I’m concerned it’s very fragile, and might tarnish; the second one is an abject failure, but shows glimmers of hope for some interesting manipulations further down the line (I quite like the way the silver has partly melted in and partly stayed on the surface) and the third one I am very pleased with indeed.

Yes. With a bit of luck -because with inclusions you never know (and the person I bought the silver off had had no luck including it in glass) – look out for swatch pendants coming to an Etsy shop near you soon.

I’m off to celebrate six months of knitting with a little more wire swatching.

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Kelvin

Kelvin

This should really be the first post, but that only occurred to me yesterday.

Kelvin is a two-year-old (possibly three-year-old) Paragon Fusion Eight kiln. He came to me from a woman in Yorkshire who had decided that lampworking was her true love and that Kelvin needed more space as well since she’d moved to a house with a smaller garage….

I live in a house with no garage at all, so Kelvin lives in the back room alongside the children’s toys and the piano. Kelvin’s being in there means the temperature in that room goes up and down like a yo-yo, which is terrible for the piano, though doubtless very nice for the piano-tuner.

For some unaccountable reason, despite being a British kiln, Kelvin is calibrated in Fahrenheit. That’s how he came to me and that’s how he stays. I’ve been told that it is possible to reprogram the controller quite easily with just a screwdriver and nerves of steel, but frankly I lack one of the aforementioned (you may guess which) and as most of the information I encountered, and most of the books, and most of the websites seemed to be written by and for Americans anyway, Fahrenheit looked like a sensible option. So should any British or European person stumble by here, my apologies for being retrograde about centigrade, which is a perfectly nice scale indeed, and the one I conduct the rest of my life in. Also, if anyone wants to convert between one scale and the other, it’s easy to look up an online conversion tool like this one: http://www.onlineconversion.com/temperature.htm

Regarding technicalities, he is about 42 cm in diameter and octagonal, as should probably be obvious from the name. I have 12 2.5 cm round posts and a spare shelf 35 cm in diametre. This – and occasional cunning use of my large 40 cm plate mould – allows me to stack the kiln in two (occasionally three) layers. I am still working out the temperature differentials between the shelves, the number of posts, the various molds etc. Sometimes I turn out to have been considerably less cunning than I thought (or too clever by half) and everything comes out overdone or half-baked. But my goal is ever-greater amortization. And lots and lots of learning curve.

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