Friday, 29 May 2009

Tubular Herringbone - a lesson learned

Several years ago whilst trying to learn herringbone, I saw a complicated diagram in a book on how to start a herringbone tube. It was a line of beads and you seemed to pick two up and pass through two, but after several attempts I gave up.

For years since, I've always started with a ladder stitch method until recently... my latest tube needed to have mirror image flared ends and so I needed to be able to work herringbone from both ends. A ladder stitch start is no good for this as the blocky end doesn't go away, so after a little bit of trial and error, I figured out how to start the tube. Would you believe it, it's that complicated start from years back and, finally, the penny has dropped on how to do without referring back to the book! Doh!!!

The moral of the story is, don't dismiss things straight away, go back (years later!) and have another go at it.

How to do it? - if you want a three stack herringbone tube, string 6 beads and go through no 1 again. Pick up 2 beads and pass through 2 and 3 of the first row. Pick up 2, go through 4 and 5, pick up 2, go through 6 and 1 again. After that, you're on normal herringbone. This way, you can unpick row 1 and work herringbone off that end as well, however, do be careful not to split your thread on the first round, otherwise you can't unpick.

Supposed to be beading, but...

I've got all the household chores done (cleaning, washing, shopping, washed cars...) and so the rest of the day is mine. I've had an hour sat in the garden but thought I better have a break from the sun. I have actually been working on beading in that I've, once again, been tweaking the instructions for my next article. Anyway, as usual I've got diverted by the computer so thought I'd write a quick blog.

I've made a second necklace for Beadwork and took the opportunity to check that the instructions made sense - they do to me, so hopefully they will to everyone else! Thankfully, my tester will rework the piece over the next few weeks. The only problem is, she's not keen on Fireline thread (much prefering KO or nymo), but as Swarovski crystals are once again involved she's gonna have to grin and bear it! I'm sure she will. Personally, I find Fireline a godsend - it's thin, flexible and ultra tough stuff, especially where crystals are involved, so if you've not given it a go yet you really should bite the bullet and invest in a reel. There are a few drawbacks with it, however - it's pricey, only comes in smoke and clear (although it can be coloured with permanent felt marker pens) and the tail has an anoying habit of knotting around the working thread.

And this is a picture of Archie, my Scottie, enjoying himself in the garden this morning!


Monday, 25 May 2009

*** Win this necklace ***

Fancy owning this pendant necklace? Well, now's your chance! To celebrate my design for the pendant appearing in Bead & Button's August issue, I've decided to give away a completed necklace. All you have to do to win it is:

(1) be a Follower of this blog and

(2) post a comment on this blog entry to let me know you want to take part in the lucky dip draw.

At the end of June, I'll pick a name out of the hat (or something equally technical!) and you'll win the necklace.

For your info, it's a chocolate and pink colour scheme with Swarovski crystal pearls and bicones.

It's been a good week overall, beading and otherwise - there's a piccy of the pendant in the current issue of Bead & Button (page 129, June issue) previewing the next issue and there's a picture of my Diamond Windows bracelet in the current issue of the UK's Bead magazine (page 99, Reader's Gallery) which a French beader has submitted.

On the non-beading front, we've had a good bank holiday - a trip out on the motorbike to Harewood House on Friday and a spot of clothes shopping followed by sailing yesterday. We had another run out on the bike today for coffee and cakes - a quintessential lazy afternoon at a tearoom! And I've still got another day left before it's back to work.

Hope you've all had a good weekend and like me, feel it's finally felt a bit like summer!

Happy beading!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Colour dilema

Designing a piece is hard enough, but choosing bead colours is almost as difficult. I usually pick a few pots of beads out in what I think will work, only to weave a handful of the little dears and find out that the colours are arguing amongst themselves and simply refuse to get along. What is it with beads and colour that makes them so tricky at times? All that said, I've just been looking at Beverly Ash Gilbert's wonderful site that simple oozes inspiration for colour and it's really inspired me.

My obsession with triangles and geometric shapes continues and this necklace is a prime example of me not being able to make a colour decision. In the end, I simply decided I couldn't decide so went for one of each. What the heck.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Work in progress (done!)

Bead & Button emailed me a proof of my article this week - I can't wait to see it in the magazine. I think it's due out round about August time, so not long to wait.

Here's a taster...

Every time I do an article I find ways to improve my "system". However, everything failed today when the document I had spent 4 hours on decided to semi-corrupt - I say "semi", because it showed jibberish one second (a Word document) and when I opened it up the next time (after a major panic) it was OK. I think hubby breathed a bigger sigh of relief than me, after all, he would have to live with me if the work had been lost!

Quick Necklaces

Well, when I say quick, that's purely relative to beadweaving! Seedies and weaving is my first love and usually more time consuming, but every now and then I get the urge to string which always results in the room I'm working in looking like a bead bomb has gone off. Granted, the mess is not as bad as when I decide to make cards (that looks like a glitter explosion), but stringing means reacquainting myself with often forgotten bead treasures ('cause I don't string regularly) and a bigger mess.

Anyway, the result is two Y-shaped necklaces - I used some gorgeous matte, greeny feldspar gemstones in the top one and the other is Murano beads and semi-precious Tiger Eye rounds - both with just a smattering of Swarovskis, of course!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Books to look forward to

There seem to have been some brilliant beading books published this year by some of the top designers in the world - first up was Laura McCabe's stunning Creating Crystal Jewelry with Swarovski which was hotly followed by Diane Fiztgerald's Shaped Beadwork book.

These two are sitting pretty on my beading book shelf and and will shortly be joined by a couple more titles when they are eventually released one by Rachel Nelson-Smith and the other by Marcia DeCosta:

I can't wait!
Not much beading been done this week as we've been away for a couple of days - just to York for our wedding anniversary (21 years, where have they gone). We caught a couple of films - Star Trek (yes, I know, but I did enjoy it!) and Angels and Demons which thankfully I managed to follow admirably.
Beading is happening, but I'm busy re-working a necklace and writing up the instructions for it for Beadwork; my Bead & Button article will be finished this weekend and in the post as soon as my toggle fasteners arrive to finish the pieces, so that's one out the way. Phew.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Swarovski bicones to be replace by Xilion shape

I love Swarovskis and adore their bicones - they feature in so many things I do these days in one way, shape or form - but it is shortly going to be replaced.

The new bead - the Xilion cut (reference 5328) - will over the coming months replace the 5301 bicone bead. From what I've read, the Xilion has alternating size facets and more cuts which will give better light reflection and it also seems it will be a littler rounder around the middle than the standard bicone. So far as I understand it, all the bicone shapes are to be replaced with the exception of the 2.5mm.

If you can't bear to be without the traditional bicone, hurry and buy them now as once the transition period has gone (June to September this year) once stocks run out you won't be able to get the current shape any more...apparently.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Changed my mind!

My work in progress - a small pot vase covered in beads - has resurfaced. I got some amethyst rivolis a couple of weeks ago with the intention of embellishing the vase with these and other bits and bobs. I didn't like my first choice of colours (posted about 10 days ago) and so the lovely rivoli in purples and reds has been unpicked.

Now, I've gone totally OTT and opted for in your face orange with purple and fuchsia and I lurv the combo and how the two rivolis have turned out. Outrageous and startling was what I had in mind and I think I'm close! You know when something's right and to me, right now for this particular piece of beading, it's right. Others might not think so!

Yeah! More published work!

Hot on the heels of having my last piece accepted for publication in Bead & Button magazine, I've now just heard back from Beadwork magazine that they like a necklace I submitted to them for consideration! Wowwee, I'm on a roll. Both will be out in early 2010 (seems a lifetime away!).

Now I REALLY need to get myself into gear as I've three months to finish them both. The B&B one is virtually done, my trusted tester having just this week worked my instructions without a hitch, so today I shall be knuckling down and trying to finish that one off. After that, it will be all systems go for the Beadwork article.

I've learnt over the years to finish a piece, write the instructions to near completion and only then submit the work - in the early days, I simply had an idea (no piece or picture was usually required), offered the idea to the magazine I wrote for and then got a reply with a six week deadline for everything! It was always a panic and so now I feel better prepared, but still panic like mad!

Thankfully, my project for the UK's Bead magazine is now with them and so most the hard work has been done.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

What's on my bead mat now?

I'm back to working on the beaded vase, well, I'm actually having a break from the green beads and working on its embellishments instead. I chose some colours - pinks, reds, purples (I even bought some amethyst rivolis thinking they were going to be the right colours) but having worked a rivoli have more or less decided it's too dull. So it's back to the drawing board and colour selection process!

The bottom picture shows the colour selection before I started on the rivoli and to be brutally honest, the selection is dull, dull and dull! I actually like the finished rivoli, just not against the green of the pot. It needs something zingy and so I think I'll just have to introduce some orange and see where I go from there.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Crystal Jewelry Magazine

Two posts in one day - you can tell I'm not at work today!

I've just taken a break in between doing the back garden and front garden to open my latest beady order and wow, I'm well chuffed. Not only have I got some lovely amethyst Swaro rivolis, but I thought I'd treat myself to some 4mm fuchsia Swarovski sequins (with a hole through) and I'm glad I did.

However, the best bit of the order is a copy of Bead & Button's Crystal Jewelry 2 magazine - if you like working with Swarovski crystals, go grab a copy quick. It's most impressive!

Bead vacuum!

I was just having a browse of beady sites over breakfast (my favourite browsing time whilst hubby is usually still in bed, at least I can get my hands on the computer :)!) and found this fab little gem of a gadget on Jean Campbell's blog of 30 April - a vacuum for collecting your bead spills! I'd like to think my new Vax vacuum will mean that my floors are so spotlessly clean no stray dog hairs would contaminate any vacuumed beads, but I guess that might just be asking too much. I suppose this mini-vac would be better suited to stray beads on your table or worktop.

Personally, I have my own bead-collecting gadget - hubby. Rather oddly, he seems to enjoy scouring the floor on his hands and knees picking up escapee beads, but I wish he wouldn't just dump the pickings on my work mat when I'm not looking - I end up with no end of oddments scattered amongst the beads I'm working with and usually end up picking up an invader!