Tuesday 9 June 2009

Vase update

It might not look like progress, but it is, honest! I've reworked the collar and it's a much improved version and was chuffed with how the medallions have slotted into place - much easier than I expected. The next step will be adding the mega, massive, bling-overload rivolis and then said vase will look totally OTT! Lots of work still ahead, but it's coming along spiffingly.

Sunday 7 June 2009

Beaded Beads...

...are wonderful! When you need a quick bead fix and want to feel as though you've achieved something, this is the way to go. I call it "component beading" - making lots of components that eventually get together to organise themselves into an overal piece.

These are my Hour Glass beaded beads that have lots of potential to be realised, when I get the time to kick them into shape!

Friday 5 June 2009

Herringbone Bangle

I thought I'd have a break from the vase for a couple of days (more on this later...) and decided to make myself a bangle in copper and cream tones.

This one is made using tiny herringbone tubes with a smattering of Swarovski crystals (of course) for added sparkle.

As for the vase, I've had to unpick the collar because the beautiful, bright fuchsia cylinders edging the collar were dyed (which I knew) and the colour has started rubbing off already. I never, ever used dyed beads in jewellery but thought I could get away with it on something that wasn't going to be subjected to the rigours of being handled or in contact with skin, but even the small amount of handling in weaving them has brought the colour off these beads. It's a shame because they were so bright and perfect against the orange and I deliberated for a long time about whether to leave the collar or unpick it, but deep down I knew I would never be happy and those wretched, sub-standard beads would constantly jump out at me. On the up side, I've changed the pattern slightly and found a suitable bright replacement, so it's back to the drawing board tonight...

So fellow beaders, be very, very careful when using dyed beads!

Tuesday 2 June 2009

The Vase - progress and a challenge for YOU!

The ongoing vase project is, well, still ongoing. I've had a bit of a splurge on it over the past week, although it is rather had to recognise that much more has been done to it the beadwork now goes over the top rim of the vase and down so far inside, but it's causing me a bit of thought on how to finish the inside off a little bit neater than it is. OK, so you might not see inside when it's stood on a shelf or whatever, but I couldn't live with it not being finished off well plus, if anyone picks it up, they're bound to look inside!

There was a major unpicking session with the collar around the neck - I did my maths late one night and figured that so long as the bead count divided by 6 (number of points), a pattern would work (no pattern plan in mind, just to develop as I went along!). It went wrong. With a fresh brain the next day, the mistake was so obvious and easily solved - a count of 108 for the initial circle would divide by 6 equally and give me the 6 points I needed. I would then have to peyote 54 beads each round. Other than the collar, everything is just tacked in place, hence all the threads dangling!

I've got a couple more rivolis to bezel and then some 8mm Swarovski rounds to bezel before I make a decision as to how much more over-the-top I make it! The main thing about this project is I'M LOVING IT - it's a no-holes-barred expression of beading and every beader should have a go at it. Garish colours, totally unwearable, extravagant and in your face - just what the beading doctor ordered!

The challenge for you is to SUGGEST A NAME FOR THE PIECE so please let me have any ideas.

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.