Snippets from a bead artist.

10.19.2017

October's Bead Prompt

Hello out there!  Here's to hoping you had a fabulous September and are ready for a wonderful November.  October... well, it's a bit challenging, eh?  But we're slogging through.  :)  Did you try Chenille Stitch last month?  Was it fun?

I did a few more things with Chenille before I switched gears...  I wanted to see if I could do a version of a Color Play Rope (I wrote a blog post about them back HERE, it's my take on a freeform-ish CRAW rope) in Chenille, and it worked!  I really had fun with it, and I enjoyed working in a color way I don't use a lot - caramel and green apple.  (And now I'm hungry, lol!)




And then a mostly filled in rope using my Regency Bangle/Rope as a jumping off point, and a gorgeous bead made by Julie Schmidt-Bowen (who has beads for sale HERE if you're tempted - and I bet you are).  I used my favorite 457 and matte iris blue/purple seeds and fire polish.



I tried and tried to like Flat Chenille, but I just couldn't get myself going on it.  So I went and researched Pondo Stitch a bit, and ended up making this bracelet - but haven't yet found a suitable clasp.


THEN, I began working in earnest for October's prompt.  Which is...  Hubble Stitch!!  Hubble was invented by bead genius Melanie de Miguel - she has not one but TWO books devoted to Hubble Stitch.  Once you've gotten the hang of it, it's completely and utterly compelling and addictive.  I set out to work my way through both of her books and do at least a swatch of each and every variation and project in every chapter.

If you haven't gotten Melanie's books yet, I can't recommend them enough.  This stitch is so versatile!  And so fun!! And has such a wonderful feel to it, both while you're stitching and when you're done.  You can make flat pieces, dimensional pieces, ropes, bangles... you name it.  These are some of the beautiful projects Melanie has made, both from the books and as workshops (all photos are Melanie's, and used with her permission):




The first book is called Let's Hubble, and you can grab it on Amazon HERE if you don't have a copy yet.  The book describes the bones of the stitch and then takes you through variations and projects with extremely clear instructions, photos and diagrams (as well as a sense of humor and the feeling that the author is sitting right there with you as you bead).  Hubble is constructed in units, just as right angle weave is constructed in units - but it is not right angle weave.  It's a creature unto itself and it's awesome!  The very first row can be challenging as you are just starting out, but once you've gotten into the rhythm, it gets easier and easier.

Marcia DeCoster has also designed with Hubble, in both her fabulous Cryptex vessel necklace, and her amazing Wind Beneath My Wings bracelet.  (Both of these are workshops and unavailable as kits or tutorials right now.)


I made it alllllll the way through Melanie's first book, Let's Hubble! and  I enjoyed every single swatch and project.  With some practice, I was Hubbling in no time.  Here are my swatches:



The final project is Solar Flare, a fantastic pendant (Melanie's photo):


I can't seem to get my tension right on this one, and need to work on it much more.  I have a hard time figuring out how to hold it while I stitch.  Mine looks rather sad, here:


But I messaged Melanie on Facebook (she is incredibly helpful and patient and friendly), and she has given me some pointers, both on bezeling and working in the round.   I will be trying Solar Flare again, and with her help I'm positive I will do better.
 Book Two is called Hubble Stitch 2 - Further Adventures into Planet Hubble and is available in both hardback and Kindle formats (yay! I grabbed the Kindle version for my iPad) HERE.  It brings Hubble to a new level, with gorgeous projects and variations on Wave Hubble.  And for me, Wave Hubble was actually easier to master than the original Hubble - the units flip upside and downside, and the beginning rows are a BREEZE.   If you have tried Hubble and have had problems with your first row, I highly encourage you to grab this second book and give Wave Hubble a try.  You won't  be sorry!

I made it most of the way through Hubble Stitch 2, but I got sidetracked once I reached Chapter 6, which deals with Horizontal Wave Hubble Ropes.  I fell madly, madly in love with these ropes and made a total of six bracelets so far - five in the original format and one in Double Wave Hubble.  Once I had the technique down in size 11s, I had to immediately do some in size 15s, and I added in True 2 fire polish beads.  These are sooooooo meditative and soothing and calming, and at the same time so fulfilling and exciting!

My swatches from Hubble Stitch 2:


And my stack of Horizontal Wave Hubble Ropes - squeeeee!! :) The second photo shows a wrap bracelet I made with WH, and added in some lamp work beads by Julie Cannon.  You can wear it as a necklace, too, but I really like it better as a bracelet.




I hope you decide to take on Hubble or Wave Hubble (because ROPES!!!!), and that you have a great time with it this month.  In case you're looking for a place to share things or ask questions, Melanie has a page on FaceBook just for Hubble HERE.  See you around in our group or just on social media, and see you next month! :)



9.19.2017

September's Beady Prompt

Helllllooooooo, and sorry that the blog posts skipped!  I posted directly on Facebook and in the beady prompts group last month due to some personal stuff going on - I just didn't have the energy to write a whole blog.  The prompt last month was for Dutch Spiral Stitch, and it was a pretty good hit!  I'm happy to be able to say that several people tried it, who hadn't ever done so before.  :)  I did a few myself, too.

This is Angie Martin's beautiful take on the stitch (Angie is also known as Nanny Pink's Passion on Etsy and you can find her tutorials - this one in particular - HERE):


Amanda Connell of BeadiACDesigns on Etsy (her brand new shop is HERE) made this lovely creation:


Kate Larson is on her second rope now, and coming along fabulously:


And my two that I did during the month:



If YOU haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it!  It's a fun project which can easily be customized, depending on your bead choices.

Onward to this month's prompt!!  I asked if the folks in the group were sick of ropes yet, and got a fairly resounding 'No' so I picked another one I really enjoy - Chenille Stitch!  As soon as I put down my Dutch Spiral I was into Chenille stitch in a big way, and actually made a ton of them - with a variation.  I intend to make a few more this month!

Chenille can be made with lots of different sizes of beads, although doing one all in size 15 would probably  be challenging (now why does that make me want to do one right away?!?).  I think it's one of the most relaxing stitches I know, and not hard to learn, especially if you've done herringbone.  Once you get the hang of it, it's a lovely rhythm, similar in my mind to peyote, even though it's roots are in herringbone.

Since there are many things to be done with chenille, I've included a few tutorials and links to different kinds of projects using the stitch.  You absolutely don't have to buy any of them to participate in the prompt, but since they're gorgeous AND fun, I wanted to include them.

So, basic chenille in the round (tubular) can be found HERE at Interweave by Jean Campbell.

Basic FLAT chenille stitch can be found HERE at Interweave by Jean Cox.

A wonderful tutorial on blending your colors for your rope can be found HERE by Marsha Wiest-Hines of Haute Ice Beadwork on Etsy - how gorgeous are these?!?!?


Tracey Lorraine has used chenille with fantastic effect HERE in her Kaleidoscope Bracelet:


Jeanne Evans had a fabulous necklace project published in Beadwork Magazine in the December 2014/January 2015 issue!  If you  have that magazine, you can grab it out and try her necklace AND some of her variations!


Cortney Philips of Baubles By Cortney came up with a stunning bangle bracelet that uses this stitch in an ingenious way:



You can find Cortney's Kelly Bangle HERE.

Sabine Lippert has come up with a variation of the flat stitch that I LOVE in her Firenze bracelet, which can be found HERE on her Trytobead site.  (Also, chenille AND rivolis?!?!  Who can resist?!?!)


And here is my Regency chenille variation, which uses Demi Beads and creates a pretty, quite easy to stitch up bangle or rope!  You can grab my tutorial HERE if you're so inclined.





My friend Sarah Tucker has made one using size 15 beads in place of the Demi Round beads, and it looks FABULOUS!


I tried it this evening myself, and size 15s work perfectly well in the pattern, and don't increase your bangle size noticeably - so if you like the look of the bangle and don't have (or don't want) Demi beads in your stash, you can simply use 15s in place of the Demis in each step.


And I made this rope (which ended up a whopping 48") that includes both regular chenille and my variation of the stitch in it:


I hope you find some inspiration here, and give Chenille Stitch a try if you haven't already - or revisit it if you have!

7.19.2017

July Beady Prompt

Happy Summer, all!  I hope you're having a good time in the sun and enjoying the warmer weather, and if you're on the other side of the world, I hope you're enjoying your late autumn weather (which is my favorite)!

Last month's CRAW prompt seemed to be a fun one for the folks in the group  - we had some really wonderful work showing up, and it was definitely fun for me.  I decided to start one of my Color Play ropes in my favorite  bead soup colors (which I always name Universe in my head, because it makes me think of deep space for some reason) with some of my hoarded lamp work beads;


I do plan on finishing it, and have even bought a few more bead soups from the lovely Beverly Ash Gilbert to make a few more down the road, just because they are hugely fun for me.  :)  (If you would like to check out some of Beverly's soups for yourself - and who wouldn't?  - her shop and her remaining soups are HERE.)

July's prompt is herringbone stitch - also known as Ndebele stitch.  It makes a gorgeous pattern all on it's own done completely in seed beads, and can be used successfully with many of the newer shaped beads as well.  It can be a supple and sinuous rope, both straight and twisted, or a lovely flat base for embellishment, and when reinforced well, it can even be a beaded bead. It's slightly fiddly in my experience, in that you have to make sure that the two beads you're adding sit properly before you move to the next stitch, but I find it sooooooo worth the extra attention.

There are a metric buttload of tutorials for herringbone out there, I can't possibly share them all to inspire you.  But here are a few that I particularly like.

Lynn Davy has two up that I think are just so pretty - and the first one, rather than herringbone along the length, is herringbone along with width, which turns out so beautifully! (And I never would have thought of it myself...)  This is a photo of her Wave Cuff Tutorial, which you can find HERE.



And her Tweed Cuff tutorial, which shows you  how to add in lots of texture with different kinds of beads can be found HERE.



Carol Ohl has a wonderful tutorial that shows how to use some of our lamp worked beads in a herringbone rope called Village Lampwork Necklace, which you can find HERE.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel has LOTS of tutorials that utilize herringbone, like this lovely lacy necklace

 and this fabulous Lagoon beaded bead.  You can find them both in her shop HERE.


Melissa Grakowsky Shippee has this amazing Princess Victoria bracelet tutorial up, such a fantastic combination of stitches!! You can find it HERE.


In my own shop, I have the Royal Herringbone Ropes tutorial, which uses two holed Dobble beads in one rope and 6mm rounds in the other.  (You can use single hole 8mm rounds in place of Dobbles, too.)


I've done a number of things with herringbone and enjoyed each of them a lot.  I hope you find this month's prompt to be something that excites your muse!  Happy beading until next month!

6.20.2017

June's Beading Prompt

Hellooooooo out there!  How has your month been?  I hope it's been a good one.  :)  Here I am back to frustrate... er INSPIRE you again!  Last month's fringe prompt brought out some really beautiful pieces in the group.  I hope some of you out there in blog land tried your hands at it, too.

This month may bring some consternation to a few people, but it's one of my absolute favorites and so I *had* to go there... Cubic Right Angle Weave.  This stitch is so incredibly versatile, and expands your knowledge base so much, that I had to have it in here somewhere this year.  In some cases it can be straight and rigid and can make for lovely crisp lines in your work, but in other applications it can be flowing and drapey and provide sensuous curves.  It can encircle and wrap, or it can stand on it's own.  It can be made with such a soft hand that it becomes a fabric, or it can be made with tight tension to make a sturdy platform.  Peyote stitch is the only other stitch I can think of that has so many possibilities inherent in it.

There are several thread paths that can be used to stitch CRAW - the one that I was taught straight out of the gate which uses the clockwise/counter clockwise right angle weave path, and the one I learned from Heather Collin, which uses a more circular (but linear) path.  My own personal thread path is a combination of the two; I do the first three parts of the unit (cube) Heather's way and then the last two parts traditionally.  (Yes, I know, I'm weird - but it's totally ingrained now, and I do it automatically, lol. ) I think that however you get there, it's CRAW, and it's wonderful!

If you haven't tackled this yet, I know it's intimidating.  But there are FABULOUS tutorials out there that will help you learn it, and I guarantee that you won't regret learning it.  It expands your beady vocabulary and opens whole new vistas.  So the first two links I'm sharing are beginning tutorials that will get you started on your way.  The first is a link to Marcia's fantastic video by Interweave, which happens to be on sale for a great price right now - Cubic Right Angle Weave With Marcia DeCoster: Fundamentals, can be found HERE and is a wonderful basis to grow from.  Marcia's method is the traditional method.  Many new to CRAW beaders started their journey just recently with the LOVE letters on Marcia's BeadLove Blog, as well.  If you'd like to try your hand and haven't seen those posts yet, you can find them HERE, just keep scrolling through the posts to get to the first four posted.

Heather Collin's CRAW tutorials can be found on her YouTube channel HERE, and not only does she show you the basic rope with her thread path, but also how to create a frame and how to add rows to an existing rope.  And she has positively TONS of glorious CRAW tutorials in her Etsy shop HERE, such as this yummmmmmmmmy Sugar Cube tutorial!
If you're already an old hand at CRAW, you still may not have found some of these gorgeous tutorials yet, and so I wanted to share them (and if you search Etsy for cubic right angle weave beading tutorial you will find about a million more!):

Sian Nolan has this lovely Picket Fence Bracelet tutorial that I love;  you can find it HERE.


This tutorial by Helena Lang-Tim, called Il Braccialetto della Marchesa just blows my mind...  so much beauty.  You can find it HERE.


A variation on standard CRAW, Gwen Fisher has written this outstanding and unique tutorial on Twisted CRAW - so pretty!!  You can find it HERE.
Another variation of CRAW, Valorie Clifton has THIS terrific Tribulations bracelet:


And Kassie Shaw has her awesome Toblerone bracelet in her Etsy shop HERE:


And last but hopefully not least, I have two tutorials myself, one for sale in my shop and the other a freebie which you can find either on my blog or on my website.  Juliet is a necklace I designed years ago using CRAW and it's still one of my favorites. You can find the tutorial HERE.


And I did a post about making Color Play Ropes here on the blog - these necklaces use bead soup or any leftover beads you may have hanging around in a really textural rope that's fun to stitch up.  It shows how to add in single beads on your strand of CRAW, and how to embellish a bit.  You can find that post HERE.


And if you have Jane Lock's wonderful book The Art of Beadwork, I have a bracelet project in there in CRAW, too.  I hope you have found some inspiration here, or, if you haven't tried it before, you're feeling brave and want to give it a go!  Go CRAW happily!  I hope to see your pieces in the FB group, or if you have a blog and do a post with a piece from the prompt, leave me a comment with a link!