Snippets from a bead artist.


February's Beading Prompt

Happy February, all.  I apologize for the lack of a New Year's/January prompt, but hopefully the rest of 2018 will be cooperative and we will have prompts each month on the first.    I did put out in the FB group that you could use bead embroidery as a prompt for January but there was no actual prompt or post.

This month I thought we would work with a stitch that is fairly under-used, but really gorgeous.  St.  Petersburg chain is slightly daunting to learn at first, but quickly becomes easier with repetition, and results in a beautiful, almost braided, look.  It can be worked in single rows, with a wonderfully jagged sort of look, or in double rows for more of a chevron feel.

Because there are so many steps to the initial stitches, it looks more complex than it is to weave once you get going.  I STILL refer to diagrams or my own instructions when I start one, my brain just won't retain the first few steps - but once it's started, it gains a rhythm that can be quite addictive.

You can make the single chain, a double chain, or hook more and more doubled chains together and come up with very different results.

This necklace I did awhile back has straps made from the single row - they look like diagonal peyote or little teeth, to me.

Then there is the doubled chain, which was worked in the traditional manner for this necklace which was designed by Hatsumi Oshitani for Bead & Button magazine (in 2009, I think). (Beadwork by me.)

I designed In Bloom with St Petersburg chain, but I joined the two strands together differently, so that each of the single chains are made separately and THEN joined. 

There is a free tutorial located on The Spruce that I found, if you haven't ever tried this stitch before, and the link for that is HERE.  There are various other free ones around, too, if you Google - many YouTube videos as well, if you're more of a video leaning learner.  If you'd like to support your small business designer, Valorie Clifton has a very reasonably priced St Petersburg workshop tutorial (photo below) on Etsy HERE.

When I searched through Etsy I didn't see very many, but I did find three that I thought were absolutely excellent - Twyla Harbick has this GORGEOUS lariat tutorial using stunning etched dagger beads as accents:

and you can find that HERE.  Simple Bead Patterns has these lovely Pheonix earrings HERE, as well as a pretty chevron looking bracelet tutorial that shows how to add more and more chains together.

My In Bloom tutorial is available HERE if you'd like to try it.  :)  I hope you enjoy this month's prompt and do try it out - I really like this stitch and would love to see more versions in the group.  Happy beading until next month!


December Prompt Post

Happy holidays, everyone!  I hope that each and every one of you has a wonderful season - those that celebrate in some way and those that don't.  :)

This month's post is going to be quite short, because this is a 'free' month.  I'm not posting a prompt for December, as it's SUCH a hectic time for everyone, and because I would like to start the new year with a prompt on the first of each month rather than the 20th - which wouldn't leave a lot of time to complete a December prompt in any case.

There were a few votes in the group for wanting a prompt, so I did come up with a suggestion which you can use or not as you see fit - bead something with a metallic in it, something sparkly and exciting with golds or silvers, bronze or copper included with your happy colors.  Use a mixed metals palette!  Bronze, gold, and copper together look stunning, as does a mix of gold and silver or bronze and gold.

In closing out the year, it would be awesome if you took a moment to sit and think about what inspired you most with your beading this year - was it a specific design or pattern by a  favorite designer?  A new (to you) bead shape?  Using a color you hadn't tried before?  Learning a new stitch that you always wanted to master?  I'd love to hear about it, whether here in the comments or in the FB group.

I'm so pleased that folks have enjoyed this year's prompts and even more pleased that I did manage to bead a little - not enough, but a little.  I hope that the new year brings me some inspiration and some new designs and some excitement around the beads, and I intend to come up with prompts to get myself beading some more!


November's Beady Prompt

Hello lovely beaders!  Have you had a good month?  Was it bead-filled?  I hope so!

This month's prompt has NOTHING to do with the holidays, which may enrage you or please you mightily, depending on your outlook on holidays.  If you're looking for holiday fun, I totally recommend Jean Power's Secret Beadalong - it looks like mega amounts of fun.  IF, however, you're into just regular everyday beady awesomeness, look no further, for we are about to embark upon...  Beaded Beads!  Yes indoodly, this month's prompt is to use those tiny little bitsy beads and turn them into bigger, more complicated beads!

Beaded bead designed by Gwen Fisher

Beaded bead designed by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Beaded bead designed by Florence Turnour

Beaded bead designed by Cindy Holsclaw (with fringe added)

Beaded beads designed by various artists and combined into one necklace by me.

My first foray into beading was actually earrings, but I became wildly obsessed with vessels, and then even more wildly obsessed with beaded beads.  Oh my, the possibilities!  The intricacy!  The visual and tactile textures!  Ahhhhhh!!  Those addictive, gorgeous spheres of beadiness.

There are a bazillion and one tutorials out there for making these beauties - you may already have a favorite - so I can't possibly include them all, but I have hand selected a few to offer if you haven't tried making these but would love to.

What better way to start off than with beaded bead extraordinaire Sharri Moroshok?  I have admired her work for simply ages, and when I found out that she was making tutorials I RAN to her shop!  These are just two examples of the stunningness you can find in her shop:

The first photo shows Sharri's Signature beaded bead - the first one I laid eyes on in a beading magazine.  You can find that tutorial HERE.  The second is her Sparkly Plenty Pumpkin bead tutorial  (which seems apt for our time of year) and you can grab that one HERE.

Onward to Carol Dean Sharpe's shop, SandFibers!  Here you will find the wonderful Blooming Beads, Volume One tutorial, which contains the instructions to make several variations of this self supporting peyote stitched bead:

Then there are the gorgeously imagined and realized beaded beads by magician Cindy Holsclaw of Bead Origami.  OMgoodness, these are so rich and luscious!!  And these are just a FEW of the beaded bead tutorials available on her site.  This is the Disco Beaded Bead Bundle pack - you get the instructions for all three of these HERE.

And her cheerfully pretty Bubble Beads Bundle, which you can get HERE:

Akke Jonkhof of Akkeieraden has several beautiful beaded bead tutorials for sale, including this amazing construction with Rulla beads (you can find the tutorial HERE):

And, I must include this tutorial by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, called Luscious Layers (which you can find HERE in her Jewelry Tales shop) because it was one of my all time favorite ones to make.  I had SO MUCH FUN with this!!  And I can't find my photo, lol - but here is Cynthia's photo, and isn't it fabulous??!?!?

Sylvie Camps of PeyoteBeadArt on Etsy has this lovely tutorial that includes four different patterns - you can find it HERE.  

And Tracey Lorraine of Crystal Star Gems on Etsy has a glamorous cube beaded bead that I just adore (it would look incredible just by itself on a gold chain!)  HERE.

And that's all I have time for today, but I hope I've provided some inspiration and that you try one! Yes, go on and bead yourself a bead! :D  Happy beading until next month, everyone!


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! :)


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!