Craft not chaos

The lovely people over at Folksy are running an alternative take on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday phenomenon called ‘Craft not Chaos’, with lots of gorgeous shops offering discounts today or over the weekend. So if you’re looking for gorgeous hand made gifts, toys, clothes, jewellery, furniture or just things that are generally lovely why not pop over and have a look here?

Jean Power Bangle

And I’m taking part by offering 10% off finished beadwork until Monday 30th, using the discount code BLACKFRIDAY. Because Folksy can only discount my whole shop, I’ve had to hide my tutorials and materials packs while the discount is in place, but beaders don’t panic, you can still buy them via my Etsy and PayHip shops, and they’ll be back on Folksy on Tuesday.

Kissing Piggies - Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Kissing Piggies – Sarah Cryer Beadwork

How not to succeed in beading……

All this talk of tape measures reminded me that I haven’t actually made one of my Baroque Tape measures since I released the pattern. So rather than finishing some more materials packs so other people could make them, I had a go myself. I’ve been wanting to do a more multicoloured version for ages, something a bit huicholly.  So I pulled some beads, got the pattern up on the iPad, and started beading.  It did not go well.
Changing colours this often just doesn’t work with this design – you loose the shapes formed between beads and by the beads themselves.


And even worse, I started the netting out of the wrong row of the peyote bezel, meaning the rivoli sticks out way too far, so all in all not good.  Below you can see the ‘wrong’ version next to my later correct version – the rivoli bezel now forms part of the netted surround, rather than the surround looking like it’s been tacked on.



So that version was abandoned, I took an evening  off to make those Materials Packs, and then I tried again.  This time I paid more attention to my own instructions, thus avoiding the bezel error, and I changed seed bead colours only every two or three steps, rather than every step as before.  And hopefully you will agree that this looks much better.


There were still a few things I’d forgotten since I’d done the original design:

Firstly, back then I didn’t use Fireline.  Now I do, and it does noticeably alter my tension (to the extent that I’m actually thinking of stopping using it).  This was worsened when I lost the reel I’d been using (small people move stuff), and grabbed another reel which turned out to be one of the faulty ones from a while back.  So lesson learned – netting suits a thread with a bit of give, like the lovely Miyuki threads, and in addition, using  a poor quality thread will slow you down and make a good finish all the more difficult.  So use the best you can, all of the time.  Throw the rest away so you won’t use it by mistake.

Secondly, I should have used a coloured thread that matched the tape measure – that way you can relax your tension without worrying about gaps between the beads exposing the thread, and the pattern will still work fine but be much more pleasurable to bead.  Honestly, it’s all basic stuff………………

Thirdly, I ignored my own instructions to stop adding the firepolished beads when you get to the tape hole – I worked around it (just as I did in the early prototypes, before I worked out how to cope with the hole properly), but I’m annoyed with myself as it’s just not as good.  Read the instructions woman!

Finally, I had a go at working with a messier bead tray – all my beads muddled up together instead of carefully kept in separate piles.  This was partly because I’ve read a few articles recently discussing how different headers like to work, so I thought I’d try the mixed up way, and partly because unpicking the failed first side left me with muddled up beads anyway.  This was not a good move – it drive me completely crazy, I hated not being able to just pick up the bead I needed, and as I had multiple sizes of the same colour out it led to mistakes.  I am quite confident that it would have been quicker to re-sort the beads into piles first, as it really slowed me down.  Never again.


I still need to add a beaded bead of some sort for the pull tab, so I’ll have a delve around my stash of previous work and interesting beads (I’m sure I have a red tea pot somewhere – not very Mexican but fun anyway).  But it has been a very useful learning experience going back to it, and I have another one planned as a Christmas gift now (which will hopefully be a bit better).



Yet more materials packs 

Do you know I have now put together 28 different colourways, many of which can be seen here.….?  Anyway, another set are available now, including some using a new, transparent tape measure.

U.K. Buyers can order from my Folksy or Etsy shops.

I’m often asked by overseas buyers if I can send to them, so in case you are one of them,so I thought it would be useful to stick one of the replies I sent to a lovely US customer here where you can all see:

I don’t normally ship overseas as postage outside the UK is so ridiculously expensive even for small packages, that it doesn’t really make the packs very good value for customers.  Postage to the US would be £10 (just over $15), so whilst I’m happy to do it, you may be better off selecting the beads yourself locally/from your stash and spending that postage money on even more beads! However, everything I include in the packs should be readily available internationally  –  below are some tips on tape measure & bead selection, and an exact list of the pattern’s requirements with quantities to help you decide.

Tape measure – they are pretty widely available from craft shops and online (for example or  I have found the ‘metro’ brand are better quality, but pretty much all of the others available are fine size wise.  

The beads themselves are all standard stuff – you can substitute rounds for fire polisheds and vice versa, and even change colour more often in the seeds.  The only ones to watch out for are the drops, which are 2.8mm rather than 3.4mm (they have a very slender stem compared to the 3.4, so you can’t swap).

In terms of colourways, there are infinite options, but there are pictures here of some of the ones I’ve sold in the past (scroll down to get to the right tutorial):

The exact requirements are:

2qty 14mm Round Rivoli

3g Size 15 Seed Bead Colour A

10g Size 11 Seed Bead Colour A

3g Size 11 Seed Bead Colour B

47 qty 3mm Fire Polished Beads

46 qty 4mm Round Beads

98 qty 2.8mm Drop Beads

B 32 qty 3mm Bicone Crystals

Tape Measure, 50mm diameter, 10mm thick.

Beadweaving needles, thread of your choice, scissors.

So I hope this helps you understand why I keep to the UK only with the packs – do contact me though if you have any problems sourcing the items.