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The Sting

I’ve been working really hard on a competition piece recently, and after a month’s solid discipline I fell of the wagon last week and wandered off into other beading.  I’m sure the break will be good for me, but none of the other beading really worked and that made me rather antsy.  When this happens, there are two options – have a night off beading, or do something which can’t fail.  I didn’t want a night off, so I turned to my stash of digital patterns to find something by a designer who never lets me down – Sabine Lippert.  Just before Christmas she had a pattern sale, so I had a little splurge on a few patterns, including her pendant ‘Sting’.  This looked like something which would be achievable in an evening or two, so I pulled some beads and got going.

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It was a good decision – as always with Sabine’s designs this piece went together very nicely.  It took around 3.5 hours – I’m used to Sabine’s designs so can usually work them up quite quickly, and I found this one pretty easy, with everything just slotting together perfectly for a contented evening’s beading.  It’s given me my beading mojo back, and with some child free time off the day job coming up, I feel refreshed and ready to get some of those long awaited tutorials finished and launched soon.

Recipe

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  • 15 seed – Miyuki Duracoat Cranberry 4211
  • 11 seed – Miyuki Matte Silver Grey 2012
  • SuperDuo – Jet Gunmetal Pearl
  • Delica – Miyuki Matte Pewter 321
  • 3mm Crystals – Swarovski Paparadscha AB2 (slightly hard to find colour in 3mm – I got mine at a show from Gemstone Boutique)
  • Spikes – Dark Bronze.  I have no idea where they came from!
  • 3mm Round – I didn’t have any in the right colour, so I used some Saturated Fuchsia firepolisheds from Robin’s Beads, which worked well.
  • 6mm Round – I used an orange FP, this can’t really be seen so you just need something that tones in.
  • 14mm Rivoli – Chinese (not as fine a finish as Swarovski or Preciosa, so they don’t work with a tighter bezel, but a fantastic colour which neither of them offer and worked for this project – from the Southampton Bead Shop)

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The ribbon (I know it needs a press, it’s been lurking in my stash for ages) was hand dyed by Stef Francis, a fantastic space dyer who I came across in my sewing days.

Tips

I usually find my tension too tight for Sabine’s pieces, because of the 3D embellishments and layering.  So I relaxed things a bit, but unfortunately I shouldn’t have done as this is one which requires stiff tension to create a solid rod of peyote, so it came out a bit floppy.  However, I have stuck a head pin down the middle and it’s fine!

Sabine does warn you about this in the blurb on her site, but not in the pattern.  Because I’d bought the pattern a while ago, I’d forgotten what the blurb said, but to be honest a beader of my experience should know that if you want to make a peyote tube rigid you’ve got to do some pretty solid stitching, and use a suitable thread – Sabine recommends Fireline explicitly in the materials list (which should have been another clue) but I’ve gone off it a bit, so I used KO which is clearly not going to give the same rigidity.  So entirely my fault, but a useful learning experience (just when you think you have things sussed…..), and it still looks fine.  If I make this design again, which I probably will, I might perhaps stick a cocktail stick down the middle for extra stiffness anyway (the head pin I used is after all flexible).

Sting - Sabine Lippert - beaded by Sarah Cryer

Colours

One of my resolutions this year is to include more neutral colours in my beadwork – I have a tendency to chuck colour at things, which sometimes gives me an amazing looking piece which is completely unwearable.  I try to avoid beading with black as it’s hard work, and anyway I wear a lot of navy blue rather than black, so I’ve been using a lot of 401FR and similar to give me a navy base.  I’m also getting really into pewter, and other matte, mid greys, as they work well with the etched beads I’m currently obsessed with, so for this piece I chose a selection of those tones for the base beads, and variations on a dark salmon pink for the main colour.  I toyed with a few different spikes (which you can see in the materials picture), but in the end the dark metallic chocolate worked best. This was going against my instincts, which were to pick out the fuschia and orange of the stone, and maybe chuck in some zest, but I think it’s worked well and given me a striking but wearable piece, proving that this is a good resolution!

Conclusion

A lovely piece, well worth buying and trying.  Rock hard tension and the correct thread would have helped keep the main shaft rigid, so always read the instructions.  I’m going to get back to my own work for now, but next time I need a break I’ve got Sabine’s Toggle Ring tutorial to try.

 

 

 

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Playing with forms

For years now I’ve been eyeing up my children’s tiny plastic toy animals – surely I could bead around one and make something really funky?  But I’ve been put off by two things- firstly they are really small and it would be fiddly (I know this is ironic coming from a beadweaver) and the ‘spare’ ones here are all creepy crawlies and I really don’t like them. We do have a giant octopus just crying out to be beaded but he is much too big.

So when I was in the local art shop (gorgeous Cass Arts) the other day and saw some small Decopatch creatures I thought ‘aha – they look fun’.  So I now own a lovely Brontosaurus – she’s small enough to be achievable, but big enough to allow me to work out some techniques in sensibly sized beads.  She’ll be an ornament rather than something to wear, but if she works I can try a smaller form next time – I’m seeing a range of necklaces made of tiny beaded T-Rex’s already…………….

 

 

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Our Solar System

One of the best bits of winning an Etsy Beadweavers Challenge is that you get to choose a future challenge topic.  The first time I won (with my Nasturtium Ring) I chose ‘Architecture’, which prompted some lovely entries.  My second win, with my Wings Bangle for the ‘Abstract Painting’ challenge was last October and my space mad family chose ‘Our Solar System’ as a theme.  Because we don’t run a challenge in December, and because January is always ‘Rising Star’ (for new members and those who haven’t won a challenge), the team have had plenty of thinking and beading time, and there have been a huge number of really fabulous entries.  I’ve not entered because I did a Planets necklace a while back and was a bit stumped for a new idea – looking at the entries I wouldn’t have stood a chance anyway!

So, the brief I gave them was:

The Solar System

In our house at the moment we are completely obsessed with our Solar System. My husband has a new telescope which we’ve been using to look at the moon and planets, so he’s constantly coming up with new activities (last week we all watched the International Space Station whizz over us). Recently we saw a wonderful harvest moon, followed the same night by the lunar eclipse (so much better than last year’s cloud covered solar eclipse), and last week I opened my newspaper to see some extraordinary new images of Jupiter’s storms from the Hubble Space Telescope, so when it came to choosing a theme it seemed like the whole universe was shouting at me!

Anyway, our Solar System seems like wonderful inspiration for beaders – how about beaded beads making a necklace of  planets, a scatter of rough natural crystals captured in freeform beadwork forming the Asteroid belt, or some bead embroidery inspired by the twisting stripes of Jupiter’s storms? And if you get stuck you can always watch our favourite song for inspiration, or if you are feeling more sensible have a look at the Hubble website’s gallery (don’t get distracted by the far off nebulae though, please stick to our own Solar System).

I gave them a link to Thomas (5) & Oscar’s (2) favourite song:

And to the Hubble Gallery.

And this is what they produced – extraordinary!

Etsy Beadweavers Feb 16 Solar System entries

Here are links to the Etsy listings:

Thomas (5) is completely in love with Kris’ Rocket (no.2) – who wouldn’t be, and dear husband loves the other Chris’ spiral galaxy (no.9).  Apparently the fact that our solar system is shown in red is astronomically significant and that (as well as its’ loveliness) pleases his pedantic heart.  Oscar (2) is far too young to choose a favourite (he just says ‘beads’), and I can’t really say because it would be a bit inappropriate (although I think those of you who know me could probably narrow it down to three based on past beady fawning).  I’ll tell you all when the voting is over…………….

Anyway please, please do have a proper look through and then swing by the team blog before February 16th and cast your vote for your favourite – it only takes a second, and there is something for everyone.   Follow us on Facebook or via the blog to keep up to date with all of our shops and to be inspired by the challenges (next month’s is ‘Masquerade’), and if you really love one of these fantastic pieces, why not buy it and have it forever?