Secret Beadalong 2017 – Day 3

There is something very lovely about RAW done in bicones.  Partly because they are so expensive that doing a sheet of them is rather wanton, but mainly because they fit together so beautifully in their squares.  So I really enjoyed day 3, beading it really slowly and relishing the extravagant luxury of forming such beauty into a lovely net of sparkles.  Yummy.


Above you can see it with the fat form of days 1&2 and anunembellished tube ready for day 4.


Secret Beadalong 2017 – Prep work and Day 1

As you know once again I’m taking part in Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong for the Beadworker’s Guild’s National Beading Week – you can read about the beads I’ve chosen and find links to last year’s here.  I finished my prep work just in time, and here’s my first day’s beading.  After some self doubt around colour choice (the prep work was all in a lovely but for me rather restrained matte pewter), I’m feeling much happier now I’ve moved onto adding in some copper.


My sister Susie (from BeadingBySusie), with me this week and also beadingalong, has stuck to a more characteristic bright palette.   Our colour choices for joint projects are often similarly bright – she’s usually on the blue/turquoise side, with me on the red/fuchsia, but always both bright, so this is really highlighting my departure from the norm.


Secret Beadalong 2017 – Picking Beads

So things have been a bit quiet around here lately as I have spent much of my beading time working on a couple of competitions.  For a blog that aims to show my working process, competition pieces are a bit useless as I have to keep them hidden away, and then by the time I can show them to you the moment has passed.  But they are both done now, with one out in the world (more about that soon) and another about to be, so I can move on and start to focus on this year’s Jean Power Secret Beadalong.

So for those of you who are new to this, for the last couple of years the wonderful Jean Power has put together a ‘Secret Beadalong’ – a pattern which is beaded over a series of days which span the UK Beadworker’s Guild’s National Beading Week.  I’ve done both years and loved them, and thousands of other beaders across the globe have also participated.  You can read about the previous years starting here (2015) and here (2016), or have a look at the piccies on the Facebook Group Jean set up for us to share our progress, and of course learn more on Jean’s website.

This year the requirements list rather usefully including suggestions for which beads should be a contrast, compliment and so on.  This is really helpful as of course we don’t know what we will be making, so can’t use images etc of the finished piece to look at the juxtaposition of the different beads when picking colours (something I’m a little bit obsessive about), but there’s quite a few beads to juggle into the mix so I made a sheet to help me (which I share here with Jean’s support!).  Please feel free to use it yourself, or even make your own like Sam Wescott did.


And then I got picking – part of me wanted to make a really bright piece, with lots of yellow (as I have a lovely new navy dress with a dark yellow band around the hem).  The other part of me wanted to make something more neutral and versatile, that I could wear with lots of different outfits.

The brights went well, although I had trouble sourcing the right quantity of Cherry Red Neon Superduos, and got a bit stuck on the bicones as crystals don’t always tend to work as well in a multicoloured scheme.

The metallics also progressed well but seemed a bit dull until I remembered that I might be able to work in my favourite etched beads, and then things went ‘pop’.  Working in a mix of crystals (rose gold and some neutral opals with lovely 2x AB coatings) brought some pale blues from the AB in, and some new etched rainbow copper beads pick that up as well.


So the beads I have picked (and where I’ve got them from) are:

A – Vintage Copper SuperDuo (Old Bicycle Shop and Robin’s Beads)

B – Pastel Light Grey SuperDuo (Robin’s Beads)

Main – Etched Crystal Rainbow Copper Czech seeds (Bead Stampede)

Highlight – Coated Crystal Vintage Copper (Stitch N Craft)

Contrast – Miyuki 2002 Matte Metallic Silver Grey (The Half Moon Bead Shop)

Bicones – Swarovski Light Grey Opal AB2, Air Blue Opal AB2, Sand Opal AB2 and Rose Gold (Gemstone Boutique)

So now I’m onto the prep work and I’ll share that with you shortly.