Not the weather (although it does seem to have been and gone already), but the summer element of my Stitch ‘n’ Craft Challenge entry. It’s taken longer than I had hoped, and as has happened with previous elements has rather taken over my beading time, so I am relieved to get it done. I have so many other projects stacked up in my head, and so little time to do them (not helped by the baby coming down with chicken pox). Stitch ‘n’ Craft is my favourite bead shop – great beads, light speed service and lovely people. I first entered the challenge last year, largely to force myself to do some wholly original work, rather than just using other ‘ patterns and ideas, and it gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve even produced one of the elements as a tutorial (hopefully available for sale soon, once dearest husband teaches me how to make the file smaller). New ideas blossom out of the stretching work, but the trouble is there’s no time to work on them. I’ve taken to keeping a notebook (as recommended by all proper beaders), so I hope that I don’t loose those ideas.
This year’s challenge features four pieces, one for each season. Each season has a set palette, and must incorporate elements provided, so is a real push creatively. All of the seasons have included elements I’d never normally choose to work with, and colour palettes that I’m not used to – I think the latter has been the greatest challenge as I’m somewhat of a creature of habit where colour is concerned, but I’ve come to enjoy some of the new palettes, and can’t wait to work some more in the winter scheme in particular which was completely new to me (and caused much bead buying). The pastel shades of summer have been surprisingly uncomfortable as well, and with lots of green in Spring too I’ve been stretched (I love lime green – Miyuki Zest Duracoats are the best beads ever, but I rarely work with other shades).
Anyway, Summer and Winter are complete, Autumn is beaded and just needs making up, and then I must dash through Spring if I’m to finish by the end of July. So I need healthier children soon………
I was trying to be decisive last night, so I sharpened my scissors and snipped all of the nasty thread ends off the pendant I finished a few days ago. Except that I snipped off the start thread without weaving it in, so it could all unravel any second (especially with a three bead start in size 15 delicas). Rude words were uttered.
Even worse, because I only started snipping so I could remove it from my board prior to working on something else, I had put away the thread so had an excuse to procrastinate about sorting out my mistake. So another UFO went back into my workbag. Naughty girl.
I found some wonderfully wierd rondelles in my local bead shop. They’re rondelles, but have a strange matt rubbery coating, rather like ‘soft touch’. The colours are very vivid, and they make a lovely change from conventional crystals. I’m using them for a bangle I’ve made before – Jean Power’s Affinity Bangle, but having made a couple of samples I can’t quite decide which size of seed beads to use. She suggests 11s and 8s, so I started with those in a matte black using the fuschia rondelles. But they seem a bit small, so I’ve also tried 8s and 6s in copper with the lime rondelles. But they seem too big. It could well be that the colours and finishes are affecting the appearance – the matte black beads shrinking away and the coppers shining and seeming larger than life, but the trouble with beading is that it takes so long to complete a piece that you don’t want to spend time until you’re happy. Dearest husband thinks stick with the black, which is good as I have the beads already (always helps), but the 8s and 6s will make a gloriously chunky piece (very Suzanne Golden). Ah well, I need to knuckle down and get on with ‘Spring’ so I shall put them aside for now and get on.
A lovely surprise as I left the house earlier – the postman with Jean Power’s second Geometric Beadwork book. Her’s were the first project tutorials I bought when I started beading, and I’m still using many of them quite a few years later. The new book builds on the first and on those tutorials, but also includes some interesting variations – added fire polished or tilas for example. Even better, those and some others use size 10 rather than 11 delicas, so will be nice and quick to work up. Although I may need to do a little cheeky shopping………
I’m normally quite a together, decisive kind of person, but there is something about beading which makes me dither. Sometimes I spend longer looking through my stash (or thinking about buying yet more beads) than I do on a finished piece, so this blog is an attempt to get over that. I’m going to try to dive into my work, to document my ideas and decisions, and just damm well get on with it.
This will undoubtedly be thwarted pretty much immediately by a number of things. The first – two small boys. One aged 4 years (hereafter known as boy number 1) and one aged 6 months (boy number 2). Boy number 2 is the reason I’m on maternity leave for a while longer, boy number 1 is the reason I won’t get anything done ever again. He currently has chicken pox, which on the positive side has given me the time to get this blog going (as we should actually be abroad on holiday at the moment, not sitting on the sofa trying not to scratch). The second is a fear of waste – I can’t bear to use beads or spend time on something which won’t be perfect. There is always a ‘what if’ – what if I used that colour I don’t have so need to buy so must wait for it to arrive, what if I use an inelegant thread path, what if I can’t repeat things, what if it all unravels and falls apart aargh. So I will have to grit my teeth and get over it. Or maybe just re-organise my stash again, that always makes me feel better.
However, I should admit now that things haven’t started well – it took me a month to choose a blog name. It was only when I realised that I was dithering that inspiration struck and the name was born.