And so to my stash of patterns. I sat down just after I started this project and looked through my various beading books, bookmarking all of the beaded beads I thought would fit in. And my, there are a lot. And then I turned to my digital library of beading magazines, and remembered that Beadwork had done a series of Beaded Beads a couple of years back. I tried some of them at the time, but didn’t have quite the right beads in my stash, and have had more success this time. I’m not going to do the whole set of 5 (as this is a stash only project and I don’t think I’ve got all of the larger beads needed for some of them), but here’s the first one anyway.
It’s from the April/May 2012 Beadwork Magazine, and is by Gwen Fisher – Cluster Beaded Bead. It’s a super one, goes together really nicely and quickly. I don’t tend to have many 8mm rounds knocking around though, so I will need to order some more if I want to repeat this one.
3mm Fire polished – I substituted 3mm rounds, Neon Ocean Blue Matt (Robin’s Beads)
15 & 11 seeds – Miyuki 1051 Galvanised Silver
8 seeds – Miyuki 356 Purple lined Amethyst AB
None really, nice pattern, clear instructions. I mainly worked off the illustrations rather than the written out steps, which is normal for me, but the steps seem clear if you’re more comfortable with those.
This has inspired and helped me with Beaded Bead 6, although I see now looking at the diagrams again that I used a significantly different thread path and set of steps for Bead 6, even though I thought I was doing something similar………..
So I had another go at beaded bead pattern number 1 – Conway Beaded Bead by GwenBeads. And then a few more goes, and finally I’ve got one finished. Actually I’ve finished two, but the first one is not good so will be fragged………..Interestingly I found this pattern quite challenging, possibly because conceptually it is actually quite simple, and as I was tired I struggled to maintain the absolute accuracy it demands. An single extra thread pass in the wrong place can mean this one doesn’t work, and as the internal structure is all seeds, rather than building on base of larger beads, it is a bit of a nightmare to unpick if you make an error and don’t discover it for a while. Looking on the bright side, my sister Susie Hoad (BeadingBySusie) churns these out in a couple of hours, seemingly without any effort, so I think once I’ve made as many as she has (which is quite a few) I should get the hang of it.
Anyhow, the pattern is by Gwen Fisher of Bead Infinitum fame, and was my first introduction to prismatic RAW (PRAW). On reflection this was quite a tricky one to start with – I might have been better with something like her fun looking Tentacle bangle or the Daisy Chain bangle rather than the full on 3D experience.
It says ‘advanced’ on the blurb, it means it!
And you definitely need to understand the structure of a dodecahedron (and constantly check you’re doing 5 sided units, it’s very easy to loose count).
And don’t use colour lined crystal beads for your first go as they seem to confuse the eye – I’d go for something matte (to help you manage the tension), for a good contrast between the 8s and 11s in the structure colourwise to help you see what you are up to, and nothing too dark as you will be working inside the structure a bit.
Like any embellished RAW, CRAW or PRAW you should maintain a medium tension for the base – too loose and you’ll get an uneven finish, too firm and you won’t be able to add the embellishment. My first version, as well as containing a couple of mistakes, was as usual too firm and I’ve struggled to get an even outer finish. It will be unpicked and redone soon………..
Susie says that this works well in 6s and 8s, and whilst I wouldn’t recommend them for a first go (as maintaining any kind of tension in RAW or netting with 6s is impossible), I’m definitely going to try them next. She also builds out on the embellishment step using twin holed beads of various types, which helps alleviate my slight reservation about the small size of the finished bead (for all that work I’d like something about half as big again – the 11 and 15 version is under an inch in diameter). And Susie has already tried out lots of colours and embellishments, so have a look at her Facebook piccies of them here for inspiration. Very kindly Gwen allows limited commercial use, so I may even be able to sell a few as pendants when I finally get the hang of it and get the completion time down. Overall a very interesting advanced pattern.
The first instalment of my new ‘Beading Beaded Beads’ project, in which I will bead lots of beaded beads and tell you all about it. Beaded Bead 1 was not good – I rather suspect this was my fault rather than the designer’s, so I’ll re-do it and tell you about it later.
Beaded Bead 2 is from a free tutorial by BeadTurtle. It’s a nice simple tutorial using one of the standard techniques for building a dodecahedron – groups of 3 larger beads linked through groups of 5 smaller beads, and I’m sure some similar ones will appear later in this project. She specifies size 10 seeds, but I don’t have any, and as this project is supposed to be a bit of a stash buster I had to use what I had already. I’ve tried the tutorial before with size 11s and it didn’t work, so I went for size 8 seeds and tweaked the embellishment.
Don’t worry too much about tension as the final embellishment of the seed bead groups of five tensions and stiffens the ball (up to that point it was alarmingly floppy). Where she adds the yellow centre to the groups of size 10 seeds, I simply added an 11 between each of my 8s.
This was a lovely quick and comfortable project, and has given me a good base technique which I will use again and embellish. Although I think these were my only 6mm rounds so there won’t be another one with rounds in this project – it would work equally well with any type of larger bead, and I’ve seen similar techniques applied to fire polisheds, crystals and even spikes.
For my next beaded bead I’m going to try an even simpler version, which omits the smaller groups of 5 and just goes for the triangles of larger beads – hopefully soon! And then there is Beaded Bead 1 to try again………….