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Materials Packs – Yay!

So I finally got my act together and made some Materials Packs using the lovely Hoechtmass Tape Measures that arrived about a month ago. They are very well made, and should last well, and their slightly recessed outer edge means the beads sit really nicely. The colours are absolutely stunning too – I got lots in the fantastic deep fuchsia (obviously) and then two each in some of the other colours. I’ve used the fuchsia in two of the new packs, and the red, jade & purple, but I’ve still got some pink, yellow & orange left to come up with some more combinations.  They are available here in my Etsy shop.

I’ve also been able to get hold of some fantastic Czech beads, including matte glittery, neon or ‘happy’ finish rounds, etched glittery, matte slipperit (my complete favourite) or metallic ice fire polisheds.

I should say though at this point that because the Hoechtmass Tape Measures are so very well made, they cost me several times as much as my usual tapes.  I’ve tried to absorb some of this, but I do need to charge slightly more for these packs – £22 instead of £20. I do still have packs using standard tape measures too in some lovely colourways here if you prefer.  Additionally the Hoechtmass Tapes have a smart metal end, rather than a plastic removable tab, so there is no need/option to add a beaded bead or tassel, so I don’t include additional beads for this.

So at the moment I have in stock the new Baroque Tape Measure Materials Packs ‘Plus’ with Hoechtmass Tape Measures  here in:

Silver & Fuchsia – this colourway goes with the Navy & Fuchsia Space Needle Materials Pack (currently out of stock in Long, but in stock in Short). It includes Etched fire polished and Matte Glittery beads plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads. I’ve made one of these as you can see from the picture to check that the etched beads don’t cause any fit problems, and to check the sizing on the new tape measures and it looks fantastic!


Crimson & Silver – this colourway goes with the Crimson & Silver Space Needle Materials Pack ((currently in stock in Long, and Short). It includes Metallic Ice fire polished and Matte Glittery beads plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.


Fuchsia & Dark Golds – this colourway adds gold to my original Fuchsia & Bronze version for added sparkle. It includes my current favourite matte Slipperit fire polished and some completely stunning ‘Happy’ finish round beads. plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.

Blackberry – Fuchsia, purple & plum combine for a bruised blackberry treat. Again this uses the matte Slipperit fire polished and ‘Happy’ finish round beads. plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.


Jade & Silver – Emerald, silver, crystal & vivid blue for an oceanic mermaid like zinger.  This one uses blue neon rounds for added ‘glow in the dark’ fun, the etched fire polisheds again and the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.  And for once, unusually for me, no red or fuchsia…..

 

And finally, an update on my shops.  I’m starting to separate out my Etsy and Folksy shops, to make it easier to manage stocks on the packs and supplies side.  As previously my Etsy shop will have a limited range of my finished pieces, plus all of my Materials Packs, Cabochons and Tutorials for download.  My Folksy shop will have all of my available finished beadwork pieces, but nothing else, and I’ll continue to offer an alternative source for Tutorials through PayHip via the Tutorials page here on my blog.

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Cabochons

Regular followers will know that for a while now I’ve been playing with Pebeo paint effects, and working out how to use them to make my own cabochons.  Attempts to make successful resin pieces are still ongoing (and not going well), but I’m pleased to say that after a lot of experimentation (lasting over 6 months) I’ve got a stable technique for using clear glass cabochons.  I’ve spent a couple more months playing with the results, and making sure they are easy to work with and wear well, and now I’ve built up some experience with them I’ve put a subset up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Most are domed, so have that lovely magnifying effect, although some including the large 30mm squares are flat tiles.  All have flat backs, making them suitable for bead embroidery as well as beadweaving.  They come in a range of colours, and are sold both singly and in sets, and I’m happy to take commissions for sets or the larger individual ones (40 & 50mm).  I’ll hopefully be putting together some tutorials very soon to give you some ideas as to what to do with them, starting with my awesome brooch etched dagger brooch.

 

If you’re chomping at the bit though, and have some beading experience, then for a beadwoven bezel try doing an MRAW start in 11s with 32 repeats.  Then add one row of 11s using peyote, and one using 15s.  Sit the cab in front side down, and finish off the back with 2 rows of 11s and 2 of 15s.  And then embellish, embellish, embellish!

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Marie Antoinette

Every year the lovely team at Stitch and Craft in Dorset hold a ‘Challenge’ Competition.  I’ve entered four times now, and every year I’ve found the process both challenging and useful – it’s the best way I know to push myself, using their topics and materials to explore new techniques and styles, and try to produce the best work I can.  It’s produced some of my most successful designs (both the Baroque Tape Measure and Space Needle Case started life as elements of my first entry, a Beader’s Chatelaine) with several more from other challenges just waiting to be written up.  Sometimes it’s a bit painful, sometimes it’s fun, and often as with this year I end up with something quite unexpected.

So this year the theme was ‘Fit for a Queen’.  We were sent three packs across the course of the year, each containing a brief and some Swarovski Elements which needed to be used.  That’s always a challenge – I knew early on that I wanted to produce a set, so not knowing what colour the elements would be made things very tricky, and effectively meant that the bulk of my work wasn’t done until I’d had the third set at the beginning of this year.  As I was busy on my pineapple this wasn’t a problem!

My palette was etched and matte vitrail, silver, light siam and light siam AB, a smattering of fuchsia, and crystal and crystal AB.  I also used some hand dyed and rolled habutai silk cord,  some vintage French velvet ribbon, a lot of Nicole’s Bead Backing, some foam board, cocktail sticks, some crinkled metallic silk organza, a metal hairband and a fair amount of glue.  If that sounds a bit Blue Peter, then I think the pictures of the final piece probably explain the odd ingredients.

The cuff is an MRAW bezel around the supplied Crystal AB Navette with added bicone fringe, mounted on a peyote band which allows it to slide sideways so you can access the hidden catch.  The antique velvet is appropriately French, the gathers onto the catch hopefully make it look like a bow as Marie Antoinette wore bows on absolutely everything.

The necklace is a Riviere – a late 18th century style which she might have worn (although I can’t find any pictures of her wearing anything other than a simple ribbon choker).  The graduated stones are a mix of the supplied Light Siam and some Light Siam AB, with a 3d netted bezel which uses the same pattern and thread path for every size of bezel – just with different sizes of the different types of beads.  I’m quite please with this as it’s lovely to be able to use the same pattern for so many different sizes (running from 8mm to 18mm), so I hope to get it written up and published reasonably soon.  To tie in the ribbon/bow element I used rolled silk habutai cord in the same shade as the velvet of the cuff as a tie instead of a catch, adding vitrail spike beaded beads to the ends for a nice finish.  The pictures below show the evolution of the layout and design (it started as a very different piece!):

And then finally there is the tiara.  In all honesty it doesn’t seem that Marie Antoinette wore tiaras – they weren’t really in vogue until a little later, with aristocratic French ladies of her time wearing ribbons, brooches and jewels in their enormous, elaborate ‘pouffe’ hairstyles.  And of course they also wore funny little models – the most famous of which were ships – frigates in full sail worn to commemorate the victory of ‘La Belle Poule’ in battle.  Completely barking, and I really, really just had to bead one, and somehow make it into a tiara.  After some pondering and in response to a rapidly approaching deadline (and slight competition fatigue) I abandoned my original plan to bead weave one (honestly what was I thinking) and switched to bead embroidery as although the beading side is not quicker, once I’d designed and cut out the structure I would know it would work – beadweaving is way too hard to predict and design on this scale.  I’d noticed that the Nicole’s Bead Backing I’ve started using is quite stiff, and wondered if I could use it for a 3d structure – so I made the hull of a frigate out of card, fiddled a bit and then got going.

This was very much a ‘just get on with it’ experiment – my first 3d bead embroidered structure, with everything other than the flat stitching entirely new to me and completely made up.  But I think in the end it worked.  It’s probably safe to say that it’s not my most polished work (the wire on the masts is particularly cringeworthy) but it is beyond a doubt my most favourite beaded piece ever.  Many of you have asked if it will be available as a tutorial and I can safely say absolutely definitely not – the chances of being able to recreate it in such a way that anyone else could repeat it are nil, and I think it will remain as a unique example of what trying to beat beader’s block late at night after too much wine can do.  But I will be doing more bead embroidery in the future and in will definitely not be in any way flat.

In the end I didn’t win (I did win last year so I think it was a bit much to hope to repeat that with such a very different entry, that was so very very bonkers), and neither did my little sister Susie Hoad (who entered the same class – we need to stop entering the same competitions for the good of family harmony).  All of the entries and most especially the winners were quite amazing – the theme generated some stunning work of incredible variety, which you can see on Stitch and Craft’s Facebook page,  and  I really enjoyed taking part.  All three pieces were great learning experiences, and two out of the three are very wearable.  I’m still not sure whether I will ever wear the third………………so it will join my pineapple in some kind of suitable display, and make me smile.

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Secret Beadalong – Days 4 & 5

So day 4 was not such a good day for me. I lost my nerve as regards my colour scheme, and switched in my etched rainbow coppers in place of my matte dark metal. Because they are etched they are a bit smaller, so the netting surrounding the superduos was a bit thready.

So I unpicked that and tried again with my antique copper highlight beads.

They looked much better, but when I got to the rope on day 5 I realised that gave me way too much copper in comparison with the other beaded beads.

So I ripped out the central section (just a few steps worth) and switched in the correct dark grey beads, which has toned it down nicely. Without some copper I think this bead would have been too different from the rope to wear alone, whereas now it has a connection.

So onto the rope, which should take up days 5-7 (although I've only spent one evening in it thanks to all the indecisiveness around day 4). It's lovely. Pay attention to the instructions, they are very clear so I have no excuse, but I messed up the first couple of inches by getting the 8s to sit vertically rather than horizontally. Not only is this very fiddly to do, and much slower, it gives you a very inflexible rope with far too much thread showing. Once I twigged I was able to switch to the correct orientation and now it's beading up more easily, and has a nice curve. I'm definitely thinking of making some bangles using this rope – the maximum curvature feels like it would be spot on for a rigid bangle, it's easy and relaxing to bead a whole armful, and it looks great.

So I have a few more hours ahead of beading the rope, and need to dig out a clasp. I had been planning to use one of the Anna Bronze clasps I've just bought, but I can see now that the finished piece will work well with one, two, three or even none of the beaded beads, so I need to ensure that the clasp doesn't stop me sliding them on and off, so may simply have to obey Jean and get a S clasp.

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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.

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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.

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Materials Packs

I’ve just realised I forgot to update you here about the addition of a new set of Materials Packs  for my Baroque Tape Measures.  As I said in my previous post, the plan is to stick with a set of colourways going forward, rather than building each pack individually, as this allows me to hold more of each one in stock.  I’ll vary the sets over time, but for now these are the colourways:

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Tequila Sunrise – my current favourite Yellow Opal rivolis, with my always favourite 407FR light red opaque matte rainbow seeds, and silver and orange to make a fun cocktail.

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Fuchsia and Bronze – the original and I still think the best!  The garnet AB rounds are a favourite, and this time I’ve included some lovely Halo coated fire-polisheds.

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Red and Gold – a splendiforous luxurious colourway, for VIP measurements.  Lots of Swarovski Light Siam, one of their most intense colours.  This would work well with the red colourway in my Space Needle Case.

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Turquoise, Silver & Scarlet – more Light Siam, this time mixed with opaque turquoise and silver for a Mediterranean feel.  This is a variant on one I made for myself a while back, shown below, but with some adjustments to balance the red and turquoise more effectively (it had too much turquoise on the edge and red in the middle, so I’ve swapped the rounds and fire-polisheds over for the pack).

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DSC_0398Vitrail, Lime & Silver – Medium Vitrail rivolis and shiny rounds, with a silver base and lime and turquoise highlights to pick out some of the colours in the rivoli.  I really love the opaque lime fire-polisheds with a half Vitrail coating in this.

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Fuchsia and Dark Plum – born initially of a bronze bead shortage, this grew into a lovely dark, intense colour way.

Sadly, because I’ve been so slow posting, the Fuchsia and Bronze has sold out, and the Fuchsia and Dark Plum I replaced it with has also sold out.  I hope to have one or both of them back in stock soon, but in the meantime this week I’ve listed the new Vitrail sets (which may not appear that often as the rivolis are more expensive and the other beads can be harder to source).  Anything I have is available in my Etsy shop here, or by clicking on the pictures (in the case of those still available), in my Folksy shop.   Do let me know if you have any ideas for colour ways you’d like me to make I the future.