Beaded Bead 6

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that this isn’t exactly running in order – that’s because some of the beaded beads are easier to blog about than others.  For example beads 4&5 are photographed, but I need to pull out the references and links needed to give the designers proper credit.  Bead 6 is one of mine so less digging needed.

Bead 6 is actually a set of samples which will hopefully evolve into a new tutorial – not quite there yet, as in samples 1 & 2 there’s a size 11 placement which annoys me, and the spikes in sample 3 are rather wobbly.  But I will persevere.

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Sample 1 was born of beading lots of different beaded beads, and getting one of the possible structures so stuck into my brain that I had to try it in spikes.  It uses 12 spikes, woven into a kind of a cube with trios at the corners.  At least I think it is – looking at the finished ones I’m no longer sure (best take some step by step photos of sample 4).

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Sample 2 uses gumdrops (they are often interchangeable with standard size spikes as they have the same size base – 7mm).  It switches to 11s from 15s in some places, but as you can see above still has 11s in the trios and they don’t sit right.

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And sample 3 is back to spikes to try and iron out some flaws in 1&2 by just using 15s.  Still not right though, the spikes are more wobbly than 1.  One more combination left to try I think……..

Anyway, no recipe yet or tips since you can’t try this one at home, but bear with me and it will emerge eventually as a tutorial.

Beaded Bead 3

I think this is actually my favourite so far – simple, striking and a great way to understand the geometry of beaded beads.  I used a free tutorial from Spirala Beading called Zuzana, and will be making more just as soon as I can get my grubby hands on some more pinch beads.

Recipe

90 pinch beads – Matte Watermelon (from Spoilt Rotten Beads)

1g size 8 seeds – 1052 Galvanized Silver (Stitch N Craft)

12 size 15 seeds – 1052 Galvanized Silver (Stitch N Craft)

12 O beads – Haematite (Robins Beads)

A wooden core bead, I’d guess at 20mm but unfortunately didn’t measure it……sorry.

Zuzana by Spirala Beading - beaded by Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Zuzana by Spirala Beading – beaded by Sarah Cryer Beadwork

Tips

  • If you have two colours, use them.  If you don’t have two colours, wait until you do.  Whilst it is possible to do this in one colour (I did), it is infinitely simpler if you can see the five beads which surround each 5 pointed star clearly.  By all means switch to a single colour once you’ve had some practice – these are nice & quick to do so it won’t take you long to progress.
  • Hold your nerve – it’s a bit of a floppy mess even with the core bead in, but the simple embellishment suggested pulled everything together perfectly.
  • You may need to try a couple of different sizes of core bead.
  • Once you’re done beading, roll the bead around between your hands a few times.  This will make the trios of pinch beads which need to sit with a flat side against the core bead turn and lock into place, and is much easier than trying to force them round with a needle!

Now I just need an excuse to order some more pinch beads – and guess what, Ivona, who runs Spirala Beading also has a lovely Etsy shop selling lots of fantastic beads, including a huge range of pinch beads – Beads of Bohemia.  What luck!

Secret Beadalong – days 6&7

So, I finished my rope a little late (a couple of days), but then realised the catch I’d planned to use was too fat, and the components wouldn’t have slid on or off the rope over it.  Given the way it was designed, I assume Jean means this to be an adaptable piece – wear one, three, all none of the bezelled rivolis as you please.  For that to work the catch either has to be removable (which a simple s clasp with loops would b), or small enough that the components can slide.

So, not the right clasp then.  As we were away I had to wait until we returned to my stash to dig out a tiny magnetic clasp that will allow the components to slide on and off, and hey presto we’re done.

National Beading Week 2015 Secret Beadalong - designed by Jean Power, beaded by Sarah Cryer Beadwork
National Beading Week 2015 Secret Beadalong – designed by Jean Power, beaded by Sarah Cryer Beadwork

Many thanks to Jean for a lovely project and for the phenomenal amount of admin she’s had to put in as a victim of her own success.  And to all the beaders worldwide, it’s been fab – let’s hope someone is brave enough to do this next year!

Beaded Bead 1

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.

Conway Beaded Bead - Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader
Conway Beaded Bead – Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader

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.

 

Conway Beaded Bead - Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader
Conway Beaded Bead – Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader

Tips

  • 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.

Conway Beaded Bead - Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader
Conway Beaded Bead – Gwen Fisher, beaded by the Indecisive Beader

Secret Beadalong – colours

One of the wonderful things about the Beadalong is seeing all of the different colourways.  It’s unusual to be exposed to so many interpretations of the same design so quickly, and it’s been fascinating looking at the different approaches we all take.  Some of us chuck as many colours as possible in, others focus on their favourite colour and use different tones, and others pop a single colour as a highlight with neutrals.  For me, as a bright beader, it’s been lovely seeing some really outrageous combinations, but I’ve also become drawn to some of the more sophisticated palettes.  I think my next delica project might be done in matte steel, with some antique gold – classic with a twist, and perhaps more wearable than lime, orange, scarlet and fuchsia…..?

Anyway, a few people have asked me to post my bead details so here you are.  Seeds and delicas are all Miyuki & from Stitch N Craft (of course):

Rivolis – Chinese ‘Volcano’ from Southampton Bead Shop.  I don’t normally buy cheaper rivolis but the colour on these is unique.  They are a bit fat, so you need to adapt the pattern (one extra row of delicas did it here), and I don’t use them for my own patterns and materials packs because of that.

Delicas – 1835 Duracoat Galv Zest; 45 Silver lined Orange; 683 Dyed Semi Frosted Silver lined Red Orange; 422 Galv Fuchsia

Seeds – 11 – 4205 Duracoat Galv Zest

Seeds – 15 – 4205 Duracoat Galv Zest; 1310 Dyed Trans Fuchsia

Crystals 3mm – Swarovski Fuchsia

Pearls/Rounds – 2mm Scarlet Czech Rondelles.  Not a clue where they came from!!

And as for the next step, I’d guess I still need another 18g or so of delicas, so I may have to make up a mix from my stash (I’m only using stash beads for this and I won’t have enough in a single colour by a long way), or come up with a way to use multiple colours once I know what we’re doing.

Secret Beadalong – Day 5

Nice, although my tension on the surround has a tendency to distort the bezel, and I prefer the look of the back set of petals to the front….

Secret Beadalong Day 5 (Back ) - Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Secret Beadalong Day 5 (Back ) – Sarah Cryer Beadwork

…..and I cheated a bit too. I wanted the second set to be seen in the middle of the gap of the first set (so offset by two bezel beads), but going out of the next row of peyote was going to leave them only partially offset (1 bezel bead). However, as I had used non-Swarovski rivolis, which have a thick band around the middle (rather than a neat pointy edge), I had already added an extra row of delicas to the bezel, so I was able to bead the second set two rows back from the first set and acheive the tidy offset.

National Beading Week

Here in the UK the Beadworker’s Guild’s National Beading Week will begin tomorrow (25th July).  There are lots of activities all over the country, at Bead Groups and in shops, but as I am a bit constrained by work and it bring the school holidays, I’m joining the beading community remotely in a few different ways.  Firstly, I’m taking part in Jean Power’s Secret Bead Along – I’ve completed my prep work which you can see at the top of this post with my beads all ready, and a bit of day 1 (a bit early but I couldn’t wait, photos tomorrow).  As you can see I have chosen very subtle colours.

Anyway, you can read all about it on Jean’s site or read my blog post containing the details here.  I’ll be popping a quick blog post out every day to show progress, and you can follow lots of other beader’s work on the Secret Beadalong Facebook group which Jean has set up.  Over 4000 beaders worldwide have signed up for this, which is absolutely amazing – Jean has done an amazing thing and it’s really very exciting and inspiring taking part.  For me the lovely thing is knowing that so many other beaders will be working on the same piece at the same time.  That includes that my little sister Susie Hoad, who I taught to beadweave a few years ago and got hooked on Jean’s work.  She is now a designer and teacher in her own right, and we plan to finish the last day’s beading together next Saturday, which will be just lovely.  Being Susie she is doing two colourways  (but she is a teacher so I guess she has nothing to do now school has broken up – or could it be that indecisiveness runs in the family?).

Secondly I’m going to kick off a project for this blog to celebrate the awesome range of beadweaving going on around the world – ‘Beading Beaded Beads’.  I’m going to be coming back to one of my original reasons for blogging – to show, review & comment on tutorials and patterns by other designers (as well as writing about my own original work).  I’ve put together a range of beaded beads, some from books & tutorials I already own, some from free tutorials, and some of my own designs, and the idea is that over the coming months I will focus on beading them.  I’ll be working from my stash, so I’m going with two colourways (as even my stash won’t accommodate the range of beads required to complete the various designs in one colour scheme) – bright fuchsia, lime, scarlet and orange, and fuchsia (again), indigo, cobalt and a bit of silver and gunmetal.  Hopefully I will end up with two very spectacular necklaces.  You can see the initial cut of designs on a Pinterest Board here, if you have any suggestions (or designs you’d like me to road test) then comment here or on Facebook and I’ll give them a try too.

I started beading earlier this week, and was hoping to have the first beaded bead to show off for the start of National Beading Week, but sadly the first beaded bead did not go well.  Out of fairness to the designer I’m going to have another go before I post about it………….probably just me being tired and being a bit of a tight beader.

Completion

I’m not great at finishing things – as well as the usual UFO box of failed projects I even have a box full of nearly finished projects. Brooches needing brooch pins, pendants needing only a jump ring, and of course tutorial pieces needing writing up.
Seeing so much bead embroidery in the Battle of the Beadsmith reminded me that about 3 years ago I had a go at it, and had an almost finished piece cluttering up my beading cupboard. So I girded my loins, dug out my bead embroidery book (Jamie Cloud Eakin’s dimensional Bead Embroidery) and worked out how to finish it. And finish it I have.

I’m quite pleased with it, but made a couple of errors which mean it will be staying with me rather than going into the shop………….

  • I made a booboo when I was cutting out the backing, forgetting the remnants of a sticky label.  Which doesn’t look great.
  • I looked at the big roll of heavy interfacing in my sewing drawer and said ‘ I can use that, not this ridiculously expensive beading stiffener’.  This might have worked for a flat piece, but didn’t work for a bracelet as the interfacing has folded slightly, so I don’t have a smooth curve.

On the bright side, the faux suede upholstery fabric I used (I started this so long ago I hadn’t heard of ultrasuede) does seem to be fine – it’s nice to work with and hasn’t frayed at all.  Since it’s one of a large wad of samples I bought at a fabric sale I’m quite pleased since I now have a huge range of colours of backing to choose from.

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So here it is, my first completed bead embroidery piece – beads from my stash, a polaris clasp from Stitch N Craft and backing from my overstuffed fabric drawer.  I’ve enjoyed the process more than I thought I would – I have always perhaps slightly looked down on bead embroidery, feeling it doesn’t have the engineering and construction challenges of the 3D beadweaving I’m more used to, but it does give an opportunity to paint with beads, and really make the most of the finishes and colours.  Since finishing this I’ve made two more pieces, more about them soon (once they make it out of the nearly finished box!).

Secret Bead Along

The utterly fabulous Jean Power is holding a Secret Bead Along for National Beading Week.  It’s £5 to participate, or if you either subscribe to her newsletter (recommended – always interesting, you hear first about new designs and usually get a discount code for patterns) or are a member of the Beadworker’s Guild its’ FREE.   I have my instructions for the pre-work, and am currently faffing about what colours to use (normal for me I know, but worsened by not knowing what I’m actually working towards)!  Hopefully my sister Susie Hoad will also be participating – we are off on holiday together towards the end of that week and it would be great fun to finish off together.  I don’t get to bead with other beaders in person very often, so I love the idea that so many of us will all be beading together around the country (or perhaps the world), and even if we’re not in the same room it will be supercool to see what everyone produces.

Above is a picture of one of Jean’s designs (beaded my me) so you can see just how exciting her work is!