Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star

I’ve just published my Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star (or Ninja Star for short) in my Etsy shop, and I thought you might be interested to hear about how it came about. This is an extract from the tutorial which you can buy here.

On holiday during Easter 2019, I took a set of seed beads in various sizes to work on my Cellini, and another set of delicas to join in with a CGB beadalong.  The CGB beadalong explored casting pods and spines, and as I beaded that I was also thinking about previous experiments with Cath’s diagonal Cellini, and pieces I’d made from Gwen Fisher’s tutorials.

It didn’t take long for me to wonder what would happen if I combined the two – so I took the bracelet I was making which had been cast off a CGB casting pod, and started to Cellini a strip with rick rack increases and decreases and corresponding Cellini reversals.  It worked, and started making nice shapes which seemed to have potential, so I cast off another from the Cellini strip – this time tubular rather than a strip. That made a pleasing shape which seemed to want to be a star, so I added a second layer, joined the points together, and the Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star was born. Several versions later I’ve tweaked, un-tweaked and re-tweaked the method and thread path to make it efficient to bead, and here it is.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these techniques, and maybe experiment yourselves, then I’d recommend the following:

  • Jean Power’s book Geometric Beadwork, which covers Rick Racks in detail.  

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  • Kate McKinnon and the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork movement’s books and blog, which use similar techniques, and will take you through new starting techniques.  If you’re already familiar with these you can find alternative start instructions for use with either casting pods or spines in this tutorial.

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Cath Thomas’s work on Cellini Peyote, especially her Dimensional Cellini series, which also merges Rick Rack and Cellini, and which Cath kindly directed me to whilst I was finishing this design.

https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/

  • Gwen Fisher’s mathematical Cellini explorations and tutorials.

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  • And Cath’s Cellini Peyote Freaks Facebook group, where you’ll find lots of Cellini inspiration, materials and support (I should declare an interest as part of the admin team).  Simply search for ‘Cellini Peyote’ on Facebook.

Ra, Roth & Khepri

I’m somewhat ashamed to see how little I’ve posted over the last year or so, and I’m determined to change that, so be prepared for a flurry of posts as I catch up and tell you about what I’ve been up to.

First I need to tell you about my entry for this year’s Beadworker’s Guild Annual Challenge.  The theme was ‘Jewels of the Nile’ – we were lucky enough to visit Egypt some years back, and Dr Indecisive Beader and I have always both been fascinated by all things Egyptological.   I think my addiction stemmed initially from a desire to be Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s ‘Death on the Nile’ (one of my favourite authors), and my more recent discovery of Elizabeth Peter’s ‘Amelia Peabody’ series has maintained my fascination long after the trip, so having said I’d have a year off after my win last year with Great Dixter, I immediately changed my mind as that theme was too ‘me’ to resist.

As usual this piece went through many aborted starts, abandoned designs and lots of iterations, many of which will reappear as new pieces over the next few months.   In the end I focused on using my own cabs (poured specifically for this piece), lots of different bead embroidery and beadweaving techniques (including goldwork and three different beaded ropes) and a very wide assortment of new and vintage beads to make a classic, component based collar.  I was really happy with the finished result – it’s quite eyecatching!

So here it is – Ra, Roth and Khepri (Sun, Moon & Scarab)

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The wide collar section shows the day – Ra as the hot noon sun, with Khepri the scarab pushing the warm, coral setting sun and the cool, jade rising sun, connected by blue sky.

The strung blue sky continues into the counterweighting night section, with added ropes of golden stars supporting a deep hung pendant, showing the full and crescent moons of Roth on a goldwork barque.  

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Either Ra or Roth can be worn at the front, to suit your outfit (Roth looks amazing hanging above a backless dress).

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Materials – custom handpainted cabochons (by me); Swarovski, Preciosa & vintage crystals; vintage cup chain; Miyuki beads; Czech shaped beads; felt, ultrasuede; goldwork purls, leather, handmade gold hook clasps.

Techniques – bead embroidery, goldwork embroidery, peyote, netting, stringing, CRAW, DCRAW, DRAW.

Sadly no prize for me this year (but I’ve brought home a prize for the last two years, and hadn’t even entered prior to that so I really can’t complain) – you can see all of the amazing entries on the guild site here if you’re interested.  But I have a lovely piece, have worked out how to include goldwork techniques in bead embroidery, and have lots and lots of leftover components to make even more loveliness, including this necklace which is nearly done, so I’m going to count it as a personal win at least!

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Sun Star Brooch

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished my Sun Star Brooch tutorial.  This is my first bead embroidery tutorial, and has evolved over a number of years from a bezelled RAW ring to it’s current huge embroidered flamboyant form, with a centrepiece hand painted cabochon.  It plays to my ongoing obsession with Czech etched beads, particularly the larger sized seeds and absolutely amazing daggers.

Sun Star Brooch – Sarah Cryer Beadwork – Magic Apple

It uses a variety of bead embroidery techniques, including back stitch, bezelling using circular peyote, seeding and edging to make a statement brooch or pendant, and would suit beginner bead embroiderers comfortable with a needle – it’s an ideal project for beadweavers or embroiders looking to try out bead embroidery as it covers key basic techniques which you can then go on to try out in your own designs.  If you already have some bead embroidery experience, then this makes a lovely quick project – I can do one in an evening (although to be fair I have had quite a lot of practice and am a bit naughty about letting the glue dry properly).

Sun Star Brooch – Sarah Cryer Beadwork – Magic Apple and Crystal Marea

The thirteen page tutorial contains a full materials list, with suggestions for colour schemes, and every step is fully illustrated with a detailed diagram showing thread paths etc, with photos to show you what you are aiming for.  And of course every step is also written out clearly for those of us who prefer written instructions.

It’s available now in my Etsy shop as an instant download, as are the cabochons (both hand painted and Liberty print) and I hope to complete some materials packs in the next couple of days.

Once you’ve mastered the basic brooch, there are possibilities for variations which I hope to explore here over the next few months, so watch this space.   I’ve already worked out that you can add extra rows of embroidery around a smaller central cab if you can’t find a 30mm one:

How completely gorgeous are those capri rose etched beads?

And the advent of 2 holed daggers opens up some new ideas……..

Boomerang Bling – Sabine Lippert

I wrote a while back about all the lovely patterns I have stored up which I was waiting to work on, and I’ve finally actually managed to make one. Sabine Lippert is a favourite of mine – I find her patterns really relaxing to bead, but I’ve not made many of her bigger pieces, largely because of the volumes of beads needed. As a stash lover I’m always a bit uncomfortable actually using my beads……. But as of recently I’m now able to buy some beads in wholesale packs, so when I bought a lovely big bag of 3mm matte sliperit fire polished beads, and a good sized pack of 3mm fuchsia preciosa bicones which worked beautifully together, the time was come to grab some etched sliperit 4mm fire polished and seeds out of my stash and make the lovely Boomerang Bling.

It’s a completely genius pattern – essentially CRAW or PRAW but with some clever twists and additions, but largely unebellished meaning the basic network and form really shines through, making a beautiful 3d fabric of beads. After the first few components I really got into the design, and was able to bead the remainder without constantly referring to the pattern, which was really relaxing.  And it’s woven in one continuous rope, which means less stopping and starting and minimises the end weaving in.   I made one tiny change, which isn’t noticeable – because I was using etched beads I didn’t have any 15s (which form the tip of each boomerang component), so I stuck with the 11s.  Which still look great – thank you Sabine!

Oscar’s Bauble

Oscar’s Bauble was originally made as a fully beadwoven babies’ rattle.  It formed the winter part of my entry for the Stitch N Craft Challenge in 2014.  In 2013 just as I was working on the piece our second son Oscar was born – a winter baby, the beads I had to incorporate for the challenge were soft cream opals, palest pinks and blues, and they matched his lovely delicate skin tone, so I made him a rattle.  It has a tiny bell, a cellini spiral candy cane handle with lovely pink opal chatons at the base, and the main body is a dodecahedron made of hexagonal gumdrop bezels.  

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Whilst I don’t think I could repeat the rattle as a whole (there was a particularly challenging join to the handle involving a 20 bead hole needing to meet up with a 7 bead spiral), the bauble works really nicely on it’s own, with gumdrops or spikes, so I’ve finally written it up as a Tutorial which is now available in my Etsy shop.  Hopefully in a week or so I will also have some Materials Packs for it as well – it’s taken nearly 4 years to write up the Tutorial though so for now I’m just focussing on getting it published!

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Techniques – Circular Peyote

Difficulty Level – Intermediate.  Knowledge of 3d beading is useful, and you’ll use the concepts of ‘step ups’ and ‘point rows’ so if you already know about these that will help.

The finished bauble measures 5.0cm in diameter made with Gumdrops, and 6.5cm with Spikes.

What will you need?

12 qty Czech Gumdrop beads 7x10mm, or Czech spikes 7x17mm

11A 11g Size 11 seed beads, colour A (main colour)

11B 8g Size 11 seed beads, colour B (highlight colour, forms the petals/star)

15A <1g Size 15 seed beads, colour A (although these are not seen so you could use any colour).

Something to hang the bauble with – fine chain, thread or fine ribbon or cord.

Beadweaving needles, thread of your choice, scissors.

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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.

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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