Last week was our annual holiday with my extended family in North Norfolk. The boys had a wonderful time on the beach with their cousin and grandparents, and in a few rare quiet moments we managed some beading. Here you can see me in blue stripes whizzing up some more feather earrings for the shop, my nephew Ben loom banding (nearly beading), and my little sister Susie (who I taught to bead a few years ago) making a series of CRAW loops which she eventually looped together using a loom band technique to make a fabulous bracelet. Later on in the week I finally plucked up the courage to commit to a Zig Wing Bangle (from Contemporary Geometric Beadwork) and it’s going well – piccies soon.
A productive few days tidying up unfinished work and trying out ideas.
The bangle is a play on a Cellini spiral using some bigger beads – over 4cm at its’ widest it is good and chunky and fun. It took rather a long time to finish, largely because I kept running out of the larger beads. One important job (as well as photographing it properly and listing for the shop) is going to be to work out how many I actually used to avoid that problem next time. I have a plan for something even bigger in a rainbow of opaques, a bit like the Bright Star. Once the beads are selected the spiral stitch is very repetitive and restful, a nice change from more complex and creative work, so could be a good one for our next holiday.
The earrings are an exaggerated version of a basic brick stitch triangle with fringing – but again they are big and bold, scaled up to 12cm long. This gave me space for lots of different shades and makes me think of a firebird. I’ll try these again as well, like the spiral they are simple enough to be relaxing to make, but unlike it they take hours rather than months to complete. I think a dig around in my crystal stash could give some interesting additions as well. If only I didn’t have a small person who grabs everything he sees (glasses, hair, jewellery), then I could actually wear them……..
And finally I had another go at my ‘Saturday afternoon necklace’. Nearly right this time so I’ll tell you all about that soon. And I finished something else at the weekend but I honestly can’t remember what. I’ll blame the hot weather and the four teeth the baby is cutting for the epic memory failure.
Summer is finished
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………