Orange ruffles

Just a very short post to say that my latest piece ‘Nasturtium Ring’ is currently featured in the Etsy Beadweaving Team’s May Challenge.  It’s a continuous brickwork piece, with a teeny size 15 seed bead ring band that merges, then expands with huge numbers of increases (and some help from some 11s near the edge) to form a ruffled disc.  It is most certainly a statement piece, not something for everyday (unless your days involve less washing up, cleaning and coping with small children than mine).

Nasturtium Ring by SarahCryerBeadwork -  EBW May 2015 challenge entry
Nasturtium Ring by SarahCryerBeadwork – EBW May 2015 challenge entry
You can see the other entries on the blog here, and even vote for your favourite.  Or search ‘EBWC’ on Etsy and they will all pop up there (apart from any that have already sold), and you can read about what aspects of Chihuly’s work inspired us all.  Enjoy, & happy beading!

Finding friends

It’s an odd thing really, to group together with your competitors to engage in promotion – but one of the things I find so lovely about the beading world is how incredibly friendly and helpful other beaders are.  Maybe it’s because like many crafters and artists we tend to work alone, or maybe it’s because most people don’t really understand what we do so we are just really happy to find other people who do, but as a lone beader I have really benefitted from mentions by others, and have really enjoyed interacting albeit virtually with beaders from around the world.  The image above of my version of Jean Power’s ‘Geometric Stars’ got me noticed by Folksy and and led to me being featured shop there last year – and the support and beady friendship Jean’s given me since then has transferred into real sales as well as being a great boost to my confidence, and other beaders big and small have bought and shared and just generally been really nice.  In the so-called ‘real world’ – by which I guess I mean the world of big businesses (which I work in 3 days a week!), this degree of collaboration is almost unheard of – perhaps MDs are members of the same business association, or attend the same awards ceremonies, but they would never, ever recommend or highlight the work of a direct competitor, much less go out of their way to help & encourage them.  I should stress here that I don’t think of myself as in direct competition with Jean, she is a beading megastar and I a tiny size 15 charlotte minnow………

So it’s with a degree of joy in the way that my fellow beaders work together to promote the craft they love, regardless of commercial considerations, that I’ve applied to and been accepted by the Etsy Beadweavers Team.  They are a lovely group of beaders who quietly promote each other’s work through their blog, facebook and on Etsy itself.  They have strict criteria for joining, which I will have to keep on my toes to fulfill, but this enables them to be confident that members will contribute and enhance the group.  And they even have monthly challenges, where members make and list for sale items inspired by a theme, which are then promoted and voted on by the team and public, which will be a useful push to create some exciting, original work and is always very diverse and interesting.  I’ve missed the boat time wise for the next challenge which is a real blow as it is ‘inspired by Chihully’ – an all time favourite artist ever since he exhibited at Kew Gardens when I was living round the corner, but I can’t wait to see what my new ‘colleagues’ will come up with……..

So, if you’d like to see what they all get up to pop over to their blog, or search ‘EBW team‘ (for finished beadwork) or ‘EBW team tutorial‘ (for kits and tutorials) on Etsy.  Or even better ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page and you’ll be gently fed beautiful, unusual and downright fab pieces to wash away the annoyance of endless cat videos and adverts.

Anenenenemones

We’ve all been a bit peaky recently, so favourite films have been deployed.  I was managing to do a bit of beading, but kept getting stuck, so I thought I’d do some quick beaded beads as they are always useful.  We were watching Finding Nemo at the time, and before I knew it I’d fringed over the peyote base to make a lovely anemone for Marlin and Nemo.

However the colour was not deemed suitable for an anemone, so a second one with colours chosen by Boy 1 (who has quite garish taste, even compared to me) is now finished.

Fun, relatively quick, and if my previous fringed beaded bead is anything to go on, will be much commented on.

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Recipe

  • Large base bead of your choice – I used a 20mm diameter.  The size 8s plus the fringing make it much bigger – the finished size is more like 40mm diameter.
  • Enough size 8 seeds to cover the base bead – probably around 1-2 g (apologies, forgot to weigh them).
  • At least 4g of size 11 seeds.
  • And around 4g of 3.4mm Miyuki drops or similar.

Method

  • Using circular peyote (I favour a 5 bead start), cover the base bead with an even, firm peyote layer.  This layer will barely be visible, so don’t worry too much about gaps.  Leave holes for later threading onto a neckwire or chain.
  • Then, working from one of the holes, go through a size 8, pick up 3 11s and one drop.  Go back through the 3 11s and then into the ext 8.  Repeat ad nauseum until you have a fringe coming from every 8.  That’s it really.

Tips

  • If you’ve not peyoted onto a base bead before then have a hunt around for a tutorial.  Having tried and failed to do them in the past without a tutorial, a while back I invested in a few different sizes from The Crimson Moon, and having made a few of each size am now comfortable enough with the technique to just go for it.  Sadly Liz isn’t selling her patterns any more, but have a look around Etsy and similar sites and see what you can find – post some recommendations here if you find a good one.   If you can find a tutorial using 8s, even better, as you can use them as a basis for an Anemone beaded – those inevitable gaps and threads in your first few attempts will be hidden by the fringe!
  • As with any fringing, you have to watch the working thread like a hawk to ensure it doesn’t get caught.  Work methodically around the bead, rather than darting around, as as things fill up you will find it hard to spot the gaps and even harder to fill them in without getting in a tangle.

Enjoy!

Adapting

I’ve been making another Fortuneteller, but this time with size 10 delicas.  I used my previous one as a template, measuring the various distances as I beaded along and at first it went well.  However, as it grew it became clear that the bigger beads meant that the thickness of the MRAW band made the inner layer significantly smaller than the original, and finishing the joins between the small horns was definitely going to make it unwearable by me at least.  So rather than hoping for a tiny handed customer, or giving it to one of the boys (boy 2 is very keen on bangles) I’ve made it into a rather splendid bowl and I like it.  Which is just as well…………

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Recipe

  • Size 10 delicas in three shades of red, one orange and silver, 26g in total.
  • Size 3.4 drop beads.

Tips

  • Unless you actually want to make a bowl, I’d suggest a starter MRAW band which contains six repeated ‘Vs’ with 9 units on each side of the V (not the 8 units I used).
  • To get the colour effect I used, start the MRAW band with the silver, using one of the reds as the fill bead.  Add a drop bead as one of the inner beads on any increases or decreases (you may want to miss them on the decreases – I chose to leave them in as I like the look of the drop nestling in the V.  Then change red/orange every row.  As you approach the horns, start adding the odd silver in, then more each row until you are just using silver.  I chose a random pattern, mirrored on each pair of horns, but kept it identical for each round so that the graduation was even across all the horns.  Then gently fade the reds back in, and finally as you approach the final tips work the silver back in again.
  • Size 10 delicas are still quite hard to get hold of in the UK.  Stitch n Craft are expanding their range gradually, and as usual offer probably the most competitive pricing (assuming you spend enough to qualify for free postage, which I never fail to do), although their colour range is still quite limited.  Charisma have a good range of colours, as do Fine Lines.
  • Finally, with this kind of work, especially with larger beads, you really can’t make any mistakes as they will be very obvious on the finished piece.  I made quite a few as I was very tired, and the lovely push pin and eraser combo I was sent by the lovely Jean Power with my copy of Geometric Beadwork 1 was worked quite hard.  I can’t remember having to break out this many beads for ages.

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Other than my general incompetence it worked really well with the size 10s, and in many ways it’s the best use of these for geometric beadwork that I’ve tried before.  I will have a go at an actual bangle once I’ve got all the other things on my beading list moving along.

Kissing Piggies

The boys have a picture book filled with photos of pigs.  Piggies sleeping, piggies leaping, piggies guzzling, piggies nuzzling, and piggies kissing.  So when I finished my new bezel, which surrounds a luna soft cabochon with facing pairs of two hole ‘Piggy’ beads, no other name would do.  The bezel came about because at the last Big Bead Show I found myself ambling around with nothing to buy – it’s more of a stringer’s fair than a beadweavers, and although there are some great teeny bead suppliers in between the big bead stands, I wasn’t really seeing anything new.  So I started looking at all of the new bead shapes which I had hitherto resisted – the two holes, the funny dragon scales, rullas & pellets, and I picked up a pack or two of each, (discovering along the way a new supplier, The Old Bicycle Shop, who I can heartily recommend for their interesting selection, £1 postage and quick delivery).  Then they sat in my stash for a few months whilst I dealt with going back to work, Christmas, and sickly children.

Kissing Piggies - Copper - Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Kissing Piggies – Copper – Sarah Cryer Beadwork

Finally a couple of weeks ago I dug out the piggies, some superduos and a lunasoft cab and made myself keep trying until I came up with a decent design.  I’m pleased with the finished design, it’s nice and simple and should be suitable for beginners who’ve tried a bit of RAW and peyote and have tension sorted.  That said, it took a fair few attempts and a good many failures to get to something that would work as a tutorial (or work at all), so banning myself from doing anything else until I had mastered it was definitely necessary!  I had the picture in my mind of the snuggling pairs from the beginning, so started from the outside and worked in – I can safely say that this does not work as a method, it was only once I gave up on that and designed a bezel that would have space for the piggies that things came together (although arguably without trying the outside in approach first I wouldn’t have known how much space to allow…..)

Eventually with the help of an MRAW starter (thank you again Contemporary Geometric Beadwork beaders – Jenny Sangster explains it very nicely on her blog)I mastered it, and it’s finished, written up & checked.  As usual I’ve stuck with diagrams rather than just photos (as I find it’s worth the time to draw the diagrams to ensure that everything is absolutely clear, and it helps me check my placements and thread paths as I draw them), and every step is also written out.

Kissing Piggies - Jet Azurro - Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Kissing Piggies – Jet Azurro – Sarah Cryer Beadwork

So anyhow, it’s available now as a tutorial – instant download from PayHip & Etsy, and e-mailed from Folksy, all at £6.  And in a fit of extraordinary organisation, I even have materials packs ready to rock and roll from Folksy and Etsy at £10 (UK only, sorry but I can’t get to the Post Office for overseas posting at the moment, and I think you’d find it uneconomic for a £10 pack anyway).  It beads up in around an hour, and uses nothing smaller than an 11 (and only three rows of them) so nice and relaxing.  Stick Sewing Bee on the telly and get beading!

Kissing Piggies - Sarah Cryer Beadwork
Kissing Piggies – Sarah Cryer Beadwork

Sparkly mistakes

Before Christmas I beaded another project from Beadwork Evolution – ‘Stars We Are’ earrings. I wore them a couple of times (sadly dangly earrings don’t get worn much when there is a toddler in the house), but it was only when I laid them out to photograph them at the weekend that I realised I’d messed up!

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Have you spotted it? To give you a clue it’s my old problem with hexagons versus pentagons…….

So I am pleased to report that this design can be adapted to form a five sided star at the base rather than six. Ideally though one should adapt both earrings, not just one!

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Recipe

  • Sabine Lippert’s Bead Evolution p102
  • Swarovski 3mm bicones in Light Siam; Fuchsia AB, Fuschia & Violet, Bonarski Bicones in Purple Metallic & Blue Metallic
  • Miyuki size 15 seeds in Black AB matte 401FR

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Tips

  • Sabine uses two colours of crystals.  I couldn’t choose just two, so I used six and ran from red with a contrasting centre of metallic blue, through pink to purple.  I like hers, and I like mine too.
  • Pay attention – the way the stars are joined and constructed is very elegant in it’s simplicity, but it took a few repeats to get the hang of it as it is not obvious.  And clearly check how many repeats you have put in each unit……..

Verdict

Really lovely, nice to make and fabulous to wear.  It took under an hour per earring, probably less for a second go, so I’m definitely going to make again in some other colours.  I’ve got some lovely opaque bicones which might make a less blingy version for the daytime as well.

 

 

Bubblelicious

When I started this blog I made a few rules for myself.  One of them was to try to use photos taken on my phone, so that I was just capturing the work I’d done without having to set up for ‘proper’ photography.  In my shops  all the photos have been taken ‘properly’ as I think it’s important for customers to get the best possible reproduction of what they are buying, and I want to be able to show levels of detail only possible with a macro lens.  When I take the ‘proper’ photos I use our digital SLR, macro lens and big sheets of white or black mounting board propped up in our front room window – the translucent window film which stops the neighbours seeing the mess inside gives a lovely diffuse natural light.  For the blog I want more spontaneity, and definitely don’t want to wait weeks for that elusive couple of hours with no little people.  When I take photos for the blog or Facebook it’s usually with my iPhone, against whatever plain background I can find and with the closest to natural light I can get – I’m after speed rather than fabulous quality, but so far I’ve been really impressed with the photos I’ve taken.  Last year I particularly enjoyed being able to shoot my Fortuneteller on the lovely slate tiles in our back garden,  with nasturtiums behind. However, in the depths of winter, I’ve really struggled – so although I finished my Bubble Ball before the New Year, I’ve only now had the time to get the big camera out and take some pictures for you.

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The Bubble is another piece from Sabine Lippert’s new book ‘Beadwork Evolution’ and it was the piece I wanted to make the most when the book arrived.  I only had the twelve chatons required in a couple of colours, and although I thought I had lots of drops, only one set matched, so I’ve ended up with a combination which makes the finished ball look quite different to Sabine’s.  Black, though versatile isn’t a favourite colour for beading, and it is tricky to photograph.  That said, I still love it, and the drops I used are just stunning and I think they really make the piece even though it’s not as bubbly as Sabine’s.

Recipe

  • Sabine Lippert’s Beadwork Evolution – page 133
  • Chatons & Bicones – Swarovski Fuchsia
  • Drops – Hybrid Jet Sliperit – from Beads of Bohemia via Etsy
  • Seeds – Black Miyuki
  • Fire polished – Black Czech

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Tips & Lessons learnt

  • Watch your tension – as usual with Sabine’s stuff you need to stay nice and loose.  Which is the opposite of my normal tension……….
  • It does turn into a bit of a needle bender towards the end so be prepared with a good light and some tweezers.  And perhaps don’t use your very best needles?
  • I kept forgetting to do step 4 again and again. Don’t do that.
  • Whilst the sliperit drops are incredible, I paired them with black beads as that seemed best.  And I normally avoid black beads like the plague – they hurt your eyes and a pig to photograph.  They also mean that a lot of the detail of the construction is lost and I think that’s a shame.
  • Because I couldn’t tell how much the Fire Polished beads in the core would be seen I opted for black there as well, and although the finished piece is very wearable it might pop a bit better with some contrast – perhaps a copper core or even perhaps a black core with copper seeds?
  • Sabine again matches the chaton and crystal colours – I think that works really well, but would like to see what happens to the shapes with an alternative (particularly if I used a lighter chaton colour than the crystals).
  • It took me about four hours to finish (including a lot of colour faffing) – I’d expect to be quicker next time, so would fit into a few evenings nicely.
  • For my next version Stitch N Craft have some of the drops in Crystal Sliperit, and as I also have some Piggy Beads in the same colour waiting to be used I think I might get some for another version, as the crystal will be more ‘bubbly’.  Not sure what colour chaton to use with them though, so can’t quite work through all the beads needed…….
  • Or I ought to really try it with the translucent drops Sabine used – I’ve done an order since I made this so I have some more ‘bubbly’ ones in my stash now.
  • Either way this seems to be very much like a design I’ll make lots of versions of, so you’ll be seeing it again soon!

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Materials Packs for Baroque Tape Measure Surround

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’ve put together some materials packs for the Baroque Tape Measure Surround.  Two colourways which I’ve beaded up previously, including the original Bronze & Fuchsia, plus two completely new colourways never yet made, so they will be completely unique.  They are available here on Folksy (Bronze & Fuchsia; Bronze & Capri Blue; Silver, Red & Turquoise, Gold & Scarlet) and here on Etsy.  For choice I’d love it if you used Folksy as they are very nice and I’m really, really upset with Etsy about their behaviour to sellers around the whole EU VAT thing…… more about that another day.

Baroque Tape Measure Surround 2

Now I’ve got a good stock of tape measures and those elusive 2.8mm drops I’m more than happy to put together custom materials packs for you – just drop me a message/comment with a colourway request and I’ll have a beady play.

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Although these are listed for UK sales only, I’m happy to discuss and set up overseas postage – be aware that now I’m back at work I can’t get to the Post Office as easily for overseas posting (for UK posting I’ve carefully planned these as letter post size to avoid that trip), but if we have a chat I can let you know what to expect.

Curizo

I love Sabine Lippert‘s work – the techniques she uses are incredibly clever but often simple to bead, and the results are wonderfully exuberant, beadtastic pieces.  When she created her Rizo beads a while back I bought a copy of her Curizo design so that I could use them in the way she’d intended, and I fell in love with it.  So much that I made another, and then when I needed to put something together in a hurry  for a wedding this weekend, another.  They’re quick to bead – 3-4 hours for me, and use my current bead binge favourite chatons.  And I love them, and other people love them (although the smallest boy sadly loves them so much that he bust the chain on the white one last week).

Recipe

Turquoise – Opaque turquoise rizos, opaque olive 3mm fire polished, crystal AB Swarovski chatons and 3mm bicones, silver duracoat miyuki seeds.

White – Opaque matte white rizos, opaque lime 3mm fire polished, sunflower Swarovski chatons and 3mm bicones, silver duracoat miyuki seeds.

Grey and Opal – Brown Iris Matte rizos, silver 3mm fire polished, white opal Swarovski chatons, white opal czech small teardrop beads.

Tips

I don’t have many tips for this one, it’s really very lovely to bead and works perfectly.  I quite like to thread the chain or cord through the whole finished piece (as I did with the white and lime version), although that then leaves you with quite a short piece.  For the grey and opal version and the original turquoise I’ve added a loop – the former needs to go with a specific dress with quite a low neckline, so long was the only option.

If you’d like some matching earrings like my turquoise ones, simply complete the flower shape and capture the chaton, then add a loop to hang.

Variations

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For the final version, in the step where you would add fire polished beads and crystals I simply used fire polished, and then in the final joins I put Czech drops where the fire polished would have been.  I did this because I didn’t have any 3mm bicones in the right colour (and have bought far too many beads lately so didn’t want to buy any more).  On reflection the drops don’t really go with the rizos I used, and the cube shape is more visible (the others look more like a ball which is easier to wear), so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this variation.

And next…..

Some lovely Heliotrope chatons have just arrived from the States, and I’ve got some fab neon Rizos (Robin’s Beads), and neon fire polished beads (More Beads 4 U – Etsy) – quite a flambouyant Curizo this time.