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Un-Started Objects

Early last year I wrote a post about my beady UFOs. None of the pieces in that post have really progressed (I have put a couple more humps on the Ootheca cuff, but that’s it).  Then I wrote a piece about the tutorials I was planning to publish – one (my Space Needle Case) is now out in the world, but the others haven’t really moved.  I’ve managed to recreate the CRAW ring, but I’m still not quite happy with how to write up the corner joins….  All in all my beady planning is looking like the opposite of Mastermind – no ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ here.  On the other hand, I did get some work finished last year, published a new tutorial, and won a competition, so I won’t berate myself too much.

This year, rather than a series of pictures of lonely, unloved UFOs, a glance through my PDFs on my iPad has prompted a different kind of list – rather than UFOs I thought I’d share some USOs (Un-started objects).  As well as a huge stash of beads I’m afraid I have a large collection of tutorials lurking – I buy them because there is a discount offer, because I simply cannot fathom how something’s been done and I need to know now, because I want to support the artist, or just because I really want to make them.  Because I’m trying hard to focus on original work at the moment the unused ones are starting to accumulate, so I thought it might be interesting to give you a flavour of what has caught my eye (since it may be a while before they appear here as finished or even started beadwork).

So first (and I’ve had these for a while) a set of three from Barbara Briggs bought while I was very into Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.  How I ever thought I would have the time for such substantial pieces made almost entirely of delicas I can’t say, but they are quite amazing:

Fantasy Floral Cuff by Barbara Briggs (image by Barbara Briggs)

Fantasy Flora Cuff

Mermaid Cuff by Barbara Briggs (image by Barbara Briggs)

Mermaid Cuff

Barbara Briggs Dragon WrapFire Dragon Wrap

I’ve been a huge fan of Sabine Lippert for many years, and have completed lots of her pieces, which gives me an excuse for accumulating so many patterns (plus two books) – although I have to say until I wrote this list I didn’t realise quite how many.  Sabine has a sale on at the moment for some of these patterns, and even with the ridiculously low pound they are super value:

Sabine Lippert Tchacka Boom BangleTchacka Boom Bangles – a free pattern using her spiky button beads.

Sabine Lippert Wanna be a ButterflyWanna be a Butterfly – another freebie, this time using her Rizos.

Sabine Lippert TweedTweed – I’ve already beaded the related Baroque Dimensional which has a similar basis – I just need to get organised and pick fire-polished colours for this as I’ll need to do a bulk order as it needs 460 4mms!

Sabine Lippert TurbulenceTurbulence – looks like a lovely, smallish project.

Sabine Lippert - BoomerangBoomerang Bling – another one which needs some planning/shopping, and a fair amount of work, but looks like it will be amazing when finished.

Sabine Lippert Squaricals and PenticalsSquaricals & Penticals – I tried to start this on holiday last year but was a few beads short.  I should do this soon – it looks lovely to bead.

Sabine Lippert Go-Dimensional


Go Dimensional
– a classic Sabine blingy beaded bead – my Rivoli stash is much more substantial now so I should be able to do this without shopping!

From Cindy Holsclaw at Bead Origami (my sister is a big fan, and I love the way Cindy works) courtesy of a small special offer:

Bead Origami Teardrop BubblesTeardrop Bubble Beaded Bead – I love beaded beads and I love Czech teardrops, easy choice.

Bead Origami Supercoiled RopeSupercoiled Beaded Rope – how completely cool is this – I need to know how it is done, and hopefully a bit of a stash buster.

None of you will be surprised to discover some of the fabulous Jean Power’s work lurking in my collection.  As well as lots of tutorials and book projects from her which I’ve already beaded and some inevitable UFOs, I have two still to do:

Jean Power Star FlowerStar Flowers – this is quite new so I don’t feel too guilty about this one.  I have some of the giant acrylic stones already, so this should happen soon!

Jean Power Interlocking CrystalsInterlocking Crystals – this is a Jean classic which I’ve had for years.  I tried it with some cheap rivolis a while back, and it didn’t work because they were a different shape to Swarovski ones, which is fair enough.  I’ll need to take a deep breath before starting this one as the necklace takes over 40 rivolis.

Actually, apart from the huge glut of Sabine’s patterns, and the fact that I also have a pile of beading books and magazines, this list doesn’t look quite as bad as I had expected.  Hopefully I’ll get onto some of them soon – I have all my new cabochons to work with first though, so don’t hold your breath!

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Wings……

I’ve finished my latest Contemporary Geometric Beadwork influenced piece – a large pointy bangle.  The idea with this piece was to work with the ideas from CGB, but for the first time to ignore their finished pieces and patterns and see where I ended up.   I also wanted to work with a tube of sweepings from Stitch & Craft, to free myself up from the hours I tend to spend selecting colours!

  
I started with a MRAW band which I thought would be roughly the right size for a bangle (I was wrong – it was huge), then added some increases and decreases to form a zig zag.  I beaded that for a while, then added some increases halfway along each side to start to form peaks which I thought I could join together to start to shrink the piece down and make it human (rather than elephant sized)!  I planned to add some crystals to join the peaks together, but when I tried it they didn’t work, and left the piece a bit too wobbly.  After some unpicking I decided to stick to delicas, joined the peaks and beaded across either side of the join to make continuous lines and curves, surrounding the whole piece with a dark magenta metallic outline.

  
At that point I decided the original MRAW band wasn’t sitting correctly – the alternating zigs and zags meant that it needed to point in different directions so I couldn’t turn it into a CGB skirt to firm up the shape and make it smaller.  So that got unpicked from the inside out, and I added a couple of rows of peyote in fuchsia metallics, and the decreases sorted the sizing out.

  
So it’s all done, and available in my Etsy shop.  It’s also my entry for the Etsy Beadweavers Team October Challenge – ‘Abstract Painting’.  If you’ve got a moment pop over to our blog and have a look at the other entries (or search ‘EBWC’ on Etsy).  And if you could take a few seconds to vote for your favourite we’d really appreciate it.

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Beaded Bead 2

The first instalment of my new ‘Beading Beaded Beads’ project, in which I will bead lots of beaded beads and tell you all about it. Beaded Bead 1 was not good – I rather suspect this was my fault rather than the designer’s, so I’ll re-do it and tell you about it later.
Beaded Bead 2 is from a free tutorial by BeadTurtle.  It’s a nice simple tutorial using one of the standard techniques for building a dodecahedron – groups of 3 larger beads linked through groups of 5 smaller beads, and I’m sure some similar ones will appear later in this project.  She specifies size 10 seeds, but I don’t have any, and as this project is supposed to be a bit of a stash buster I had to use what I had already.  I’ve tried the tutorial before with size 11s and it didn’t work, so I went for size 8 seeds and tweaked the embellishment.

Recipe

30 6mm Opaque Turquoise rounds

<1g Seed beads size 8 Miyuki 1427 Silver lined dark violet

<1g Seed beads size 11 Miyuki 352 Fuchsia lined aqua lustre

Don’t worry too much about tension as the final embellishment of the seed bead groups of five tensions and stiffens the ball (up to that point it was alarmingly floppy).  Where she adds the yellow centre to the groups of size 10 seeds, I simply added an 11 between each of my 8s.

This was a lovely quick and comfortable project, and has given me a good base technique which I will use again and embellish.  Although I think these were my only 6mm rounds so there won’t be another one with rounds in this project – it would work equally well with any type of larger bead, and I’ve seen similar techniques applied to fire polisheds, crystals and even spikes.

For my next beaded bead I’m going to try an even simpler version, which omits the smaller groups of 5 and just goes for the triangles of larger beads – hopefully soon!  And then there is Beaded Bead 1 to try again………….

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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.

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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

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Telling fortunes

I’ve had my electronic copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork 2 for a few weeks now, and with the bigger boy at school  at last I felt I had the time and energy to have a go at another piece. One of the loveliest pieces in book 1 was the Fortuneteller, and with lots of lovely examples in book 2 I felt inspired. It’s gone together very nicely (they really are deceptively simple designs in the end) and I’m really rather pleased with it.

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I used a variety of shades of red, orange, salmon and peach delicas, including two of the newish luminous colours. In natural light the finished piece is very bright, but the yellow tones of artificial light do quieten it a bit.  Apologies for the failure to take photos in progress, but I don’t get much chance to get at my beads in daylight……

Babies and beading don't mix
Recipe
29g of delicas in around 15 different shades of salmon, red, orange, peach, yellow and pink, including luminous, mattes, metallics and transparents.  24 Miyuki drops (various colours, taken from a mix).

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Tips & variations
I made their ‘small’ which is only just large enough. However I do expect it to stretch a bit in wear so I’d say this should be perfect. Their small is six repeats of the zigged band with 10 units on each side of the zig. My knuckles measure 21cm round.
I had a little trouble following the instructions towards the end so I ended up simply adding a drop to what I felt was roughly the right place, and zipping 3 beads only Jean Power style,  which gave about the same look, avoided making it any smaller and seems fine to me.
Next time I will vary slightly and add drops to the modified raw band (at the decreases) to match the other points.
I didn’t add drops in the final round (after zipping) as I felt the three already there were sufficient.
I used some transparent frosted lime beads for the raw band and edges. If I was making again I think an opaque bead would work better here (although I would still use transparent beads for some rows in the main fabric), or even a metallic. Alternatively I might use two colours in the RAW – one for the horizontal, one for the vertical beads, as that would more closely mirror my colour use in the rest of the piece and allow the band to blend more.

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What next?

Another one I think, in more subtle colours (probably soft grey metallics and blues).  I am also wondering what this would look like in seed beads?

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Zig-wing tastic

While we were on holiday I decided it was high time I made something for me – beading recently has been about competitions and the shop, rather than stuff for myself. As every beader knows, we are the strange people who have something to match perfectly with every outfit, and I seem to have acquired new clothes without beadwork to match. Chief among these are my new and very silly trousers (under the bangle above) from Boden, and whilst I rarely get to wear jewellery because of the littlest boy, their colours seemed to present an opportunity for something very loud. This isn’t quite as daft as it seems – I wear them with a plain navy blue top so some colour is needed to balance things out a bit.

I made a little pendant with some fluorescent pinks, blues and magentas, but it was still a bit dwarfed by the trews. Something truly epic was called for – and with some extra time courtesy of a few rest days at my parents with the boys, I finally felt ready to attempt a bigger piece from Contemporary Geometric Beadwork. I dug out a PDF they issued last year for the ‘Mowgli’ Zig Wing Bangle, and a big box of beads.

Here’s what I learnt:

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  • The modified RAW band is lovely. However, you will end up holding it while you bead, so make sure you use beads with a very permanent finish. I think I grabbed the first silvers I found, and they were galvanised so they’ve lost a little sparkle.
  • Their small/medium (5 points) is quite big. If I make another I might drop some repeats from each side.
  • The written instructions don’t quite match the diagrams for the beginning of the second side. Follow the diagrams, the words will give you about 4 extra rows – not the end of the world, but time-consuming, possibly affecting the sizing and probably not as nice.
  • Another time I think I will skip the ‘slipper’ join and shaping on the inside layer, and instead just zip that part together. It feels like this would make a better base for the outer layer and show that fantastic shaping with less distortion.
  • I didn’t keep a full count of hours – at a guess I’d say around 20? Certainly a reasonably big job compared to my usual pendants and earrings, but a lot quicker than expected.
  • Also actually much easier than expected – is basically plain peyote with some herringbone increases and decreases.
    I’ll be honest and say I didn’t find the instructions hugely clear – I can’t quite identify exactly why, but they do make the piece seem more complicated than it is. However the diagrams are good, with thread paths at critical points, so most intermediate beaders should manage fine if they concentrate!
  • I’m going to pop some drops or even seed beads into the RAW band at the point where the decreases will go next time, as they will form a nicer corner than delicas.
  • Kate recommends soft tension. She says this a lot and she is quite right! However this is tricky with delicas, and even trickier with matte beads. Try to relax, the fitting and shaping (as well as the finished feel) will be easier if you do.

All in all, I’m pleased. I’ll certainly have a go at another big piece from CGB ( now I know they are easier than they look), and I await CGB 2 with eagerness. If I am feeling really energetic I think I will treat myself to one of Barbara Brigg’s patterns from Etsy – they look incredible and should I think be nice and clear.

When I get a minute I will update with the finished weight so you can see what kind of volume of beads is involved.