So at last I have had time to photograph and list the Baroque Tape Measure Materials Packs which I worked so hard to put together a few weeks back. There are six new colourways, and I’ve re-shot the two I already had in stock as well. Altogether I have now made over twenty different colourways for the packs, and another five have been beaded into the original and my working samples. Perhaps not what I expected when I made the original piece for my Chatelaine two years ago.
These are my last few tape measures, so I will probably not be listing any more for a while (although if they sell well I may change my mind!), and I’ve been a bit bolder with some of the bead choices because of that. There are two sets – bright fun colours, including one which uses one of my favourite Miyuki colours – red opaque AB (which gives a fab weird salmon pink), and some really dark metallics, including matte black with the new Swarovski Patina rivolis. As usual they are available on Etsy and Folksy – links below:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Last year as part of the Stitch ‘N’ Craft Chatelaine Challenge I made a tape measure cover, and I was so pleased with it that I’ve now written it up as my very first tutorial. My lovely sister Susie has tested it out, and my lovely husband David has helped me to make the file small enough, so it’s now available as an instant download through Etsy. I hope shortly to get some kits listed as well.