As part of the IBW social media team for several years it’s lovely to be able to show my support as a designer as well by becoming an IBW Ambassador. Beading along with others is such a pleasure, whether it’s done in person or remotely, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results all of the events and activities the IBW/Beadworker’s Guild team work so hard behind the scenes to prepare for you every year. This year’s International Beading Week runs from July 24th – August 1st, and as well as working away with my lovely colleagues on the Guild’s Social Media team I’ll of course be beading along with the wonderful annual Jean Power Summer Secret Beadalong.
This piece can be adapted to change the length, colours or overall use but at its’ core is the 12 colour spectrum of the IBW logo and a rainbow. The rainbow has come to mean a lot symbolically in the UK over the last year or so, so seemed an appropriate choice, although making curves out of things which want to run straight was a challenge – quite a few rejected versions here:
It’s also worth saying that this chart was created with Beadographer, which is a wonderful new chart/design tool. Prior to starting using this I’d never really got on with charted designs because I found the planning process inhibiting creatively. However I’m sure you can see from my recent work that Beadographer has allowed me to overcome that bias and I’m now embracing charting with the tool on my laptop (or even better on my iPad with an Apple Pencil) as an alternative way of creating with beads, so thank you to Leah and William for a super, very easy to use creative tool.
So day 4 was not such a good day for me. I lost my nerve as regards my colour scheme, and switched in my etched rainbow coppers in place of my matte dark metal. Because they are etched they are a bit smaller, so the netting surrounding the superduos was a bit thready.
So I unpicked that and tried again with my antique copper highlight beads.
They looked much better, but when I got to the rope on day 5 I realised that gave me way too much copper in comparison with the other beaded beads.
So I ripped out the central section (just a few steps worth) and switched in the correct dark grey beads, which has toned it down nicely. Without some copper I think this bead would have been too different from the rope to wear alone, whereas now it has a connection.
So onto the rope, which should take up days 5-7 (although I've only spent one evening in it thanks to all the indecisiveness around day 4). It's lovely. Pay attention to the instructions, they are very clear so I have no excuse, but I messed up the first couple of inches by getting the 8s to sit vertically rather than horizontally. Not only is this very fiddly to do, and much slower, it gives you a very inflexible rope with far too much thread showing. Once I twigged I was able to switch to the correct orientation and now it's beading up more easily, and has a nice curve. I'm definitely thinking of making some bangles using this rope – the maximum curvature feels like it would be spot on for a rigid bangle, it's easy and relaxing to bead a whole armful, and it looks great.
So I have a few more hours ahead of beading the rope, and need to dig out a clasp. I had been planning to use one of the Anna Bronze clasps I've just bought, but I can see now that the finished piece will work well with one, two, three or even none of the beaded beads, so I need to ensure that the clasp doesn't stop me sliding them on and off, so may simply have to obey Jean and get a S clasp.
So, I finished my rope a little late (a couple of days), but then realised the catch I’d planned to use was too fat, and the components wouldn’t have slid on or off the rope over it. Given the way it was designed, I assume Jean means this to be an adaptable piece – wear one, three, all none of the bezelled rivolis as you please. For that to work the catch either has to be removable (which a simple s clasp with loops would b), or small enough that the components can slide.
So, not the right clasp then. As we were away I had to wait until we returned to my stash to dig out a tiny magnetic clasp that will allow the components to slide on and off, and hey presto we’re done.
Many thanks to Jean for a lovely project and for the phenomenal amount of admin she’s had to put in as a victim of her own success. And to all the beaders worldwide, it’s been fab – let’s hope someone is brave enough to do this next year!
One of the wonderful things about the Beadalong is seeing all of the different colourways. It’s unusual to be exposed to so many interpretations of the same design so quickly, and it’s been fascinating looking at the different approaches we all take. Some of us chuck as many colours as possible in, others focus on their favourite colour and use different tones, and others pop a single colour as a highlight with neutrals. For me, as a bright beader, it’s been lovely seeing some really outrageous combinations, but I’ve also become drawn to some of the more sophisticated palettes. I think my next delica project might be done in matte steel, with some antique gold – classic with a twist, and perhaps more wearable than lime, orange, scarlet and fuchsia…..?
Anyway, a few people have asked me to post my bead details so here you are. Seeds and delicas are all Miyuki & from Stitch N Craft (of course):
Rivolis – Chinese ‘Volcano’ from Southampton Bead Shop. I don’t normally buy cheaper rivolis but the colour on these is unique. They are a bit fat, so you need to adapt the pattern (one extra row of delicas did it here), and I don’t use them for my own patterns and materials packs because of that.
Pearls/Rounds – 2mm Scarlet Czech Rondelles. Not a clue where they came from!!
And as for the next step, I’d guess I still need another 18g or so of delicas, so I may have to make up a mix from my stash (I’m only using stash beads for this and I won’t have enough in a single colour by a long way), or come up with a way to use multiple colours once I know what we’re doing.
Nice, although my tension on the surround has a tendency to distort the bezel, and I prefer the look of the back set of petals to the front….
…..and I cheated a bit too. I wanted the second set to be seen in the middle of the gap of the first set (so offset by two bezel beads), but going out of the next row of peyote was going to leave them only partially offset (1 bezel bead). However, as I had used non-Swarovski rivolis, which have a thick band around the middle (rather than a neat pointy edge), I had already added an extra row of delicas to the bezel, so I was able to bead the second set two rows back from the first set and acheive the tidy offset.
Domestic commitments yesterday mean I am no longer working a day ahead! So here is day 4, just in time. This one was quite fiddly and took a while to complete, but I like the results. As a set they are looking rather splendid.
I have also done half of day 5, which went together more quickly, but want to check placement of the second half, so will wait for Jean to post her picture tomorrow……….and it is way past my bedtime anyway!
Here in the UK the Beadworker’s Guild’s National Beading Week will begin tomorrow (25th July). There are lots of activities all over the country, at Bead Groups and in shops, but as I am a bit constrained by work and it bring the school holidays, I’m joining the beading community remotely in a few different ways. Firstly, I’m taking part in Jean Power’s Secret Bead Along – I’ve completed my prep work which you can see at the top of this post with my beads all ready, and a bit of day 1 (a bit early but I couldn’t wait, photos tomorrow). As you can see I have chosen very subtle colours.
Anyway, you can read all about it on Jean’s site or read my blog post containing the details here. I’ll be popping a quick blog post out every day to show progress, and you can follow lots of other beader’s work on the Secret Beadalong Facebook group which Jean has set up. Over 4000 beaders worldwide have signed up for this, which is absolutely amazing – Jean has done an amazing thing and it’s really very exciting and inspiring taking part. For me the lovely thing is knowing that so many other beaders will be working on the same piece at the same time. That includes that my little sister Susie Hoad, who I taught to beadweave a few years ago and got hooked on Jean’s work. She is now a designer and teacher in her own right, and we plan to finish the last day’s beading together next Saturday, which will be just lovely. Being Susie she is doing two colourways (but she is a teacher so I guess she has nothing to do now school has broken up – or could it be that indecisiveness runs in the family?).
Secondly I’m going to kick off a project for this blog to celebrate the awesome range of beadweaving going on around the world – ‘Beading Beaded Beads’. I’m going to be coming back to one of my original reasons for blogging – to show, review & comment on tutorials and patterns by other designers (as well as writing about my own original work). I’ve put together a range of beaded beads, some from books & tutorials I already own, some from free tutorials, and some of my own designs, and the idea is that over the coming months I will focus on beading them. I’ll be working from my stash, so I’m going with two colourways (as even my stash won’t accommodate the range of beads required to complete the various designs in one colour scheme) – bright fuchsia, lime, scarlet and orange, and fuchsia (again), indigo, cobalt and a bit of silver and gunmetal. Hopefully I will end up with two very spectacular necklaces. You can see the initial cut of designs on a Pinterest Board here, if you have any suggestions (or designs you’d like me to road test) then comment here or on Facebook and I’ll give them a try too.
I started beading earlier this week, and was hoping to have the first beaded bead to show off for the start of National Beading Week, but sadly the first beaded bead did not go well. Out of fairness to the designer I’m going to have another go before I post about it………….probably just me being tired and being a bit of a tight beader.