I wrote a while back about all the lovely patterns I have stored up which I was waiting to work on, and I’ve finally actually managed to make one. Sabine Lippert is a favourite of mine – I find her patterns really relaxing to bead, but I’ve not made many of her bigger pieces, largely because of the volumes of beads needed. As a stash lover I’m always a bit uncomfortable actually using my beads……. But as of recently I’m now able to buy some beads in wholesale packs, so when I bought a lovely big bag of 3mm matte sliperit fire polished beads, and a good sized pack of 3mm fuchsia preciosa bicones which worked beautifully together, the time was come to grab some etched sliperit 4mm fire polished and seeds out of my stash and make the lovely Boomerang Bling.
It’s a completely genius pattern – essentially CRAW or PRAW but with some clever twists and additions, but largely unebellished meaning the basic network and form really shines through, making a beautiful 3d fabric of beads. After the first few components I really got into the design, and was able to bead the remainder without constantly referring to the pattern, which was really relaxing. And it’s woven in one continuous rope, which means less stopping and starting and minimises the end weaving in. I made one tiny change, which isn’t noticeable – because I was using etched beads I didn’t have any 15s (which form the tip of each boomerang component), so I stuck with the 11s. Which still look great – thank you Sabine!
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.