Thursday, April 29, 2010

The instruction books said it would be like this. Once you learn bead crocheting you will be hooked. Am now looking for rehab facilities. . .
Above is the first bracelet, lumpy and raggedity. I am amazed how comfortable it it to put on and off and to wear. There is enough of a stretch in it to not need any findings. Hooray I say.
Then comes the next one that is not connected. The thread ran out at that size and I think it would easily fit someone with a smaller wrist. And suddenly I understand why Erin said she had a whole bunch of crocheted bracelets that were unconnected! I do need to practice making that step.
But in the meantime I have another sample going with a bunch of left-over beads. I found it is best for me to load the beads in a pattern so each row is one color. That way I can see better if I have missed a stitch or doubled up an addition and rip it out before I get farther along. My hands were less cramped after this excersize today. I do need a new hook. I have to keep bending this one back into shape as it warms up in my hands and when I put pressure on it to reach that tiny hidden loop it bends over. Also it turns my hands and thread black.
Hoping to get to town today to buy a better hook and thinking that instead of using this Stringth I can find some normal crochet thread to use. Maybe black? Erin had a bracelet made with black and I am still struggling with the need to copy everything she did.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Google's blogspot keeps me more honest than a paper journal. On the weekend I had a lovely bead experience I had forgotten to record. So here it is, a few days late and out of order.

On Saturday, because Cloud Fire was playing at the Annapolis Winery and because we used to make pilgrimages up there every April to see the apple blossoms, we made the windy trip up to the top of the ridge. The weather was beautiful, the blossoms at their peak, the music was exactly what we like (gentle jazz-like riffs over Middle Eastern rhythms). So many friends and acquaintances were there. Werner said the wine was excellent as well as the cheese.
I met Huldy and Yavonne (both jewelry makers) and we were laughing about how little jewelry we were wearing! I had even forgotten earrings! However, later, while wearing my straw hat I heard a woman's voice exclaiming over the beaded flowers on it. I had forgotten that I had, some time ago, clipped a barrette with three flower pins on the band. She asked to see the flowers up close so I took them off the hat and on a whim, just gave them to her. She was so astounded that someone would just give her something she admired. That was my joy!
My beading tide has turned. Suddenly every thing I try works! I even got the crochet thing to work. My problem was, I think, I was using too big of a hook. Somehow, even when I had put every thing into a sack to forget it, my mind kept working on why too much thread was showing. At some poem the light went on and I realized big hooks bring up too much thread. How about a tiny hook? Also when I started this I had picked up the smallest hook and then when I added more thread and beads, I picked up the larger one. At the top you can see a couple of rows done with the fat hook.
You can also see I need more practice with how to finish off the end! Need to buy a new crochet hook. My smallest one is bent and roughened up from crocheting something not meant to be used for this - maybe wires?
I felt yesterday's bracelet got too heavy with all those leaves so I tried putting them on just one side. I loved the corkscrew look and all of a sudden got the idea of adding this to the "Scrotum Series." Everything worked because I had done so many of them I had all the techniques down perfect and I had all the bits and pieces I needed. I really enjoyed doing these. I found my hands are comfortable sewing beads but bead crochet, at least now, is so hard on my hands.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Finally I learned something that would make into something instead a patch of failure! In Carol Huber Cypher's Mastering Beadwork I found a project called "Supple, Shiny, and Shapely Bracelet" that shows a modified Cellini spiral. I had to make some more modifications to add space for the leaves and the chips, but still the principle works and it is easy to remember what to do how. From this I see that there are many modifications one can make to the basic stitch so I am eager to try out other variations.

Am always on the look-out for ways to use the many chips I bought at Fire Mountain in their promotional.

The copper leaf bracelet came out long enough (when measured flat) but is thick so that when it curves around the wrist it needs to be a bit longer, so I added the extra loops. I was pleased with my idea of adding a leaf to each section. You can see the close-up at the top (thanks blogger for not letting me put the photos where I want them!).

Monday, April 26, 2010

I have nothing to report except failures! Again and again I have tried to get the crochet thing to work. I always have so much very ugly thread showing! Tried, after reading more on the technique, to use yarn that 'filled' the bead (the fuzzy white thing) and that was even harder and did not look right either. I keep 'giving up,' putting the work away in a plastic bag and then hours later I will get it out to try again. A lot of my failures simply disappear with a tug of the thread so there are many more than are pictured here.
I continue to try to make a 12-bead crystal ball Sue showed me in the workshop, but I think I failed to get all the necessary information. I keep feeling that if I were smart enough I could figure it out myself. Maybe that class in trig that I skipped is needed here.
I was able to do the cabochon with the new idea of gluing it first to backing, but then I wanted to do what Erin had done on the necklace she was wearing at the class and I found myself out in a 'no-man's' land of inexperience. Nothing is lost and when I decide what to do with this, I can rip it out to the edge and finish it up right.
I saw the cabochon treatment of the "Enchanted Necklace" in the April / May Beadwork and thought that maybe I could make that. Just looking at the photo of the necklace part, I thought, "I'll bet that is herringbone, and I never really learned that." So I got out a book of stitches and made this practice piece of herringbone. I really like the way the stitch looks in the tube, but in the flat I felt too much of the thread showed.
So I got that to work and gleefully turned back to the "Enchanted Necklace" only to find out the necklace is crocheted! Back to square one. Am going to have to get help as I refuse to go back to just making the same old same old.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I have it! I can do the bead crochet! At the top you can see the usual 'bunch of grapes' I made with my attempts. Over and over I tried to follow directions and nothing worked. I tried following different person's directions. At one point the crochet thread loop pattern was on the outside of the beads. Then I realized that somehow that the working thread had to be laid above the bead instead of below it.
I did some crocheting of the thread, without beads to get a good idea of how that worked. Then I added beads and got the first taste of success with the second sample.
By evening I was able to do the lower sample. I used six beads for one round and changed color with each round so I could tell where I was and to catch my errors. Occasionally two beads would slip into place.
I must say that holding the working thread above the bead being added to is a lot easier than the normal position of the working thread coming from below the work. Now to see how to 'add on' and to find thread that makes a better match. It does have a tendency to show, at least with big beads.
I found I did not need the toothpick to stablize the beginning if I crocheted a couple of rounds with just thread. Next time I will do more and let that be a natural ending.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I finished off the bracelet done in the class (at the top above) and instead of using more crystals at the junction of lacy loops, I used three green 11s to give a feeling of leaves. I am pleased with the idea of using pearls instead of beaded beads made of crystals for the 'button' as two glass pearls are cheaper than 12 crystals.
I then made the bracelet again on my own using some bigger (7mm?) pearls I had on hand and using 6mm round crystals instead of bicones. Since I am dyslexic and the two-needle process got rather confusing for me, I embellished all the squares from right to left and then went back up the bracelet passing through the cross-over bead (in my case an 8 so it was easy to see) with one 11, one crystal, one 11 on the needle for each pass. For me, this speeded up the embellishing a lot and avoided crossed threads. Here I used the crystals on the lacy outside edge which certainly gives a finished look.
Then, because I have so many of these pink beads, I tried a different combination. Since the embellishing beads are so big they 'bump up' more and make the bracelet seem bigger and higher as well as curving it since they are too fat. For that reason the holes show more with this method. If I get a bunch of crystal bicones, I may take off these beads and replace them. I used three pink 11s at the junctures of the lacy edge and will keep that even if I replace the big oval beads.
Crystals really don't scan well! Too much light bouncing around in them, I guess.

Monday, April 19, 2010

That is Erin, in black, who was a former manager of Legendary Beads in Santa Rosa and Sudhlia Byrd, the present manager, who came to Gualala Arts Center on Saturday to teach us the "Tudor" bracelet. Hard at work concentrating on getting it right is Marianne Baxter, in turquoise, and Judy Carr beside her. Sue and Bobbi, Vicki and I made up the rest of the class.
In only three hours Sudahlia had taught RAW to some of us, and the double needle embellishment to the rest of us and we had our bracelets mostly completed by the time we went home. In addition to teaching us this, the two marvelous ladies were full of ideas and shared so many tips.
I was especially grateful to Erin for the tip on how to start a crocheted beadwork - use a toothpick to keep the beginning from turning into a bunch of grapes. Am so eager to get to this today!
We got tips on materials - Sue brought Fireline for us to try - and extra instructions - how to make a ball bead of crystals as a button for the clasp (which I thought I understood and got home and found out I could goof it up in leisure). I have her hand-drawn instructions and am hoping that when I settle down from the weekend I can try again, after I get a chance to try out the crocheting.
It is so very different having a teacher in person helping one over the rough spots, stopping the error before it continues, and pointing out what needs to be ripped. I can see how one could get so many more skills when able to take a class. Fortunately both Sue and Erin love to travel and especially to come to Gualala, and they promised to come again. Vicki's Bed and Breakfast "The Secret Garden" gave them lodging for the night and the weather was beautiful. Thanks to the two of you for coming and for giving us so much help!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I started to try the bracelet in the Feb / March Beadwork, "Lavender Lattice" by Hortense E. Thompson and while looking at the picture I decided I did not really like the 'netting' between the 'centerpieces,' so while trying to make them, I just continued to make a line of centers and discovered it was the old method of making a RAW square and embellishing it. That was so easy I made all of these in short time. The one to the left has purple fire-polished round crystals, the middle one has Swarovski rondelles with the little glass florets to hold it upright. The one to the right has a base of small (4 mm?) pink squares with diagonal holes and glass pearls as embellishment. When I tightened up the embellished side the bracelet began to twist (natural enough) so I embellished the backside also which made the twist even better!
When I sat down to bead I was in a really foul mood. I was completely angry with a person to whom I had no intention of displaying my feelings. So they came out in these two bracelets. After I got them done, I settled down and did the pink ones. I feel the bracelets and their colors reveal the transformation of anger (toward a person) into love (for beading!). I had a bunch of these red rounded glass cones and they did the RAW very well. Some people have said they really liked black so I put the black and red together for them - and my angry self.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There were this many of the coin-shaped glass beads left in the package after making three bracelets, so I used them up in this necklace. The little florets do not make a harebell, but still are used. I want to try to make a Lily of the Valley 'thingie' but do not have the idea firmly in mind. Am not eager to make many of these tiny flowers as my hand seemed to get cramped holding such small bits of beading.
Got the entry for the Gemstone Contest at Fire Mountain sent off, and the Beadstar entry was sent by email (love that system of entering a contest - FM should take note!) so I am feeling empty and relieved but already the weekend's demands are moving in on me leaving no room for beading ideas.
At Saturday's beading meeting a woman is coming from Legendary beads to teach us a bracelet called "Tudor" so maybe that will be the new inspiration I am looking for. Have to go dig up pearls and crystals.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This is the tiny flower was made from the instructions for "Spring Blossoms" by Melinda Barta on page 24 of the April/May Beadwork magazine, This is done with 11s (I was learning to do the circular peyote with a lovely little change) and a crystal in the center would have more pizazz but was using what I had available (thanks to Debbe Hull!). I think that even the purple glass coins are from her.

Here is the completed bracelet. I added glass chip embellishments to fill out the space between the coins. A bit more bling and purple shine that does not show up here.
Sent the finalist entries off to Fire Mountain for their judging. Even Rick at the post office made a good luck blessing sign over them!
Have the entry for the Gemstone contest all done (three pages of materials!) and just need to settle down, think, check everything and put it into the mail. Am officially over the infection and into work mode.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I must be feeling better! I was able to follow instructions long enough to make these samples. The green and pink ones are from "Modern Vintage" on page 58 of the April / May Beadwork and the red and pink is from "Fire Flower Bracelet" on page 44 -45. Though I only made one, the "Fire Flower" is most interesting to do and it was very easy. I love how it flips and the beginning slips up into the backside. Am eager to try it again with a better color combination.
I also did "Spring Blossoms" on page 24 and again found the flower easy and quick to make. I did not like the way the leaf was made with peyote stitch and want to redo it with a brick stitch before I show it to you. The flower thing is cute but very small. Still I could see many of them, sort of like harebells, on a stem.
Don't forget to feed the fish! Point your cursor in the green pond and click to drop food into the water. Move your mouse and watch the fish follow you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Six ways to Fail"
These are attempts to follow instructions for two very different kinds of beaded beads. Both are excellent in the magazines! One (lower right-hand) is based on a framework of a 'box' of beads made with the RAW (right angle weave) which is very interesting, again in the magazine! My technique is to follow the instructions as long as I can and when I am confronted with an idea or method I cannot follow, I let the magazine slip from my lap and began doing what I like with the beady thing.
The ones with the green crystals will get better today. Last night while unable to sleep I realized what I was doing wrong with the base structure and am eager to try once more. I had cleaned up my trays and put away all of these beads so will simply cut up the ugliest ones and reuse them. At the moment I am feeling hopeful!
I gave the best part of my day today to launching Circus Forever and packing up my entries for Fire Mountain finalists' judging. Was so exhausted I had to sleep for a couple of hours. But I got the job done and hope now I will feel less pressure. Now I can prepare my entry for the gemstone part of Fire Mountain's contests. It is due in Oregon by the first week of May.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That's a family portrait - all the Pendragon cuffs. As I put the stuff away and glanced at the magazine I saw that I had made the points one bead larger than the instructions indicated. I remember counting the number of beads in the diagram, but somehow my brain, the delightful dyslexic part of it, changed the number. Now that I discovered that I should go back and experiment with the sizes of beads in a point. Maybe I could get a better relationship with the large magmas if I increased the base size of the points.
Last night I tried (several times - the antibiotic for the cold affects my bead-brain) to make and embellished bead I saw in the latest Beadwork magazine. So far the thing is not looking very good. Perhaps because I am substituting the beads I have for the crystals that I do not have. I did order a bunch for the class at our next beading on Saturday and will surely have leftovers. Maybe I should put this project aside until I have the proper beads? Lesson? Learn something? Me?

Friday, April 9, 2010

"And the Stockings Were Hung"


Good news! I got a phone call from Sue at Fire Mountain that two of my entries in their seed bead contest are finalists. Wow! I am so jazzed I can hardly think. Need to check over everything to make sure all the knots are holding and all the tails are woven in. That will take a bit of time as the fireplace has lots of things attached to it. Eager to get to it and to get this small job done as it is not one of my favorites - which is why it is left until the piece is picked! The hardest thing will be to know when to stop with the piece. It is always a temptation to add something new or better or try out another idea.
I finished the pendragon cuff with the turquoise last night and did another one in blues with 11s that makes the points larger and I think, in better proportion so that the small fringe beads are okay. Will have to wait to finish it, so will wait to show it to you when it is done.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I finished the one with the too-big magnas and was so eager to get started on the one with the smaller size and now I see they are awfully small. I am not happy with the opaque tourquoise Delicas though I do see the need for some brightness in this piece. I quit last night because I was so tired but now seeing the work in the daylight am thinking of taking out the 'teeth' and redoing them. The center has nice color changes (that do not show here) that I would like to preserve.

I think this cold is affecting my sense of color!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last night I sat down to bead and realized I had put everything away so well there was nothing do! I opened the February/March Beadwork and found on page 76 the "Pendragon Cuff" by Lynn Davey. Naturally I did not have the right beads but got myself started by using what I have. The magnas are way too fat, I see now, so I am eager to finish this one and start another to use up some much smaller blue-green fringe beads. I like the simplicity of the bracelet and even with the big magnas it looks better on the arm than in this scan.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Easter Gift Show in Point Arena took a huge bite out of my weekend. Thursday went for set up (I added two display trays more), Friday with the opening ( I took brownies in an Easter basket and had gobs of fun wearing one of the "all" necklaces), and then Sunday with take down (which got messy when I lowered the net with all the beads on it without the big sheet). Monday went to untangling the mess which looked like something found at the high tide mark. Everyone said it was a great show and Ling-Yen was very happy with the sales.

On Saturday, however, I had enough energy and creative spirit to make this, the pink/red of the "All" series. I think the excitement caused by the exclamations of joy the others had for the blue "All" necklace gave me the courage and enthusiasm to pick up the trays of beads and do this one. It is the most complicated one yet. If you look closely you can see that the two focal points are the embellished fishing lures. Had made a third one but at the last moment thought it was 'too much' and overloaded the necklace.

Monday it rained all day and I had gobs of stuff to put away but today the sun came out and I was able to photograph outdoors. I used the backside of an old hand-sewn quilt as background. I was worried the pattern would be too showy, but now feel it was better than toweling or sheets. If I have more energy tomorrow I may try it again on silk. Need to look at the printouts with my feet higher than my head to really decide what to do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

See! my fishing lures are luring in the fish! Point your mouse in the pond and watch the fish come up to feed. Click and you drop food into the water for them. April Fool! those are not real fish but a Google gadget.
My second April Fool joke would be to say that I am done with the fish! Not so! More ideas than ever for them. Thus, last night I was inspired to try to duplicat the example in the magazine. This was a small one, about 2 inches long, so I used Delicas. I have been buying the hex cut and am really happy with the sparkle and shine. As you can see, I used the brick stitch, often adding two beads at a time to get a larger pattern. Have a larger fish lure covered and ready to bead on tonight.
Did finish the second fish I showed you yesterday but was too tired last night to start the big necklace. Today I have to go to Point Arena to set up my part of the Easter Gift Show, tomorrow I have to bake brownies and go to the opening (am planning to wear one of the new big necklaces - really need a name for them) and then on Sunday I have the 12 - 4 shift at the gallery and take down. I doubt I will get to beading on Saturday. Am hoping that 'not being able to bead' on the necklace will add to the energy I can put into / on it when I get around to doing it. Everything is laid out in a tray on the floor.
Had a thrill yesterday at the grocery store in Gualala. While buzzing past the magazine stand two bead magazines caught my eye. I picked up Beadwork and flipped it over and there was my "To Jane From Tarzan" necklace pictured on the back cover in the Fire Mountain ad. If I call myself a cover girl do I need to designate that it was the 'back' cover? Anyhow I was thrilled and embarrassed Werner by pointing out my work to the cashier while the boy-bagger acted as if he did not know any of us!