Sunday, February 18, 2018

No Excuses

Things are as they are. Deal.
 There were class samples made.
 This one with the jade used some very, um, mature items from my stash. I mean I buy beads for no reason other than because they're pretty but sometimes I find myself with various items which seem to insist on being together so I bag them up and then more often than not I have a Need and the group gets split up - but sometimes I find the perfect project and sometimes it apparently can take ten or more years.
A friend had access to a lovely old house in Hermann last month so we had a beading weekend where I taught the above necklace. It's related to one of my Bead & Button classes but is dissimilar enough that there are no contractual violations or anything like that. (I'm not supposed to teach the same class within a certain time or distance from Milwaukee in June. So I don't).
 Another class sample for a class which ended up having no students. Too bad; I think they'd have enjoyed this one.
 The cuff bracelet is sort of a class sample; the class is actually for a pendant but I've been wanting to combine multiples of the motif and thought I should probably try it before asserting that yes, you can make a gorgeous cuff by joining them together.
This is somewhere between a class sample and kit colour-way. I'd used these beads and rivolis in a different project for a different class that needed kits but somehow never got completed so fortuitously I have most of the supplies for a whole other kit.

I've been knitting quite a bit but as usual have no pictures. There's been ripping out too; one project was too small to be accurately described as "slouchy" so was partially ripped and is now complete and is officially clothing (I've worn it a couple of times).

The other had bleeding issues and (a) it wasn't all that attractive and (b) I got tired of blue hands so the whole thing is undone and the yarn is thoroughly washed and re-overdyed.

I'd be annoyed at myself if by my sloppy dye job I ended up with yarn or roving that bled all over me and ruined the other colours in the project but I'm pretty ticked off that someone had the gall to sell such a crappy dye job. If only I could remember the vendor I'd never buy from them again.

Actually I probably in fact will never buy from them again because I have so much yarn and spinning fiber that I'm going to be hard-pressed to use up even a respectable fraction of it even if I won the lottery, retired tomorrow and became a full-time fiber recluse, forgoing all else for knitting and spinning. Which in the grand scheme of things is unlikely for so very many reasons, chief among them that I've never in my life bought a lottery ticket.

Besides, that sounds pretty boring.

If I retired tomorrow on lottery winnings I'd travel a lot and live in New York and San Francisco and London and Sydney and have a cottage on a beach somewhere or perhaps a boat.

Honestly I haven't given it much thought though.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

For the Record

Not that I was actually working towards my not-really-a-challenge but I definitely did meet it.

I started off my four-day weekend with the beaded bead in last Friday's post.

On Saturday I made another one in different colours to prove it wasn't a fluke.
On Sunday I made a pair of knot bags.
 On Monday I made a few more.
Then on Tuesday after work (yes I know that's not part of the long weekend however it was part of my effort) I made another.
I had been hoping to use up fabric scraps but to tell the truth I didn't feel like piecing and that would have been the only way to be as thrifty and practical as I'd hoped to be.

The maroon bag exterior is from leftovers, as is the lining of the frog bag but otherwise everything else was purchased for the express purpose of making knot bags.

My goal was to make pockets all the way around, inside and out, but various shortfalls prevented that; almost all of the bags have all the inside pockets but the outsides vary.

They also all have nice sturdy ultra suede bottoms with extra stiffening because one of my personal criteria for a useful bag is that it has a base upon which it can stand.

Sometime over the weekend in the course of cooking I was quite taken with my vegetables pre-roasting and fully intended to take a post-roasty picture but I forgot. Or started eating them before I could remember to do so. Something.
Pretty food. Always a plus.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Excuse Me While I Take This Detour

I'm not sure if I'm more pleased when I've sketched and planned to the hilt and the execution works out perfectly, or when I sit down to make something, get an idea about something else entirely, promise myself that I'll just try it out briefly and next thing I know it's almost 10pm and I have a new favourite Thing.
 You can't see (because I photographed its good side) but it took a couple of repeats of the motif to get it right. I cut up a few false starts where thread was showing, so I added more beads, different sizes of beads and they weren't right either and honestly on the back of this thing there are a couple of extra size 15s that are a Bad Idea.

Oh. One of them can be seen in this second picture. Whoops.
This is a riff on a motif that was part of a bracelet but which I turned out to not like very much after making it up, but with a little bit of a change it makes a perfect beaded bead.

It's pretty sturdy and I think it might even be firm enough for someone who doesn't stitch as tightly as I do.

It's relatively lightweight as it's hollow and doesn't have rivolis or fire-polished beads or any other large, bulky beads, just seed beads and two-hole triangles.

It's also quite big, almost two inches across and because it has sticky-out bits (the regions with two-hole triangles) and indented bits (the areas with round seed beads), it's a perfect fidget piece as your fingers fit so delightfully in the valleys as they glide over the hillocks in search of the next valley.

I'm also charmed by the fact that I've used triangular beads to make a beaded bead which is a cube even though it doesn't look like one. Much.

So now my challenge (which I actually don't care whether or not I meet so I suppose it's silly to call it "my challenge" as that implies I'm all fired up which I may be in terms of making things but the notion of a challenge when it comes to things I do for my own pleasure seems quite frankly slightly ridiculous) is for each day of this four-day long weekend to be as productive.

I actually have some ideas and they aren't even all beading-related.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

To the Bone

My fingers.  Worked.

Well, not literally, but it sorta felt like it, figuratively speaking.
 I swear this took. For. Ever.

I say that as though it was unpleasant to stitch it; it decidedly was not. Each repeat starts with a fresh new length of thread and then gets joined to the previous one. They go fairly quickly and because I made so many of them, by the time I got to the last ones I'd made so many improvements in the thread path that the only pain in the making was caused by the cursed Deadline.

It looks more intricate than it is which is always a plus: impress the hell out of the muggles with minimal effort but also I'm always charmed when the same skeleton can progress in a number of different ways so not only is there this crazy bangle but there are two versions of earrings you could make to match it. And the simpler earring motif could be joined rim-to-rim to make a bracelet or necklace too but I ran out of time. And also? I wanted to finish watching Season 3 of Broadchurch.
 Somewhere in the middle of the stitching I took a break and made these cute beaded beads. Turns out that if you nudge the pinch beads to arrange themselves neatly in a circle, they pretty much stay there, probably because of the triangular cross-sectional shape of the beads.

I'm not saying that you need no thread tension whatsoever, but my suspicion is that crazy tight may not be as vital as I like to say it is. ("These are hollow self-supporting beaded beads which rely in large part on thread tension to help them keep their shape so I suggest that you work at keeping your thread tension very firm"). I think that's pretty close to my usual beaded bead schpiel when I teach.
Actually I took another break during the bangle and banged out a few pairs of earrings which I initially thought had to be made with drop beads but as you can see, rondelle beads actually work too. This is always one of my favourite types of projects to share since you only need small amounts of each type of bead so those tiny oddments left over from that exhausting project can be used up completely. Unless you have an odd number left over and then you're on your own buddy.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Percolation from the idea to its realisation wasn't done yesterday and it might not be done today but even though I've moved away from the original idea, I think it's been improved.
My colour choice may not be ideal because the fire-polished beads don't add as much interest as I'd intended, but the shape of each link pleases me more, and because of they way each link connects to the next, the chain as a whole is much more fluid. Bendy. This one will absolutely hang properly as a longish necklace without any alteration except obviously in the number of links.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


If you move among people who make things out of yarn or beads or some other non-perishables, the kind of people who buy supplies so that they're on hand when inspiration strikes you'll hear talk of items in the stash raging until they're ready to be used.

Like a young wine, or so I hear.

Design ideas are like that too although in my case no matter how long they've aged, when they're finally constructed I often realise that what I had envisioned was only the first iteration. Sometimes the imagination glosses over reality, doesn't always see a better way, a more interesting join, a more attractive use of beads and so on.

Still, I'm not entirely unhappy with my first pass of links chained one to the next.
 Until I started gathering the beads, I hadn't thought about making it reversible.
Once I'd stitched a couple of links, the toggle seemed way too dull.

Once I started planning a more interesting closure, I thought of another way to connect them.

I'm glad I persevered and didn't just switch to the next idea without completing this one as I could have ended up with a few odd links that neither matched nor formed a complete anything.

Cubic right angle weave is naturally a bit stretchy if you don't stiffen it, so it's possible to make a snug bracelet that's not impossible to fasten. The chain has a moderate amount of overall flexibility so it would work well for a shortish necklace, but a long necklace wouldn't naturally hang neatly - more design possibilities!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Less Little

I guess I mean "more".

Turns out I've been beading more than I thought; I just hadn't taken pictures and you know how it goes: if there's no picture then it didn't happen.
I seem to have a weakness for fire-polished rondelle beads as they conspire to force me to buy them. I mean, they come in colours never found in the regular beads; they are surely conspiring to remove all self-restraint.

So it's a good thing when I figure out how to use them, though in truth I'll need to make necklaces rather than bracelets since they're used somewhat sparingly at the rate of one per inch.
This is a beaded bead I made ages ago which in its first iteration reminded me of the Death Star but above here: not so much. I always enjoy how a beaded bead based on a cube in terms of its bone structure can be filled out and primped and padded to look more round.

Omitting the sticky-out beads from two opposing sides would enable it to be strung on a narrowish chain or cord; keeping all the sticky-out goodness requires that it be strung on beading wire or something fine along a diagonal axis.

This rush of newness is all leading up to the next batch of classes at my local bead store.

Stay tuned.