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

Better

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

Maturation

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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Doesn't Look Like Much

I think I may not have done much beading for a while because all I have to show you is a necklace version of the last new thing I made which is once again, an idea in progress. And I'm gathering colours to make another one so I might be stuck, but not in a way that makes me unhappy. So.
The cube beaded bead is the same as the pale green one from last time and I had this idea of making some sort of huge circular bail as a design element but then I didn't have enough small blue beads and so it became this weird oval thing and then once it was there I needed to figure out a necklace (I knew exactly how to make the necklace from my planned bail) and so it grew.

I don't think the clasp goes well with the necklace, stylistically, even though it uses the same beads.

A rediscovered pleasure though is the actual necklace chain: the narrowest tubular peyote rope ever. It's fluid and has a pleasing structure which reminds me of a box chain, though rounded instead of squared, and even with my pretty tight tension it looks somewhat loose and is crazy stretchy.

What I don't love is that it feels incredibly slow to stitch but you know: seed beads.

Also: matte jet picasso seed beads which read black but have organic colour variations which make them so much more interesting.

What I've been doing a lot of is knitting on an endless project on 2.75mm needles and no, it's not socks (I use smaller endless for those and they are relatively quick actually).

This is a moss stitch sweater using up odds and ends of somewhat fine handspan luxury fiber yarns in natural colours. Randomish blocks of colour with the deeper colours towards the bottom and the lighter towards the top.

So far all I have is one and a half sleeves and an underarm panel and I'm not feeling especially impatient, probably because I know how futile that would be, and also because the particulars of the end product are not quite completely decided. Yes, I know I said it's a sweater but the neckline for example isn't completely fixed in my mind, nor the hem as it turns out.

I should probably show you but I'm always very dissatisfied with my inability to photograph knitting such that it looks amazing and this is just swathes of brown moss stitch so it's not as though my photos will dazzle with scintillating colour or extraordinary stitch construction or anything.
I told you. Brown knitting.

But it makes me happy.