Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By Special Request

I don't know if it's a self-selecting group, but every time I teach this class, it seems that the participants really get a kick out of it. The circles and colour-play are quite addictive!
The instructions show you how to make flat peyote circles using mostly size 8 seeds (use size 6 around the edges), and then join them together to make a few bracelets or a choker-length necklace. You also get to make a matching button for a seamless closure.
This project is excellent for developing both an awareness of your thread tension (too tight and the circles won't lie quite flat; too loose and they'll look gappy), and in my opinion it's a great selling point for Czech seed beads, which so many people disregard as uneven - but in this instance they're ideal, as you can select the appropriate bead size for the task: small beads are good for the increase points, while bigger beads are better for the round just before the increase round.
It's a versatile technique, as you can see from the necklaces above and below, and you can't use too many colours (I'd recommend at least five or six but go up to forty or more).
Once again, it's ideal for people who tend to bead in short bursts of time, as each circle doesn't take long to make.

Circles Pattern:  $9.50 for PDF file which I will email to you

  Czech and/or Japanese size 8 seed beads in a variety of colours
  Size 6 seed beads
  Your favourite beading thread
  Size 10 needle

But wait, there's more!

I enjoy projects like this one, because it's repetitive without being boring.
You do stretches of relaxing herringbone interspersed with bunches of berries where you have to pay attention: the little drop beads would much rather fall to the inside of the rope, and require encouragement to remain on the outside.

Then when you're thoroughly annoyed at the recalcitrance of those drops, you're back to herringbone again. You also get to look forward to making a herringbone loop and toggle clasp to match.

Berries Necklace Pattern:  $10 for PDF file which will be mailed to you

   Size 11 Japanese seed beads in 2 colours
   Japanese fringe beads to match the 2nd colour
   Your favourite beading thread
   Size 10 needle

And OMG! Still more!

You do have to excuse the picture, as it's pre-camera, when all I had was a scanner.
I thought I was being very clever when I named this Eye of the Tiger: I was using tigereye (gold for the first necklace, red for the close-up) cabochons and beads, and the little increase motifs in the herringbone chain sort of have the shape of eyes, so I couldn't resist. I like bad, unoriginal puns, what can I say.

Of course, you don't have to use tigereye, and if you're willing to fiddle with bead counts, you can use a cab that is not 18x25mm. 

I guess I feel this way about most of the projects that I make and write up, but I enjoyed this one. You fiddle about with the focal, bezelling it, then embellishing, and then the chain is just a walk in the park with a bit of interest to keep you awake.

Eye of the Tiger Necklace Pattern: $12 for PDF file emailed to you

  Japanese size 11 seed beads in 2 colours
  Japanese size 14 seed beads
  Czech charlottes (size 13) 
  18x25mm cabochon
  4mm round or faceted beads
  1 size 8 seed bead (really)
  Purchased clasp
  Your favourite beading thread
  Size 10 or 12 needle

In case you're wondering, I price my patterns according to their length and complexity, so a higher priced pattern is going to be a longer pattern, probably with more steps. Unless I'm aiming a pattern at beginners, and illustrating pretty much every poke of the needle, the length of the pattern does correlate pretty well with the complexity of the design: I try to give very detailed instructions for anything that is non-standard or a not very intuitive technique.

Most of my patterns are very wordy (I like to explain in precise detail), and each step is illustrated with photographs of the beadwork (occasionally held in my fingers if necessary to show a particular detail). Occasionally I use graphs, generally for colour charts.

I try to photograph pieces in such a way so as to highlight the visible changes from one step to the next, if necessary keeping the orientation of the work in progress the same from one picture to the next, so as to show the progress more clearly. 

I try to make my instructions non-handed, even though I'm a righty, as I figure you can always flip it over (if it's flat) to check your progress - and in truth, when you're working in rows back and forth on a flat piece, you may well flip it over for each row. Sometimes I flip, and sometimes I just stitch back and forth without really moving the beadwork around in my "holding" hand. 

If you have difficulty with my instructions, PLEASE LET ME KNOW so that I can help. The way I look at it is that unless you're a rank beginner attempting something very involved, I haven't explained it clearly enough if you can't figure out what I mean, and it's MY FAILING.


Ruth Ann said...


I can't tell you how pleased I am that you're coming out with instructions for your designs. It's wonderful!

Now, for those of us with no bead stores, can we have kits? :o0

I'll be ordering all of your designs on pay day. Thanks so much!

Ruth Ann

Charlene said...

Who's Lori???

Charlene said...

And BTW, some of my kits are available at my etsy shop ( and the rest are available through Buy The Kit ( I'm available to the possibilities of special-order kits in terms of colour - if I have the appropriate beads available, though there may be a slight surcharge.