Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now This Is What I Mean

There are few things more satisfying than the feeling of accomplishment you get from doing what you want to do. Doing what you have to do is all very well and good, and it's a relief when the list gets to be empty, but it's all just preparation for a time when you can just play.

To get you in the mood, a picture of lovely. Fortunately I have friends who are better at taking photos of people and places than I am.
Love love love the colours of the New Mexico rock.

I taught a class last Tuesday, and since the instructions were completed well in advance, I made a class sample, and then turned it into a pendant.
And after the class it went up for sale in my Etsy shop.

I know I had a list of things that ought to be done, and I did do some of them. Went to the library. Took my son shopping for shorts. Got tax forms for my daughter. Picked up my umbrella from the bead store where I'd left it after class (this is most unlike me, I'll have you know. I don't lose, leave or forget my stuff generally).

The thing with the library? They wouldn't let me renew Diane Fitzgerald's Zulu book. Something about someone else wanting it, the nerve. I wasn't ready to return it just yet (hence the attempted renewal), so the time seemed right to try a technique or two not covered in the Zulu book which I have (and which is apparently no longer available).

I tried the Slinky Rope (also in my Etsy shop).
Turns out I had a bead which matched quite well. Fancy that. Have you seen the size of my lampwork stash? It's from when I developed this Terrible Horrible Very Bad Ebay Habit. A bit like the first THVBEH, but back then (about ten years ago) it was spinning fiber and yarn, and even though I may have spent about $200 a month for a year or two, I scored some fabulous bargains (only rarely do I now actually need to buy yarn or fiber. I often want to, but that's another matter entirely). I've also taken care of retirement (should the economy ever recover enough for me to glimpse it in my future. Right now I'm going to have to work until the day I die) as I'll never ever need fiber or yarn again in my life, even if I live to be a hundred, which isn't all that likely, since none of my grandparents have made it past their eighties. 

Still, I'll be busy.

Anyway, the lampwork stash, while not as large either volume-wise or dollar-for-dollar, is still significant enough to make me uncomfortable, though not uncomfortable enough to forego new lampwork beads (remember Bead Fest? I do), but it is big enough to occasionally contain the perfect bead for the current project.

This so-called slinky rope is slightly related to the stitch often called African Helix in that there is thread looping around thread, but it also has a small amount of passing through a bead in the rope, like the beadweaving stitches most of us know. She instructs the reader to work the stitch around a dowel or knitting needle, but I find that too bothersome, so I don't, which seems to reduce the slinky factor since there's nothing to prevent my habitual tight tension except force of will, which often won't. I still like it, as it has an interesting shape and a nice gentle twist.

I don't think it's apparent in the picture above, but I did a small amount of experimentation in terms of varying bead sizes (I tried fringe beads and pairs of size 15s - the rope used 11s in the main), but their effect was not remarkable. I guess colour is a better laboratory for this stitch.

Then I tried popcorn stitch (also in my Etsy shop), though I changed it slightly, and am quite pleased with the result. This was a rather quick necklace (about 21" took me under two hours) and is a great showcase for the coppery pearls in the necklace below. She recommends size 6 seeds, but I may have to try it using smaller seeds, or fire-polished beads, or fringe beads.
Then I got to thinking. Like so many of us, I'm foolishly attracted to miniatures. No, not those pretend dogs or porcelain figurines, but teeny-tiny gem beads and pearls. I remember a Bead Fest a few years ago at which I succumbed, and bought garnets, carnelians and pearls somewhere in the region of 1.5mm in diameter. Yes, close to a size 11 seed bead.

I had another look at the slinky tube. 

Each stitch has three beads. 

The first bead gets passed through again when you circle around. 

The second bead has only one thread pass, and sits with its hole horizontal, firmly sandwiched between the first and third beads, the flat surface of a side. Hiding, kinda. Not noticeable.

The third bead also has only one thread pass, and forms the corner that separates one plane from its neighbour. Perfect for a bead with a not very large hole, as it sticks out of the tube. (I had to put the colour-graduated tourmalines on hold because they were even smaller (probably about 1mm, with holes proportionally smaller. They shattered when I attempted to pass a needle through).

The pearls worked really well though.

And my cabochon stash? In all fairness, it was also augmented by eBay, though it didn't really get out of hand that time. It's a respectable stash, not scary-huge. It had a lovely pinkish-greyish-whatsis probable-agate that matched the seed beads I chose to carry my seed pearls.

I have done some knitting, and there's success not yet photographed and the subject of another missive. Or perhaps just a photo next time I enthuse about something-or-another else.


Lynn said...

Stunning. Every one of them. Simply stunning.

Laurie said...

Beautiful use of stash, and otherwise. I'm trying not to worry about either the retirement thing (never ever dead in a ditch ain't gonna happen) OR the stash thing (which might keep me happy til the day I die).