Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Over-Prepared, Under-Prepared

I'm always overly optimistic about what I can get done in a weekend, even when nothing unexpected happens.
I finished an entire necklace, as well as two partials for colours, packed kits and completed the instructions for one of my Bead Fest classes, so that's not too bad.
I started on the cushions.

I was supposed to be having some friends for dinner this evening, one of them being the friend for whom I'm supposed to make the cushions (he did me a huge favour. I owe him) and so I had my list for last night, which very clearly laid out all the advance food preparation for this evening, and left time for finishing two out of four cushions (those with flanges instead of that pesky piping).

Unfortunately someone needed help with instructions, and even though when I taught the class no one even struggled, I know it's not the same with written instructions, and so between my wordiness and the thought that perhaps a picture would help (actually, it's probably quite useful and should be included in the instructions), that hour and a half to be used for cushions was spoken for.

Still, I did manage to get most of the food do-aheads prepared: mushroom and turkey sausage lasagne (partially cooked), cream of cauliflower soup done (I think I shouldn't have used Hot curry powder though), tomatoes roasted. The dessert was to be in the oven (roasted pears with Greek-style yoghurt, honey and toasted nuts) as we ate, and salad whipped together after soup, so I was as prepared as I could have been.

Today at around 3:30pm I found out that I had the wrong week.

The lasagne (partially cooked) is in the freezer, and I had soup and roasted tomatoes over arugula for dinner.

But hey, there are always more beading patterns. Today's theme is netting.

These earrings are swingy and fairly quick to make, and don't use up too many beads (useful for gifts and left-over beads, respectively). I used Czech seeds, as I prefer them in netting, but I'm sure Japanese would work too. For something a bit more delicate you could also try size 15s, but with longer loops at the bottom (i.e. more beads).

I sell a kit with the earrings and cuff below bundled, but I'm happy to separate the patterns out.
Fading Colours Earrings Pattern:  $3 for PDF emailed to you

   Czech size 11 seed beads in 6 colours
   4mm fire-polished beads 
   Ear wires
   Size 10 needle
   Your favourite beading thread

The cuff fastens with cross-woven buttons, which also work well as earrings, and combine really well in shape with the pressed lentil shapes favoured for bracelets by many lampworkers.
I used six shades, and enjoyed playing with the fade factor. The netting itself is pretty simple, but you'll need to follow a chart for the colour placement. 

Fading Colours Cuff Pattern:  $7 for PDF emailed to you

  Czech size 11 seed beads in 6 colours
  4mm fire-polished beads
  Size 10 needle
  Your favourite beading thread

The earrings and cuff happened only because of the collar below.
I had taught a class in which we increased and decreased to make a collar the same shape, and I thought it might be fun to play with colour gradations as well.
Even though the picture of the flame-coloured collar looks better, the peacock colours actually look decent and flow nicely in real life, but the scanner just couldn't handle them too well.

The collar can be lengthened either by using a necklace extender style of clasp, or by adding more of the teeny triangles (the pictures show two on each side of the clasp). Of course it can also be shortened by opposite but analogous means (fewer of the teeny triangles).

Fading Colours Collar Pattern:  $15 for PDF emailed to you

   Czech size 11 seed beads in 6 colours
   4mm fire-polished beads
   Large teardrop bead or top-drilled pearl or briolette
   Size 1o needle
   Your favourite thread

I know some people only ever use white beading thread, but I think that's a mistake, as it aways shows (unless your beads are white too) and in my opinion looks cheesy. I always apply the same principle with beading threads as with sewing threads: aim for a match, slightly darker, which results in the thread looking rather like a shadow. 

For multi-colour beadwork, I either match the thread to the dominant colour if there is one, or one of the darker colours. If your beading tension is on the loose side, this should be of particular concern to you, as beading thread is generally functional rather than decorative, so you should choose a colour that will disappear into the background or shadows. Black, brown and grey are generally pretty safe choices, though I confess that I will choose other colours if I have them.

I've lost count of the number of these that I've made.
It was among the first classes I ever taught, and among the first kits I sold, and I generally sell one or two each time Amy has her sale.

It all started from another class in which I taught a tubular version of this netting variation. The store owner asked if the stitch could be worked flat, and so this was born. In the past year I've noticed a version of it on the web-site of a store that seems to have quite a few rather familiar designs supposedly created by their in-house designer. Whatever.

The instructions are written to use two buttons to fasten the cuff, but there's no reason why you can't use a tube clasp (you'll have to fiddle with the length to get it to fit snugly though) or weave a button like I did in the purplish one above, or make a beaded toggle clasp, or whatever. Snaps. Velcro. Magnets. The Power of the Mind. Or not.

It's pretty adaptable, and you can use fresh-water pearls with those tiny holes, since the bigger beads (all about 4mm, please) each have only one thread pass. I have seen people use Swarovski bicones, but personally I'd avoid them as they have sharp edges and the thread may curve as it exits the bead hole, rubbing against the sharp edges and eventually breaking. Using something like Fireline may delay breakage, but I'm convinced it's inevitable with sharp-edged crystals. 

I like to combine different shapes in different finishes in shades of the same colour. I inevitably use fresh-water pearls (potato; rice pearls would have a lacier look - I should try them sometime), fire-polished beads, cube seed beads, round beads, and occasionally size 5 triangle beads (these are the soft-edged triangles). Of course you could happily use all pearls or all fire-polished beads.

Once again, I generally choose Czech seed beads for this cuff, but I've seen it made up with Japanese beads, and it's still lovely.

Flat Russian-Style Netted Cuff Pattern: $6 for PDF mailed to you

  Czech size 11 seed beads
  4mm beads, 4 different shapes and/or colours
  2 5/8" shank buttons
  Size 10 needle
  Your favourite beading thread

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Damn. Every time - every time! - you post another beading pattern, I think: I like that. Maybe I should take up beading.

Along with knitting, spinning, weaving, and extraneous stuff like sleeping and working. Not gonna happen, sorry!

But keep it up - your creations are gorgeous!