Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In My Groove

The last few weeks or months or so, I haven't felt terribly excited about beading.

I've been filling kits, writing instructions, making matching earrings, and although there have been a few things that have grabbed me, obsession-wise, I haven't been delighted with myself.

Perhaps from where you are, that's preferable, but I love it when I come up with something that I am not only compelled to work on (and "work" is such an inadequate and misleading work, implying a measure of externally-imposed obligation, rather than an organic fruiting eagerness), but enjoy the process: the way it looks at each step, as well as simple pleasure in the doing.

Sometimes I just want to be finished, but it's much better when I know I will be, but don't mind that I'm not yet.

This is preferable.

I fiddled over the weekend, and my first take was this:
It has potential.

Because it requires faceted beads of two different shapes, two sizes of seed beads as well as fringe beads, it lends itself to lovely nuances of colour and texture. For example the matte metallic smaller seed beads give the narrow parts of the rope a somewhat sharp-edged geometric feel, while the colour-lined transparent drops add a subtle dewiness.

I was liking it, but not loving it as in the first weeks of a new relationship, so I decided to take a break and start again with yummier beads, resulting in these earrings.
I also made a few inches of a necklace to match.

Kinda loving these, especially the extra drops around the equator, so I went back to the green one and added drops, and found bigger rondelles for the focal (it's fairly subtle), and now I'm all happy and in love.

And since I finished knitting my stripey thing last night (although I will redo the sleeves which are a bit cracked out) and now must start being anxious about what to knit next, it's even more yay-worthy that I'm enjoying this so much and am very reluctant to go to bed instead of playing some more.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby Steps

As it happens, when I'm grossly sleep-deprived to the point of pain, I don't get much beading done, though I do spend some time slouched in front of a movie, getting knitting done.

Sometime last year, I made this.
And then I sold it, and was asked to make a pair of matching earrings.

I'm not exactly sure why, but instead I started on this.
And even though it didn't give me the colour pop I'd wanted, I kept on at it until it was finished, because quite frankly, the unfinished beading projects are starting to scare me.

And then I made the earrings.
They're quite simple to make, and are little more than bead caps (or more precisely, cones), and even though there's not much to them, the colour, size and shape variation in the beads used makes them (in my opinion), quite interesting. After I've made the other two pairs of earrings I have on my list of orders, I hope I don't get distracted by something else ("Squirrel!") because I'd really like to pursue this a bit further.

I think it has Necklace Possibilities. Not that I'm not a fan of earrings (I am!) but I'm even more enamoured of multipurpose components, whether made singly as components and strung together, or (better) if they can be sewn together as they are made. This is looking at first blush like the former, though I do see vague possibilities for the latter.

But first, matching earrings.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Someone Else's

I'm so very drawn to deep, dark, murky, complex colours, but every now and again, a colour from one of the other boxes catches my eye.

I originally bought a bunch of Peri's amethyst glass rings and used them in a fabulous necklace. The colour wasn't highly sludgey, but it's complex enough that you'd need ALL the primaries to mix it.

Then I bought a bunch more the next time she brought them to Bead Society: multiples of black, very dark amber, light amber, and a single eye-popping variably translucent orange like sunset over smog, bushfire at night, an eyeball-searing brightness that's almost neon - but more saturated, clearer.
So I made a necklace with red and gold and purple and lime and cranberry.
Earrings too.

Sometimes I take a break from my royal title(*) and play in someone else's sandbox, with someone else's finger-paints.

And then I'm pleased with myself, love the crazy wild bright, but sincerely hope that someone else will want it in their life, because it's fun and all and I had a great time and am glad for the experience, but for me it's the sort of vacation that you want to come home from, fabulous though it may be.

It just doesn't fit me, exactly.

I like it though.

[(*) The Queen of Sludge].

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Beading Saturday

(I'm not feeling terribly clever in the Title department).

I finally finished the sample for the kit I was going to have in my Etsy shop last Tuesday after class but instead I felt like death warmed up, and in that condition, my main concern was going home and getting into bead.
But now I'm fine.

So I made a little variation: I used a leaf bead and added Even More fire-polished beads (because sometimes more is in fact better) to alter the shape a bit. The daggers are partially obscured, so it may well be that this is the precursor to something else entirely.

Or not, as the case may be.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Feels Like Indulgence

Last weekend I knocked off a few simple pendants to take a break from a bigger project which to be sure I'd happily agreed to do (and now I'm even happier that it's over with), but as with anything chosen not purely out of desire in the instant, had a faint tang of lack of desire.

I suppose I can keep the pendants, but they were akin to taking a drive to fill up with gas while immersed in spring-cleaning, a nice contrast to be sure, but not necessarily something that satisfies a burning itch.

Once I had the necklace done, I scratched my itch.
I had to finish instructions, which in this case meant taking pictures of a few steps still missing, rather than writing the text to accompany the pictures as is often the case, and I was so taken with the beads I'd picked for the photos that I decided to make it all for me.
And then I made earrings to match.

It's one of those things I don't feel strongly about one way or the other: matching earrings.

Given that I always wear earrings when I'm wearing a necklace, it's useful to have earrings that go, but not necessary to have them exactly the same. On the other hand, if the necklace is composed of earring-sized components, then it seems silly to not make matching earrings simply on a twee principle (because the argument that it's too, too cute to have matching earrings is in itself a little preposterous and self-important and therefore - to my mind - shading towards the twee).

So I have matching earrings.

And I plan on wearing them all tomorrow.

Interestingly, my Had Been A Large Swatch current knitting project would be a suitable backdrop, were it complete. Alas, alack, not by tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Best-Laid Plans

So it turns out that if you start getting ready for a class and kits and whatnot way in advance, you have to continue at it until you are in fact finished, because simply starting something early doesn't actually guarantee that you will be ready in time if you do no more than start.

There was a bit of a last-minute scramble for this evening's class, not helped in the slightest by a rather nasty cold that has me sleep deprived, runny and achey.

No kits today.
As part of the class prep, I did some sampling and really like this combination of beads, which I plan to make into something for me. I feel so liberated now that the jade necklace is off my hands (she really liked it and bought the earrings too).

I messed around some more with the glass globs.
The backs are pretty too!
Jennica has the blue one because she needed cheering up.
And the bead store had Stuff On Sale, so I bought more oval beads to make another one of these (I thought I was done but apparently not).

There were seven people in class this evening; all but one was successful - it's not a straightforward project, and I think it may have challenged her a bit too much.

Trying to concentrate in a very chatty environment, hearing "Go through the next two elevens - see, those two behind the fringe bead" and "No, you needed five beads in each step, not three" and "Add three beads, then pass through the eight, fringe and eight from the other side, add three more and pass through two elevens, the fringe and two elevens" can't be all that conducive to mastering complicated instructions when you're not at any of those steps when you hear them around you.

Unfortunately, my streaming nose and aches and chills may have done her a disservice, as I probably wasn't as patient as I should have been.

I hate being sick.

I hope I get some sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So I made earrings to match.

They're pretty in their own right, and will happily go into my Etsy shop if she doesn't want them.

I Got Somewhere

A month or more ago, one of my colleagues at my day job showed me a necklace her boyfriend had given her and asked if I could do "something" with it.
She loved the jade flower, but the twisted cord just wasn't her style. She likes big, bold, sharp pieces and this I think tended towards the hippie-cheap in style.

I knew I could do something, and even though I wasn't immediately inspired, I thought I could probably do it justice. The problem was that she wasn't in a hurry, so I felt no pressure, so everything else had a higher priority, so it hung on my wall for quite some time. I kept looking away.

From time to time I'd wander ask her desk to ask her whether she liked pearls, or whether asymmetry troubled her, or how long she wanted it to be, and I'd make little sketches that didn't seem terribly interesting once I looked at them at home in my beading space.

Three weeks ago she was due to have some sort of shoulder surgery, and I sorta kinda thought it might be nice to have the necklace done by the time she was back at work, so I started getting serious.

I knew from the beginning that it would have a chunky twisted rope with creamy white fresh-water pearls. I knew I couldn't use any of the jade in my stash which was more yellow and less blue than the flower. I knew I'd have to replace the cheesy faux carnelian in the centre of the flower and I thought I'd like to incorporate some sort of floral-esque motif. I also wanted to use the jade barrel beads on the necklace.

Asymmetry is always tricky in terms of the weight of the piece, and I could find no compelling asymmetric design, so it's pretty much symmetric, even the clasp, in which I managed to use one of the jade barrel beads, which in itself proved more challenging than I'd thought it would be, as it has a HUGE hole. Yvette has short hair, so the clasp has a dangle.

Even as it was in progress, I changed my mind.

I made a couple of floral motifs that didn't make it into the final necklace.

After making the second twisted rope, I realized that they ought to mirror each other, so I'm thinking that part of a bracelet is sitting on my work table.
Ultimately, I think I achieved what I was after. I hope she likes it.
And now I think I'd better get started on matching earrings.

During one of my slightly stalled periods, I was weak and took a break to make this.

A fun little pendant of slightly iridescent clear glass that allows you to see both back and front at the same time.

On the knitting front, I'm just about where I was last week when I realized that I'd in fact only been swatching all along. It turns out that the striping is even better than it was, so I'm not horribly disappointed, but I do hate that I wasted about two weeks of perfectly good knitting moments only to have to rip it all out.

I need to be strong, because I'm itching to start the next project which is especially urgent/exciting/appealling as I think it'll be an excellent use for the single skein of handdyed yarn that was too pretty to pass up so now that I've had the idea I'm not entirely sure that it's fair to deny myself the satisfaction. On the other hand, I'm fairly happy with the latest beading projects, so perhaps I should save it for a despondent moment when I need cheering up.


Monday, June 6, 2011


Today I'm not talking about knitting except to say that it turns out that I've been spending time on a very large gauge swatch.

Even though the next class I'm teaching isn't breathing down my neck, the instructions needed finishing and I was in the mood so I made a class sample that not only didn't even come close to being a class sample, but it didn't even make it into my Etsy shop after class - one of my spinning friends had the perfect earrings and bracelet that coordinated so well.
How could I refuse her?

When a project that I'm going to teach gets a lot of attention before it's even on the roster, I often intend to have kits available in my Etsy shop The Very Next Day After class, but what with my magpie sensibilities and my uncanny ability to be distracted by almost any other project than the one I said I'd be spending time on, that doesn't usually happen.

Except this time I think I just might get it right.
I started on one set of colours, but they just seemed a bit dull.
Interestingly, the photo of the colour-way that looked blech in person is prettier than the photo of the colour-ay that actually looks much better in person. Once again: Not So Good At Photographs.

I think this might work, and it might even be in my shop on June 15th.

It's looking possible.