Sunday, January 29, 2012


Apparently not wanting to work on something requiring the commitment of more than an hour or two was not in fact my motivation for not making a necklace comprising upwards of half a dozen floral components.

I still don't know what was though.

Peyote stitch, perhaps?

Seems what I wanted to work on were these odd little rectangular components.
I love the way they're thinner in the middle when viewed end-on.

I used a single colour of seed beads in most of them, but (if I actually get to it), the next round of experiments might add another colour or two of seed beads, and/or use different accent beads - I used the so-called Thunder-Polish Chinese rondelles. They're very pretty and !shiny!

Why yes, I did in fact find a better thread path, though I'd be wary of the finish of the seed beads if using my usual double-standed Nymo B with a size 10 beading needle, because there were a couple of bead holes which were at their limit, and I chose beads (matte metallic) which tend to be on the larger end of the spectrum of bead hole sizes. Colour-lined and permanent finish Toho seed beads may well not play as nicely with this needle and thread combination. Fireline would be a very good choice.

While these could certainly be made in one continuous chain (since the spine of each is a column of cubic right angle weave), I like the contrast in texture and colour of the brass and copper jump-rings. I'd originally used some very large anodized aluminium jump rings in place of the copper rings, but the scale was all wrong and the colour was too much.

There's no reason that these couldn't be made considerably longer into a substantial cuff, or with uneven sides so that they curve.

More experiments ahead!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Honestly I Have No Idea

I wanted to make a pendant. No, a rope. No, a pendant.
I thought I had a plan and then I didn't and then I did and then I just wanted to be doing something else and though there are a couple of well-hidden design elements that might inspire me at some time, I think that the time may not be now.

Or tomorrow even.
So then I had another idea which is actually somewhat interesting if only there was a better thread path that didn't lead to ridiculous congestion inside the bead holes IMMEDIATELY.


I may have a solution. Stay tuned.

I forgot to show you this variation of the class I taught on Tuesday which I think I may like better than the original, especially if I can do better on the colour placement (I still want the three variations on a theme, a.k.a. light, medium and dark, but in different positions on the piece). And I think I have a better way of joining them into a necklace, but what's holding me back is the time commitment because there are sketches on the pile, ideas in the queue and a necklace of sweet little blossoms will use up all the free time I have, such as it is.

This day job thing. It really gets in the way.

I don't know if it's just me, turning into one of those people who just doesn't like anything, or if it's the program committee of Dance St Louis or whoever decides what's going to appear on stage for our yearly subscription, but once again, I can tell you what I don't like: the overly emotive singer who elbowed the dancers of Ensemble Espanol away from centre stage, not that I found them especially engaging either.

They weren't bad in that they danced well, the program was somewhat varied, the costumes were fine (one dress I loved, sheer black over red) through the sets such as they were should have been left at home, but honestly all that skirt-swishing and stamping and meaningful glares over the shoulders just bored me after about half an hour, and it was a long program, over two and a half hours. I wish one of the dance companies I really enjoy (like Pilobolus, Momix, Sydney Dance Company, etc) would have over-long programs, but it never quite works out that way, does it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Doodle Do[nut]

Class this evening went well, I think. Three people sewed cute little flowers.

Then I cam home and doodled.
I don't buy tons of donuts because I'm rarely happy with what I do with them, but I buy enough (because I'm weak, that's why) that I'm always on the lookout for something good to do with them.
I'm not sure if these bails based on stars are good per se, but they're a whole lot better than having the donuts languishing in a drawer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Samples, Always Samples

Except of course when they're not, but today they are.

First for the class I'm teaching on Tuesday.
The actual class is for a blossom as an earring, but I thought I might be able to join them to make a necklace or bracelet.

Yes, I can.

I think it would make a better necklace than bracelet as the blossoms are slightly concave and might not lie comfortably around a wrist.

Two Lucidity pendants.

These have marbles inside, and while I can't capture it so well in a photo, they have an airiness belied by their weight because the layer of seeds isn't solid, and you get these great flashes of lustre as the surface finish of the marbles peek through.

They're kinda fun to make too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Same But Different

I made a slightly larger, slightly more interesting bead the same shape as the last ones I showed you.
It's the one in the centre, but somehow the colours conspire to hide the difference.

I think the necklace set shows it up better.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How It Works


I've always been quite confident of colour, not in a self-conscious show-offy way (at least I don't think so), but in the same way that one would be confident about breathing. You don't think about it; you just do it and it turns out quite well.

Colour in beading isn't always quite like that. The proportions and the finishes and the reflections off the other beads add a level of complexity that sometimes defy over-thinking.

Often I do best when I'm trying out a design, seeing how it will work from my sketches, and I just grab whatever's around, and more often than not it turns out so much better than when I start from a fixed point and try to come up with a plan.

Take these three beaded beads. I had dark iridescent faceted beads, and I wanted a seed bead overlay.
I knew I wanted something bright and metallic for the centre (it worked so well for the first set I made), something silver-lined or copper lined, not too bright for the little adjacent accents, and something in a matte rainbow (sort of multicoloured) for the main seed bead overlay.

The first combination is the leftmost.

The metallic magenta are exactly right, as are the copper-lined olivine, but the overlay is too close to the faceted beads (the difference in finish is somewhat exaggerated in the photo; in Real Life there's less distinction), and the larger bronze seed beads at the intersection just disappear.

Next iteration I went for more contrast, with a blue-violet main seed bead, and size eights in a gilt-lined peach, ugh no! Gilt lined lavender! The whole is just a tiny bit nauseating, in much the way that the Magic Kingdom is.

The one I like the most photographed the worst. The main seed beads are a smokey lavender (more purple, less smokey than they appear), and the intersection beads are a medium-pale copper. Something golder would have been better, but my golds are either too dark or too bright, and this one is better in real life than in the picture.

It's a little disconcerting that it took three tries to get something that I didn't feel the need to attack with scissors (the first two are not long for this world, I can tell you that).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not Surprisingly

There's not much to photograph at the end of a week infused with some winter crud or another in which your chief form of productive relaxation is the beginning bits of a knitting project in fits and starts as you watch TV.
I managed to make another pendant.

And then because I got tired of the bail (with which I'm not quite satisfied) I wondered if the pendant, sans bail, could be the focal of a necklace.
Yes, in fact it could.

And then I had an idea for a cuff but then it was the end of the weekend -- and thank you yes, I'm feeling a whole lot better. Back to normal in fact.

My kitten, on the other hand, is re-aquiring normal. He has undergone, as my vet calls it, the redirection of his cerebro-testicular oxygen shunt. He was tutored. Neutered. He doesn't seem to miss them at all, or even notice that they're no longer there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Love It When This Happens

Well, eventually I love it, but I spend time not loving it, and let me tell you, coming down with a cold also helps me not love it so much.

Then there's the whole packing off one's first-born for her final semester in Geneva with the dilemma of how much to let my inner control freak take over and how much to let my daughter ask for help.

There were some near-misses, like the whole finding a notary public on a Saturday afternoon when leaving the following Monday morning (we made it with minutes to spare. Like three perhaps).

The luggage dilemma.

She's a fashion forward person, a bit of a compulsive shopper with the wardrobe volume to confirm, and the difficulty of not being able to pack all one's clothes into a suitcase weighing fifty pounds, not to mention all the other things one may need for a semester in Europe.

I set my mind to not crying like my mother did when I went to Israel to grad school, and I didn't, but she did (I think it had more to do with leaving her boyfriend than anything else), surprisingly.

Then there was the knitting of the beanie for my second child who thought he knew what he wanted but in fact did not and if I'd just gone ahead and made what I really thought he ought to want, I'd have been right all along and would not have had to make two major alterations after weaving in all the ends.

There was teaching a class which was just plain fun but not conducive to figuring out a Thing That I Want To Make.

Some weeks ago while surfing I saw a pendant woven of large beads in triangle weave and embellished with smaller beads, and somewhere else I saw a rivoli perched on a unit of cubic right angle weave using larger beads.

I needed to make a triangular pendant using triangle weave with a rivoli in the middle.

I generated piles of thread which I extracted from various bead holes.

I didn't like the colours, the capture, the embellishment, did I want fringe beads, and how many, 3mm beads of size 8ยบ seed beads, nothing was quite right, though there were bits that were right.

Eventually I had all the right bits and was rid of all the wrong bits.
I love it when that happens.
I also like the way it looks as though maybe I used a triangular rivoli (I didn't).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No Really

I'm fine, I just had nothing to show you. Not that nothing's happened.

We have a brand-new year (yes, I get one of those too), and my kitten is old enough to be (as the vet puts it) tutored: she will redirect his cerebro-testicular oxygen shunt which I fervently hope will cure him of his need to pee in the primary cat's favourite chair. I haven't caught him at it, but I'm pretty sure it's him, not her. Oh yes, and on my bed. Ugh. My nice heavy winter comforter is (oh please please please) being deodorized and cleansed and de-peed by those nice people at the corner dry-cleaners, but hey, luckily for global warming and unseasonal temperatures I can make do with my summer comforter.

I like the winter one better though.

The vet told him that if he doesn't stop this rude behaviour he'll have to live in a shed with Very Unpleasant People, but he didn't seem afraid of her threat as he just came home and peed on the chair. Again. After I'd done a good enough job on it that the primary cat was happy to curl up on it.
Actually, I forgot that I'd made these earrings to go with the necklace.

I've done quite a bit of knitting over the past week: a rather plain ribbed beanie for my son and the collar of a cardigan for a friend who was having trouble between the pattern, her tight gauge and shortness of yarn and was ready to throw away an almost-ready-for-her-granddaughter Noro cardigan.

I couldn't let that happen, so I made it work for her.

And I started another cardigan (for me), but it's not yet at the attractive stage, it's still kinda blobby.

I've been trying to work on a necklace for another lampwork bead, a gorgeous bead in very pretty colours which apparently just don't excite me when I have to stitch with them, so there's been a fair amount of cutting.

I decided to take another tack entirely (less right angle weave and fire-polished beads, more herringbone and seed beads, and instead this happened (no, these are not the lampwork colours; these are colours that I like to work with. Allegedly).
A curly little chain that flows easily from one motif to the next, is a decent vehicle for left-over beads too many to toss but too few to use in any meaningful way, and can be worked as single motifs for earrings as well. And they don't take too terribly long and mostly don't require superhuman thread tension.

All I need is a name.