Sunday, February 23, 2014

Just Samples Again

Most of the time I play with beads more or less as the mood strikes though of course there are always class instructions to be written and new teaching projects to dream of and upcoming classes that need a sample, but usually among the hard deadlines I manage to squeeze in some free beading time.

Not this weekend. The closest I came were a few sketches, some notes, and some wishing. 

I did get a third of a kumihimo necklace and about two inches of sock (Yay! Knitting!) done though, not to mention most of a day of spinning (and of course the attendant eating - as I like to say, we're an eating club that also spins). I'm being very careful with the knitting, no more than an hour at a time, and so far, the pain in my hands is at least no worse.

I finished the second earring of the pair and decided to make more dramatic ear wires.
 It took most of today, but I also competed this entire necklace, as I wanted to be mailing the class samples out on Monday or Tuesday so it just had to get done.
It's almost exactly the same as the one that I've appropriated, though some of the beads are a little different as I haven't been able to find the same colour again.

That's the only thing about Czech beads (which I otherwise love): colours come and go and don't have manufacturer colour numbers, so even if you think you see an online shop that describes the colour the way you've always thought of it, it may be not the same thing at all.

Don't get me wrong: there are always gorgeous colours to be had, it's just that you can't always refill those gorgeous colours, which means that if you're packing beads for kits then every kit is a limited edition and you keep on having to make more samples with the EXACT beads that will be in the kit. It's not ideal.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Samples for my upcoming classes at Studio Beads in Chicagoland in April.
 I may have said it before but I'll say it again: making a Buttress pendant is surprisingly satisfying, even though I've made bunches of them (and still have two more samples to make). Cubic right angle weave is rhythmic and sort of soothing, especially when you can use colour to guide bead placement so there's not as much thinking as you'd imagine, and it's one of those projects where the more you've done, the more obvious the next step is.
One only Spike Earring (my nieces think they look like ice cream cones when suspended). I'll do the other half of the pair tomorrow, as my hands are sore from spinning all day and besides, House of Cards is calling my name.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


No, I knew I was making a kumihimo rope, and I knew what colours I was using (I'm not entirely blind), but it didn't turn out the way I had expected (it's darker), but it turns out I really like it anyway.
It's deep and rich and intense - just the way I like so many flavours! Yes, I conflate colour and taste. No, I don't have any sort of synesthesia, but yes. some colours just are delicious.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Out with the Old

There's something about inertia which combined with a distaste for waste and a certain amount of disinterest in keeping up with Every. Single. New. Technology that has left me well into the twenty-first century with televisions that are dinosaurs. Big, old, fat.

They get the job done but the truth is that my demands are piddling. I don't watch sports, I don't watch reality shows and except for a couple of shows on a couple of cable channels now and again (which invariably end up on Netflix anyway or are available somewhere or another on the internet if not), most of what I watch that is not on Netflix is just broadcast TV, the erstwhile completely free to everyone no matter what TV they had channels. There have been periods in which Something Happened and I'd miraculously and unexpectedly have access to more than just Basic Cable (which is broadcast TV plus a bunch of religious channels), but the cost of this service has always seemed ridiculously disproportionate, but since broadcast has been happening in HD and my TVs are most definitely not HD, I've continued to pay the cable company for the privilege of watching free TV.

So the cable company has decided to do something or another which will require their subscribers to have a piece of equipment for each TV in order to receive any sort of picture (and sound, I suppose) which they'll let us use for two years for nothing and then no doubt they'll start gouging and I'm somehow just not in the mood and so I Did Something About It.

I bought a slim, trim, light, twenty-first century TV and an antenna and even though my main TV is in the basement I get more channels than with Basic Cable AND now I can watch stuff online on my lovely screen and I am SO cancelling cable as soon as I hit the "Publish" button.

No doubt my kids still think I'm a hopeless dinosaur but they're no longer five years old and easily impressed so that's not even part of the equation; I feel pretty youthful!

And then those organizations that will come to your house and pick up old clothes and whatnot because apparently they know we're too lazy to pack it up and take it to Goodwill ourselves? I felt kinda bad that I've ignored so many of their emails about when they'll be in the area so I gave in and made a date which of course means I have to collect things to give them and even though I'm not the worst packrat I know there's always stuff that you don't use but think you will even as a part of you knows you won't and you have to keep it around until even you can't ignore the fact that these things are unwanted and unloved in this house and now I feel lighter, fresher, younger, hipper because they are getting some extremely large boxes of stuff and there are areas of floor in my basement that are once again clear and what's more I made some executive decisions about things left behind by children who no longer live here (well, one child) and who are no longer small children so I have shelves that are empty (just small ones) and let me tell you that even though I barely finished any beading this weekend and even though I essentially haven't done any knitting since September and my left hand shows absolutely no sign of allowing me to do so in the foreseeable future, I feel overall pretty good.

Man, I love run-on sentences!

Now all I need to do is figure out how to get an extremely heavy TV out of my basement. And then figure out where to take it once it's at ground level. I don't think I could even make it palatable to the craigslist audience for free but it's worth a shot.
And I guess with the beadwork it's nothing all that new either though I have to say I enjoy making this one, even though it's hardly an instant gratification project. I'll be teaching for a few days at Studio Beads in Chicagoland in April, and I'm working on samples, the one above being the first. While I wouldn't have naturally gravitated towards those colours for myself, turns out I LOVE THEM. Who knew.
And kumihimo with size elevens is still happening.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another Kumihimo Spiral

Really, nothing much to say here, except the big beads have a vaguely dichrioc-esque lining which is very interesting. Attractive.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Wiggles

Yesterday the vast bulk of what I accomplished involved cutting and filling my waste paper basket with piles and piles of small pieces of wiggly thread. Eventually though, I had some moderate success.
I've been planning and sketching versions of this for ages: a pendant with two dangles ending in spikes, but I wanted a different way to capture the spikes than simply a variant of the method I've used in most of my designs incorporating these larger spikes. I wanted something with more texture, using large faceted beads, and while this isn't perfect, it's certainly workable and a decent first pass (though not exactly what I'd sketched out).
 I discovered this kumihimo effect quite by accident, playing with an online kumihimo tool - though I think it's intended for colour placement rather than bead size effects. I really like the organic chunkiness of this spiral, differing from the standard kumihimo spiral which generally has clean single lines of beads forming the spiral.

I started another last night, but used different types of threads for the two bead sizes which was a hideous mistake as it really messed with the tension. Live and learn I suppose. I guess I know what I'm doing as I watch the last few episodes of Dexter: undoing two inches of kumihimo and rethreading all the size eight beads.
I decided to make another double-spike pendant just to be certain I had it right and sure enough, the tiny variations (both relative and absolute) in the bead sizes highlighted some areas for improvement - and you can see that the two ends of this one are not identical. The lower spike has lightly different bead counts in some spots, but it's still not quite right, so I guess more changes are afoot.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Another Post About Beading

It's not as though I have any startlingly new insights or anything, but I did finish a couple of things.

Turns out it's pretty straightforward to add a rivoli to the slider beads I made last weekend.
 I'm not sure that this is the right pendant for this rope, but it needed a home, and this isn't horrible.
 The beads I used for this rope were totally confounding. There are four colours, all matte with golden linings. In the tubes, they look murky because you see the beads from a variety of angles with very few of them presenting the way they sit in a kumihimo rope: with the hole parallel to the visual plane. Turns out when they're all aligned this way, the lining of the beads takes over, and all four colours look golden with a somewhat greenish tint. The contrasts of the tubes of beads are lost this way, and also the Sludge Factor.
 I don't hate it, but it's not what I was after.

Replaced half a pair of earrings and made another that was promised, but I'm afraid it won't match perfectly with its intended dance partner. That's the problem with so many of the Czech beads: between small lots and dye lots, it's hard to replace colours that are finished.
 And the rivoli-filled wreath at the top of this post? I used the same basic element and made it into a cube instead.
I had to cut up the previous version because it was getting too awkward to stitch, but this one seems to have worked out just fine.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Well Used

No, I'm not talking about second-hand stuff, I'm talking about my time.

The way I've spent it this weekend has been generally satisfactory to me.

I finished the instructions for Tuesday's class and made a New Thing or two.
 The five-around version is just the right size for a kumihimo rope with size elevens, while the six-around version is a little bigger - I have something else in mind for this version.
 Both stem from the little doodad I made last weekend: I knew there were better things in store for it.
And yes, I finished the rope too, and in much the same way I use elevens to stitch the ends of a rope made with eights, I used fifteens to stitch the ends of this rope.

I also thought about knitting quite a bit, and even perused patterns as though I were about to start a new project.

Turns out that I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome after all - they shocked me up and down my bad wrist to determine this. I'm not sure how I feel about it, because now I don't know what I have, or if it can be fixed - at least I know that carpal tunnel surgery is pretty successful (not that I'm burning to go under the knife or anything, but it's nice to know that a solution is possible).

So why not knit?

(Probably because it'll hurt if I'm not careful).

But I do need new gloves.