Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The speed beaders among us

It seems in every class there are one, sometimes two 'speed beaders'. Nothing wrong with not being a speed beader, but I am always curious as to what makes some folks super fast. If you ask around in the class, everyone will know who the speed beader is because they are consistently the first to finish. It's not always the quiet ones either, but it does take sheer focus, continuing to pick up one bead after the other with little in between time.

What are their secrets? Are you a speed beader? Do you notice what you do differently?

I have a few theories and observations....

-keeping the beads close to you
-keeping the piles you will use next to one another in the order of use
-using shorter thread (the time you take weaving in new thread is negated by the amount of time you aren't doing 2 or 3 thread pulls per bead)
-passing through multiple beads before completing the thread pull
-having an intuitive color sense so your not slowed down by color angst

Do you have theories and observations to share?

There are times I want to bead meditatively and enjoy the zen of the stitch, but there are definitely times a little speed would help. Like in completing two aurelia samples in the next couple of days!


In knitting there are 'the fastest knitter' competitions. I have a few folks I might nominate for the fastest beader. Not naming names....but 4 urchin beads....



well that is pretty much a record!

20 comments:

Katie said...

As someone "accused" of being a speed beader at times...I agree with the thoughts you posted - those all help out a LOT...But, another thing that can speed up the process is having a really strong comfort level with the stitch.

I was at Beads on the Vine last week and got a really slow start on Melanie's Pining for You bonus project because I just haven't done a lot of chevron stitching...But, once I got the hang of it, I was able to catch up to just about everyone else in the class by the end of the day.

A good set of eyes helps a lot, too - the colorway I chose for that kit had 2 main colors of 15s that were quite similar - except that one was a solid color and one was a transparent color. Being able to spot the difference quickly made a lot of difference there, too...

kate mckinnon said...

And those amazing beaders in Dundas and Toronto certainly qualify.

I can fly through beading in some moods, in others, I enjoy the meditative quality of going slow. I sure agree with you about shorter threads. I won't ever use more than an arm's length.

Not only does it help by reducing the number of pulls (which keeps the thread nicer) it reduces tangles (which also keeps the thread nicer.) Admittedly I like Nice Thread.

When do you head home?

Bizzy B said...

This is interesting as I'm currently working on a MAD design, New York State of Mind, with well over 2000 RAW units. I love the look & feel of the fabric, but it's boring. I took on this project to learn the stitch. I've started going thru 2 beads sometimes & was wondering if it affected tension although I couldn't see that it did. Glad to know that going thru multiple beads is a standard. I've also made the 2 earrings from Beaded Opulance. Really easy & good looking. Great thread.

Lidia said...

I so agree with you on your observations. I find that the length of thread makes a BIG difference. I work faster and more comfortably with a shorter length of thread. The other thing that improves my speed is good lighting.

Mikki said...

I'm guilty. I bead and knit very quickly. Everything you listed goes into being speedy and knowing the stitches so you can do them in your sleep is the key.
I have one necklace that I designed one day to wear the next, it had a large bezelled cabochon and 47" of right angle rope (4 units round), I figure the rope took about 6 hours.

Spiritbead said...

For some reason "speed beaders" seem to be almost disdained; as if we somehow get less joy from the beading... I've also been "accused" of being a speed beader, but it's from the sheer exhilaration and zest for the bead - those wonderful, lustre-licious little pieces of delight that drag us ever forward in our efforts... I blame the beads! *G*

Christina

abeadlady said...

As one of our local "speedbeaders", I recognize all the points you hit. I do have to agree with Christina about the sheer joy of working with the beads. If I'm happy with my selection of beads, the beading seems to go much faster.

Arline

Karen Mehl said...

My roommate is a much faster beader than I. She engages in all of the best practices that you named. However, she has two other secrets. The girl can sit still for hours without getting cramps in her legs or her back or having to visit the ladies' room. AND the cats NEVER NEVER sit on her beading table. When they want attention, they sit on MY STUFF.

Sigh,

Karen in Texas

Karen Mehl said...

Oh, yes, also, she has MUCH less trouble than I do threading the needle (or needling the thread as my needlepoint teacher called it.

rachelnelsonsmith said...

I'm convinced it is the non-stressed quiet ones—folks who are focused on the project.

Holly the Beadweaver said...

I have also been told I'm a speed beader. I think the biggest part of it is lots and lots of practice; new stitches are slow until I get the feel and it goes into muscle memory. I make most of my palette choices beforehand; I have a good idea of how I want the finished product to look; I do work a shorter thread. I also have developed an ability to pick up the number of beads I need to make the next stitch sort of intuitively (often, if I need 4 beads, that's exactly how many I pick up!)

Bizzy B said...

I'd love to know how you speedy beaders keep yourselves in your chairs long enough to get a lot done. I keep getting up to do this & to do that & I don't want to, I just can't help it. Telling myself to stay put long enough to finish a row is punishment. Every muscle wants to move. Do you listen to books on tape, radio, any other ideas?

Bizzy B said...
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Rebecca said...

I L.O.V.E. Aurelia more each time I see it...wish I could help you out stitching them, they are simply delicious! On the few beading classes I have taken I tank I've been one of the speediest beaders but it's certainly not something I particularly aim at! I guess I'm just focussed on the beads....

Ralonda said...

I am not a speed beader usually as I have to lovingly fondle and oogle each piece as it progresses, but there are times when I can bead very quickly. I would say that in addition to your list I would add that I prefer beading sharps. If you have to push hard, they don't bend as much (or break) and you don't have to compensate for a bent or weakened needle for the rest of the project.(or dig for another)

David said...

I agree focus is important. Unfortunately, I love to stop and admire my work. I spend a lot of time just enjoying the beads,it slows me down. What can I say a little head in the clouds syndrome. debi

flyingbeader said...

I'm a speediebeadie. I admit it and yes, Marcia you have very good points going there. I think good eye-hand coordination is a plus. I've been doing some sort of sewing/beading since I was 10 & I think focus is another good point. I can get into the so called "zone" and not get distracted until either a dog barks for me to let them out to play, a husband "barks" to eat! or if the cable goes out! I also seem to work better if I have Turner Classic Movies on. The comforting drone of those old movies lulls me into my zone & since I've seen most of them multiple times, I don't have to constantly look up to see what is going on & therefore losing my place. It is a hypnotic therapy for me to watch as my fingers create something out of a few small beads & thread. My eyes are always thrilled.
dot

The bad Liz said...

I've been called a speed beader or over achiever. I'm so with the "flyingbeader" and her comments about TCM. I can listen to movies all night long and just get sucked into the zone. I don't hear the dogs, husband, cell phone, etc - I just move along with the beads. I just love those old movies and have had inspiration from many of the jewelry pieces I've seen.

I tend to use a longer piece of thread as I have been working more with components rather than a large piece. I have a lariat to make for a co-worker, I'll have to see if it works faster with shorter thread.

a2susan said...

The biggest thing that slows me down is reading directions. I need both the written and illustrated directions to help me, and the time it takes to understand them, or for them to click in my mind, determines my speed.

Also, I bead faster earlier in the day. I simply get tired as time goes on. And, in classes, I like to socialize a bit, and that definitely slows you down!

Teri said...

I am a speed beader as well as a speed knitter. I certainly agree with the points you mentioned and I do all of them. But I think it also helps that I am a multi-tasker. I am not distracted by a 3-ring circus going on around me.

But I think the biggest distinction is that I have an excellent spacial sense of the beads. I know which way the bead is oriented without having to look at it very closely. This also helps when beading in less than perfect lighting conditions or working with difficult colorways.

One of my best friends is also a speed beader and she was in a class where another student became angry at her as if there was some contest and she had an unfair advantage.

As a teacher I find there is always a speed beader or two. Now I am going to be looking for the traits everyone has talked about.