Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Easily Elegant Earring Kits!

I released Easily Elegant as a free pattern on the sidebar and many have taken advantage of making these fun earrings.  If you don't have a ready made stash of crystals and pearls and ear wires and chain, I've put together a kit of all of those things.  The bottom drop is a pretty, specially coated Swarovski teardrop crystal and some bali beads provide a really finished look.

The first pair to be offered are these really neutral ones, but more colors are planned.  This is my go to earring when I want a bit of beadwork but I don't want it to compete with my other beaded jewelry.

The are done with cubic right angle weave, so they are a great place to start if you've wanted to learn.

Directions are not in the package, you will need to use the free directions on the blog side bar.  Kits are available on the website here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Favorite designs, Pacific Morning Glory

Every once in awhile a design comes along that I can't stop making.  I love every version of it and am happy every time I make it.

Pacific Morning Glory is like that…..It makes a great bracelet, and is easily converted to a pendant.

The very first Pacific morning glory was bronze and fuchsia and for some reason, event though there are two distinct sides, I didn't think to make it reversible.  In subsequent color ways I did, but fuchsia remained fuchsia on both sides until now.

I was going to just inverse the two colors, bronze spines on one side with fuchsia in between and fuchsia spines on the other with bronze in between.  That remained the plan until I inadvertently began weaving the second side spines in bronze…..at which point I decided why not use a distinctly different color.  A trip to the wall of color and a metallic teal seemed the right answer.

There is a clever little clasp that was designed to take advantage of the reversible nature of this piece.

There are now four different pacific morning glories, well there is a fifth but I've not quite gotten to kitting that one up yet.

I'm kind of leaning towards the far left pacific and cyclamen opal with platinum pearls as my favorite but that changes frequently, right now, the teal and fuchsia is running a close second.  Which is your favorite?

This is one of my Bead and Button classes.  Since it is a 'camp' class we'll have  lots of time to explore variations on the theme!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Right Angle Weave Fundamentals

Depending on how you learn best, a video might the right answer for learning all the fundamentals of working with right angle weave.

Earlier this year I showed up in Colorado and worked with the excellent editorial and video team at Interweave to bring you much of what I've learned about working with right angle weave over the years.

If you would like a small preview you can click on the link here, and if you would like to purchase a copy it is available in the Interweave store.  This is not a project video, but a technique video.  Cover pieces and those used as examples in the video are to help understand the possibilities using the stitch.  You will acquire the skills necessary to complete similar work.

It was my first experience with video and I enjoyed it.  I am not usually in a position to instruct at length about a topic that I so thoroughly enjoy.  Typically when I am being paid to travel to venues it is to instruct where people are already versed in the stitch and are there to learn a project.  

This took a different mind set and a lot of preparation to think through what configuration of samples I would need to demonstrate the various points I wanted to make.
click here to watch preview

I stepped out several pieces to demo cubic right angle weave but we weren't sure the timing would allow them to be used.  The great news is there was time and so there is a reasonably comprehensive section on CRAW which includes, basic, turning corners, joining and working multiple rows.  There are a few different ways people accomplish CRAW so this will of course be the way I do it.

Here are the ways I am familiar with.

1. Work CRAW as in tubular RAW sharing a side and then pass through the top beads, which crosses the intersection and squares things up.

2. Work CRAW by crossing the intersection of the floor beads (instead of up or down through a shared side first) and then pass through the top beads.

3. Work CRAW as in step 2 but forgo the extra step of passing through the top beads.  (These will be passed through when the next cube is built)

Method 2 and 3 have the advantage of always traveling in the same direction.  I use double thread so I use method 3 forgoing the extra pass through the top beads.

It's easy to be critical when watching yourself on video and I do want to fix my hair, sit up straighter and  enunciate more in some sections…..but I'm pretty happy with the way the video team put this together.

Friday, April 18, 2014

In progress, bird cuff

I must be feeling whimsical these days as my newest vessel, my touch of whimsy pendant and the bird cuff all lean more towards whimsical than elegant.

Who could help but be whimsical when contemplating the darling birds made by Wayne Robbins.  This cuff is called Robbins nest and I'm always asked if I meant robin's nest, but it is of course a play on the artists name.

We've had a wonderful week, taking the airstream to a local campground, parked on the furthest point of a bluff with nothing but nature (oh and a freeway) in front of us.

It's been a working vacation, writing supply lists, finishing up samples and making notes on teaching. I do this when a project is brand new.  I think through the various teachable moments, what I want to make sure to say, at what points to stop along the way, how much to put into the overview.  It hopefully helps the tempo of the class and avoids any project pitfalls.

But I still found time to enjoy a brunch with friends and setting up our campground to be artistic.

I've also finished up a hat and sweater for our newest grandbaby, due next month.

The bobbles were part of the sweater pattern but I added the little crocheted picots to the edge.  The plain hat seemed kind of well, plain.  So I made a ring of 10 single crochets then a second ring with 2 single crochets in each, and then in each of the 20 outer stitches I chained 5, turned and single crocheted, then slip stitched into the next sc on the ring….on the inside ring of 10 I repeated, but I only chained 4, turned and sc'd 3 stitches.  I think it made a darn cute flower and at the end of each chain the turn kind of echoes the bobbles on the sweater.

We are still in practice mode with the airstream, but each outing gets us further along on knowing what to pack, how to park, and best of all how to relax.  Three weeks and we'll be taking it up to Santa Cruz and parking in the redwoods!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Designing on Holiday

Very often when I have a bit of vacation time, that is when a new design presents itself....I guess that is no accident or surprise.  A little more free time, a little more relaxation, a little more inspiration.

This years Bead Cruise provided that opportunity.  Mark traveled with me and we had lot's of time on the ocean with only two stops at ports.

I brought beads and a little bit of inspiration.  This is a photo I've been carrying around with me for a few years with the intent to bead it.

Tina Givens whose fabric design this is, graciously gave me her permission to reinterpret her design in beads.

As with most interpretations it is not literal but does capture the sense of her drawing.

The little top lifts up to reveal a hidden paradise, bead by Heather Power of Humble beads.  I love the whimsy of this piece and that it holds a secret inside.

You've caught me cheating....the strap is not quite done, but I'm off for a few days airstreaming during which time I'll finish it and who knows perhaps another design will present itself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A whirlwind of travel

It's been a whirlwind around here, three big trips back to back, but then it was me who threw an 8 day cruise into the middle of a busy calendar.

The cruise was certainly a delight.  It was more sailing then doing, with only one day in the Bahamas during which we snorkeled, a favorite activity and then wandered the streets of Nassau finding a couple of little havens to enjoy the gentle breeze and the obligatory conch fritters!  Coco Cay which was a private beach island had to be passed up due to weather and the Cape Canaveral port was a tad underwhelming, but we still managed some fun at Sonny's Barbecue pit (those who know me well just spit out their coffee!)

The skies were big and dramatic and the reflection on the seas was magically beautiful.

We celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date while we on the water, together with dear friends, that was nice.  This was or pre-dinner champagne, napkins a gift from friend Susan which I brought along because I always like a touch of home.

 I enjoyed a cocktail or two, this one was a muddled cucumber, with simple syrup and gin, delightfully refreshing.

I bent and hammered wire, riveted and painted metal while on the ship.  That was fun but I'm not sure it will make it into a permanent habit.

I also created a new design which is 95% complete and waiting for the last bit of design innovation to present itself.

Our room steward, Nelson was fascinated with the beads, so much so that he asked if there were any books on the subject…..why yes, one or two!  He looked me up on Amazon and reports that he will purchase both books to learn from.  I left him a bit of a bead stash, some thread and needles and instructions to please email me with his creations.  I hope he does!  I love to encourage beadwork whenever an interest is shown, but I especially love encouraging a man, I guess because it is somewhat out of our norm.

I also found it wonderful that there were a fair number of younger gals on this cruise, like 30's young.  It is nice to see an interest in handcrafts.  I met the lovely Erin Seigel for the first time and was enchanted with the delightful Kashmira.

 It was a great group of beaders, including Katinka and Mom Inge who came from Sweden.  I love that through the love of beads I get to meet so many interesting folks.  A big thanks to Heather Powers who puts this cruise together every year.

The studio is a huge cluttery mess which makes me crazy but with three large back to back engagements that is what happens.  I am almost ready to fly to Kentucky tomorrow morning so I may get to spend some picking up time today.  It would be nice to come back to a clean studio so I can begin serious Bead and Button prep with a clean slate, we'll see.