Monday, February 29, 2016

Let's Hubble

Let's Hubble, the name of Melanie de Miguel's book, released last year.  Like the title says it's 'A journey into the brand new beadwork stitch'

Melanie describes how she came to create the stitch and how it became named Hubble.

The books been out a while now and I've seen beaders begin to embrace the stitch.  I picked up a copy very early on and was quickly enamored with the laciness of the stitch.  The fabric created has a suppleness similar to right angle weave, but because of the way the beads are connected without sharing a side bead there is more openness in the stitch.

After making a couple of small fabric samples with the stitch I immediately looked for embellishment ideas that would create structure in the piece as well as texture.  I also wanted to work a tubular design so I decided on a vessel.  I was working on the piece on an airplane and the male flight attendant became interested in what I was doing.  I described to him the inner chamber meant to hold a secret message.  His reply?  'Oh, that is so DaVinci code'  I love having a name handed to me like that, so it became Cryptex.

This is a study in Hubble stitch using double hubble and what I am calling layered hubble, with two or more hubble stitches off one point bead.  That together with embellishment gives this vessel structure to stand on it's own, but also leaves an open lacy bit in between the structural embellishments so you can peak through to the inner chamber.

The photo shows the vessel and inner chamber separately, but imagine the chamber fitting into the hubble stitch vessel next to it.

Also notice that on the top of the inner chamber I've used a bronze finding from Anna Bronze.    I first discovered her work in Milwaukee last year and again in Tucson this year.  I love all the wonderful finding she has designed.  They are high quality, and truly unique.  There are holes and all kinds of attachment points built in, making them great for the seed beader to incorporate into woven work.

The Cryptex will be taught at this years Beading by the Bay.  It's A LOT of beading.  I've created three samples, so I am clear on just how much beading is involved.  I usually bead a simpler piece for a retreat, but this piece designed itself, and it just worked out to be quite a bit of beading.  In the end however I think it's a really whimsical vessel and showcases some of the qualities of hubble stitch.

What about you, have you hubbled?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Princess Anna Pendant

Tomorrow we're off the Malayna's gift birthday and we'll be delivering the Princess Anna bed to the birthday girl.  She has a favorite 27 inch stuff Anna doll and has wanted a bed for her to sleep in forever.  Princess Anna beds are not that easy to come by so Mark and I decided to make one!  He did an amazing job on a sculpted footboard and head board and a bed frame to hold the mattress.

Grandma went off to the fabric store and found Frozen inspired fabric with Princess Anna and Sister Elsa for the bedspread.  I also made a lace edged dust ruffle, a satin mattress stuffed with quilt batting and a satin pillow which tucks into a matching lace trimmed pillow case. 

I think we did a good job and we're excited to bring it her her Frozen themed birthday party.  

So while I was being inspired by the colors of Frozen, this showed up.  Yep, it really does happen like that sometimes....I was feeling in a design funk which is when I always try to return to what I know.  I made a craw bezel for the amethyst fancy stone, and my signature little sprocket top.  I happened to have the perfect cz pendant to go into the top and there it sat.  Then a package showed up with this new little button spike designed by Sabine Lippert.  Again returning to what I know I sat down to do a familiar thread path, but adding dragon scales between the bands of ladder stitch and button spikes at the tips of the ndebele.  Now it just so happened that the amethyst bezeled crystal was sitting nearby.  I plopped (perhaps not exactly the best design term) the new little bit of beadwork over the top of the bezeled stone and I decided it looked quite magic.  I wanted just a very simple chain to suspend the pendant and not interfere with the top which has the look of a delicate perfume bottle stopper to me.

The name, usually an anxiety producing chore, also just showed could I not name it Princess Anna!

I look forward to beading this up in a couple of more color ways.  I just ordered a beautiful turquoise stone, I can also see it in fuchsia and maybe some of the pastels.  If I stop making waterfall earrings every day, and casting on new knitting projects, I may be able to get to it!

Friday, February 26, 2016

And technology...

There was a time I could write a blog on the iPad....but from what I can tell there is no Google ap for doing that, so I'm testing out Blogsy

I want to be able to select photos from the iPad and it would appear that it is working

Here is Cryptex, the Hubble stitched vessel that I designed for this years beading by the bay. It's has an inner chamber for tucking in a message or a trinket.

I also love this new neck from. I think it's classy and neutral and a good size for displaying most necklaces. It came from Target. At 24.99 it wasn't inexpensive, but it is well made and I like that it stands out from the standard black velvet. I own three and I typically have three colorways of any given design so it will be a nice way to showcase the current design.

If you're reading this...then Blogsy is a good answer for mobile blogging.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Waterfall Earrings

I love these earrings, I've made about a million pair now...ok, 8 or 9 pair.  They have 7 lengths of 3 inch chain cascading from the bottom opening.  I love the way the feel as they move.  I believe they could be called 'shoulder dusters'

It's been pointed out that they look similar to the sprocket earring I taught at Bead and Button last year....

and that is certainly true, however there is a key difference.  In the sprocket the teardrop is made first and the join creates a point so the four beads which form the cube to build the bottom bit needs to be created by adding beads.  While this works fine, the bottom bit is not quite as stable.  I still love them and they are a fine earring, both have their merits.

What I sorted out with the waterfall is a way of starting with the bottom bit and then splitting a cube to work the teardrop.  This would also work for an ellipse or diamond and I'm waiting for some time to try those variations.

In the meantime, I invited a group of gals I regularly bead with to try out my directions.  I like to do that when possible to make sure those paying for the class/kit get the very best set of instructions.  Linda Roberts is one of those gals and she made this gorgeous pair  Not everyone is comfortable with shoulder dusters, and I imagine those with long hair would find them challenging and tangly.

I love Linda's use of pearls, and her color way is stunning!  Thanks Linda.

I'll be teaching these at beading by the bay, but since I can't get enough of the variations there will be a point they will be offered as a kit.  Pearls, crystal, chain, and who knows what other variations I may dream up by then!

Website woes

Not truly woes, I wrote quite a while back how we'll be scaling back and offering four designs at any one time, and that's been going well, really well, so well that again, one of the four is sold out and I need to create a new kit......

But it's Beading by the Bay preparation time and things in the kitting department are full swing with 60 Cryptex kits and 30 waterfall earring kits being built.

It's not the physical act of kitting which slows things down, it's making sure all supplies are in place and ordering the required missing bits.  So it may be that the website has three items for a couple of weeks.

I am so entirely enamored with these earrings, I've made close to delve pair now and really perfected the thread path.  Which means changing a few of the illustrations.  It's a busy week here!

We'll be spending the weekend at a Frozen themed birthday party for five year old grand daughter Malayna and then next week will be finalizing everything Beading by the Bay and awaiting Miriam Cielo Shimon's arrival!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


When five year old Malayna reiterated her desire for a bed for her beloved Princess Anna doll her Grandpa Mark and Grandma Marcia collaborated on the best approach for delivering her a bed.  A non plastic, non Toys R Us Anna bed that would be stuff of little girls dreams, at least we hope!

Mark being the engineer, looked up photos, took measurements of the doll, planned the footboard and headboard curves and began the work.  He found the perfect pink paint, Anna pink and made the perfect bed.

Grandma found Anna and Elsa Frozen fabric and the perfect lace.  She made a dust ruffle, a mattress out of white satin and quilt batting, a bed spread, a pillow and a pillow case.

It was a perfect collaboration and on Saturday we will attend the Frozen themed birthday party and hope our gift is well received!

Here's to five year olds and birthday dreams!

Gudrun Sjoden

I love clothing and I have no discipline around something new.....I try, and sometimes I can turn away, and it's best if I don't go shopping because if I'm tempted I'm pretty useless at resisting.  Beads, yarn and clothing, oh and travel, and um, dishware, I  have a thing for dishware and linens and glass vases, I really like glass vases.

Mostly I've kept all by spending habits in check as of late, since my semi retirement requires a different relationship to money and things.

But this dress!

It was really too cute to pass up, kind of springtime bohemian.  I blame Petra, Sabine and Elke for this particular obsession.  Do you know Gudrun Sjoden?  They are in Germany, but there's one in New York now and mail order of course, Gudrun Sjoden  
 Lot's of bright, colorful, fun clothing.  I hope it's as comfy and as funky as it looks here.  I didn't get the pink leggings and of course I should have.  I'll need a bouquet of flowers too and earrings....I should work on some earrings before it arrives.  Dangly colorful earrings.  Or I should work on finishing up my Beading by the Bay kits....hhhmmmm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Aaannnnd, she blogs!

This past week a friend called and asked if I remembered the name of a restaurant we had gone to in Pasadena.....well no, I have no memory for things like that, but I do have a searchable blog.  Within in a minute, after typing Pasadena into the blog's search bar, I had a blogpost reminding me of the date and the name of the restaurant.

This was reasonably magic and I was struck about how much of my history was kept in the blog.  I had pretty much given up the blog, feeling a little stuck and boring with nothing much to say.  This event however gave me the impetus to begin again, if for no other reason than to be a journal of my life's events.

So, it may or may not be bead related, although there will be beads, there will be yarn and travel and outings and whatever strikes me as important in my life in any given day.

My digital life is a bit of a mess with an iPad, iMac, and macbook pro and my photos are all over the place.....I need to sort out using the iCloud for photo sharing but at the moment the 27,000 photos I have brings my network to it's knees so I have to sort that out.

Today I'll leave you with some images of new beadwork.

I really have had a yen to make an amulet purse.  I started my love of bead weaving when the amulet purse craze was at it's height in the early 1990's

Ancient Lanterns was formally Ancient Bells with a small 14mm antique but lavender bead, and then I found these navette's in my stash....and I love them!

And knitting still occupies a good portion of my time.  This is a lace wrap by Lisa Daehlin, originally printed in a 2005 Vogue holiday issue.  It can be purchased from the Vogue store now using this link.  I will also be teaching it (with the permission of the designer) sometime in April at South Park Dry goods.

I'll see you again this week, I'll be making a new habit of sharing bits and pieces of my life here.