Monthly Archives: September 2013

Crazy Busy and a Tutorial

School holidays are underway here, so things are predictably chaotic. When I get a moment between, “I’m hungry”, “I’m bored”, “He’s hurting me” and the classic, “MUUUUUUUUUUUUM!!!!”, I’m writing my first ever bracelet tutorial.  It won’t be available for a while though, as I want to get several under my belt and refine my process before I offer them up for public scrutiny.

My first tutorial has a few different stitches in it: herringbone, brick, CRAW and peyote. When I got to the CRAW (Cubic Right-Angle Weave) part, I soon realised that the tutorial writing process was going to be extremely long if I showed everything from scratch, in every tutorial that featured this three-dimensional stitch. I’ve decided to write a separate instruction sheet for CRAW that will be available for free, and it will also be included in paid tutorial downloads that require it. As time goes on I will offer instructions for other stitches to supplement future tutorials.

To be taken to the PDF page for the CRAW tutorial, click the image below. There you can view, print or download the file to your computer.


Evolution and a Gift

Ahh creation, what a fickle beast you are. Due to my building frustration with wire, I decided to just sit down and bead. I didn’t know what to make and I flicked through the pages of my ‘ideas’ book, but nothing inspired. I resigned myself to a little therapeutic repetition in the form of herringbone stitch. My intention was just to make a little swatch of fabric while I mulled over my options. As the swatch grew, I found myself admiring the textured ridges that are archetypical of herringbone, and I thought, why not make this into a bracelet, I added some crystals for effect. It still looked a little plain, so I began adding a border and more possibilities became evident; now the border, is a border no more. My little swatch has taken on a life of it’s own and it’s still growing.
003I’ve even started another one so I can take photos for a future tutorial idea, and have begun tinkering with software to make diagrams. This is a bit of a learning curve for me so don’t expect overnight results.

In the middle of all of this, I got a wonderful surprise in the mail. My armbands that I had sent to Kate McKinnon for her wonderful photography had returned home. Accompanying them were some goodies, a Japanese puzzle eraser, a vial of lovely silver charlottes and a copy of the amazing, inspiring , Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Volume I. I immediately shut myself away with it so that I could absorbs as much of it as I could, I love, love, love it. I’m so excited to be having my work included in Volume II, I’m almost jumping out of my skin!

Wire Woes

ringPlaying with wire is fun – until it’s not.  I’m having limited success and a lot of wastage.  After much effort I managed to produce two rings – they are too large, too clumsy  and not nearly as graceful as I’d imagined. It’s all part of the learning process, but I’m impatient and I want to be good at everything right away.  I feel like stomping my feet and shouting like a toddler.
bckringI think I’m going to go back to my beads for a few days. I do love my wire; I don’t want to turn it into a chore, and distance makes the heart grow fonder, as they say.  When I do pick my wire back up, it will be to follow some Nicole Hanna tutorials and get a bit a practice. I’ve started something beady, and I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, or quite what it will become. I hope it will become something pretty, I’m really feeling the need to complete an item that I’m happy with. It’s been a week since I finished my Dancing Dragon and I’m getting antsy.



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I’ve got so many ideas spinning around in my head, it’s difficult to choose which one to do next. My brain is just a jumble of wire, rivoli, beads in a thousand different forms and thread-paths that may or may not work.

Inner turmoil aside, it’s sunny here, and warm. I’ve missed this kind of weather, every winter i forget about it’s existence and when it does show up, it always catches me by surprise. Despite the sudden urgency I feel to get into a less rounded shape, this weather has put me in a good mood. A giving mood. A giveaway mood. With the help of rafflecopter, I am running a giveaway in which the winner chooses ANY item from the Facebook Sale photo album. Isn’t that fabulous? From 12am Thursday 19 September (NZ time) you can enter using the “Giveaway” tab on the Jenny Sangster Jewellery Facebook page. This competition is open worldwide. Good Luck!

Dancing Dragon

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I do so love it when things go as planned. I had big doubts about this latest bracelet, my first real foray into brick stitch. I never liked the stitch, it was rough and unpredictable like a deranged hobo. But when you open your mind, even a deranged hobo has a story and an inner goodness. I have found brick stitch’s inner goodness.

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Even when this piece was nearly finished, I wasn’t convinced. I thought that once it was done, I would look at it and see that it was lopsided and horrid. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case. It’s unusual, but beautiful. It reminds me of the dragons you see dancing at Chinese New Year celebrations. Perhaps a little larger than I would have liked – it fits loosely on my average 7 inch wrists – but there is plenty of people with larger wrists that need adorning. See it instore here.

With this chapter completed, I must now ponder what comes next, I have lots of ideas waiting in the wings. Keep an eye out for you chance to win something pretty in the days to come.

Captured Heart

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The other day while I was wrestling with circular brick stitch, I done an image search to try to figure out where I was going wrong. I came across a beautiful bracelet made by Penny Dixon. The picture was posted on her blog, which I started reading. I became more and more distracted from what I was meant to be doing, when I saw a pair of earrings she had made. These stunning wire and bead earrings looked vaguely familiar and when I read the accompanying blog post, I discovered why. Penny’s ‘Captured Heart’ earrings were recently featured in the August edition of Bead & Button magazine – with a tutorial! I had seen them in the magazine, but I hadn’t really gotten much of a chance to look closely through the issue. After admiring them on Penny’s blog, I couldn’t wait to give them a try.

I sent Penny an email asking permission to sell the earrings, should I be successful, to which she kindly consented. Penny warned me that the first attempt can take a long time, and she wasn’t wrong! There is a surprising amount of work in these earrings. I’m not sure quite how many hours I sat there, but it was just about mid-night when I finished. The fine gauge wire is difficult to work with, but I got the hang of it towards the end. I loved my results, but there were errors, and they were a little too untidy. I’ll be keeping those for myself.

Attempt number two. I know I said I was only going to take one night off from brick stitch, but it would seem that I lied. I had to try the earrings again, they’re just too awesome. This time things went a little faster and a little tidier, but my wire frame was still too big. I’m going to need some more practise before I sell these, but I like where I’m headed.

Many thanks to Penny for making this tutorial available.

Brick Stitch: My Nemesis

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I’ve spent a couple of evenings contending with this stitch and I think I’m now winning the battle. Simple, flat brick stitch is not a problem, but when you try to shape it, it throws a tantrum.

At first, I was attempting to work with symmetry. I would add a increase bead on one side, then as I progressed, I would mirror that bead on the other side. This caused the piece to buckle and curl. I tried again and again, but still the increases were too much. If the beads weren’t placed symmetrically, I could easily get the piece to lay flat; but wouldn’t that compromise the look of the finished piece? I resisted a while longer. I looked at the work of others and scrutinised the details. Dear God! My inner Vulcan was horrified: The symmetry was an illusion! Illogical! To me, beading is patterns – mathematical and logical. But shaped brick stitch is a more organic beast, extra beads need to be added at random locations for the piece to come together. At last, success!

Typically, I immediately thought of another challenge that needed conquering. What if, instead of completing a circle, I made two half-circles that were joined end for end. To my surprise, this actually worked. I still had some problems to solve though, such as making clean joins and the sudden realisation that when you turn a rainbow upside-down the colours become reversed. But I made it work. My test pieces are complete and I’m ready to create something bigger and better. Well, nearly ready. I think I’ve earned a break from brick stitch before I commit to a big project. Tonight, I play with wire, I have an earring tutorial that I’m dying to try out. Stay tuned!