Right-Angle Weave can be a tricky stitch to get the hang of, but it’s worth learning. For me the secret is in the ‘double stitch’. Traditionally, each unit receives one and a half passes with the needle, but by adding an extra pass to each stitch, you create a stronger, tidier end product. I was hoping to link to a blog post that I saw many moons ago by Patrick Duggan, in which he showed the difference between two swatches of beadwork, one with the extra pass, and one without, however I can’t seem to locate it. If any one knows the article, please post a link in the comments.
What a painfully unproductive few months I’ve been having! I’ve been terribly unwell, but I’m slowly easing my way out of my hiatus with some gentle beadwork. I started with some earrings designed by the lovely Debra from DatzKatz Designs. She knows how I love her Hinged CRAW Diamond Drop earrings and she gave me permission to make several pairs to sell. You can find them in my Etsy store.
Next, I was back to basics working in spiral stitch. It’s good to work a simple stitch for a while. The repetition is therapeutic and it’s good to feel the beads in my hands again.
I’ve been watching what others have been working on lately and I’m constantly floored by the talent and creativity in our community. Marcia DeCoster’s communal Bead Love project is a great source of inspiration and it’s so good to see everyone getting in on it and embracing the idea behind it. Great things can happens when we remember why we do what we do. It’s for the love of beads and the love of creation.
CRAW is such a marvelous stitch. It has such a wonderful texture and is strong and robust without being too heavy. It’s also a perfect for bezelling (I don’t think this is a real word, but it should be, and it should be a broad definition: bezelling, adj. the act of creating a cozy aesthetic nook for something beautiful) around any shape.
In my latest piece, Provoquant, I have bezelled two Swarovski Light Vitrail rivoli and one gorgeous Astral Pink pear. The rope is also CRAW stitched, left mostly unembellished with faux end-caps. If you would like to learn this wonderful stitch, you can find a free tutorial here. I promise, it will open up a whole new world of possibilities.
I haven’t blogged since January, but I have been doing a little bit of beading in amongst the chaos of my life. Starting with a beautiful Heliotrope rivoli, bezelled with gold and peacock seed beads and Swarovski bicones. I stitched a delicate chain of gold seed beads in Right Angle Weave, double-woven for a more uniform look, to create a gorgeous necklace.
Phew what a year! It was one of my busiest, but one of my least productive jewellery-wise, with my world being all topsy-turvy. I have much to be grateful for, including the support that I have received from members of this amazing international network of beaders. I love the way we rally around each other in times of struggle, boosting each others sales to help through the hard times. In 2015, beaders helped me get back on my feet after my separation, and also helped to pay for Kranky-cat’s ear surgery, thank you all. I hope 2016 will bring more opportunities to create.
The weaving has been slow, but I have managed to complete two new necklaces that were custom ordered. My lovely customer already owns a necklace that I made years ago, featuring one of these lovely resin roses in red. When she discovered that I had black and ivory in my stash as well, she couldn’t resist.
The ivory necklace is made with Toho seed beads in chenille stitch. To allow the bead work to fit through the narrow bail on the pendant, I used a bead-quilling technique with 15/0 seed beads. The black necklace features Czech seed beads in a variation of a filled net weave.
Wishing you all a fantastic year full of art and inspiration.
The winner of my 1000 likers has been drawn, congratulations to Maria Lawless, I hope you love the Clara necklace as much as I do. Thank you to everyone who entered, every like, share and comment, increases my exposure just a tiny bit, and every tiny bit helps me put food on the table. For that, I love you.
Frankly, 1000 likers on Facebook is a bit of a miracle. These days getting a Facebook post seen is next to impossible unless you pay for a “boost”. Such is life, someone makes a good thing, the people rejoice, get hooked, and then they monetize it.
That may sound a little cynical, but I’m also in on the act of trying to earn a living. Introducing my new tutorial, Envoy. Available now in my Etsy store. I hope you enjoy it and remember to share pictures of your creations, I love seeing them.
It’s been a negligently long time since my last post, but I haven’t forgotten about you, dear readers. I’m pleased to see that you haven’t forgotten about me either. My blog has been getting plenty of views in my absence, and my Facebook page has just reached 1000 likers! How exciting. Of course, such a milestone requires a celebration. Right now, I have a competition on Facebook to win my One-of-a-kind Clara necklace (pictured below). Not your thing? How about three tutorials of your choice from my store, instead? Head to Facebook and like my page, and the post containing the instructions and you’re in to win. Share the post too, if you’re so inclined, it’s not necessary to win, but it’s good Karma.
In other news, everyone is talking about Hubble Stitch! If you haven’t tried it, do it now. Right now. Drop everything and go for it. It’s so addictive and versatile. It was designed by Melanie de Miguel, who has this beautiful book detailing the technique and it’s many uses. Her biggest convert is the lovely Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, who also has a number of tutorials featuring The Hubble in her store Jewelry Tales. I made my own version of her Mermaid Bracelet. I didn’t have the 2mm crystals that her pattern called for, but I substituted 11/0 seed beads and it worked fine. Of course, the instructions were beautifully written and illustrated, as Cynthia’s work always is.
Mermaid Bracelet, Designed by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, beaded by Jenny Sangster
I’m certain most, if not all of you, have heard about the announcement of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork III (AND the Pattern Book AND the colouring book) and I’m sure, you’re all just as excited as I am. It’s an incredible labour of love for Kate and her amazing team, the editors, the translators, the illustrators and of course the beaders. Seeing all the beautiful work that the online community has been churning out spurred me in to action. It was time for Jenny to try a Zig-Wing.
Of course, I’m a tinkerer, so I couldn’t just reproduce the original Zig-Wing without making my own changes.
The Zig-Wing Sun-baked Starfish
Then I got an idea to make a tiny Zig-Wing, which lead me to this.
The sweet little Zig-Wing Flat Flower Pendant
And then things got out of control.
The Zig-Wing Pixie Hat, or the Zig-Wing Tea Cosy…
…perhaps the Zig-Wing Alien Egg Nursery Pod
The possibilities for the Zig-Wing and friends are truly endless.
Many moons ago I purchased, with good intention, a piece of Nicole’s Bead-backing along with a square of dark blue ultrasuede. Having spent countless hours sitting enchanted at the amazing examples of bead embroidery on my computer screen, I decided to give it a crack. But before I started, I became distracted with a gazillion other shiny projects and my plans were forgotten.
Not so long ago, I found those two enticing pieces of fabric, and so put thread to needle. With out any clear planning of what I was making, I sketched a design on the bead-backing, bezeled on a cabochon, completely ignored my design and made a thing. It was pretty rough in places, and a poorly placed pearl came loose, but as I progressed, my stitches improved.
In my next piece, I was confident enough to use a pretty copper Swarovski Cosmic crystal. I only use my crystals if I’m confident, because wasting crystals is an unforgivable sin. With the addition of some turquoise, orange, dark brown, and copper, I turned it into a super awesome unique necklace.
Lately there seems to have been a rash of beaders suffering hand injuries or surgeries, it’s all a bit tragic. I, myself have been no exception. With the prick of a small, insignificant rose thorn, my beading has been greatly stifled. Two weeks and a course of antibiotics later, and it has again flared up and is causing me grief. I’ve now started my second course of antibiotics, and am hoping that they’ll do the trick. By the time evening rolls around (my traditional bead therapy time) my thumb has little range of movement left. Bit by bit, I am managing to add to my first ever bead embroidery… broach?… pendant?… whatzit? Something.
In the meantime, I’ve been awestruck by the incredible talent participating in this years Battle of the Beadsmith. Every year this competition gets better and better. Anyone can thread a bead, but the vision, and the execution of these pieces is astounding. I am not even close to having seen them all, but of what I have seen, these are amongst my favourites.