Tag Archives: beadweaving

Provoquant

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.

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New Creations

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.

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Later I used the same design to create my Nymph earrings, which are now available as a tutorial through my Etsy store.

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Next up I made a hair pin as a gift for a friend. I based the design on an oriental lily, in cream and gold, with ruffled edges. For the centre, I used a filigree bead cap, splayed open with a pearl.

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I have lots of ideas floating around in my head, but I need more hours in the day to make them manifest. Stay tuned.

B.O.T.B ’15

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.

“Self Portrait” by Kris Empting-Obenland.

“Francesca’s Farfelle” by Patrick Duggan

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“Diva” by Aldona Pintea.

“Élan” by Erika Bita-Simon.

Harlequin Tutorial

That’s right, I have finally finished the Harlequin tutorial! It’s 18 pages of detailed illustrations, photos and written instructions. This tutorial is very thorough and includes step-by-step instructions for the MRAW band and Exploding Round, and FOUR Miyuki Delica colour schemes (code numbers included) in three sizing options.

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You can find it in my Etsy store. I hope you enjoy it.

Summer Days

Hot lazy days are here again. Christmas is done and dusted, but the school holiday rages on. The nights are hot and sleepless and the days are warm and weary. One has a tendency to relax more than One should. There’s a million jobs that need doing because I procrastinated through spring. I only just today sorted out my linen cupboard and packed away the winter woolies.
Every day my goal has been to get some beading time in, but every day it’s a struggle to get more than half an hour in. Yesterday, in a fit of inspiration, I donned my headphones, put on a Algernon Blackwood audiobook, attached a new thread to my beadwork and promptly slipped into the dreamworld. My 7 year-old woke me up two hours later to tell me that my snoring was scaring her and that she had taken the remote control out of sleeping Daddy’s hand before he dropped it.

This morning I decided to go for a walk before it got too hot, so at 6.30am the girl-child and I visited some ducks and explored the cemetery. I was feeling quite smug with myself for out-witting the sun, for surely early exercise would give me the energy boost that would keep me going through the day.  But then l I got home and napped most of my morning away.  It’s now 2pm and I could quite easily go back to sleep.

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So progress for me has been characteristically slow this month, but I do have something to show for it. My Harlequin tutorial is finished! It’s available in my Etsy store now. Well, I thought it was finished, but then someone asked if there were sizing options. Whoops!! That was quite an oversight. So I am rectifying that, and anyone who has bought the tutorial, or buys the tutorial in the interim, will be contacted and emailed a new and improved copy with two more sizing options and colour ways. The patterns for the new sizes are complete, but I need to partially bead them to get an accurate measurement. Watch this space!

 

Store Changes

Around this time last year, I made the change to Storenvy. They provided a free, clean, attractive store-front and and easy to use dashboard – and they still do. However, they have changed the way they process orders and their new credit card system is no longer available in New Zealand, my home country. After much deliberation, I have decided to head to Etsy.

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There are pros and cons to Etsy and it wasn’t an easy decision, but it makes sense, at least for now.  Etsy is by far the largest online market place for handmade goods, so either it will help me get some traffic, or I will be lost among the masses of competition. So far, I’ve had a boost in traffic, which is promising. The fees are small, but if I was to make high-quantity sales on a regular basis, I can see that they’d add up very quickly. I believe that Etsy will make my listings more accessible because so many people are already signed up. If you’re not, come along and explore – it really is a treasure trove of the beautiful, elegant, weird, creepy, quaint and insane. And be sure to favorite my store!

Etsy can get a bit weird, but that's why I like it.

Etsy can get a bit weird, but that’s why I like it.

What’s the point of MRAW?

“Is there any point to an MRAW band in Geometric Beadwork?” This was a search term that someone used to get to my blog. This question refers to Kate McKinnon’s genius Modified Right Angle Weave Bellyband as seen in her Contemporary Geometric Beadwork book series. The simple answer is “ABSOLUTELY!”, but I will elaborate…

The MRAW band is used as a starting point for many of the structures in CGB. It is, in simple terms, a right angle weave strip with a row of peyote added in a single pass. It is a time consuming element, and if one was uncomfortable with it, there is no reason one couldn’t simply make a band of RAW and add the peyote row afterwards, or even eliminate the RAW section and just do a peyote start – however there is a definite advantage to using MRAW instead: structural integrity. mrawThis wonderful thread path, locks the peyote teeth in place and ensures a much more even distribution of your RAW beads. But it’s so much more than that.

MRAW vs Peyote start
A peyote start can be tricky at the best of times. It involves stringing on all of the beads of your first two rows, then adding the third row in an alternating pattern to pull the beads into the staggered, ‘toothed’ pattern we are familiar with. This start creates a problem with tension; the first rows will be tighter that the rest of the work. In smaller scale pieces, this tension difference may be so slight, that it will go unnoticed. However, the larger the width of peyote, the more compounded this problem will be. Many of the pieces in CGB are hundreds of beads wide, if you manage a peyote start without breaking beads towards the end of the third row, the tension variation will still create unsightly undulations of your “fabric”, instead of a sleek, smooth surface.

Progress photos highlighting the important role the the MRAW Belly-band in a Fortuneteller

Progress photos highlighting the important role of the MRAW Belly-band in a Fortuneteller

An MRAW band start ensures a gentle tension right from the get-go, as it creates the teeth of the first peyote row for you. It also gives you extra options as to how to build off it, whether you add it as a design feature in the middle of a cuff, or as a functional base for a layered piece, adding strength and structure to your design. In some of your designs, you may not wish to include the MRAW Belly-Band, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use it to your full advantage. Let me direct you to Kate’s ingenious “Exploding Round”. I can’t tell you how much I love this concept, I used it in my Harlequin Bangles because I wanted an uninterrupted flowing pattern. The best part is the same Belly-Band can be used again and again for an easy start.

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Harlequin Bangles, worked off the same Removable MRAW Belly-Band

So while the MRAW start may not be the only way to start, it is the only start I’d recommend to someone working on Rick-Racks, Fortunetellers and their Winged and Horned friends.