Tag Archives: Contemporary Geometric Beadwork

Zig-Wing Exploration

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

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

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...

The Zig-Wing Pixie Hat, or the Zig-Wing Tea Cosy…

...perhaps the Zig-Wing Alien Egg Nursery Pod

…perhaps the Zig-Wing Alien Egg Nursery Pod

The possibilities for the Zig-Wing and friends are truly endless.

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Bitza Bangle

Those of you who follow my personal blog, Unplanned Detour, will be aware of my recent changes; for the sake of those of you who do not, I’ll fill you in. I got a job! Well, two jobs: cleaning, and gardening. It’s hard physical work for my unaccustomed body, but it’s satisfying all the same. Even bigger news, I’ve bought a house! I move in next weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m probably going to be dirt poor, for the next 30 years, but I’ll figure it out. If you want to help me pay my lawyer fees, head over to my Etsy store and go nuts.

Somehow, in amongst all the madness, I managed to complete my new Bitza Bangle. Returning to some of the CGB techniques I’ve grown to love so much, this one features a nice little winged miniskirt and a scalloped edge. The skirt repeats the diamond pattern of the bangle beneath, so it’s a subtle detail which I love to run my fingers over. I’d love to make a tutorial for this one too, if only I can find the time and focus. Tutorials take a bit more cognitive power than beading, I’m not sure I have much cognitive power to spend at the moment.

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A Message of Gratitude

I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has purchased my Harlequin tutorial. It has been the largest tutorial I have written and was a huge learning experience. I also want to thank everyone who gave me feedback, both complementary and constructive criticism. Some truly wonderful advice was received and changes were made accordingly, transforming it into something I feel very proud of. I’m also grateful to have received my first reviews on Etsy (5 stars – whoop whoop!). It has been wonderful to see photos of your own Harlequins – please keep sharing them!

Harlequin Bangle - Small Neon

Harlequin Bangle – Small Neon

Having worked almost exclusively with delicas for the last few months it’s been nice to just tinker with the bead stash again. I came up with these nifty little cubes.

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The kids pilfered the first four (not pictured), which I made while trying to perfect the final thread-path. Then the lure of the visible colour spectrum drew me in. I began weaving the indigo/violet cube, but realised that the violet wasn’t quite right. It was pale and silver lined, whereas the other colours are bright and opaque. I’ve ordered three different purples from The Bead Hold, just to be sure. I have a vague idea of where I’m going with this, but vague ideas are subject to change without notice. Time will tell.

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!

 

Still Chugging

You could be forgiven for thinking that I’d fallen off the grid, it has, after all been five weeks since my last post. I promise, I have been here, chugging along in the background. Those of you who follow me on Facebook, will know that I’ve been working on a new Harlequin Bangle and tutorial. Those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, shame on you!

I kid, of course, I still love you.

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The bangle is now done, but the tutorial still has a fair bit of work, plus proofing, left to be done. It’s been the most challenging tutorial I’ve taken on, but I think I’ve managed to convey the ideas clearly. I’ve also learned some new tricks in Inkscape which will come in handy in future tutorials. I’m indebted to Kate McKinnon (yes, her again, I know I’m a ridiculous fan-girl), for giving me the all-clear to shamelessly plagiarise her techniques. It’s this generosity and collective-brain ideal that has turned CGB in to an almost sentient beast.

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Being part of the CGB readership is almost like being a part of a hive-mind. There’s so many ideas in my head, I couldn’t possibly try them all;  but then I don’t need to, because every time I think “what if I done this?” I see that someone has already tried it. We have become a community. We learn from each others mistakes and successes. We encourage each other to try new things. We freely share our ideas without the guarded jealously to prevalent in the art world. When comments such as “I’m going to try this” are left under images of our work, we don’t bellow “Copyright Infringement!!”, we say “Yes!! Here are some tips and a list of the colours I used.”

It’s been a wonderful ride, long may it continue.

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.