Tag Archives: delicas

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Spews and Flowers

We’re entering the second week of the school break, and we’re all still alive, but a little worse for wear. Last week, we treated ourselves to a short family holiday, which was exhausting but fun. Our adventures took us to Hamilton Zoo, an indoor trampoline park, movies, museums and thoroughly wore the kids out – as well as exposing them to a nasty stomach flu. Thankfully the effects of which only became manifest on the day we were coming home. Three and a half hours in a car with two children violently expelling the contents of their stomachs. Master Three is still ill 3 days later and had a little trip to the ER today for some hydration and nausea suppressants, which seems to have helped somewhat.


He’s still yelling at us to leave him alone, but he’s doing it with a bit more gusto now, I’m choosing to see that as a good sign.

When you last heard from me, I was working on a Rick-Rack circlet, but didn’t want to reveal what it was going to become – just in case it didn’t work out. But work out it did and I’ve now created two Rick-Rack Flower Hairpins.


These are rather addictive and I’m now working on a third. Great colour schemes keep occurring to me, spurring me on. At the same time, I’m pining to play with some super cute lampworked beads that I got from glass artist Lesley McIver, and I’ve got a little stash of O-beads that need to be experimented with. Such fun!



Wonder Woman’s Miyuki Renaissance

After listing my Wonder Woman in the Sky on Acid bracelet, one of my lovely customers inquired as to it’s size and alas, we found it to be to large for her. But instead, I’ve made her a custom horned bangle using the same colours. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and added in some extra sections of solid cobalt. I used a scalloped edge and nearly built an internal layer of wings on the petticoat, but changed my mind at the last instant, going for a red-edged, cobalt sleeve instead. This one reminds me of Japanese Muromachi architecture, which is fitting, seeing as it’s made entirely of Japanese Miyuki Delica beads.

Of all of my Contemporary Geometric Beadwork pieces, this is by far my favourite. I’ve finally found the tension that suits me best and a thread that I like. Nymo isn’t everyone choice, in fact I’m usually a die-hard Fireline fan, but for these projects I find it ideal. My only concern now is that it fits my customer!  I have rather un-feminine hands, so to me, it’s rather small, but it does have a decent amount of flex; I’m cautiously optimistic.

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Wonder Woman in the Sky on Acid

Today I’m unveiling my new CGB piece, this time a horned bangle.  While I was making it, it reminded me of Wonder Woman’s outfit. She always wore plain gold gauntlets, but if
Wonder Woman dropped a whole lot more acid, she might prefer something with wings and horns. This one started with 90 units of gold MRAW, a blue bead-soup background, 10 golden horns and then I tried my hand at Kate’s Elegant Guide Round. I used black Nymo D thread this time, which I found ideal for this project, and so much easier than my mystery thread from my last project, which tangled and frayed if I so much as looked at it side-ways. I’m still not thrilled with my tension, which I intentionally tried to make soft (perhaps too soft for me), but gradually tightened up as I got to the shape-work.

Wonderwoman (2)

My first guide round grew into something a little bit experimental. I had an idea to have these flappy little triangles, adorned with 15/0 gold seeds and matte blue drops in their valleys. I realised too late, that it wasn’t really practical – at least not the way I was doing it. But I was already committed, being several rounds in with lots of backwards and forwards thread-paths locking it in place.  I managed to make it work, but it does need refining. I’m certain that there is a better way to achieve a similar idea, but that will have to wait for another day.

Wonderwoman (1)

My second guide round was an internal one, a red petticoat under a blue skirt, both with gold-tipped flared wings.  These worked brilliantly and I love the way they nestle together. Wonder Woman in the Sky on Acid is available to purchase here.