Monday, July 7, 2014

Still Behind But Having Fun

Having the short attention span that I do, I keep moving around different crafts and trying different things. When it was much cooler, although Florida doesn't get much cooler, I was into knitting. It's in the mid nineties every day now, so knitting just doesn't do it for me.

Back to beading!  I decided to take a class on how to make a beaded starfish. Just one problem, it's peyote stitch, and I had never done that. YouTube to the rescue...Umpteen videos later and lots of repeats, I think I can do the sea star. So off to class I go....Anybody working with me has to have the patience of Job, because I have a terrible time following written directions and need LOTS of handholding and repeated auditory directions coupled with visual cues. This class had wonderful pictorial directions and they were very well written, but I still had trouble. The instructor had a VERY heavy European accent, so she was a little difficult to understand. She persevered, and I persevered, and in the end, VOILA! A sea star in peyote stitch. I like the cream colored beads (Miyuki) that are gold lined. It makes the starfish have a golden sparkly highlight finish in the daylight. Going to hang this as an ornament on my holiday tree, or make a pendant out of it.

So of course, I had to purchase more beads to make more starfish. I started my second one....Hmmmmmm, something is not going right. Back to the store I went to get some help. Got it! Back home I went. Hey, this is pretty easy, and I'm sailing right along. I was already on row 10 in a matter of minutes as opposed to hours when I took the class. But it didn't look right.

What a sad little star!
The sea star was curving dramatically, and the white rows in between weren't looking right. I called the store to ask for help over the phone. She told me the star was supposed to curve as you work. Not like this, lady! I had already made two trips back to the store to get help on starting my second star, and I was bound and determined to figure out what I was doing wrong on my own. Plus, I was embarrassed at how awful this one looked.

I sat back down and realized, AHA! I wasn't doing the peyote stitch, which has alternating beads a little up and a little down if you are doing it right. I was just stringing beads on a string. No wonder it wasn't setting right! I tore it all out and started again.

This time, I got it! Just about done here.....All I need to do is add little teardrops at the points, a reinforcing pentagon on the back so it can be hung or made into a pin, and it's finished.

At the same time,  I decided to try my hand at a loomed beaded bracelet. Back to YouTube and which has some wonderful bracelet videos....Here are two very different examples of a loomed bracelet. I just love the idea of making something on a loom.

And another project is in the works...You can buy a plastic loom that looks like this...Or a wooden one called "Rick's loom" which reduces the number of warp threads to tie in at the end as opposed to the plastic loom.
Beadalon plastic loom
Rick's beading loom

Or you can simply use a deep dish tray and tie warp threads around the box. You could use a shoe box, but I love that this tray has a velvet insert to keep the beads from rolling around while I'm working on the bracelet. I got the tray from The inserts come in different colors.
I like the colors of this bracelet. They are earthy and remind me of the canyons out west. has a similarly colored bracelet that inspired me called the "Grand Canyon". I'm going to make my bracelet narrower than theirs and was thinking about attaching this to leather cord. I should have attached the leather cord at the beginning, but as a crafter, you can change your mind and  do whatever you think might work! Or, if you are like me, you change your mind often while working on the same project! We'll see how this turns out.....Lots of choices in how to finish, so I'm going to get stymied if I overthink this. 

Just a thought...Seems like winding the threads all the way around the box wastes thread but instructions for the tray have you wrap the warp threads this way, so that must be how it is to be! I was thinking little nail heads at the each end of the tray would mean you could run warp threads just on the top instead of all the way around, maybe knot each one at the end? And then you wouldn't waste so much thread? Kind of like those pot holder looms we used to use when we were kids. I looked at the directions for Rick's Loom and they seemed a little more complicated than using this bead tray, so here I am with this.

Started this one and about ten rows in, realized that some of my warp threads were sticking up over the beads. I had not caught them properly when passing my threaded needle through the beads....sigh!  Started over again, and this time, it's going well.....This bracelet (above) is made from 8/0 beads, several with that beautiful picasso finish. (A picasso finish is added to the surface of a bead, usually green or brown to add a mottled appearance making the bead resemble a gemstone.) I absolutely LOVE picasso colored beads!

Not sure how I'm going to finish the ends yet. Might use ultra suede leather tabs on each end with a button, or might use metal ribbon crimps. We shall see. Maybe we can take a vote!

Back to crafting......Until next time.....