Archive for the 'Beads and Beading' Category

Beaded bracelet : “Ande” herringbone

A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle the pile of unfinished projects awaiting in (and flowing out from…hum) the “Unfinished Objects” box.

Good idea, right ? Completing a few projects, feeling good, starting afresh with new ones.

I did open the box, sneaked a peek in it… tentatively rummaged through the tangled threads… and finally took out this bracelet. Well, at the time, the beginning of a bracelet, really.

The model comes from Ande, a talented Hungarian beader, kind enough to share her tutorial here.

When I first found it, months ago, I really liked the very geometric and regular feel of this design. The rows of herringbone stitch and the crystals offer a nice playground to experiment with color.

So here I went with a very dark purple, a transparent forest green with purple accents, and some 4mm Austrian bicone crystals in different shades of pink (vintage rose, light rose, rose water opal).

Now that it is finished, I can say I really like the color combination !

I’m not completely satisfied with the finishing though and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for this time, it’ll be all right this way.

It was a very pleasant bracelet to bead and I’ll definitely do it again. I’d like to try it in a wider version (maybe 5 or 6 rows of crystals), and maybe try a monotone colorway for a change (like all bronze-like colors, or black in different finishes). I can’t wait !….oh, but wait…unfinished projects first…!

(I’m sorry I couldn’t take better pictures, it’s very dark and cloudy here today…)

Beaded Bracelet for the Boy !

Making beaded accessories for men can be a tricky endeavor.

I often thought about how to make something that a male friends would be happy to wear, but never got around actually making anything. The idea was quite appealing though.

A few months ago, the Boyfriend asked that I make something beaded for him. A bracelet namely. Something confortable and easy to wear. With nice colors. And a bit fun.


I was a bit surprised, I have to say, and decided to wait just a little while to be sure he really wanted a “beaded something”. But the request rose again. Seriously. Wow.

After five years together, the Boyfriend knows more about Czech fire polish beads, the different kinds of seed beads and the wonder that are delica beads (japanese cylinder beads) than any male I know…well actually more than any girl I know too ! Having to cope with my various ramblings on anything beady, I thought the poor one would be maxed out on the topic and that it would dampen his will to ever own something beaded. Turns out, no-no, he really wanted a nice bracelet.

Facing such an unfaltring request (!), I had to deliver !

The first idea was a simple peyote band in a mix of matte and polished seed beads. I was about to actually begin weaving the band when the Boyfriend crossed path with this spiral herringbone necklace and this one.  And he liked the texture of the rope very much. And the fact that “it is fun”. I believe that was his very first beady epiphany !

So on it was for a spiral herringbone rope ! I chose the colors according to his taste and his wardrobe, trying to make it as wearable as possible for a guy. I decided to only use seed beads for their slightly chunky feel and the slight irregularity in size. I wanted the result to be a bit rough looking and not too regular. Using delica beads would have led to far too neat and regular a rope. To avoid an overly beady feel and keep it as simple as possible, I used a metal clasp, just big enough.

Here is the finished bracelet.

I was just a little bit nervous to see what the Boyfriend would think about it, but it only lasted a second : he really loved it and has been wearing it since !

Sigh, this is a great feeling !

Spiral herringbone necklace : completed !

So, this definitely took me much more time than I thought it would, but here it is, finished at last !

It sure felt good to check it off the Work In Progress/UnFinished Objects list (which is…well…kinda long).

From the beginning of the adventure to the point of carefully packing it and sending it to its (hopefully) happy recipient, a lot has been going on : an unexpected moving, the getting used of this new life, the arrival of a new friend and so on. Life just kept happening I guess ! Fortunately, I was given a lot of time to  complete this project so in the end, it all went well. I’m thankful for that.

So, this necklace is weaved in a spiral herringbone stitch, with a toggle and toggle bar weaved in peyote stitch. The rope itself is made of a four row herringbone stitch, with a fifth row (the golden Delica beads one) inserted in between. I was asked for bright colors, and knowing the recipient I chose a combination of lime greens and fuchsia pinks in a variety of finishes (matte, transparent, color-lined). I think the use of different finishes in the same shades give a more interesting overall look, and add depth to the texture. Because I wanted just a bit of sparkle, but not too much so that it would be difficult to wear on a daily basis, I added one row of golden Delica beads.  Those are a very soft gold color that fitted this purpose perfectly I thought.

I began weaving my rope with three rows of ladder stitch (for non-beady folks : a few rows of the ladder stitch often serve as a base to begin weaving in the herringbone stitch). No matter how hard I try, because of the twisting involved at the beginning to actually force the rope to spiral and get the beads in their right position, the thread is always showing a little bit on these first few rows. How annoying. I solved the problem by unweaving the ladder stitch rows once the rope was done and replacing them with herringbone ones.

It’s probably not the most efficient way to do this, but I have no idea how to begin a spiral herringbone rope without the ladder stitch part=without the thread showing when the rope begins to spiral. Does it make any sense ?!

I’m very happy with the result ! The colors mix very nicely, the necklace itself is really confortable to wear and can be with the toggle in the back or in front when in need of a focal point. I’ll be truly satisfied though when I hear if the lady who’s waiting for it liked it…Don’t leave me in suspense, pleaaaaase, pretty please !

How to take (nice) pictures of beaded jewelry

Beaded items are usually small, detailed, catch the light, all of which making them beautiful, with one tiny minor drawback : they are often difficult to take good picture of.

Macro photography is what most beaders or jewelry designers go for because of the focus it gives to the piece itself : colors, precise weaving, particular finishing, texture, details. Of course a picture of someone modeling the piece would be quite nice and useful too, but I’d like to keep it to the tricky art of macro-photography, just for today :)

It didn’t took me long to discover that natural light worked best, especially in the early morning and late afternoon, when its not blinding. Unfortunately, natural light is not always an option, in which case a very good lighting indoor can do the trick, just don’t forget to adjust the white balance on your camera.

So far so good, but still not quite enough.

I’m longing for the day where my jewelry macro-pictures will be clear and sharp, rendering the true colors, enhancing the textures…so :

Guessing I’m not the only one struggling, I thought I share some links I have found while looking for a miracle practical solution to the problem !

A basic introduction on macro photography, including some hints about exposure and lighting : how to take close-up pictures of small things

On a much friendlier tone, some basics of (macro but not only) photography : Shoot to sell

Home jewelry success tips has an article on photographing your jewelry, with an interesting tip on how to use a scanner for this purpose and lots of useful links.

and a nice (and simple) tutorial to build your very own macro-photo studio, with examples of the shot taken this way on Strobist.

Finally, on Beading Daily, editor Jean Campbell shares her take on the making of a simple (and portable) photo studio, in her friendly funny way !

I still have to try out some of those hints and tips, but I’m pretty sure It’ll be worth it !

Spiral herringbone necklace : a sequel

Still in the middle of the unpacking process, I still managed to make my way to the plastic drawers where I keep my beading material.
The spiral herringbone adventure had really only begun with the purple and green charlotte seed beads.
It continued when I got a request from a very special someone for a necklace in bright colors. Knowing the recipient, I knew the necklace had to be easy to wear and versatile, not too bold but still original.
I picked the fuchsia pink as the base color, with a fresh lime green to complement it. I chose to use similar colors with different finishes to add texture to the rope and added a light gold line for a bit of sparkle and dimension.

I’m working on finishing to bead the rope and will end it with a toggle and clasp in peyote stitch ! I’ll post the finish result soon.

Feel free to give me your opinion !

Spiral herringbone necklace : the beginning

Everything started with these beautiful charlotte seed beads I’ve had in my stash for a while.
With their single cut, delicate sparkle and pretty mate colors, I spent a lot of time looking at them, but just couldn’t decide what would be the best use for them.
After a bit of mental tossing and turning, I finally decided to make them into a very simple and clean design, where they could have the leading part.
I went for a spiral herringbone rope ! I’ve always liked the look of it so it was the perfect timing to finally try my hands at it.

The start is a bit tricky because of the unbalanced way of producing the stitch. This jump in the stitch (going back deeper than the very last row to create the next) was a bit confusing for the few first rows, but once my hands (and my brain ?!) got used to it, it went like a charm !

I’m pretty happy with the way it’s coming out !

I wonder how I’m going to finish it…mmm.

Edit : I can’t seem to be able to insert the picture properly, I don’t know why…Click on the link to see it ! Thank you ! Problem solved !

Four Crafty resolutions

Hi !

I love making lists – I they make me feel grounded or something. Craft is no exception : I’ll list what new techniques I would love to learn, new media I would like to try, and usually just writing it down helps to start the process … or at least allows it not to disappear in the labyrinth of my not-so reliable memory. Humm.

A few things have been on my mind for 2008, some crafty goals, and It goes like this :

– Experiencing with color(s). Any color, any media. I’m a bit obsessed with colors : all the nuances, the shadows, the depth, the transparent quality of it sometimes. It may be the reason I like Mark Rothko’s artwork so much. Anyway, this is definitely a big “want” for 2008, to get to comprehend a bit more of this amazing world of color. I’d like to use some colors I never use, maybe some I don’t even like so much, just for the fun of the experiment.

– Make (more) handmade gifts ! I’ve done that already : beadwork, small pouches, New Year cards and the like. But I have to admit I always feel a bit shy about it. People reactions toward handmade work can be so different (or no ?). And there’s the “is this really nice/cute/well finished enough to be given as a present ?”-factor. Mm, I’ll get over it !

– Surround myself with things I like love adore ! Be it drawings, prints, cards, photos, books, a favorite fabric, dishes, anything as long as it makes me smile, and makes me want to look at/read/touch/use it ! Everyday gets so much more fun, and so much inspiration lays in these everyday touches.

– Finish projects… or should I say, learn satisfying ways to finish projects. This is especially true for beadwork :I’ll weave a netted bracelet or necklace, be pretty happy with the result, and then get stuck with the finishing. The only thing here to go past through this is experimenting with different solutions : learning smart-pretty-convenient finishing techniques !

Beadwork in need of finishing !

A few of my beadwork, in desperate need of a nice finishing !

Hi ! Welcome and thank you for visiting this little corner of mine ! Feel free to leave a few words, they make my day ;)

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