Posts Tagged 'seed beads'

Beadwoven necklace and a few other things !

February is already here, and I left my Kyoto home to go and teach a few classes in another region. I’ve been doing that for a few years and am loving it ! I’m just hoping I can soon find something a bit more permanent…

Anyway, so I find myself here, quite near Tokyo, spending most of my days teaching to very motivated (seriously) students a thing or two about Japanese society and religions. It is, this year too, a very fulfilling, incredibly inspiring, motivating and humbling experience. It is all that and some more. And I find myself thinking about when I’ll be back in Kyoto a couple of weeks from now, where I have no such real job, and no real friendship network. Just writing about it and my stomach turns into a messy knot. I so want to find something to do and to be in Kyoto, but I haven’t quite yet. (Don’t misunderstand me, Kyoto is such an amazing place, with so many things to discover, and I do feel lucky to live in such a place. But on the other hand, I have no job there yet and know very few people, none of which I can really call friends.) All of this makes me contemplate different ways to “make my own job” more and more, on the web for example, but I still feel too shy to really start something. I guess if I really want it, I will have to take the big plunge eventually and see where it leads me.

Wow, that’s a lot of rambling !

I started this post to actually talk about a necklace I beaded a little while back, but got carried away about the above things, I guess. It’s pretty much how my mind seems to work these days ! So, back to this necklace ! I know a very sweet old lady who I go and visit almost every week. In her younger days she was a painter and we often talks about our respective passion for art, beautiful things, creating things. It didn’t take too long for me to start talking about beading and how I loved it and what kind of things I was making or trying to make. It seems that my little lady was surprised and curious about it and asked me to show her my work. Which I did a few weeks later. She was even more surprised and quite impressed with what could be done with those tiny seed beads. The week after that, a bit shyly, she asked me if I would agree to do a commissioned piece for her to give as a present with her dear friend. I was so, so happy that she thought my beading was good enough to be given as a present to someone. It sounds a bit silly maybe, but I was fueled with joy and also with a little bit of pride. It was not my first commission, but in these particular circumstances, from this particular person, to this other person,  it really meant a lot to me somehow.

SO, the necklace was finally given to its recipient at the beginning of the year and I got some very nice feedback, so I felt I could show it here too !

The pictures unfortunately don’t do justice to the delica beads : they are opal with a copper filling. It’s quite an amazing shade in person, very soft and subtle, which I thought would be appropriate for the lady the necklace was destined to. Then just a slight bit of gold seed beads to add texture and shine.


Ladder stitch bracelet : sweet and simple

Did you all have a good week end ?

Here, it was a nice, hot, peaceful week end, mostly spent outside to enjoy the sunny weather and the spring smelling wind ! Also to admire the cherry trees that have been in full bloom since last week…but more on that (with pictures !) later during the week.

I just wanted to post about the second little project that I used to (try and) get myself out of the strange craft block I was in. This one is from Bead and Button (August 2006) and you can find the tutorial online here.

The beading in this project is quite simple too : a ladder stitch base, embellished with seed beads. Another enjoyable thing about this bracelet is that it stitches up pretty fast and the color combinations are endless ! Ideal beading project when you need a craft/beading fix, but don’t have much time to put in it…or simply for (almost) instant gratification !


Very pleasant to bead, this bracelet is also very comfortable to wear, the ladder stitch base giving it a nice stability on the wrist. I like it very much ! If I make it again, I will add one more seed beads on each row (and side) of the embellishment though. I think it will look a bit “fuller” with this small adjustment.

Along with the bracelet I posted about the other day, this one too are going to join my list of projects for holiday presents… well, I still have to put the list up, but hey, here it begins ! They’re not too time consuming, the supplies are not too difficult to find, they’re adaptable in size and colors for the happy recipient of the gift…on and on, they pretty much fill the requirements of the (realistic) handmade present project. I really would like to make more handmade gifts, and having a list of doable projects on hand to browse through when the date approach, may actually help me to get to that goal. We’ll see, I guess !

2009 beading projects : a glimpse

Hi !

Still in the spirit of “filling in the blank”, here is what has been happening on the beading front since the beginning of 2009.

Bracelets and a necklace, this is what they are supposed to become, but none of them are finished yet… As always, I never can finish a project before beginning the next one !

I am now convinced that I am a big fan of the herringbone stitch : depending on the beads size and/or the combination of beads sizes and shapes, the possibilities seem endless. It is such a versatile and pleasant stitch !


I decided to take up netting with the pink necklace in the picture below. Netting was how I got into beading in the first place. A gazillion years ago (just a slight exaggeration !).

I remember having been completely mesmerized by the lace-like quality of those netted seed-beads necklaces ! This looked so much more complex and interesting and fun than simply stringing one bead after another, like I was doing at the time (and already loving !).

Enough rambling !

Have a nice day !

Indian colors Herringbone bracelet

Another unfinished project down !

I started this simple bracelet a while ago, in need of color and texture.

It is a simple herringbone band, decreased with brick stitch on each side.

I used different shades of Miyuki triangle beads, fuschia pink-orange-soft pink-crystal gold, all of them inside color (meaning that the color is dyed inside the hole of the bead, the body of the bead itself being a transparent color). I wanted the mix of color to be a bit Indian-like and playful, yet not too much so that the texture of the weaving still shows.

And here it is !

I’ve been wondering for a while how to finish it (finishing always seems to be a source of hesitation !), and finally kept it simple with just a crystal rondelle (love the cute chunkiness of those !) on one side and a loop on the other.

Unlike Toho triangle beads, which are more…well, triangle-like, Miyuki triangle beads have soft angles, which results in a soft overall texture in the weaving. I really like that it didn’t turned out too geometric.

Aaaa, cute triangle beads, how I love thee !

I have to say I’m a bit curious to see how the finish of these beads hold on. For an estimate on the duration of seed beads finish, you can go and check here.

I uploaded other pictures (different angles, and closer shots) on my Flickr account, here, feel free to go and have a look !

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 !

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 !

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