May 12, 2006

Can't Leave it Alone - Cuff Bracelet

KL Schmidt has a beautiful cuff bracelet design in the April 2006 issue of Bead & Button Magazine. Several of us traveling beaders (beadtrekers) just had to try it out. However, I just can't leave a design alone and have to fiddle with it. The first thing is my dislike for working with Delica(TM) beads so I got out a selection of 8/0 beads for the base. I wanted instant gratification and after all, the base is just to hold the surface embellishments, isn't it? The next thing was a dislike for the convoluted turn, thread path needed in a 2-drop Peyote pattern. So I used my own multi-drop peyote pattern/design for the base. This consists of a single-drop (is that a bead term?) edge and a 2-drop middle portion. This way I could string the surface embellishments out of the bottom of the single edge bead and not have to try and get a needle between the two beads of a 2-drop section. Perfect..... The top layers are not quite as plush as the original, but with the larger scale of everything I think they worked out beautifully.

What Did I learn From All of This:
Along the way of, "I wonder what would happen if.....?" I thought that if 2-drop was good, 3-drop might go even faster. So I made the copper-bronze cuff with a 3-drop center.

Japanese 8/0 seed beads are more regular in size and shape and make a smoother base. Also a 2-drop center section allows for a smoother curve to the bracelet. In 2-drop, with a single edge bead you can vary the width by figuring bead counts: multiples of 4 + 2 = starting rows count.

Czech Republic 8/0 beads have some unique colors, but are more irregular in size and shape. They make a more relaxed, informal base. Cezch beads coupled with a 3-drop interior section comes out sort of wibbly-wobbly and does not make a nice curved shape. To use a 3-drop, with single edge bead, you vary the width by figuring bead counts: multiples of 6 + 2 = starting rows count.

I made some notes of all of my experimenting with Karmen's great bracelet design. You may have a copy of those notes in PDF format here. You can see more of Karmen's original here. Please thank her for a fantastic design.

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