November 30, 2008

Bead Crochet Ropes - DVD

You can now easily find the DVD for sale at abba dabba Productions. I will eventually have it for sale on my web site, but only after I get myself (and my beads) to Arizona and somewhat organized. Hopefully that will be around December 15th.

The most amazing thing, in my mind, is that my programmer friend in Arizona has taught himself to bead crochet from the video in about a week's time. This is a man who had never beaded or crocheted before. He has had to ask me a million questions about beads and bead crocheting while working on the Bead Crochet Element Designer software. He finally found success by using large wood beads and nylon cord. He called today to announce that he is now down to size 8/0 beads and is excited that he got it to work with "those small beads"! I won't say that it will work for everyone, but with a testimonial like that from a sixty year old, motorcycle, computer guy, maybe you should give it a try - it's a classroom on your computer or TV.

Of course it's snowing and there is freezing rain promised for tomorrow morning .... I'm suposed to be on the road for Arizona then. Catch you all later.

November 26, 2008

a NH ending

It's Time ... shut things down in New Hampshire, pack the car and head for Arizona.
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with my Son's family. My Granddaughter and I had fun this afternoon making pies. It's already snowed and we've had a week of temperatures in the teens and twenties. My friends in AZ tell me it's been enjoyable 70 degree weather out there. Friday I'll clean off the work tables and get all the beads packed away and ready for their journey west.
If all goes well, we should be on the road Sunday morning. Maybe I'll have time and inclination to post while traveling. If not, look for a post on the trip later in December.
the photo... well, I just got a new camera and had to try it out. The detail is fantastic of a box of finished bead items and broken vintage beads that is sitting on my work table.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving
and think of the small things each of us/you has to be thankful for.

November 22, 2008

It's a Good Day

I just got notified that the first copies of my instructional DVD, "Bead Crochet Ropes" are in the mail to me. It's been a long wait, but it's finally published. Although I'm not too happy with the way I look, after all I have to realize that I'm not 20 anymore and will see 65 next year. My wrinkles are well earned! I'm pleased with the results and think it will be one more step in helping people learn the sometimes frustrating craft of tubular, slip-stitch bead crochet. The DVD's are available to purchase through the production company, Abba Dabba. Although they are not up on their web site yet, if you are interested, an email or phone call to them will work. They have an 800 phone number. Cost is $34.95 + shipping.

On the software front, I've finally gotten a couple of design elements up at Bead-Patterns. As these are for downloading and then importing into the Bead Crochet Element Designer, it's taken some time and work to figure out how to handle them. You don't get a pdf nor do you get something you can print out, you get a *.bce file that you have to save to your BCED folder and then open in the program.

There is a free design element, Boxed, to try things out and see just how it works and the Double V's you see here, for sale. If you try this out, let me know how your experience was. If I get good feedback, I will work on getting some design libraries up.

After weeks of frustrating, non-progress, in everything on my work table (or computer) things have jumped ahead overnight. Now if the weather would just quit being so cold, I'd be totally happy. It's 21 degrees, windy and snow flurries predicted!

November 16, 2008

Studio Play Time

Some how I got sidetracked this afternoon ..... I was seeing what was on the Internet for bead crochet "how-to's" and ran across a couple of videos on how to do Viking chain knit. That's something that has intrigued me for awhile. I've had this 40# spool of wire under my beading table for about 18 months, thinking it would work great to practice Viking knitting with wire.

See where this is going?

Yes, I then spent a couple of enjoying (frustrated) hours playing with wire. The big spool wire is a stainless alloy and tended to work harden very quickly. I couldn't manage to get the hang of weaving with it so I grabbed a spool of much softer, coated magnet wire that I use for twisted wire earrings. Hallelujah, it was just what I needed and soon had a rhythm going of lopping and pulling through. I still like the idea of the stainless alloy wire for this technique and the next spare moment I have will try that again. I really like the look of the chain after it is reduced through a draw plate. I don't think my first attempt is all that terrible and may use it in something.

I think this will be a very effective bead crochet pattern if I can ever get the danged thing strung right. I've taken out the strung bead sequence 4 times now. It doesn't help that it is 39 rows long and I was watching NASCAR races while trying to read, count and pick up beads. Maybe I need to try doing just one thing at a time when it's a long stringing table.

I spent the other day playing with a very rough version of the next iteration of bead crochet design software and came up with 6 rather neat patterns. Now I just have to get them strung (correctly!) and worked up. I guess I'd better do it at my work table without the TV going!

Bead Crochet Tip:
If you want to set up a travel bracelet project and don't want a big 'ol spool in your kit, then use a floss bobbin and wind 10 yards of thread onto it. That's what you see in the photo and you can find them in the embroidery section of craft and sewing stores. Ten yards is an ample supply of thread for at least a 9" bracelet and enough extra to handle any errors you might have to cut out. It makes for a very compact on-the-go bead crochet kit.

November 8, 2008

New Kitchen Toy - Part #2

It's a gray, damp, miserable day here today. I finally got the time to try making crackers on my new-old kitchen toy. What a difference .... 2 hours and I had nice crisp, thin chive flavored snack crackers. Rolling the dough the pasta machine made making crackers such a breeze that I may never buy another box of saltines. A real plus is that I know exactly what's in these: flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, water & dried chives.

I found Hodgson Mill Pasta Flour the other day and it will serve for both pasta and crackers. Now I'm wondering what would happen if I cheese flavored the dough, ran it through the angel
hair setting on the machine and baked the results.... Would I get
snack noodles?

The recipe called for a total of 3 cups of flour and this is how many crackers I got. I'm thrilled with the results and it was fun to do.

errand finds

Friday was errand day in the big city. I stopped into JoAnn's for two things; fray check and cotton crochet thread. I should have known better as I had to take a look at buttons and cruise their bead aisle.

I found these wonderful packs of matte square plastic buttons in great happy colors. I'm thinking that they would make another light weight finger woven bracelet. What a neat contrast of the suppleness of the technique and the graphic squareness of the buttons. Adding a small chain of beads between the holes on the top would add just that hint of a sparkle to the whole bracelet. Yep, 4 packets went into my basket!

The button aisle yielded a few that will work as a toggle style closure for any beaded bracelet. These are nicely made metal buttons and have a bit of style to them.

As I was walking out I spotted a clearance rack of Blue Moon items at the end of the bead aisle. I'm not really a chain person, but have been admiring Steam Punk creations. Nicely antiqued gray metal chain for $1.99/45 inches was a great bargain. "Four, they only have four packets.... well I guess that will have to do as I'm really not sure just what I'll do with it."

I have a Friend who has decided to de-clutter and possibly lean towards minimalist living. She now only buys exactly what she needs for a single project. Her husband mentioned to me that he and the cats were beginning to worry about having anything to sit on.
Funny thing is ... if I thought up a project and only bought what I needed .... the project would never get done and I'd miss 90% of my best creative ideas. When I go shopping I can never find exactly what I'm seeing in my head (unless its Kleenex). Days, even months go by until the right component shows up for a partially finished project. A good example is my red tiger eye necklace. My best work happens serendipitously when beads and components end up on my work table and scream at me ..."we belong together!"
So, the crochet cotton, Fray Check and my other finds all went into my basket and will now be sorted into my supply boxes. The chain is creatively flung onto my work table as I think it may become a necklace right quick. I have a baggie of other project remains as well as broken bits of antique jewelry that just might become an asymmetrical Steam Punkish necklace.
Do you let your supplies tell you what they want to become? Or, do you start with an idea and then find or purchase what you need?

November 5, 2008

Back to real life

Maybe the phones will be quiet and I can go back to a regular routine. Here in New Hampshire we get more than our share of politics and it starts way earlier than the rest of the country. I finally let the answering machine pick up the last two days as I got tired of saying, "Yes, I'm going to vote (voted) and no, I don't want to discuss it." I watched the results until I fell asleep on the couch. Somehow it isn't as much fun as I remember when a kid and we got to stay up late to watch the results and the numbers change.

November 2, 2008

Late Haloween Project

I guess this comes under the heading of, PLAN AHEAD!

..... for next Halloween, that is.

or... better late than never...

I had wanted to get this up before Halloween, but somehow life threw me a couple of curves as well as a phlegmy head cold. I got these beautiful matte orange lentils from Bead Cats a couple of years ago and they just screamed Halloween to me. By the way, Bead Cats has long been my source for lentils as they seem to have the widest choice of colors of any one out there.

The Flat Caterpillar bracelet is one of my favorite bead crochet techniques because of the supple feel to them. This one has been a particular favorite because of the color contrast and always seems to draw the notice of other people.


To celebrate the season ...

...late for 2008 and early for 2009,

here is a free Bead Crochet
pattern for you to try.

It's in a JPEG format, which makes it a wee bit fuzzy when printed. Just click on the photo for a full size version, then right click and select print.

I used a vintage, orange Bakelite button for the clasp, however any button would work. How about one of the candy corn buttons I've seen this year in the stores?