June 30, 2010

Some work * Some don't

Creative brain storms, that is . .

In February I bought these African vinyl record strands at the Tucson Gem Show. Amongst other things, I thought about trying a crocheted piece with them. A couple of strands got hung on the wall to just enjoy as they have a great visual appeal.

Thinking I needed a bit of space between each disk, I strung an 8/0 seed bead between each one.

Yes, I could crochet them into the tube . . . . however, I wasn't happy with the floppy, messy look of the result. The thinness of the disks combined with a center hole just didn't lend itself to a look that I could live with in a bead crocheted rope.

Before I took everything apart I took a good look at what I had on my thread. I think I'll make a couple of Summer stretchy bracelets for the younger set. I like the look of being able to see the edge patterns and get glimpses of the stripes in between.

It's a bit different, quite light weight, and sort of modern looking. I sent the idea on to a friend who is a polymer artist as it occurred to me that this might also work in that medium.

We're enjoying a couple of days of perfect NH Summer weather. The the daylilies are blooming, temps are around 70 degrees, big blue skies with a very slight breeze rustling the poplar leaves. This is one of the reasons I come back and spend Summers here in the East.

June 25, 2010

Wired Bead Crochet

I've wired bead crochet ropes for necklace and lariat closures many times. Since the actual rope is a tube it's easy to thread a wire up through it and make shapes that stay put with the ropes. The one problem is that if you use a heavy fringe or largish Art Bead then it tends to pull the rope down and you end up wearing a choke collar . . . not too comfortable!

A couple of years ago I solved that problem with the addition of a "zipper toothed" section of rope that the wired spiral catches upon - and stays where you put it. No more rope tightening around your neck.
I've had several people ask me for a pattern for this necklace - well now there is a pattern. I started out by telling one person what beads I had used and by the end of the day I had pulled together a full set of instructions for making this particular necklace. Sometimes I don't know when to stop.
for sale at Bead Patterns
This necklace uses some unique Czech 11/0 square seed beads, however it would have the same scaly effect done with the Toho, sharp edged, triangle beads. My idea was to keep it monochromatic so as to not take away from the the Art Bead itself. There is enough texture here in the different bead sized pattern sections to make it interesting and balance the rope portion of the necklace.
I found the perfect place to find brass tubes and drop beads that would work in this necklace. One of my favorite Maine bead shops . . . Beadin' Path. I originally used some vintage brass components that I'd had for years. I get into big trouble when I visit them as they also have the most extensive collection of new and vintage Lucite ... just yummy things.
This is the type of design that needs the Art Bead to be chosen first and then pull together an ensemble of monochromatic beads that compliments it. I made the rope and then had to wait for a year for that perfect bead to show up. Like a lot of beaders, you do the jewelry first and then go find a dress to go with it.
So, this solves a problem and keeps you from trying to wear a choke collar when you want a nice large Art bead on the end of a bead-crochet rope.

June 12, 2010

Organize the Studio

Why do we collect??

Today an antique dealer came and took away a very small amount of things that I'd held onto (collected) for way too many years. When I downsized from the large house to the 750 sq. ft. apartment I got rid of a lot of things, but evidently kept way too many things as it was. My Mother-in-law's 12' X 25' hand tied rug was one overly large item that I had, my son stored for a couple of years, then my daughter had, and ultimately gave back to me. I guess I dreamed of a large rural, open loft that would have enough floor space for this rug. Reality set in when I moved into a 24'x 50' ranch house. It was time to part with the danged rug and the dreams of a loft. The reality was that any rural loft-type space would boil down to being a rough drafty old barn and most of those barns are attached to houses around here in the outback of New Hampshire.

Glassware, vintage glassware - oh it's pretty, it sparkles and is so clean looking . . . . I guess it's just like over sized glass beads. I filled this table 4 times and now it's gone to another home. It was hard to choose, but I kept a hutch full of my favorite pieces and things I thought I just might still put to use. I've always used my vintage glassware and still enjoy a glass of wine in my 1930's etched green and pink wine glasses. I can close my eyes and imagine myself as a svelte, swinging flapper with long swinging beads when I use those glasses.

Studio Reality . . .

Here's the why of getting rid of stuff.
The studio furniture just managed to fit on one wall today. Well, 1/8" of wiggle room was left. Whew, it did fit though. I learned an important lesson though - don't wait 30 years to clean out your huge Southern Pacific oak desk...... Talk about antiquated office supplies and other strange stuff in there. I now have 3 completely empty drawers and my kids can worry about the next clean out - I won't be here for that one. Now I need to find room for the stuff on top of the desk

and all of this stuff on the opposite wall. No closets here to hide things away as it's in the house's dining room.

Oh, and the beads & supplies are still in the trailer and need to come in!

...and this stuff that's currently on a table in the living room.

Maybe I'll have a functional studio soon - I sure hope so as I've got ideas and can't put my hands on a danged thing. And the kitchen is worse as I've already moved things around several times.

Almost a month back in New Hampshire and the place still looks like a hoarder's abode with paths between stacks of stuff. I don't mind a totally messy studio, but the rest of the house is another story.

June 4, 2010

Gotta Organize Studio

Now that the new kitchen floor is all done I've got to get the mess that is my Summer studio sorted out, organized and working. I've got several ideas for CraftEdu workshops that need to be done. Top of the list is a complete How-To on bead crochet and next is one on making bead crochet toggles.

My desk really is under there - all the way back in the corner.
I finished the last sample of the expanded flat Caterpillar while having the oil changed in my car this week. The piece on the far left will be a bracelet project. I've got enough samples in two sizes of beads as well as a couple of design variations. Now I'm antsy and want to get it all pulled together for Part 1 of an eBook on the technique. This is the odd# pattern and Part 2 will be the even# pattern that will allow diamonds to work.
So, now I've really got to get my rear in gear and get things moved around so I can get back to beading.