August 27, 2010

Heeding My Own Advice . .

I got this nice German Profi crochet hook about a year ago and I love using it. It's marked 1,00 which I presume is a 1.0 mm. I've been doing larger 8/0 bead crochet lately and have not been happy with my tension. When I teach and people complain about their tension I tell then to go up/down a hook size and try and change the position of their loops on the shank of the hook.

So today I drug out my old faithful, Susan Bates #11 at 1.15 mm and put both hooks together. Well, no wonder I'm having tension problems.

Look at the difference in head sizes. More importantly, look at the difference in shank sizes where I generally work my loops. When I went back to 11/0 and 10/0 beads my tension was way looser than I wanted it to be. When I swapped back to the Susan Bates hook, all the tension problems went away.

So, I guess I should have taken my own advice. Or at least I should have taken a good look at the hook differences some time ago. These Profi hooks have been discontinued, but I did manage to find one that is more the same size as my Susan Bates.

tension too tight; go up a hook size, or two and/or
try and work your loops back from the hook head.
tension too loose; go down a hook size and/or
try and work your loops closer to the hook head.

August 24, 2010

Home Depot Beading Supplies

I was looking for closet furnishings over the weekend and also found some great end caps for . . . bead crochet ropes.

Now the white would have looked better on this rope, but it was the only 11/0, 6-around rope I could put my hands on to give these a trial fit. Nice, very nice looking. Another plus is that they are a very soft plastic which helps keep necklaces metal-free.

Closet Maid TM makes these to fit on the ends of their shelf wires. I found them in white, bronze and these nickel colored ones. The Small ones are a perfect fit on 11/0, 6-around ropes. I'm pretty sure that the large ones will fit an 8/0, 6-around rope but, didn't get any to try out. Twenty of these for around $2 makes them about 10 cents each. Not too shabby at all.

You'll still need to poke a hole in the end of the cap, but that is easily done with a regular sewing needle.

Between these and the screw covers there are a few color choices that just might work for you. These nickel colored ones with flecks of sliver in them would be a nice neutral color for most dark ropes.

I can't believe that I'm shopping for beading supplies at Home Depot!

August 16, 2010

Work to be done

I desperately need to pick up my work space so I can set up to do a major photo session. Yesterday I couldn't take a photo that was in good focus to save my soul. Everything had something that wasn't quite right or fuzzy or blue colored. Murphy's Law at work!
Today it rained, I couldn't use the natural light out on the deck and I couldn't find a clear flat horizontal surface in the studio. Tomorrow should be a sunny, clear, better day.

I like figuring out new patterns and trying them out in short sample pieces. What I don't like is getting all of those itty bitty pieces photographed for publication. Bead Crochet is particularly difficult as I'd like to show all sides of the rope and with a 3" rope, that's not easy to do. This becomes the "work" part.

Even though I'm working with self-imposed deadlines, if I procrastinate too much it soon becomes another year later and nothing has been done.

Then there are pieces like this one . . . I made a poor choice of beads for a photograph. The color lined drops are fantastic. They flash and change and have a glow-in-the-dark quality. However, you can't see the pattern that I was trying to illustrate at all. There is no way I can use this piece in any way for publication.

I guess you have to have the work along with the fun. I'm just whining that I've had the fun and what's left now is the work. Sort of like leaving the peas on my plate til the last because I don't like peas.

August 14, 2010

Really is Bead Crochet

I spent most of the day at a Blueberry Fiddle Festival listening to some local talent. That meant I could sit and crochet the last samples that I needed for the "Triangular Bead Crochet" eBook. This is a detail of one of the bracelet projects and I'm quite pleased at the way it came out. . . ever so Sea Urchin spiny looking but very soft and supple feeling. It's hard to believe that this really is a bead crochet rope. Several people stopped and asked what I was doing. They had a hard time believing that the long string of beads ended up looking like this when crocheted.
This means that I can format and write the last third of the book. Then it's off to an Editor to make my content sensible, organized and spelled right. The last step is for my layout/stylist to tweak everything into a graphic sensibility that is pleasing to the eye.
Same technique, similar bead layouts, but such a different look when finished. Now I'm starting to get excited about this project. Still a lot of work left to be done, but I'm beginning to see an end in sight.

August 11, 2010

Creative Impulse

I always have these little bits of leftover beads when I finish a project; not enough to re-sort back into the bead boxes. In the past I've had small tubes of these leftovers here, there and everywhere. Yesterday I ran across this Pyrex lab beaker and had a thought . . . that it just might look pretty filling up with bright bits of colored beads. I put it in an old iron candle stand I had and it's on my desk, looking quite elegant. Wonder how many beads will fill a 200 ML beaker?

August 4, 2010

Some Things Growing

Some weeks it seems like nothing gets done. However, when I was doing a bit of cleaning on my beading table, I realized that I had a lot of things that were growing and getting closer to being done. I get impatient and can see what the end product looks like. In my mind, that is enough for it to be done, finished, completed, fini.....
I just strung the last piece of my NanC Meinhardt bead-crochet necklace. All of the other parts are done. Now I just need travel time to do the crocheting. This is a necklace that grew out of the Workshop I took and really isn't at the top of any list. That makes it a car project, to be crocheted when the Interstate gets boring.

I'm at the half way mark on this eBook. I had three ideas in mind for the next eBook and had been scatter-shooting (is that a real term?) at pulling things together. A couple of weeks ago I stepped back and evaluated what I had. Triangular Ropes had more than enough material to make an eBook. It could be done in a relatively short time and I didn't need to keep worrying about getting samples done of ideas that were not yet completely formulated. What an Aha moment..... So, this too is slowly growing.
My collection of stuff....
....that never seems to stop getting larger. I was out 'n about and found these great dyed bone disks at an Antique store. No idea what they are supposed to be or used for, but they had such a charm that they are now hanging on my bulletin board. They could be part of a piece of jewelery someday, but for the moment I'm enjoying looking at them hanging there.
And these great French enameled numbers..... I couldn't resist seeing them as a part of a SteamPunk piece or center of a bead embroidered pendant. Who wouldn't want to announce that they are 39 forever?
When does one hit the wall with collecting things just because they might be used somewhere, some day?
Garden .....
Finally, something that grows all on it's own, that is if I remember to keep them watered in this hot dry spell.

My Limelight hydrangea is planted and settling in. I hope to live long enough to see it as tall as the older hydrangea trees I saw blooming all over yesterday. It should be 10' to 12' tall and about 8' around one of these days.
Seems funny to be growing Pobalano hot peppers here in NH when I can drive through Hatch NM and buy dried, ground ones on my travels. A local gardening friend gave us a couple of plants and I've already picked one ripe pepper. Haven't tasted it to see just how hot it might be. I do need to make Mexican Marmalade (hot pepper jelly) later this summer so these might work well there.
So, I guess when you step back and look at the forest rather than tangle with the individual trees, progress is happening. Just slower than I would like.