July 31, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ Color

A lot of us struggle with color choices. Each of us also has a color palette that we tend to find more pleasing than others. There are a lot of publications, workshops, and words written on color and color theory. I happen to like how Margie Deeb approaches the subject for beaders. I often refer to her book, The Beader's Guide To Color.

For this necklace project I went to the web and my own photo collection, looking for what I considered Urban colors. Depending on where you live, Urban colors can be vastly different. This is not a color combination I would have chosen on my own as I happen to like neon-bright colors.

I ended up with a great gray(A) for the overall background color. It reminded me of all of the concrete in very large cities. Colors B, C, and E are the secondary colors that will fill the major design spaces on the crocheted rope. Think stop signs, city taxi's, traffic cones, and signs. Colors E and F will be spot colors, used here and there to provide points of interest. They are the glimpses of chrome, new steel and graffiti.

It's interesting to see all of the color combinations that the participants have chosen. They are all doing the exact same patterns, but what a different look they have.

Tobie's white background makes for a very crisp rope.

Renate's dark background is closer to the Old World traditional crocheted ropes

Janice chose colors that remind one of stonework and bits of rust

Isn't that the perfect background?

Beverly is using different bead finishes to mute the secondary colors rather than to make them really pop out.

I'm being told that the first section of the necklace has been turned into a few bracelets as people try a color combination and then try another color palette, reaching for a combination that pleases them. I know that I started with about 23 different tubes of bead colors and was still refining the colors I liked into the second section of the rope. I've picked my second spot color, but even it won't be a firm choice until I use a bit of it with the other colors. I may want a more bold turquoise when I get there.

We all struggle with picking colors for beading. It's such a personal choice of adornment. Plus, the beads can look vastly different in the tube or on the hank than they do next to other beads in a finished piece. With the Internet, there are lots of resources out there. Mother Nature is one place I go for colors I wouldn't have thought to put together.

It's fun to watch this project unfold and see what everyone is doing. I hope all of the participants are enjoying this as much as I am.

July 27, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 2nd Section

The pattern for the next section has been worked out and after one false start with black matte beads, I changed my mind and went for some nice Toho nickle plated 8's I had on hand. They speak to me of shine on RR tracks, chrome building details, and bits of bright metal you see here and there in a large city. I may have to balance this bit of bright with a muted, almost dirty, blue turquoise, on an opposite side.

I've also added 1950's looking orange that tends towards red. I like the shine of the yellow and oranges against the matte dark red and gray.

Always an adventure when you've strung over 36" of beads and go to join them up with the already crocheted rope. Whew! the added in new beads fit into the 1st section of pattern just perfectly. If any of you participating in the String-Along don't know how to join these pieces up, refer to the "Adding in Thread" PDF that You have been sent.

The necklace is now 14" long and beginning to show it's promise. One of the participants who does not Blog or do FaceBook was talking to me about using a brick color for the background. It makes sense if you live in a New England Mill town; blocks and blocks of multi-storied brick mill buildings sitting along the river.

I've a glimmer of an idea for the next section; tire tracks or even RR tracks. A section with repeating short parallel lines. Wonder if it will work?

Weaveabead's black & white color combination is another interpretation of the theme that I like. Especially the black striped white beads. Very minimalist, but effective.

(Photo by Karen)

The Project Itself:

I originally said I'd release a section a week. I'm going to change that schedule as I've been told I need to have Cataract surgery. Wondering what my colors will look like after that? My first appointment is September 1st, so I would like to have all the pieces done by then. Some of you are fast with the hook, some of you are dusting off rusty bead crocheting skills and others are working around life schedules. Please, work at a pace that is comfortable and fits your own time frame. No one is pushing anyone to finish, finish, finish. Save the PDF files, print them out and take the time you need. This is sort of an experiment, follow-the-leader game, just for fun.

July 24, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 1st Section

The first section of the string-along necklace would have been done sooner if I had not made the very same crocheting mistake 4 times. I tore my hair out, riped it out, counted beads, redid the graph and crocheted it again .... four freaking times. Duhhhh.... Always check the simple things first. The graph was right, the table was right, I had strung it right. I had just dropped from 6-around to 5-around in about the same place more than once. It happens to the best of us at one time or another.

Thirty three people have signed up to participate in this experiment. Brave souls as I really have no idea what the finished 42" necklace is going to look like. It's going to evolve as I decide what I want to do in the next section; seven different sections in all.

Since I'm done with the first section and I know that some people want to get going, I'm going to send the emails out to the group a few days early. However, sign-ups will remain open until noon on Wed., July 27th. If you are just now finding this and want more information... Click here to find the information. You can follow the whole thread by using the tag "String-Along".

July 22, 2011

String-Along - colors

Picking bead colors for the Urban Stripes String-Along is almost more difficult than sitting down and coming up with pattern ideas. I pulled beads, put beads away, changed my mind and tried different ones. Then I discovered that I really didn't have a green turquoise or a Chinese red that I liked. Two Hundred lbs. of beads sitting on my back wall and I don't have the right size 8/0 colors? Thank heavens for Caravan Beads, they ship quickly and Priority mail to me is only a day.

Sign ups, questions and excitement is happening for this experimental project. I think it is going to be fun seeing what a diverse range of beaders does with it. One of the things I get out of the project is some structure. I still get to think in small increments of what is pleasing in that very moment, but will have to document just what I am doing or did. Too often I design as I string and it is more than difficult to reverse engineer the piece to publish a pattern. I also get to see the patterns evolve in different colors.

Join In:

You have til Wednesday, July 27, 2011 to sign up and pick out your beads for this String-Along. Come join us and make a bead crocheted necklace in under two months. More information is here.... (click)

July 20, 2011

Urban Stripes - Crocheted Rope

I have this triplet of 42" crocheted ropes that I wear together all the time. I have another set in black & white. I was thinking that I needed another set in different colors and did some research around the word Urban.

OK, so I'm going at this backwards.... I picked a name I liked and then started thinking about beads and patterns. Happens sometimes.

Cities, big cities make me think of cement, streets, sidewalks and buildings. My daughter lives on the 53 floor of one of these "Corncob" towers in Chicago. They actually remind me of crocheted ropes.

Then you add in all of the bright, neon primary colors that seem to contrast so well with all that gray concrete.

That gave me my base bead color. They are a Miyuki 8/0 seed bead #2002 (like a DB307). Then I'm thinking matte black as sort of outline colors, coupled with shades of orange, turquoise, dark red and maybe a touch of chrome yellow. This will be an 8/0 rope in 6-around.

While I was doing some Internet searches of city images I was reminded that graffiti can be an unlimited source of color inspiration.

I've had several people tell me that they would like to make themselves a set of necklaces like mine. Seeing as I pretty much design-as-I-go when I make these, it's hard to turn them into a set of instructions or a pattern. So here is your chance to make one necklace with me and then swap around the colors and make one or two more.

String-Along ~ Urban Stripes
I'll break the 42" necklace into 7 sections of about 6" of finished rope (36" of strung beads) and design a section, or two a week. I'll put the patterns up as PDF's on my web site, and email you to let you know that you can download that week's pattern(s). They will all remain up for the duration of this string-along. After that time, they will be removed and I'll consolidate them into a pattern set that I'll sell.

Want To Join In?
If you have an interest, you have a week to join the fun and pick out your bead colors. You can use the same colors as I am or pick out ones that say Urban Stripes to you. Look at the graffiti inspired palletes. Email me (click for email) to sign up. I'll send you a PDF of my color inspirations, materials needed and anything else that may be important for success.

In return, I ask that you Blog or post to FaceBook about what you're doing and send me a link so we can all share in on how it's going.

See the tag "string-along" under this post? you can click on that to get a list of blog posts that only have to do with this project.

July 12, 2011

High Tech beading

The programmer, Ken, is beta testing BCPD for the Android tablet. Hmmmm, looks like women aren't the only ones who keep a very messy beading table. Ken says he is out of practice with the crocheting part, but what he designed on the tablet came out perfect in a rope. By this Fall, (cross your fingers) if you have an Android tablet or phone, you should have a portable bead crochet design program. Ken also says that it's very nice not to have papers laying around, taking up space. He strung his flag rope directly from the stringing table on the tablet.

July 10, 2011

A Summer Sunday

I'm not a morning person, but this morning the birds woke me up at 4:30 AM. Boy, can they be loud at that time of the morning. Now that the sun is fully up, It's a perfect New Hampshire Summer morning, in the 70's with bright sun, a slight breeze and I enjoyed a cup of coffee sitting on the edge of the deck this morning.

The common orange day lilies that I transplanted a couple of years ago have decided to put on a spectacular show this Summer. They are almost as tall as I am this year.

We're going to sort of play hooky today, go for a Sunday drive and enjoy some scenery. The real reason for getting out is to go look at a replacement for our little trailer that got crunched on the trip East this year. It really became a total disaster (kindling?) after the big propane truck practically backed over it a couple of weeks ago. Do you know how hard it is to turn up a small enclosed trailer that a Honda Element can easily tow in this land of snowmobiles, motorcycles and chainsaws.... ?

In between yard, getting a kitchen counter installed, and having half a kitchen piled in my studio, I've been doing a bit of bead embroidery. Small scale bead embroidery is quick and also instant gratification. I started beading with this technique and still enjoy the freedom of letting a design just flow. It's so different from bead crochet, where everything is planned out before you ever even pick up a hook.

Enjoy your Summer Sunday, where ever you might be. May it be as nice as it is here.

July 7, 2011

Bead Crochet Theorem

A pattern with an odd number of beads in the repeat, crocheted in even-around, will spiral in the opposite direction from a pattern with an even number of beads in a repeat. The same remains true when crocheting in odd-around.

It seems like I have known about this even/odd theorem in bead crochet forever. However, I've had some questions about patterns recently that led me to think that maybe everyone doesn't know this happens.

In the sample above, the right side of the pattern actually has a wider color band "A", but visually you don't seem to notice it. It's the reversing direction of the lighter color band "B" that you notice. It's an easy and fun way to introduce zig-zags into a spiral rope.