August 23, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 6th Section

It's coming to an end.....

This is the last section of the 42" necklace we've all been working on for a month now. It's hard to think that there will be no more surprises in the email to string and crochet. It's been both a frustrating and very much fun journey.

Section #6 is a joining section. It finishes balancing things out and neatly joins up to the first section. I incorporates bits of the main colors and was designed to allow the participants to shorten or lengthen their pieces to a finished size that suits them.

When everyone finishes this, they will have a unique necklace to double around the neck and wear to town.

There are some changes I'd make if I was to do the whole necklace over again. Many of the participants did make changes, ripped out sections and changed things around. I couldn't take the time if I was to stay ahead of everyone. I am pleased with my results and have plans on making a second necklace completely from the Railroad section #3. It's impressive to wear two or three of these together. They always get noticed, even in the supermarket!

Color has been a hot topic throughout this whole process. We've all commented, offered choices, shared bead color IDs and bought more beads. It's always nice to know that you are not alone in seemingly never having the right colors.

Janice is a good example of one who couldn't make up her mind ..... used one color. Then turned around and tore it out and went with her second choice, lime.

We all agreed that the blue was nice, but the lime took her necklace from pretty to outstandingly Urban Chic.

What do you think?

Members Progress

Bev gave us all a great idea for the bracelet challenge. She doesn't like to do an invisible join and added these great copper discs to the bracelet. Isn't this a beautiful combination with the pattern?

Bev's color choices are always some of my favorites. She is one of my oldest beading friends and has always made my patterns look great. I like the light section she did and can see how it's going to look when doubled against the whole necklace.

Doreen's regal rope has become even more royal looking with the addition of the pumpkin color. I'm hoping she will continue with a bit of the same color in the last section.

What a difference different beads makes. Renate's bubble-looking beads gives the whole necklace a fun feel. This is going to go with so many different outfits.

Now to finish this project up with writing finishing ideas for all of the participants. There has been much discussion about to invisible join or not to invisible join. Then I'll need to re-format everything as I plan on issuing this as a pattern set for sale. A big round of Thanks needs to go out to all of the participants as they have really helped me refine what will go into the publication. I don't think they all realized that they would be Guinea pigs for me to practice on.

August 16, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 5th Section

The 5th section of the Urban Stripes has the second spot color in a stair step pattern. I used a matte sea foam blue-green that is reminiscent of one of the graffiti photos that I started with. After it was crocheted, I was thinking that the yellow eyes would have looked better with the dark red beads. It would have been less of a stark contrast. When the necklace is doubled this portion will lie next to the first silver spot color. I guess I must think of a city as matte as only the red and orange beads are shiny in this piece.

I'm quite happy with the overall flow of this necklace and I think I'm capturing the Urban feel that I envisioned when I started this project.

Members Progress

Sandy is a Bead Society of New Hampshire member who does not Blog and she brought her rope to last week's meeting. She takes some of my patterns to the next level. She brought a Diamonds & Daggers example with her that was done with lentils and large daggers. If you're going to flaunt your beadwork, that necklace certainly did it. Her Urban Stripe is coming along nicely and I especially like the use of the silver in the 3rd section to point up the Railroadness (can that be a real word?)of the tracks.

Tobie's light colored rope has quite a Native look to it. I like the primary colors against the light background.

Sue is getting the Michigan feel into her necklace; city greenbelts and light rail come through quite clearly.

Some of the ladies have been crocheting more than one necklace, chomping at the bit, waiting for the next section. I issued all of them a challenge to try and keep them busy in between times. It was to take section 4 and make a bracelet out of it. Peggy came up with two rather delightful variations. See how she used the same chevron motifs and then reversed them?

What can be more classic than black & white? Karen's is a real classic. Look close, she's used white beads that have a black stripe on them.

Here's a rather regal, subtle version. Doreen was complaining that she didn't think there was enough contrast. It reminds me of 5th Ave, furs and pearls in a bygone era - pure elegance.

This color combination is another favorite of mine - city in a fog...
The matted, grayed out colors are such a nice contrast to the primary colored ropes.

Same patterns, neat how different they all can look. Amy's necklace is close to the original colors, but with her own personality. The touch of green is refreshing.

Julie's use of the Miyuki beads adds that touch of angularity that is seen in most Urban landscapes. Again, the light background accents the patterns in all of the sections.

What's Next?

There is one more section left to do and it will tie things together. We'll have to make individual adjustments to size and make sure the pattern will seamlessly tie into the first section. Then we can struggle with an invisible join or cheat and use a focal bead between the two ends.

I expect to see some change in direction with both Section #5 & #6. Some members have voiced a fear of running out of the background colored beads. I've given them a couple of alternatives here to conserve background colors. It will be interesting to see who uses them and just what they do with it.

August 9, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 4th Section

Section #4 is done and ready to be released to the group. The necklace is now long enough to begin seeing what it will look like finished. This also means that it is time to balance the patterns and color blocks so that it has a unified look. At 42" this necklace is meant to be doubled around your neck and it shouldn't be heavy color all in one spot on two sections of the rope.

Here is the detail of this section. I've added a pattern that breaks up all of the straight, parallel lines. It's something to give the eye a break. Most Urban landscapes are heavy on straight lines, but then you round a corner and there is the unexpected sign, sculpture, bridge or other unusual sight.

Well, I just had to take a break and play a bit myself. I took the pattern, redesigned it a bit, doubled it and made a bracelet in other colors that were sitting on my table. I used a couple of colors that I had thought to use as spot colors in the necklace itself. It points out that any one of the pieces of Urban Stripes would make a great necklace by itself or tweaked a bit into a bracelet. This project seems to have fostered so much creativity that it came back and bit me too.

Members Progress

Talking about creativity and waiting for the next pattern section to be released ..... Julie has a hard time waiting and keeps starting another necklace. If this keeps up, she'll have a whole flock before the project is finished. Colors are like candy - a few are never enough!

Mary Anne says her scanned changed the color of the gray background beads. However, it gives one a taste of what this might look like with a nice matte olive background.

Mariana's rope is progressing very nicely in similar shades of reds, yellows and orange against a gray background.

What great background beads. Evelyn found 8/0's that one would swear are granite. Reminds me of Fall River Mass and all of the huge old granite block mill buildings.

Doreen came up with a palette from a SoHo night photo. This is one of my new favorites. It is just so rich looking. If you look closely, you can see the two greens she can't choose between for her second spot color.

Egyptian necklace, anyone? Isn't Terri's necklace looking more and more like It was found in an archaeological dig on the Nile? What a sophisticated piece this is turning out to be.

The feedback that I'm getting on this String-Along project is great. Everyone has said that they are having fun doing this along with learning about bead crochet pattern work. It isn't all that difficult to do once you understand how things work.

Surprise, anticipation, new friendships, new beads to buy 'n try, and like-minded people to lend a hand when you get in trouble - what could be a better end of Summer project?

It's NOT a Knife Rest!

I was at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair on Sunday. I came across this fantastic Potter with out of this world pieces. Plain unglazed porcelain with surface patterning that grabed me. No, I hadn't taken my camera, silly me..... What I really wanted, I couldn't afford right now, but tucked away in the back of her booth was a small display of Knife Rests. I picked one up and then picked all of them up for a closer look.

Holes.... they all had holes through the center! She was wrong when she said she didn't make beads. All of those knife rests had holes and were really beads.

The one that I brought home is just 2 1/2" long and weighs about 1/3 of what a lampwork bead of the same size would. I'm not exactly sure how I will use it, but use it I will; somewhere, someday.

Lulu's studio is only about 12 miles from my house and I think I need to go down and see her after the Fair is over. She mentioned that she also tended to collect all sorts of organic oddments. I'd love to talk her into making a series of cabochons for bead embroidery.

The Bead Society of New Hampshire had a demonstration booth at the Fair over the weekend. We had great fun showing off beadwork and talking to people. Many of the visitors did not know that there was a Bead Society in Central NH.

Rickey , Jo & Gail at the BSNH tables

After a morning of booth sitting, I had time to wander the Fair. It's the oldest continuous running fair in the US. It gave me a chance to catch up with favorite artists, visit with friends, and look at a lot of beautiful work.

As I was leaving, I ran into this tiny fair visitor. I need to go find out what kind of butterfly it is.

August 3, 2011

Urban Stripes ~ 3nd Section

Railroad tracks, red stop lights, and orange traffic cones.... Squint your eyes in a city and you can see so many repetitive patterns, especially in the industrial sections. I tried to give this piece a bit of perspective as well. Although short, it does look like it has a vanishing point. I like it enough to consider using a variation for my second necklace. I do like wearing a triplet of these necklaces - comfortable and they get noticed!

With this third section designed and crocheted, the necklace is about at the half way point. Now I need to step back and think about further color use. The piece is designed to be doubled around the neck so I need to balance two heavy red/orange sections with more of a background color. I also want to introduce some angles that do not run parallel to the length of the rope. I guess it's off to the drawing board to see what I can come up with.

This is one of the first 42" necklaces I did. Tribal Stripes is available at Bead Patterns as a collection of patterns. I think you can see how the design and colors balance each other when the rope is doubled.

String-Along Progress

Urban means different things to different people. It's been very interesting to see those differences expressed in color and bead choices.
Terri seems convinced that the big Phoenix AZ dust storms influenced her colors. Southwestern cities are colored so differently than a large Eastern or Midwestern city.

Susan has used a muted palette and grayed down the crayon brights that I'm using. I look at it and can only think of a city in a fog. This is going to be a very subtle necklace

Peggy has added a lot of texture to the pattern work. She choose to pair different bead shapes to give her rope an added dimension. Bead Crocheted lariats were quite popular Victorian crafts. What a difference our wide and varied modern choice of beads makes.

Glitzy, sparklie, just like any Urban night life scene. Elisa's colors are so in-your-face bright and bold.

With 30+ participants, it's a wide range of Urban interpretation. Some people have had to dust off old crocheting skills, others are impatient for the next section, some are waiting for life to get out of the way so they can start, and many have agonized over color choices.

The overall feel of this project is having fun. It's also become a creative, brainstorming event on the FaceBook Group. It's nice to have a project like this where there are no time deadlines and no pressure to finish quickly. Beaders, in general, are a creative, supportive, and helpful group.