March 31, 2012

Bragging Rights - Urban Stripes

Take a pattern set, or just one piece of a set and make it your own.  
Here are two examples of just what I'm talking about.

Beautiful Bead Crochet Ropes

My colorway for the bracelet
 Julie Beck, of California, took the Bracelet pattern from the Urban Stripes eBook (Section #4, page 6) and made it into a stunning necklace.  She used Permanent Galvanized 11/0 beads for a 58" endless necklace.  This metallic version deserves to be recognized as something very special.

Betty Brittenham, from Wisconsin... or Cold Door County, as she calls it, Sent me photos of her interpretation of the first Urban Stripes necklace. She says, "I did the background in a deep matte forrest green with shiny rust and matte vanilla as the first 3 colors.  I used spot colors of bronze, marbled light green and a tad bit of black."  She used some of my favorite colors in this example and it makes me want to do another necklace set in similar colors.  I'm so pleased to see pieces like this one with a color set that is personal to the maker.  I think you all will agree that this is an outstanding piece.

March 27, 2012

Beautiful Bead Crochet

I'm working on my taxes and am very grouchy.  Of course, I've procrastinated and done it to myself, so there are no excuses. But, I'm still quite grouchy anyway.

I have received two out of the four Native Stripes Necklaces that I will be using as color inspirations in the Gallery when I finish making the Native Stripes pattern set into an eBook.  I just had to share how different and beautiful they all are. This is so exciting that now I don't want to go back to doing bookkeeping for the IRS.

March 21, 2012

Bead Fest Santa Fe & Trip Report

 I made it to Bead Fest in Santa Fe, but got so excited that I forgot to take my camera with me.  It was so much fun to immerse myself in all of the glittery beads and visit with old and new beading friends.  After all of this time I finally got to put a face with the names of Mary Tafoya and Laura Zeiner.  It was fun meeting both of them and I'm sorry that there wasn't time to sit down, have a cup of coffee and swap beading stories.

I took a workshop, "out of the Box Resin", and was a bit disappointed.  Half of the teacher's supplies were lost in the mail and she couldn't go into resin molding.  Unfortunately, that was the only reason I signed up for the workshop.  I have a page of notes from her recommendations, but didn't get to have any hands-on working with the materials.

 I want just one sheet of this copper shipment for my front yard!  Driving to Santa Fe we passed several truck loads of copper ingots.  The flat sheets are neat, but the thicker ones with handles or ears on top are what I really want.

In the motel parking lot, we wondered why someone would put a stuffed toy out on the ground . . . . then it moved!  I have friends who might dye their hair this color, but have never seen a entirely pink dog.  Wondering if it's like the old nursery rhyme of the "Purple Cow"?

On a very narrow back street, very hard to find and get to, is this adobe house that dates to 1647.  It's billed as the oldest house in the USA and I'll have to check with an archaeologist friend.  I think there is a 1616 house on the grounds of Strawberry Bank Museum in Portsmouth NH.

 I love looking at doors in the southwest.  This was a particularly nice one in a fence.

I'd eat at this Deli in a heartbeat.... what a happy looking place.
One of these days, I'm going to have to collect photos of places that have unusual combinations of things for sale.

The trip home was a nightmare.  We ended up traveling south along the huge storm front. Visibility was almost nil from blowing sand and dust.  What should have been an 8 hr trip, lasted 24 hours when we hit Interstate closings from Las Cruces to Lordsburg NM.  Then it was off & on snow whiteouts the next day driving west.

Ouch, my Element looks like it now has a matte orange bead finish

March 13, 2012


 I finally finished my third Urban Stripes Necklace.  I had run out of the gray background beads and really didn't want to purchase any more.  After doing two long necklaces I was tired of looking at them.  Since this was shorter than the other two, I had this hardware idea in my head for a join. It just took me five months to find the large ball chain and bell ends in nickel to coordinate with the nickel beads in the other two necklaces.

I was finishing things up this afternoon and bumped into my resin magnetic clasp prototypes on the work table.  So then I had to try and see if there was a way to make one bell function as a hidden magnetic clasp. I seem have magnets on the mind these days.
It's a semi-successful idea.  I need to see if I can close the gap on the bell so the joins inside don't show up quite as much.

I like the end look and it all furthers the Urban theme of the pattern set.  You can find a copy of the eBook at Bead-Patterns if you'd like to make your own set.

March 10, 2012

Creative Interlude

 I have this box of strange stuff that I've been adding to for a couple of years:  wire, keys, rusty things, found objects, etc.

Every once in a while I have a block of spare time to play with the contents of the box.  It's a complete opposite to bead crochet and liberates my creative brain.Wonder what some of it would look like combined with resin?

Then I have this idea for magnetic resin clasps for bead crochet necklaces and bracelets.  I've played around with a couple of prototypes made out of old vintage resin beads.  The idea is great, but I want to control the shapes and colors.  I've some theoretical shapes and colors floating that need to be explored.

I could spend a lot of time finding information on working with resin.  Then I could spend even more time and materials experimenting with it all.

Or, I could go take a workshop.

 Yea, light bulb goes off.... Bead Fest Santa Fe is right around the corner and it's only an 8 hr. drive.

Some quick looks at the Bead Fest site turns up what sounds like the perfect  workshop to learn the basics. The instructor's bio says, " Meredith Arnold is a comedian-artist specializing in jewelry and mixed media work. Her classes are like drinking from a fire hose with information, but lots of fun as well."  Sounds like I might have some fun along with learning something.  

Found a cheap motel room, got gas money and a man willing to take off and drive 16 hrs. round trip...... There was room in the workshop so I am all set to take a creative road trip.  

The icing on the cake is an opportunity to finally meet Mary Tafoya.  I've been in internet touch with her for years and have always liked what she does with beads and found objects. I also hope to catch up with a few other New Mexican beaders that I sort of know.  It's great to be able to put faces and personalities to names.

So now I need to quickly put life responsibilities in order to be able to take off for 4 days.  It'll be a great feeling to go do something so diffrent from my usual creative endevors.

March 4, 2012

Native Stripes - String-Along Progress

 The members have gotten the last pattern section of Native Stripes and I'm starting to see some beautiful finished pieces.  Just to show you what can be done with individual patterns, Julie made Section #7 into a bracelet.  The fish pattern was deemed to be cute and worthy of use as a stand-alone motif.
Karen has finished the necklace that I dubbed "Viking Stripes".  She decided to finish it as a continuous loop necklace.  Compared to the crayon bright that I'm doing, this is such an elegant, sophisticated rope.

Julie also finished hers as a closed loop.  When done this way, they will loop three times around the neck.  The subtle, earthy tones came out just beautiful. 

 As I've said before, it's a unique experience to see what each individual has done with the exact same patterns.  Helen's rope is finished through Section #6.  She used bright colors, but made her own mix. 

Although I like all of the ropes, Mariana's piece is one of my favorites.  The colors are still bright, but don't scream at you.  She's through Section #9 in this photo and it's going to be stunning when done.

Mel is finished, but is waiting for a unique focal bead to finish her necklace.  This is such a glitzy happy piece that I'd almost want to put it on and go dancing.

Two month's worth of patterns, many discussions about colors and beads, and we come to the end of another String-Along.  I'm writing up the finishing instructions and waiting to see more completed necklaces.  This is where I get to see how all of the detail parts/patterns come together.  It's fun!

March 3, 2012

Clasp Experiment

magnetic focal clasp for bead crochet rope

I had this old, vintage strand of fake amber beads sitting on my work table the other day.  Needing something for a focal-type clasp, my mind started to play with "what-if".

I gave the beads, a pair of magnets and a sample rope piece to a machinist and told him what I was thinking.  This is the prototype result.  What do you think?

I'm not enamored with having to glue a rope into the end of a clasp, but I can't find a solution to otherwise fasten it in.

I stuck the prototype onto my Native Stripes rope to see how it would look.  Now I guess I need to design an 8/0 rope to go with the magnetic clasp that came out of the mind play.

I'm thinking that short pieces of rope endings in 15/0 with 8 to 10-around necklace rope might balance the size better.

Feedback appreciated - especially some way to avoid glue.