August 29, 2012

African Stripes ~ Love Letters Necklace

 Most everyone has finished their Mud Cloth Necklace and now we're working on the companion piece, Love Letters. Above you can see my necklace.  I'm getting ready to crochet the 4th section.  There will be a total of five patterned sections in this necklace.

 Debbie is doing the traditional colors and her necklace is coming along quite nicely.

Amy is doing two different color sets, and how different they look.  She has translated the color bands into dark blue and white in her second necklace.

Peggy is working in #10 Delicas and is also doing two  necklaces.  Here you can see what the same pattern looks like with both a dark and light background.

Mel choose what she calls an archaeological color set.  This is going to look so well with her mud cloth and winter woolens.

 Toni just didn't like the idea of long, single color blocks so she shortened them up to almost nothing.  Now she's trying to decide if this will be a short necklace or will she repeat some of the section patterns for a longer necklace.

Victoria, our delightful speedy crocheter, has three necklaces going at the same time. It's so nice to see what 3 different colorways look like next to each other.  So far, the one on the far left is one of my favorites.

I've saved the most creative for last.... Terri is doing her rope in 11's and has given it a totally contemporary look. She had never crocheted with Miyuki drops before the Mud Cloth Necklace and has added them in to the pattern where ever they seemed to fit. Isn't this a great interpretation?

This just shows you that a pattern is just a pattern and a theme is whatever you want to make of it.  I pick a theme, suggest beads and colors when I set up a string-along, but everyone is encouraged to make it their own.  Once again, these are all exactly the same patterns, but how different they all look when given a personal interpretation.

August 25, 2012

Magnet Clasp - all gone

The learning curve has been steep, I couldn't get exactly the colors I wanted, the resin didn't want to cooperate, but I finally have the magnetic clasps I've wanted for the past 2 years.  It boils down to the fact -- if you can't find what you want, then learn how to make them.

I've used them on individual bead-crochet bracelets.

These are all of my pattern samples from African Stripes. It makes a fun wrist full of bracelets.

I designed these for bead crocheted ropes, but would love to see how somebody would use them in stringing or other beadwork. An 8mm bead does fit nicely into the open end.

 Then, for a change of pace -- you can clip them all together for a variable length necklace.

Two bracelets that fit your wrist makes you a choker necklace. . .  nice to know.

Thanks for the response - all Sold Out...
email me if you have a color that you would like to have and I'll see what I can do for you.

August 24, 2012

Sights of a NH Summer

I got a new traveling camera today and had to go try it out.  I'd been wanting a camera for the car that had more of a telephoto aspect to it so that I could get photos of clock towers and other far off interesting things.  I'm happy to say that I think this Nikon L810 is going to do the job nicely.

We've been watching the old Antique Barn just down the road from us turn into an ice cream, vegetable and local produce market all summer. It's finally open and then this blue cow just appeared in the parking lot.  They say it's a blue ox, but it sure looks like a plain blue-painted cow to me.
A piece down the road is Beard's Brook, well hidden local, swimming pond.  The water is as low as I've seen it in August, even though it seems as if every time I turn around it's raining again.
The water was still and you couldn't see it moving.
This stump is usually underwater.  It's across the pond and yet the camera picked up every little detail of it.
One of my favorite stone arch bridges.  Sometimes I surprise myself with a photograph.  I love the reflection that makes the arch look like a complete circle.

 We stopped in Hillsboro Center, late 1700's settlement.  The Lost Animal Pound is a beautiful example of the stone walls you see along roads and disappearing into the woods.

The founder of Hillsboro, John Hill, donated a triangle of land with this pound, the cemetery,and  buildings in 1769.  It is all maintained beautifully.

 Up the road is the old schoolhouse, a nice prim & proper New England white clapboard building.

Gray shingles and barn red trim. . . all behind the garden and fruit trees.  This is why I wanted this kind of camera.  This shot was taken from 2 fields away.

New England cemeteries, granite and the oldest slate headstones, leaning every which way.

Winters can be cold and thrifty residents still heat with wood.  A well stacked wood pile means a warm house this winter.

 The grass has gone to seed, and I saw red leaves on more than a few maple trees during our afternoon's drive.

 I am pleased with the photos my new camera took. It was a great day to be out for a drive -- a nice 15 mile loop from the house.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse of what New Hampshire looks like in late August.

August 23, 2012

African Stripes - more Mud Cloth

 This is just fantastic and a true labor of love . . . Cathey has made a 60" necklace in 15/0 seed beads. The patterns show up so well in this size beads.

Amy has finished two Mud Cloth necklaces, this one in the traditional black & white and another, further on down in blue & white.   She says she is struggling with the invisible join.  Don't we all at one time or another?

Mariana's necklace is in a traditional color set of red and black.  I think that the use of the white drops adds a lot to the piece.

I think I see a theme here with the Mud Cloth made with blue and white.  I wouldn't have thought of this color combination, but now that I see several necklaces done this way I can say that it has become one of my favorite color combinations.

This is Amy's second necklace.  Look at the accent of a brighter blue in the diamond and hourglass figures.
Here is Karen's finished necklace.  The combination of cobalt and silver is outstanding. She did not swap  to a white background color at the midpoint.

Compare it to the next necklace and see how different it makes it look. .

Peggy's rope is another in the blue set. It's all done in 10/0 Delicas.  I really like the use of this bead size in detailed pattern work like this.  It crochets faster than in 11's, but has better pattern definition that in 8's.

Peggy did swap the background color at the midpoint.  You can see how different it looks from Karen's necklace. That's the great fun of a String-Along -- you can take the base pattern set and customize it in your own colors as well as play with the overall look of a piece.  Everything here is exactly the same pattern set, but personalized.

August 17, 2012

Design Anxiety - African Stripes

Sometimes you can think yourself into a real tizzy.  I've been doing just that for several months now.  For this project I looked at a lot of African things during the Tucson Gem Shows back in February.  Then I bought beads and announced that I was going to do an African String-Along.  What was I going to do -- didn't have a clue.  Oh, I knew I could make up pretty designs, use African colored seed beads and we would all be happy.

Mud Cloth finished + 2 sections of Love Letters

However I had a vague picture in my mind of what I thought I wanted this pair of necklaces to look like.  Now it's 8 weeks into the project, I've been designing and adding a section a week. I can finally say that I'm ecstatic - I'm overjoyed with what it's all going to look like. It's better than what I have been picturing in my mind's eye.  I like what I do, but every once in a while something develops that goes beyond being just happy with it. . . and African Stripes is one of those times.

First two sections of Love Letter Necklace

I just finished crocheting the second section of the second necklace and I could finally see that this was going to be totally right.  Translating African symbolic graphics to 6-around bead crochet has not been easy.  Designing on a spiral is not easy, and trying to condense large motifs to this size rope can be quite challenging.

This was what I've used  for inspiration for the Love Letter Necklace. Can you see how well it's working?

Now, I'd like to hear what you think?  Is this really working as well as I think it is?
Oh, and this is perfect for next Spring & Summer as all of the trend reports are saying, Tribal, African, Native, colors and designs will (are) hot, hot, hot.

August 15, 2012

African Stripes ~ Mud Cloth Necklaces

 I think you are going to really like what some of the finished pieces look like. I'm in awe of what such a divergent group beaders can do with my patterns. 

We have a new model who says, "you all are absolutely crazy!"

Mel's earthy, archaeological looking Mud Cloth Necklace turned out quite well and looks great... even if the Princess was unhappy to have a camera pointed her way.

Barbara had to add to each section to make her necklace come out to the right length.  It's nice to know that the patterns still look just great in smaller beads and more section repeats.

Maria decided to finish hers as a lariat and added a reverse-color, extra triangular section for a bit of symmetry at the ends.  She's still deciding just how to finish off the ends.  Don't the 10/0 Delicas make a nice crisp pattern? A lariat is a perfect way to showcase this rope.

Marcie added a hint of red with the transparent drops.  Between the drops and the dyed bone rings, she has a unique necklace.

Terri did her necklace in 11/0 seed beads and kept the drops going throughout the whole piece. Very nice touch of subtle texture throughout.   She also kindly kept track of what she did and we now have a record of what it takes to make a 50" Mud Cloth in 11/0 seed beads. Terri, you're awesome!

 This is a fantastic color combination.  Rossana's use of a more mud colored background bead shows how you can choose colors that you like and still maintain the spirit of the project.

One of our wilder British beaders vowed to only use beads she already had for this project.  I think I'd like to be able to rummage around in Toni's bead box.  I think it pulls together for a delightfully different look.  The small piece is a test of the colors she is going to add into the second necklace. I do like the look of lime green in most anything.
Victoria tells us that she crochets on the train while commuting.  It's given her the time to make three separate necklaces in different colorways. They are all beautiful, but I'm particularly drawn to the subtly of the one on the right. Now that's little black dress elegant.  Also, look at all three together (far right) -  the same pattern, how different they all look, but also how good they would look together.

As you can see, some have finished and others are at different stages of completing their Mud Cloth Necklaces.  Meanwhile we have just started on the second necklace, Love Letters.  Adding in 4 more colors is exciting after working with only 2 colors. I can't wait to see what colors everyone has picked.

August 4, 2012

Mud Cloth Necklace Finishing Up

Six weeks, six sections and the Mud Cloth Necklace is ready to close up and wear.  The 2-color design wasn't an easy String-Along to pull together as pattern was more important than color.  However, I'm ever so pleased with the final results of this necklace.  When I step back and look at the overall piece, I like how the negative and positive spaces work with each other.

Cathey has been doing her necklace in 15/0 beads.  She shared a photo of the size difference against her 8/0 Urban Stripes necklace.  What a difference the size of the beads make.

Elena M. is doing two necklaces in beige and black, one the negative of the other.  What is fantastic is the fact that she just taught herself to bead crochet.  This is going to be stunning as a pair.

Susan Beth finally got her necklace long enough to curl up into Olympic Rings. She is following along with my published size and colors.

Terri fell in love with the drops in section #1 and has continued to substitute drops into the pattern  in every section.  As she is using 11/0 beads, it adds that bit of texture to the whole piece.

I thought you might like to see how Peggy's blue necklace is progressing with the 10/0 Delica beads.  It makes the patterns so nice and crisp.

Marlene ran into a glitch after getting 2 necklaces quite far along.  She had to pull out a lot of work to correct them.  I wanted you to see what bright color could do to a basic black and white pattern set.  Of course, if you look at her other work, you'll see that this is just her style.

We are now ready to close up the black and whites and move onto the second necklace.  Love Letters will be brightly colored in the African beadwork tradition.