Monday, 3 February 2014

Notes on a Front Cover necklace

Luau Spiral Necklace

Based as it is on someone else's work I had never intended to produce a tutorial for my lucite flowers Luau necklace.
The Art of Beadwork front cover
But then the publishers Running Press opted to put it on the front cover of their edition of my book The Art of Beadwork. Cue a bunch of understandably frustrated beaders who could not find any specific project details inside. 
Once such beader contacted me by email recently and our conversation made me realise I needed to provide some form of information. So here it is...

My necklace was inspired by Laura McCabe’s Keishi Pearl Necklace from her beautiful book Embellished Beadweaving, where she uses Swarovski pearls and crystals, Keishi pearls and mostly size 15 seed beads. By using different beads and sizes you can produce dramatically different results.

What follows is not a full tutorial, it is a set of notes designed to guide you through the making process, using the techniques within the The Art of Beadwork/The Art of Beadweaving.

Luau Necklace
As featured in the The Art of Beadwork (USA); front cover, Foreword page and
The Art of Beadweaving (UK); Foreword page and back cover.

Tools & Materials
    •    Matte transparent red size 8 seed beads A
    •    Matte metallic bronze size 8 seed beads B
    •    Matte metallic bronze size 11 seed beads C
    •    A pinch of Metallic bronze size 15 seed beads D
    •    A pinch of Transparent lime green drop (fringe) beads E
    •    1 x Large focal lucite button-style flower (two holes at centre)
    •    A mixture of lucite flowers of varying styles, colours and sizes.
    •    4lb Fireline or similar braided beading thread
    •    Size 10 and 12 beading needles
    •    Craft scissors
    •    Microcrystalline wax (optional)
    •    Spool (optional)

Notes: My finished necklace is 20” (51cm) long including clasp thus all subsequent measurements are based on these proportions.

Spiral rope before embellishments are added
Spiral rope before embellishments are added
I have not included quantites for most of the materials - it is sometime since I made these necklaces and I didn't make notes. I am too lazy to make another one just yet, sorry.
Page numbers refer to techniques described in both editions of my book.
As you add the embellishments you will find that your size 12 needle gets very bent. Don’t worry about this, the curve will help you get through some of the more awkwardly-placed beads.

Stage 1
Using the size 10 needle bead a length of spiral rope (page 93) starting with 4 A for the core beads and a loop of 2C, 1B, 2C. Make the finished rope 1” (2.5cm) shorter than the desired finished necklace length. Weave in the ends.

Stage 2
Work with a new length of thread and the size 12 needle. Find the central point of the necklace and start from the centre of the new thread to work out towards one end of the rope. Add in the lucite flower embellishments to the core A beads using the fringing technique (page 117). The other half of the thread will be used for embellishing the 2nd side. Keep this on a spool if you prefer.

Start with the large lucite flower and attach to the core as follows:
    1)    Pass the working thread through a core A bead until the middle point is reached.
    2)    Pick up 1A, pass through one hole of the flower, pick up 1C, 1D, 1E, 1D, 1C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, pick up 1A and stitch back through the core bead.
    3)    Pass back up through 1A added in 1) and on through the lucite flower. Pick up 3C, 1D, 1E,1D, 3C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, the A below and through A core bead once more.
    4)    Pass back up through 1A added in 1) and on through the lucite flower. Pick up 1C, 1D, 1E, 1D, 1C and pass down through the second hole of the flower, the A below and through A core bead once more.
You have now attached the focal flower bead to the centre of the necklace and are ready to embellish the rest of the necklace.

Stage 3
    1)    Continue to add fringes* of the larger and medium-sized lucite flowers through every core bead (or as close together as you can fit them) for approx 3” (7.5cm).
    2)    Add fringes of medium and smaller-sized lucite flowers through every other core bead for a further 1” (2.5cm).
    3)    Add fringes of small lucite flowers randomly up the next 3” (7.5cm) of the rope. Leave the last few inches (cm) of the rope unembellished.
    4)    Repeat these 3 steps for the second half of the necklace. Weave all ends in.
NB Adjust these measurements to suit your finished rope length.

Stage 4
Add a beaded clasp by making a loop at one end using A beads and a lucite flower at the other. This will add approximately 1” (2.5cm) to the overall necklace length. See techniques and projects on pages 46, 70, 120 and 142.

Green Luau Necklace
Alternate colour scheme

Always pick up 1A before the lucite flower (or flowers, some sit neatly inside the others) and pass back through this A before going back through the core.
You can use drop beads or a picot of seed beads for the flower centres.
You can fill in some of the gaps with fringes of size 8 beads with a drop bead on the end.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Going Postal

I spent all morning mustering the will/energy/nerve to get dressed and go out to the Post Office only to find it closed. A Scottish holiday apparently. No one told me. So instead of smugly shopping for a few vegetables and olive oil I head straight for the wine counter and back home again.

But before I hit the bottle I am going to set up a Facebook page for my book, The Art of Beadweaving. It's been available in the UK for 10 days and I have already had lots of enthusiasm and support from the beading world; especially the tremendous bunch of beaders in the Facebook group of the blog Operation Tackle That Bead Stash

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Things Change

It was sad to leave the Bead Shop Edinburgh earlier this year, but happily I can still get my bead fix from the Bead Shop Scotland online shop and HQ in Haddington. The old Stockbridge site is presently being transformed into a cycle shop, so I doubt that I will ever have cause to go inside*, but it is good to see a new business taking shape.

I meanwhile, have taken up part time employment in another local shop; Caoba. I've shopped there regularly over the years, buying some of the best darned greetings cards this side of the Mississippi. Now I'm selling them too. But still I have time to bead and to nervously await publication of the book! September 16th is the day in the UK.

*I threw my last bike over a Cornish hedge/dry stone wall circa 1983

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Art of Inactivity

In January 2012 I was approached by Quarto Publishing to write a book on beadweaving. I wrote it, they titled it The Art of Beadweaving (The Art of Beadwork in the US) and it will be published in September/October this year*.

But the reality is the only art that I am truly qualified to write about is the art of doing nothing. Hours, days, years of practice have allowed me to hone my skills in Solitaire, Tetris and of course Candy Saga. Thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter - just as I began to get despondent about my inactivity along they came, together with Pinterest, Etsy and Tumblr, to justify my hours of laptop time. It’s social media marketing innit. Just call me a guru (although I never will I promise). 

Yes, I feel guilty about doing so little. That I achieve anything at all is of no comfort. Instead I berate myself for not achieving more. Constantly. The voice in my head that never stops nagging. Except when I’m playing Solitaire. Ah, that’ll be a clue then. 
Draw Something. Proving I'm not really an artist

But I’m an artist, and artists are allowed to be flakey aren’t they? Quick, Google Oscar Wilde quotes, he’ll have something pithy and comforting to say… “Being idle is very hard work because everyone is against you” True, but not quite the solace I was looking for. 

More Googling… Virginia Woolf on idling “By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream” Better. 

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes.“You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” and... 

Paul Rudnick, writer. “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” Not just me then. 

I was going to look up more but then I found this quote from Stephen King’s 11/22/63 “The scholar's greatest weakness: calling procrastination research”

So, my list of things to do today: update my website, write some workshop notes, and bead, is no shorter. But I have blogged. And that’s something. 

*More on this in a later post. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Keeping up with the updates

All those good intentions.... Let's face it, I am not blogging very often. Not here, not in WordPress and not on Tumblr. Where am I? On Facebook and Twitter. Because they are easy to post on and there's an instant reaction (if there is any reaction at all) and it feels like playing not working. 

So while I'll pop back here every now and again to apologise yet again for my inactivity, the real action takes place over here JaneLockJewellery where you can see stuff like this:

and find out why that bead is broken.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Drifting away

Sunny Scotland

I am enjoying playing with Tumblr. The short, sharp, visual posting style far better suits my short attention span.

I'll keep this one running though; sometimes one pic and a link aren't enough. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Back to School

Earlier this year I hit a wall beading-wise. No new ideas, a loss of direction, an all-round beading malaise. I tried crocheting my way out of it and am now the proud owner of a blanket-sized Granny Square. 

Next cure up knitting... Think of any gadget I might own and each of them now has a woolly cover, because no iPhone should be allowed out without a coat. Especially not during a Scottish summer.

But still I need to bead! 

At last I spotted the obvious solution leaping up and down in front of my face, waving its arms and screaming to get my attention; take some lessons from the experts. D'oh! Everyday, thanks to the OTTBS blog and group on Facebook and the internet in general, I am surrounded by stunning examples of other people's inspiration and skill. Stop being intimidated, start being inspired young lady I told myself (yes young. I can still be creative with words, it's my blog).

So that, dear reader is what I am going to do. The Zoe Bangles of an earlier post were just the beginning. I've already explored Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies, a glorious book with some truly original designs. I am especially enamoured of her bezelling chatons technique and now have the most sparkliest of bracelets to prove it. It goes well with jeans. Because jeans are all I wear.

I've been given the chance to test drive a lovely tutorial by my equally lovely friend Mary Marshall and will soon be the proud owner of a fascinating spiral, netted bangle, which will also look good with jeans. Picture to follow, I promise. I think filled netting may very well be the way forward but it's too soon to be certain, there is more exploring to be done first.

My shelf is half full of beading books, unopened and neglected. I almost, mistakenly, bought a second copy of one title because until now owning a book has been more important than using it. A line of books, sitting on the shelf, getting dusty (though in fairness everything in my flat is dusty). 

Here is my beading reading list for the next few months:
Shaped Beadwork: Diane Fitzgerald
Beaded Opulence: Marcia DeCoster
The Beaded Floral: Jill Devon and Liz Thornton
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork: Jean Power and Kate McKinnon.

If all that studying doesn't make me a better beader I will only have myself to blame (I might actually have to turn to tatting. I already have the shuttle).

Oh yes, and I promise never to describe myself as 'self-taught' again. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Knitting, crochet, eggs and no beads

Not exactly a snappy title is it. But then my crafting attempts have become a bit of a mishmash, with beading gently pushed to one side for now.*
Always reluctant to take personal responsibility I am laying the blame squarely at the door of my favourite bead shop, The Bead Shop Scotland. Just before last Christmas they opened up the sister shop, The Wool Shop Scotland and my fate was sealed. My roots are in knitting and it would seem my heart still is. I've spent the last couple of months brushing up on my skills in order to be able to pass on some knowledge as well as satisfying an itch I didn't know I still had!

Proof if proof be needed:

Derek the Dormouse on Christmas Day

Derek the Dormouse awaiting the arrival of his nose and whiskers. He won't be allowed out until then.

Then it was crochet:

I quickly realised that Granny Squares involve a lot of ends being sewn in... I kept going.

And finally:

From issue twelve of Mollie Makes may I present the....
...(I may be over-egging it here)

The Egg Cosy!
It was a lovely refresher course in Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques and a reminder that I need to relax my tension (... and breathe).
I am now working on a variation on a theme. I won't tell you what it is, let's just say my iPhone gets a bit chilly sometimes ;)

*But what about the beading you ask? It's most definitely not forgotten. There is a possibility of an exciting project in the offing which, if it goes ahead, will involve a lot of beading. A lot. But in the meantime I just have to finish this row.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Everyday Absurdities

After placing an order with John Lewis for a new washing machine I found myself in the following position:
"Sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against the door of the old one to keep the water in while it finishes its cycle. It's not very clean down here. I probably ought to do some housework. Or blog..." ...and recording the fact on my Facebook profile. I haven't tweeted about it yet, though I still might.
The offending machine

The housework can wait a while longer.