Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rope Round-Up

Beading Daily has a great deal on a beaded rope collection and that made me think of the new rope designs I have tried this summer. Since you can never have too many beaded rope designs, I offer you my round-up at an even better price: $0. Well, you might have to buy one issue of BeadAndButton but otherwise, the designs shown here were offered by the generous beading artists identified below. Links to the designs are provided in the photo captions.

It's hard to pick a favorite since they are each a bit different. I'll start chronologically and work backwards. Here is the rope I just finished this week-end. The rope is based on Regina Atkins' Dreamcatcher necklace from the December 2014 BeadAndButton.

Here's my variation that I paired up with a bead embroidered cabochon.

Next up we have a great twist on the traditional spiral. Ruby of Ruby's Beadwork offers an ingenious way to reverse your spiral to elegantly add a pendant.

V-Shaped Spiral Design by Ruby's Beadwork

I am just showing a peek at this next design because it's part of something I am working on for an upcoming beading challenge. In this rope, you use the basic spiral made with 8/0 beads for the core and a combination of 11/0 and one 8/0 for the spiral. After the basic rope is done, you just go to town embellishing between every 8/0 core bead. I love the whimsical, lush appearance of this rope.

Now we get to some really fun options. Kristen Stevens offered this rope design in April last year and repeated it recently and I'm glad she did because I missed it last April. I love the textures in this rope but it does not overpower your focal object. Can't you tell football season is starting?

Rope design by Kristen Stevens

The last rope was also a blog feature by Jen VanBenschoten on Beading Daily. It makes a much more substantial rope - about 10-12 mm in circumference and is perfect for a strong focal. In the design below, I used the Rivoli Rendezvous pattern by Svetlana Chernitsky from the August 2014 BeadAndButton.

Twin Bead Rope Design by Jen VanBenschoten
Do you have some favorite rope designs?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Face your fears: Wirework!

I know, this is a pretty dramatic title for something that should be fairly simple. But I seem to have missed the wirework gene when the beading fairies got me started on my creative journey. Oh, I can get by alright but would never purposely seek out a primarily wirework design or even buy the latest issue of Wirework Magazine. But I got tired of waiting for orders of ear wires and never having just the right color on hand. So I faced my fears and bought a couple books, took a Craftsy class and practiced a lot. Here are a few of the results. I'm by no means in the running for the Wirework Hall of Fame but I am pretty darn happy making my own ear wires.

These two pieces use the same chain motif and actually helped me integrate a couple focal beads that hadn't inspired any earlier designs.

Then I really got crazy and wire-wrapped a tricky bead that was ill-suited for a traditional pendant due to a hole that was off-center.

And lastly some of my ear wires.

I've enjoyed the process so much that I ordered a couple books and some more wire this week-end.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

National Beading Week!

National Beading Week definitely calls for a blog post. At first, I was going to write about finding a design where I had all the required materials in my stash. This never seems to happen, no matter how big my beading stash is. The design in question was the cover bracelet on the August-September 2015 issue of Beadwork Magazine.

I was so excited, I quickly set up my super duos, brick beads, O beads and even 2mm rondelles. And then -- uh-oh -- the unthinkable happened! I ran out of brick beads. So much for having all the beads in my stash to finish my project. Here's where I left it.

My order from Artbeads arrived quite quickly and I was able to finish the bracelet in time for my sister's visit last week-end. She fell in love with the bracelet, which perfectly complemented the outfit she was wearing. You can just catch a glimpse of her dress on the left of the below photo. So now, the Paragon Bracelet is safely in her care. What better way to celebrate National Beading Week!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pretty Peyote Bail

I love hand-crafted findings. They give pieces a more organic, custom feel and can also help save money. I learned what has become my go-to technique from Laura McCabe's book Embellished Beadweaving but I think it's a pretty standard technique.

Over the years, I've made a few bails but not nearly as many as toggle closures. Recently, I finished a beaded rope using a wonderful technique by Kristen Stevens on the Art Jewelry Elements blog. Isn't this a fun rope pattern? It works up really quickly once you get the hang of the thread path.

I wanted to use a Steeler pendant but needed a bail and had a triangle shape in mind. When I looked online for ideas none were quite what I had in mind. I wanted something fairly simple and on the smaller side. So I decided to come up with my own. This technique is probably documented out there somewhere but I couldn't find it. It is super-easy. Just make two triangles with one having one more row so you can zip them together on the "top" of the bail.

Here's what my hand-crafted findings looked like.

And here's the finished piece.

The bail is dual-purpose since it can be easily slipped over the toggle portion of the necklace so the rope can be worn with or without it. I was going to work up a quick tutorial for anyone who might be interested so leave me a quick reply and I'll be sure to notify you when it's done.
© Cave Creek Beads