Friday, June 27, 2014

Focus on Life Week 26: Free Space!

AKA: Bitten By the Bead Crochet Bug

The wonderful thing about beading are its endless permutations. Countless stitches, materials, surfaces and techniques make it at turns fascinating and frustrating. It's almost like learning to ride a bike all over again each time a new technique presents itself. This was my experience with bead crochet. Several years ago, I bought a kit at the Bead Babe Conference. I tried it once with a sorry-looking result and put the kit away.

StudioDax Bead Crochet Jig and Tutorial

Fast forward to this Spring when my LBS was hosting Judy Kintner to teach a bead crochet class. I signed up and dragged my friend, Janet, along too. Judy was also displaying her bead spinners which are an essential tool for many of her patterns. The first part of our class was learning how to use the bead spinner without spinning our beads all over the room. Honestly, it took us over an hour to string our beads so we could start the crochet portion of the lesson. By then it was time for lunch!

My New Bead Spinner
We then moved to pony beads and yarn and that kept us occupied for another hour. Then the hard part -- graduating to #8 pearl cotton and a teeny tiny crochet hook. Not so easy. I started and ripped, started and ripped, started and ripped. By then the class was over.

Arriving at home, I was determined to complete the class assignment. So I dragged out my jig from Studio Dax and was able to finally successfully start AND finish my bracelet. Here is the result.

I was so smitten that I went online to learn more and ordered a couple kits from Beads East. By this time, I was able to start the crochet ropes without the jig. I guess it's like training wheels for bead crochet! The first kit used 8/o beads in a patriotic pattern but the second one was an even greater challenge with size 11/0 beads and an even smaller crochet hook.

Beads East Kit: Liberty Bead Crochet

A whole new world opened up to me. My web searches turned up a great store called Marion Jewels in Fiber which had a tutorial for flat Turkish bead crochet. I made one as a wrap bracelet for my niece and a bunch of red, white and blue ones as gifts for our family reunion.

Flat Turkish Bead Crochet Tutorial by Marion Jewels in Fiber

And then I found the Turkish loop variation which works up much faster than the slip stitch crochet tubes. Thanks to Debbie Patel for the great Etsy tutorial in Turkish loop crochet.

Turkish Loop Crochet
All this practice gave me the confidence to pull out an old pattern I started years ago but never finished -- just in time for summer at the beach.

As if I didn't have enough projects in my to-do list, now I have a whole new technique for inspiration.

Let's take a look and see how our other contributors are using their Free Space!


Mary K. McGraw said...

I also like beading in the fact that there is always something new to be learned. I have not done bead crochet, but am impressed at all you have done. Gorgeous bracelets.

thewovenspoke said...

Impressive, I don't think I would be able to do that. Just so pretty/

Shel said...

These are all fabulous! Such great colors and designs - they would be so fun to wear! I admire your persistence. I would have still been stuck with unused products if it were me! LOL!!

Alice said...

Beautiful--all of them! I don't have the patients to do that kind of work!

Islandgirl said...

You've been busy... what does the last one look like on a wrist? Very pretty similar look to Kumihumo (sp!) yes/no?

Karin G said...

Your bead crochet is fabulous, I know it is what I have to try next, but I 'm still a little afraid of it!

Annette said...

Wow, you were on a roll! I love all the different colors and designs.

Claire said...

Love that Turkish loop one - just gorgeous!! You are so talented!
Hope you're having a fun weekend :)

Beti Horvath said...

Very impressive! Learning something new is a great way to boost your creativity!

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