Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Felt Cuffs

I started adding beads to this felt bracelet and couldn't stop.
Two more felt cuffs... these are in purple.  I don't know why, but my camera hates purple. The colors are prettier in real life, I think.
Anyway, this one is a Mobius bracelet. It has a half twist in it.
Now, you might be looking at that and thinking, "No way I could wear that.  It's huge!" Well, it's also soft and flexible.  See, here's a photo of that same bracelet flipped inside out.  It's very soft, but it's stiff enough to pop back into position, which also makes it fun to play with.
If you're like me, you like the idea of bracelets but hate wearing them because they're uncomfortable.  That's why I make felt bracelets.  They're big, bold, colorful, and they are so soft and light, that you barely know you're wearing one.  Comfy, comfy, comfy!

This cuff is a regular bracelet with some beads on it.

See? Beads!
Seriously, the colors are prettier in real life.  Trust me.
These pieces are for sale.  Click on the photos to go to the listings.
Thanks for looking. Have a great day.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Coxeter Bead in Pink and Silver

This Coxeter Bead is a beaded bead, woven from pink and silver glass seed beads. This ornate cluster is composed of over 400 beads, each one precisely woven into place. This beaded bead is very round and hollow and has a bit of a satisfying squish to it without being droopy. The shape is like a Buckyball virus.
Coxeter Beads are named after the great mathematician Harold Scott MacDonald Coxeter in honor of his extensive work on symmetry, especially four dimensional polytopes, on which this piece is based. It is woven like cubic right angle weave but with tetrahedrons and prisms instead of cubes. It has a fascinating internal structure that you can see when you look at it closely.
Beaded bead is 26 mm (1 inch) in diameter, suitable for a focal bead on a necklace. The largest hole is 2.5 mm wide, wide enough to accommodate a thin cord or chain.
If you would like to learn how to make your own Coxeter Beads, I have a tutorial for a couple variations. Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mobius Textile Felt Bracelets

I gave a workshop recently at the Gathering for Gardner on how to make topologically interesting surfaces in wool felt. After the workshop, I was asked to write a short article for Math Horizons, which you can expect to see published next fall sometime.
Mobius Felt Bracelets
After making some samples for the article, including this one
Mobius Felt Bracelet
I had the wool out, so I kept making felted objects, including this one.
Mobius bracelet
These pieces can be worn as cuff bracelets,
mobius bracelet
but they are also fascinating objects in their own right. As bracelets, they are large and bold. They are soft and so light, you'll barely know you're wearing one. I added a few seed beads to this one to give it some extra texture and sparkle.
Wool Felt Bracelet
These textile cuff bracelets are felted with fluffy merino wool with silk fibers felted right in.  The shapes are organized but organic. They have a lot of holes to stick your fingers inside. They're fun to play with.
Felt Bracelet
The combination of needle felting and vigorous wet felting permanently binds the fibers together. As you can see in the photos, the felt is stiff enough to hold its shape, but it's still very soft and quite flexible.
If you bend them out of shape or flip them inside out, they will pop right back into position. If they ever get bent out of shape, wet them because they are totally hand washable, very strong and won't shrink, crease, crumble or tear. When they are wet, you can reshape them in position to dry, and they will stay like that. Since they are wet felted, I already pre-washed them.
Mobius Felt Bracelet
These pieces are for sale in my Etsy shop, gwenbeads. Check out the Section on Bracelets to find them. Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wide Leg Ruffled Pants in Burgundy Wine Kimono Silk

I have been sewing pants lately.  I made this pair of comfy wide leg pants from 100% pure kimono silk.
silk ruffle pants
The fabric is amazing. I bought it on Ebay several years ago with the idea of making pants, but since it's kimono fabric, the bolt was only 14 inches wide.  So, I had to create a pattern that would work with such a narrow bolt of fabric.
It's a deep burgundy wine color, vintage kimono silk, a nice medium-heavy weight with a wave design woven right onto the weave, and then subtle hand painting to bring out the design. I used every last bit making these pants, and because it's vintage fabric, this pair of pants are truly one of a kind.
Details include ruffles along the hem, adjustable ruching at the on the sides with gathering strings, and two front pockets with gathering strings. The top has a double channel waistband, one with elastic, and a second with elastic and a draw string for a perfect adjustable fit. I stitched everything with both a serger and a regular sewing machine to make this pair of pants last until the fabric wears out, which should be a good long while because it's REALLY nice fabric. Seriously, I'm a silk snob, and this fabric is unusually high quality.
The waistline is somewhere between regular and low. These are very well made and as comfortable as pants can be. If you think you might want these pants, I assure you that your really do. They are amazing. Once you put them on, you won't want to take them off. These pants are for sale in my Etsy shop.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mini Ionic Polyhedra

This round beaded bead is a Mini Ionic Rhombic Triacontahedron.  It has the symmetry of a dodecahedron with 12 blue 5-stars and 20 purple 3-stars.
Bucky Ball Beaded Bead
It measures 29mm (1 and 1/8 inch) in diameter, suitable to be worn as a pendant. There are a couple of different ways to string this, and the 30 largest holes are big, 3-4 mm wide, wide enough to accommodate a cord or chain.
Buckyball Beaded Bead
This ornate cluster is composed of over 700 beads, each one precisely woven into place. This beaded bead is very round and hollow and stiff. It's wonderfully detailed for its size. The shape is like a Buckyball virus.

This round beaded bead is a Mini Ionic Dodecahedron. This piece contains over 350 beads.
Beaded Dodecahedron
It measures 24mm (1 inch) across, suitable to be worn as a pendant. There are a couple of different ways to string this, and the 12 largest holes are big, 4-5 mm wide, wide enough to accommodate a thick cord or chain.

Here you can see a few different Mini Ionic Polyhedra together, including the two above.  If you would like to learn to make your own Ionic Polyhedra, I don't have a tutorial for these exact beaded bead variations, but I explain the technique in the pattern for Ionic Polyhedra, available here:
Beaded Beads
Thanks for looking.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Highly Unlikely Dodecahedron in Bugle Beads and Crystal

I received a commission to make a highly unlikely dodecahedron, and after what seemed like a billion stitches, here it is.
A quick off-the-cuff estimate suggest that this piece contains around 3000 beads.  It's roughly the size of a baseball. Ten different colors of beads show the ten paths that twist and wrap around the surface.  Each path encircles one of the ten axes of 3-fold rotation symmetry of the dodecahedron. (Those axes go through opposite vertices of the dodecahedron so that the paths are like belts that twist around the equators of those axes.)
If you want to learn more about how I discovered this shape, check out my blog post on Highly Unlikely Triangles and Other Impossible Figures in Bead Weaving.  There, you can find a link to download the paper I presented at the Bridges Conference in 2015.
I don't have a tutorial for the dodecahedron, but I do have a tutorial for a related and simpler design, the Highly Unlikely Triangle, shown below with bugle beads, but you can also use just seed beads. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I can't stop beading Ginkgo Leaf Earrings

Fifteen pairs of Ginkgo Leaves later, and I'm still making them.  They are such a fun way to play with colors!
Ginkgo Leaf Beaded Earrings
I made this pair on the airplane, one earring going out, and one coming home.
You can find this pair here in my Etsy shop.  I also have a tutorial for the Ginkgo Leaf Earrings for sale if you would like to learn to make your own.
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