Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Tutorial - Kali Beaded Pendant and Little Bird Earrings

I'm still playing with new designs using beaded Cellini spirals in peyote stitch.  Now you can learn to bead weave little bird earrings and the Kali pendant with seed beads and thread.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/465121347/
This is Kali. She is a Hindu goddess of time and death.
The beadwork is stitched with just 2 sizes of regular Japanese seed beads. So if you are a bead weaver, you probably already have everything you need. Using just a pinch of each color, this is a great way to use up seed beads leftover from other beading projects. 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/465121347/
Beaded in the colors of fire, you can make a Kali Pendant that looks like a flaming phoenix. 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/465121347/
Making the earrings is a suitable project for advanced beginning bead weavers who like size seed beads, and the pendant is for more advanced bead weavers, first, because there are more steps, and second, because it's a little tricky to assemble the pieces. Both the pendant and earrings scale nicely with bead size.  The beadwork in the photos above use size 15° and 11° seed beads. You can also use size 11° and 8°, which make correspondingly larger pieces of jewelry. The little birds are either 35 mm or 46 mm, depending upon which size seed beads you use. The pendant is either 72 mm or 90 mm across.
I would guess that you could even scale it to use size 8° and 6° with good results, but I haven't tried it yet.  The larger beads are easier to work with, for sure.

The tutorial is 20 pages, with nearly 100 full color illustrations and photographs, a colorful feast for the eyes. The tutorial gives highly detailed illustrations, photographs, charts and written commentary showing how to make the earrings and pendant.

After writing the tutorial, I found a new color scheme for the earrings, the Ruby Slippers, still on the wicked witch.
 Ruby Slipper Earrings

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Inspired by Opals - Beaded Textile Bangle Bracelet No. 57 Felted Wool Silk

https://www.etsy.com/listing/452050852/
I love opals, and I adore artwork that looks like opals, art that is almost white but has subtle colors, to make it not just white. Yesterday, I was pouring over some white-ish polymer clay art by Richelle of Shipwreck Dandy.  (Photos used with permission.)
 https://www.etsy.com/listing/271466460/
https://www.etsy.com/listing/270330619/
Aren't they pretty? Drooling over these babies, I was inspired to make something like that, art that appears to have an inner glow, but I don't have any polymer clay. I do have wool and silk, however, in a nice array of colors. So, I made this bangle bracelet.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/452050852/
Silk and some sparkle fiber give it a nice luminosity. You can't tell from the photos, but it shimmers. Felt is a perfect base for some bead embroidery. So I added some real opals beads and seed beads in one spot.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/452050852/
There are also some Swarovski crystals and more seed beads.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/452050852/
I'm actually quite tickled that the finished piece met my vision. 

These pieces are for sale.  Click on the photos to go to the listings.  Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rainbow DNA Beaded Earrings

With the recent tragedy in Orlando, it seemed like some new rainbow DNA was in order. They are a small symbol to show my support for the victims, their families, and the LGBQT community.

Rainbow DNA
https://www.etsy.com/listing/462535047/

Coded Rainbow DNA
https://www.etsy.com/listing/462533787/
Blue and Silver DNA
https://www.etsy.com/listing/449058852/
If you would like to learn to make your own beaded DNA earrings, I have a free video tutorial available on my blog. Thanks for looking.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Learning from Alabama Chanin - Red Hearts on Gray Tunic Top

I bought a couple books last summer at the local Barnes & Nobles.  When I sat myself down in the crafts section, as I like to do from time to time, I found two books by Natalie Chanin on hand sewing clothing.  One is titled, "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A guide to Hand-Sewing and Alabama Chanin Wardrobe." The newer book is "Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide to Customizing a Hand Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe."

This is the back of a tunic top.

Now that I've had the books for a full year, I've gotten a chance to read them thoroughly as well as make a few pieces from them, including the one in this blog post. This fitted tunic top is a slightly altered version of the pattern in the books.  It is upcycled from 3 different t-shirts. The stitching is in black and red with four "random ruffles" running down the front.

Front
 Shoulder close up
Here are some close up shots that show the detailed hand stitching. The seams are all sewn twice for strength and style.  It has inside felled seams where I sewed the light gray to the dark gray. Because I upcycled from other shirts, I had to patch together the fabric to make this top.  So there are more seams inside the dark and light areas. Outside felled seams connect the dark gray to itself, and the light gray is patched together using outside open seams with feather top-stitching. By the time I got the front and back cut out, there wasn't enough fabric left to make the binding, so I cut into a third shirt, the red one.  The red binding is attached with a stretchy stitch, called Cretin stitch, to keep the arm holes and neck line stretchy. Since I had so much red fabric left over, I thought I'd add some applique, and hearts seemed like the obvious choice.
As is characteristic of Chanin's style, the bottom edge is left unstitched. Also, characteristic of her style are the hand appliqued bits attached with running stitch and an unfinished cut edge.

One important tip that is omitted from the books is that you have to ease the binding anywhere you use it.  This means that the binding is a bit shorter than the edges it binds.  If you don't ease, you will find that the arm holes and neckline gape in an unattractive way. (Ask me how I know.) Figuring out how much to ease the binding is a bit of an art, but I find that I use as much ease as I can without creating ripples. Even a tiny bit of ripple is okay.  I found that it's better to slightly over do it than to slightly under do it, especially since these tops tend to be fitted, which leads me to another observation...

I think the pattern sizing in this book is too small.  I've found that anything I make from these books in a large size tends to be a tight on me, and I'm 5'5" and 130 pounds. I am a US Size 8 or maybe 10. In fact, according to the designs I've made from these books, I'm consistently an "extra large," which bothers me a bit since I'm not a particularly large woman.
Other than that, I really love the designs and techniques in these books. If you like hand stitching and making clothing, I totally recommend these books to you. I love the combo of soft jersey and fancy stitching.  The clothing I have produced is both beautiful and comfortable, and I'm offering much of what I make for sale, including the top in this blog post.  I made a couple more tops that I still need to photograph.  So expect more from me soon.
Thanks for looking. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

New Tutorial Space Ship Earrings and Blast Off Bracelet with Crescent Beads

Crescent Bead Bracelet
This tutorial explains how to bead weave a bracelet and earrings with Toho’s 2-holed Crescent beads and a variety of seed beads. The Blast Off Bracelet is solid and somewhat flexible. The cable is round and measures one centimeter thick. It’s stitched lengthwise, making easy to add units for a perfect fit.

This tutorial includes step-by-step instructions for weaving Space Ship Earrings and the matching Blast Off Bracelet. The designs include loops of seed beads that make for simple and elegant way to attach jump rings and clasps. Use your purchased clasp or stitch a toggle bar with seed beads to finish the bracelet.


Space Ship Earrings and Bracelet
This tutorial is designed for advanced beginning bead weavers. If you know how to use the basic tools of beadweaving (needle, scissors, bead mat), you are ready to follow this very detailed tutorial.

With ear wires the earrings measure about an inch and a half (38 mm) long.
Beaded bracelet measures 1 cm thick.
The tutorial is very detailed, 13 colorful pages, with over 77 full color illustrations and photographs. The tutorial gives highly detailed illustrations, photographs, and written instructions to make the earrings and bracelet.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Gothic Cross and Trident Pendants Beaded with Peyote Stitch


Beaded Cross Pendant
I came up with a pointed finial design, and when I put four of them together, they made a perfect cross.  I think the style is classically Gothic. So that's what I named it. The tutorial explain how to weave seed beads into both crosses and tridents.
Trident Pendant
To inspire you to learn the techniques and make them your own, a page of illustrations includes other designs using the techniques this pattern describes.
Beaded Cross and Trident
These pendants feature the new Toho Demi Round Beads. Just add 2 sizes of regular seed beads, round beads, and an optional rivioli. The difficulty level is suitable for intermediate bead weavers who like tubular peyote stitch with step ups. If you know what that means, you can probably pick up 10 grams of Demi Round 11° and start beading from your stash.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/
The tutorial is 17 pages, with over 115 full color illustrations and photographs. The tutorial gives highly detailed instructions for every step in making the two pendants.  Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Felt Cuffs

I started adding beads to this felt bracelet and couldn't stop.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/280394578/
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.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/280285448/
Anyway, this one is a Mobius bracelet. It has a half twist in it.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/280285448/
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.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/280286016/

See? Beads!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/280286016/
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.
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