Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going on a Beaded Lace Adventure

I'm going on a lace adventure.  Do you want to come along with me?
Beaded Lace Flowers
Let me explain...  For the last couple of weeks, I started beading lace.  I'm taking my inspiration from the fantastic Terese de Dillmont, who documented the art of Irish lace crochet in her Encyclopedia of Needlework, in the 1880s.  From Terese, I learned how to do crochet lace flowers, and I made a few free video tutorials that you can find here on my blog.  One classic crochet design is the basic five petaled flower.
Crocheted Flower

I tried to make a flower with beads and a needle instead of yarn and a crochet hook.  And so I did, and I made more and more, and now I have a little garden of black lace flowers made out of seed beads and thread.  
Beaded Lace Flowers
I have enough flowers to make a bracelet.   I could sew them together and add a clasp, but what I really want to do is make is a big black lace necklace, a collar that fits comfortably around the base of my neck with crystals hanging off of it and pearls connecting it together.  Something dramatic and Gothic.   So I just put in an order for the bigger beads, and I'm going to make more flowers.  I'm also going to add swags and other do-dads and lacy bits to fill out the piece until it's big and complicated.  And I want you to make one too!  Don't you want to make your own?  I mean, you like lace too, right?

Now, what's so great about this lace technique made with bead weaving is that it's easy to do, and because it's flat, it's easy to draw patterns explaining how to do it, and I think that should make it easy to learn as well.  So I'm writing a series of tutorials in hopes that some of you will play along and make beaded lace jewelry with me.  Athena's Acanthus Bracelet is the first design in the series.
Athena's Acanthus Bracelet
So I'm going to make big necklaces.  Rather than making one large tutorial explaining how to make a whole necklace, I'm going to write several shorter (read that "inexpensive") tutorials that each explain one kind of design. Rather than focusing on making complete jewelry, for now at least, I want to teach you how to make individual motifs, and show you ways of arranging them.  The result will be a series of designs and tutorials that all coordinate so you can compose larger pieces of jewelry.  I'm not sure how many of these tutorials I have in me, and it might depend upon how enthusiastic you gals are in encouraging me to make more.  But I think I have at least a couple more.  
So, I'm selling these as short tutorials, individually priced so you can just buy the parts you want to learn and make.  And I am pricing them at a fraction of what I normally charge to encourage you to try it out, and make your own beaded lace jewelry.

Part 1 of the Beaded Lace Adventure is Athena’s Acanthus Bracelet.
Athena's Acanthus Bracelet
Part 2 is Beaded Lace Flowers.
Beaded Lace Flowers
Part 3 is Beaded Lace Swags.
Beaded Lace Swags

Part 4 is Beaded Lace Medallions.
Beaded Lace Medallions
Part 5 is the Eucalyptus Leaves, which shows how to make a bracelet
Eucalyptus Leaves Beaded Lace Bracelet Tutorial
and the Eucalyptus Clover, a four-petaled design that plays well with the other lace motifs in this adventure. It's like the four-petaled flower from Part 2, but bigger.  A bunch of them in a row makes a nice band.
and more designs are coming! Look for in the tutorials section of my Etsy shop.  Here is my first complete necklace, made with motifs from Parts 2, 3, and 4.   
Steampunk Beaded Lace Necklace
Stay tuned for more because there's definitely more.  More tutorials and more jewelry.  As always, thanks for looking.

Monday, October 28, 2013

TUTORIAL Athena's Acanthus Bracelet

Late last night I finished a new tutorial.  I'm calling it Athena's Acanthus Bracelet because Athena was the Greek god of mathematics, and this piece looks a bit like one of those wreaths that they used to crown Olympians with, even if they were laurel or olive, instead of acanthus.
Athena’s Acanthus Bracelet is a flat bead woven bracelet that resembles a vine or wreath. The stitch is herringbone with two columns of beads. Using two sizes of beads in the herringbone makes the stitch curve into leaf shapes. To make a clasp, add a button on one end, and a large leaf on the other end for the loop. The button clasp is easy to do and undo, but is also secure. With a bit of string you can easily move the button to adjust the fit. This pattern is suitable for advanced beginner to intermediate bead weavers. Some basic knowledge of bead weaving is helpful.

The tutorial is 9 pages, including 40 illustrations and photographs. The tutorial is an instant download PDF file that gives step-by-step instructions for the bracelet in the photos. The last page includes photos and a discussion of a few variations.

This tutorial is part 1 of my Beaded Lace Adventure, where I aspire to write a series of tutorials designed around making a large collar necklace out of beaded lace. I am carefully documenting my process in this series, and I invite you to make a lace collar with me.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Bracelet Needs a Name

I'm working on a new beaded bracelet pattern, inspired by Irish lace crochet. 

I'm having a lick of a time trying to think of a good name for it.  Got any thoughts?

This pattern is now available: Athena's Acanthus Bracelet Tutorial

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beaded Super Right Angle Weave Quilt for a Group of Order 18

Here's my latest piece, a quilted wall hanging. The fabric is pieced cotton and silk, and appliqued with bead work. I call it, "Super Right Angle Weave: 18 Patches in 3 Colors and 3 Sizes" because I'm not very creative with titles. Florence suggested I call it "RAW Diamonds," which I like.  So that's it's artsy name. The whole piece measures 13 inches on a side. This quilt was included in Juried Exhibit accompanying the 2014 AMS Special Session on Mathematics and Mathematics Education in Fiber Arts at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore, MD. It will be at the Ohio State Mansfield’s Pearl Conard Art Gallery from Monday, November 9 to Tuesday, December 8, 2015 in the Math & Art exhibition, "In the Realm of Forms." This quilt was also featured on the Scientific American website. This piece is SOLD
This piece began as a study in color for what I call Super Right Angle Weave (SRAW), a bead weave based upon the regular tiling by squares. Each beaded patch is 6 square by 6 squares of the tiling.  I weave loops of four beads in each square face and attach these loops across the edges of the tiling with a single bead between the loops.  For this set, I use a coloring with three bead types (two types for the faces and one type for the edges).  I chose three colors in each of  three sizes (albeit the purple beads are slightly different shades of purple across the three sizes), for a total of nine different bead types.  This set of 18 patches answers the following question: What are all of the possibilities if I weave SRAW with three colors, one color in each of three sizes, where the colors are arranged as shown?  The patches are arranged in sets of three, where each row uses the same three bead types, but arranged differently.  Here you can see it as a work in progress before I picked out the fabrics. (You can click on the photos to make them bigger.)

When I found the fabrics that matched the beads, I was delighted.  Each little square of bead work measures about 1 1/8 inches square. Here's a close-up of the beadwork. 
At some point, I realized my little patches formed a nice mathematical set.  When I arranged them in different ways, I found that the columns had things in common, as did all of the diagonals.  They formed sets in the sense that you could pick an attribute, and all three in the set were either the same on that attribute or all different.  It's like that game of Set, but my set has 18 cards instead of 81.  At some point, I realized I had a group of order 18.  Each element in the group corresponds to one patch of beading, up to automorphisms.  This group has two complete copies of 9 elements.  Within each set of 9, you can partition them into cosets vertically, horizontally, and along both diagonals. In other words, my arrangement shows different ways to build cosets with 3 elements in each coset (6 cosets * 3 elements =18). But if you group cosets across the two sets of 9, you only get 2 elements in each coset (9 cosets * 2 elements =18). 

A quick Google search told me there are 5 different groups with 18 elements, but I had no idea which one I found.

Lucky for me, mathematician Tom Davis was kind enough to help me identify which group of 18 elements this is.  After a few highly detailed emails, he concluded that it's the generalized dihedral group for E9.   Here's his argument:

I identified each patch with something like this...
Let me call the three colors Yellow, Green and Blue (Y, B, G), and the position attributes of say, the bottom point: yellow, green, blue (ygb).

Then each pattern can be classified by a 6-character code, like this:


Where t=largest, u = medium, v = small
w = bottom, x = left corner, y = other

Fore example,

distinguishes the size and position attributes.

Now, if we consider, say, (YGB) and (ygb) to be the "correct" order of the beads in both categories, then I can treat both the top and bottom parts of the pattern representation as a permutation away from the "correct" patterns. I can combine them into a single permutation, like (YBG)(gyb) or (BG)(gy) where you never mix the capital letters with the lower-case ones since size and position are independent.

Then your group operation is trivial: it's just the multiplication of the permutations, and (using Mathematica) I found that the total group size is, in fact, 18. (In other words, none of the multiplications take you outside of the patches you've made.)

So you CAN consider them to be group elements, but depending on which of them you chose to be the identity, the operation table would be different. I had Mathematica make a group operation table, but it translated the elements into numbers and here it is included as a screen snap.

It's clearly not commutative and it's not the dihedral group, so it's either the direct product of S3 and Z3 or the "generalized dihedral group for E9" whatever in the heck that is :)

I don't think it's S3xZ3. I've also included the screen snap for that (it's the one with the group named "dp" (but it could be: I'm not so good at comparing tables where the elements aren't necessarily listed in the same order).
In fact, it IS the "generalized dihedral group for E9." Here's proof. I had Mathematica draw the Cayley graphs of your group and of S3xZ3 (called "dp") and they're completely different. Included is a screen snap of the Mathematica result:
Now let's give Tom Davis a big round of applause.  Thanks Tom! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Deltahedron Doughnut with CSRAW

Last year, I wrote a few posts on cubic super right angle weave.  Recently, I revisited this stitch to see what else I could do with it.  Here are 8 little connected cubes in the arrangement of a diamond-shaped doughnut.
It's made with size 11° seed beads in just two colors.
Here you can see a spinning one I got from Wikipedia.  This gif was my inspiration.  Nifty huh?
The shape is called a deltahedron, because all of the faces are triangles, and the capital Greek letter delta is a triangle. On my beaded version, each triangle corresponds to a loop with 6 beads (3 of each color).
 Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Faux fur for warm hats and Halloween costumes

If you were thinking of making a faux fur hat from my latest hat pattern, but didn't know where to find faux fur, I put some pieces of fur in my shop to make it easy for you. These are remnants from other projects, but the pieces are ample for hat making, with enough left over for a tail. Stay warm and cozy this Halloween!!! 

This is a delectably soft piece of gray and white faux fur, a large remnant from an animal costume I made. I have also made several hats from the fur, and I love it.
This is a delectably soft piece of black, blue and white faux fur, a large remnant from a coat I made for my boyfriend.  I've also made several hats from this fabric.  It's really nice stuff. The pile is two length: 1 and 1 3/4. This is very good quality fur, better than most, and has proven to stand up to repeated (cold water) washings.
This is a delectably soft piece of black faux fur, a large remnant from a coat I made.  The pile is medium long at 1 1/2.  The last  photo shows me wearing a hat with the same fur in purple. The fur for this listing is black. The fur goes by the name "punky muppet."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pattern Faux Fur Hat with Ears Horns for Babies Children Adults

This PDF tutorial and pattern combo shows how to sew a faux fur hat with ears and horns and bobbles that tie under the chin. The pattern has “actual size” pieces for you to print on your home printer in 5 different sizes: baby, child, adult small, adult medium, adult large. Just print and cut. This pattern is suitable for intermediate sewers. Basic knowledge of sewing is required, but if you've never worked with faux fur before, this is the perfect place to start.
Wild Thing Faux Fur Hat
Learn to sew a Wild Thing hat to help your little (or big) monster stay warm this Winter. There’s nothing like a faux fur hat with big ears and horns to really bring out your inner beast. The ear flaps end with fuzzy bobbles that easily tie under the chin. Little and big hands alike find the stuffed bobbles tactile to squeeze and fun to play with. The ties keep the hat from flying off while biking or walking in the wind.
Wild Thing Hat Pattern
If you know me, you know how much I love fake fur.  It's so soft and since I'm always cold, it keeps me warm.  Over the last few years, I've made over a dozen faux fur coats, and with the scraps, I make hats.  All my friends have faux fur hats.  I have made over two dozen animal hats, using lots of different faux furs, and this Wild Thing Hat design and tutorial is the result of a lot of experiments in technique and shaping.
Fake Fur Hat with Ears and Horns
This Wild Thing hat pattern is easy to modify into any number of animal costumes including cat, dog, Satyr, bear, wolf, and many others, like this one with three horns and no ears.
My boyfriend engineered the pattern pieces so that the Wild Thing Hat pattern pieces print ACTUAL SIZE off your home printer in five sizes from babies to adults.  My 14-page tutorial full of illustrations and photos will lead you step by step through the entire process of making your very own faux fur hats. 
Wild Thing Hat Pattern
My friends and I love wearing faux fur hats when we go camping and at costume parties. I’ve noticed that people smile at me a lot more when I wear a Wild Thing hat.
Informal studies suggest that if you wear a Wild Thing hat while you are running errands, you will get better service. If you use quality fabrics, these hats are very comfortable, super soft, and of course, very warm. I even sleep in mine on cold winter nights.

Here you can see a three-year old wearing the child sized hat (With the pattern, you can make one size smaller for babies, or up to three sizes larger for adults).  Isn't she cute?  She really couldn't stop playing with the little bobbles that were tied under her chin.  So soft and squishy!
The Wild Thing Hat pattern gives pattern pieces and complete instructions for sewing the hat, including a discussion of the various types of fabrics you can use for each of the parts.

You will need the following materials to make a hat.

Faux fur: (½ yard by 1 yard): Medium or high pile.
Lining: (½ yard by 1 yard): Best choice is silk charmeuse, but polyester satin, cotton sateen or even flannel will work.
Strap/Ears: (Scraps of fabric or purchase ¼ yard): polyester cuddle fabric, stretch velvet, jersey, polar fleece, or Minky.
Horns (Scraps of fabric or purchase 1/8 yard): including stretch velvet, gold lame´, linen, and cotton. Pick something relatively thin.
Sewing Thread: polyester or poly/cotton blend.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wisodom Mandala Pendant in Blue and Gold

Here's my latest pattern, the beaded Wisodom Mandala, named after the five Wisdoms.  Te photo shows the front and back of the same pendant. 
Playing with seed bead colors can be really fun and challenging. It took me a bit of practice to reliably get color combinations I like with the Wisdom Mandala, but I think I nailed it on this one.  For this mandala, I stayed within an analogous palette of blues, green and gold.  One side is basically just blue and gold, very simple.  The other side shows all three analogous colors: blue, aqua, and gold.  Staying simple helped make it work. 

One of my favorite things about making these pendants is that you get to use lots of different colors of beads, and you get two chances to get the colors to look the way you want.  By limiting my colors to I think I was able to get a harmonious design on both sides.  Nice.  See more Mandala Pendants here.
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