Saturday, November 29, 2014

Related Bead Stitches - Peyote Chenille Netting Herringbone Pondo SRAW

Here is a comparison of a few related bead weaving stitches, including peyote, chenille, netting, filled netting and herringbone. I needed to see them all together to get exactly how they are different and how they are similar, too.  So I drew this picture.
Netting and chenille stitches look very similar when they are beaded.  Chenille is a tighter weave than netting.  Chenille doesn't stretch the way netting can.  

After making the above drawing, I realized I left a couple of related stitches out, including SRAW and Pondo stitch
All four of these here are woven differently but look nearly identical when beaded. All four have the same beads in the same relative placements, but the ways the beads are connected with the thread is different. Another difference is that in Netting and Chenille, all of the blue bead holes are parallel to each other. In SRAW and Pondo, some of blue bead holes are horizontal and some are vertical. They alternate row by row. Netting is the fastest and stretchiest of the four. My personal favorite is SRAW because it's strong, and I can weave it in any direction. It's also pretty fast because you pick up 5 beads at a time on most stitches.

Happy Holidays!  Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More on Puff Beads, a design for the beaded bead connoiser who loves right angle weave

I finished a new tutorial last week, called Puff Beads.  The Puff Bead technique is shaped Super Right Angle Weave (SRAW) with some embellishment to make it stiff.  I'm pretty sure that puffs are not the most visually beautiful jewelry I've ever created, but structurally, mathematically, they are quite nice... fascinating, really.  If you are a connoiseur of beaded beads, and enjoy making them as an intellectual activity, I think you will really enjoy making this design.  I think what makes Puff Beads interesting is that you bead the surface of a shape made out of cubes, in particular, a torus. I mean, who doesn't like doughnuts, right? 
But seriously, most beaded tori include the whole doughnut, including the volume on the inside AND the surface on the outside: the cake AND the frosting.  Puffs are just the frosting.  Certainly there are peyote stitched tori where you only bead the surface, like my Nuts and Washers below, but with peyote stitch, the beads sit so close together, you can't see through the beadwork.

In comparison, when you bead just the surface of a doughnut with SRAW, you get a square lattice of beadwork with holes that let you see inside the doughnut, like right through the side. 

In particular, you can see the big hole through the little holes from all different directions, and I think that makes this technique rather unusual. Thinking further, one could apply this technique to cover all kinds of crazy surfaces made out of cubes, like these pink cuboids, for example.  I just learned that a shape assembled out of cubes placed face to face is called a "cuboid."
My tutorial is designed to teach you the theory behind bead weaving cuboids with SRAW, and I chose the torus as my explicit step-by-step project because I like the idea of beading a hole through the center of a sphere.  At the end of the tutorial, I also show examples of beaded beads using the structure in figure C above, with some discussion about how to apply the techniques to this cuboid design, but I don't give explicit step-by-step instructions for how to do it.  My goal is that after you learn how to build a torus, then simpler shapes will be easy for you figure out how to bead without me telling you every step.  That's my hope, anyway.

... because there is so much cool stuff you can build with cubes.  For example, you could use the Puff technique to bead weave the surface of a trefoil knot, like this beautiful wooden puzzle by Tom Longtin.

I'm not saying it would be easy, just possible.  (I just thought I'd throw that challenge out there to see if I get any takers.)  Of course, you could also build this knot with cubic right angle weave, like I did for my Highly Unlikely Triangle. That would also be nifty.  

So if you really love cubes, and you want to learn the Puff Bead technique, you can find the tutorial here:
And for those of you who just want to look at pretty pictures, or want some beads but don't want to make them yourself, I put this pink necklace up for sale, you know, just in case you like pink.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wisdom Mandala in Pink Purple Amethyst on Silk Cord

Do you get in color moods? I sure do. I feel like I've been in a pink mood for a while now. As long as I'm playing with pink, I'm happy.
I really enjoy weaving Wisdom Mandala Pendants because each one is an exploration of color. When I got all of these new pink beads over the summer, I knew I'd have to eventually make a pink one, complete with matching 100% silk cord that I spun on my spinning wheel.
This piece is for sale in my Etsy shop.  Click on the photos to see the listing.
The pattern available here:

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TUTORIAL Puff Beads -- a beaded bead torus with Embellished Super Right Angle Weave

Puff! Puff! Puff!
Learn to make your own Puff Beads like the surface of a doughnut with a tube of seed beads forming the hole.  You can easily string them on a chain or cord like I did for the pink necklace on the cover of the pattern.
Mostly stiff, but a still flexible, Puffs are beaded beads made with embellished super right angle weave (E-SRAW). Do you enjoy right angle weave (RAW) and want to learn more? Before attempting this tutorial, you can learn flat SRAW on my blog for free at
Puff Beads are made with just three sizes of regular Japanese seed beads and beading thread, making them a great way to use up seed beads leftover from other projects, and they look great simply strung on cord with a few lampwork glass beads.  Materials lists are included for various sizes of seed beads and embellishments including optional rose montees like I used on the green beaded bead below.
This tutorial shows how to shape SRAW into the surface of a torus, and embellish the outside. Included are 2 pages on the theory of shaped SRAW, 12 pages showing step-by-step instructions for the main design (the torus), and 5 pages showing 4 geometric variations of beaded beads that are simpler and smaller than the main design. The tutorial guides you to apply the theory and techniques to make the other designs in several sizes from 11 mm to the 23 mm Puff Bead.
The tutorial is a PDF file with 20 pages, including over 120 illustrations and photographs with lots of writing explaining the pictures. Suitable for intermediate bead weavers with enough variations to inspire advanced weavers.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Upcycled Sweater Number 5

I really enjoy making these new sweaters out of old sweaters, enough that I decided to start numbering them.  This one is number 5.  I'm finally feeling more comfortable with the technique of sewing sweaters on my serger without fretting over every seam.
It's made of fine wool and cashmere.  It's pretty soft, cozy and warm.
Plus, it buttons up the front with some old buttons from my grandmother's button box.  I made the button placket myself, which I'm pretty proud of.  It took me 13 tries on a scrap to figure out how to get my sewing machine to make button holes properly, but I got it, and I took notes for next time.
I'm rather pleased with how the neckline came out.
The little leaves are all stitched on separately.
I also added leaves on the sleeve hems and on the patch pocket. This sweater is SOLD.  Thanks for looking.

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