Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sweater Hoodie Dress Upcycled Wool Cashmere Rose Cable

Off my cutting mat is this sweater hoodie tunic dress of mostly wool with a touch of cashmere.
The focus of this piece is the cabled, multi-color wool sweater from my closet that I loved but rarely wore. It's a bit scratchy, and the neckline was so high that I could only wear it with a turtleneck shirt. I haven't worn a turtleneck since I left Wisconsin in 2001.  Thus, that sweater sat lonely in my closet waiting for a more useful life. Last week, I decided to upcycle it into something new, cut it apart, and stitch the patches back together with a bunch of other sweaters to make something wearable and wonderful, a cozy piece of art to keep you warm.

I always loved the design of that sweater, but I hated the neckline.  So, I redesigned the neckline to keep the scratchiness off your neck. To do this, I binded the neckline (and the sleeve ends) with soft cashmere in forest green. I used this same cashmere to line the pouch pocket in the front to keep hands cozy and warm. Yup, the pocket is super soft inside.
The cut is a tunic dress that drapes slightly longer on the sides. It has a roomy hood that is still functional.  It isn't so big that it will fall over your eyes when you wear it. When the hood is down, it forms a large wide collar, a large cowl neck, which frames your face and keeps your shoulders warm.
I hand dyed the pretty burgundy sweater on the torso with wool dyes. It is soft fluffy lamb's wool.  The other colors include dark pink, gray, navy, blue, brown, olive, and a touch of golden yellow. The seams are dark pink. 
Most of the seams and hems are professionally sewn with four polyester threads on my serger sewing machine. Some of the finer detailing, I first edged on my serger and then I stitched by hand with pink wool yarn. The hand stitching adds visual interest and gives me more control when assembling the pieces to keep the wonkiness to a minimum, especially around the hands and face. You can see the hand stitching on the sleeve hems, the pouch pocket and the inside of the collar. This sweater very well made, comfortable and warm. It is number 10 in my ongoing series of upcycled sweaters.

This work was inspired by the amazing sweater coats of Katwise, with help from her tutorials. Find her on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/katwise

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Lotus Drop Earrings in Pink Bronze Burgundy Pearl

Here is a new pair of Lotus Drop Earrings I stitched with pink and pearl Swarovski crystals and bronze and burgundy seed beads. I like the way the colors look deep and rich together. The pearls and the facets on the crystals add a touch of light.

Find this pair here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/261517656/
Learn to make your own here: http://www.beadinfinitum.com/Kits/Lotus_Drop_Links.html
Have a great day, better than yesterday.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ginkgo Earrings in Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year, Rose Quartz Serenity Lint

Last night I tried playing around with the Pantone 2016 Color of the Year. 
This year they picked Rose Quartz, so pale pink. So I used a sparkling pale pink cubic zirconia at the top of each earring, and a row of milky pink Swarovski crystals along the bottom edge.
As always, Pantone offered up some of the other colors to coordinate it with their Color of the Year. This year, they include Serenity (a pale bluish periwinkle), Silver Gray and a pale, dingy green color they call Lint. So here is my first attempt at working with these colors that were handed down from above.
Ah, lint... I still can't believe they named a color Lint. I don't know about you, but the lint around my house comes in lots of colors besides pale, dingy green.  I almost hope they pick Lint as the Color of the Year in 2017.
The tutorial for Ginkgo Leaf Earrings is for sale in my Etsy shop. Thanks for looking.  Have a better than average December.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Victory Pod Earrings on a Hetty Friedman Scarf

I recently purchased a scarf made by Hetty Friedman. It's made of hand dyed, handwoven rayon chenille. The colors scream AUTUMN, and I fell in love with it from the moment I first saw it in Hetty's Etsy shop. The colors in this scarf include teal, jade, curry, blue, orange, and brown. When I saw Hetty's photos, all I could think is, "Could the colors of that scarf really be that pretty!? I must have that scarf!" And so they were!!!
As I do, I made a pair of earrings just before I bought the scarf, and as accidents will happen, the scarf matches the earrings perfectly. Since I just happened to be writing a tutorial for how to make this pair of earrings, I photographed the earrings on the scarf. Tada!
I fell in love the colors in these photos. So I wrote to Hetty, and she kindly gave me permission to share these photos with you. Thank you Hetty!
I couldn't stop taking photos of the earrings on the scarf, just for the sake of eye candy. Photos like these make me unreasonably happy.
This cat video also make me unreasonably happy.

If you want, you can learn to make Victory Pod Earrings with my new tutorial, but you'll have to find Hetty if you want a new scarf.
Thanks for looking. Have a great holiday. Spread some love. Be nice to each other.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Tutorial - Victory Pod Earrings Beaded with Cellini Peyote Stitch

I just released a new beading tutorial, Victory Pod Earrings so you can make earrings with this original variation on beaded Cellini spiral, combining peyote and herringbone stitches. 

These earrings are stylized, dangling drops with an elegant symmetry, like a puffy V in 3D. The beadwork is stitched with just 3 sizes of regular Japanese seed beads. No fancy shapes required! So if you are a bead weaver, you probably already have everything you need. Using just a pinch of each color, these pods are a great way to use up seed beads leftover from other beading projects.
Beaded Cellini Spiral Earrings Peyote Stitch
This project is suitable for intermediate bead weavers who like peyote stitch.

With ear wires the earrings measure 46 mm long.
Beaded pod measures 27 mm x 21 mm x 12 mm.

Victory Pod Cellini Earrings
The tutorial is 11 pages, with over 50 full color illustrations and photographs, a colorful feast for the eyes. The tutorial gives highly detailed illustrations, photographs, and written instructions to make the earrings.
Cellini Spiral Beaded Earrings
These earrings are designed to match the Cellini Flowers and Leaves.  Here you can see a pair of Victory Pod Earrings colored to coordinate with a Large Cellini Flower for a matching pendant and earring set.
 Cellini Flower and Earrings beaded with peyote stitch
That's all for today.  Thanks for looking!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Beaded Cube Math Lesson for Kids

Several people have asked me to write a math lesson for kids using beading. The challenge is to make something mathematically interesting with bead weaving that can be completed within a single lesson, under an hour, preferably less.

So I wrote this lesson on beaded cubes (PDF). The lesson begins with some background on what a beaded cube is with lots of drawings and a photo. It uses terms like edge, face, vertex, and graph of a cube. The second section gives step-by-step instructions for how to bead weave a cube with a needle, string, and pony beads. After finishing this lesson, students will have practiced basic sewing skills like measuring thread, threading a needle, and tying square knots. The final section provides several math and spatial reasoning "challenges" to extend learners' thinking about beaded cubes.

This lesson teaches several things, especially spatial reasoning, where the learner has to move back and forth between a 2D representation on paper to the 3D model in their hands. It also teaches the importance of carefully following instructions because every step is laid out, and if you skip one of them, your work won't look like what is on the paper. The challenges encourage students to build different symmetric coloring of a cube, extend the construction to a row of cubes, and think about a minimal thread path.

I taught this lesson at the Julia Robinson Math Festival and another version at MoMath. With just 12 beads, this task is not easy, but it is enticing, approachable, and engaging for children, especially girls, and boys like it too, as do their moms and dads. It seems appropriate for children as young as fourth grade, and most of them generally need a good amount of help, but they can do it with coaching. Fifth and six graders have a bit easier time with it.  Interestingly enough, my experience in teaching this lesson to adults and children is that it is not any easier for a typical adult than it is for a typical fifth or sixth grader. In fact, I watched one man get completely lapped by his fifth grade daughter today. GO GIRL MATH POWER!

Here are the materials you need to teach a group of kids:
Pony beads
Size 18 tapestry needles, one per student
String: Cotton is good.  Something thin enough to fit through the eye of the needle, but thick enough to provide some friction.
Magnetic pin cushion: an easy way to collect the needles
Snips or scissors: I tied them to the end of some crazy yarn so they wouldn't disappear.
Beaded samples
Cups or bowls to hold beads
Hand outs: I designed the PDF file to be printed once, and then photocopied onto two sides of a sheet of paper, with one sheet per student.  Print the PDF file for best quality, not the jpgs.

I encourage you to try this lesson with your own students or children. If you have anything meaningful to contribute to making it better, please do not hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment below. If you want to see what else you can do with beaded cubes, you should search for my blog for CRAW or "cubic right angle weave" because a beaded cube forms the basic unit of one of my favorite bead weaving stitches.  Also search Planet Bead to see the many beautiful things that have been beaded with cubes.

If you think this lesson is useful, consider showing your support by perusing my Etsy shop, gwenbeads and buying yourself a little something special. You deserve it.

Thanks for looking. You're awesome. Yes, you!

Edited to add: Emilie Pritchard suggests using long plastic beads, called "spaghetti" beads, to help visualize the edges of the cube. Search the internet to find them for sale.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Tutorial - Cellini Flowers and Leaves Beaded with Peyote Stitch

I'm pretty excited about my newest tutorial, Cellini Flowers and Leaves.  With these instructions, you can learn to make earrings and a pendant with sparkling leaves and flowers. Cellini Flowers and Leaves are my original variations on beaded Cellini spiral, combining peyote and herringbone stitches.
Cellini Stitch Spiral
Beading leaves is fast, fun, and easier than it looks. After you master leaves in two sizes, try a flower and a branch, and assemble everything into a cascading corsage pendant. Then bead earrings. And if you still want more, try the large flower beaded bead shown below. Aside from an 8 mm round bead in the small flower, everything is stitched with regular Japanese seed beads, using only a gram or two of each color. So if you collect seed beads, you probably already have everything you need. There's no need to buy more beads; just get right to beading!

Cellini Stitch Spiral
This project is suitable for advanced beginning beaders who want to learn more about peyote and herringbone stitches. For you designer types, the pattern ends with drawings to inspire you to create your own beaded jewelry compositions with Cellini Flowers and Leaves. With so many different designs in one pattern, you could combine the techniques to make your own designs for pendants, bracelets and elaborate necklaces.

Cellini Flowers and Leaves is my third tutorial using the Cellini beading technique, and it won't be the last! The first was Slugs in Love. This is a new Slugfest kit with matching earrings that I assembled. 
Slugs in Love
 I still have a couple kits left before they are all sold out.
Slugs in Love
The second was Snail Shells and Twisty Bits. With this tutorial, you can make a bangle bracelet like this.
Cellini Spiral Stitch
You can also make necklaces and doughnuts like these...
Cellini Beaded Spiral
... as well as pendants in various sizes, like these.
Cellini Spiral Peyote Stitch
And this example shows how Twisty Bits work seamlessly with classic tubular Cellini spiral stitch.
Cellini Spiral Peyote Stitch
As always, thanks for looking.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Baroque Cube Earrings

Sometimes I like very simple jewelry, like this pair of silver earrings with a touch of blue.  The limited color scheme makes them easy to wear with lots of different outfits. 
Beaded Bead Earrings
I call this design the Baroque Cube. They are mini beaded beads made with peyote stitch.
Beaded Bead Earrings 
Do you want them?  This pair is for sale.
Do you want to make your own?  The Baroque Cube Tutorial is available.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Octahedral Cluster

This is a recent example of one of my all time favorite beaded bead designs, the Octahedral Cluster. Octahedral Clusters all have six stars, like the 6 faces of a cube.  In the beaded bead below, I colored two of the stars silver.

I colored two of the stars black and two of them gold.  Each pair lies on opposite faces.
The points of the stars come together three at a time, one star of each color. There are 8 places on the beaded bead that look just like this.  Four of them are identical, and the other four are mirror images of this.
The beaded bead has the symmetry of an octahedron, which is the same as the symmetry of a cube. Knowing this, you might wonder if this beaded bead is really an octahedron, as I told you, or maybe, it is really a cube. If we look at the largest beads (in green), there are 12 of them.
That could be useful because cubes have 12 edges, but so do octahedrons. In fact, the holes are line segments.  So if you look at the holes of the largest beads, and you extend those lines so that the lines intersect, you will form the 12 edges of an octahedron.  For that reason, I think it is an octahedron, and that is why I call it an Octahedral Cluster.

Here you can see how big it is.
Do you want it?  This beaded bead is for sale.
Do you want to make your own?  The tutorial for the Cube and Octahedral Clusters is available. If you make one of each, then you will really see the difference.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slugs in Love Earrings

Here's a new pair of earrings, Slugs in Love.
Slugs in Love Earrings
I made them using peyote stitch with increases and Cellini Spiral.

Slugs in Love Earrings

Do you want them?  This pair is for sale.
Do you want to make your own?  The Slugs in Love Tutorial is available.
Do you want to learn more about Slugs in Love?  Read my blog post on Slugs in Love.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pixel Painting 4 - Tom Davis Cellular Automata

This painting is the fourth large piece in my series of painting using cellular automata on a staggered grid.
Cellular Automata Art
Here you can see the four that I have finished so far. I hope you can some sense the range of designs that are possible using this technique.
Cellular Automata Art

In this series, I am trying to achieve a sense of rhythm, repetition, order and chaos. I like cellular automata because the designs are a balance between organic and geometric.

Each pixel has many layers of paint, making the colors rich and complex. The colors are were inspired by Pantone and Benjamin Moore Color Trends for 2015. Prominently featured are Marsala and Guilford Green. So, if your interior decoration is contemporary, this painting will match the couch. Thirty years from now, when we look back on the two-thousand and teens, these are the colors we will think of, you know, in the same way when you think of the 1970s, you think of avocado green, mustard, and dull orange.
Cellular Automata Art
I named this piece after mathematician Tom Davis, who was likely the first person to discover the rule set I used to design this piece (after I told him where to look). Tom's assistance on my work with cellular automata has been invaluable to me.

20" by 30", unframed. The sides are painted black so it doesn't need a frame.

Signed and dated. I sealed it with three coats of acrylic clear coat to make it a little shiny and protect it from scratches. Looks nice. Want it?  It's for sale here: Pixel Painting 4.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pixel Painting 3 - Hanging Baskets Cellular Automata

This is an acrylic painting from my new series "Pixel Paintings." In this series, I explore the designs created with cellular automata. This painting is the third large piece in the series.

Cellular Automata Art
In this series, I am trying to achieve a sense of rhythm, repetition, order and chaos. I hope to create a balance between organic and geometric.

Cellular Automata Art
Each pixel has many layers of paint, making the colors rich and complex. The colors are mostly blue, purple and gray with a variety of pinks and burgundies. Here's a close up. 
Cellular Automata Art
20" by 30", unframed. Signed and dated. I sealed it with three coats of acrylic clear coat to make it a little shiny and protect it from scratches. The sides are painted black so it doesn't need a frame. This painting is SOLD.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Tutorial - Baroque Cube Beaded Beads and Earrings Made with Peyote Stitch

I love beaded beads, and one of my favorite inspirations for them is the symmetry of a cube.  This version is one of my smallest and most detailed.  Since the design is based upon the structure of a cube, each beaded bead has 6 holes running through its center. 
Baroque Cube Beaded Bead Earrings
This tutorial will show you how to weave little beaded beads with seed beads and little drops.  Using just a pinch of each color, these beaded beads are a great way to use up leftover seed beads from other projects. The little beaded beads on the earrings use mostly size 15° seed beads.
Beaded Bead Earrings Pattern
This tutorial is suitable for intermediate bead weavers who know how to do tubular (circular) peyote stitch. Presented are the two variations shown. This is the larger version made with mostly size 11° seed beads.
Beaded Cube Tutorial

Both are stiff and quite small for such detailed beaded beads.  Side length of each cube on the earrings is just 13 mm (1/2 inch), and for the larger ones on the necklace, they are just 17 mm. The larger version are still small enough for bracelets and necklaces. I like them simply strung on cord with lampwork glass.
Beaded Bead Instructions
See how small the earrings are, just the way I like them!  They're fancy enough to be noticed, but small enough that I hardly can tell I'm wearing them.
Beaded Bead Earring Pattern
Each beaded bead contains over 300 beads, each precisely woven into place.
The tutorial is available in my Etsy shop, or if you'd just like to have these earrings and not make them, check out my earrings section to find yourself a pair.
Beaded Bead Earring Pattern
Thanks for looking!
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