Snippets from a bead artist.


July Beady Prompt

Happy Summer, all!  I hope you're having a good time in the sun and enjoying the warmer weather, and if you're on the other side of the world, I hope you're enjoying your late autumn weather (which is my favorite)!

Last month's CRAW prompt seemed to be a fun one for the folks in the group  - we had some really wonderful work showing up, and it was definitely fun for me.  I decided to start one of my Color Play ropes in my favorite  bead soup colors (which I always name Universe in my head, because it makes me think of deep space for some reason) with some of my hoarded lamp work beads;

I do plan on finishing it, and have even bought a few more bead soups from the lovely Beverly Ash Gilbert to make a few more down the road, just because they are hugely fun for me.  :)  (If you would like to check out some of Beverly's soups for yourself - and who wouldn't?  - her shop and her remaining soups are HERE.)

July's prompt is herringbone stitch - also known as Ndebele stitch.  It makes a gorgeous pattern all on it's own done completely in seed beads, and can be used successfully with many of the newer shaped beads as well.  It can be a supple and sinuous rope, both straight and twisted, or a lovely flat base for embellishment, and when reinforced well, it can even be a beaded bead. It's slightly fiddly in my experience, in that you have to make sure that the two beads you're adding sit properly before you move to the next stitch, but I find it sooooooo worth the extra attention.

There are a metric buttload of tutorials for herringbone out there, I can't possibly share them all to inspire you.  But here are a few that I particularly like.

Lynn Davy has two up that I think are just so pretty - and the first one, rather than herringbone along the length, is herringbone along with width, which turns out so beautifully! (And I never would have thought of it myself...)  This is a photo of her Wave Cuff Tutorial, which you can find HERE.

And her Tweed Cuff tutorial, which shows you  how to add in lots of texture with different kinds of beads can be found HERE.

Carol Ohl has a wonderful tutorial that shows how to use some of our lamp worked beads in a herringbone rope called Village Lampwork Necklace, which you can find HERE.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel has LOTS of tutorials that utilize herringbone, like this lovely lacy necklace

 and this fabulous Lagoon beaded bead.  You can find them both in her shop HERE.

Melissa Grakowsky Shippee has this amazing Princess Victoria bracelet tutorial up, such a fantastic combination of stitches!! You can find it HERE.

In my own shop, I have the Royal Herringbone Ropes tutorial, which uses two holed Dobble beads in one rope and 6mm rounds in the other.  (You can use single hole 8mm rounds in place of Dobbles, too.)

I've done a number of things with herringbone and enjoyed each of them a lot.  I hope you find this month's prompt to be something that excites your muse!  Happy beading until next month!


June's Beading Prompt

Hellooooooo out there!  How has your month been?  I hope it's been a good one.  :)  Here I am back to frustrate... er INSPIRE you again!  Last month's fringe prompt brought out some really beautiful pieces in the group.  I hope some of you out there in blog land tried your hands at it, too.

This month may bring some consternation to a few people, but it's one of my absolute favorites and so I *had* to go there... Cubic Right Angle Weave.  This stitch is so incredibly versatile, and expands your knowledge base so much, that I had to have it in here somewhere this year.  In some cases it can be straight and rigid and can make for lovely crisp lines in your work, but in other applications it can be flowing and drapey and provide sensuous curves.  It can encircle and wrap, or it can stand on it's own.  It can be made with such a soft hand that it becomes a fabric, or it can be made with tight tension to make a sturdy platform.  Peyote stitch is the only other stitch I can think of that has so many possibilities inherent in it.

There are several thread paths that can be used to stitch CRAW - the one that I was taught straight out of the gate which uses the clockwise/counter clockwise right angle weave path, and the one I learned from Heather Collin, which uses a more circular (but linear) path.  My own personal thread path is a combination of the two; I do the first three parts of the unit (cube) Heather's way and then the last two parts traditionally.  (Yes, I know, I'm weird - but it's totally ingrained now, and I do it automatically, lol. ) I think that however you get there, it's CRAW, and it's wonderful!

If you haven't tackled this yet, I know it's intimidating.  But there are FABULOUS tutorials out there that will help you learn it, and I guarantee that you won't regret learning it.  It expands your beady vocabulary and opens whole new vistas.  So the first two links I'm sharing are beginning tutorials that will get you started on your way.  The first is a link to Marcia's fantastic video by Interweave, which happens to be on sale for a great price right now - Cubic Right Angle Weave With Marcia DeCoster: Fundamentals, can be found HERE and is a wonderful basis to grow from.  Marcia's method is the traditional method.  Many new to CRAW beaders started their journey just recently with the LOVE letters on Marcia's BeadLove Blog, as well.  If you'd like to try your hand and haven't seen those posts yet, you can find them HERE, just keep scrolling through the posts to get to the first four posted.

Heather Collin's CRAW tutorials can be found on her YouTube channel HERE, and not only does she show you the basic rope with her thread path, but also how to create a frame and how to add rows to an existing rope.  And she has positively TONS of glorious CRAW tutorials in her Etsy shop HERE, such as this yummmmmmmmmy Sugar Cube tutorial!
If you're already an old hand at CRAW, you still may not have found some of these gorgeous tutorials yet, and so I wanted to share them (and if you search Etsy for cubic right angle weave beading tutorial you will find about a million more!):

Sian Nolan has this lovely Picket Fence Bracelet tutorial that I love;  you can find it HERE.

This tutorial by Helena Lang-Tim, called Il Braccialetto della Marchesa just blows my mind...  so much beauty.  You can find it HERE.

A variation on standard CRAW, Gwen Fisher has written this outstanding and unique tutorial on Twisted CRAW - so pretty!!  You can find it HERE.
Another variation of CRAW, Valorie Clifton has THIS terrific Tribulations bracelet:

And Kassie Shaw has her awesome Toblerone bracelet in her Etsy shop HERE:

And last but hopefully not least, I have two tutorials myself, one for sale in my shop and the other a freebie which you can find either on my blog or on my website.  Juliet is a necklace I designed years ago using CRAW and it's still one of my favorites. You can find the tutorial HERE.

And I did a post about making Color Play Ropes here on the blog - these necklaces use bead soup or any leftover beads you may have hanging around in a really textural rope that's fun to stitch up.  It shows how to add in single beads on your strand of CRAW, and how to embellish a bit.  You can find that post HERE.

And if you have Jane Lock's wonderful book The Art of Beadwork, I have a bracelet project in there in CRAW, too.  I hope you have found some inspiration here, or, if you haven't tried it before, you're feeling brave and want to give it a go!  Go CRAW happily!  I hope to see your pieces in the FB group, or if you have a blog and do a post with a piece from the prompt, leave me a comment with a link!


May's Beading Prompt

Helllooooooo lovely peoples!  Today's post may be slightly shorter than some of them, I have managed to slam my finger into a door today and typing is challenging, ha ha ha.  Regardless, last month's prompt brought forth some really beautiful ruffles, and it was a ton of fun for me to see them popping up in the group.  AND, even more folks have been trying their hands at beaded rocks, and whoa! they're gorgeous!  My husband grabbed some photos of my rock, so I can show that this is how mine came out.  I really enjoyed the ruffle at the top, and then I just HAD to add fringe.

And that's this months prompt!  Fringe!  I looooooooove fringe.  I do realize that there are many people who detest it, or at least detest making it, but for me it's always been a love affair.  All that swingy, delicious, seductive movement.   I could add 500 photos for inspiration, but I'm only going to share a few, and then a few tutorials I came up with that showcase some pretty fringes if you want to try your hand at making some yourself, and haven't before.

There are lots of kinds of fringe, you have so many choices you could make.  Long fringe, short fringe, ruffly fringe, leafy fringe, coral-fringe, twisted fringe...  One of the best places to start, if you haven't already, would be The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini.  They show their various kinds of fringe techniques really clearly, and Heidi has a special way of doing one of her methods that I hadn't heard of before.  (Nope, not telling - you'll have to get the book! You can grab one on Amazon here.)

 Both necklaces by Heidi Kummli 

Necklace by Sherry Serafini

Another wonderful set of resources would be Jamie Cloud Eakin's books on bead embroidery and working with cabochons.  She shows SO many different ways to fringe!  (Get Beading with Cabochons here, or Dimensional Bead Embroidery, or Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects here.)

Necklace by Jamie Cloud Eakin

Some of my favorite long fringed pieces that I have made include Dryad (oh how well I remember this bead soup and how MANY different kinds of beads I had to choose from), October's Goddess, and Reflections.  All of these feature bead soup 'mixed' fringe rather than symmetrical and 'counted' fringe.

But there are also cases of SHORT fringing that can look really good as well, on necklaces and bracelets as well as earrings.  Short fringes can be as short as stop stitches, really (a larger bead, a small bead, pass back through the larger bead while skipping over the smaller), or even just a bit longer.  Universe is one of those that combines some long with some short.  Climbing Roses and Spring Buds are almost all very short fringes coming off of either herringbone or CRAW.  My Ice necklace is all short fringe created very densely on top of a herringbone rope.

You can also use chain as fringe with your beaded pieces, something that Marcia DeCoster does magnificently.  Marcia's Beads In Motion book includes her Swing Dance Earrings, which use chain for glorious movement in a really innovative way.

Swing Dance Earrings by Marcia DeCoster

And these wonderful Bella earrings (I own a pair!!! Made by Marcia!!!):

You can find Marcia's beautiful Bella Earring Tutorial here, which shows how to make that superb draped fringe with chain.

Mortira VanPelt of Sage's Cupboard has a fabulous tutorial for leafy fringe cascading from a herringbone rope.  You can find that here.

Leaf Fringe Lariat by Mortira VanPelt

And Tracy Lorraine of Crystal Star Gems has this stunning tutorial on how to create a fringed bracelet here:
Fringe Bracelet by Tracy Lorraine

For a larger project, Lynn Davy of Nemeton has a tutorial for her wonderful Jungle Collar here, which combines fabulous fringing with her netting technique.

Lynn Davy, Jungle Collar

I hope you'll try fringing, if you haven't before.  Even if you do short, spiky fringe, it can really add a spark (and sparkle!) to your pieces.   I haven't QUITE decided if I'm working on another rock (with fringe of course) or a pendant or maybe a bracelet... hmmmmm.

Happy beading, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

(If you aren't a part of the Facebook group and would like to be, you can find us HERE.  Please be aware that I check each page before approving a member - if you have no bead weaving photos showing publicly, or if you are a member of over 100 groups already, you will most likely need to send me a private message to get approved.)


April's Beading Prompt

Hello and happiness, everyone!  I was thrilled that so many people enjoyed last month's prompt.  The FB group was really active, and many of the members went ahead and tried their hand at beading good ol' rocks with some really spectacular results, and there were also some really beautiful bezeled cabochons.  I thought that since there was so much lovely happening, I would share some here on the blog.   (Grab a cup of something you love to drink and scroll... and scroll... and scroll, lol!! It's a long post with a LOT of eye candy.)

Amy Blevins (in progress)

Audrey Gray

Judy Ball Reed

Barbara Pearson

Becs Dean-Skinner (in progress)

Caroline French

Caroline French

Christine Morabito

Christine Sincerbox

Dee Avril

Donna Louise Sanders

Donna Louise Sanders

Gabrielle Girgenti

Judy Ball Reed

Kate Larson

Kate Larson (in progress)

Mona Lane

Patti Parker 

Rebecca Kemp Brent 

Sarah Louise Gordon (ELEPHANT!!!!)

Tracey Lorraine

Wendy Heitzman

I think everyone deserves a huge round of applause - what a lot of gorgeous work!!  And here is mine, too - still in progress.

It needs some more coverage and then some embellishment... which brings me to this month's prompt!  RUFFLES.  Beady ruffles.  When the idea struck me to add some ruffles to my rock, it seemed like it would work as April's prompt as well as helping me finish the project. You would think there would be LOTS of ruffles out there in Planet Bead, but really, you'd be wrong, lol.  It took some digging to find ruffles, but I did come up with some you can try out, if you're of a mind to.

First off, there is a very nice basic (and free) tutorial by Mortira Vanpelt on the Inspirational Beading Blog for Ogalala stitch.  This was maybe the third stitch I learned, and it was a lot of fun.  You can add sooooooooo many different beads into this to come up with different looks!  You can find her tutorial HERE.

Then, if you're loving ruffles the way I love ruffles (only beaded ones, though - I look hideous in actual ruffles), you HAVE to love these wonderful tutorials by Shelley Nybakke of SturdyGirlDesigns on Etsy.  The first is called the Sparkling Waves Bracelet.

And then there is the EPIC Until I Can Breathe Again necklace...

And her Just Call Me Curvy necklace... 

If you'd like to make one of these delicious designs, you can find Shelley's shop HERE.

Another lovely ruffly design is this Atlantis bracelet by Hannah Rosner of HannahRachel on Etsy.  I can imagine this in so many different colors!  

If you'd like to try this out, the tutorial can be found HERE.  And, if you're going to be there, Hannah is also teaching a beautiful bracelet at Bead and Button called Royal Ruffles - photo below - and here is the LINK to her class if you want to sign up. )

Sabine Lippert also has a stunning bracelet full of ruffles, called Aattetur.  I LOVE this. 

You can find Sabine's tutorial for that gloriousness HERE.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel has a beautiful ring in her book Modern Beaded Lace - and if you don't have the book, you SHOULD!  It's a staple for your beading library. 

And finally, the wonderful Beverly Herman of NoEasyBeads on Etsy has gifted our FB group with the pattern for her stunning Passion Flower Pendant.  It is incredibly kind of her, and this is a fabulous piece to bead up - especially if you're new to ruffles and want to see if they're for you.   If you're in the Facebook group, you can go to the Files section and you will find the PDF that Beverly has given us.  (You can also go to her Etsy shop and purchase this PDF if you would prefer to support her beady habits, or if you aren't a member of the group, HERE.)

Beverly was also kind enough to let me use a photo of a bracelet she made in a class with Gail Crosman Moore - this is called a Grapevine Cuff, and you can find Gail's tutorial on the Interweave site HERE.

That's actually a lot of ruffles to choose from!  But you can also just make your own ruffles, of course, or add some onto a rock... just because you can. I added some onto my Turtle Cove rocks along the bottom because I was hoping they would resemble waves.  I'm not sure what kind of thing they'll represent on my current rock, we'll have to see how it turns out.

Carol Wilcox Wells added some ruffles onto a decorative bottle in her Creative Bead Weaving book, too - another beaders' staple that I hope you have in your library.  :)  I hope some of these have inspired you, and that you have some fun ruffling!

Happy beading, see you all next month!