Monday, March 30, 2009

Bracelet Base

I have more flowers to share with you, but I wanted to pause and add the tutorial for the base I use when making bracelets using these beaded flowers. There's one bracelet pictured in the header of this blog, another in this post, and one in yesterday's post. All of these bracelets are built on a 3-bead peyote base made of either 8/0 or 6/0 seeds, 3 or 4mm cubes, Miyuki 8/0 plain or hex seeds, 8/0 or 5/0 Miyuki triangles. The one thing I want is a large-holed bead because I will be adding all of the embellishments through the center beads. I also like this technique because it has a nice working rhythm that yields a flexible, sturdy and smooth band. Here's one of my bracelets using "loopy" flowers and sunstone chips, one of my "Chips Ahoy" collection of necklaces and bracelets.

I first found this 3-bead technique in a special Interweave publication, Jean Campbell's "Beaded Cords, Chains, Straps and Fringe," and I've used it ever since.

I work with nine to ten feet of thread doubled to four and a half to five feet, so I don't have to add a new thread. And, yes, it can be aggravating in the first few rows, but I deal with it.

The beginning:

String four beads and move them to about 6" from the end of the thread.

Bring the needle through the first two beads on the thread as shown. Pull the thread until the last bead added (#4) is sitting on top of bead #3.

(I flip the beads in my hand after each step so that I'm always moving the needle from right to left. There's no real reason for this except that I can work faster this way.) Pick up a bead and take the needle through the center bead and the #3 bead below the bead on the left. Pull the thread to bring the needles into position. You'll note that there's now a space in the middle.

Take your needle through the first bead in the row, add a bead, and take the needle through the last bead in the row. Now you're ready to weave the band.

The Rest of the Story:

I think of the three steps as Straight, Down, and Across. (Remember that I flip the strip with my left thumb as I pick up the next bead with my right, so I'm always moving my needle from right to left. It's all part of the rhythm.)

I continue with Straight, Down and Across until the base is the desired length without the clasp.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beaded Flowers - Day 5

Today's flower is worked pretty much like the leaf flower on Day 4. These leaf beads are quite a bit larger than the beads used in yesterday's flower, but you'll use the 10/0 delicas for the first two rounds and 8/0 seeds for the next round just as before. Add the leaf beads.

Here's the difference. I used a coin pearl for the center instead of a 6mm montee, so I didn't need as many 8/0s around the center to finish the flower. I simply added one more round of 8/0s between the leaf beads. If I use a montee as I did in the flower that's the centerpiece of the bracelet in the header, then I add at least two rows of 8/0s around the montee rather than placing them between the leaf beads. The photo below shows the back of the completed flower.

Tip: I don't end the thread when I'm making these flowers for use in a bracelet or necklace. (Jelcy Romberg passed this tip on to me.) Instead, I take the needle and place it in a hair roller, wind the thread around the foam, and close the roller. When I'm ready to use it in a piece of jewelry, I simply open the roller, unroll the thread, and remove the needle. I found the rollers at my local Dollar store. I also use foam make-up wedgies in the same way, but I don't remember who told me about substituting them for the rollers. Either way, the flowers are ready to go when I'm ready to use them without me having to add a thread to the back before I attach them.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beaded Flowers - Day 4

I make flowers out of all sorts of leaf beads, but this is one of my favorites. It's a 7mm x 12mm top/side-drilled bead (note the arrow in the photo). These leaves are available in all sorts of finishes: vitrail, matte, lustre, rainbow AB, half-metallic, and marea (the one shown) as well as others. To make the 5-petal fower, you'll need ten 10/0 Delicas, fifteen 8/0 seed beads, five 7x12mm leaf beads, and one 6mm Swarovski montee, a #10/11 needle and beading thread (Wildfire, 6-lb Fireline, or C-Lon).

Begin as detailed in the third post . Then work one row of 8/0 beads, remembering to step up at the end of the row. Once the 8/0s are on, begin to add the leaves being careful to ensure the fancy finish is on top. Once the leaves are all set, move the thread to a delica on the inner ring to add the montee. Go through one of the channels on the montee to the other side and through a delica. Move to the other channel and go across as before. Weave your thread back through one of the 8/0 beads. Work two rounds of 8/0 beads. Take the thread to the back, make a few overhand knots between beads. Tie to beginning thread and clip.

Six-leaf variation: Begin with twelve 10/0 Delicas. Use round 8/0s rather than hex beads like I used above and work one round. Add the leaves and the montee in the center, moving the thread back up and through one of the 8/0 beads after the montee is in place. Work two rounds with the 10/delicas. Pull tight and take the thread through beads until you can take it through one of the leaf beads. Add one row of 8/0 beads between the leaves. Weave the thread on the back down to the beginning thread. Tie in a square knot and clip or burn thread.

Here's a bracelet that showcases these flowers, that is, if you can find them. The embellishment is very exuberant to say the least. The flowers are very quick to make. If you wear earrings, you can easily make two flowers, glue them to an earring back in less than an hour. Well, that is, if you have the beads at hand. It usually takes me longer than that to find the beads I want to use.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beaded Flowers - Day Three

Today's tutorial is a basic review on loops. I created these diagrams to show you that there exists a difference in loops with an odd or even number of beads; the even-number loops yielding a more rounded petal as shown in the flower pictured above. However, no matter how many loops I made I couldn't tell any real difference. Hence, when you start creating flowers, just put in however many beads give you the size petal you want. I have found that when I stack the loops, I need at least 5 more beads in each subsequent loop to create a visual difference in the size of these petals.

Let's look at "pointy" loops and how they're created. For these loops, string on one half of the petal plus two beads. Skip the last bead you put on, and take the needle through the next bead. Pull tight by holding on to the bead you skipped, and thread on the beads for the other side of the petal.

Now here there is a difference in the final visual depending on the number of beads you put on the other side of this petal. If you put on the original number of beads without the two extras, you will have a point in the center of the petal. But, if you put on the original number plus one or two more beads and finish your loop, you'll have a petal that is straight on one side and rounded on the other. Take a look at the flower shown above. The large petals at the top are point-centered, while the other two sets of large petals have straight and rounded sides.

The current issue of Beadwork Magazine (April/May 2009) has a necklace on the cover by Jamie Hogsett which has wonderful flowers created with pointy loops. She builds her flowers on a different base, so check it out and add it to your repertoire of techniques.

Tomorrow, I'm going to show you how to make a flower out of horizontally drilled leaf beads. But first, I added some center interest to today's samples, by adding a stack of beads between the three inner base beads. These stacks are created by working the first half of the pointy leaf. I also added a tiny fresh-water pearl in the center. In the other flower I put a loop of two 15/0s, a 3mm crystal, and two 15/0s between the inner base beads (3 loops total).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beaded Flowers - Day Two

I think the most exciting flowers that I make with this loopy technique are ones that start with six beads, three in each ring. It was a great day when I tried this variation, and it just keeps getting better. Begin with six beads, go through every other bead and pull the beads into this interlocking triangle arrangement. Actually, it will happen automatically when you snug up the thread. (I used 8/0 seeds for the center and 11/0 seeds for the loops on this flower.)

Begin the loops on one of the triangles as shown in the diagram. If you want more than one loop in each of these beads, add them now before moving to the next bead in this inner triangle, remembering that you are working on the back of the flower. This means that you will add more beads to the second and/or third loop before taking the needle to the next bead of this triangle.

Once you have the loops on the inner triangle, then move to the beads on the outer triangle and add the loops. It's strictly up to you as the designer of one of these flowers to decide how many and the length of each of these loops. This flower has three matching loops on two of the beads in the outer triangle: 10, 15, and 18 beads in the three loops on each side. Ah, but then came the fun. I made the loops larger on the other triangle as follows: 20, 25, and 30.

I finished this flower with a 6mm top-drilled crystal in the center. Then I took a good look at it. Is this a flower or a fairy? or maybe an angel? And could I make it into a dragonfly or some other kind of bug? This is going to be fun. I also think this technique could easily yield a beaded flower that resembled a pansy.

This photo below shows some other possibilities. The little flowers are made with 11/0 seed bead centers and 15/0 bead loops. The spiky one is a teaser for tomorrow's blog where I'm going to show you different kinds of loops.

Scarlett Lanson, The Beader's Muse, and a new regular columnist in Beadwork Magazine hosted a wonderful contest called "Use the Muse" over February and March. The "Big Reveal" was today. My bracelet is near the bottom in the gallery section. She's planning another contest very soon, and I know I'm going to enter. I hope each of you will also. This was the fastest turn-around on any contest I've ever entered, and since it was judged from photos, I didn't have to trust my piece to shippers and then wait for a long time for it to return home. It was a great experience!

Beaded Flowers - Day One

If you saw my Keishi Pearl bracelet in the February/March 2004 issue of Beadwork Magazine, you saw large loopy flowers created on a single circle, not a two-bead peyote start. That was then, this is now. Today I'm going to do a simple "loopy" flower with 11/0 seed beads and the two-row peyote start as explained "In The Beginning."

Here's the starting circle with two rows of peyote and 5 beads in the round. I've used two different metallic beads for the rows. I start adding loops on the inner or first row of the circle as shown in the diagram.

String on 5 beads and take the needle back through the same bead and then through the next bead in the inner row as shown by the arrow. In other words, skip the bead in the outer row and go through the next one on the inner row. This snugs up the inner row as you proceed around adding the loops.

Start adding the loops to the outer row of beads. I always work from the back, adding the next size loop all the way around. It's a lot easier for me to get to this bead than to work from the front and try and get to the next bead that needs a loop. The diagram shows a 9-bead loop, the photo shows an 11-bead loop. It can be any size you want.

Skip the bead from the inner circle and take the needle through the next bead in the outer row as shown at the arrow. Complete adding the loops all the way around.

You can stop here if you want or you can continue adding loops until the flower is as full as you want. I usually make each succeeding loop larger by four to six beads; I like an odd count for these loops.

If you want a lot of loops, use a #10 Delica or an 8/0 on the outer inital ring and use a lighter weight thread. I used moss Wildfire on the yellow/peach flower, and I had some trouble getting the needle through for the second loop. I used 4-lb crystal Fireline on the yellow flower--a better choice.

Fusion Beads posted a new tutorial for a right-angle-weave beaded bead today. It looks great made with crystals.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In the Beginning

I've written several times in previous blogs and also on my main site about the way I execute the first two rows of my beaded beads and also my beaded flowers. I'm going to begin a series of instructions for the various flowers on this blog that I use in my bracelets, and rather than explain each time about the start, I decided to devote today's blog to this technique so I can refer back to it.

String on twice the number of beads that you want in the circle, thus a 5-bead circle will require 10 beads--a two-row beginning to a peyote tube or a peyote round. Push the beads down to within 3" or 4" from the end. Lay the beads across your forefinger, bring the needle around and take the needle through the first bead you strung on and then through every other bead until you reach the last two beads. Take the needle through these beads which creates the step up to place the needle in position for the next row of beads.

Some people lay the beads on the matte, holding the thread as shown, and then taking the needle through every other bead, again going through the last two beads before pulling the beads into a circle.

I find it easier to pull the beads into a circle if I insert my forefinger into the circle and tug the thread below the needle. I also place the end of the thread in the palm of my hand to hold it securely. When you are pulling the beads into a circle, sometimes you will need to nudge one of the beads on the outer circle as shown here.

I often make this beginning circle from two different size beads or two different colors. The trick here is to remember that whatever bead you place first on the needle will be the bead in the inner circle. This is important if you are using a smaller bead in the inner circle to make a smaller hole on the beaded beads.