Friday, September 4, 2015

Daisy Medallion Chainmaille Workshop Recap!

I had the pleasure of taking a chainmaille workshop this year at Bead Fest Philly.  I selected the Daisy Medallion Chainmaille class hosted by Michelle Brennan of HyperLynks.
Photo by HyperLynks
Can you blame me for choosing such a colorful and fun looking project?

Michelle with Medallion Eyes
I should start off and say that Michelle was a fantastic teacher.  She was patient, witty and funny.  These qualities are especially important with someone like myself in a class as I'm horribly impatient and have quite the sarcastic streak (I'm from Jersey, what do you expect?). 
Project Layout
Michelle came UBER prepared!  She provided everything we needed for the project including Xuron pliers, beading mat and all the rings (in a huge variety of color options).  I should note, I loved the pliers so much that I bought some after class was over. 

Diana & Sue
Oh and I managed to convince fellow contributor Sue Kennedy to take the workshop with me.  That made it extra fun...especially at 8:30 in the morning!

First Step
This was my first time working with rubber rings in a chainmaille project.  The first step was frustrating.  Many bad words escaped my mouth for about 15 minutes as I attempted to get the attachment above to work.  Thank goodness we had a class & teacher with a good sense of humor!  

Six Finished Pieces
The first three gave me angst but the final three weren't so bad once I got the hang of it.  
Adding Sections to the Large Ring
After we completed those little pieces, we had to start adding them to the large washer.  Michelle demonstrated this for us first.  She also included a print-out of VERY detailed instructions for us.  HyperLynks has some of the best instructions I've ever seen, in their kits.  

More Progress

You can see some of the project starting to come together now.  I got further than this but was so in the zone that I forgot to take more photos.  I haven't actually finished the pendant yet but it's on my to-do list.  

After the workshop was done, I wandered my way over to the HyperLynks booth.
Mark & the Walls of Goodies at HyperLynks booth
HyperLynks carries a great assortment of rings, kits and tools.  I picked up the Xuron pliers, rings and some kits while I was there.  

I certainly hope Michelle teaches at Bead Fest Philly 2016 because I'd take another workshop from her in a heartbeat.  

Thanks for a great time Michelle & HyperLynks!

Happy Beading!

~Diana P.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Component Of The Month Giveaway

Ready to move into designing jewelry for autumn?  September's Component Of The Month ceramic pendants are a good place to start (or perhaps you're way ahead of me and are working on winter designs already!).
I love fall colors and had a lot of fun combining them into different palettes.  I hope you find these inspiring for your designs.

Want to play along? Here are the rules…

  • I will giveaway 1 stoneware leaf pendant (chosen at random) to each of the 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST include your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Saturday, September 5, 2015.
  • This giveaway is open to US and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the US and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Beadwork Netting - and a Tutorial

It's no secret, netting is one of my favorite beadwork stitches. For someone with super tight tension (like myself), sometimes it's hard to stitch up a supple fabric of beads! Netting is my go to stitch when I need something drapey with delicious texture. Being a quintessentially lazy beader, I also love that it works up FAST! Because you pick up multiple beads each stitch, and the shape of the stitch creates space between each row, whatever you decide to make will take less time than most other stitches.
Left - glass pearl collar, possibly from the 1950's, Russian type netting with a ruffly edge
Right - seed beaded collar, 1920'2-60's, vertical netting worked off of a daisy chain base.
Netting has long been one of the go to methods for creating large articles of self supported beadwork. The Egyptians, Japanese, African, Victorians - you name it, if there was beadwork going on, there was netting in some variation. Every time I encounter a broken piece of netted jewelry in my thrift/fleamarket/antiquing adventures I buy it to decode the old stitches.
Showcase of a few of the ways I use netting reguarly - amulet bags, Mobius strip bracelets, freeform, flat foundation for freeform embellishment, and so much more. Imagination is the only limit!
Netting has become a generic beadwork term for several different but similar looking stitches.
Clockwise from large picture, top left: horizontal netting (3, 5, 7 counts), vertical netting (3, 5, 7 counts), vertical netting with a 3 bead drop as the shared bead, Russian (brick stitch style) netting, "Ogallala Butterfly" otherwise known as netting where the bead count increases in each subsequent row, horizontal netting with a different count turnaround on each edge. 
Horizontal netting is stitched from left to right across the piece of beadwork. Vertical netting is worked up and down across the beadwork. Admittedly most of the time the difference between horizontal and vertical netting is just in the semantics. Either way, a stitch of netting will include a bridge of beads - usually an odd number (3, 5, 7, etc). The center bead in the stitch is called the shared bead - because you will pass through that bead on your next row, hence it is shared between two rows. In most of the above samples, the shared bead is a contrasting color from the rest of the bridge beads. There are endless variations and combinations of horizontal and vertical netting. You might have heard of Russian netting or seen super wide netted collars - this stitch is worked more similarly to brick stitch in that each row loops over the thread from the previous row, rather than passing through a bead. You can stitch regular flat netting, increasing to make ruffles, tubular (ropes and bags), circular, and so much more.

Now, I love doing all kinds of netting - they each have their place in my work. When the two-holed seed beads started coming out a few years ago, guess what the first stitch I played with was? That's right - netting! Without further ado, please share my fanaticism with this Two-Hole Bead Netting tutorial!

2-Hole Bead Netting Bracelet with button and loop closure 
These instructions are for use with the Czech twin beads. Bead count and size may need to be adjusted for different 2-hole beads, such as the Japanese Tilas.


Twin Beads
Size 11 seed beads
Size 15 seed beads
Drop seed beads, Czech drops or daggers

Matching thread, about 2 yards
Tread conditioner (optional)
String a stop bead (leave an 8” to 10” tail for later use) and your first row of beads – repeat 1 twin, 3 size 11, 1 twin, 3 size 11 until you achieve the desired width. String 1 extra twin, 2 size 15, 1 drop, 2 size 15, and pass the needle through the second empty hole in the last twin bead you strung. Tighten up the previous stitch so there is no slack between the last twin and the stop bead.
For the second row, the 15-drop-15 sequence that you just stitched is both the turn around and step up to the next row. The working thread should be coming out of the second hole of the twin bead now. Simply string an 11, a twin and another 11, and pass the needle through the empty hole of the next twin bead. Repeat until you reach the last twin bead of the previous row. When your needle is coming out of the second hole of the last twin bead, string an 11, a twin, 2 size 15, 1 drop, and 2 size 15. Pass the needle through the second empty hole of the last twin strung – tighten up the stitch. Now you’re ready for the next row again.

Repeat the two previous steps until the bracelet is about 1” shorter than you want the finished product to be – some of the length will be made up in the clasp, and some will be recovered due to the stretchy nature of netting.

Stitch the final row exactly like the first, by omitting the twin beads and picking up 3 size 11 instead.

When the last row is stitched, pass through a few of the previous rows, tying half hitches every few beads. Bring your thread back to the last row in preparation for making the clasp loop. DO NOT CUT THE THREAD.
Button Attachment: remove your stop bead from the tail end of the thread and transfer your needle to it. Work your needle back a few rows and attach a button/flat bead/captured cab/other object you would like to incorporate into the closure. It is best that this object sits a few rows from the end of the strip so that when it is on the arm it lays nice and flat. Stitch through the button hole several times, as much as you feel necessary for it to be secure. Weave in the tail of the thread and trim. This side is done.

Loop Closure: return the needle to the other end of the thread. String enough 11’s to create a loop at the end of the bracelet, just large enough to accommodate the button on the other end – keep in mind that the loop will become tighter with the addition of the second row of beads, so it is better to make it a little bit loose. Once you have enough beads, pass the needle through the last bead of the first row, opposite of where your thread is coming out. Pass the needle back through all of the beads of the last row of the bracelet and exit from the first bead of the loop. Stitch one row of peyote stitch using the 11’s, all the way around the loop. ***At this point, double check the loop for fit with the button. If it’s too tight, remove the needle and backtrack until you can add some beads to your initial loop. Too loose, it can be fixed by adding some 15’s to the interior of the loop until it’s tight enough. *** When the fit has been verified, circle the needle around the last row of the bracelet again, so you’re exiting the first up bead of the loop. Stitch another row of peyote stitch, this time using drops. This is your final row of the loop. When this row is finished, work the thread back into the bracelet and tie it off. Trim the thread, wear the bracelet!
Variations with (left to right) vintage 2-hole dimes, Czech Tiles, Japanese Tilas, vintage 1 hole triangles.
You can use this technique for any two holed bead, including the new shapes that have been all the rage lately. Sometimes you will encounter a need to vary the count or type of bridge beads or turn around beads, in order to accommodate a new shape - give it a whirl!  (Word of caution...the Japanese Tila variation pulls arm hair...(not my favorite!))
Button variations (left to right) crystal AB vintage glass, pink and sapphire vintage glass, artisan fused glass, Green Girl Studios pewter frog.
One of the things I love about this project is getting to use some of the fantastic small buttons that I've been hoarding, but you can also use your preferred type of clasp - it's all up to you!

Please share pictures of your latest netting project, or your version's of this bracelet! We would love to see what you come up with!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Making Wild Horse Beads: The "Hole" Story

This weekend I had a mess of various polymer colors scattered over my worktable (in addition to some leftover leather scraps from another project)—I've been working on a few new color schemes for my Flying Arrow Horses.

These little horses are currently my most favorite bead to make. Okay, yeah I have to admit that my favorite bead to make changes quite a lot… but there's really nothing wrong with that—I love making what I love making most and enjoy going with that flow.

For all my Wild Horse beads the most tricky part of their making is piercing the hole, or at least it was and for the longest time I put off making them because I didn't like doing the holes. If you've ever tried to pierce a nice, long straight hole through a long, thin piece of squishy polymer and actually get it to end up where you want it at the other side, and without damaging the detail you have so carefully created, you know what I mean! It wasn't until one of my lovely customers asked me about making horses that I started to consider it more seriously and finally I made my first batch of Wild Horses and in the process figured out how to make piercing easier and nearly fool proof. I highly doubt if I'm the first one to do holes this way, but whatever… I just love that it works for me!

So today… you have my Wild Horse "Hole" Story…

They all start out in a mold that I made from my original sculpture. Yes, I use molds for many of my beads—they make it SO much easier to make dozens of the same shape without the annoyance and extra time of trying to match them up. I only cast for the most simple details, and then add the rest by hand. Right before I remove the horse from the mold, I use a large needle to create the hole channel—the key to my easy hole!

I do all the detailing with the little horse resting on the needle, this fills in the hole and keeps it from collapsing while I work.

Once the details are all applied and I'm happy with them, I test each horse to ensure they can stand. I love that these beads would also be perfectly happy living in a shadow box!

They then must pass inspection from my sweet little cat Grapenut, aka Mr Fluffy. He often sits in my lap while I work, chin resting on my table, watching the beads take shape. He takes is job very seriously and was bugged by the fact that I wanted to take his photo!

After a short trip to the oven for the first curing, I fill in the hole channels with raw polymer.

I add a thick layer of polymer to the back, trim…  

… and finally pierce! The piercing runs smoothly through the raw polymer filled channel giving you a nice clean and straight hole!

And lastly, I carefully trim away the back to give it a more finished carved texture. 

One horse completed and ready for final curing… time for another cup of coffee and more horse making!

And here's the finished result… after a few washes of paint and polishing…

These are my russet brown horses… the palomino horses that I was working on in this post weren't quite ready for a photo shoot, but will be following after into my shop in the next few days!

The End.

Rebekah Payne
Tree Wings Stuido

Friday, August 28, 2015

Free Tutorial - BiBo Buttons

I know we have talked about many of the new beads that have been introduced just this year.  It has been rather overwhelming in the community trying to decide what to play with.  I have been lucky enough to have gotten my hot little hands on some so I thought, with a little push from my teammates, to show you a couple I absolutely love.  So much so that I have come up with a little tutorial for you.

Button Beads are tiny little 4mm funky beads that have me totally infatuated. They are the brain child of the fabulous Sabine Lippert of Trytobead.  You will see in the bracelet they look to me like little nailheads when woven. 
I have been eyeing up these BiBo beads for quite awhile and I can tell you they do not disappoint at all. I love the shape.  Like a twin or superduo they have two holes but instead of having a fatter middle they are larger on the outside.
When I put the beads on my tray a funny thing happened.  This design just came to life on the first try.  I hope you will enjoy this little tutorial.

Materials needed:
18-20 Button beads
36-40 BiBo beads
Less than 5 grams of 11/0 seed beads
Clasp of your choice

On a comfortable length of fireline pick up 8 seed beads.  Go through all the beads two times and exit the next 2 seed beads.
Pick up a BiBo bead and 1 seed bead.  Go through the next hole of the Bibo bead.
Pick up 1 Button bead, BiBo bead and a seed bead.  Go through the next hole of the BiBo, Button and the starting hole of the first BiBo.
Go through the seed bead and the next hole of the BiBo, pick up 2 seed beads and go through the opposite BiBo.
Go through the seed bead, next hole of the BiBo and through the 2 seed beads in the starting ring.
Weave through to exit the 2 seed beads opposite the starting ring.
Pick up 6 seed beads and go through all the beads again.
Exit the top two seed beads and repeat all the steps for your desired length.  Be sure to add 6 beads at the end of your work for your clasp loop.

Be sure to let me know what you think and if you give it a try.  I would be thrilled to see your colorways.