Beaded earrings for a set

I made companion earrings to wear with my beaded pendant — the image-transfer one. While I was looking up stitches to use, I ran into a tutorial by Bronzepony Beaded Jewelry for exactly the design I had in mind! That’s the second time this month I’m running into ready-to-use recipes for stuff that I want to make. (The first one was for my latest knitting project.)

Beaded earrings using CRAW

Beaded earrings using CRAW

For these earrings, I used the size-8 green beads and smaller size-15 brown beads that I’d used for the pendant. I made 12 units of Cubic Right Angle Weave (CRAW) with the larger beads, and embellished them with the smaller beads — one small bead between two large ones on the inner curves of the cubes, and two small beads in a similar fashion on the outer curves.

CRAW was not difficult to understand at all — not all difficult. I mean, it’s way too easy to imagine constructing a cube — first a floor, then walls, then ceiling. The execution of the first unit, though, was a different matter. Invariably, while I pulled the thread through the beads, I would lose my grip on the tiny setup that I created thus far, and then, it would be extremely difficult to bring the orientation back to where I was, and figure out which bead to go into next. I would just turn and turn the connected beads in my hand, all the while scratching my head. I tried to use the stop bead as reference, but it didn’t work for me. I even tried Jill Wiseman’s ‘taco’ style of construction, but with similar confusions.

After a couple of failed starts, I solved the problem by threading my stop bead into position at the center of the reinforced first square. That helped provide a ‘proper’ reference point for me. It was smooth sailing from then on.

When I was done constructing the drops, I threaded a couple of faux pearl beads into head pins, and attached each pearl-duo to a piece. I made eye loops at the top, and added ear wires to complete the earrings.

Image Transfers and Hollow Bead Weaving

I squeezed in my second PCA-inspired project for the month just before this very hectic month ended. And I’m thrilled to bits with it!

Beaded Pendant with Image-transferred Hollow PolyClay Bead

Beaded Pendant with Image-transferred Hollow PolyClay Bead

The course by Syndee Holt is all about image transfers, monoprinting, and coloring using alcohol pens. The image transfers were pretty frustrating in the beginning — they’d turn out patchy and indistinct. I spent quite some time and effort on repeated variations of my attempts, only to have to wipe away the transfer each time. Of course, there’d still be some residue, which would pollute my clay, tsk! Eventually, I ended up looking around for what others have done about it, and I finally, finally achieved a beautifully solid print. I just love it! (I want to go try one more right now, as I’m typing here. I can see the beginnings of an addiction forming! πŸ˜› )

I’m not buying alcohol pens right now, but I did try some monoprinting. Not very successful there. It could be that my local products are different, and the techniques demonstrated don’t work without modifications to work with these products.

Well, so I just had a image-transferred sheet of clay with me, and nothing to beautify it, so I carefully made my very first hollow bead from the sheet. Of course, I don’t have a cutter of this shape — it’s a composite shape that I made using two different cutters. I made the bead hollow by puffing out the cut shape, and slowly, carefully adhering it to a base. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it’s also more conducive to forming different shapes from a limited quantity of cutters and stencils. This particular bead’s a bit rough around the edges, but that was okay since I was going to do some nice bead weaving around it. πŸ™‚

The bead weaving is completely Peyote stitch. I used the uniform beads that I bought recently (sizes 8 and 15), and some limited stock of uniform beads (size 11) that I’ve been preserving for the time when I can actually work with them like this. I’m not sure what I’ll do when my size 11 beads run out; hopefully, my local stores will start carrying uniform size 11 beads too. <Fingers crossed>

So, think you wanna try any of the techniques I’ve mentioned?

Beadwork!

I finally sat down and finished the beaded jewelry set that I was working on! And I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

Beadwork Jewelry

Beadwork Jewelry

These are essentially beaded bezels around the polymer clay button beads that I made a while back. I used Peyote stitch for the bezel, of course. I started this at around the same time that I made the Peyote stitch tube, so the beads are still the non-uniform ones. I love how the pieces have turned out, though. Making the loops and connections was pretty fun too — especially when I got the ones on the central piece of the necklace correct with just a bit of planning ahead. πŸ™‚

Now that my stash has uniform beads, and more importantly, since I’m more confident in my beading skills, I can’t wait to make my next beading project. I’m afraid I’ll feel the need for size 15 beads soon, and they’re not available locally. (I used size 11 in the current pieces, and had to stitch differently in the innermost row because the beads were too big.)

Peyote Stitch Tube

Before I get started my next PCA project, I thought I’d practice some peyote stitching with the beads currently in my stash. (Yeah, the not-so-uniform beads.) And I ended up making a small tube that I can thread a rope necklace or thick chain through.

Peyote necklace tube

This is not tubular peyote, it’s flat peyote whose top and bottom edges I joined when I decided that the sheet was large enough. I actually used three colors of beads here, though the difference in two of the colors is so small that they appear to be the same. Not that it takes away anything from the overall look at all. πŸ™‚ The sheet has one row of stitches per color, so it’s a 3-row repeat pattern.

As for beading progress — the tension in my stitching has improved as I’ve practiced, and I’ve gained more confidence in how much I can tug at the thread to make the beads settle well. I’ve even started working on some nice peyote bezels for the polymer clay button beads that I made earlier. But more on that in another post, since I haven’t gotten to work much on them, and I’m eager to meet my self-imposed quota of PCA projects for this month. πŸ™‚

Button beads for… beading!

Yippee! The beading gods have finally heard my prayers. My local stores now sell Preciosa seed beads, so I don’t have to order uniformly sized beads from overseas. <Dances a little jig.> So I now have beading needles, beading thread, aaaand… beads! I’m all set to practice some beading. Peyote stitch, get ready to be conquered!

Antiqued polymer clay flower / button beads

I made these button beads from polymer clay, thinking I’ll work some beading around them whenever I’m done learning a few beading stitches. I used a mold for these beads, and used acrylic paints for antiquing. The mold impressions are deep at the edges, and there’s a whole lot of paint there that I just couldn’t get rid of, but I’m not bothered much. After all, they’ll all be obscured by the beading. πŸ™‚

Hope against hope that I get to working more on these soon. I’m chugging along on a knitting project right now, though. I’m on the edging for one sleeve, and then I’ll only have one sleeve left so I’m pretty eager to finish that too. Hmm, I think I can aim for beading practice only next week.

Am I too greedy to hope that Miyuki seed beads become available locally too? πŸ™‚

Kumihimo bracelet

I tried out Kumihimo again, though I know the beads I have are not really suitable — the more even ones are too small, show the thread, and don’t settle down well; and the larger ones are too uneven. :)Kumihimo bracelet

This is a 12-strand Kumihimo bracelet. After braiding only with the threads for about 0.5cm, I threaded an equal number of beads into all strands, and incorporated them into the braid. I added 1+2+1 cream+brown+cream beads for the next section. At this point, I became involved in another project and forgot all about this one. When I came back to this, I realized that I’d forgotten how many beads I’d added in the first section! πŸ˜€

I tried counting, but lost track. Then deciding that I didn’t want to undo the braid just to count the beads, I just winged it, and added 6 beads in each of the strands. It looked fine then (though it doesn’t now…) Anyway, I continued with the two sections until the rope was about 16cm long. I braided some 0.5cm more with just the threads, applied glue on the braid and snipped the threads off. Then, forming two pieces of wire eyelets at both ends, I secured bead caps at both ends.

To finish the bracelet, I attached jump rings and a lobster claw clasp. I also added a little leaf charm to one of the jump rings. So cute! ❀

In other news, I decided to take the plunge into international orders, and placed one for beads (not seed beads) with Fire Mountain Gems and Beads during a sale recently (not a Thanksgiving one). I’m delighted with the purchase! The downside is that the shipping costs end up being more than 50% of the order, and customs duty is about 30% on order+shipping, which means my pocket will be lighter by almost double the actual price of the items. Worth it? Only if most of my purchases happen during a sale and are 50% (or more) off! πŸ˜€

So I made a Kumihimo bracelet

Oh, and I made a Kumihimo disc to make the bracelet with. πŸ˜‰

Tired of searching for a Kumihimo foam disc here in India, and wanting to avoid ordering internationally due to all the hassles involved, I decided I’d just make my own from cardboard, since my Kumihimo plans for the near future anyway do not involve thicker cords.

Kumihimo disc

I used thick cardboard from a package that arrived for a different order. My lovely sis used her trusty Big Shot machine to help me cut nice concentric circles for the disc. (Thanks, Sis! ❀ ) I eventually used a knife to fully cut out and cast away the centre. Kumihimo discs usually have 32 slots, but I decided to make it 36 because I’d used a protractor to mark the slots. πŸ™‚ To reduce the strain on my poor fingers, I first cut slots in the cardboard, adhered card stock (again, borrowed from my sis) on both sides, and cut the card stock over the earlier slots. Less than an hour of cutting, gluing and snipping later, I had my disc! I was so excited to finally try out Kumihimo that I quickly made an 8-strand bead bracelet, with random placements of two seed bead colors. I finished it with bead caps attached to a lobster claw clasp.

Kumihimo bracelet

Kumihimo bracelet

The spiral weave is evident, but only at second glance. The unevenness of the beads completely overwhelms the weave. 😦 This technique really needs some good, uniform seed beads to make the pieces shine. The ones that I’d used for my bead crochet projects are more uniform, but still need a lot of ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ to pick similarly uniform beads. They’re also too small for kumihimo, and end up showing the thread beneath them. They may be better for beading stitches, like peyote stitch. But I don’t have thin needles or thin thread for peyote stitch…

I guess this means I’ll have to go the way of placing international orders, paying whopping shipping fees and dealing with customs frustrations, sigh!

Meanwhile, I’ll just admire my Kumihimo bracelet. πŸ™‚