Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beading Catastrophe

It was my second time for one of my works to fall apart or lose beads. It was funny as I do not expect my work to fall apart. To say I was shocked says nothing for how my daughter Jessica felt when she was showing me how loose her bracelet was and it seemed to disintegrate before our eyes. It was the very first bracelet I had made for anyone except myself. However we must remember I have only been beading since March of 2008. In that short time we would not expect this to happen.

I made all my first bracelets with NYMO. I like Nymo alot, but at the beginning I did not condition the NYMO because I simply did not know I should. Because it was not conditioned, it tended to look fuzzy or frayed the longer I worked with it. I would say that it was weakened for sure. Again I did not know much about anything then. I really do not know much yet and I expect in 10 years there will still be lots for me to learn. I try to learn and listen to others and yet I imagine there will always be broken works to be repaired. What Jessica does not know is that I will not use the same beads as they were the Chinese beads I started with and now I do not buy Chinese beads at all.

I do not know if it was fact, but I was told recently that all Chinese beads have a high lead level??? At the DeLand Fall Art Festival I met a women with the most incredible Bead Work I had ever seen. It was out there as the best I have seen in person. How could I not ask for a card. I just listened to everything the woman said and gazed at her work and then walked away. Some of what the women told me was that she had written many articles in the past and that most of her work and ways she does things are copyrighted. How could I not find out her name? I did ask where she was from and I remember it was South East Florida somewhere. Hope that I see her again.

She did say that she beads without patterns and ad libs most of her work. When I say it was beautiful and neat and I wanted it, I am not exaggerating.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome To My World! Carol's Challenge

Carol 's Challenge was intriguing and today I attempted to follow through with it. However, it is a day that Blogspot does not want to upload my pictures, again! This is a issue I originally blamed on Vista operating system but now I am more inclined to blame the blog owners. Hey we have to blame someone it could not be something I may do wrong.

Where I live in Orange City, Florida

The Challenge was simply to photograph your world to let those who may read your blog know what you see and even perhaps do in the day. Those of you who read my blog because of the seed beading know what I do when I can and have seen my work. That is what led me to Carols blog and her challenge. She too is a beader. An interesting lady with many dimensions.

A brown anole; there are so many of these, I love the green anoles best.

Some kind of woodpecker working on the bamboo stand a couple of blocks from my house.

The fruits (?) of a palm in my neighborhood.

A naval orange tree. The fruit should be sweet with our cold weather! Brrr

My favorite live oak as you enter my community. Love the old south look it gives.

Sandhill Cranes are everywhere and I love them, I call them my chickens.

The night before the challenge 7:55PM

The Shuttle on the 14th as seen from in front of my house.

The shuttle as it climbs into the darkness. Breathtaking each time we see it!
Thanks for visiting my world!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Oh, so you were expecting another story!

Because I got the pictures to load I thought I would do a quick blog nothing to do with the Beading. Just to see if I could get some other pictures to load. How about the Baby Jay's first birthday!!??
Blog ya latter! It worked again.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Whale Tale opps Tail!

Just when you where preparing for a great story...oh well.

The best of the story is that this is one more of my unfinished works that now is a finished work. I just finished as a matter of fact. I decided to document it before doing anything else today or it would be put on hold for a day or two. You know how busy retirement can get!!

It is Jay's birthday celebration today and so even the pool is out for today. That is busy right?

I just tried to load the pictures that should accompany this blog and sure enough they would not load. It is acting like it did a few days ago. The awful truth is that I thought I had made an adjustment on my computer that again allowed me to download as before. Well folks that is wrong, there has been no change to the security settings in the time from when I could upload again and now, when it is not working. Cuss word, that stinks! Now I am back to square one. I think it is the Blogspots problem and not mine after all. So the truth of the matter is I have no control over this dysfunction and I hate to not be in control. Those who know me best, agree!

A few details about the Whale Tail necklace since I can not use pictures today. I bought the glass tail at Deland Craft Fair in September. It was a neat hand crafted piece in colors that seem to speak of the sea.

The pendent beading was done in Peyote with size 15/0 beads and zippered. The loop that attached the tail was added to the zippered tube. The beads are an iris collection that are as varied in blues and greens as the sea also. They have some purple and golden colors to add to the drama.

When I started the necklace I found that using the standard Russian Spiral stitch was going to make a much too large diameter to fit within my pendent. (Did I do this necklace backwards or what?) I decided I would try with all size 15/0 beads and again it was too big. Well that stymied me for a time. Invention time I guess. I varied the stitch in size 15's to make a diameter that would work. I used the Iris mixture and a clear blue also in size 15/0 but I only used 6 beads per round. What? you say. I started the pattern or a new pattern not a standard Russian Spiral one. I started with an iris then a clear blue three times and knotted into a circle. I then added an iris a clear onto the thread and stitched them into the next clear around the circle moving counterclockwise. It made a tube of beads that look very much like Russian Spiral but may be another stitch altogether by another name. If you do know of another name for what I did please let me know so I can name it correctly. Until that time it will be called six bead Russian Spiral variation

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jade for Jayda

This is a Peyote bracelet with a heart shaped cab that I made the bezel for and started before I left PA.(the first time in Sept) It is done in jade colored size 11 rounds and brown size 15 rounds. The whole bracelet is a little drab as both are matte finished beads.
The jade is shiny, but not the best example of jade I have ever seen. What distinquished it at all is it is from a necklace my Mother had and I removed the heart from silver backing and made the bezel. I had Jayda, my youngest granddaughter, in mind. Being named Jayda just seems to mark her as needing the piece of jade, right? She is really too young to appreciate the time I have taken to make it for her or that it is a small piece of her Great Grammy.
The toggle is really a vintage button that is about the same color as the brown beads.
The loop is really two loops. The end one is the final one that Jayda will grow into. The green loop is the temp one for now. It doesn't look too bad having the two size possibilities. I can use the brown loop and I have large wrists. She may never grow into it and I will have to make other arrangements later. For now, if she evens wears it, it will do in the green loop.

I am finally trying to finish everything I have started. I have a gold and square crystal bracelet to finish and a whale tail pendent necklace in the works and that will complete all the started projects. I also have to repair the red Freeform Peyote bracelet that had a major break. I will get to all these. On the work station is the Whale tail necklace. The pendent part has been done for some time. However, the necklace was about 4 inches long for a long time also. I have worked on it and it is a little over 10 inches now. Today I put over an inch on before I saw an error. Jessica wanted me to ignore it and go onward. When you spend all the hours to complete a necklace you do not want a known mistake in it. It is bad enough to complete a project only to find an unknown mistake in the early stages. I cannot ignore a mistake so I ripped and ripped but now it is ready to go forward again. When it is done I will Blog about it. Then it is the "unusual" crystal bracelet on deck.
Have a great night. Now that I am able to get pictures to attach again, I think I will try to add some of the Russian Spiral bracelets pictures I had been trying to add to the last blog. Check it out and see if I was successful!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Russian Spiral Pattern

There are more hits on my blog entitled The Versatile Russian Spiral than any other I have done. Based on that I have been trying to decide what if anything I should do to address that. I did not do a tutorial on the Russian Spiral in the other blog but I think it is time to add a location for those who are trying to learn and have stopped by.

The pdf file below is wonderful for learning the pattern.

There are a few suggestions that I have learned by trial and error. The first is that I do three added loops of beads before I tighten my thread to allow the beads to come together in a stack. I roll the beads back and worth as I put even tension on the thread. How you hold the beads and thread seems to be a struggle at first and then you fall into a pattern that is easiest for you. I find that it helps to wrap the thread around my left little finger to keep the thread tense while I add the next three beads. If you are right handed you will be working in a counterclockwise direction. If you are left handed just do the pattern in a clockwise direction. I do find that if I pinch the beads together that the bead that the thread will enter...the one directly after the larger bead seems to pop up a little allowing the needle to enter it easier. I also find that if helps to make sure that you always have only 3 large beads at the top of the spiral or bead stack. (no more and no less). I think it helps if you use say a larger size of beads when learning than you may wish to use later on. Size 6 for larger and 8 for smaller. I prefer the smaller 11 for large and 15 for small. I have also done the same size bead but with distinctly different colors so it is still possible to tell which bead the needle enters. Same color and same size beads are not a recommendation for this pattern. I am sure there are those who do this, but it is not me. Make it easy on your self when you learn. If you need a few inches to learn and then tear out that is okay. I have many false starts when learning a new stitch. I just cut and start over I do not tear out I save it for latter often. I also use a long enough thread so I do not need to add thread on a bracelet. That is about 3 yards. I leave a tail on the start side of 8 to 12 inches. That will be the one side of a clasp.

A little bit about adding thread...knots. Any good bead magazine will tell how to tie knots and the different kind to use. I use a a variety of these and still sometimes get a mess. What you ask is a mess...a knot that will not pull through so I have a loop. Where the heck did that come from?
Also I have pulled a knot tight only to have my thread (strong as it is) break at the knot. Now before I mentioned that I usually use thread long enough for the whole project when it is a bracelet. Imagine now where that darn knot must be. You got it. The bracelet is complete and I am finishing off at the clasp. The only thing I do here is curse and undo the bracelet back far enough to tie on a thread and then finish again and hope I have no more knot problems.
Adding on a thread can be tricky also...again we are doing a know or series of knots. I find that if I put the two ends of the thread together and make a loop near my work and then pass both ends through and then start knotting and snugging all three free ends. I can secure a tight knot with very little size that will hide within a bead. I leave a long enough tail on the ends so I can weave them through my work later and tie at least 2 more knots within the finished work. I try to have 3 knots total for every end. No wonder I get into knot dilemmas.

When I finish off a bracelet I use French wire and a toggle on many of my bracelets. When I am very ambitious I make the loop and toggle. That is another blog. If I buy the toggle and ring, I buy the best I can afford. When you use the best beads, the best thread, and the best findings you feel like it was worth all the time to make. Do not make a cheap material bracelet and invest your valuable time.

Back to the French wire and how I use it. I cut 2, 1/4 inch length of the wire. When I reach about 6 to 6 1/2 inches of lengh I stop and end the bracelet. I add a large and small bead twice and then the French wire which is hollow and threads well. I then add the clasp end and take the needle back through the last small bead. If you are working in larger beads you will need to substitute a 15/0 bead for the last small one so the French wire does not go within the last bead and you can snug it up into a protective loop over the thread that is around the clasp. The clasp will not wear on the thread then. That is the real purpose of the French wire. There are other findings for this purpose. I do not know how to use them. I have only used French wire. Remember I am a novice at this, too.

Good luck and comment and leave an email if you have another question.