Friday, 28 March 2014

Mummy's Crazy Psychadelic Pyramids On Acid!

You may remember my Pyramids Cuff from a while back, the pattern I gave to Kate McKinnon and was chosen to go into Contemporary Geometric Beadwork vol.1? Well, Mummy decided that she wanted to have a go at this pattern and gave it her very special spin!

First of all she tried making a pyramid that faded from dark pink at the tip to pale pink at the base but had to stop because it looked so much like a boob that I couldn't stop snorting and giggling!  Yes I am a grown up!  Clearly some colour ways just aren't good for pyramids!

Instead, she decided to have a nose through my delica stash and her eyes very quickly alighted on my duracoat galvanised delicas. The witch!  She loves bright colours and the duracoats made her squeal with delight.  Luckily she decided that the underneath of the pyramid should be a plain colour so as not to wear off the colours underneath.  She chose a simple smokey grey delica for that.

The colours must have reminded her of growing up in the 70s because she decided to set herself quite a challenging pattern of turquoise and orange spiraling out of a pink base.  Quite possibly the maddest thing I've ever seen but I blooming love it!  The crazy pattern with the crazy colours just work and can't help but make you feel as though it's a bright summer's day and the sun is shining and all is groovy with the world!
As you can see, she chose some bright Swarovski rounds in turquoise to join up the pyramids, with an orange delica between the two.  Her pyramids are a lot smaller than mine and a lot busier so she wanted to leave a bit more of a gap between them and I think it really works!

And finally she decided that a square base for the clasp would work a lot better than the triangle that I made. 

I love it!  Crazy and happy and all round mental.  FANTASTIC!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Seeing Stars Necklace by Mummy

Mummy has done something rather glorious and unbelievably glamorous, not to mention quite technically difficult!

How astounding is that?!  Each of those stars is made in tiny size 15s!

First of all she played around with all different ways to make the stars and settled on a peyote tube that's zipped up on the outer edge once finishing.  To be honest, I really don't know how she has the patience because even though it took her a good few weeks to get the star pattern right with all the increases and decreases, she never lost sight of what she wanted to achieve.  I must admit that I would probably have used an MRAW start for the inside and tried to figure it out from there but she wanted all peyote - crazy lady!!!

After a while she gave me the pattern to have a try with as she wanted to see how easy the pattern was.  I gave it a go in delicas and although it was okay, it just wasn't as good as in Czech seed beads.  Even Japanese seeds were a bit too square for this pattern whereas the Czech doughnut shaped beads worked a treat.  Mummy made up the pattern in all different sized beads (including 6, which was mental!) and we both decided that 15s were just beyond perfection.  Then it was time to try different sizes.  Who says a maths degree isn't worth it?!  Goodness knows how she did it, but she put that mathematical weirdness in her brain to work and out came the formula for all different sized stars!

She decided that she didn't want to go for the silver/grey type usual star colours, rather leaning towards earthy tones for this necklace, so we went through our respective stashes (and did a bit of shopping!) and came up with a bunch of colours that she wanted to use.  That's one of the things I love about my Mummy, I would have either gone for silvers and sparkles or really acidic opaques but Mummy decides browns, blues and greens are the way forward.  With stars.  Bonkers.  Perfect.

I love it beyond loving it (and wish it was mine!).  Even though it's a big looking necklace, it weighs less than a whisper and doesn't jab or prickle or irritate in any way.  I've been told that if I want one I have to make it myself though.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Sabine Lippert's La Fleur Bracelet

I've done a Sabine Lippert pattern before (her Sweet Hearts pattern - these earrings beaded by Mummy) and found them easy to read and thought I'd give myself a bit of a challenge for a Christmas gift for one of my staff.  After much deliberation (and I mean lots - Staff 3 is a delicate young thing and is girly in ways that I'm just not so this was a massive challeng!) I decided upon Sabine's La Fleur Bracelet (found in her book Beaded Fantasies).  As I've never really made anything like this, and Staff 3 is a delicately coloured redhead I played it safe and used turquoise and bronze as the colourway.

The bracelet is made up of these darling little flowers made with 8mm Swarovski chatons (an absolute bugger to source in this country!) and tiny 3mm Swarovski bicones, with mainly size 15 seed beads!  I've put a 50p next to the flower so you can see how small these blighters really are!

I made what seemed like a bazillion of the flowers - each one with thread left on, as you can see in the picture, with which you do the most sublime links with (Sabine really does take care that even the bits of the work you don't see are as beautiful as the bits you do).

Then it came to joining them together and working out if I needed to do another flower or if it was long enough.  The pattern calls for 9 flowers (if I remember correctly), but Staff 3 is a tiny little thing so she needed only 8 flowers.  Which is a good thing as I'm not much of a component maker - I get bored!

The finished bracelet.

All in all, it was a nice make.  Not difficult by any stretch of the imagination, just blooming fiddly!  I think I got through 2 or 3 needles per flower, and definitely needed my pliers on more than one occasion for pulling the needle through.  It was a complete change of direction for me, the instructions were clear and concise and Sabine explains things very simply. It's not something I would wear, but I think it looks lovely on Staff 3 and I know that she likes it, which is what is important in a gift after all!  I did buy another colour of chatons and matching bicones that would go with steel/gunmetal seed beads but I think it'll be a long old while before I make this pattern again.  Life is far too short to repeat the same patterns when there are so many to try, as well as so many ideas in my own head!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Ombre Cabouchon Necklace

Real life has kind of taken over recently, in a very wonderful way, which has meant slightly less time to bead.  I'm beginning to get back on the beading wagon, with ideas falling out of my head and onto paper.  Until they get to needle and thread time, I thought I'd show you something I made late last year.

I was given a commission before Christmas to make a simple necklace with a layered onyx cabouchon and a simple ombre chain.

The lady I made it for wanted it as a gift for her Mum and she chose the cab, as well as the colours and the base design.  She wanted the colours to bleed into each other and the clasp had to be beaded as well, as her Mum doesn't do well with any metals.

This is what I was given to work with - she wanted black to be the predominant colour in the chain with just a small bit of white showing either side of the pendant dropper:

My first step was to bead the cab. A nice easy job, but for my own hatred of matte beads - the more you handle them, the less matte they become (oils in skin etc) and they really bugger up the thread!  I'm used to working with quite a lot of thread but have to use much smaller lengths as it frays more due to the rougher bead surface.  The trouble is, matte beads really do lend themselves to many projects, and the matte beads against the highly polished surface of the stone was just beautiful.

Then came the rope itself! We opted for a simple 6 round herringbone rope, not twisted, not lazy, just a simple rope.  This made the bleeding of the colours really work and although you can barely tell that the pinky pale brown turns into silver before heading into white, I really like this for the effect. 

Here you can see the rope width against the cabouchon.  Not too clunky and thick, but not so delicately thin that the cab looks ridiculously chunky!  To be honest, it took a little while (and lots of samples!) to settle on this width because although I liked the eight round rope, it would have been far too chunky for the lady in question.  I also always tend to veer towards the large and chunky rather than the thin and delicate.

Getting the rope even on both sides, but still random looking was an absolute nightmare! Not a very good picture below, you can see the warped square found in Geometric Beadwork by Jean Power that I used to hang the cabouchon.  Because we only wanted a small amount of white beads to peep out either side on the rope, I thought Jean's ingenious design was the way forward.

And then we moved to the clasp.  The loop is a simple peyote circle that I beaded and then joined the herringbone rope to and the toggle has a loop that loops through the continuous herringbone loop on the other end of the rope.  I prefer to make my beaded clasps like this rather than a simple loop and toggle (or bigger bead) joined by a few beads because it makes them look a little more interesting and a touch more finished.

The completed piece:

I know the lady's Mum liked it Christmas morning and I hope you do too!  It's very different from all the geometric work I've been doing recently.