Monday, August 19, 2019

Book review: Two-Hole Bead Stitching

If you like working with shaped beads, then you are probably already a fan of Virginia Jensen's work and her books!  Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads and Contemporary Cube Bead Designs are Kalmbach Media titles you might already be familiar with, and here is her latest: Two-Hole Bead StitchingJust like the others, this book has the fabulous photos and illustrations that Kalmbach is known for.  And it is full of the fabulous and fun designs that Virginia is known for!

Each chapter starts with a fairly simple piece and progresses through more intricate and challenging pieces.  I particularly liked some of the variations that could be made using the basic S-braid pattern.  The easy basic version is included in this book, along with lots of fabulous alternatives, using other shapes and mixtures. 

I have to be honest that I've not been very interested in shaped beads.  I love my regular seed beads, and for the most part, adding a few drops or daggers around the edges of my bead embroidery is just fine for me.  But recently I've been seeing more shaped beads being used even in embroidery.  Often then are woven together first and then stitched down to the foundation.  What makes this particularly appealing is that the neck straps of a large necklace or cuff can be completed very quickly.  Virginia has many many designs that would be beautiful on their own, but that I could also see being incorporated into embroidered pieces. 

I may just have to start buying a few of these beauties and fooling around with them! 

Other books I've reviewed that focus on shaped beads:
Learn to Use Two-Hole Beads
Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads
Beautiful Designs with Super Duos and Twin Beads
Great Designs for Shaped Beads
Contemporary Cube Bead Designs

This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bead embroidered pendant redo!

Available!  Leave me a comment

Sometimes you just have to let a project sit for awhile, and sometimes you need to get advice from your friends!  I had pretty much decided to just keep the pendant that I showed you last time because I was unhappy with the wonky back stitched lines around the onyx donuts.  But thanks to an online friend, Shayne M's suggestion, I stitched peyote "bezels" around each, and it hid the uneven line enough to make me happy!  Thank you, Shayne :-)

Here's what it used to look like:

Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Fuchsia + onyx bead embroidered pendant

I had another beautiful set of polymer clay and resin focals by Mary Anne Williams Knapp, and although I like the asymmetrical design of this piece very much, I'm a bit disappointed with one aspect of it.  Can you see the problem?  The onyx donuts did not sit flush, and so they shifted around after the piece was stitched together.  Until that time, the surrounding rows of back stitch were nice circles, but stitching everything together caused them to shift and warp slightly.  What I should have done was to either build a clay base for them or sink them into a thicker felt foundation.  By the time the shifting occurred, it was too late.

Oh well, I'll just have to keep this one!  I don't see pieces that I'm not satisfied with.

You can find information on the open-hole triangular bail at the link.  Further instruction on making bead embroidered pieces can be found in Every Bead Has a Story, where the first chapter is free to download.

Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Book review: Bead Stitching Handbook

You know those super-clear instructions that you get from Bead & Button magazine (or from any Kalmbach publication, for that matter)?  Well, here is the handbook that you've been waiting for, that puts all the instructions for all of the stitches in one spot: Bead Stitching Handbook by the editors of B&B!  Here's a list of the stitch instructions that are included:
Peyote, netting, ladder, brick, square, herringbone, right-angle weave, crossweave, fringe, bead embroidery, spirals & helixes, chenille, chevron, St Petersburg chain, loomwork, and bead crochet.  Wow!  All the fundamentals in one handy book.

The book also includes the variations of each stitch, so for example, you'll get instructions for flat, circular, and tubular, plus how to increase and decrease.  AND it also covers special tasks the stitch is really useful for, like creating bezels with peyote stitch, stitching two-drop, diagonal, Dutch and Cellini spirals, etc.  There are tips included for using shaped beads with certain stitches too.  

Bead Stitching Handbook has 20 projects included, but it would be worth it even without them!

This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

An open-centered triangular bail

Earlier this month, I showed you some beadwoven bails that I was working on to top off and embellish my bead embroidered pendants.  Well, I found another one that I like very much in Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork.  On page 33, Diane shows a double-layered triangle with an opening in the middle.  Instead of stitching the whole thing together around the edges, I stitched only the top edge.  Since the two layers are joined in the middle around the opening, that forms a nice little tube along the top for your necklace strap to go through.

I found through experimentation that the size of the entire triangle needs to be enlarged from Diane's instructions.  It's simple to do this, just adding as many more rounds as you like.  An alternative, which is what I did in the sample shown here, is to just peyote stitch increases along the top edge of one layer, and then zip it to the other side.  That keeps the entire bail smaller, but still accommodates the necklace.   
Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Fuchsia swirls bead embroidered pendant

Available! Leave me a comment

I bought this set of polymer clay and resin cabochons from Mary Anne Williams Knapp at one of her online trunk shows.  There were so many different color possibilities that it took me awhile to decide. 

I don't usually sketch out a pattern for myself before I begin, but in this case, with all the spirals and interweaving, I needed to do that, but not with the chosen colors. I simply grabbed some different colored markers and sketched the pattern, keeping a chart of which color was used in which order.  Then it was much easier to recreate it in the colors I wanted without having to draw it on the foundation fabric, fumble around, or rip out sections.

If you want to learn how to make bead embroidered pieces, I show you how to do it with over-sized beads and lots of pictures in the free first chapter of my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.  There are also free instructions there for back stitch, edging brick stitch, and more.

Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Green floral pendant with butterfly bail

Available!  Leave me a comment

Once more, I've turned to my favorite metal clay artist, Jennifer West of Off the Grid Designs.  Jen made both the focal and the charm, which feature dandelion fluff.  I used one of the beadwoven butterfly bails that I stitched on vacation for this piece.


Further instruction on making bead embroidered pieces can be found in Every Bead Has a Story, where the first chapter is free to download.

Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 
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