Friday, September 15, 2017

Cellini Asterisk Pendant in Czech Etched Seed Beads

https://www.etsy.com/listing/544545878/cellini-asterisk-pendant-in-etched
This Cellini Asterisk is a beaded pendant, woven from hundreds of glass seed beads in the colors silver, burgundy, and metallic pink. Many of the beads are the new Czech etched beads that shimmer and twinkle in the light. This ornate cluster is composed somewhere between 1200 and 1500 beads, too many to count. The beadwork is hollow, making it light for its size.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/544545878/cellini-asterisk-pendant-in-etched
This pendant is 6 cm (2 and 3/8 inches) from point to point and 16 mm thick, suitable for a focal bead on a necklace. The hole is the center is 7 mm wide. It looks a bit like a five-legged spider from the back side.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/544545878/cellini-asterisk-pendant-in-etched
If you would like to learn how to make your own Cellini Asterisk, I have a tutorial available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/261775731/tutorial-cellini-asterisk-pendant-beaded.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/544545878/cellini-asterisk-pendant-in-etched

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cellini Flower made with peyote stitch

Here is the newest piece off of my beading needles, a Cellini Flower made with several different metallic seed beads including the new Czech etched ones that shimmer and twinkle in the light. If you haven't tried the new etched beads, I really recommend them.  I have them in a few colors, and I'm totally in love.

Find this flower here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/552902817/
Find the tutorial here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/255173329/

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Beaded 4D Archemedean Polytope Omnitruncated 120-Cell

I beaded a four-dimensional thing that I don't understand very well.
What I do know is that it's a beaded version of a 4-D Archimedean polytope that goes by many names.
It's made of different polyhedra, in the same kind of way that a polyhedron is made up of different polygons. 
I learned about this structure from a book called, "The Symmetry of Things" by Conway, Burgiel, and Goodman-Strauss. You can see the various names it goes by in this photo, which is a page out of that book. This page is the direct inspiration for this beadwork. More so, it's a recipe for how all of the loops fit together.
As a mathematician, I simply beaded this recipe using beaded angle weave. Each n-gon is a loop of n beads. The arrangement of the loops is the same and the arrangement of the polygons in Conway's illustration.  (However, I left out the thread to stitch the 10-gons because by the time I got to them, the beadwork didn't need or want it.)

Now that it's done, I'm pretty sure what I beaded is called an omnitruncated 120-cell on Wikipedia. Fritz Obermeyer created and gifted this image into the public domain. Isn't it pretty?
This beautiful blue thing has 2640 total polyhedra:
       120 4.6.10 Great rhombicosidodecahedron.png
       720 4.4.10 Decagonal prism.png
     1200 4.4.6 Hexagonal prism.png
       600 4.6.6 Truncated octahedron.png

I didn't bead anywhere near that entire mathematical object, but I did bead a little chunk of it. In fact, I only finished one of the 120 of the (4.6.10). The weird thing about beading this object is you can just keep adding more and more loops and more and more polygons. It feels a lot like beading the infinite skew polyhedron faujasite because they share many of the same shapes connected in the same ways. However, faujasite is an infinite 3D structure, and this is a finite 4D structure. And in this thing, the angles don't work correctly in 3D. To see what I mean, look at all of the distortion in that blue image above. Everything in the center is squished, and everything near the outside is all stretched out. So you couldn't bead the whole thing the way I beaded mine here. But we can bead lots of different chunks of it. I definitely could have kept going. The challenge as an artist is to decide where to stop.
I made this beaded sculpture by weaving glass beads together with a needle and thread. It contains nearly 25 grams of chocolate bronze size 11° seed beads, which is more than a full tube. There are usually around 100 size 11° seed beads per gram; so that's about 2500 beads. I'm pretty sure it's the only one like it. This piece is very tactile and fun to turn in your hands to see all of the different views.
Largest diameter is 6 cm (2 and 3/8 inches). You could put a piece of cord through it and wear it as a large pendant, if you were so inclined. If you would like to have it, you can find it here in my Etsy shop.  Thanks for looking.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fairy Chrysalis Tutorial and Bead Soup Sale

Fairy Chrysalis Beaded Pendants
I recently updated an old tutorial on free form beaded pendants.  Ten years ago, I wrote instructions to show how to stitch a Fairy Chrysalis, a pendant designed to look organic and constructed from a wide variety of beads. You can read all about the tutorial here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/536288125/tutorial-fairy-chrysalis-beaded-pendant

If you would like a kit to make a Fairy Chrysalis, then you should visit my Etsy shop this Wednesday July 19, 2017at 5 PM Pacific time. I will be having a big sale of kits of bead soup.  I hand selected each lot, and each lot of beads is unique. You can go to Facebook to tons of photos of all of the lots before they go up for sale, with sizes and prices.

Lot #1 has a crazy lace agate with crazy cool banding.  Red and earthy.

 Lot #3 has an amazing piece of orange bumblebee jasper. 


Lot #4 includes a very flashy labradorite.
Which looks really different under different lights.
There are lots more lots. To see the rest of the lots that I will have for sale on Wednesday, see this gallery on the Bead Infinitum fan page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/beadinfinitum/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1516325788427996

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Free Pattern for Puffy Heart SRAW and LOVE Letters

So, there's a blog called Bead Love...


It's a blog of inspirations on love and beads, and a group of about 50 of us bead designers are writing it, one post per week for over a year, until we have all had a turn.  
This week, it was my turn to contribute.  So, here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Prismatic RAW Pendant with Etched Seed Beads

I'm absolutely obsessed with the new etched seed beads.  I can't stop looking at them, which is good, because it makes me want to bead things. Like my previous post, this piece is stitched with prismatic right angle weave and square stitch.  I also added picots so I could see the etched beads "end up" which, as you can see, is where most of their color is. When you hold this in the sunlight, those little ends shimmer with orange fire.
When I weave beads, I typically think about how I would explain what I'm doing, so that I can eventually write up a tutorial.  Unfortunately, that kind of thinking can really hold me back creatively because I don't want to try things that are too hard to document. The frustrating part is that I haven't beaded anything I like very much lately, at least not any new designs.  So, in the last pendant and this one, I've been slowly letting go of the idea of documenting my process. Instead, I'm just enjoying making and watching the design emerge in my hands. It's liberating, and even exhilarating, but it also makes a piece like this difficult to reproduce exactly. 

Thanks for looking.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Atomic Beaded Pendant

It's been a long time since I beaded a new design I like.  I hope you like it too. The technique here is primarily prismatic right angle weave (PRAW) with square stitch.
The mat beads are the new etched  beads that have been recently released on Planet Bead, and I absolutely love them! I want them all! You can't tell from the photos, but they shimmer and twinkle and throw off tiny flashes of aqua and purple. I'm having fantasies of selling off three quarters of my bead collection and stocking up on etched seed beads in every color. But in the mean time, I was able to squeeze a few new tubes into my bead box.  

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Atomic Shirt for a Man

I finally found something nice to make for my sweetie that he can use. This shirt is two layers of pure cotton jersey, stenciled with acrylic paint, and hand stitched with polyester thread. He requested an atomic symbol, like the one for the Springfield Isotopes baseball team on The Simpsons.
To make the shirt pattern, I cut up his old favorite t-shirt, traced it onto pattern paper, and added seam allowances. Then I made a rough draft t-shirt to test the pattern and used it to make a few small adjustments to the pattern. Then I cut this garment, which I consider a final copy. It should be a perfect fit. After trying to use other people's patterns and drafting my own, I have to say that starting with well loved garment is an excellent way to draft a perfect pattern that fits, and if you are willing to cut it up, you get to the right pattern easily without too many alterations.
Here is the rough draft shirt I made first to test the pattern before spending a lot of time on fancy embroidery.
The fabric had a flaw that I didn't catch until the shirt was sewn together.  So I added a star on the back to cover it up. 
Here is my sweetie's favorite cotton t-shirt (left), all worn out and sad. In blue on the right, you can see my new version. I changed the number because I cut a stencil and I didn't want to deal with the holes in the 8. Fortunately, he didn't care.
I learned the techniques for construction and embellishment from the books by Natalie Chanin. Her work is such an inspiration.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Victory Pod and Solstice Earrings


If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you already know that I like earrings.  Here are my two newest pairs.  First, these are Victory Pods to go with my new shirt.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/258021406/

Second are a pair of Solstice Earrings in an analogous color scheme that goes from purple to blue, aqua, green and gold. That's more than half the rainbow. These colors make me happy.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/480438911/

Thanks for looking.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Upcycled Freeform Cashmere and Wool Sweaters

I made a few sweaters last Winter and Spring, but somehow I forgot to blog about them, and now it's June. This post is totally seasonally inappropriate, unless you live in Australia. So, as you read this, pretend that you're Australian. I promise, it'll be worth it.

Sweater No. 13 Dusty Rose
This was a custom order for a friend who does a lot of needle crafts.  I wanted to make it especially detailed for her because I knew she would appreciate the effort.  So I covered the front of the hood with folded roses made from cashmere sweaters. 
Here's a close up of the roses before I added the buttons. To make the roses, I used classic "folded ribbon rose" techniques but with strips of sweaters instead of regular ribbon.


Sweater No. 14 Periwinkle
This was my first adventure in free-form sweater sewing. It's is all cashmere, mostly hand dyed.
I like the way the black seams make it look like stained glass.  It's available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/213314668/

Sweater No. 15 Black Berry
This was my second adventure into free-form sweater sewing.
I found that I could use the leftover scraps to make the hood.  I really love the way the lines and colors on this piece worked out.
This Black Berry Sweater is mostly cashmere, mostly hand dyed, and it's available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/498172702/

Here's a close up of the bobble at the end of the hood.

Sweater No. 16 Kelp Queen
I made this piece for myself... because... LIME GREEN!!!!
I had to dye almost all of the sweaters to get enough lime green.  Here's a photo of the hood before it was a hood.
When I first showed this photo, my friends said it looks like a landscape painting, like one by Wayne Thiebaud or this:
http://www.annadillon.com/tor.html
 

Sweater No. 17 Hot Pink, etc.
This was a custom piece for a good friend of mine, pure cashmere. She likes hot pink.  A lot. It's more purple than blue, as the photo suggests
Here's what the hood looked like before it was a hood.
Okay, that was way too much of a blacklog of projects.  I need to start blogging more.  Note to self.  Anyway, as always, thanks for looking.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Felt Bowl Beaded with Wool Felt Sweater Scraps

I finished this felt bowl using the method I described in my last post.
It's mostly wool with a little cashmere, measuring about 9.5" across and 0.75" thick. I'm not sure what I think of it. It's soft and squishy but a little wonky. The pattern of circles comes from an arrangement of dimples on a golf ball.

Here is what it looked like after I got started.
This is the pile of strips I used.  That's 246 strips of wool and cashmere felt, plus a few extras, all cut from old sweaters.
Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bead Weaving with Wool Felt Sweater Scraps

Did you know that we can apply bead weaving techniques to wool felt?  This weekend I figured out how, and I have to admit, I'm pretty darn excited about it. Here is my first project.  It's a trivet, you know, a hot pad for protecting table tops from hot pots.  It measures 9 inches from top to bottom, and it's 5/8 inches thick.
Here you can see the trivet close up. Let me just say, this technique would make an amazing carpet. This is the texture I want my feet to touch first thing every morning when I get out of bed. Super soft and springy.
Do you want to see how I did it? Here are my materials and tools.  I started with scraps of felted wool sweaters. I used my rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat to cut a bunch of little strips that are 5/8 inches wide and about 3 inches long.  I made the green strips a little shorter than the yellow strips because the green wool is thicker and I wanted the rolls to finish as the same size, 5/8 inches in diameter. I used polyester "jean stitch" thread and a really thick, long needle to sew the rolls together.  I rolled each strip as I attached it. I stitched this together just as I would bead weave with peyote stitch. Sew right though the side of the jelly roll, through the center and out the other side.
The green scraps were left over from a sweater I made for myself this winter.  I think of it as "The Kelp Queen Sweater." I feel like a sea monster when I wear it, in a good way. It's mostly cashmere and super warm and cozy.
I also made this berry colored sweater recently.  It's in my Etsy shop if you want it.  Again, it's mostly cashmere.  I hand dyed the fabrics before I cut them up and stitched them together. Soft, cozy, warm and berry delicious!
 After finishing this sweater, I had some really nice cashmere scraps that I couldn't part with.  They were too small to make arm warmers, but too nice to throw away. So you can imagine my delight when I found that I could bead weave with them. Here is my set up of tools and materials.  I cut these strips a bit wider than the last set, 3/4 inches.  The strips are long enough to make the rolls 3/4 inches wide.  You'll notice I also added some pliers to my set of tools.  Those are useful for pulling the needle through the many layers of wool.  This technique is a bit hard on the fingers, and the pliers give you super powers, well, practically.
For my second trial of beading with felt rolls, I wanted to make a beaded ball.  With these wonderful strips of cashmere and wool, I beaded an icosahedron. It's the size of a tennis ball. It's very much like a tennis ball, in fact. My local tennis playing friend says it has a similar weight, too, but lighter. Similar squish, but a skosh squishier. It would be a good juggling ball, soft and light but not too light.  I stuffed the small space on the inside full of scraps I made with my scraps. That keeps it nice and solid. You can see how I layered dark and light purple together before making he jelly rolls.  Also, I used my scissors to trim the outside surface to make it smooth, well, smoother than it was. 
In making these two pieces, I found the beaded felt rolls really like to make a flat plane, like the trivet. The amount of curvature in the icosahedron is really pushing how much it the surface wants to curve smoothly before you start to see the sides of the rolls.  Accordingly, this technique will work better for objects with less curvature.  A big felt bowl would be nice, suitable project, I think. The felt should handle that level of curvature nicely.
Anyway, I still have a large garbage bag full of old felted sweaters destined to become new wearable pieces. In that process, I'll make lots more felt scraps. And with those scraps, I might just have to bead weave them into other things like bowls, balls, and boxes. So hopefully there is more bead weaving with felt in my future. Stay tuned. And, as always, thanks for looking. Happy Mother's Day.
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