Monday, November 30, 2009

Darkly Sparkly

I've had these two pieces of titanium-coated drusy for some time but every bead combination I tried seemed to be overwhelmed by their emphatic sparkle. When Artbeads invited me to try out their cubic zirconia beads I requested purple ovals and was delighted to find that they more than matched the color and sparkle of the cabochons.

The picture makes the CZ beads look more reddish than they really are; I think it's because they were photographed on a warm-colored rock. In real life they're almost a perfect match for the sparkling purplish drusy stones.

I used a spike-ended loop fringe on the bottom of the piece and to embellish the "head" and the lower part of the strap.

FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: I received the cubic zirconia beads (but not the rest of my materials) free of charge from Artbeads. I am not being paid for this blog entry or for endorsing Artbeads' products in any way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lacy Looped Fringe Instructions

Loop-ended fringe

Just as with spikes, you can end a spike fringe stitch with a loop instead of with a big bead and a pivot bead or any of the other variations we’ve already discussed. All by itself, I have to say this doesn’t make a terribly exciting fringe.

It should be obvious from the diagram how you do it: string on enough beads for the desired length of fringe, then string on enough more to make a graceful loop (the 7 pictured are a minimum; I actually like my loops with 8-10 beads) and then go back up the first lot of beads you strung. (Again, probably more than 5. Think 10, 15 beads at a minimum if you want a gracefully swaying fringe.)

Where looped fringes really come into their own is when you start adding loops before you get to the end, like this:

It does make a difference which way your thread runs, so bear with me while I dissect this one in a little more detail:

String on 4 beads. Now string on 7 more beads and go through the 4th bead again, in the same direction as before. (If you keep stringing in the same direction as before your loops will dangle gracefully. If you string back into the base fringe in the opposite direction then your loops will stick out. You could think of them as perky and individualistic, but I find the effect is more like that of a person with very curly hair on an extremely bad hair day.)

And that’s about it, really. String on 4 more beads, then do another 7-bead loop maintaining the direction of stringing, keep on this way until your fringe is long enough, then close it off with one last loop and run the needle back up through all the main fringe beads but without passing back through any of the loop beads.

Massed together, these multi-loop fringes can give a beautifully rich and lacy look. I used them to decorate the strap and half the beading on Crazy Lace Cascade. The original crazy lace agate stone had bands of even color on one side and a wild tumble of pale peach and pearl curls on the other side; I tried to duplicate that effect in the beading, with fringes falling over the stone as well as around it. (see previous post for a picture, or go to my website for a really detailed picture.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crazy Lace Cascade

I'm finding all sorts of creative ways to avoid getting back to the Massive Sculptural Beadwork Project From Hell. Actually this piece was finished a while ago, I just hadn't had time to blog it. It uses a multi-loop fringe stitch that I developed for the new book to create that lacy effect on the left hand side; I'm quite taken with this effect and plan to experiment with it more in future pieces.

I plan to post a book excerpt showing how to do this crazy looped fringe later this week, in case anybody wants to play with it.

The piece I'm actually working on right now, inspired by Artbeads' invitation to try out their line of cubic zirconia beads, has another fancy fringe, but quite different, designed to show off the CZ's. More on that when I get it done.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fibrous Matter

Inspired by Maggie Grey's Textile Translations, I recently got hold of some mulberry bark and gampi fiber and was playing around with them. (No, I don't know what gampi fiber is. I guess it comes from the gampi tree.) Both of these substances can be soaked, teased out into interesting webs of fiber, pinned to dry, then painted and embossed and applied to fabric.

So can cheesecloth, and it's a lot cheaper and easier to get hold of.

Anyway, I had this background lying around - painted handmade paper embellished to foiled black felt - and stitched my experiments to it, thinking they look sort of like a coral reef. Of course half of everything I do looks like a coral reef, and it gets worse the longer I'm deprived of vitamin Beach, but never mind that now - just tell me what you think. Purple is one substance, pink is another, and orange is a third. Anybody want to have a go at identifying gampi, mulberry and cheesecloth?
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