Friday, October 29, 2010

Crystal Chaos Bracelet

This is my first (and only serious, at least so far) foray into free-form peyote stitch. It's pretty fun, and it suits my chaotic nature.

It's all size 11 and size 8 seed beads, with a few glass beads and the occasional swarovski (6 and 4) thrown in and some copper 20 gauge wire to shape it. I found the basic idea in a beading book, but I have since returned the book to the library and I forget the original author! Good stuff, though.

It's really fun to wear.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Right Angle Weave Tutorial

Recently I posted pictures of some of my Right Angle Weave (RAW) projects, and that got me thinking. RAW is such a funky stitch, and it can be hard to get the hang of. A tutorial with a bunch of pictures might help.

So I've made one!

Let's start with the basics. RAW is an off-loom beadweaving technique. It requires string, a needle, and some beads. Practically any kind of beads will work. I usually use size 11 seed beads, but the tutorial uses 8s. I switch colors often to make the tutorial a little easier to understand, but I usually just use one color overall.

RAW creates a bunch of little boxes (or ovals, depending on bead sizes and tension) that are connected together. An important feature are the little empty diamonds created where 4 boxes meet. These diamonds can tell you if you are weaving correctly: if you are, there will never be any thread crossing the diamonds, either horizontally or vertically. Keep an eye on that!

Oh, also, if I seem a little math-inclined or a little tutor-y, it's because I am. :)

On with the tutorial!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RAW Part 3: Yggdrasil Blossom Bracelet

This is one of the coolest things I have ever made. I love it. I designed everything for it myself, too, with the exception of the RAW two-level base (in size 11 seed beads).

Besides the seed beads, there are two glass beads, some copper chain, and then there's the wire, 22 gauge copper. 22-gauge is the best, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I love the little leaves. Have I mentioned that I love this bracelet?

The flowers are made out of these little plus-sign-shaped copper bits I bought at the hardware store. I colored them myself, holding them with pliers over a flame. Yeah, yeah, I know, that was safe. But it worked! And then I bent them using pliers, and superglued the double-petaled flower together. They're held on the bracelet by the center beads and the seed beed stamens. The leaves and thread are sewn onto the RAW base.

I need to make more stuff like this.

Simple Pink Bracelet

I seem to be in a Right Angle Weave mood today, 'cause here's one of my other RAW bracelets. This is about as simple as you can get. 3 x 3 RAW base in size 11 matte raspberry seed beads, embellished with size 5 swarovskis, with no AB for once.

I did have a hard time finding 5s in a nice gradient, though-- I went into the bead shop planning on green, and I left with pink. Ah well, I have grown to like pink over the years. And it is a nice smooth gradient.

Did you know that AB stands for Aurora Borealis? I didn't, for the longest time. I'm a huge fan of AB, though. If you left things up to me, I'd buy out the bead shop and embellish a floor-length dress in 2xABs. Then I'd wear it. Everywhere.


Spring Blossom Bracelet

This is an example of what one can do given enough microscopic bits of glass and string. Oh, and a few shiny yellow size 6 swarovskis.

This bracelet utilizes two major off-loom beadweaving techniques. The first is right-angle weave. RAW is really a remarkable thing, once you get the hang of it. It can cover a lot of space very quickly, and, if woven with appropriate tension, the finished fabric is supple and perfect for embellishing. The base of this bracelet is one long strand of RAW made out of these lovely subdued yellow matte beads.

The other technique was a nemesis of mine for some time: herringbone, or ndebele weave. I've grown to really like ndebele, as it creates very strong structures and is good for sculptural work. The flowers start with tiny 10-bead ndebele cylinders (no love for the brick stitch required to start ndebele, though. Mrrr.) and then branch off into little petals. I'm very happy with them (I engineered them myself, though they're such a simple structure I'm sure other people have, too,) and they look particularly great with the sparklies in the middle.

I really like the combination of colors for this bracelet-- I'm all about combining blue and yellow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Constructed Angel Bracelet

This has the same clear-and-copper theme as the earrings of the same name. It's all chain, randomly strung copper beads, size 6 (and one size 4) Crystal AB bicones, bead caps, and just a few moonstone-like Czech glass drops. It's about 20cm long, which, I guess, says more about my wrist than anything.

Constructed Angel Earrings

These were inspired by a large (well... large for a solitary hobby-crafter, anyway) of copper beads and AB Crystal swarovskis. I love the combination of crystal and copper, but these didn't do it for me until I added in the tiny copper spirals.

I've got this strange Steampunk-y (or CLAMP-y, I suppose) image in my head of an angel partially made of machinery (or at least in very industrial-looking armor) but sparkly things and a lot of white light surrounding him/her. These earrings sorta invoke that for me.

They're about 3.5cm long, with tiny little .5cm spirals. They're made of hollow copper beads, 6 mm swarovski bicones in Crystal AB, and yellow Japanese size 8 seed beads. 

My Favorite Earrings

I honestly don't know why I love these so much. I wasn't crazy about them when I first made them, I thought they needed something else to them. But they don't. They're swingy and wonderful and I love the way they look. Plus, I feel like I can wear them with just about anything. Maybe it's the asymmetry that makes them awesome.

They're about 5 cm long, they're copper chain and glass beads, with one copper bead cap on the largest bead.

Scarlet Lantern Earrings

I went to a bead show a while back and the Ruby Quartz (which I think is actually glass) just called and called to me until I bought some.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much to do with it.

But I did make these!

They're about 4.5 cm. in length. They use glass beads, copper chain, large copper bead caps, seed beads, and dark brown 4mm swarovski bicones.

Yarn Gallery: So Far

How to Dye Yarn With Kool-Aid

Prior to writing this, I decided, for the sake of correctness, to check the spelling of everyone’s favorite powdered drink. Kool-ade, I had thought, made sense. Like lemonade or limeade. Right?
Wrong! “Kool-Aid”, the package pronounced. I was perplexed. I still am. I guess it aids you… in being “kool”? Whatever that is. I’m bitter that my sensible-spelling logic didn’t work out.
Regardless of any personal issues I might now have with said drink mix, it is a fantastic color-izer of woolen stuff. I have been getting into yarn lately, and, even more lately, into wool yarn (it felts! Isn’t that awesome?!?!) and I vaguely remembered hearing something about Kool-Aid. I hit Google, found a few pages with general instructions, and within a few hours I had dyed my first batch of yarn.

I’ve dyed several batches since then, and here’s how I do it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Epic Return

I am utterly relieved to be back online after about a week sans computer and internet.

In the interim, I have bought a spray bottle.

It helps the yarn dyeing immensely.

Praise Jeebus, I have internet. Whoo!