Archives for June 2014

Bead Weaving

Necklace made by seed bead weaving

Bead Weaving with Laura McCabe – Bead and Button Class No. 2

Yes, I love to weave those tiny little seed beads into jewelry.  It relaxes me.  There are many bead weaving techniques.  And there are hundreds of talented teachers and patterns.  And every year at the Bead and Button Show I like to indulge in one class on bead weaving.  This year I chose Laura McCabe and the project was her “Bouquet de Lavande Beaded Necklace“.  Of course it’s hard to finish a project like this in the time allotted for the class.  I did make a good start and was really pleased to have Laura as a teacher.  Learned some great tricks and tips.  So if you are into making beaded jewelry I highly recommend taking a class with Laura.

I also like to choose projects that have the possibility of enhancing some of my lampworked beads.  And I can definitely see some on my beads with the chain learned in this project.  The stitch for the chain is called ndebele or herringbone stitch.  It is one of the first bead weaving techniques that I learned and I love it.  In Laura’s class she taught us a great way to start the chain – one I did not know.

The herringbone motif is ancient in origin.    It is a zigzag pattern, composed of short parallel slanted rows that line up in one direction and then the other.  The herringbone pattern has been used in textiles including basketry and weaving long before it was adapted to beading.  Herringbone patterns can be traced back to Egyptian gold chains and in textiles around the world.  I love this beaded chain in lieu of metal chains sometimes for my designs.

Now I just have to find the time to finish this necklace.

creating the desert in glass and metal



Bracelet with riveting

Bead and Button Class #1 – A Bracelet with Rivets

This bracelet was made in the first class I took at the Bead and Button Show last week.  It was taught by a dynamic duo – Cristina Leonard and Gail Lannum.  The class was fun and packed full of techniques; plus you left with a finished product.

Techniques vs Project

So do you like to take a class to learn a technique or to go home with a finished piece?

I like to take a class to learn a technique or to improve on a technique that I already sorta know how to do.  This class had lots of techniques to learn, riveting being one.  Riveting is a method of attaching two pieces of metal with a cold join instead of soldering.  I have riveted pieces in my studio, but I have never tried to rivet on a curved surface.  I even thought that those rivets on the bracelet were made when it was still flat before forming the bracelet…. but learned that the holes would deform if you did that and would compromise their function.  So how in the heck do you drill that hole on a curved surface?   A wooden bracelet mandrel.  Voila!  how simple.  I also acid etched the brass and made the metal clay pieces.  A very satisfying class indeed.  Oh yea!  anneal those brass rivets and it’s a whole lot easier to form them!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Bead Crochet and Inspiration from the Desert

Bead Crochet Art Jewelry

I love to bead crochet jewelry.  Crochet is a fiber technique.  But when I add tiny seed beads to the thread I can produce some gorgeous wearable art jewelry.  Recently I have been working bead crochet with 19 – 26 beads in a round.  This many beads in a row allows me to create some beautiful patterns – which I do on my computer.  I like to use a software program called BeadTool.  It allows me to design my pattern and then prints it along with the colors and amounts of seed beads that I will need.  I like to have a project loaded on the thread as it’s handy to take on trips or to do in my spare time.  I just finished the crochet components for a new necklace I will call “Diamondback”.

Desert Inspiration

My jewelry and lampworked beads are inspired by the deserts of the American Southwest.  The Western diamondback rattlesnake is the most common rattlesnake around Tucson.  One of the artists at the gallery I belong to painted a rattlesnake.  So I used her art for my inspiration for a bead crochet necklace.

painting of a diamondback rattlesnake


Since I had a photo of the artwork I was able to upload the digital image into the software program.  The program reads the photo and even recommends the colors I will need.  Next, I sketch out the pattern with the colors of the seed beads.  When I am finished I print the pattern.  I have to string all of the beads onto the thread before I begin to crochet.  Although tedious, doing this in advance makes the bead crochet project easy to transport.   I do not string all the beads needed for a complete necklace because it would be difficult to crochet without getting tangles; so I divide my necklace into 4 parts and then join the sections as I go.  In the photo below you can see a portion of the completed bead crochet tube and the beads laid out to string and the pattern.

bead crochet pattern of a diamondback rattlesnake


So the bead crochet portion is complete.  Next I will make a coordinating lampworked bead and then put the necklace together.  More pictures to come later.

Here is a photo of a completed necklace called “Arizona Sunset”.

bead crochet necklace Arizona sunset


You can see more bead crochet pieces in the gallery on my website.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Shopping at the Bead and Button Show

photo of a mini saw

Shopping at the Marketplace at Bead and Button

Shopping at the Bead and Button Show is always fun.  I was at the show in Milwaukee for a week this year.  I took some great classes (and will post some of the projects later).  And of course shopped at the Marketplace; although this year there seemed to be be fewer vendors.  For me this year seemed to be the year to go shopping for tools and when I saw this little mini saw I just had to have it.  I work with metal clay sometimes and this little saw will be perfect to cut many things… especially hinges.  Here’s a video on making a self contained hinge.  Plus now I have a use for all the broken saw blades when I cut sheet metal.  I am really delighted with this purchase.

creating the desert in glass and metal