Friday, April 2, 2010

Color makes a big difference

We had spring in Wisconsin this week.  On Wednesday.  It was beautiful!  Then we had two days in a row that hit 80 degrees.  Well, it was nice while it lasted!  It's only April 2nd, so spring should be back soon.

In the last few months I have started learning to do bead stitching.  Previously I have strung beads (single or multi-strand) and worked with polymer and silver clay, but I thought that stitching was too difficult.  I've made some friends after I moved up here at the Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee (check out our website at, of which I am the Webgoddess), and they have helped me overcome my "aversion to stitching".

On the recommendation of one of my new friends, I bought Mastering Beadwork: A Comprehensive Guide to Off-loom Techniques by Carol Huber Cypher. This book is really good at showing a number of stitches, including peyote (flat, tubular, and circular), herringbone (flat and tubular), spiral, square, etc... it just goes on and on.  You can find it on Amazon, and it's very reasonably priced!  It is spiral-bound, so you can leave it open while you work.  Very useful, unless a cat is sitting on it, which regularly happens in our house.

In the Daisy Chain stitch section I liked the idea of the Springtime Chain Bracelet but not the colors.  I'm pretty conservative with my color choices and have to really force myself to go beyond my norms: purple (in case you haven't noticed!), black, white, grey, silver, smoke... The bracelet in the book has BRIGHT colors: green, yellow, orange, peach.  That just would not do.  In the words of my dear, departed grandmother, "How would that look?"

I searched through my stash and even spent a few hours digging through a jar of bead soup to find just the right colors.  I had more sedate green leaf beads that I loved, and I found purples, clears, slightly metallic clears, and light greens enough to make the bracelet:

I had a bit of a problem with the toggle.  My first attempt was huge, and off it went into my "sample tin" of experiments with different stitches, the effect of using different beads, and what material was used.  This is a great idea, by the way, given to me by my same friend who suggested the book.  You should see her sample box!  Anyway, the second attempt worked better, and while it is still a little large, the bracelet stays on my wrist.

I was working on this at a bead retreat the Loose Bead Society had a few weeks ago, and everyone who saw it marveled at how different it looked from the picture, just by changing the colors.  All this by looking at the piece behind the project, if that makes any sense.  I frequently will pass by projects in books and magazines because I didn't like the colors that were used.  I am now going back through my magazines and marking those projects with the techniques that I want to try - colors be damned!

Do you have any similar stories?  I'd love to hear them and even see pictures if possible!

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