Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest post: Abby - Beginners attempt at bead weaving -- Simple Stitched Saucer Set (RAW)

In our house, Abby is known as "Xuron Abby", as she works for Xuron and has given me tool samples to review (if you missed my reviews, you can catch up: Fireline scissors, 4 in 1 Crimpers, and Split ring pliers).  When we talk about the tools, we also chat about our cats and other things.  She's become quite a good friend, and I'm not just saying that because she's featured me in the Xuron for Jewelers newsletter.  :)

The morning after I posted about my shop page for kits that are available for my new BeadStyle article, my phone dinged that I had received a PayPal payment.  It was Abby, and she purchased a full set kit and the PDF on how to stitch the full set (the bracelet is in the magazine, and the necklace and earring instructions are separate).  I called her right away and said, "What are you doing?"  She said, "Well, I really like the lime/pink one, and I thought your shop needed to be tested."  She's such a dear!

I sent the kit to her right away, and she received it last Thursday.  When she first looked at the kit, she expressed a concern about the "really small beads".  I had to laugh, and I told her that those really aren't really small beads.  I should have sent her a link to my Peanut bead question blog post from two years ago.  They're far from the smallest beads, but I can understand her concerns!  They look really small when you compare them to the saucer beads.

She made the bracelet over the weekend.  This was the first time Abby had ever stitched with beads.  While I'm extremely flattered that she chose my project as her first, I felt a bit of anxiety that she would have problems and would hate doing it.  I don't want it going around the beading world that Traci Otte turned Xuron Abby off of stitching!

My fears were unfounded, as it turned out, but I'll let her tell you all about it:
I have never so much as threaded a needle (a bead weaving needle that is).   This proved to be the most challenging part of the project!!

Instructions were perfect. Photos provided great guidance as well.  I did watch a few YouTube tutorial videos (a decent one from Jewelrytools.com showing RAW using large bicones) because I felt I needed to actually see someone doing the work.  Once I completely grasped the concept of going in circles I was fine.  I also sketched out a crude diagram so I could be sure I was following the correct path of the weave.

I did a test piece using 6mm bicones and after three RAW units I felt confident I could start the bracelet.
Ready to start the test piece

The test piece looks great!

All the tools are assembled, ready to make the bracelet
After my first couple of RAW units of the bracelet I had the hang of it and found myself naturally working from left to right and I was glad to read in the instructions that this is OK providing I keep with the weave pattern. 
 Mid-bracelet progress

Ready to add the clasp
The clasps were very simple to accomplish and again, this was due to the great instructions. 
Project finished!

Perfect fit!
I did make some mistakes but I’m not bothered by them as I don’t feel they detract from the end result.

How long did this take – well, one full cycle of the dishwasher!  I started the dishwasher just before I started the project and I was almost finished with the first clasp when the dishes were done. 

I didn’t know how to make a knot so I just did a lot of extra weaving and hope it holds  -- if not, I’ll do it all again :)  I since looked at the project in Bead Style Mag and saw that the project included instruction for a half-hitch knot.  Next time I’ll know.

I also did not have a bead stopper – I just kept good tension on the tail thread and had no problem.

Threading the needle was difficult for me because my close up vision (even with readers) is poor.  I invented my own trick (well, I’m sure others have done this since it’s pretty simple) – I used my TweezerNose Plier (Xuron Model 450) to flatten the end of the Fireline, then trimmed it and it threaded like a dream. 

My dining room table doubles as my craft space and my home office so…. It is generally cluttered.  My advice to a first timer is to be sure you remove all clutter as the long piece of Fireline easily gets caught on things.  Have handy just the items you need.  

Last – cats and beads are not a good combination!!  Rudy was not helpful (even though he wanted to be). 
Hi, Rudy!
I loved this project and can’t wait to make the necklace!  The saucer beads are perfect because they are easy to work with and a perfect size for beginners. 

Have you considered videos?  I wonder if you could do a quick “technique” video for knotting, needle threading, a few stitches?  

I love my new bracelet !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for teaching me to weave :)

I'm so glad that Abby had a good experience with her first stitching project.  My reputation is safe!  :)  I'm really looking forward to seeing the matching necklace and all the thousands of stitching projects she'll make in the future.

Thanks, Abby, for choosing my bracelet to be your first and for letting me share your experiences with my readers!

If you'd like to make your own Simple Stitched Saucer bracelet or set, kits and tutorials are available here.

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