Saturday, January 3, 2015

Updated for 2015: Why you should take a class from Traci Otte

I originally posted most of this last year, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to post it again with information on some of the classes I'm teaching in 2015.  Here's a sneak peek:

Traci's 2015 Bead&Button Show classes (see below for more information)

Why would someone spend their hard-earned money to take a class from some woman named Traci Otte?  Yes, I'm speaking of myself in the third person so you don't forget which teacher you'll look up when this is all done.  :)

Let's start with introductions.  Hi, I'm Traci.  I have always been creative.  I started with latch hook rugs when I was little and worked my way up to cross stitch, crocheting, jewelry making, scrapbooking, and knitting.  I joined the Loose Bead Society after moving to Milwaukee in 2008, and after I saw what the "big kids" were doing, I learned how to stitch.  After I left a computer programming job and determined that due to health reasons I couldn't continue in that career, I started my own business.  I now sell finished jewelry, teach, and sell kits and tutorials of my designs on Etsy and on my Creative Pursuits website.
Now, why would you want to take a class from me?  Let's make a list.  I love lists!
  • I'm a good teacher.  Yeah, everyone would say that, but it has to be said, otherwise you get to the end of the list and think, "But is she a good teacher?  She never said."  I truly do my best to make sure everyone in my classes understands the material and is happy.  I also like to think I'm easy to talk to and that I foster a comfortable, fun class environment.
  • I give lots of tips.  If I discover something that makes the project easier to do, I'm going to pass that information on!
  • I make mistakes so you don't have to.  I've done everything from choosing colors with not enough contrast to forgetting to put the key inside the tube I've just started stitching up.  (If you're fond of train wrecks, check out my Mistakes and how I make them blog post.  There's a lot about knitting and crocheting in there, but it's a fun read.)  Whenever possible, I use that information in my tutorials and in my classes so you will hopefully avoid the heartaches I've had to endure.
  • Most of my designs are easily accessible by beginners.  I have a few that are intermediate, but the lion's share of them can be picked up by anyone who's never picked up a needle.  However, they still have appeal to experienced stitchers.
  • I give extras when I can.  If my design is for a bracelet, I frequently will include instructions for making matching earrings.
  • I'm international.  I sold a tutorial and a kit to a nice lady from Japan at the Bead&Button Show's Meet the Teachers reception, and I sold a digital download of a tutorial to someone in Sweden on Etsy.  I feel so honored!
  • A few of my designs have been published in Kalmbach magazines (BeadStyle and Bead&Button) and in one of their compilation books (so far).  For a list of where I've been published, check out the Publications page of my website.
  • For the last few years I've had a presence - teaching and/or having a booth - at three prominent bead shows:  the Milwaukee Bead Show hosted by Knot Just Beads in October, the Art Glass and Bead Show in Madison, Wisconsin in March, and the Meet the Teachers reception at the Bead&Button Show in June.  For a list of where I'll be at any point in time, check out my website.
  • I'm thorough (as you can tell from this list).  :)

Now that you know me better, I'd like to talk about my tutorials and kits for those classes where I'm providing the materials.

Note:  The word "tutorial" refers to step-by-step written instructions, not just the pattern.  Some of my kits include the pattern but do not explain how to do the actual stitch or how to attach a clasp.
  • Because I started designing shortly after I started stitching, my tutorials pay attention to every step so a beginner can easily follow along.
  • Related to that, I take notes as I design and make the first sample.  I make the second sample following those notes and make notes to the notes as adjustments are needed.
  • While making the second sample, I take photos of each step (called process shots) and annotate many of them with arrows and instructions.  The tutorials are printed in color so you can easily see what's supposed to go where.  If I think the steps aren't completely clear from the pictures, I also include a diagram.  Between the words, the pictures, and the diagrams, you should be just fine.
  • In the back of many of my tutorials (those that are more than one page) I include spots where you can keep track of everything surrounding the project you just made so you don't wonder, "Now, what color did I use there?"
  • On my "more than one page" tutorials, the last page is lined for notes and has my full business card printed on it so you always have my information handy.  E-mail me or call me (preferably not in the middle of the night) if you have any questions!  For my simpler tutorials that are on just one page, I list my website, e-mail address, and Etsy shop page.  You can e-mail me, and I'll send you my phone number if you need it.  :)
  • I sometimes include goofy pictures or clip art.

    This is my "lawn chicken", Kirby, modeling my StarLite Dots necklace.
  • Most importantly, each design passes the "husband test".  My husband, Steve, is an associate editor for Model Railroader magazine.  He's used to step-by-step projects but doesn't know how to stitch.  If he says, "I could do that!" then the tutorial is good to go!  It also doesn't hurt that he's a whiz at grammar.  Between the two of us, nothing gets through.
And finally...

  • If I'm providing a kit for a class or for sale outside of class, you get everything but the scissors.  There's a needle and Fireline in every kit, and I include my business card so you know how to contact me if you need to.
  • With very few exceptions, I sell my kits separately from my tutorials, so if you want an extra kit from a class you've taken, you don't have the extra cost of another set of instructions.
  • I do my best to keep my kit prices reasonable.  I shop around for my materials to save me money, and I pass the savings on to you!
  • I provide enough materials to fit my "mutantly large" wrists and then some, so you should never have to worry about running out before you're finished with the project.  If you do, you have my phone number!
  • I provide a range of colors to choose from.  I'm most comfortable with purples, blues, greens, pinks/reds, grays, and black, but I deviate from that where I can.  My husband likes the colors I don't, so he helps me choose colors outside of my comfort zone, such as this "Fire" colorway of my It's Got Legs design:

So, are you "fired up" (sorry for the pun, but I had to) now to take a class with me?  You have many opportunities!

At any time you can see my class and event schedule on my website,, but for your convenience here's a list of my currently scheduled classes:

FP Flower Power
Saturday, January 31, 2015
10:30a – 12:30p
Knot Just Beads, 4309 S. 76th Street, Greenfield, WI
Call 414-771-8360 to register

If you’ve wanted to get acquainted with the new pip beads, this cute floral bracelet is perfect! Super Duos are the flowers’ stems, and pips make the petals in this modified daisy chain piece.

Shag Let’s Shag, Baby
Saturday, January 31, 2015
2:00p – 4:00p
Knot Just Beads, 4309 S. 76th Street, Greenfield, WI
Call 414-771-8360 to register

A spiral of Rizos gives this bracelet a shaggy look that is fun and full of movement. Students will learn a modified spiral rope stitch using SuperDuos along with Rizos.

EES The Ever-Evolving Spiral
Friday, March 27, 2015
9:00a – 11:00a
Art Glass and Bead Show
Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin
Registration opens January 15th

By varying the number of beads in the spiral and the number of core beads stitched through, one quick-to-stitch spiral rope technique evolves into four different thicknesses, including a shaggy one with Rizos! Each is great on its own, but using a transition row one thickness evolves into the next for a neat gradated look. The class will cover the bracelet so students can practice each of the thicknesses and transitions, but the kit will include enough materials to make the matching necklace shown.

SDN15 – Intertwined Pyramids
Saturday, June 6, 2015
9:00a – 5:00p (with two hour break)
Bead&Button Show – online registration opens January 6 at 12:00p CST
Page 87 in the print class catalog
Direct online class link:
Would you believe this bracelet started with a bunch of flat triangles?  Learn how to stitch the basic “SDN15″ triangle, make a pyramid out of it, intertwine two pyramids into a single unit, and stitch them together for this bold, lacy bracelet.  Instructions for earrings will be included, and I’m sure I’ll be throwing a few other things in, too.


Sunday, June 7, 2015
9:00a – noon
Bead&Button Show – online registration opens January 6 at 12:00p CST
Page 93 in the class catalog
Direct online class link:

Dance with Super Duos, Rizos, and crystals as you stitch back and forth to add scalloped edges to a modified Right Angle Weave base.  Instructions for matching earrings will be included.

I do hope to see you in one or more of my classes in 2015.  If you have any questions about any of these classes or anything else that I offer, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at

1 comment:

  1. I have purchased many of Traci's wonderful kits. She's right, she is always just a phone call away if I run into trouble. I have also taken classes from her in person (here in King George, VA!!). She is wonderfully patient, thorough, and full of helpful tips. She is an awesome teacher!