Saturday, 28 April 2012

Blossoms, braids and embroidery

These remind me of cherry blossom

Loads of cherry blossom along my favourite walk. I’ve found some freshwater pearls in shades of peridot, rose, olive and champagne, to match with the colours I saw blossoming in the hedgerows this morning.  We have some lovely grape hyacinths in the garden just now so I’m inspired to make a kumihimo braid in spring colours. I need to do something completely different for a few days before I start another bead embroidered piece. I’m spending a few days hand painting silk habotai which I will cut into strips to make my own silk ribbon. Once painted I’m embellishing them with threads and tiny beads.
Spring colours to include in the new braid
Then I'll weave them into pretty braids using my Marudai. I’ll use 37 gram tama (bobbins) instead of the 70 gram ones I normally use as this will keep the braids soft. I want these to hold their circlet shape, so I will braid in some strands of bead and wire crochet. It should be fun and interesting.  Judging by the number of hits I’m getting on my You Tube video there are loads of you who are interested in kumihimo techniques. I’ll take photos as I go, so that you can see mine progressing step-by-step.  
My sketches of spirals. My excuse to buy cakes!

Ideas come from all kinds of unexpected places. Looking for patterns and shapes turns a trip to the supermarket into a journey of discovery – and gives a good excuse to buy cakes! I was fascinated by the swirly patterns on the top of shiny, sticky Chelsea buns. I think that if I were ever marooned on a desert island and had to choose one craft related thing it would have to be a sketchbook. I’m keeping a folder of sketches of interesting shapes and textures, they can often spark ideas for bead embroidery.
Talking of which - Clarice is close to being done, just the button and loop closure to do. Its a rounded rectangle shape, so it will be secure when fastened.

Almost done - making the handmade clasp

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Magpies and Peacocks

Sparkly things.  Just can’t resist them I’m afraid. 56 tubes of tiny Toho Triangle beads are my idea of heaven in a box! Better by far than chocolates and kind to the hips (if not the purse). As soon as I unpacked them, they suggested peacock feather colours to me.

I have a peacock feather pinned up above my beading desk, and have thought for some time that I would do a peacock inspired piece. I’ve sorted through my stash for possible accent and focal beads and have a rough watercolour sketch of what I have in mind. This will be my next piece when Clarice is done.

Below is a rough idea of what I intend to make.

Clarice has more beading in than anything I have ever done before, and I realised that I would need to engineer the strap to include flexible pieces between the sections of bead embroidery. A square handmade clasp also suggests itself. Funny how things tell you how they want to go.  I’m on a mission to make my neckpieces sit comfortably on the wearer and curve to the contours of the neck. The picture shows the neckpiece partly done, with a watercolour sketch of how the beading will continue.

Have finally decided to treat myself to a proper state of the art craft light. My old anglepoise that I’ve had since art school has started to crackle and buzz. Technology has marched on so I am looking forward to getting the new one through the post next week. Better colour matching and less eye strain I hope. Work on my new and improved website still in progress, as ever not enough hours in the day. Have had to buckle down to some housework this morning as we have friends popping round tomorrow. I am planning an old fashioned afternoon tea and some craft related chatter with someone as passionate about stitching and all things crafty as I am. At least it’s raining and I can get on with beading without feeling guilty about the dandelions that seem to be everywhere just now.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Where does the time go?

My new cabochon

Another week has sped by. As usual I find that I have not managed to do all the things I intended, apart from the retail therapy. I bought four selection boxes of gorgeous little triangle beads  from the Bead Merchant. Then I found this wonderful and very unusual glass cabochon by Lynne Lane at Fired Glass on Ebay. Not sure what it will be made into, but it seems to suggest something exotic, oriental, like the patterns on a kimono. I’ll try to get some sketches done next week 
Clarice - trimmed and ready to be edged

Clarice is coming along well. I have trimmed the embroidered panel, and need to attach the backing and do the beading to the edge. Then the strap to work on. I have decided on woven sections interspersed with more bead embroidered sections.
This is the first time I have done bead embroidery on 'Lacy's Stiff Stuff'. i must say I do like it, I have not had a single needle break and I like being able to colour the design on the surface before beading. I may back this piece with Ultrasuede - also a first for me. Onwards and upwards as they say.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Follow your heart

Found some sweet little spice bowls with shell
scoops in the local charity shop
Intuition is a clever thing. Ignore the little voices at your peril. Two weekends of partying with family (once for my nephew's wedding in Bristol and once for my sister-in-law’s fortieth birthday party) left me wanting a quiet time with nothing stronger than a nice pot of tea. Suitably refreshed I have got my beading mojo back! Clarice now progressing wonderfully well and the colours are unusual but very beautiful. Teal and orange are working well together. Having the courage to discard something that was not working has paid off .  
I’ve been working on the website makeover in between bouts of bead embroidery and that should be going ‘live’ next weekend. I will celebrate the launch with some bead related retail therapy. That’s my excuse anyway!
Happy Easter everyone…. I’m off to unwrap my egg.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Barking up the wrong tree!

A mock up done in photoshop

Goodness me I wasn’t kidding when I said there would be a few surprises in store with my Clarice neckpiece! She has led me a merry dance over the last few days. On two occasions I have made a start….  only to discard the piece and  start all over again. On the first occasion I realised that the shape at the top reminded me of a fried egg. Can’t remember Clarice Cliff ever doing a range called ‘All Day Breakfast’

After a bit more research I saw that Clarice Cliff designs often included a tall stylised tree so this will hopefully work well. So that I am clearer about the design, I used photoshop to make a sort of ‘photofit’ of what I am aiming at. I'm much happier with the layout now and hopefully I will be able to make some progress over the Easter weekend.

I will be needing regular doses of chocolate!