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Friday, July 8, 2016

Bead Crochet Snakes in Italy

I am working on posting the photos that I took of the Bead Dreams finalists at Bead and Button but, in the meantime, please enjoy an interview about my work and the history of bead crochet snakes that Cristina Gualtierotti conducted.  Cristina is a talented beader living in Italy and she has some interesting posts.  Here is the link  Cristal Clinic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bead and Button 2016

     My time at Bead and Button started with a bang as I tripped the uneven pavement by my hotel and did a face plant right onto the sidewalk on my first night in Milwaukee.  I didn't break anything, although I have 2 scrapes on my hands and a big hole in my knee.  Add to that, 1 slashed knuckle from bending copper sheet and a mystery scratch on my left thumb and I won't be doing much beading for a while.  Luckily, my mouse finger still works.
      Tuesday night, I took the Steampunk Trellis Pendant class with Irina Miech, which turned out to be not what I expected.  I thought that we would be using the wire looping technique to make the base of the pendant, but Irina had a neat cheat. 
Steampunk Trellis Pendant and Niobium Flower Ring

Moonlight Madness started right after class, so I wandered over to the shopping event to say hello to people.  I actually bought some crocodile leather-it was just so dinosaur-y that I couldn't pass it up.  I also bought a cute pair of flowers from Stephanie Sersich to make a pair of earrings.

Australian crocodile leather

Flower beads from Stephanie Sersich.  How cute are these?

 Wednesday, I had a day-long class with Maria Richmond as we made Riffing on a Zipper, which taught us how to wire wrap zippers onto wire.  Maria is a great teacher and we had a lot of fun.  I am not finished with my pendant because I hit a wall with it's design but I intend to finish it once I can use my hands again.  Wednesday night was Meet the Teachers, where I got to say hello to lots of friends.

Riffing on a Zipper

Thursday, I had a short class with Marti Brown where we learned to make a niobium flower ring.  As usual, playing with niobium was such fun!  Then the shopping floor opened at 4pm and I was busy for the next 4 hours.  The main mission was to buy beads to cover a stuffed frog toy.

Froggy is surveying some of the beads that might adorn him soon.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that they all won't fit on him.

Friday, I got to spend a few minutes with Kelly Stevenson of Back2Bead and his lovely wife Alicia.  Although they have many tempting beads, I was good and only bought these etched daggers.

Etched daggers from Back2Bead 

I also did my first wire crochet demonstration session at the ParaWire booth.  I needed earrings, so I have been obsessed with crocheting the smaller gauges of wire.

One pair of wire crochet earrings

Another pair of wire crochet earrings

I also stopped at Trinket Foundry booth to see Cathy's new recycled glass with silver metal clay.  Sadly, the earring pieces were quite popular, but I managed to find 2 shapes that went together.  Who says that earrings have to match?

Recycled glass with silver clay decoration

Saturday morning, I took the Painted Pendants class with Eva Sherman-what a treat!  I learned how to fold a sheet of copper  so that it looked like crumpled paper, cut it into shapes, add enamel and fire it with a torch, and mount our creations into frames.  I really liked this class and Eva is a great teacher.

A folded sheet of copper (top) and 3 finished pendants (bottom)

In the afternoon, I did a second wire crochet demonstration at the ParaWire booth.

Wire crochet earrings with pearls.

Wire crochet sewn to a textured frame.  I didn't start out to make dream catchers but that was what the earrings wanted to be.

I also discovered a new tool at the ParaWire booth.  I have been thinking about buying a few texturing hammers.  My metal friends swear by the Fretz hammers, but I don't do enough metal and wire work to justify spending that kind of money...but I do want to do some metal texturing.  This hammer with multiple texturing heads looked like a good way to get a number of heads for a decent price, especially since it feels balanced when you use it.  I played with it a bit in the booth and can't wait to explore what it can do.

My haul from ParaWire

My friend Akiko Nomura surprised me with a pair of Ninja socks and some cute stickers  from Japan. 


Then it was out to dinner with friends on Saturday night before I headed back to the hotel to pack. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bead Crochet Class April 16, 2016

Here is one more reason why you should learn single crochet with beads: my latest experiments in making roses.  You can't think about making roses until you understand how to do this:
So join me on April 16, 2016 for the Earn your Stripes: Introduction to Single Crochet With Beads class from 10am-4pm for the Bead Society of Greater New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Non-members are welcome.
For more information and registration, please visit Workshops.   Hope to see you in class.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bead Crochet Question: Slip Stitch vs. Single Crochet

     A prospective student for my Earn Your Stripes bead crochet class on April 16, 2016 asked me about the difference between the slip stitch crochet bead that she knew and the single crochet that I would be teaching.  Here is the answer for anyone else that isn't sure.

                                                     Slip Stitch Bead Crochet
      This is the method that most people in the U.S. learn to make bead crochet ropes.  With this technique, your hook goes under the thread that goes through the hole of the bead; this changes the position of the bead so that the hole goes from horizontal to vertical.  You can see how the beads sit in the photo below of my beginner slip stitch pendant project.

Slip stitch pendant

Because, the thread is mostly encased in the beads, you can use a thinner thread for this type of bead crochet.  Also, there is less thread showing between the stitches than with single crochet.  Designs crocheted with slip stitch will usually spiral.  Judith Bertoglio-Giffin has some wonderful patterns for bead crochet, if you haven't seen her work.  One pattern is shown below.

 Single Crochet With Beads
With single crochet, your crochet hook goes into the chain stitches behind the beads and the beads sit in front of the crochet, like a skin.  The single crochet with beads also involves 1 more step of adding a thread loop to each stitch.
If you compare a slip stitch tube with a stripe pattern to a single crochet tube with a stripe pattern, they look pretty similar, but the difference shows up when you move beyond a simple stripe pattern.

A single crochet tube in a striped pattern looks similar to a slip stitch tube, unless you know what to look for.
     One big difference between the two methods is that single crochet allows you to increase and decrease beads with more ease, which allows you to make 3-dimensional shapes like these below.

Bead crochet beads with bugle beads

Bead crochet pine cones

Another difference is that single crochet allows you to do more complicated patterns, as Brigitte Ilander has done in her book.

With single crochet, you can combine more complicated patterns with 3-dimensionality to get a snake necklace like the one I made for a private client.

Single crochet also allows you to make large pieces that lie flat, like this cuff bracelet, shown below.

So you may have to start with a simple spiral pattern to learn single crochet with beads but once you are familiar with the technique, you open a whole other world to play in.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Earn Your Stripes: Intro to Single Crochet With Beads

Example of how to incorporate a bead crochet tube into a necklace

I was obsessed with exploring stripe patterns for my upcoming bead crochet class.  Now that I have some samples finished, here is the information:


Date:  Saturday, April 16, 2014
Time:  10am-4pm
Location:  Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, New York

Here is your chance to learn single crochet with beads, the bead crochet technique used in my snake jewelry and the multi-patterned necklaces by talented German designers like Brigitte Ilander. 

I know that bead crochet seems challenging so I have made this class as easy as possible. Both projects will use size 8 seed beads and stripe patterns that allow you to tell where you need to crochet the next bead. You will also use white or light-colored thread.

First, we will start with a larger than usual tube so that you can see what you are doing and understand the construction of the crochet . You will turn this larger tube into a cute mini purse that can be used as a decoration or key chain.

Bead crochet mini purses

After that, you will move on to a more traditional-sized tube that can be turned into a bracelet or necklace. Although we will be sticking with easy to follow stripe patterns, there is no reason why the result has to be boring so we will discuss options for turning your bead crochet tube into an interesting piece of jewelry.

Another example of how to incorporate your bead crochet tube into a necklace

Previous crochet experience is required; we will be using the chain stitch and single crochet (double crochet in Europe) stitch.  You don't need to be an expert, but you don't want to be learning crochet and adding beads at the same time.

Bead crochet tubes with stone and glass beads on memory wire

To register for the class visit Workshops.

Friday, February 19, 2016

New York Bead Society Garage Sale February 23

Join us on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 for the Bead Society of Greater New York's annual Garage Sale.  Admission is free.

 Church of the Holy Apostles
 296 9th Avenue at 28th Street New York City
 close to F.I.T.

 Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Doors open at 6:00pm

You don't have enough beads, right?  So join us for a fun time-you never know what kind of bargains you will find!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New York Christmas Window Tour 2015

Christmas Eve 2014 was balmy, so warm that we saw guys in shorts and tee-shirts walking around Manhattan.  The nice weather meant that the sidewalks were crowded.  How crowded?  This was my view of Rockefeller Center:
It was soooooo crowded in Midtown this year.

We started the window tour uptown at Barney's.  The most interesting window was the one with the glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly, which were lit with fixtures that changed color.

Dale Chihuly glass sculptures

Cartier's has moved their flagship up closer to the Plaza so we chuckled over the bows with panthers at their new location.

Then we continued to the yearly highlight of the tour, otherwise know as Bergdorf's.

I could never wear these but I loved the flowers.

Everything was covered in pearls or crystals.

Spelunking never looked like this when we were doing it.

The lions' manes were made of bugle beads!
See you later, alligator.

We continued walking down 5th Avenue.

Bulgari retired their snake decoration and displayed a sparkly necklace in its place.


Tiffany's was next.

The miniature chandeliers even turned on and off!

Ralph Lauren decorated both the outside and the inside.

We don't know if this is a new store or just filling an empty one, but it was pretty.

Two illuminated windows in St Patrick's Cathedral caught my eye.

Between security and the crowd, this was as close as we got to Sak's...

but we did get to see part of the Sak's light show on the front of the building.

The tree at Rockefeller Center, which will be turned into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Dolce and Gabbana went old school this year.

Here is Patience in front of the New York Public Library; I  didn't manage a photo of Fortitude because there were strange people dancing around that poor lion.

Then it was on to Lord and Taylor, another high spot of the walk.



The cakes also go up and down but I missed getting that on video.
An interesting use of cookies in this small window

Our last stop of the night was Macy's, which was featuring Charlie Brown and the gang.

Since we missed Bryant Park, I took a photo of the tree the next day.  It was certainly eye-catching.

This shot gives you an idea of the size of the ornaments

 That was it for the window walk of 2015.  I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of New York dressed in it's holiday finery.