Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review: Beadweaving Beyond the Basics, by Kassie Shaw

It was an honor to be asked to review Kassie Shaw's new book, "Beadweaving Beyond the Basics."  I was sent the preview pdf file of her book and have spent several hours thoroughly enjoying it. 

The book includes 24 beading designs and each design has beautiful photos and clear instructions.  But it is so much more than just a book full of patterns.  In her introduction, Kassie states that her goal in writing the book was not only to teach readers how to create the designs, but also to inspire everyone to discover their own creativity and ideas.  She certainly accomplished this goal with me.  I can hardly wait to finish up my current projects and begin exploring with the ideas that came to mind as I read each chapter of her book.

Kassie writes that the main purpose of the book is to teach some intermediate level variations on basic stitches, and then use them as jumping off points for readers to create their own designs.  Her purpose is very clear in all three chapters of the book as she takes us from a "primer" that explains the basic bead weaving stitch through her thought process that led her to create the next design.  Beaders who want to create their own designs will find this book a very practical and inspiring tool to help them become designers of their own original work.

The primary beading stitch Kassie teaches is Right Angle Weave (RAW), but instructions on other basic stitches such as Herringbone (Flat and Tubular), Cubic Right Angle Weave (CRAW), Peyote (Even and Odd Count), and St. Petersburg Stitch are also included.

The three main chapters explore variations of Right Angle Weave (RAW):  1)  Double Diamond RAW,  2)  Faux RAW, and 3) Layered RAW.  The way Kassie explains each technique and explores the possibility of new designs using these techniques inspired me as a designer and I highly recommend this book to others.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

More jewelry designs with SuperDuos

The bead world has been inundated with new bead shapes in the last year, and many of them are beads with two holes.  It has been a little mind boggling to think about designing with all the new shapes.  But one new two-hole bead - the SuperDuo - has been warmly accepted.

My most recent bracelet design using SuperDuos is a bracelet I call "Better Shape Up," named for the "step up" layer added down the middle.  The tutorial for this bracelet is available in my Etsy shop.

I have also created kits in four color ways and they are also available in my Etsy shop.  The photo above uses the African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix.  The other three color ways are shown below.  The first photo shows the Night Magic (purple) SuperDuo mix.  The second photo shows the Silver and Gold SuperDuo Mix (which I call Night Life).  The third photo shows the White Wedding SuperDuo mix.  The kits come with enough beads to create an 8 1/2" (21.5 cm) bracelet and the magnetic clasp adds another 1/2" (12 mm).

Because the SuperDuo beads have been so popular, the Czech Matubo company has also produced a MiniDuo bead.  I created a necklace using both the MiniDuos and SuperDuos.  The tutorial for it is available through local bead stores who purchase from Beadsmith.

I encourage you to being using the new two hole Super or Mini Duo beads!
Happy Beading!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

SuperDuos and Hiding Thread

I recently published a new tutorial for my "Night Out on the Town" Necklace and inside it I revealed a trick for hiding thread when creating a beaded rope using SuperDuos.

Most everyone knows that when using SuperDuos, you somehow need to get from the bottom hole to the top hole of the bead in order to connect it to other beads.  There are two methods for accomplishing this.

Method 1 - The most common way is to pass the thread along the side of the SuperDuo that the thread is exiting and then pass through the top hole. 

This method will cause the thread to move in the opposite direction around the circle when adding the next beads.  The thread can be seen along the edge of the SuperDuo.  

There is nothing wrong with the above technique. In fact, there really is no other way to do it when beading flat bead work (like a bracelet).  But as I was beading my rope, I really didn't like seeing the thread laying on the side of the bead.   

It suddenly dawned on me that I could hide the thread!  So here is the method for hiding the thread when creating a rope.

 Method 2 -  Instead of going up the same side of the SuperDuo that the thread is exiting, move the thread across the “back/inside edge” of the SuperDuo and pass through the hole of the SuperDuo on the opposite side from where the thread is exiting. 

When the SuperDuo beads are pulled together into a circle forming the rope, the inside of the SuperDuo where the thread passed over will not show.  It will be on the inside of the rope and you will continue to add beads in the same direction each time. 

This also works for making Beaded Beads which are explained in my Night Out On the Town  necklace Tutorial which can be purchased in my Etsy shop.

As always, I wish you Happy Beading!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

OK, So It's Been a While!

Yes, life happens and blogs get put at the bottom of the list.  But I'm still here and am going to try to keep up with blogging a little better in 2015.  It's a New Year with new goals.

Mainly I want to share about my jewelry business which continues to be a big part of my life.  For the past year I've been concentrating on designing bracelets and took a good part of 2014 learning Adobe Illustrator so that I could write tutorials using diagrams to explain the process.  I'm happy with my progress and plan to continue on this pathway, expanding into necklace and earring tutorials.

I'm a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad which keeps me learning about and designing with some of the new beads being manufactured.  So I'll be sharing some posts on all of these new beads and what I'm creating with them.  Here are a few things I've designed over the past few months.

Bezel and Chain using Half Tilas

Hex Pyramid Beads

New Duracoat Silverlined Delicas

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and Matubo 8/0 Seed Beads

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and O Beads

I have not yet written tutorials for any of the designs shown above, but I did just finish writing a tutorial for my "Night Out on the Town" necklace that uses the new Silver and Gold SuperDuo Mix.  I used beadweaving and stringing techniques in creating this necklace.

The tutorial can be purchased on either my Etsy site or my Artfire site.

Here's to a good 2015 for you all!