Category Archives: Jewellery making

Netting and Peyote Stitch

My books finally arrived so that I could start learning seed beading properly. I am very much a book learner, with videos coming a close second.

The first book that arrived was ‘Getting started with Seed Beads’ by Dustin Wedekind. I chose it because of the title. The early projects in the book involved sewing and gluing, things that I wasn’t interested in learning. Then there was a section on netting. Netting as a technique is quite straight forward once you get your head around it. The best thing about netting is that the seed beads you use do not have to be the regular size ones, so this technique is a cheap first step to build confidence.

I created a variation of the ‘Curved Chevron Choker’, using the beads that I had. I am quite pleased with the necklace and wear it a lot. I tried a few more netting projects, and I have become confident that I can tackle more involved netting projects in the future.

The next technique to learn was ‘peyote stitch’. The thing with peyote stitch is that all the beads have to be exactly the same size, unlike netting. Oh, did I have trouble at first with this one! Starting off Peyote stitch is really tricky, getting the beads to sit on top of each takes a lot of patience. They just do not like doing it and seem to jump out of place. I even had to watch a video on it, though that took a long time to find one that showed exactly how to start ‘flat peyote’.

I used a project from another book ‘Beginners Guide to Beadwork’ by Madeleine Rollason. This book has photographs rather than charts to explain what you do. I used size 15 seed beads to create this ring.

I also learned how to add threads and secure threads in this project. Interestingly, when I did this I made the ring wavy. I suspect that this has something to do with the tension of the original weave. I do like the look it gave this ring though, like a herringbone shape.

I was so confident that I decided to have another go at flat peyote. This time a bracelet project called ‘Snappy Bands’ from the Dustin Wedekind book. It was still a pain to start off the peyote, I hope it will become easier with practice. The thing with flat peyote stitch is that once it is started it is very straight forward.

I hadn’t realised how big a project I was giving myself. The bracelet in total took 9 hours to create. I still have the problem of making the bracelet slightly wavy when finishing it but I tell myself that it is a design choice.

The one plus I did learn during this project was how to thread my needle easier, though I suspect that has just been practice. I still need to find an easier way to undo the knots and tangles though. I think next I will learn about the different types of peyote stitch. Who knows maybe I will get the hang of starting off Peyote stitch?

Beads Up North, September 2019

One of the things that my friends recommended to me when I told them I was starting seed beading was ‘Beads Up North’. It’s basically like the Creative Craft Shows, but all about beading, with some jewellery making.

I arranged to meet one of my friends there and made my way to Haydock Park Racecourse. When I arrived it was easy to find, I just followed a group of people to the entrance. I paid my £3.50 (if you are a member of the Beadworkers Guild or The Bead Society, it’s only £3). Then there was an option to enter a prize draw for lots of beading goodies by putting in your detail on a computer screen.

When I walked into the main room I was immediately welcomed by Kathy from Halfepenny’s Beads, who had remembered me. I had a quick look round all the stalls. I will be honest, I had a distinct feeling of where do I start, the amount of seed bead choice was overwhelming at first.

There was an exhibition of work created by those who went to the Halfpenney’s Beads groups, on an Autumn theme. The pieces were very beautiful and inspiring. I suspect it will be a long time before I get to that level.

So I decided to start from the list I had made from books that had arrived. First off, Hex, Triangle and Cube seed beads. Only one stall had the Hex beads, found the Triangle beads easily, but no one had the Cube seed beads.

At this point, I decided to stop at one of the ‘Ave a Go’ points. The idea of these is that you get shown a beading pattern and can have a little go at it. This one was run by ‘Jancel Beads‘, and I was shown how to do the ‘Hugs and Kisses’ bracelet design. (I did take photos but they turned out blurred).

The interesting thing I learnt at Beads Up North, is that there is a very big difference in the price of beads depending on the colour and finish. The same amount of beads could be between £2.50 and £6.90 depending on the look of them. While learning, I just want the basic colours, so went for the cheapest.

I bought mainly from ‘Bead by Bead’, which is run by Patty McCourt. She was very helpful and was able to answer my questions about the beads. I was very good and didn’t buy any soutache from her.

By this point my friend had arrived, so we grabbed a brew and sat down to have a good old chat. After we put the world to rights, we wandered around the stalls. My friend also had a list of things that she wanted. This is something I really recommend to do before attending one of these bead fairs, it stops you majorly overspending. She also showed me which stalls she liked the best. We both fell in love with the gemstone stall, it had very unusual and beautiful stones. I was surprisingly strong-willed for me, and refrained from buying any.

After helping my friend find the items on her list, I decided to do the main workshop. I really wanted to make the acorn that Halfpenney’s Beads had created. I was the last one to create it and managed it in 30 minutes with only one major mistake. (I hadn’t kept the tension of the main bead so the cap was not snug.) I was pleased with it, as I had never done peyote before. Apparently most people, even experienced beaders took 30 minutes to complete it. You can get the pattern here.

I did love the colour of the seed beads, they reminded me of Picasso Jasper. Surprisingly, the colour is called Picasso.

My haul from the day.

Overall, I had a good time at Beads Up North. My feeling of being overwhelmed didn’t last long, especially once I got chatting to the stallholders. I got nearly everything on my list and that should keep me going for a while. I found new suppliers, even though I didn’t buy from them there, I’ve now bookmarked them for future use. I definitely recommend it and will be going next time.

Kits and my first weave

After the success of the first kit I did, I decided to have a go at another kit in my stash. The Penelope Necklace and Bracelet kit by Pat at Spellbound Bead Co. This seemed to be a very straight forward kit. I loved the idea of threading beads through a chain, and this technique could be used with bigger beads to great effect.

My problems began with the finishing of the bracelet. The kit directs you to download a finishing explanation sheet. Surprisingly, it is not in the instructions of the kit. Now the explanation of the finishing seems to apply to more bead heavy weaves. This bracelet is just 3 beads at a time, so I got confused. I did email Spellbound Beads Co., and they were very helpful. I eventually worked out how to finish the bracelet without all the beads falling off.

I did really like the finished bracelet, as it’s so delicate and pretty. I decided to carry on and attempt the necklace. This is the first time I have ever used a metal sieve as a base for beads. It is a useful tool. I think I was cursed with this kit, however, as when I was finishing off the pendant I accidentally cut a critical strand of thread and it started falling apart. I did manage to save it by redoing some of the beads, and cheating by using an adhesive felt back that kept some of the loose threads in place.

Next was a kit recommended by Halfpenney’s Beads, the Spiral Cube Key Ring Kit (Fire option). This was really straight forward and I enjoyed making it. I will admit that I used my big hole needle instead of the one provided. I still have problems threading normal beading needles. I managed to create the keyring in 40 minutes, so was quite pleased with myself.

I did like the Spiral Staircase weave and decided to have a go with some beads from my stash. I managed it without hardly looking at the instructions. The only problem is I think the blue Delica type seed beads were cheap versions, and they cut the thread on me. I’m still pleased with it, but I know I need to invest in better beads.

So one weave down, and many others to learn.

Beginning Seed Beading

First off, seed beading is something that has never really appealed to me before. It always looked so fiddly and time-consuming. Yes, I know that’s odd, what with me being a wireworker which could be described in the same way. It seemed to me to be a lot of work for not much result.

Recently I have seen some beautiful seed bead pieces, and it made me think that perhaps this is something I should investigate. So I’ve decided to learn seed beading.

Question is, where do you start? I asked in FB groups for help, and lots suggested Youtube videos. Usually, I start with a book though, but there doesn’t seem to be many around for absolute beginners. I’ve found a couple online that may be ok, and I am waiting for them to arrive.

My next job was to see what I had in my stash, I have seed beads because of my love of kumihimo and macrame. However, a lot of them are not uniform in size. This is apparently important with seed beading. I also found 3 kits that I must have bought as part of a job lot at one point.

So the first one I attempted was ‘Deluxe Seed Bead Lace Bracelet’ by Carolyn Schulz.

The best thing about this kit is that it had a big eye needle, so no faffing about trying to thread it. I will admit it took me a while to get the hang of the initial instructions, due to me having no familiarity with what it was asking me to do. (As you can see from the photo.) It was relatively straight forward to create and that surprised me. It took me 3 hours to complete the bracelet.

I had been worried about the finishing, but there were crimp beads and I know where I am with them. So not bad for a first go, though I really need to stop sticking myself with the needle.

I also asked my jewellery making friends for help. They pointed me to Halfpenney Beads, that is only a short drive from my house. This shop is super friendly and helpful. I totally recommend it for other newbies to seed beading who are apprehensive about taking the jump into this new hobby.

Painting and other things

Recently I’ve been playing a lot of board games with my husband. We have even attended a few charity days of board gaming that were a lot of fun. My hubby pointed out that it was a shame that the miniatures weren’t painted in one of our favourite games ‘Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth’

So I went into research mode, I haven’t painted anything like that since I was a child with Heroquest figures. I found a really good YouTube series called Sorastro’s The Lord of the Rings Painting Series. I cannot praise these videos enough, they are the perfect level for absolute beginners, like me. He doesn’t expect you to know anything at all about painting.

I learnt about base painting, dry brushing, washes, and detailing. I suspect that a lot of these skills will be able to be applied to my other crafts in future.

I had planned to continue with my Altenew course, now that I have a blog again. Fate intervened, I got a few orders for paracord bracelets in my Etsy shop. I like these colour combinations, and it enabled better photographs to be taken of the bracelets. It’s always fun creating these bracelets.

Finally, I was commissioned by Create and Craft to create a moon dreamcatcher for their Instagram page.

So this week I plan to do some work on the Altenew course, and some jewellery making.