Monday, April 17, 2017

Bead Bombing by Laura Zeiner

I'm a knitter as well as a beader. In fact I've knitted since I was ten and beaded since I was somewhere around forty.  I say this because I'm familiar with and have come across yarn bombings in various places in my travels and they always make me smile.  

Apparently they made this week's artist Laura smile as well, but then she brilliantly took it further and decided to bead bomb.  I find this idea extremely exciting and I think we could certainly create smiles and introduce more people to the allure of bead weaving if we were all to undertake just a little bit of bead bombing. 

At first I lamented how I would fit anything like this in.....and then it occurred to me that I have loads and loads of odd bits of beadwork.  Some early pieces that didn't quite work out, or maybe a piece that didn't stand up well to wear.  These would be perfect for Bead Bombing.  

Since I live near the ocean, I think some ocean bead bombing is in order!  If you're inclined to join in with Laura's wonderful idea, please send photos!  Let's share our craft and bring a few smiles at the same time.  Laura

Coincidently a few weeks back I wrote about Nancy Dale's Beady prompt blog.  This months blog is beaded rocks and many people are following along.  I'm not sure everyone is prepared to cast their beady rocks into a public space, but's an idea....wouldn't coming across beaded rocks in your environment be a thrill?  I'm going to the coast of Maine soon, can I bead a rock in time?    Consider joining the bead bomb movement, I think it's a great idea.   


Bead Bombing!

Several years ago, a grouping of blue panels with reflective arrows that looked like street signs were erected under a bridge in Austin. No one could figure out what the signs were supposed to indicate, and it turned out to be an art installation that the city paid $45,000 for, and which no one (including the artist) really liked. Turns out the project ran out of time and money, so we paid a ridiculous amount of money for a confusing eyesore that we all just agreed to never speak of again. 

The point of this story… One day, those panels were all wearing fun sweaters and everyone suddenly loved them! Someone or some group had come along and covered them with crocheting or knitting and I was introduced to a new concept - Yarn Bombing. Also known as yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting, or graffiti knitting, yarn bombing is a non-permanent way to create urban art by covering objects with … um, sweaters.

When Marcia DeCoster came to us with the idea of Bead Love, my mind flew almost immediately to this concept and I knew I wanted to do something that expressed my love of beads in places that meant something to me. So, I came up with the idea of Bead Bombing; I’m going to bead the places I love.
Beads do not work up as large or as quickly as knitting, so my installations were going to have to be smaller than what I had come to expect from this guerrilla art form.

The first place I wanted to infect was Bull Creek hike and bike trail. I take my dogs here all the time and it is our special place to “go in the car.” 

I had passed this bench many times and it seemed like the perfect place to start.

I decided that circular concentric brick stitch was the stitch for this project. I created a bunch of circles, sewed them together, and filled them in with blossoms until I had a “fabric” of beads long enough to fit around one of the slats in the bench. 

Under cover of full daylight in the rain with my mom (stealth is NOT my strong suit), I snuck out to the park and stitched my beadwork to the bench.

A small group of appreciative daddy long leg spiders (sadly, not pictured here) ambled up to see what was going on and, perhaps, if I needed any help (I did not). It felt kind of thrilling to be performing this act of affirmative vandalism, and we left in a fine mood.

The next victim in my lawless crusade would be Pure Austin Gym. I am trying to get myself back into healthy shape. Hours of beading, while emotionally rewarding, isn’t the waist-slimming exercise I fantasize it should be, so I am spending more time at this wonderful gym which features its own LAKE! 

After a particularly grueling workout (Thanks, Ryon!), I snitched a rock from the rock garden out front. I took it home and decided that freeform peyote world be the stitch for this project.

As I began working on the rock, I started thinking about the project as a whole. This is the furthest thing from an instant gratification activity I can think of, and there were a lot of hours to fill in contemplation of this endeavor I had begun. I had been asked several questions about it.

“WHY are you doing this?”
This has been a difficult year personally and politically, and a challenging year career-wise. I needed something to bring up my spirits and recharge me artistically. 

“Wouldn’t your time be better spent doing something that would make you money?”
Perhaps. But I find that when beading becomes all about making money, the delight gets sucked out of it. If I can do something whimsical from time to time, it pulls me back to that happy place where beads take me just by being beads. That sparkly bird place,

“Aren’t you afraid your beadwork is going to get destroyed or stolen?”
The very nature of this project is to bring the joy of beadwork to myself and others. It is an intentionally temporary art form that is designed to bring a brief ping of happiness to anyone who sees or touches it. If someone feels the need to take it, perhaps that person needs some extra happiness in their life for one reason or another, and I hope it brings it to him or her.

This is going to be an ongoing project. I have several more sites (I have come to think of them as my LoveBead places) that I want to bomb here in Austin. And then other places when I travel. Sometimes I will inform the locations and make it a collaborative effort with cross-promotion, and sometimes I will just sneak up on a place and infect it with beads. 

Thank you, Marcia, for bringing this weird and wonderful Bead Love seed to us and allowing us to let it grow in our own ways. I will keep you all updated and post when I can. Please feel free to follow along if you like. Or join in! 

Aaaaaaaaaand … If you would like to create a pair of earrings based on the park bench bead bomb, I have a little tutorial for you.

Peace, Love, And Beads!

Laura Zeiner

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Dainty Ring - by Marcia DeCoster

I've been a big fan of Hubble stitch since Melanie's first book came out.  I immediately was drawn to how supple the stitch was, but also that I could make it structural.  It lends itself to embellishment between the points of the Hubble and depending on bead choices it can be made quite self supporting when worked tubular.

The first project I created with Hubble was Cryptex which was a tubular vessel.  I also explored layering by working a second row of hubble stitch off the same point, and increasing dimension by changing the size of the beads in the layers around the bottom.  The photo shows the vessel of hubble with the insert of the peyote tube.

What does all this have to do with a Dainty Ring.....Well as I was trying out colors for the various Cryptex, I noticed that the 16 unit around band of tubular Hubble made a perfect ring, A Dainty Ring.  It's a great starting place to play with Hubble or if you already know Hubble it's a great little project for trying out color combinations, and you end up with a wardrobe of colorful sweet rings.

It turns out that Hubble is a directional stitch and that by reversing the direction of four rows of Hubble it created a wider center space perfect for embellishing with a larger bead, like a 3 mm crystal or pearl.

With just a little bit of effort you too can have a dainty ring!  


A 2 g         Size 11 main color
1 g         Size 11 contrast color
.5 g or 40 Size 11 contrast color or 2mm crystal or 2mm fire polish
D 20      3mm pearl or crystal

Thread choice?  I find double waxed fireline really helps to keep the units snugged up agains one another.

A word about sizing - personal tension, type of bead and choice of embellishment will all affect the fit of your ring.  I like to start with between 14 and 16 units.  I wrap this around the intended finger and work until I have one unit of overlap.

I find the 3mm pearl embellishment has a tendency to tighten things up more than a 3mm crystal on the center row.  If you plan to use pearls then you might continue with units until you have a 2 unit overlap before joining.

If all else fails and your rings is a slightly different size, well you do have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs to choose from!

Row 1 - Pick up 3 size 11 A  beads and pass through the first one again.  Pick up 1 contrasting size 11 B bead and pass through the next size 11. I call this the point bead.

Pick up three A beads and pass back through the first one.  Pull the thread so that the size 11 you pass through snugs up against the size 11 from the prior unit.  There will a little thread that shows beneath the two adjacent size 11’s.

Pick up 1 size 11 B bead and pass through the next size 11.

When you have the desired number of units, join as described below.

Join - First align your units so that all have the contrast beads on the top.  They will tend to flip over so laying it flat will help.  Exiting the last 11 passed through in the last unit, pass through the size 11 A bead in the first unit and the size 11 B bead above it.  You may want to pass through all beads in the first unit again and exit out the top bead to keep things snug.

Note:  when working tubular hubble stitch, every other row will be woven in the opposite direction.

Row 2 - Pick up 2 size 11 beads in Color A and pass through the size 11 B bead and the first size 11 A bead again.

Pick up 1 size 11 B bead and pass through the next A bead.

Pick up 2 size 11 A beads and pass through the size 11 A bead from the far side.  Pass through the first  A bead

Pick up 1 size 11 B bead and pass through the next size 11 A bead.  Repeat for all units.

On the last unit, pass through the A bead and B point bead from unit 1 to join.

You will now reverse sides and weave two rows of hubble stitch in the other direction.  Note that Hubble is a one directional stitch.  By weaving two rows from the other side you will leave a center space for  your larger embellishment beads and the side beads will be the opposite orientation.

Weave to exit a bottom bead on the first row.

Pick up 2 A beads and pass back through the A bead you are exiting and the first A bead just added.

Pick up 1 B bead and pass through the next A bead.  Repeat these two steps until you’ve completed all units and join as before.

Complete one more row.

Your band should have a center line of A beads and two rows on each side of the A Bead.

Weave to exit a B point bead on the top of the third row you completed.  Pick up 1 C bead and pass through the next B bead.  Repeat around and weave to exit the center A bead.

Pick up 1 D bead and pass through the next A bead.  Do not pull too tightly as this may cause your ring to become too small. Repeat around. 

Weave to exit the point bead on row 1. Pick up 1 C bead and pass through the next B bead.  Repeat around and weave off.

Note:  C  beads might be a size 11 seed bead ,  a 2mm crystal  or 2mm fire polish.

             D beads might be a 3mm pearl or a 3mm crystal

For a printable version of these instructions, click here.

Have fun playing with different variations, and if you're intrigued as I was to continue the Hubble journey Melanie De Miguel now has two books.  She's extended her exploration of the original Hubble stitch in Let's Hubble, with a new book called Hubble  Stitch 2 Further Adventures into Planet Hubble.

This weeks content by Marcia DeCoster

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wrap Around my Heart by Helena Tang-Lim

How lucky are we this week?  Beautiful wrap around heart bracelet by  Helena!  The heart shaped focal is perfect for our love themed blog. Helena has shown us a silver and copper version and I look forward to seeing many different color combinations.  Marcia

Wrap Around My Heart
By Helena Tang-Lim

Even though I weave elaborate and highly decorated bracelets and cuffs, my personal favourite wrist wear is a simple leather wrap bracelet. Then it struck me, I don’t have a beaded wrap bracelet. Time to remedy that.

I give to you with all the beady love in the world – Wrap Around My Heart.

The Cubic Right Angle Weave heart is embellished on the edges to ensure the heart remains rigid. A simple Right Angle Weave wrap bracelet extends from each side of the heart. The longer length of the wrap can either be simply wrapped around your wrist or you can weave it through the heart for a more interesting look.

To download your own copy of Wrap Around My Heart click