When Marcia told me about her idea for this blog, the first though that came into my head was, "I'm feeling the love." I let that idea ride around in my head for awhile, and came up with this idea: I would bead the word 'love' in Braille so that my love could quite literally be felt. It looks geometric, and sort of abstract, but while I'm wearing it, I can run my finger over the bumps and feel the love any time I want to. I've written instructions for doing it with CRAW, but there is no reason it couldn't be done many other ways, so I'm hoping that some of you take this idea and run with it. Let's feel the love!
Each Braille letter sits on its own CRAW block; these directions are for beaders who are already comfortable with CRAW, so if you have never done it before, I recommend practicing before you begin this project. You will need a two colors of 11° beads for the blocks; I used bronze (11°A) with border of dark green (11°B).
Make the blocks:
Starting at the red dot, string (3)11°A beads and go through the 11°A you started from, and the next 11°A as shown. Go through the next 11°A added in Step 1. (Beads added in this step, and every step that follows, are outlined in red.)
Starting at the red dot, string (2)11°A. Go through the first 11°A strung in the previous step, and the 11°A you started from in this step. Go through the next 11°A added in Step 1. The beadwork will begin to form a cup shape.
Starting at the red dot, string (2)11°A. Go through the first 11°A strung in the previous step, and the 11°A you started from in this step. Go through the next 11°A added in Step 2.
Starting at the red dot, go through the last 11°A added in Step 2, string (1)11°A, and go through the first 11°A strung in the previous step, the 11°A you started from, and the 11°A added in this step.
Starting at the red dot, take your thread through all of the beads at the top of the square to form a cube. (No new beads are added in this step.)
To move into position to make the next cube, which will be made to the right of this cube, go down through the next bead, and through the bead on the bottom of this cube.
To make the floor of the adjoining cube, string (3)11° and go through the 11°A you started from, on the bottom of the previous cube. Go thorough the first 11°A added in this step.
To make the first wall of the second cube, string (2)11°A. Go down through the 11°A on the corner of the previous cube, through the 11°A you started from, and through the second 11°A added in Step 8.
To make the second wall of the second cube, string (2)11°A. Go down first 11°A added in the previous step, through the 11°A you started from, and through the third 11°A added in Step 8.
Starting at the red dot, go up through the last 11°A added in Step 8, string (1)11°A, and go through the first 11°A strung in the previous step, the 11°A you started from, the last 11A° added in step 8, and the 11°A on the top right side of the first cube.
Starting at the red dot, take your thread through all of the beads at the top of the square to form a cub. (No new beads are added in this step.)
Continue adding cubes until you have a total of five cubes.
Turn and add a new cube under the last cube to start the next row. You can either work right to left to add the next row, or flip the beadwork over and continue working left to right.
Make sure that each new cube has a floor, three new walls (some walls are shared with previous cubes!) and that you go through all four beads on the top to make the beadwork sturdy.
Continue adding rows until you have a total of seven rows; you will have a piece of CRAW that is five cubes across and seven cubes down.
Add a row of CRAW cubes using 11°B all the way around the block.
Why did I add these later? Because I think it's easier. You'll notice that each cube on the sides of the border has only three dark green beads, while the corners have four.
I got too confused trying to do it all at once with both colors, but if you prefer to do it that way, go right ahead!
You'll need a total of four blocks, one for each letter in the word LOVE. Depending on the size of your wrist, the type of beads you use to finish the bracelet, the size of your clasp, and how much you love (or hate) CRAW, you may or may not need a bit extra on each end of the bracelet. But you don't need to decide that now. Make four blocks and go on to adding the bumps, or make one and jump right to the letter L. It's your choice!
Make the Bumps:All of the bumps are made the same way; the only thing that changes is where you position them. To make it easy to see, only one cube of CRAW is pictured in the following diagrams. Always start at the red dot, and beads added in each step are shown outlined in red.
Bring your thread out of the top bead on the CRAW cube. String (4)15° beads and go through the 11°A you started from. Go through the next 11°A. Arrange the beads as shown, in two stacks of beads. Don't pull too tightly, some thread will show.
Repeat around the cube, adding (4)15° beads in each of the 11°A on the top face of the cube. Take your thread through the 11°A at the top, and up through the first (2)15°A added in Step 1.
Repeat until all four sides have stacks with three beads on each side. Keep your tension a little bit relaxed, your bead stacks will need a lttle bit of wiggle room to make nice bumps.
Bring your thread out the first 15° added in this step.
String (1)15° and go down (1)15° on the next stack. Come up (1)15° on the next side, string (1)15° and go down (1)15 on the next stack.
Repeat around until all of the stacks have a 15° on top.
Come out the first 15° added in this step.
Go through all of the 15°s added in the previous step. Go around the circle at least twice, or until the bumps no longer try to fall apart.
Either finish off your thread, or go through the beadwork until you come out at the top bead of the next bump.
You can make the letters in any color of 15°s that you like. You can also google "Braille Alphabet" to find the whole alphabet and make a different message if you're feeling it.
The letter "L"
The letter "O"
The letter "V"
The letter "E"
Putting the bracelet together:
I chose to add some lampwork beads in between each block for my bracelet; other options would be crystals, pearls, or strings of seed beads. Use whatever appeals to you! I decided to add an extra, smaller, block of CRAW to each end to make my bracelet fit, but it would have looked just as nice with more lampwork beads. Get creative and have fun; make your bracelet fit your style!