Posts Tagged 'beads'

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

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Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

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Watercolor Beads and a Twisted Stringer

Here are the beads I made last week with Debby. First she taught me to make “watercolor” beads, where I start by melting a white core, and then “paint” on top with various transparent colored rods.

Next she taught me to pull a stringer (the twisty coral/turquoise strip in the foreground). Then I made a transparent, pale aqua bead and melted that stringer onto (and into) it.

Actually, Debby made two of the beads pictured, but I’m rather proud of myself that it isn’t immediately obvious which ones 😀

 

Shiny Black Glass Beads

I’ve had a few lessons on making lampwork beads, something I’ve been wanting to learn for years and years. This small handful represents two sessions of progress. The first week I made a bunch of smallish plain black beads and the polka dotted ones. The second week I made the fancy flower ones. I’ve labeled the two made by my teacher, Debby Weaver, so you can see what I was going for on those flowers.

Debby taught me using black glass because it is visibly obvious how molten the glass is, whereas some of the other colors take more experience to work with. A few of my polka dotted beads cracked clean in half in the kiln because of temperature irregularities before I put them in there.

I really wish I had the space and money to take this up as a real hobby. I love doing it, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it, considering that I made that black/periwinkle/mint polka dot bead in the center on Day One! I wish Debby weren’t going back home to Maryland next month!

Tales of a Bad (Overconfident) Daughter

felt hollow (Small)

A tale of woe. A tale of overconfidence. A tale of yet again saying “how hard can it be?” only to find out that I should have read up on it a little more.

So. I saw this beautiful tutorial over at Kleas. Felted beads…so easy that the preschoolers were able to do them. I thought, this is great, these are gorgeous, I will make these for my mom, who always wears interesting necklaces to coordinate with her outfits.

Such is my confidence in my fiber-wrangling abilities, that I waited until Mother’s Day morning before starting this project. My friend Kristin came over to help (I also consider her a specialist in wool control). She made the puffs.

felt tufts (Small)

I wetted and rolled a puff with a tad of soap. Ok, maybe too much soap. I labored alone in the kitchen, whining and wheedling that this was taking longer than I thought it would, and that the snakes weren’t felting properly. And that jeez, this is not working! Kristin felt certain that I was doing it wrong, so she came to the rescue:

felt process (Small)

She had no more luck than I did. Our snakes never did get firm enough; one felt hollow in the middle and the other had a permanent slit up the side.

felt snakes (Small)

When we cut the beads up, they were not as pretty as I had hoped. Worse, they started falling apart almost immediately. I am not as talented as the preschoolers at that other blog!!

felt beads (Small)

I ended up giving my mom a baggie full of vaguely bead-looking fuzz stuff. Happy Mother’s Day from your not-so-talented daughter.

Zach kept teasing me that I should have glued them and some gold-painted macaroni to a piece of construction paper and told her the Boogedy made it for her.

My mother, bless her heart, oohed and aahed and tried to think of ways to salvage them and still use them.

A good mom praises a good effort.


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