Sunday, 25 September 2011

Creative Stitches

This Saturday we went to the Creative Stitches show at Westpoint just outside Exeter. For the past 6 years I have made the trip up to Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show. It has always been one of the highlights of the year for me. However, last year was very different. Due to my health problems I found the whole day gruelling and not particularly fun. I was in a lot of pain and I just didn't have the energy to cope with it. So, this year I decided that I would go to the smaller and more accessible show at Westpoint.

It was hot and a little crowded but it was much easier to get around and see everything. Last year I only saw about a quarter of the stalls at Ally Pally before having to give up in defeat.

I bought a few things - some more cables for my Knit Pro Interchangeable needles, some black beads, a kit for a beaded necklace from Spellbound Beads and a really interesting book called Treasured Notions. It has some gorgeous images in it and lots of inspirational ideas.

I did attempt to rummage through the yarn mountain at the Black Sheep stall, but gave up when I couldn't find what I wanted. (For those of you who don't know what I am talking about - Black Sheep sell discounted yarn packs. They simply make a huge pile of them on the floor and you have to dive in and rummage around, literally).

It was a good day and I am extremely grateful to my OH who drove me there and back (a round trip of over 200 miles) and waited patiently while I browsed around. On the plus side for him there is a garden centre close by and he did manage to get some garlic and onion sets for the allotment while we were there. It is a shame that I won't be going up to London in October this year but I have had my fix of craft shows for now.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Busy times

Life has been too hectic recently to update this blog as frequently as I would like. Work has been very stressful indeed. I won't go into details, but are in the process of reorganisation and my job is about to change quite dramatically. In honour of this I have made another charm for my bracelet. I have always loved butterflies and dragonflies. It was only after I made this charm that I realised that it could symbolised new beginnings, just as the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.

I embellished a 14 delica bead peyote tube with Czech fire polished crystals and size 15 seed beads. I then added a beautiful Swarovski butterfly.

I wore my bracelet this afternoon when I went to the hairdresser. One of the staff asked me where I had bought the beautiful charms, as she had never seen anything like them. I explained that I had made them myself and she was very surprised. OH says that I should carry business cards in my pocket, and then produce one when someone asks me about my jewellery. I am definitely going to consider making and selling the charms as they can be embellished in so many ways. People certainly seem to like them.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Apologies for the long gap since my last post. Life has been so hectic for the last couple of weeks. I have been too tired to do very much after work except cook a meal and go to bed.

In my last post I promised to explain how I made a scrap booking embellishment into a beaded pendant. I was inspired by an article in 'Bead Unique' magazine. Three beadwork artists were asked to incorporate scrap booking elements into their beadwork. There were no instructions, just photos and a brief statement by the designer. The following is my interpretation of those photographs. So, this is how I did it -

The scrap booking baubles are made from clear acrylic and have a self adhesive coating on the back. I could have left it on the clear acetate backing in the pack and simply cut around it. However I decided that I wanted a bit of colour behind the butterfly to show it off effectively. I dug through my stash and found some pale lilac handmade paper.

I stuck the bauble onto the paper and cut around it. As the paper was going to be next to my skin it needed a protective layer to seal it and to keep out dirt and moisture.

I painted the back of the bauble with a thin layer of 'Glossy Accents'. You could use any varnish or even a decoupage medium such as Modge Podge, It is up to you.

(You might have noticed that the bauble above is different to the one in my previous post and in the two pictures below. Unfortunately I managed to delete some of the pictures of the original so I was forced to improvise!)

I now needed to start creating the beaded bezel. I picked up enough beads to fit around the bauble. I used size 11 delica beads and Fireline 4lb test beading thread. It took 98 beads to completely encircle it.

I worked six rows of circular peyote stitch, then two rows with size 15 delicas and then a row with Czech size 14 Charlottes. I popped the bauble into the bezel, needled to the other side and then repeated the rows of size 15 delicas and Charlottes. Using the Fireline thread meant that I could keep the tension very tight without running the risk of it breaking. I don't think that Nymo or C-Lon would be strong enough.

Well, that is how I did it. Look out in future posts for the finished necklace.

I have been continuing to work on my charm bracelet. More about that, and some other creative adventures, in my next post.