9 December 2012

The crochet bug bit me!!!

And I'm finding it hard to resist it! I've rediscovered crochet after seeing the beautiful handy works of my clever sister (please take the time to visit her blog HERE).

So, I started a while ago on what was to be a handbag....it decided to take on a mind of its' own and become a blanket. So I plodded and crocheted away, interspersed with some beadwork of course!!

I finally finished the border about two weeks ago, but the boring bit still remained - weaving in all those ends!!! I started questioning why I had done colour changes. But it wouldn't have looked so pretty otherwise!! So I present my first granny square blanket

In the process of making it, I chose the recipient - a friends' baby! They (read the mother) are eagerly waiting on it. Hopefully it lasts them a while....well it should considering its' size :D

My oldest wants me to make him something so i m now working on a jumper. I also started a variegated thread shawl for my youngest. I run out of yarn but bought some a while back. I have to decide what I can take to work on to and from work this week.

As for beading, I'm still doing it but I can't share. One will be shown once the recipient gets it - I'm involved in a swap on a group. I just hope she likes it!!!

I also recently got a macro lens (let's call her Tammy). BEAUTIFUL as a macro and portrait lens :) I'll have to wait for spring for some serious bug action, but here is one I made earlier.

The coming week is set to be cold with possibly sone snow! I'm off to bed with a warm cup of milk and a little more crochet. Goodnight and enjoy your week :)

15 November 2012

One down, still a few to go

I FINALLY got off my lazy you-know-what and made a start on my to-do list! I started on these earrings long ago. One was actually completed, so I only had to do the other yesterday. I finished the bevelling and embellishment yesterday, and sized the chain for attaching to the ear wires today. I rather like them! It's not the original design as I have no headpins to hand. But I still like them. I think I'll have to make myself some - amethyst or sapphire, yum!

I'm also working on this baby blanket. It looks much prettier in real life (and in the daytime)! I've got to think about the border as I go along. That will add to the width. This is a more portable project. I've taken it to work the past two days.

Back to it, still have much to do!

11 November 2012

So much in little time!

It's been a while since I posted anything. I haven't been very active on the looming front. Maybe that's why I have so much to do by 20th December! 5 beading projects (3 loomed) and 2 crochet projects!! Four of them are pretty urgent so they take priority!

Here's to a productive 6 weeks!!!!

14 October 2012

Last minute.com!

I managed to finish the belt...on the day I was to wear it!! Yes, a little procrastination, and lack of time!

And it looked FABULOUS!! I even wore some heels - rather I changed into them when we got to the party. That didn't last long though. My feet started hurting so I took them off! At least I looked good for the short time I wore them.

Anyway, here is evidence. I refuse to show my face, don't want to scare the readers away :)

I'm coming down with a cold so may not do much over the next few days. My mum is also coming to visit so I'll be out and about a fair bit on my days off.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your week :)

22 September 2012

Finally something for me!

Ok, that's not entirely true! The first project I wove on the loom was to be a bracelet for me. But it's still languishing in a drawer unfinished! I'm not one to wear much jewellery - necklaces and bracelets. Day to day I only wear stud earrings (yes, very plain!) plus my wedding and engagement rings. If we are going somewhere and I (try to) dress up, I'll wear the drop earrings I made.

So, I figured I would Mae something that's a little more functional. I've got a little black dress (with a hint of white) that has belt loops. But I don't have the belt to go with it. The only one I have us cream, that wont work!. As mentioned before, I was in a bead shop for something else when I spotted the buckle. I hadn't thought about doing a belt, but did when I saw it.

All that remained was to come up with a design. Being just two colours, it was going to be easy enough. I first wanted to design for a scroll like pattern. I played (very briefly) in Photoshop but figured it's not how I want to do it. So I just went into BeadTool. I played with circles then diamonds before I settled on the final pattern.

I'd measured the length I need, and calculated five repeats of the design would give the required length. So far i have completed one repeat. And there is a (minor) MISTAKE! I could easily correct it but I'm not going to.

I'm making use of advancing the beadwork. The loom doesn't give me enough length to work the belt in one go, and I've yet to make extenders for it. So the beadwork will be moved to the back as I weave (bottom up). I'll work half the length then cut off and work the other half. Joining isn't daunting anymore so will be just fine.

Then it went wrong! I don't know why but one of the sheds just refused to set itself. I had to fidget with it, and even then it wasn't correct. So I cut it all off and went back to the usual method. I will try again, but with something narrower and not so important!

On another note, I went to a local bead shop hoping to buy more DB1765 for the fringe on the purse, but they don't stock it. I had to order it online (and it arrived on Friday). But, I did get a cone of black Nymo! That should keep me going for a while yet :)

In the meantime, today I'll be resting and visiting our friends. It's a miserable day but I'm feeling chirpy! Enjoy yours :)

16 September 2012

Fringing and planning

The fringe is coming along very nicely indeed. In the last post, I was still thinking about whether the design I had in mind would work. I didn't want to start it only to have to take it out! But, luckily for me, it worked great! Unfortunately I've run out of the colour that goes at the bottom of the fringe. So I'll have to wait till the coming week to continue. Monday to Wednesday are work days. Unless I have time in the evenings (read not too tired or lazy), then I'll be able to squeeze in some fringing. Otherwise it will likely be Thursday at the earliest.

This is the result of my 'decision'. The plan I to have the same on the other side. I considered doing the opposite on the other side, but I'm very unsure and nervous about that. I'll see if I have the gumption to try it out before settling on the same look.

Twisted fringe

And to go along with that, is a video on how to do the twisted fringe.

I don't twist as much as I have read you should on my 'research' on fringing, but it is enough to give me the look I have. I hope you find it useful.

The Nelson Mandela bracelet is still on the loom. I'll have to study the closure I have to use once again. Best now than to wait till its needed and start panicking! The issue that is holding me back is the fact I don't know what size is needed. I'll try asking again. If I hear nothing back, I will think about taking it off the loom to make way for something else. and my next video will be a result of this :) I hope it's not been done before...*starts searching*

I have several projects that I want to work on. The camera strap for someone, the strap for this purse and another that has been languishing in the drawers for a while, and two portraits. One for my Husband and the other to match one I did a long while ago - my first one. And, a belt. While in the shop buying more of the Swarovski crystals I need for the fringe, I spotted this little thing.

I have a black dress that would do nicely with a belt. Probably white as the trim around the arm is white. But of course that would be too plain so perhaps white with a design in black. I wanted to try looming with seed beads, but don't have decent black ones. I'll seep what to do when get round to it.

For now, I have to start seriously planning for the portrait that as commissioned a few weeks ago. I did a rough draft, but have to sit down and look at the colours before I can proceed. I think start time will be next month.

With that, I must be off. Thanks for reading and have a good afternoon/evening/night.

10 September 2012

To do or not to do

Saturday was a day of rest...well at least when it came to weaving. I had to take care of some chores, and we were also out till late (into sunday). I was too tired to do the usual early start.

I haven't done any more on the bracelet as I don't know what size is needed. I may be forced to guesstimate. Hmmm!...

So, Sunday I made a start on the fringe or the purse. This was after a lot of 'research' (read looking at eye candy) of fringes! I looked through some three books on looming that I have, and chose a style. I bought some Swarovski bicones last week to use in the fringe. I also went through my stash to make up the numbers. Now, yesterday evening I sat down to make a start. But then I had to choose the colours to use in the fringe. This took a while as I wanted to choose colours that would work with both sides. The fringe will be on both sides of the purse so they have to be matching. I'm not daring enough to try using different colours on each side!

So, I chose the colours and lay them out with some of the bicones. I made a start, held it up to admire and rapidly changed my mind. So, I was back to thinking about what to do again. In the end I went with my original idea, and here is how it is looking so far.

I'm thinking of changing it up a little, but hesitant. I'm not sure why. Partly because I don't know if it would work, and I don't want to undo and redo if that happens to be wrong.

My next project to go on the loom will be a portrait. I promised my husband a long time ago that I would make him a portrait of his (late) parents.

It's been more than a year since i promised, so I think it's about time I got on with it! I'm hoping to surprise him with it. It would mean I can't work on it while he is home. He doesn't look in the cupboard where I keep the loom so I wouldn't worry too much about him seeing it. I need to order the remainder of the beads so I can start. I was considering fireline for the warps but think will just buy the large bobbin of white Nymo. That will do the job just as well.

So still quite a bit to do. I think I may try and do a video on warping for wide pieces. The portrait will be about 150 wide. Delicas of course. I I had planned and saved I could have done it in 15s! They're a bit steeply priced but one of these days I will do a picture with them! Perhaps something with less colours :)

I'm off to decide how to continue this fringe. Happy reading and a good night when you get to bed!

8 September 2012

Productive times

The early rising is helping me get in some weaving before the minis descend on me! The past two weeks have also been fairly productive. I finished off a bracelet, and also cleared the loom. The strip for the side of the violin is sorted - the warps on one side have been rewoven. The other warps will be used to join to the next length that I loom. I'm debating whether to make it 19 and not 20 beads wide. The 20-wide fits into the side with a little manipulation. 19-wide would sit in the space nicely.

Right now, I'm working on the Nelson Mandela bracelet. After a worrying start (as usual!), it's looking fabulous - if I say so myself! The worrying start? Well, I split it into three sections. I was planning to start at the top of the head and work down, then go back up and finish the top. However, I laid out the beads for the bottom so have ended up working from the bottom up. It's not entirely 'comfortable' but I can do it if needed.

So onto the worrying part. I had finished weaving the hand, and was happy with it after making some changes to the colour choices. When I moved onto the face is when the worry set in. I continued weaving despite making nothing out. I figured if it was wrong I'd just undo it.

Yesterday when I stepped away from it to start work, is when all fear was dissipated and I have my OH MY moment!! The image was there!!! The relief was palpable!

So, last night I finished weaving the face. I've not got to decide what to weave above the head. The pattern stopped at that point, but I needed to shift it down. I'm sure I'll figure something out anyway.

In the meantime, I've began the handle section of the purse. And I think I made a good choice. I've got an image (of sorts) in my head for the actual handle. I'll see if I can get it on paper then weave it. I also better get thinking about that fringe too!!

So those are the two projects I'm concentrating on at the moment. I would like to get my late in-laws' portrait on next. This will be for my husband. To make a change from framing I'm thinking I could back it with ultra suede or something similar, so it's a hanging. I'll think on it while I order more beads

For now I'm resting and will continue weaving later. Have a good afternoon and apply weaving/beading!

30 August 2012

The worst is over!

I'm over the worst of it, yay!!! I sewed the lining on Friday, and also shortened the zip. I couldn't find a zip the right length, and the closest one wasn't the look I wanted.


There was some redrawing of the measurements on the lining before i could cut it.

Anyway, I sewed the zip to the lining on the third attempt. Yes, that says the third attempt! That was after having a little trouble winding the bobbin! While doing all this, I was reminded of the fact I don't like sewing! But needs must so I gritted my teeth and got on with it. Sewing the other seams closed was easy enough. And, stitching the lining into the purse was also easy. I thought that would be a nice video to do.

Because I was working on a black background (the lining and zip) with black thread, I couldn't find a good enough angle to video while I stitched it in. So, I resorted to using close up photos. Hopefully they show the steps well enough.


Now, I need to do the handle and the fringe then I'll be done! I can't wait to see it all finished. I bought some Swarovski bicones, and what I'll be using for part of the handle. I went with the purse so I could pick colours correctly. Hopefully they will work out.

I managed to clear the loom this morning. So I can make a start on the Nelson Mandela bracelet. I'm just going to warp and make a start, with the face!! I just need to find one colour (DB357). I know I have it, just have to find t now!

Hopefully I'll have made enough progress to perhaps blog and share tomorrow. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the video.

Have a good evening!

24 August 2012

Almost there

It's been a good week! I've made good progress on joining the sides of the purse. Since the last post, I've finished joining one side, and I'm left with about 1/4 on the other seam. And I have to say I like the way it's looking!


It was also easy enough to figure out how to stitch the peyote section and base together so it's completely sealed on the 'corners'. I took some close ups for when I have to the other side, and for future reference. Those extension tubes for my camera are very handy now!


I'm thinking about the strap/handle and fringe while I work. For the strap I'm thinking perhaps this. I'll leave you to imagine what it may look like :)

I haven't had time to work on those bracelets and the strip for the violin yet. I work an extra day from home now, so it's one less day of beading. But more money at least :) I've been waking up by about 7:10 these days to get some in before the minis wake up. I've also learnt to take (more) regular breaks. So now I (try to) bead for about 15-20mins then break for about 5-10mins. I find it hard to start-stop so much, but I shall just grin and bear it because it's for my benefit.

This morning as has become my routine, I woke early and worked on joining the side. I managed to do quite a bit but had to put away for work and then having my hair done. I would have gone back to it this evening but my thumb is feeling the strain!

I have a commission to start planning for. It will be another (colour) portrait of newlyweds. I will probably try and work on the pattern over the coming days. I don't know if I'm allowed to share it online so, erring on the side of caution, I will keep it hidden unless I'm told otherwise.

Hopefully the next time I blog the seam will be done and I'll be doing the lining. The part I'm most dreading as it involves a sewing machine :D That grin is pure front! But good enough I have enough lining material to make mistakes!

Tomorrow is an early start so I bid you goodnight. Enjoy your Saturday :)

22 August 2012

Thank goodness it's over

It's amazing how I fill my time, doing something with my hands. The forced rest was painful (in more ways than one)!. For the first time in years, I was bored!!! Yes, bored!! I played games, read, played more games. And I was still bored! It's been a while since I've been stuck for what to do. The real issue is my hands were idle. I stopped ALL activity to really rest my hands. Luckily it paid off and a few days later I was back on the horse. I've never been happier to pick up a needle!

I've been spending time reweaving the warps on the purse. I even worked on it on the bus journey home from work. Once, a last sat near me was impressed by it. She asked to hold it and seemed to enjoy the feel!

Anyway, I finished reweaving the ends and started joining the sides. With this one, I decided on odd-count peyote for the join. I like the solidness and sturdiness it affords. I got an idea for the strap while searching online for Swarovski crystal beads and pendants. I'll have to see the element in person so I can work out some measurements.

Joining the sides of the purse

The fringe design is still eluding me. If anyone has any ideas I'd be glad to hear them. There is something I saw, but think t would be too chunky. I'll continue pondering on it, luckily there's still a little time.

I'll be starting the Nelson Mandela bracelet soon....or rather as soon as I empty the loom! So by Sunday it has to be freed up. I've got to buy one colour on Monday then I'll be good to go. I shifted the pattern down so the face would sit in the middle (thanks Noreen). But I've yet to decide what to do with the blank area above. Perhaps a bead soup could work.....I'll decide when I get to it.

I had a little shock when we got home from the beach on Sunday. My husband had cleared the 'cloakroom' and had put my violin in the corridor along with some other things that needed throwing away! It's a good thing he didn't do it that day, I would have been crying!! I've put it back where it was *sigh of relief*

So I have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully Sunday I'll be more up to date. Till then, have a good evening.

14 August 2012

Feel the pain and stop

Ive developed some stiffness in my right hand. I'm not sure if it's from weaving or just work and life in general. I don't really feel it unless I go to make a fist, stretch my fingers out or scratch!. It hasn't stopped me weaving. But what has is a recurring problem with the area beneath my thumb. I developed something like carpal tunnel syndrome shortly after the birth of my first child. I have since had it on and off. However, I noticed earlier this year that if I weave too much or for long periods at a time, I get pain in my thumb which travels downwards. No twinges or discomfort in the wrist, it's all in the thumb and the surrounding area. If I ignore it, it does become a nuisance so I have learnt to stop pretty much as soon as I feel any twinges. I bought this thumb splint which helps. But it's hard to wear it and weave - particularly if the metal is still in there. It's hard to get my hand behind the warps without slowly slotting it in - that just ruins my rhythm and becomes cumbersome! So I'll have to wait a day or two before I can do any more.

Anyway, having waffled on about why I can't weave, here is my progress so far. Not much has been done on the bracelet on the right. With the blues bracelet, I decided it would be easier to weave the pearls into the design once the sides are done. So now it's moving quicker and should hopefully be done soon, fingers crossed.

I've also made progress on the strip for the side of the violin. It's looking very pretty if I say so. I think I may also make some curtain ties using some of the designs but in different colours to suit the decor of the sitting room. I wanted to try advancing warps but it won't work because I started weaving at the top rather than the bottom. So that will be left for another time.

I'm thinking they would look nice as a camera strap as well. I think I'll make one for my brother, a nice surprise :)

Since I can't weave, I'll have to try and come up with some more designs! But hopefully I can show some progress by the weekend. Have a great evening!

11 August 2012

A lightbulb moment

It's amazing what a bit of time away from something can make it 'click' when you get to trying it again! I felt this way the first time I tried tatting. I just couldn't get the knots to sit correctly. There was a lot of pulling hair (figuratively speaking of course), throwing the shuttles down in frustration, and scissor action! I put it away after being brought to the brink of tears of frustration. A short while later, having refused to be beaten, I tried again. AND SUCCEEDED! I don't know why or how, but it clicked.

So, I felt (almost) the very same thing when I first tried loom bead weaving with the shedding device. The first two rows were okay, but it was downhill from then on! I followed the instructions - specifically a Mirrix video on YouTube - but it just didn't seem to be working! I didn't want to up the frustration level so decided to just leave it for another time.

My loom is empty since I cut off the panel for the purse, so I thought I'd try loom bead weaving with the shedding device again. This time, I used double delicas (size 8), with Nymo for the weft and top stitch thread for the warps. I figured it would be easier to do with larger beads. So I set to warping, getting the shedding device and the heddles on with ease. I watched a recent video that concentrated on the weaving part, and wove as followed it. And guess what, it WORKED!!!! The beads were going into their spaces nicely, and there were none out of place at all!!!!! It's just a sample, so I'll have to try it on a 'proper' project before I give a full review!

So I cut the sample off quite quickly and was once again left looking at a naked loom! I thought I'd make a start n the patterns I designed for the side of the violin. I made the mistake of taking out my stash of delicas and other beads. I ended up having three projects I wanted to work on. So I warped the loom for three. Here is what WAS on the loom up until this afternoon.

I'm not entirely happy with the middle bracelet, but someone likes it so I'll finish it and give it to them. I wasn't happy with the bracelet on the right, so I undid it and changed the deign entirely. There is an element still to be added. This will be done when it's been cut off the loom as I think that will be easier.

I'm absolutely loving the design for the side of the violin. I also drew these up, and will loom them eventually as well. Hopefully they all look s good!

If you're still awake after reading this, thank you for doing so, and I hope you enjoy! Happy beading, and enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

3 August 2012

Practice makes (almost) perfect

I have made a lot of progress since my last blog post. I finished joining the two panels, and made a start on weaving in the warps along the top edges - I'm more than half done on one of them. The joining was a little slow going. I made a few mistakes, one of which couldn't be undone. It can be seen if you look closely enough, but It will likely be covered up by the fringe.


I went to the local haberdashery on Saturday to buy the lining and zip. I went to the shop with the purse so I could pick the right colour. I tried it on black, cream and white. The black won out in the end. I had to buy a larger zip to get the one I wanted. But I think (hope) I'll be able to work with it! I'll try and do a video on sewing the lining. I'm not very good with sewing (read dislike) but will give it a go. Let's hope I don't regret it :)

I have made a start on the violin - decorating it. I sanded most of it down to get rid of the smooth varnished finish. The colour scheme for the side strip will use the colours in the Ugandan flag (my country of origin) - black, yellow and red. Here is the one motif I have so far designed.

The plan is to stitch the loomed strip to ultra suede and glue that to the woodwork. I have a design in mind for the back. Again based on the culture of Uganda. I still have to measure and design for it, so shall leave that for now. I think it would be good to include the crested crane, perhaps at the front. But there is something else (related to the design for the back) that I want on the violin. I'll have to see if I can squeeze everything in! In the meantime I have made a start on 'beading' the violin. The method of putting the beads on neat a time is very slow going. So it could take a while to get all the way round!


Tomorrow is another day! Happy beading and sleep well.

31 July 2012

Slow and steady wins the race

I've managed to do a little joining on the panels of the purse. When I get a chance to sit down and do any, I get into a rhythm and it goes quite smoothly. But overall it is a little slow going. I've made the mistake of weaving into the wrong space, and had to pull out several warps before i could continue.

Joining panels

I thought it would be a good technique to show, so here is a video demonstrating how you do the join. The principle is the same as for reweaving warps. I hope the video is clear and it's easy to understand.

It's starting to look good though, so I shall soldier on! Of course I'll have to do this for the warps on the top edges as well. Either that or knot. I have decided I will line the purse, so will think of how to handle the warps along the top edge so I don't have to reweave. Once I'm done with the join (hopefully by Friday night time allowing), I will then be able to go and buy the lining. I want to be able to try it out rather than go with what I think would go well with it.

The other things to consider now are the fringe and the side joins. I'm thinking joining the sides using odd-count peyote. Square stitch could work but I think it would be a little slower to work up. Another option could be to loom two strips and join them on. For the fringe, I have an idea I would like to try for the shape and layout. I'm thinking Swarovksi beads of some sort, though that sounds rather vague!. In any case, the plan is to browse some sites of bead shops and see if I can find something that catches my eye. I'm open to ideas if you want to make any suggestions.

I received all the beads for the Nelson Mandela bracelet except for two. I don't know f I an make a start as yet. I still have to edit the pattern. But hopefully the loom will be wiped by Sunday. There's another portrait I need to work on - its on my large homemade loom. So much to do and so little time!

Good wishes for the rest of the week, and I hope you enjoy(ed) the video!

29 July 2012

And CUT!

It's off the loom!!!! And it feels lovely in my hands. Yesterday I finished weaving the photo bracelet that was on the other side of the loom. I then had the boring (self-inflicted) task of reweaving those pesky warp ends. Yes, once again I ignored my own advise! When will I learn to weave them in as I go??? Anyway, I finished weaving in the ends today and cut it (and the two bracelets) off the loom.

I haven't looked at or touched the other panel since I finished weaving But they were quickly dealt with. Once I get into a rhythm it's easy and not as boring! So here are the panels side by side after being cut from the looms. I think I made a mistake - the row number doesn't seem to tally. If you exclude the 3 rows (of bead soup) I added to form the base, it seems the panel on the right I short by 1-2 rows. The extra will just have to form part of the base. I'll align them properly once I'm joining the sides.

Panels for the purse

As mentioned before, the plan was to weave it as one large piece. However, my large loom wasn't free. So the solution to this little dilemma is to join the bottom of the panels.

The method is the same as hiding the warps so is easy. I've already made a start. I will try and post a video on Tuesday. Fingers crossed I get a chance to record it in silence. If not I'll just remove the sound. Hopefully it will be clear nonetheless.

Here are the two bracelets I had on the back of the loom. The black and white is awaiting edging and some extensions before the clasp is attached. The photo bracelet is also awaiting edging then the clasp. I'm hoping I can complete both by the weekend. I've enjoyed having multiple projects on the loom. I'll definitely be using that feature again!

bracelets waiting for extensions, edging and clasps

I ordered the beads for the Nelson Mandela bracelet. I'll have to do some editing to move the face to the centre rather than what will be the back. Then I can make a start. I'm thinking I should also try and make a start on the violin project too. Perhaps I can try seed beads instead of delicas. I'll see what I have in my stash.

Meanwhile happy beading, weaving, reading and a good start to the week.

20 July 2012

Back on track

As mentioned previously, I wasn't happy with the colour of the neck area. It was standing out too much, and not quite right. I should have changed it as I wove those rows, but fear wouldn't let me. Hindsight is a great thing!

I started frog stitching it this week. For those who don't know, frog stitch (rippit!) is undoing. Someone told me a method for undoing without taking out all the rows after the section you intend to undo. I removed two rows, and wove the first again with the new colour choice. The difference was instantaneous! It looked better after just the one row!. It's subtle but you can see it nonetheless.

I undid the remaining rows and rewove them all. It was a very good decision to change the colour. It's definitely looking better. Of course I'd still love to hear your opinion on that! I did some more weaving today, and one of the faces is almost complete. I've been looking at it up close all day, so I'll reserve judgement till tomorrow. Sorry about the photo. It's dark so I can't get a great one.

I am seriously considering lining the purse. The plan was to reweave the warps along the top edge, and join the bottom of the panels using the warps. If I go ahead with lining it (I strongly dislike sewing!), I can skip reweaving the warps along the top edge. I'll also have to get thinking about the handle and fringe.

On another note, I have a project for which I want include loom bead weaving as one of the techniques I'll leave the rest to your imagination :)

Happy beading and have a good weekend.

14 July 2012

To frog or not to frog

It's been one of 'those weeks'. The type where life gets in the way. On top of that, my beading mojo did a disappearing act on me! So I was left with no motivation, despite working on something nice and exciting. I normally force myself to work on the project and find it comes back. This time i just couldnt! I managed to pull myself out of the funk on Tuesday. I was all set up and ready to go (it takes about 5 minutes for me to lay out the beads), but children got in the way. By the time I thought about starting, it was too late to get any decent weaving time in! So, I (dishearteningly) spent another 5 minutes putting the beads away. The next day was a work day so any chance of doing something was out the window.

It came to Thursday and I was DETERMINED I would do some looming. I set myself up (5 minutes once again!), then took the children outside for a while. As soon as I got the chance, I made a start! The excitement was starting to build as I'm now coming up to the face.

Now, I have done a little bit of (on-loom) editing while weaving the upper rows of the hand. There was one particular colour used below, which I felt didn't work. So I removed it in the last rows of the hand, and it seems to look ok. I thoughts about editing the neck colour as well, but ran scared. I find the colour stands out too much against the surrounding area. I'm debating whether to undo all those lines and use a softer colour....if it were you, what would you do?!

Getting there

Today, I spent the morning having my hair done. I did some crochet and now my thumb is sore. So I can't (shouldn't) do any looming today. That would just aggravate it. I can wear thumb support but it's difficult to work with it on. I'll just finish my book and prepare for the coming week - the face(s) appearing, WOO!!

The next time, you'll be seeing whether I decided to go reverse and change the neck colour, or left it and moved on! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend and happy reading :)

6 July 2012

Creating a pattern from a Photo

I was asked to create a bracelet from a photo of the great Nelson Mandela. I was able to find a very good photo. Although the file size (and quality) isn’t ideal, it will work.

When creating patterns from photos, I tend to use BeadCreator. If it’s in black & white, I may also use BeadTool. My first step is always to convert the photo before doing any editing.

BeadCreator comes with 3 palettes, including the Miyuki delica size 11 (my choice of beads for all looming). It’s advisable to edit the colours so they look as close to real life as possible, but you can also create your own palette(s). I saved the available palette so that all silk delicas are excluded.

Once you’ve chosen your palette, you have to decide what size you want the (entire) pattern to be. This step is always trial and error for me. I enter a size, click Apply, and see how it looks. For this one, I started with a width of 6”, which didn’t give me the detail I needed for the face. 8.5” gives me good detail, and I could go wider on this cuff, so it suited my needs.

Next I remove unwanted columns and/or rows, and reduce the colour count. The original had 156 colours! I cut it down to 35, resulting in this:

It’s not bad but I want the face to be more distinguished from the background. So, in Photoshop, I darkened the background area surrounding the head and shoulders. I also lightened the face, hands and jacket a little. I re-converted, and ended up with this:

The difference between this and the original may not be obvious, but is there nonetheless. For the final conversion, I increased brightness, decreased saturation, and also altered the hue slightly. It’s ok, but perhaps a little too light in the face.

So you can see my photo conversions are a matter of trial and error. I will first convert the original then play with it in Photoshop. What I alter/edit depends on the result in BeadCreator, and also what I think may help. I normally save several versions of the patterns, particularly the full colour pattern. 

I’ll show you how this turns out when I eventually start looming it – hopefully in about two weeks.  Tomorrow I have to try and squeeze in some looming time so I can free it up for the next projects.

Happy beading and enjoy your weekend.