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.