Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back to Beads

Last Monday one of my work-friends told me that I had inspired him to get out his crochet hook and pick up crocheting again. I was tremendously flattered and of course told him about ravelry. We had gone on travel together to Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey (12 hours in a government van) and I had knitted during the drive. On Tuesday I wore my (only) bead crochet rope necklace that I had made when my sister, Virginia, and I took the Beadcats booth to Convergence in 2006, knowing that he would find it fascinating. I offered to show him how, but then realized that I would have to brush up on my rather rusty bead crochet skills. So I pulled out some beads and some silk Guderbrod (size E) and a 1.4mm crochet hook and got to work. I did a small sample to show him, but didn't get a chance to last week. He stopped by my office on Friday on his way out and borrowed my size 11 seed bead cards, and my bead crochet rope book, but we really didn't have a chance to talk. I did show another friend of mine from work, and may yet get her into beads (I have already gotten her into sewing). Looking at the book had inspired me, though, so this weekend I decided to get out a project that I had started some time ago.

Every year when I go to the Bead and Button show (I work in the Beadcats booth - and get paid in beads) I buy lampwork beads from Larry Scott, my favorite lampwork bead artist. Typically I buy his Byzantine beads and string them with semi-precious stones and silver, but one year I bought one of his long cylinder beads, intending to make a bead crochet rope necklace to go with it. I found some nice dark blue iridescent beads and worked up half the necklace and then decided that it needed to be more three-D. A rope and a long cylinder bead was just too flat. So I decided to do a spiral bead crochet rope. I rummaged in my pretty extensive bead stash (it took two of those organizer cabinets to organize it) and came up with some size 6 and size 8 beads to go with the original size 11 beads.

A couple of hours of stringing later I started crocheting and discovered that spiral bead rope crochet is a bit more challenging than straight bead rope crochet. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but I am quite pleased with the results so far. I'm not sure if it will go with the lampwork bead, but it will make a nice piece regardless.

A few notes on tools:

For stringing beads on anything I use the Japanese Bead Threader Needle, available from Beadcats. It is wonderful, and makes stringing a breeze.

For beading I put the beads I am working with in a white ceramic bead tray, also available from Beadcats. I use the large center space for any mutant beads that I don't want in my beadwork. I cover the bottom with self-adhesive felt so it doesn't slide or clink when I stack them.

The thread is silk Guderbrud, size E.

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