Sunday, 30 November 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." 23-30 November

2014 - Week 48 Daily Beads








And to finish the month, though today is the start of week 49...

All of November's beads were posted yesterday.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." November beads

I talked about the development of the November beads here.

I started with these mother of pearl buttons.

And though I will show the rest of the individual beaded buttons on Sunday, I wanted to show them all together and talk a little about what I might change if I did this again.

Here are all the November beaded buttons.
As you can see, even though the buttons are different shapes, they all work together.

And here is the however bit...
Somehow I had in my head that I wanted a circle of white beads around the button. Early on I discovered that half the time they were hiding under the edge of the button. Not Good.

So, then I used a pattern of one of the purple beads then the white bead and then the rest of the purples - number depending on how much space to the edge of the felt base. Well, that was much better but I really struggled to get them to line up in a proper circle/oval or what have you. By this time I had done the 'not quite a heart' buttons and the jar shaped buttons. And I decided to just carry on.

What I would do if I did this kind of beaded button again (besides having the buttons all the same shape for more uniformity!) is to forget about the white bead idea and just fill the surrounding area with the chosen bead colour. But at least for these, they all have a random shape of white beads going round the button. And because the buttons are all different shapes, they all have their unique random white bit encircling!

Or at least that is my story.

And when they become embellishment on some fantastical garment, no one is going to be looking at it with vision enhancing sewing glasses like I do!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Needles for beading

As it is almost the end of November, I thought you might like a story about needles.

Somehow when I bead, my needles end up like this.

For some of these, I have made attempts to straighten them. But because I use the scoop method of taking a stitch (instead of stab down to the back and stab up to the top.) I guess I will always get a bit of bending.

Here is a comparison of what the needle should look like and the needle I have now after using it a month for the beaded buttons.

Part of the reason for the bending is the size of the needle - the thinness, if you will. They just bend easily. I could choose needles that aren't so thin. But I get so annoyed when I have added a pattern of 5 or 6 beads onto the needle, establish where I want to stitch and then find one or more of the needles won't go over the threaded eye of the needle. So, I go for needles almost every bead will go though. There are random beads in a whole bag where the hole is smaller than the rest, but most beads including size 15 allow the threaded needle to pass through. And for the most part, will allow at least one more pass or even two.

There are long beading needles I could use.

The threaded one is the one I like as shown above. Explained below.
It is great for picking up a whole set of one pattern. But the problem is that the eye is so small I find them very difficult to thread. and then when you are being miserly with your thread and need to tie a knot at the end? Well, being very thin and quite long they become even more bent! They work wonderful for bead weaving though when you need to collect the whole set of warp beads.

Here are a few options.

The long beading needle at the bottom. I can't remember the maker.

The John James beading needle at the top. I find this too short for a set of beads and for working from the top feeling my way through layers without the thread showing on the other side. I also have size 12, which is thinner, but even shorter.

And so, the one I have found to work best. Size 10 Milliners needle by Bohin. The middle one and the ones I showed above that are bent.

Recently I bought John James milliners size 11 just a little thinner than the size 10 Bohin. But I haven't opened it yet. Perhaps in the new year?

What kind of needles do you like to use for beading?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

TVCT meeting - Damask

Because I am working on the Christmas beaded gifts which I don't really want to show here...well I haven't much to show!

And then there is the Big Project...which I am also reluctant to show even though the entry form doesn't specify not showing it on blogs. It does say something that implies not exhibiting it, so I am not sure how restrictive they mean to be. So, I'd rather be over careful.

But here are a few photos from Saturday when we had Jane O'Brien take about her work and the history of Damask. The talk was so interesting I frantically took notes and not photos! But here is one from the afternoon where Jane was giving a mini-talk/discussion about design and what she focusses on for her collages.

Here are a few pieces of damask and some of Jane's work made in response to her studies when she studied at Windsor School of Textiles.

What she found the most interesting was the fact that the same patterns can be traced from very early China through to Middle Ages and on to modern times.

Here is her statement.
The textiles in the basket show the way she explored the pattern and reduced it to stitched out patterns that became lace if the fabric was gone but the pattern remains.

I have rarely had the experience of a lecture about the history of a cloth. This talk, with images of fabric as well as images of Portraits (many from the National Gallery) showing the rich damask fabrics being worn and even the changes in the techniques used to depict the fabric in the paintings was a fascinating experience.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." 16-22 November

2014 - Week 47 Daily Beads

Up close these beaded buttons look a little higgledy-piggedy. But when the whole collection is together or at a distance, they all look similar and part of a set.



Here is where I have run out of 2 of the different purples. So, have discovered two other purples to continue with the sets of 6 button shapes.


Here is where I find that the pearly white beads run out. Or at least it looks like I could do at least one more beaded button to finish this set.

But... only 2 of these have holes big enough for the threaded end of the needle to pass through!

I was going to use a sort of clear with white lining. But then yesterday at the Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles meeting, my friend Margaret Ramsay was having a clear out. Some containers of beads and some collections of broken necklaces which had been part of her mother's stash.

And look! some small white beads. Not pearly finish, but white! I have other white beads, but no small opaque white beads. Creamy...Off white...yes, but none that would work for these. But now the little ones from the necklace will do.


I hosted a meeting on Friday and then the TVCT meeting on Saturday, so I will complete this week's beads this afternoon.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Drop in a Bucket - touring America 2015

From a recent email:
Dear Sandy,
I have the pleasure to inform you that we managed to have Wide Horizons IV to travel in the USA at all 7 AQS shows from January through October 2015.

So, I have done a bit of googling to find out what AQS stands for... American Quilter's Society (I did know it was to be in at least 2 of those shows, but didn't know what the initials actually meant.)

I also wanted to find out where these shows are and when they are on. I discovered this list.
Albuquerque, NM ~ Jan 14 – 17
Lancaster, PA ~ March 11 – 14
Paducah, KY ~ April 22 – 25
Syracuse, NY ~ July 29 – Aug. 1
Grand Rapids, MI ~ Aug 12 – 15
Chattanooga, TN ~ Sep 16 – 19
Des Moines, IA ~ Sep 30 – Oct 3

And why does this matter?

After being part of the SAQA Europe and Middle East Wide Horizons IV exhibition at Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, France in September, it travelled to Abilmente in Vicenza, Italy.

So, now it is travelling around America.

I really wanted the opportunity to raise awareness of issues for as many people as possible.(Several facts mentioned in my statement at the above link.) So now, not just in Europe, but also in America.

VERY Pleased!

So, if you are planning to attend any of these shows, please let me know! If you live anywhere near the plan to attend!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

ALAW - Burnt Letters

Second ALAW set for 2014 m-p
Still catching up the Burnt Letters

And the Burnt Letters up close...

info about the technique and concept here.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." 9-15 November

2014 - Week 46 Daily Beads






I thought the star buttons would be harder to stitch the radiating sets of beads, but actually it was much easier as it was very regular.



I ran out of the purple beads for this and filled in round the edge with the beads I am using for the 4th button of each set. I will substitute a different purple bead for the 3rd button of each remaining set of shaped buttons. The beads for the 5th button of each set is about to run out as well. So I have a back-up plan for that as well.

You never think when you start something that you will find yourself short on the variety of purple beads!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Present idea

This year I have my brother to give gifts to. When you have 8 people in your family and not much money, your parents come up with different ways of restricting the number of gifts each one has to give. Because of course, they provide the money for each of those gifts till the children get old enough to make money of their own, or to make gifts themselves. I think for the most part we drew names from a hat or something.

Anyway...when we started having spouses and children one of the newer parents came up with the idea of restricting the giving again and we all breathed a sigh of relief! It was a bit more predictable as you rotated around the list, having a different person each year til you were back at the top and starting over again. It got a bit of an update when my sister died..(My youngest brother had died about 10 years before.) And so, I have my other brother this year.

...More than you wanted to know....

Back to the present idea. I am not sure I ever showed this piece on the blog. Or at least I can't find it.
I think it was made before I started the blog.

I had used flannel for the wadding and didn't like the way it flopped about. So, it went into one of my 'someday perhaps' piles. I kept moving it around, thinking it was not great. The other day I got it out again because I know my brother likes Scientific things. I am sure he would like this. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as I remembered. Just needed a good press.

So, the aim now is to make a sort of backing quilt a bit larger to place this work onto. I will probably use felt for the wadding because the combination will make it hang better.

Originally I had placed the uneven rectangle onto the very dark grey and used it as it was - uneven. I felt this helped to add to the concept of space not being contained in a box. I am thinking I might place this onto the backing quilt in an uneven manner as well. But I haven't decided what backing colour would be best for it. There is a verse in the Bible about faith and the way the worlds were made. I know my brother would like that as well, so I am thinking about putting words around the outside edge.

So, those are some experiments for next week.
(Have you noticed how I am delaying the start of the Big Project?)

Well, I figure if this is done first, then I don't have to stop to make this and end up sending it to America the week before Christmas like I usually do. and yes the post office reminds me that it won't get there for Christmas! But I have usually been doing too many other things to get the presents sent. It is, however, easier to send to my brother because he isn't married and hasn't got children.

And then, there will be a nearly abandoned "work-in-progress" that is finished!

So, now I will stop running off at the fingers and may possibly go to bed at a reasonable time today.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

ALAW - Burnt Letters

Second ALAW set for 2014 i-l
Catching up the Burnt Letters

And the Burnt Letters up close...

info about the technique and concept here.


And with the decks clear, I have begun! Or at least I have started the fusing part.

One of the reasons I wanted the working table clear is because the size is over 1m both ways. It would make it easier to fuse the fabric if I could use the table. The worry, though, is that the table is actually an old (vintage?) desk. There is a piece of leather set into the wood surround. I didn't want to ruin that.

So, I knew I had a felted wool blanket. Still I didn't want the heat to go through that. In the cupboard with the blanket something made me move a bag on top of a box. TADA! A table protector for protecting dining room tables from heat! I remember now that I had hoped it would fit our dining room table when it was at it's smallest size. But it didn't. However! Joy of was bigger than the fabric I wanted to fuse. So, just right for this purpose.

So, layered table protector with wool blanket on top and Yes, the little heat that did get through to the table protector went no further.

More positives here...
For some time I haven't been using my 'good' iron because the steam stopped working...a little rusty bit fell out.
However, it still heats. I thought that it would be good for this because with no steam, I had even less worry about the desk top. Wow! I am glad I hadn't got round to letting this go yet. It gives out so much more heat than the iron I have been using. So, some of the recent problems I had been having with fusibles not fusing properly were solved as well. So, the 'good' iron is still a Good Iron for this use! Besides the heat, it is heavy - so the weight for the fusing is good. AND it has a long cord which works for reaching from the plug in to the opposite side of the table.

So one piece is fused now and I can begin working with it. Well, I do need to do a few sketches now that I know what size fabric I am working with.
I used Misty Fuse black for the fusible. And I used baking parchment to protect the iron. The fusible peels away from it easily if you let it cool first. I have some of the Teflon baking sheets I used to use sometime ago for fusing. (but hard to get things right because you can't see through.) I didn't want to fuse to the wool blanket accidentally, so I used the Teflon sheets under the fabric at the sides for just in case there was fusible over the edges.

For now it is hanging up on the design wall to keep it from creasing. While I have the fusing set up, I think I will fuse the other half of this fabric. Then it will be ready if I am able to do two designs. (The call for entry allows 2 pieces to be entered.)
Raring to go!