Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bead & Button Show class registrations begin January 10th

Hand Felted Complex Cane Felt Beads Necklace (sold out first day last year!)
This June I'll be teaching 12 classes at the Bead & Button Show. The catalog has been sent to last year's registrants and anyone can view it on-line. On January 10th they will begin to accept registrations for classes. I have to say, in my 10 years of teaching there, I have observed that most of the registrations occur on opening day. Many beaders must sit at their computers, fingers poised to hit the right button, at noon CST, on January 10!  Of course they continue to accept registrations from January 10th until the hour of the class, for any seats still available.
In past years, when my classes filled on opening day, they would schedule an additional session. This year my "dance card" is so full, it doesn't have a spot to sneak an additional session into. Nice problem. Hope you get into all the classes you want.

The fun starts Friday June 1st with "Preview' classes and continues through Sunday June 10.

Click on the links above or read the class descriptions below. In writing this post, I have yet to be successful placing photos next to the appropriate description. So, click on "12 classes" above and then on each individual class to see the details WITH the photo.

 B121495 Crystal Galaxy Necklace Thu 6/7, 830a-330p From thread & 1600 xilion Swarovski crystals, create solid circular, diamond, triangular and pentagonal forms. Discover the repeated simple steps that propel you through the work and provide that meditative sweet spot that we love. Painlessly learn cubic right angle weave and all the sculptural possibility it holds.  

B121440 Fireflies at Midnight Wed 6/6 4-7pm This original stitch can be thought of as tubular peyote stitch with the strategic addition of extra beads. These extra beads articulate this otherwise stiff beadwork, making it as supple as bead crochet. You will appreciate this versatile addition to your bead weaving repertoire.

Ode to Stripey Beads, offered both Saturdays 6/2 and 6/9
B121452 Sparkling Hand Felted Bangle Sun 6/3, 7-10p Transform fine merino wool into luxurious felt cane. Accelerate the process by using a Turbo Felting Board. Double-needle right-angle weave Swarovski crystals using the mantra that propels you through row after short row. Seamlessly join the first and last rows to cover the joined ends of your freshly felted bangle. You’ll finish.
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B121450 Hand Felted Complex Cane Beads Necklace, Fri 6/8 830-4, Create a set of complex cane beads from an array of fine merino wool, the magic of felt making and a technique inspired by glass/clay artists. Build and then combine, solid, spiraling and concentric canes. A Turbo Felting Board accelerates the felting into dense firm beads so you will string them in class.
B121461 Trilogy of Chains, Mon 6/4, 7-10p, Learn not 1, not 2, but 3 dainty chains in this short & sweet class. Wear them together or individually. These chains rival those from the jewelry store but, are composed almost entirely of size 15 seed beads. Well, a few 4mm crystals too! Though delicate in appearance, they are quite sturdy.
B121437 Hand Felted Bangle w Beaded Bead, Sun 6/10, 9-noon. Experience the magic of felt making, transforming fine merino wool into a luxurious felt bracelet. Accelerate the process using a Turbo Felting Board. Learn my quick & easy method for undulating tubular peyote. Whip up a couple inches to use as a beaded bead, covering the joined tapered ends for perfect fit.
B122505 & B121581 Ode To Stripey Beads Sat 6/9 or 6/2, 9-5 or 10-530  Choose beads from my collection of solid & stripy, plus the round, oval & oblong base beads to decorate with intricate beadwork. Discover the impact of the base bead’s finish & color. Design a template for custom-fit for each bead. Take away a finished bead and recipes/template for more. Wear one or string them w spacer beads.
B121587 Kalahari Mirage Fri 6/8, 5-8p. Approach a familiar stitch w/ a sense of adventure, creating a swirling rope that has an inside & outside. In a few inches, incorporate Swarovski crystals to enhance the matte beads, sparkle like a pool in the desert, and exaggerates the undulation of the necklace.
B121562 A Ring for Every Finger Tues 6/5, 7-10p Make a handful of elegant rings that look like precious metal, pearls and gemstones, and belie their seed bead composition. Begin with the easiest and work your way through all five recipes, weaving together seed beads, drops, magatamas and marcasite charlottes. Expect to complete most, if not all 5.
B121574 Kalahari Oasis Lariat Wed 6/6, 8-3. Weave the sparkle of an oasis into matte beads redolent of the desert. The rope spirals and has an “inside & outside”. Incorporate gorgeous daggers into one end and encrust the other end with faceted beads and drops in a way that causes it to undulate wildly. Wear the lariat with the encrusted end winding up the lariat, allowing the daggers to hang in a loose curl or entwine the ends together, bolo style.
B121540 Are 8 Really Enough? Friday 6/1, 5-8p Make 1 now and enjoy the bonus of learning how to make all 8. These bangles & bracelets are composed of seed beads (some durable finish gold/silver) with or without spotty daggers, drops and Bicone crystals, looking like a tennis bracelet. {I just designed yet another bangle that starts in this way but is more complex. I'm thinking of adding it to the rest, affirming that 8 are really NOT enough! Kits for this new beauty will be available on my website after the show.}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Suitto Needle Threader

Suitto pushed the thread through the eye!

Suitto needle-threader, loaded with needle and thread

Last January when I was exhibiting with Tulip Co at the International Great Quilt Show in Tokyo, this red tulip-shaped little machine caught my eye. I've wondered about it over this year and whether it would be useful for beadworkers who have issues getting their needles threaded.
When Bead my Love and SuperiorBeads asked me about them I had to look into this promising tool. Tulip sent me one, affirming that this delicate machine is intended for sewing needles and threads.
How it works: Drop the needle, eye first, into the hole in the center of the cupped area at left. Hold the thread so it lays across the ditch between this part and the tulip. Press the button. If the thread was held straight across but, not so taut as to not yield to the tool, it will be pushed through the eye of the needle. Lift the needle gently to avoid pulling the small loop of thread back OUT of the eye. Gently pull the loop through the eye until one end of the thread passes entirely through.
What I have found is: Fireline 4#, Nymo D, Sonoko and One G beading threads can be threaded onto a size 11 Tulip beading needle. 6# Fireline, 10# WildFire and all of the above will thread into a size 10 Tulip beading needle. Jill, aka Jilly Beads, used it several times in the last two Studio classes and, when the thread was properly placed it worked for her each time.
Sooooooo, I placed an order for them!
My best-post-office-in-the-world called yesterday morning to say they had my EMS package (it stands for Express Mail Service and it IS. It gets my packages to me from Japan in 3-4 days!!!). I tossed the box into my car (too big for my bicycle!) and dashed home, promising to return immediately. The priority flat-rate boxes were addressed and ready to be filled with the orders placed by Bead my Love and Superior Beads. Tomorrow they should have their Suitto Needle Threaders!Now you know where you can find them.
In the style of those sometimes touching Master Card commercials:
Tulip beading needles $4.95 per package. Beading thread $2-7. Suitto Needle threader, about $20. Getting back the thrill of having threaded needles every time you want them...priceless!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Having decided not to do yet another printing of HOW WE FELT, my publisher Interweave Press sent me the files. They said that because they opted not to print more, and the photos were taken by staff photographer and genius Joe Coca, that all rights are mine. I'm just heginning to investigate what would be involved to make it available as an e book from my website. Which makes me also wonder about having it available digitally for Kindle, Nook and iBook. And then of course, there is the "print on demand" market. It is all fascinating and another learning curve and I want to explore these. If you have advice or suggestions please drop me a line.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Testing the iPod app now that I've re-installed

My techy friend Susan suggested this might do the trick. Well, I can tell you that the entire format looks different. So, I just took a photo of the delicious chocolate truffle filled figs we bought at Trader Joes. Let's see if this will work, including the photo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My weekend workshops at Crystal Creations...Beads Gone Wild

You've heard me enthuse about my iPod touch and iPad as I've incorporated them seamlessly into everything I do. They have advanced my techiness exponentially and I genuinely enjoy learning new ways to utilize their many features. Recently I've even read a few issues of MacWorld. Why hardly a beading workshop concludes without someone asking me to share some new digital thing I've discovered or some new app I've acquired. BUT, ever since the OS5 update, my blogger apps have become loathsome time vampires. Joyfully I'll share the days events, taking the considerable time to include links and photos throughout the posting, only to find that the entire thing won't upload or worse, disappears entirely. This has eaten up so much time that what used to feel warm and wonderful sharing of my magical days, ends up leaving me feeling frustrated and honestly, angry.
So, days after the fact, here I am, sitting at my computer trying to play catch up. I am tempted to look into wordpress or an alternate to blogger, if they do not remedy this glitch. I love returning to the hotel at day's end and making time to blog when things are fresh and immediate. If, from now on, because my mobile devices cannot be used for this purpose, I have to wait until I am returned home and in front of the computer to blog, I admit it just isn't going to happen. In that setting I have other demands on my time. If you have any clout with the app developer, please use it!
Eleanor felted and beaded with me the last time I taught at Crystal Creations. She recalled being in some discomfort afterwards from all the physical exertion. She was thrilled with the contrast this weekend, provided by using the Turbo Felting Board. So, she was able to be quite prolific without physical repercussions. Here she is seen building "leopardskin" felt.
She embedded shiny novelty yarn and will ultimately use this piece as a wall hanging. Eleanor is a very accomplished fiber artist and works in several fiber media.
We didn't confine ourselves to felt jewelry this weekend, though most everyone finished at least a couple pieces in addition to other felt projects. They wanted to sample nuno felting so I showed the technique of creating surface design around a skewer and then felting the slices into an open weave fabric. Dawn made her cane, removed the skewer and then, instead of slicing it she began to wet it as we had done for other applications. Discovering the faux pas immediately, she cut slices and placed them on the fabric. The gorgeous thing that happened is this:
I hope you can see the detail in this photo. While the center of each medallion is firmly felted into the background fabric, the outer edges are not. I loved seeing this happenstance. This is a technique I will use purposefully to that end. Fascinating. Thank you Dawn for your spirit of adventure.
Robin and Barbara are friends who have taken my workshops at the BEad & Button Show for several years running. They both made quite the effort to join me this weekend

at Crystal Creations and they were jazzed and productive. This is some of Barbara's booty.

Eileen felted a fascinator for her granddaughter, though she looks fabulous in it herself!

Liisa Turunen, the store designer and co-teacher with her mom, store owner Glenda Paunonen, felted several cuffs. You may recall me mentioning that she and Glenda said they wanted to make jewelry like in Cirque du Soleil. I still don't know what those pieces are but, Bloomfelt is a feltmaker associated with Cirque du Soleil.

Robin (left) ad Barbara (right) hard at work.

Glenda built up layers of color using the skewer technique and then felted a bangle. When it was 23 finished, she cut little wedges from the cane to reveal the interior. By continuing to full the bangle post-cutting, the wedges even out with the overall silhouette. Lovely.

Angela felted this cuff with fringe and then turned her attention to the felt purse shown here. Her construction is impeccable even though I dashed through the demonstration "felting around a resist", having added this to an already overly ambitious collection of techniques and projects for one weekend.
It was an amazing weekend of hugely creative, highly motivated people intent on using effectively, every moment we shared. I taught and demonstrated (and they created) necklaces, cuffs, bangles, felt beads, felt fabric, nuno, felting around an armature, inclusions embedded in felt, felting around an armature (purse) and fascinators. wish you could have been there.
Glenda spoke of felted earrings and similar projects she will offer in the repertoire of classes at Crystal Creations.