Monday, 25 January 2016

Stepping Stones bead quilt

Just finished the bead quilt I've been working on for a month or so. The idea for it began when I brought four strands of pink, green and white matte beads in Norwich. Then when I decided to use the grey flat oblong stone beads the design kind of made itself.

I feel a little bit bad about it now as I had thought it was an original design until I noticed one of Robin Atkins pieces on my pinterest board which is called, you guessed it, stepping stones. Robin has written about it here and it's fairly clear to me that this piece must have been in the back of my mind when I made mine. Thanks, Robin, for the inspiration!

The grey stones I've used were once a necklace I made but I never wore it so I thought I'd recycle it. I've forgotten what the stone is called. Petosky stone came up when I googled it but that doesn't ring any bells so it may be sold under a different name. Here are close ups of two of the stones.

As is often the case, I had to adapt my plan as I went on. I didn't have enough of the matte grey seed beads to fill the run at the top left between the two white lines so I had to improvise and add in some white and pink matte beads. I ended up liking the effect and wished I'd mixed things up a bit more in the other sections.

I'm still not very good at making 'bead soups' to work with and tend to stick to lines or sections of one particular bead. The pink 'bead soup' used to fill between the pathways on this piece was bought as a pack and contained a really nice variety of beads.

'Stepping Stones' is about 12" square which is my preferred  size to work with; big enough to get in some variety and detail but small enough to finish in a month or two. Unusually for me, there isn't a single button on this.

This piece has satisfied my desire to produce a heavily encrusted piece for the time being so the one I'm going to work on next will have a bit more emphasis on the material and a few less beads - unless of course I get carried away which is quite possible.

Monday, 18 January 2016

January 2016 Bead Journal Project

I've just completed my very first bead journal project piece. Here it is.

It's about 4" square and uses a piece of material I dyed using a confetti dying technique which I wrote about here.  Originally this piece was going to be used for February but I changed my mind. The dark background and dark blue beads represent the dark days of January and the silver is hope that 2016 will be a good year. In my head it wasn't going to have so much silver on it but it seems that my natural optimism came out on top!

I'm pleased with this and the actual beading only took about two and a half hours which is about right as I want to be able to complete this project each month while still having time to work on other things.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

(Not) Dyeing buttons

I saw a post about someone who had dyed some buttons so I thought I'd have a go, even though I only had a cold water cotton dye and I knew perfectly well it wouldn't work on man-made buttons. So here are the before and after photos.

Now although the second picture looks more colourful, that's mostly just the different light. In fact only five of the buttons changed colour significantly, plus a few pieces of shell I threw in for fun.

The colours I used were green, yellow and red. One of the buttons took the green dye spectacularly well. Not sure what it was made of. The nice stripy one which was in the dark red dye is actually the back of a button. Here's a close up and the front of it.

Although now I think about it, I don't know what the back looked like before I dyed it - perhaps it was already stripy!

Anyway, the upshot is that man made buttons don't really dye in cold water dyes. Hardly a surprise. I haven't given up though. Next time I'm in a craft shop I'll look for a different type of dye.