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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Baltimore Beaded Bag Journey Has Ended

Looking back, I started weaving this bag on August 2, 2012. I shared the first idea and stages, here on my Blog. With a few distractions here and there, I can say this took about a month to complete, only four weeks. It was an enjoyable time for me. I love having something 'going on', so I can pick it up any time, keeping the stride of creativity open.

Below is a final assembly of the strap using 4mm and 6mm Obsidian beads, sterling bead caps, sterling seamless beads and my beaded bead, beaded tube and netted section. I threaded these onto a braided wire, checking for a comfortable length, every few inches. The strap is then secured using a 'closed' jump ring and a sterling bead crimp, the correct size to handle the thicker jewelry wire. If you haven't seen a 'Magic Crimper' before, look one up. I like how it forms a "small silver bead" instead of a "folded over crimp". You can see this better in the second picture down this post.

Any time I am securing a handle to a beaded bag, I prefer to attach a good, large, strong sterling lobster claw clasp. There can be many reasons to want a change of handle. This will allow an easier way, without having to resew or fill surrounding beads with thread.

You can also see, in the picture below, how the lobster claw clasp is connected to two 'closed' jump rings, also secured to a small beaded epaulette. I shared this design idea two other times, Robin Robert's Cell Phone Bag and "A Glorious Day". ("The Glorious Day" cell phone bag was made in 2010. It is still in use today, never had a problem with not being lined nor the strap being over stressed!) My design idea, for the epaulettes, is to afford a more secure attachment. This epaulette itself is sewn, through the bead bag panels, on all four sides. This relays the stress points to a wider area and not just where the strap is secured. It works wonderfully, especially for a well used beaded bag.

You can also notice a small 'drop' accent, added to the base point, of each epaulette!

Originally, when I started out designing this Baltimore Bag, I worked out many 'fringe' design ideas. When it came to adding one, I decided a fringe would make the bag too 'formal'. Since my theme is sports related, on one side, and casual dining, on the other, I decided to make a cleverly designed base.

The netted theme, of the strap, was carried out along the wide base. The width also lent itself to the wide side panels, added first. I also think it matches well with both panels.

Finally, some over all shots of the finished bag, "A Baltimore Bag":

SIDE ONE: A bead graphed portrait, or rendition of a caricature by Rick Wright, Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens Football Team!

SIDE TWO: The claw of a Blue Crab, also accented with an overall photo of a 'Baltimore Steamed Crab'!

Because I weave on the loom, everyday, I always have a loom warped. There will be more beaded pieces to share! My thoughts, however, are taking me into a direction of being more intense with 'creating bead patterns from photographs'. To tally up all the emails I receive, converting a photograph to a bead pattern is the most requested form of help. Pattern programs leave so much more to do, then just 'click and weave'. Let me warp another cuff and think about how to share such help :D


  1. Have enjoyed watching your progress on the bag and the outcome is outstanding!

    Would love to hear what you have to share about converting photographs to a bead pattern. I've been working on some and it certainly requires a lot more than just "click & weave"!

    Dixie Hamilton
    Sabanilla de Alajuela
    Costa Rica

  2. Thank you Dixie! Yes, the programs are not meant for a quick pattern, but with only a few photo management suggestions, it will be much better. However, there still will be the usual, 'eliminate the single bead colors, throughout the pattern' and a 'swap of bead colors, here and there', but not at all as you have to do now. Have you created a separate bead color pallet yet? One that takes all the metallic finishes and Satins! This helps tons!

  3. WOW - This piece turned out beautifully!!! I had so much fun watching all the steps you took us through in making it.

  4. So COOL Erin. I love the way you think. I have a difficult time with ending the warps. Do you have any possible suggestions on that? Do you weave each warp back into the body?

  5. Fabulous Erin - all the little design elements of your pieces add up to make them so special. I love this!

  6. Thank you Lisa! It is fun to share with you!

    Hello Carla! There really not many means of ending the warps, in print or on the internet. I have a unique ©Warp Management Method, but not able to share here in public. It will be outlined in my book. In answer to the specific question, no, I do not weave each warp back into the body. If there is a way for me to share with you, otherwise, I'll be sure to contact you!

    Hey Hey Ness! Thanks! *giggle*

  7. I love it Erin! From the loom work to the intricate strap, topped off with beaded beads, what's not to love? Plus I know how much you love the Ravens, and pieces that originate from such love of the subject always have that extra something that makes them spectacular. This one is no exception!

  8. Hi Cindy! Thank you so much! I had to smile when I read the part about "my beaded beads"! I think your beaded beads would have really topped this off! You make some gorgeous patterns!

  9. Thank you! It is my first time working on a netted tubing, I guess that's what it's called. I love how it feels!

  10. I love the non-fringe! It also makes it look sturdier, which for some reason feels good for a cellphone bag :-)

  11. I agree with you. It has never been in my repertoire to create a beaded bag 'without' a fringe, but now I will be looking at this differently. Once, back a few years, someone told me to consider 'no fringe' and I thought it would have left the beaded bag look unfinished. The fact I played up a detailed weave, for the base, way my way of substituting without creating the feeling of 'loss', with no fringe. Thanks!

  12. Bellisimo, hermoso trabajo, exclusivo, delicado elegante, unas terminaciones muy pero muy elegantes y finas....Felicidades por el excelente trabajo.....saludos

  13. Thank you all! Eva, you are such a special beader, I am enamored when I see you take time to share your thoughts of my pieces her. Thank you so much!

  14. Salve,che meraviglia queste creazioni,sono stupende,bravissima.Buona Pasqua.