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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bead Dye Lots!
The Need To Count First

This is nothing new, but the first time I experienced it....Bead Color Dye Lots.

When I graphed out this cell phone bag, using the beads I have in my storage, it was apparent that an order of additional beads would be necessary. I was using DB332, Matt Metallic Rhodium Plated, for the majority background color, on this panel. I knew there wouldn't be enough. My stash has almost every color, but the gram count is not always enough to complete my new weaving. When ever I ran into a count problem, I would place the replenishing order, close to when I need more beads. Never a problem in all the years I have been doing practice this way.

This time, when I did, I found they were 'discontinued'!!!!! So, I do what I usually do, cruise the back allies for left overs! I found more tubes, but expensive. 4gram tubes @ $10.50 a tube. I had to do it though, buying 4 more.

Only after I turned my panel, when finished the last row and still on the loom, did I notice a slight color difference, mainly from light play (I hoped).


No, there is definitely a color difference. You can even notice some of the inter-mingling of darker beads, where I poured the "new in with the old". Maybe skin oils or time will darken the lower section, or I could even glaze it slightly darker, as they do with newly refinished furniture. I've done that before to beads, using a well of permanent black or brown ink.

You can see from the picture below, this is not very noticeable in every light. Here, it is not seen or noticed at all.


Thankfully, this is not a commission, but something for myself. Otherwise, I may have seriously considered the 'Glazing' idea. It does work well!

Other bead finishes are just as sensitive. The 'Dyed Opaque' line of Delicas, for sure, but now the Matt Metallics are added to my list! I'll double check the total count of beads 'before' I begin, from now on!

I finally feel the same as Textile weavers needing to keep that 'additional thought' of 'dye lot', in the back of their minds. Beading on a loom is completed in 2D, so "Bead Dye Lots" need to be considered more often.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Creating the Accents!

My previous posts were teasing, sharing a few lines as I go. Here is a further update! Now you can see where I am going. Since Ray Lewis, a Baltimore Raven, my favorite Football Team, is an Icon of Baltimore, I decided to include another. Maryland is known for their 'Steamed Blue Crabs'. It is our tradition to call a few close friends, steam up some blue crab, pop a beer or two and sit together socializing, while enjoying our 'pick'.


The claw itself, was not affording a total picture. Therefore, I decided to add a focal accent, to be added later. This too is a picture of a Steamed Crab. *giggle* I told my family it was very necessary for me to go out and eat some very large steamed crabs, so I could take a photo for my cell phone bag. They weren't hard to convince! In the picture above, you see what I created.

Below is the process, in a nut shell.


Before we dug in, I asked to allow me the time of taking a few photographs. Here is the one I decide to use. I photo managed it and reduced the size so it fit perfectly behind a 40mm x 25mm glass cabochon. Using what you see in the picture above, I backed it with blue card stock, cut the shape to fit and followed the directions on the Glaze.

I share my thoughts of where this new accent will rest, later on. Looking at it now, I sure wish I would have included a mallet in the same picture. Heck, maybe I should suggest more crabs! lol

Monday, August 20, 2012

Side Two....Making the Panels Relate!


I am still happy weaving away, on the panels, completing this cell phone bag. The first panel, A Baltimore Raven "Ray Lewis", shown in the prior post, is finished, except for some warp managing. Above is a 'work in progress' picture, sharing a sneak peek, of where I am going, for side two.

The total cell phone bag should offer 'one thought', when complete. A unified Theme. Other than the 'theme', I also have to keep in mind how the fringing and/or strap must be carried out to match both panels, in colors and style. Once they are both warp managed, I'll place them side-by-side to show how I will 'marry' the two.

As for the 'Theme', I decided, "The Best of Baltimore"! This should give you a bit of a 'hint', as to the subject, of the second panel :)

It's looming up quite fast, so more to come shortly.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sized and Secured, A 3D Tongue!


I attached the 'tongue' to this panel, by using the loomed beads, a few of the warps, but not allowing any threads to show on the underside.

To allow for the 'curve' in the tongue, this was graphed to handle extra width and length, by adding one bead more for the length and the width.

I wish you could feel this addition. It is very secure and will with stand some good use.

Later, I will share the final rows of this panel and begin to tease you with what I am planning to recreate for the other panel, the opposite side.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ray Lewis' Character Will Shine in '3D'!

I have been setting up my latest, this Ray Lewis Cell Phone Bag. It includes 80 warps wide and planned to be 95 rows deep. I am halfway through, but have some fun things to share!

Since this is such a wide piece, I'll be utilizing a ©Double Weft Method of weaving. This is also known as a 'double needle', but saying it in that way only confuses many.

I only share my favorite form of weaving on a loom, utilizing 'tension controlled warps'. This forces one warp, between each bead, and two wefts inside each row of beads. Thus is the reason I prefer to call this 'thread saving technique', a ©Double Weft Method.

The other form of bead weaving on a loom entails using heddles and a shedding device. This type of loom forces a set up of two warps and only one weft. But, it can be a great way to weave very wide bead portraits. The feel can be stiffer too, due to the double warps.

Let me share how I set up my wefts. To start off, with my first row, I prefer to cut an extended length of weft thread. Run each end through a needle, (such is the name ©Double Weft Method), then count the first row of beads, following the pattern. Secure the one side of this weft, to an end warp using a bead stop. Each bead is placed in between two warps. The unsecured weft will be driven back across the row, inside the row of beads I just placed.


The secured side, of the weft, will also follow through the same row of beads, but in the opposite direction. This now gives me my first row of beads, secured onto the warps, and a long weft holding a needle on each side. Now one weft will be used to 'pick up' the next row of beads and the other will be used to 'run back through inside the row of beads'.

Obviously, this technique will save time, not having to change the weft thread as often. This can be practiced with any width, of bead weaving on loom, but some of my other techniques are not completed well with a ©Double Weft Method.

I have been skirting along, row by row, counting and following the pattern. If I notice any 'bad bead color choice', these are best made as they happen. So stay alerted to every new color you introduce. Even though I have shared some good tips, to create a perfect bead pattern, it is still prudent to stay on top of the bead colors.


As I weave along, I am thinking of ways to make my piece stand out. This one is a 'no brainer'....look at the tongue! It makes me laugh, but a great way to add some character to this wonderful caricature!


So, mid stream, I put down the loom and graphed a 'tongue'. Ewwww, I know, but how fun is this? I have also thought about two other, very small accents, which will bring this piece to an interesting level.


I have also been consistently thinking about what should be graphed for the opposite side, of this cell phone bag. My thoughts toggle, from 'recreating something more generic so this can be worn on non-sporting days' and 'adding more to the Baltimore Ravens theme'. However I decide, I do have to consider using the same bead color pallet because the addition of fringe and strap colors will be seen, no matter what side I wear outward. I'll be share more as I think on this. If anyone has any ideas, please, lets talk! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cell Phone Bag time!!!


'Football Season' is around the corner,
so I think it is time for me to put
a cell phone bag on my loom, for myself!

As a matter of fact, I am taking the liberty of recreating, not only, my favorite Baltimore Raven, but also the coolest Caricature
drawn by a good friend of ours,
Rick Wright.



I have been working on the bead pattern, for a few days, making sure to get the right color beads, in the right place. There are over 971, 11/0 Delica Colors to choose. This is one reason I love bead weaving with them. Miyuki Delicas offer the largest pallet available, for 11/0 size glass seed beads. I not only have to consider the color, but the finish and how each relate, when woven on a loom.

A Bead Pattern Program was in order this time, but as with all of the commercial programs, they are not full proof. There is no such program that offers; Input picture, transfer to pattern, grab selected bead colors, warp your loom and begin beading. I have talked about this in another blog post, "Create a Bead Program Color Journal". I think it important to talk about it again, as this can be difficult.

While writing my book, to include a chapter on how to handle the problems a 'bead pattern program' causes, I realized there is a trick to getting very close to what works best. My method is not full proof, as you still need to make some color changes in your program, but I am as close as we can get to 'clicking-n-beading' as you can get. More about this will be in my book, so I won't elude to my methods here.

What I do want to suggest to those who use these programs, to be sure and change the values and color hues, offered for each bead finish, in the program. Let me share how much this effects your pattern.

Below is the Caricature by Rick Wright, after I transferred it into the Bead Pattern Program, using my 'pre-program' steps. Notice how my methods create a well colored bead pattern. (I am so excited about realizing everything I need to do to get to this point!)


You can see how perfect the beads colors are relating to the original Caricature. One of the noticeable differences is the background color, no longer shaded with blue. My pre-program methods are good, but some hues and values get washed out. This is a very small price to pay for the ease in creating a bead pattern. Now I make some changes in the 'areas' of color. I don't want to see beads "sprinkled" through out, or patches of just a few beads. No need to purchase grams of beads when only a few are requested, in the pattern. The small number, of color beads, will be removed or merged with similar colors. For these changes, I use the utilities offered by the Bead Pattern Program itself.

Once I was happy with the pattern, and colors, I pulled all 29 Delicas, this pattern selects. It is amazing how 'OFF' the program selected. The bead colors are no where near the same color I see in this pattern mock up! Again, refer to my Blog post about needing to change the color variables in these type of programs.

To help prove the importance of changing the color variables, I decided to select my own color values, from my Delica stash, to match what I am seeing in this pattern, shown above. I plugged those Delica numbers into the pattern. Look at what the pattern turned into, when the right bead colors are chosen, not what the program tells me to choose.


This is the perfect example of how "bead programs" select bead colors that look great, in the transferred pattern, but when you spend good money, for the beads they suggest, your heart falls, from being so poorly mislead. Therefore, it is important to change any color variable or saturation of color, inside the program, to match the exact bead color. As you purchase your beads, go directly to your program and make the necessary changes. Mark the bead # with a small 'x' so you will know, later on, which beads were changed to the correct color value. Other then that, you could buy every bead color offered in the pallet of beads, and select your own colors, like picking up crayons :) (The expensive way to create patterns)

Seriously, it is a difficult thing to make your own patterns work the way a program wants you to think. I suggest never buying a bead looming pattern, unless you are able to see the 'actual' bead colors, based on that pattern. Even a small swatch of beading, in the chosen pattern colors, help to decide if this pattern will be correct or not.

My 'Ray-Ray' cell phone bag will be warped and underway, shortly. I'll be sharing the stages, as I weave, so together we can work out how 'my' bead colors relate, to this pattern.