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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Magic Of Metallic Finishes

Metallic finish beads have been used for many, many types of beading, so when I decided to highlight this in my Blog today, I didn't want this to sound like totally 'new news'.

Working in a two dimensional form, as bead looming creates, I tend to look for ways to create my patterns using the slightest difference in color hues. This would normally create a three dimensional look to the subject of the pattern. Flower petals and butterfly wings are just two of the examples, we try to shade for a more dimensional perspective. Think about this: "Using just a metallic finish bead, in one color, creates the 'natural dimension' we strive to create when we shade with various bead colors."

I am looming continually, thinking I have it all worked out in my head....already loomed and worn three or four times. Basically, planning far ahead, as we all do when we design a pattern using new and different techniques. In my zest and enjoyment of seeing progress, I forgot to 'shade' the beads along the straps I am creating, on my recent looming. Just short of removing these beads, I decided to go onward and so glad I did. Notice in the pictures below how the light source creates a natural shading. These metallic finish beads were a perfect choice, after all. No need to use more then one color and create something that is available naturally.

The picture above shows the highlight variance between the two straps, even though they were loomed with exactly the same metallic bead color.

Here below, you get the idea of how the hump of this strap offers even a darker shade of the same metallic bead color, giving more dimension.

I've taught myself a new lesson and will keep this in mind the next time I am designing a pattern and think how I may be able to use metallic finish beads instead of buying many more colors.

So, consider the movement of your completed looming. Think about how this will be worn, flat or wrapped around a wrist. Consider the idea of using metallic finish beads, especially with all of the bead suppliers racing to offer more and more 'permanent finish' beads.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Layered Looming Revisited

Today I focused totally on looming layers! Last March, I blogged about this technique, "Creating an additional layer of looming, over top of the initial loomed creation."

This is just a taste of where I'll be going, with this idea. Photos are being taken every step which will be gathered in a detailed explanation, later.

I guess I am offering a 'tease' again, at this time! (I also feel so good about how this is turning out, I don't want to take much more time away, from the loom and more layering.) ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Layered Edging

Edging has so many options. Not only bead size and type make a difference, from one edging to another, but also 'color'. I like to pick out the 'least' color used in my weaving to begin using it as the 'predominant' color of my edging.

Lately I have been intrigued by 'layering' my edging. It doesn't have to be a fringe type of edge, but it can also be a short run of edges coming together, in color and style, along the outside edge of your weaving. If you look done two posts, you will see an example of what I mean by this 'short run of multiple edges' as I detailed this very idea in my 'cube looming'.

Here, I am getting a bit more adventurous and created a 'fringe' type of edging. I don't have a picture of it on my wrist, because I will be completing the clasp today, but the cuff portion is fit around my wrist, hanging just above my hand. The fringe drapes over the back of my hand. It gives the piece movement yet because I hooked each fringe layer to the next, they are not 'wildly' flopping around.

The first layer I added was brick stitching 6mm Permanent Finish Metallic Silver Beads. I realize they are large and the thread will show if left alone like this, but this is going to be my 'base' for what is to follow. Again, I double my outside warps for this very reason.

My next layer became the drop fringe. You can see the two threads on the left. I ran a thread in-out of two beads to begin. I also start in the center of my weaving so I'll end up with the same number of fringes. Or, if an odd bead counts out, each side will be finished the same. There are many ways to complete a 'netting', so use your favorite method, even if it is using one thread.

As each fringe was added, I included what I call a 'spotlight' bead. The silver bead five beads down from the top. Best seen on the furthest right strung beads in the photo below. This is the bead I use to 'connect' the fringes together. I didn't want the fringe to flop freely around my wrist.

When making my way up or down the netting steps, I pick up this 'highlight' bead reminding me to connect the layers.

During my next layer, I incorporated two, upper and lower bleed. Because my direction was up one bead down one bead, I added beads for each pass. Here I added three 'matte' blue 11/0 beads and one 4mm glass cut metallic bronze. Doing this helped in two ways. I was showing less thread and it double the strength of the beads I was adding. Every pass back around where beads were already added, I ran my thread inside of the same beads again.

Below is a picture of the back of my completed fringe edge.

This is how my edging looks when complete. It feels very stable and not so floppy. It would be a great edge to add on any type of simple graphed pattern or even the fringe end of a woven amulet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Warped Tension

I have written about warp tension, a number of times. There never seems to be enough said about the tension of warps, when bead looming. It is actually one of the most troublesome parts for a beginner loom artist. The type of loom has much to do with warping and keeping good tension, but once the large part of your looming is complete, tension troubles can creep up again.

In the picture below, a close up shot of one recent looming still on my loom, you'll notice the curving of rows of loomed beads, more to the left in the photo. This occurs even though you feel your original tension of the warps were perfect.

The reason is because each row of beads you add, pulling the weft taut, also pulls the outside warps into the end bead hole. Thus causing the outside warps to shrink in length. This very fact is also why the 'continuous' warp style loom creates such a problem. The outside warps will pull inward, or shrink even more. Because each warp was wrapped continuously around the upper and lower warp bars, the increased tension of the outer warps progressively pulls from the tension of the inner warps. Thus creating the center warps to relax to the point of not having control, or looping.

Another reason warp tension gets uncontrollable is during the time you are edging your piece, on the loom. That too can make the outside warps shrink inside of bead holes. There are some that like to edge 'off loom', but I am one who likes to edge 'on loom'. I love the way my piece is being held, as opposed to having it flop round the table and my thread getting tangled in the edging already completed.

Consider using a loom which allows for each or every other warp to be secured prior to the next warp being added. I have even double wrapped my warps, before continuing to thread the next warp.

Another good feature of a loom to consider is tension adjustments. There are many looms offering this feature. The Mirrix brand looms are very well known for this, as well as any loom that will have hardware adjusting rollers or collapsing ends. You won't need to worry about the adjusting of the warps, once they are wrapped as I discussed above, but when you reach further down your looming, as I show in the picture above, it is nice to release the slightest bit of tension to relax what I have already loomed. Being able to do this, keeps your looming straight and square. It also will not 'pucker' when cut from the loom.

All in all, just consider how you are warping the loom, when you start. Keep the tension relaxed, secure each wrap of the warp, keep in mind each weft pull also affects the warp tension and if you can relax the tension on the loom as you move along, then try it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Chook Cuff" , weaving stages

I am weaving daily working on some great new ideas. This is the right time to share some steps I have taken to complete the last cuff I posted, "Woven Cubes".

When I decided to try weaving cubes, the hunt was on. Not only did I want something smaller, but also the size that offered a good color way selection. The 1.8 mm size fit the bill.

After completing my pattern to the length arranged for a 7.5 inch wrist, I began my edging process. This cuff, in particular, was going to be a four step process. My thoughts on edging vary, but mostly I feel it is this 'detail' and the 'detail of finishing' to include the edging, that makes a beading sparkle. I have never been a fan of being able to see 'threads' or 'the inside of beads' when I deem a weaving 'complete'. There are different thoughts on this, but for me, I find it boosts a piece to become 'jewelry'.

My first layer of edging was using a 3mm Bordeaux Swarovski Pearl as a 'turn bead' shown in the picture above. I sometimes create this same effect when I am edging, again to hide thread, but here I really wanted to add this dotted line of pearls in a complimentary color.

You can see in the picture below, the second step 'brick stitching' 11/0 Delicas along the outside edge. This also shows why I had to complete the 'dotted line of pearls' first. I always take the time to plan ahead, every step.

When I am not adding a turn bead to my weave, I'll opt to always weave a line of beads, brick stitched, so I can add the rest of my edging without relying on a turn of the thread into the woven design.

Below is a montage of the three steps to completed a 'swirl' type edging, using the brick stitched beads I just added. Notice in the picture below, how I used various sized beads and at an uneven count in line on the thread. This is what gave me the bead 'scallop' of my stitch.

A view from above shows how the three stages of my edging process is unfolding so far. The cubes are shining perfect in this picture too!

You can see in the photo below, the cuff is now cut, from the loom, for this fourth and final stage of edging. I always suggest to keep the piece on the loom, for any detailing. It holds your work steady and allows a faster completion because the weaving is not flopping around while you are arranging the details. I also find it best to use a loom with some type of 'tension adjustment'. For some reason, I have been noticing that working the weave, on a loom without a tension adjustment, the beading almost 'shrinks' while detailing or edging. They could be because of all the thread or the multiple pulls of the thread, tightening each draw of thread. When I can adjust the tension, slightly, it relaxes the bead weaving and my detailing feels more fluid. A few small looms offer such an option, search the web. Such an option is perfect for the slightest release of tension, not to make the weaving 'loop', but to relax the warps a bit. I'll add links to these type of looms as soon as possible.

Because I am adding large cubes to the edge, I wanted to be sure I was spacing them in a way that would allow for the bend. This is the reason I cut the weaving, from the loom. I ended up having to set two cubes close together, then skip a 'brick stitched' bead to continue another. This slight spacing gave the perfect bend of a large cube edge.

Finally, I got creative with a new idea to make a clasp using glass cabochons and pictures I down loaded off of the internet. The details in creating these clasps are set for another write up!

While weaving the cubes, I felt a sense of 'French Country'. Therefore, I thought chickens, chooks, cockerels, etc. were the best choice to add in the photos.

I did bead bezel each and added some scrolling and a bead tube to help level each cab for the bend, or arc, of the cuff when worn. You can see these details in a final picture, either below or my prior blog post. The backing of the cabs are 'scrap book' page paper. It is stiff enough, rugged enough and offers a wonderful color way to match any beads being woven. I always keep a large selection of color and styles on hand.

If you enlarge the photo below, you can see all of the details I just expressed above. I am surely not through with weaving cubes. They feel awesome and give off a look no other bead offers. I love when the beads speak to me!