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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Circa 1930's Apache Bead Loom

I enjoy adding looms to my studio inventory. My latest and favorite find, so far, is this circa 1930's Apache Bead Loom! These looms were originally patented in 1903 to offer 'hands on' beading, to the Victorian Lady, at home. The clippings and manuals state this loom can also be an invaluable tool, to Mothers and Teachers, "The lesson learned on a loom will help the children be skillfull with their fingers and develope their mechanical and artistic brains cells."

This purchase included the fold-out paper instructions, a spool of thread, all the pegs, small charted designs and the half completed piece on the loom, with weft and a thin needle still attached.

I find this an interesting set up, opposed to what we find on looms, in our market today. The only roller, has a "gilt headed tack". To begin, the number of warps required are knotted together, then the warps are split and hinged on the tack. Turn the roll once, then use gilt head tack #2 by placing it into a hole on the outside of the roller edge.

Each warp is separated and placed in a corresponding snotches in the "fret", on each end. The instructions also include a suggestion of using a strong, linen finish thread or silk.

The final step is to secure the opposite end, of the warps, by slipping them, grouped, between the knotch, on base, and plug the hole.

Another thread is cut, for the weft. It is suggested to start weaving on the loom, with the roller furthest from you. Tension is controled by removing the plug, pulling on the warps, then replacing the plug. The tack can also be moved to another hole, in the roller end.

The directions for warp management are summed up by suggesting each warp be knotted, in groups of two, or rewoven back into the finished work.

I can whole heartedly agree, with the manual, stating this loom offers a means to develope mechanical and artistic brain cells. Think I will have this same suggestion, written down and framed, for my bead studio wall. [Like I need a reason to weave on a loom often :) ]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yule Tangled Up!

Just sent back to me, from BEAD Magazine UK, and perfect timing, for the Holiday! Now I can share and explain a bit of what I had in mind, when I designed this cuff.

These are 1.8mm glass cubes, woven on the loom. The light bulbs are silver lined color cubes and the background is a matt black. You can even see, in this photo, how the silver lined cubes actually shine, as if the bulbs are turned on.

The outer most warps are C-Lon Tex 400, one in red and the other green. The dangle of tree lights are tear drop shaped Swarovski Crystals and silver Keyan spacers, wrapped on sterling wires. A spiral of 11/0 silver lined glass beads create the winding garland.

There are two magnetic barrel clasps, where the weaving splits off, spaced two cube widths apart. The tangled wires, depicted on top of the cuff, are 15/0 matt glass seed beads sewn into the warps.

This pattern is in the current issue of BEAD.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Game On....Any Team!

This Holiday Season is keeping me busy, creating cuffs and earrings, for any and all of the NFL Football League Teams. I love the challenge to produce a pattern for a team I have not been following. It is giving me the oppertunity to work in different design ideas and color ways. Here are two cuffs, with more to share soon.



But I am also making earrings, either to match the cuffs, or alone. I am switching between the loom and off-loom, but surely prefer my loom use better!

Even though all the teams are not displayed here, there are others to share. I am such a Ravens Fan and wanted to show my colors, in and out of the stadium. It was hard to find some artsy type sport jewelry, so I decided it was time to create my own. Now, I am finding others are feeling the same, wanting to keep me in orders!

Maybe this post will offer some inspiration to other "Sport Lovin' Beaders"!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November should be a Loominosity Month!

The Event, planned at 'Bead Soup' in Savage Mills Maryland, was a fanstastic, exciting night! There were over 43 attendees! Not only were all the looms, included in this picture demonstrated, but also the various methods of weaving on a loom, i.e., traditional/using a shedding device/minimal warp methods/pull & pray/etc.

I began the session with a demo of actaully weaving some large wooden beads, on a large traditional loom, using yarn as the warps and weft. This allowed me to share some tricks I do when beginning or designing my new beading, on a loom. This offered me the chance to share what color threads are best, where to begin your first row of beading, how much do you complete on the loom and how much off the loom, two ways of using wefts (one or two), and many other great new ideas. Everyone seems so involved, so it was a great point in the evening.

Capping it off, I opened my laptop, connected to the large flat screen behind me. Using a free Photo Management Program, Beadtool 4 and Beadcreator Pro 6, I created two dimensional bead patterns, perfect for the loom, sharing tips along the way. I think there was a rash of program sales, after this portion of the night was finished!! It was very well received.

Before everyone left, I did through in an impromptu drawing, giving away two bead looms. The names in the hat were "every one who attended that evening".

Still being in a fog, over instructing my favorite art, in such a great venue , I was blind sided by some other wonderful news....for weaving on a loom! My Christmas cuff, 'Tangled Tree Lights', or as it is titled in this BEAD UK Magazine, 'Yule Tangled Up', is gracing the cover of Issue 43. This hits the newstands Dec/Jan, but may also be available sooner on IMag.

BEAD UK has continually supported the art of 'weaving on a loom'. I want to thank them for recognizing this form of beading! My hopes are my book will pump this up even more!

Monday, November 5, 2012

--"What Loom is best, for a first experience?"
--"How well do Bead Pattern Programs work?"

These two questions are the most often asked, via emails I receive. They are both very good questions. I feel they should be answered honestly, so the decisions a Beader makes, will create a happier "Bead Loomer"! Included in my replies, to these, are asking them, "What is your preferred sitting position, if weaving on a loom?", "What do you think you'll be weaving on a loom, cuffs/portraits/hat bands/amulets, etc?" and "What type of patterns do you think you would be beading more, graphics or portraits?"

On Friday, November 16 2012, I will be conducting a FREE open discussion, surrounding both of these topics. This Event will be held
at "Bead Soup", bead store, in Historic Savage Mill Maryland.

Details and contact numbers are included in Bead Soup's latest

I'll be bringing along looms, from my personal array, which include most of the looms for sale in the market today. They include, Mirrix, Larry the Loom, Rick's Loom, Versa Loom, No-Warps or Paper-Clip styles, looms from BeadLooms dot com, home made looms, a Jala loom, the craft wire loom, etc. Each will be demonstrated to offer their pros and cons, to the point where each attendee can make their own decision as to which would be best for them.

After sorting out the looms and their characteristics, I will share two Bead Pattern Programs, BeadTool 4 and BeadCreator Pro 6, demonstrating how any picture or photo can be transformed into the perfect bead pattern for the loom. There are many tricks to completing patterns, so having hands on instruction, from my laptop, may help direct everyone to which is best for their bead studio.

(The photo below shows bead color differences between
the program's choice and the actual bead color selection.)

The ground work we lay, on November 16 starting at 6:30 pm, may help gear everyone up to consider attending classes, in 'weaving on a loom'. Such classes could be scheduled and conducted right at "Bead Soup" in Savage Mill Maryland. This is an exciting event for me. I think it an outlet way past time. I hope to make new comers, to loom bead weaving, comfortable and offer assistance to present 'dusty loom' owners.

Please call the store, 240-456-4568, if you have any questions
or would like to make a reservation!

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Assembling the Beaded Bag Side Panels

I have so much more to share, on how I complete a beaded bag, on my loom. If you missed the beginning stages, they are a few posts back.

Now the total construction begins! As I mentioned earlier, I don't feel a lining is necessary. How the warps are managed, or even what type of thread you use for the warps and wefts, allow any beaded bag to go 'unlined'. It is my favorite way to make them :)

Here I am securing the custom sized zipper. This is a four inch zipper with a 'stop'. The zipper just needs to be measured for the same width of the beaded panels, allowing the ends to hang over.

You can see the gorgeous inside, when this is unzipped. I also have secured the focal, on the crab panel. This is not shown from the inside, so there are no threads to catch or break.

Whenever I add an accent, sewn down to my beading, I try to keep the threads hidden. I also use 'stop' beads. This allows the thread to be hidden and the focal from being under stress from the stitches. You can see here how I added one silver perm bead with each stitch I secured.

My methods for creating the 'sides' of this bag are simple, fast and secure. Let me share my method.

First, I use a double thread, double needle to weave them back and forth through the line of beads I add. In this case, I am making the width of my side (9) beads wide. I also use the same type of bead woven in each panel, Delicas, so each line will lay flat and even. Using a different bead may c
ause some bunching.

You can also see how I added one black bead, to the gray panel side. This will offer an outline, when the panel is total finished. My option was to not add the black bead, but then the gray panel would blend in with the silver side panel. It also matches the opposite panel, where it meats the side.

As with adding the focal accents, I also include a 'stop' bead, with each turn of my thread, to add the next level of my sides. This can be any color or type of bead, but I decided on the Perm Silver 11/0.

You can see how these stop beads add further accents, to the opposite panel too.

I have completed the opposite side, and now finishing up this one. It lays so nice, doing it this way.

To secure the lines of (9) beads, I will weave a separate thread, back and forth between groups of four beads. First across from the right.....

....then across from the left. This not only secures these lines of (9) beads, but also straightens them to create a perfect side panel.

Here is a section secured, as I just described. Notice how even and perfect it lays.

Next, I'll be adding the fringe, then the strap can be secured!

Monday, September 17, 2012

More, Fun Easy Earrings!

As a further form of 'inspiration', I am sharing another pair of Football Team Earrings. These were made out of request, from my Daughter, for her friend's birthday. Her friend is a huge Washington Redskins Fan.

I had fun with this one too. The football dangle was just not going to cut it, this time. I decided to work up a graph for a 'beaded feathers' instead.

While beading these, my mind wondered on other 'team' earrings. If I had the time, I would make each team because there are some fun things to add as dangles! Just think about it!

Now, back to my regularly scheduled "beading on a loom"!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fun, Easy Earrings!

I have found some time to also create a pair of matching earrings, which can be worn with the side of my beaded bag depicting Ray Lewis, "A Baltimore Raven"!

The idea of cabochon earrings can be carried out with any photo or picture. These are nothing more than a simple bead bezel around a glass cab and backed with some card stock. They are very light, even though the thought of using glass cabs would sound heavy. I used 25mm x 18mm cabs. The foot ball dangle is custom made with clay, hand painted and wrapped with sterling wire.

Tonight, is the first home game of the season, so I am finalizing some touches on the beaded bag. I'll share photos, in stages to complete, when I get them all arranged, in a day or two. I am excited to share how fun and easy this bag was to complete. Maybe I can draw some inspiration for others to attempt something similar! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ready to Assemble the Beaded Bag!

I am now ready to assemble! All of the main parts are completed. Here you see both panels, the bead bezeled focals (matching their respective sides), the custom 4" zipper and all the pieces to finalize a strap.

I was able to purchase a custom sized zipper, 4", with a 'stop'. No need for a lining. My methods do not require a lining, with or without a zipper. I also feel a sense of being 'natural', when my bags are not lined. There are many gorgeous beaded bags unlined so we can enjoy the feeling of the beads. If care is taken to plan out the type of threads you warp or weft, then a lining is not necessary.

Here you see the 'strap'....a hand woven lesson so well learned :) . This netting is created with 11/0 permanent metallic silver beads and 4mm Obsidian beads. I will include the two beaded beads and bead tubes, along with cut glass jet beads.

Since the two panels are so different, it was necessary to create a color way, matching both sides. Here you can see how well these colors play with the crab claw panel....

...then here you see how well the color way plays with Ray's panel.

The fringe I have planned will also pick up these colors, so it will match both panels too.

In honor of Rick's permission to graph out one of his caricatures, for this beaded bag, I purchased some 19/0 black opaque seed beads, the smallest 'black' beads available in the market today. Studying his handwriting, from other portraits, I included his initials. My name will also be included, when finished, but as a tag and not embroidered onto a panel.

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.