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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

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.