French pumpkin herringbone complete, again

The herringbone rope sample that I decided to not use in my trio of ropes has been lengthened to 20″, a length I can wear as a necklace or wrapped three times around my wrist. It is now, finally, time to put these beads away.

I have a new traveling project that includes beads and crochet, but not in the usual fashion, and another traveling project waiting behind it. I have a stringing project that includes some antique beads, and another stringing project following that one. I have a second and improved class sample to make for a class I’m teaching this summer (but a picture for publicity is due sooner). And, what do I want to tackle for my next home project, where I can have bunches of beads out, messing up my cleaned workspace? I think an embroidery project with a fossil coral cabochon I purchased. Or that beautiful piece of larimar?

First up needs to be the class sample. But tomorrow, I plan to weave…

French pumpkin herringbone necklace complete

This makes me very happy. This is a project I’ve been beading on and off since last May, mostly as a traveling project as herringbone ropes are great for that. The necklace is 26″ long; the inner rope is four-around herringbone with stripes, the center rope is six-around herringbone with diagonal stripes, and the outer rope is eight-around herringbone with squares of other colors. I’m generally pleased with my clasp solution. I’m not generally pleased with my photography, but that’s okay. It’s done! I did not use my original rope with the wide stripes of all these colors. It’s now my traveling project to complete as a bracelet.

French pumpkin herringbone options and 2017

I still love to bead – and/but I’m developing more interests. I’ve tried a lot of things this summer and onward, and they generally are still textile arts; I stitched a tiny bit of sashiko embroidery noodling around in an embroidery class. Not complete. I took a class on coiled basketry (from Sandra Brick!). Not complete. I will finish these two projects, but I haven’t yet done so – it truly wouldn’t take much time. Both are projects I can see repeating if the fancy strikes, or if I want to make a gift for someone who would like one of these projects.

I took a class on flameworking beads, which I don’t think is something I want to explore further. The time and equipment (and money and space) needed to learn how to make something even close to good would be significant. Hats off to those who work with glass! I took a class on block printing where I carved a block of dense foam (vs. the linoleum blocks from high school art) into a really goofy-looking beaded daisy chain. Fun, but I believe I threw the block away.

Just this month, I made a modified accordion book in a class, which was pretty successful and enjoyable, and something I can see repeating on my own in a modified fashion. In another class, I created a paper collage design, then manipulated it with a computer, and that was printed on fabric. The fabric is in the mail, and I will get to use it soon. I’ve started to consistently do more sewing, and I’m really pleased with my last project, a heavy wool casual winter coat. I could design more fabric and have it printed, combining these last two items.

I took a SAORI class (I’ll get back to weaving in a minute). Also, I do a fair amount of cooking and baking. I read books. I work two professional jobs which usually adds up to four days of paid employment per week. So where does this leave beading? Good question. I have to figure this out – setting some 2017 plans seems a good time to start. I want to make all the things!

There has been some beading done. I made some Christmas presents, did a restringing project for a friend, and made earrings for others and myself. And every once in a while, I go back to these herringbone ropes with the French pumpkin beads that I love.

I’m not completely happy with this. While I like the center rope, I’m not convinced it goes with the other two.

I think this is better. Using all wider stripes would work as well, but my current thinking is that this eventual necklace is going to be all about the pumpkin. Also, I’ve completed more inches with the heavy-on-the-pumpkin theme.

Now: weaving. I’ve ordered a SAORI loom, to arrive shortly after the first of the year. This is a significant investment in both money and my future time. Since I took that class this summer, I have really been wanting one. This is a plain weave loom only, with the process of weaving as its purpose.  Typically, there isn’t pattern and design; a weaver just picks the next color, weaving beauty with the lack of intention.

So, considering how I want to use my time and creative energy is what I need to do. What do I truly want to make, and how much time can I spend on each? The main contenders are beading, weaving, and sewing (plus cooking, reading, etc.). Do I want to see if I can find an outlet for selling things that I make, and do all the non-creating work that goes along with sales? I also need to overhaul this website. I think 2017 has lots of possibility. I’m registered for three classes for next year already – tapestry weaving, tin thread braiding, and making a leather tote. It’s a wonderful life…

French pumpkin herringbone trio


This is the trio of ropes I’m working on to highlight this pumpkin bead color dear to my heart. I had originally thought I would have more 4-around solid color non-pumpkin ropes to intersperse, but I like these three together. I will likely string the ropes on a stringing medium to get the arch of each closer to the same, since the different diameters have different flexibility. I still don’t know how I want to do the clasp, or how long I want the finished necklace.

This is a good traveling project for me – and I’m mostly beading at home lately – so this is going very slowly. I’m trying to plan a little time here and there to work on this. Maybe by the end of the summer?

I love French pumpkin beads


Really, I love all these colors, but the pumpkin is its own category of wonderful. I have a lot of this particular bead, but they are precious because I love them, and because there are no more French seed bead manufacturers.

I’ve long admired Julie Powell’s beadwork, especially her collections of herringbone rope necklaces. I am modeling a necklace on her work, with multiple herringbone ropes. I’m planning on an 8-around herringbone rope with spots of color, this rope, another 6-around rope with wider stripes, and perhaps 3 4-around ropes of a single color. That’s my current thinking!

The clasp will be significant design challenge. Julie gathers hers to a single contact point for a clasp, and the ropes nest neatly inside each other. I don’t know yet what will work for this collection of ropes. Will I want them to nest or tangle? How long should it be? (And do I have anything I can wear this with?) Again, as always, what do I do for a clasp?

A rose necklace


I finished a project, a gift for a friend. Rose luster, ivory, champagne ab and gold matte seed beads with ivory and round pressed beads. My own design with a mixture of techniques. The clasp is a brass magnetic ball clasp; I shortened the pink herringbone rope at each end to keep the spacing close to the same as between the elements. As always, the challenge of trying to smoothly integrate the clasp.


Pretty pink luster beads! Each element is 3/4″ (20mm) across, total length about 25″ (64 cm).

(Better pictures than last post, yes? I hope?)

Seed pods


I recently sent these off as gifts, and I think it’s safe to post them now; here’s a couple of my seed pods in shades of grey, intended as pendants. I had this design published in Beadwork Creates Earrings, and it was fun to revisit. I also recently made a starfish and mailed it off (also my design, also published) – and I forgot to take a picture!

I have been beading every weekday morning that I’m not traveling – I’m on week four. I don’t have a lot of time, so don’t have tons to show, but I am getting some time behind the needle. Now I would like to find some time to get behind the sewing machine, a book or two, my Weave-It loom, and sundry other things I’d love to make.

Meanwhile, my morning time is up, and I’m off to work! I have another piece of beadwork nearly finished, for myself this time. I’m contemplating two things: how long do I want the necklace, and the clasp! Always, the clasp…