Thursday, February 20, 2014

Peyote Project

Peyote stitch is an old, off-loom bead weaving technique that takes a little time to get, but generates amazing results.  Beaders much more experienced in peyote stitch than I use it for complex jewelry and covering sculpture to create one of a kind pieces of art.

I saw a simple project in the June/July '13 Beadwork magazine designed by Pamela Kearns that I decided to try.  It incorporates a small piece of odd-count flat peyote stitch work, plus licorice leather, a relatively new product to the beading and jewelry market.

After a few fits and starts, here's the finished piece:

While the instructions in the magazine call for two smaller peyote pieces, I decided I wanted to go wider. I found a great website that helped me design my own zigzag pattern. While I wouldn't consider myself an expert in peyote stitch, here's how I made my bracelet.

I used two colors of size 11 seed beads, a size 10 beading needle and about 2 yards of Crystal Fireline, size D, a nylon braided beading thread that is ideal for bead stitching.
After a trial run, I determined that I needed 32 rows of stitching to fit snugly around the licorice leather.

I put a stopper bead on my Fireline (threading it on, moving it to within 6 inches of the end of the cord, and putting the needle back through the bead to create a 'slip' knot.)

To make a bead stopper, pass the needle through the bead in the same direction twice, then pull up the slack.  Leave about 6 inches of thread to weave into your work when you are finished.

To being peyote stitch, you thread on the first two rows of beads.

In this case, string on: 2 red, 5 yellow, 3 red, 5 yellow 2 red.  You have one string of 17 beads, with the needle on the right.

These 17 beads will make up rows 1 and 2 of odd count peyote stitch.
For Row 3, now working from right to left:  string on 1 red, skip the last bead in the previous row (in the diagram it's the last red bead numbered 1 on the right), and pass the needle through the next bead (in this case, the first red bead on the right in Row 2). Pick up 1 red, skip the next bead, and pass through the next bead (in this case, the first yellow bead from the right in Row 2). Continue on, picking up and skipping a bead, and passing through the next bead, following this pattern:
1 yellow, 3 red, 1 yellow, 2 red to complete Row 3.

Work row three from right to left.
At the end of Row 3, pull the beads snug, and tie a square knot with your working thread and the tail; pass the needle back through the last bead, now heading from left to right.  Your work may look a little wonky at this point, but don't you add Rows 4 and 5, it will begin to straighten out.  
Half-way through adding row three, you can see that every other bead starts to 'pop up'.  
Row 4 is 9 red.  Every other bead in Row 3 should be sitting a little higher than the bead in Row 2.  As you add each bead in Row 4, pass the needle through the bead that is popped up from Row 3, so they nestle together.

Add row 4 beads from left to right.
For Row 5, working right to left: pick up 1 yellow, pass through the last red on Row 4, then add 3 red, 1 yellow, 3 red, and 1 yellow to finish the row, passing the needle through every bead in Row 4.

At the end of Row 5, you can do a 'figure eight turnaround' by passing the needle back through the red 4, red 3 and yellow 2 on the diagonal, then pass through the red 2, up to the red 3 on the diagonal, and from the outside, pass the needle back through the last 5, so you're in position to continue with Row 6.

To turn around at the end of each odd row, pass the needle diagonally through three beads below the last bead, then work the needle back to the outside edge of the last bead in the row.  Pass through the last bead so your needle is in position to do the next even row.  The thread path will make a figure 8.  
Do this figure 8 turnaround at the end of the odd rows.  The pattern for the rest of the zigzag is as follows:

Row 6:  1 yellow, 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 red, 1 yellow
Row 7:  2 yellow, 1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red, 2 yellow
Row 8:  9 yellow
Row 9:  1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red, 3 yellow, 1 red
Row 10:  1 red, 2 yellow, 2 red, 2 yellow, 1 red
Row 11:  2 red, 1 yellow, 3 red, 1 yellow, 2 red
Row 12:  9 red

The pattern for Row 13 is the same as Row 5, and so on.  Repeat the patterns for Row 5 through Row 12 to continue the design, until you get the length you desire.

To fit around my piece of licorice leather, I needed 32 last row was 9 yellow.  At that point, I folded my work in half, and 'zippered' the two ends together by stitching them back and forth to create a tube.  Once the tube of peyote stitching was closed, I buried my thread tails by working the needle through several beads.  I used a Thread Zap II by singe the end of the threads, instead of tying a bulky knot.

You may want to check the length of your work against your leather as you go...remember that you want the peyote tube to fit snugly on the leather.  You may need to add or subtract rows to fit your leather.

I finished my bracelet by adding two Regaliz Slice Spacer beads and a Regaliz magnetic clasp designed for the licorice leather.  I used a bit of super glue to hold the spacer beads into place and the attach the clasp to the leather.

If you can't find licorice leather, or just really like the zigzag pattern, you can make your piece of flat peyote long enough for a bracelet.  You probably will need to add more thread...just start weaving a new piece through the middle of your work until you get the needle into the position to continue stitching.  I rarely tie knots in bead work, I just weave in a new piece of thread and continue on.  The best clasp for this type of bracelet is the sliding bar clasp.

Gold Plated Slide Bar Clasp - 4 Strand

A really great source for Regaliz findings and licorice leather is Goody Beads ( Their prices were among the best I could find.  They also carry the Thread Zap II.  

I'm so happy with the end result, it was worth all of the missteps to get there.  I'm not sure I'll make another...the materials ran about $25, but I think it's worth at least double that!  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Wedding Season is Fast Approaching

Yes, even with all of the snow, the wedding season is fast approaching.  For 2014 alone, we've received five 'save the date' cards.  And my oldest nephew proposed to his girlfriend just a week ago, but I think that wedding won't be until 2015.  Whew!

So, I've been invited to a bridal shower in mid-March, with a 'high tea' theme.  I wanted to create a card with a Victorian feel, and found the perfect image among my Valentine's stamps.

The two cherubs with the heart is an older stamp by Personal Stamp Exchange (PSX).  But I think what makes this card beautiful is the coloring, and I wanted to explain how this was done.

Prismacolor pencils are among my favorites coloring tools.  I started with a basic kit of 24 pencils, then added about a dozen more colors to allow for depth and shading.

For instance, the cherubs are colored with two pencils, Light Peach (PC927) and Peach (PC939). But I want you to focus on the small rose, below.  I started with Orange (PC918) in the center.

Then I added Poppy Red (PC922) to the petals closest to the center.

The outer petals are colored with Crimson Red (PC924).

Although I use a small, circular motion to color in the design, you can see the pencil lines.  To smooth this away, blend and brighten the colors, I use a product called Gamsol and paper stubs. Gamsol is odorless mineral spirits.  It drys quickly and doesn't mar the cardstock.  It blends the waxy color of the pencils and blurs the lines.  Gamsol generally is available at art supply stores, but the little bottle, below, is packaged by Inky Antics (  Paper stubs are also available from their website or at art supply stores.

Can you see the difference between the roses before and after using Gamsol to blend the colors? It softens the pencil edges, but makes the colors brighter at the same time.

I finished coloring the entire image and added a little sparkle to the cherubs' wings with a Gelly Roll clear star pen.  Onto a pink 5" x 7" card, I mounted a piece of fuchsia paper, then cut an oval from a pattern paper.  I mounted the image behind the oval frame and adhered it to the card.  Vellum was the perfect paper for the 'Love' stamp, so the design could be seen through it.  I added a self-adhesive metallic heart to the greeting for a bit of dimension.

The couple lives in California, but the shower is in Pennsylvania, so it was recommended that we give gift cards for their registry stores instead of a package that will have to be shipped.

At the last rubber stamp show I went to, Endless Creations ( had a set of 'gift card' stamps.  These little coin envelopes were in my stash, and they are the perfect size for a gift card (2 1/4" x 3 1/2").  I used Stampin' Up Baroque Burgundy ink and a little cherub to customize the envelope.  I'll enclose it in my card for the shower.  

Now I need to set aside some time to make the wedding cards for the upcoming nuptials!
At least I'm think about spring!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine Greetings

Well, Christmas came and went before I had an opportunity to address and sign holiday greetings for our friends and family, so I decided to make up some Valentines to send out instead.

I had about 50 cards to make, so they needed to be quick and easy.  I haven't done any rubber stamping in a while, so it was fun to pull out all of my supplies.

First, the paper, including printed Valentine's paper I bought last month, vellum, and mulberry paper, which looks great behind a mounted image.

Inks are next...and I didn't just stick to pinks and reds.  Violet plays a role in Valentine cardmaking, too. And of course, a good black ink (Archival Jet Black by Ranger) and Versamark for embossing.

I have a box of stamped images that are left over from other projects and I searched through those for any images I could use.  And I dug through my boxes of embellishments to add some dimension to the cards, and I found a couple of stencils (lifted from store-bought cards) that I could use.

Can't do much without scissors and adhesives!
In addition to straight and decorative scissors, most of my cutting is done with a paper cutter.  The water-filled paint brush is great for coloring in designs using ink from the pads -- an added bonus is that is matches perfectly!  Judi-Kins duster brushes and a round sponge also come in handy for adding color to an image or the edges of cardstock.

My favorite adhesives are Tombow tape runner, Scrapbook Adhesives' vellum E-Z Runner and foam tape.

A long time ago, I needed an easy, space saving way to store my rubber stamps, and my local pizza place came through for me.  They gave me several new, clean boxes, which allowed me to sort the stamps by type -- specific holidays, background, greetings, etc.  It sure makes things easy to pull just one box of stamps out to work on my cards!
All of my Hearts and Valentines stamps in one box -- easy-peasy!

I made several of this first card, using a series of 'conversation' hearts stamps. After stamping them in a row (both vertically and horizontally) on white cardstock, they looked a little flat.  So I used Inkssentials Glossy Accents, applied directly over the image, to add some shine and dimension to one heart in the row.  After drying for a couple of hours, I layered the panel with some scalloped die-cut paper onto a card.

The 'rule of thirds' takes a role in this card.

Dividing the card in thirds makes it visually appealing.  In this case, the patterned paper takes up two-thirds of the card and the greeting takes up the top third.  A few stick-on crystals and pearls add a little bling.

The heart background paper in this next card looked very much like a stamp I had.

I stamped and embossed the image with red embossing powder on white cardstock, then trimmed it carefully following the outline of the heart.  The greeting was stamped on vellum.

This next card used the same stamp, but I trimmed around the center heart.  I really wanted the Valentine's paper to take center stage.

I managed to create a few more designs, but they were in envelopes and sealed when I started taking pictures.  My goal was to get them in the mail on Tuesday, February 11, but then a big snowstorm hit! Hopefully, even if they are late, these little greetings will be a welcome break from the weather!