When I started my buy-some-neat-new-beads-every-month challenge at the beginning of this year, I didn’t anticipate any major changes in my bead budget, and I had hoped to discover lots of unique and interesting beads, particularly handmade lampwork. I have found some great glass artists along the way, but October’s budget was too small for anything quite so special.
I don’t like to give up on a good challenge, especially one that helps inspire new ideas and ways to use beads. In order to keep the New Beads challenge going, I had to break a few of my own rules. The upside is that it allowed me to make use of some beads that have been rattling around in my stash for a long time.
Years ago, I purchased a vial of mixed Czech glass beads, and sorted them out by shape and color. All of those beads have long since been used, except for a handful of rough cut Picasso tubes in black and red. When I first gathered them up, I was inspired to pair them with pale blue or turquoise, possibly in a multi-strand necklace. I saw them nestled randomly along strands of Czech seed beads - the slightly irregular shapes would pair up well with these speckled little oddities. I’ve been carrying around the image of this necklace ever since, and whenever I pass by the bead section at my neighborhood dollar store, I think of it. The big packets of delightfully wonky* Chinese seed beads call out to me, saying “Wouldn’t we look great in a multi-strand necklace?”.
Since my budget was so small, I decided to grab some of these quirky seed beads in baby blue, and finally create the necklace that my little Picasso beads were meant for. I was excited about finally tackling the project, but because I wasn’t going to be selling a piece made with something from my taboo list, I have to admit that I wasn’t eager to spend a lot of time making beaded caps and metal-free ends to hold a lot of strands woven in and out. I had to come up with something new - an easy way to put lots of beads together in one place.
I decided to put my one spool of neglected Nymo to good use, and strung almost the entire packet of seed beads with the Picasso chips and a few black 8/o’s for texture. I wanted to use up as much of the beads as I could, so I left the thread on the spool and watched the strand get longer and longer. When I was running out of ‘good’ beads, I tied the ends together and wove the tails in to get an enormous connected loop of pretty beads.
After that, all I had to do was wrap the strands together into a suitable length, and lashed them with short spiral ropes stitched to a beaded clasp. The necklace has the look and feel of a traditional eye pin multi-strand project, and even twists up nicely. Although I appreciate the softness and drape that the Nymo provides, I think I’ll switch to my Fireline if I ever decide to recreate this piece with better beads. It turned out so nice, I think it’s very likely that I will do it again!
*Wonky is a widely excepted technical term for beads that aren’t quite right.
Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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