Monday, May 9, 2016

May Bead Stash Favorites

Although the new mini collar challenge has had a few timing mishaps, it has certainly helped me to achieve my main goal of finding new inspiration in old beads. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had any room in my budget for bead shopping, so finding ways to use what I have is pretty important. Since starting the challenge, I haven’t had much cause to think about what I could do if I only had ___.

Vintage Venetian White Heart Beads

Right now my absolute favorite is what’s left of my package of vintage Venetian white-hearts in tomato red. Every time I use these beads in a design it turns out magnificent. My particular favorite is the Babi collar from the Egyptian Gods series. At some point I really want to use them in a mini collar – probably when I feel like I need a break from drops and daggers. The only trouble with these beads is that they look a lot more uniform in the package than they actually are, and I’ve used up most of the semi-round ones. One of the reasons I don’t use them often anymore is that I haven’t yet found a design that is both worthy of the precious beads, and suitable for beads that are totally wonky.

Transparent Montana Blue Sapphire Seed Beads

Transparent Montana blue sapphire has long been one of my favorite Czech glass bead colors, although I haven’t had much success with the 11/o size, as transparent Czech seed beads tend to be a lot smaller and thinner than other finishes. Luckily, size 8/o beads look good no matter how they’re shaped, so I’m looking forward to making use of this hank very soon.

Jet Picasso Drop Beads

Finally, I have a small packet of jet Picasso drops that I’ve been saving for a fringed design. I’m hoping to work on a new PDF tutorial for herringbone fringe necklaces that I think these would be perfect for. They’re probably a little too big to use in a mini collar, although a single piece as a focal could work. It would be an interesting experiment to see if one chevron stitch in the middle of piece could be enlarged without warping the beadwork at all.

What beads are you inspired by at the moment?


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  1. I've been using those "wonky" beads in Russian Spiral necklaces. Teaming size 6 that are irregular, with clean size 11s has resulted in necklaces that, instead of smooth, are nubby and textured. I also make sure to combine finishes - so if one bead type is matt, the other is silver lined or otherwise shiny. The first one I did was by accident, but since then I've made more and they are really popular with my mother and her friends.

    1. Sounds gorgeous! I love the way that some kinds of wonky beads can give a piece character. I don't know what I'd do without my African Christmas beads.


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