Friday, July 30, 2010

Beading Tutorial: Double Spiral

Flutterby Double Spiral Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard
Flutterby Double Spiral Necklace

The best thing about a simple beading technique is it’s adaptability. Take a basic stitch and add different colors, shapes, and patterns, and you have a unique design all your own. It’s the simple techniques that we reach for again and again, because we know they can get the job done.

One of my favorite stitches is the double spiral. Although it’s easy to do, and looks fantastic, double spiral isn’t as common as some other rope stitches like tubular herringbone. Because it uses up a lot of beads, it can be a great way to finish off mixtures or use up that collection of spilled beads you’ll never get around to sorting.

The steps are almost identical to traditional spiral rope, with one extra row chasing the other. Because there are so many thread passes, it’s important to use large seed beads for the core - size 8/o or larger. It’s also best to use a sturdy needle. Though a small needle makes a better fit when plenty of thread is used, the limited space between the core and spirals requires a lot of angled stitches.

The spiral rows can be made up of just about anything, though average sized beads (from 10/o to 12/o) are best at the ends, so that the rows fit together snugly. Just like a basic spiral rope, you can increase or decrease the length of the rows, add accents, or create patterns for different looks.

To stitch a basic double spiral rope:

On a comfortable length of beading thread, pick up 4 core beads and 7 Color A beads. Slide them down until you have about an 8 inch tail, and stitch back up through the core beads. Pull tight to form a pair of side-by-side stacks.

Double Spiral Rope Tutorial Double Spiral Rope Technique

Pick up 1 core bead and 7 Color B beads. Stitch up through the first 4 core beads again, and pull snug until the new row slides into place. Stitch up through the new core bead and pull tight.

Hold the beadwork so that the Color A row is to the left. Pick up 7 Color A beads, and stitch up through the top 4 core beads. Pull the thread snug, and push the new row to the left, up against the first.

Flip the beadwork so that the Color B row is to the left. Pick up 1 core bead, and 7 Color B beads. Stitch up through the top 4 core beads and pull tight. Stitch up through the new core beads. Push the new row to the left. Flip the beadwork to begin the next row of A.

How to Stitch a Double Spiral Rope Beading a Double Spiral Rope

These are the basic steps for creating the spiral. Continue adding new rows, flipping the beadwork between stitches. Often with really simple techniques, once the steps become too familiar, we can loose track of them. If you can’t remember which row was just added, check the top core bead. If there are 2 bead stacks exiting from the top of the core, it’s time to add a new core bead and a row of B. If there’s just one stack, it’s time to add a row of A.

Double Spiral Rope Tutorial

You don’t need to use completely different colors for the two spirals, but it is a good idea to make each one a bit unique. When stitching my Flutterby necklace, I used a single bead soup, but picked a contrasting accent bead for either row - pale blue on one side, and dark blue on the other. This helps keep track of which row is which, and makes stitching more intuitive.

Happy beading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bead Color Triads: Beach Palms

Airlie Beach Palm Tree by Rob Sangster
Airlie Beach Palm Tree
by Rob Sangster

Summer vacation is reaching the halfway point, which means it’s time to soak up as much sun as possible before the cool weather of fall approaches. Of course, sun and sand is a way of life for some, and just a quick plane ride away for others. The rest of us pretend that we really love snow!

When it comes to perfect climates, a tropical beach is one of the most common types of imagery. Just look at a palm tree, and you can forget whatever the weather is doing outside. Even when it’s hot, seeing the cool blue waters of the ocean can cool you off. The combination of water, sand and vegetation makes for a great color palette, too. This month’s Bead Color Triad was inspired by the perfect getaway.

Tropical Beach Color Palette

The palette begins with a deep, lush green and golden, sandy brown. I always like to include a fourth color for flexibility, so I grabbed swatches in two shades of blue - one for the water and one for the sky. Then comes the fun part - matching up the beads.

The first group, River of Jewels, started with a sapphire rivoli, which is a perfect deep sea blue. I kept going with the jewel tones and added transparent emerald 15/o seed beads, then topped off the palette with some shimmering gold 11/o’s. Although it has very little resemblance to a tropical beach, the palette does have warmth and exotic flair.

River of Jewels Bead Palette

I hadn’t planned on literally making a beach palette, but when I paired some wood beads with dyed blue shells, I couldn’t resist. The colors are so vibrant and rich, I decided to cool them off a little with white-lined peridot seed beads. The unusual shade of green can still pass for leaves - I’ve used it in a bamboo palette - but it brings down the volume of this Sunny Day very nicely.

Sunny Day Bead Palette

The final palette is quieter than the rest. Dreamscape combines shamrock lined seed beads and aqua blue pinch bicones with golden bugle beads. All three colors are very faint compared to the other selections, and together they have a very relaxing quality. Although this palette looks nothing like the inspiration, it has the same sleepy feel as a hammock under a palm tree.

Dreamscape Bead Palette

Which one would you use first?

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Monday, July 26, 2010

Favorite Beads: Quartz Gemstones

Everyone has a favorite bead The materials that we are most drawn to can say a lot about us as designers, and as people, too. Our favorite beads always call to us when inspiration is low, and usually when our budget is low, too!

Fellow Oh Canada Team member Molly, of Little Bear’s Mom, shares some thoughts about her most treasured beads.

Hot Pink and Juicy Orange Chalcedony Necklace by Little Bear's Mom
Hot Pink and Juicy Orange Chalcedony Necklace

Inspirational Beading: What is your all-time favorite bead? Why do you like them?

Molly: My absolute favorite material to bead with are beads made from stone. Since that's a pretty broad answer, I'll narrow it down by saying the I particularly like stones from the quartz family. The quartz family of minerals is huge, and includes not only varieties like rose quartz or smoky quartz, but also things like chalcedony, amethyst, chrysoprase, carnelian, citrine, jasper, and agate.

I love that it comes in such a wide variety of naturally occurring colors and that's it's generally quite affordable. There's the lovely minty color of chrysoprase, and rich caramels of carnelian, lovely purple amethyst, and beautifully clear crystal quartz.

Botswana Agate Earrings by Little Bear's Mom
Botswana Agate Coin Earrings

Although I do have a preference for beads made from natural stone (undyed), this is a stone that tends to take dyes well so you can find some really wild colors out there if you're working in a particular color scheme. And the naturally occuring features - like the stripes in agates - can really be enhanced by dyes.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique or method to use them?

Molly: Most of my jewelry is made by using wire wrapping techniques. I primarily work with silver because it's personally my favorite metal/color, but I also use copper and gold. Sometimes I'll have some beautifully striped agates which are the focus of a piece, and other times I'll use a type of quartz merely as an accent bead among pearls, crystals, or other stones.

If a stone is particularly "showy", I'll form a piece around it. But if I'm just looking to create something in a specific color I'll consider all types of beads within that color scheme. I mostly make charm-style bracelets, so with those I've got to consider what works with what, but with earrings I'm freer to just use one type of bead and focus on its particular beauty.

Smoky Quartz Teardrop Earrings by Little Bear's Mom
Smoky Quartz Teardrop Earrings

Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you’ve made with these beads, which one is your favorite?

Molly: I absolutely love my smoky quartz teardrop earrings. These beads are so amazingly clear that they have no need for a fancy design or the addition of crystals. They're perfect in their simplicity.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have any tips for making the most of these beads?

Molly: Know when enough is enough. Some varieties of quartz like agates or rutilated quartz, can be quite busy, so it can be better to pair them with plainer or solid color beads, or just use them on their own. On the other hand, some, like rose quartz or chalcedony, make a lovely backdrop for something a little more eyecatching like pearls or sparkly crystals.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite bead or material to pair these with?

Petoskey and Tourmalinated Quartz Bracelet by Little Bear's Mom
Petoskey and Tourmalinated Quartz

Molly: I use crystals in nearly all of my pieces, though I also like to use metal and glass beads, and beads made from other types of stone. Tourmalinated quartz, for example, which is milky white shot through with bits of black tourmaline, goes quite nicely with petoskey stone I find, which is grey, but has the added interest of coral fossils. I also like to add something in red to make it pop.

Inspirational Beading: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could have only one kind of bead with you, would you choose these?

Molly: Well, since flint is a form of the mineral quartz, yes, I guess I would! This is the advantage to having chosen such a large category. The ability to start fires on a deserted island would be quite useful, and I could also use it to cut things.

Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what is the best source for these beads?

Molly: For something like faceted chalcedony briolettes, the best source is really other Etsy sellers - those that sell supplies. This sort of bead is more expensive, and if you're not going to need a huge quantity, why order more than you need?

Also, they tend to have better quality stones than the larger retailers. I've ordered a few things that I just don't feel that I can use in my own creations because the stones are too flawed...too many occlusions, strangely shaped, or the holes are all wonky.

Rutilated Quartz Earrings by Little Bear's Mom
Rutilated Quartz Earrings

Actually, even when I'm not looking for briolettes, I prefer to buy most of my stone beads from Etsy supply sellers because the quality is really hit or miss at other places like Fire Mountain Gems. I use larger retailers for things like crystals, glass, and metal beads, sometimes pearls, but smaller is better when you're dealing with stones.

Also, you've got a real person sizing up the beads (if you're looking for matched pairs), and describing the quality, and they generally take better - and more - pictures so you've got a clearer idea of what you're buying. And living in Canada, when you order in small quantities you're usually under the radar in terms of duties, but ordering from a "store" you're not.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Little Bear's Mom

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wear It Twice: Turquoise Queen

And Now I Want It - White Shirt and Jeans Picks

When you’re an artist, it’s sometimes difficult to get good feedback. You ask your friends and relatives what they think of your latest creation, and they undoubtedly say “It’s great!” or “It’s amazing!”. And while this isn’t necessarily untrue, it’s not quite as detailed a critique as you were hoping for.

The same goes for blogs. If you ask someone you know to check out your blog, chances are they’ll ask you “What’s a blog?”. And even if you can get them there, they’ll most likely say what friends always do. “I like it.” That’s it. So when you get a thumbs up from a place you’d never expect, it’s an exciting thing.

This week I was thrilled to be featured as one of the Style Blogs of the Week on the Be In Style blog at The entire website is an encyclopedia of trends, and features great posts on everything from fashion and beauty to babies and green-living. There’s plenty of information and eye-candy, and they welcome content from guests writers who know their stuff.

Inspirational Beading was featured with some really fun fashion blogs, including a new favorite of mine, And Now I Want It. When I was browsing through posts, I was totally charmed by the author’s use of Polyvore fashion collages. I remember using the tool ages ago and having lots of fun with it. So I immediately logged in and started playing with cut-outs. Polyvore is like a combination of paper dolls and scrap booking, but without the mess.

As I was playing, I thought of a fun new blogging idea: Take a fabulous necklace, then add basics and accessories in a simple color palette to create two very different outfits. It’s like those fashion mag articles that show you how to make 20 outfits from six pieces of clothing. Only way more fun!

The first ever Wear It Twice collage began with a really pretty multi-strand turquoise necklace. Whenever I see turquoise all alone, I think of Ancient Egypt, so I used kohl black, carnelian red and gold as the remainder of my palette.

For the outfit on the left, I started with a fashion essential - the LBD. The black bandage dress that I found was totally irresistible, and would present a fun dress-up challenge. The retro bubble skirt, paired with the strands of beads, creates a sort of circa 1984 Madonna look. So I finished it with a pair of embellished black ankle boots and golden bobby pins to match. The red clutch adds an extra splash of color and sass.

The second ensemble is much more casual. I started with a black tunic with cropped bell sleeves. This time, instead of gold, I went with cream and added stone-colored bootcut jeans, with a cream and black cloche hat to match. Cute red Oxford flats complete the look.

Both outfits make a great base for a beautiful, blue necklace. And the best part is, you can get these looks, or something like them, on Etsy!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Poster Sketch: Columns of Color

Have you ever found something so fun to do that you get totally hung up on it? Like when you learn a new stitch or beading technique, and suddenly have ideas for 50 different color variations? It’s always a thrill to dive into something new, especially when you really enjoy it.

Lately, I’ve been totally obsessed with making striped treasuries for the Oh Canada Team. I started with one, and suddenly my mind is filled with four-color palettes that must be curated! Perhaps some of these colorful columns will give you a little inspiration for you next color adventure. How about a stripey spiral rope, or a color-block cuff?

Green Orange Aqua Black Striped Treasury

Yellow Teal Blue Purple Striped Treasury

Cream Gray Rose Gold Striped Treasury

Red Orange Yellow Green Striped Treasury

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inspired Beader: Ocean Pearl Jewellery

Golden Olive Wire Bracelet by Ocean Pearl Jewellery

No two beaders are created equal. In fact, we may be one of the most diverse groups of people around. We come from all manner of locations and backgrounds. We all have our favorite techniques and materials. The things that make us similar to each other, set us apart from the rest of the world.

I always admire a beader who uses a wide variety of techniques. Because I gave up on stringing and wirework before I had even had a chance to try it, I’m usually a bit envious of artists that do it well. Then there’s crochet, fiber arts, mixed media…the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite variety beaders is Leigh-Anne of Ocean Pearl Jewellery. A fellow Canadian, this designer doesn’t seem to shy away from any methods. Her shop is always filled with unique and beautiful pieces, with a flair for color and technique.

Floating Cherries Earrings by Ocean Pearl Jewellery

Inspirational Beading: How did you first become interested in beading?

Leigh-Anne: A friend of mine started copying some necklaces that she had bought from major retailers (for a lot of money I might add!) and she invited me to join her. I caught the 'bead bug' in a big way and have taken it from there. It has grown now to making dozens of different designs, an Etsy shop, craft shows, Facebook, Twitter...who knows where it will take me?

Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for inspiration?

Champagne Berry Bracelet by Ocean Pearl Jewellery

Leigh-Anne: Quite simply, everywhere! I was once inspired to make a brand new earring design from a soapdish in my bathroom! Mostly though, I look through books, magazines and catalogues to get ideas and new patterns. In terms of color inspiration, I turn to nature. Colors found in the ocean are my all-time favorites but I have created some pieces inspired by the sun, Planet Earth, name it!

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique?

Leigh-Anne: I very much enjoy making the wire crochet necklaces because they are so striking. Each one ends up looking so different and beautiful depending on the types and sizes of beads you use. Honestly though, I enjoy making every single piece. Believe it or not, it is relaxing for me...a diversion from the everyday stresses of life.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite style of bead?

Bridal Champagne Bubbles Bracelet by Ocean Pearl Jewellery

Leigh-Anne: Right now, my favorite beads are drop beads...they create so much texture especially when used with seed beads. Of course, my favorite could change at any moment, as I am constantly trying new things and new techniques to challenge myself.

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Leigh-Anne: I just hope to get people to think outside of the retail storefront for their jewelry needs. I also hope people will consider handmade jewelry instead of the mass produced products from other countries. I would love more people to discover all the fabulous things on the craft websites like Etsy, Zibbet and Artfire.

You can see all of Leigh-Anne’s latest designs in her Etsy shop, Ocean Pearl Jewellery. To learn more about her inspirations, and get the latest news, follow Ocean Pearl Jewellery on Twitter and Facebook.

Green Turquoise Wire Crochet Necklace

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Ocean Pearl Jewellery

Friday, July 16, 2010

Green Starfish for the Gulf

Endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Oiled, by Greenpeace USA
Photo Credit:
Greenpeace USA

Even though we live in a time when news spreads quickly and never really disappears, it often seems like a story is here today, then gone tomorrow. This is a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario, because although websites, radio stations and news programs might push a topic to the back burner, we can still continue to discuss the matter and do investigations of our own.

Unfortunately, in the case of the Gulf Coast oil disaster, the news just keeps on coming. Tuesday will mark the 3rd month ‘anniversary’ of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that lead to the continuous oil gusher. Although billions of dollars have been spent to stop the flow of toxic petroleum into the ocean, the situation continues to get worse instead of better.

Last month, I shared an image from If It Was My Home, showing what the oil slick would look like if it were on my doorstep. Here is what it would look like today:

Vancouver Island Comparison with the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick

Despite the hard work of many organizations to clean up the sludge, the pollution is making it’s way inland. Tarballs have been discovered in the waterways of Southeastern Texas and the greater New Orleans area. Sea birds and other marine animals continue to attempt feeding and nesting in the oil damaged areas, having no instinct to pack up and leave a lost cause.

And, as we continue to watch in horror and wonder what the results of the catastrophe will be in five, or ten, or twenty years, we continue to do what we can to help. The Help the Gulf Coast Etsy collective is still going strong, and has raised nearly $8000 for Oxfam America and the National Wildlife Federation.

Deep Green Sea Ring by The Sage's Cupboard

Deep Green Sea Ring

If you haven’t stopped by the shop recently, head on over to Help the Gulf Coast and see some of the new handmade donations. All net proceeds are donated equally between charities helping animals and families affected by the BP oil spill. This week, I sent along my latest ring, Deep Green Sea.

Just in case you need a little extra motivation, stop by Deep Sea News for the latest updates and informative links.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Flicker of Inspiration: Beautiful Butterflies

I really love using Flickr. Not only is it filled to the brim with amazing photographs and art, but there are so many fun things that you can do with it. Today, I thought I would create a mosaic with a few of my favorites, and share it with you. Perhaps these lovely colors and shapes will inspire your next great project!

Beautiful Butterflies


1. Male Golden Birdwing butterfly Bangkok, 2. Colorful Butterfly, 3. Blue butterfly,
4. Butterfly, 5. Another beautiful butterfly !, 6. Irridescent Glass Wing Butterfly,
7. ~ Butterfly ~ " What Wingspan " ? ~, 8. Monarch Butterfly, 9. Butterfly at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Big Huge Labs

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quick Inspiration: Free Beading Patterns

Graph Paper and Pencil by iliveforsun, on Flickr
Photo Credit: iliveforsun

One of the most stunning types of beadwork is the patterned cuff. All those tiny beads, woven together to create an image, just cry out to be worn. Creating patterns for flat bead weaving isn’t always easy. Even when you have the right graph paper, the task of filling in all those little squares to make a unique picture takes a lot of patience.

Luckily, we can turn to some of our favorite designers for help. Last month, Margie Deeb announced that she will be giving away two new PDF beading patterns every month, for bracelets, necklaces and tapestries! Available for brick and peyote stitch, or loom and square stitch, each one is a miniature work of art.

If you want to practice your pattern following skills, or just need to use up your stash of delicas, these patterns will provide plenty of beading pleasure. Visit to see all of the bead patterns available, and subscribe to the newsletter to find out which to patterns will be free each month!

Lotus Blossom Pattern by Margie Deeb

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Margie Deeb

Friday, July 9, 2010

Underwater Garden Necklace

Clownfish at Koh Bon Island, Thailand
Photo Credit: takau99

This month, the theme for the Etsy BeadWeavers challenge is “Secret Garden”. This topic was chosen by Ileana of Enchanted Beads, who encouraged participants to create their own real or imaginary garden. It’s a great theme for summer, with absolutely endless possibilities. There are so many ways to interpret the word garden, that choosing just one would be a challenge in itself.

The Inspiration:

Although I adore nature, I’ve never been a green thumb, and landscaping sort of baffles me. So there would be no realistic gardens in my piece. I started thinking about more magical, fantastic gardens. It occurred to me that the most secret of gardens would be one that humans could never reach.

I had already started seeing some possible shapes and designs in my mind’s eye, and I was most drawn to one with flat, six petal flowers. I thought it would be fun to turn all of my oval dyed shells into flower petals, so then an aquatic theme started to emerge. If the city of Atlantis had had a garden, what would it look like now, at the bottom of the sea?

Sea Garden Bead Palette

The Beads:

Using the green shells for petals meant that I would have to be careful about choosing the rest of the palette. I wanted to be certain that the flowers would look as such. I finally decided on salmon pink, which is not only a very flowery color, but also reminds me of anemones and starfish, which one might find in an underwater garden.

For the background, I chose transparent cobalt - an excellent deep sea blue. I also selected some pink cat’s eyes, and 15/o seed beads to match the green and chartreuse shell coins.

The Beadwork:

To make the flowers I had imagined take shape, I used wide triangle weave stitches, with each wedge supporting a petal and a bit of the pink center. To fill in the spaces between the shell flowers, I made a few beaded flowers with matching pink centers and green petals.

Atlantis Garden Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard
Atlantis Garden Necklace

Choosing a technique for the necklace straps was a challenge. I wanted them to have body, but not distract from the flowery bib. Eventually I took the simple approach and created several strands of cobalt blue with assorted accents, including some blue and green pressed glass clam shells.

Voting for the Etsy BeadWeavers July challenge opens today. Stop by the EBW Team blog to see all of the amazing entries, and vote for your favorite! The challenge closes on July 15th.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Poster Sketch: Bead Soups

There is something so exciting and liberating about working with a mish-mash of bead sizes, shapes or colors. When you’re working freeform, you really do feel free. Even if you’re a bit afraid to take big risks, a little whimsy goes a long way.

Today’s Treasury East collection features some amazing jewelry and art made with mixtures of assorted beads. The playful, organic quality of bead soup creations always has instant appeal. To learn more about the designs featured here, visit Swimming in Beads.

Etsy Picks: Swimming in Beads

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bead Spotlight: Bugle Beads

Assorted 6mm Bugle Beads

One of the most interesting members of the seed bead family is the bugle bead. They’re unique and beautiful, and have a tendency to sit, unused, in our bead stash. Because bugles beads tend to have sharp edges, they can easily cut through most beading threads, causing a beautiful design to collapse. Using high quality bugles and a sturdy thread like Fireline does help, and allows them to take on a wonderful variety of beadwork shapes.

I find that bugles are really best when the thread moves straight through, and doesn’t cross over the edges. Some of the best stitches and techniques for these little tubes are netting, fringe, and embroidery, especially when seed beads are added as bumpers on either side. Adding bugles to a design can add an extra layer of sparkle. Their length also creates a unique texture that cannot be achieved with regular seed beads of equal measure.

Turquoise Shimmer Safety Pin Bracelet by Sugarberry Delights
Safety Pin Bracelet with Bugles
by Sugarberry Delights

Due to their size and shape, bugles are a bit more prone to breakage than other seed beads. Often a hank or vial will contain at least a few pieces with rough edges or burrs. These can sometimes be removed or polished away with an emery board, restoring the bugles’ straight edges.

Bugles come in a variety of sizes and finishes. The most common bugle is the 6mm length, but they also come in 9, 12 and cute little 3 mm sizes. Some manufacturers also create twisted bugles, with a textured surface.

If you have an lot of bugles in your collection and want to use them up, a simple multi-strand necklace is an easy way to go. For supple texture, place a seed bead between each bugle, which will smooth out the strands. Some other great projects with bugle safe stitching include:

Bugle Clusters Bracelet by Silvana Terry and Bead & Button
Cute Couple Cuffs by Shelley Nybakke and Beading Daily

If you’re up to the challenge, these excellent tutorials pair bugle beads with a variety of stitches:

Elegant Netted Bracelet by Deborah Meyer and Beading Daily
Twisted Bugle Earrings by Beaded Jewelry
Beaded Cupcakes by MythrilAngel
Structural Cube Bracelet by Lynno Soto and Bead & Button

And for anyone who loves to play with polymer clay, a Mobius Bead can help put some of those larger bugles to good use!

Have fun!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Friday, July 2, 2010


Czech Seed Bead Mixture

When I sat down to do my taxes this past spring, it occurred to me that my bookkeeping systems needs a lot of work. One of the things that needs the most improvement is my materials inventory, which is inaccurate at best. I know that if I want to fix things, I’m going to need to start by taking stock of my entire bead stash from top to bottom. The concept is horrifying!

Before I can even fathom such a task, I will need to clear out a lot of older beads, particularly those that I’ve had since long before beading became more of a business than a hobby. My ultimate goal is to have only items in my stash that also have invoices to go with them. This could take awhile.

I have a lot of good reasons for never using all these beads that I’ve been carrying around. Some of them only have tiny quantities; there aren’t enough to commit to a project, so they wait until they can be used as the occasional accent color.

Bead Soups

Others just keep getting passed over, and I tell myself “I’ll probably need them some day”. This is, of course, ridiculous. I don’t worry about saving beads that I really, really like, because I love using them. And if I’m ever in need of a certain bead color, I have no trouble ordering them. There is no reason to hang on to these beads until the end of time.

The Inspiration:

I am starting my big destash project by using up all of my old Czech seed beads. The first thing I did was pull out all of my bead boxes and removed everything that I haven’t used in months. I sorted the seeds by color, then created an assortment of bead soups. They instantly became ten times more appealing.

Cotton Candy Bead Soups

The Beads:

The first bead mixture that I wanted to use was a combination of all my pinks and purples. I liked the sweetness of the colors, and I wanted to put it to good use. I grabbed some more must-go beads - a 4/o mixture of magenta and baby blue. With the dash of blue thrown in, the bead soup was now the color of cotton candy.

The Beadwork:

The most exciting thing about a bead soup that absolutely must be used up is that there are no rules or boundaries. You can make any design, any size! It’s been awhile since I made a clasp free chain necklace, so I decided to make loops of right angle weave until I ran out of beads.

Cotton Candy Chain Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard, on Flickr
Cotton Candy Swirl Necklace

I created a pattern of accent beads in groups of four: magenta, pink, blue, pink. To make it a little more interesting, I alternated which side of the chain the accent beads were on, but in groups of three. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a pattern at all, but there is a lack of chaos that sort of soothes the eye.

I wish I had staggered the pattern a little more, because I ran out of pale pink accents long before everything else. Still, the necklace turned out to be a whopping 70 inches. I think this is the longest necklace I’ve ever made. I’m going to enjoy this destash mission.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard

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Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

Inspiration Topics

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