December 5, 2013

Reading, Beading, and Bouncing

My online beading group has a bi-monthly challenge called "Bead, Book, & Bounce." Not sure why they call it that, but the idea is to read a beading book and create one or more of the projects in it. This is the first one I've had a chance to participate in. This month's book is "I Can Herringbone" by the very talented Melissa Grakowsky. (Crazy title, I know, but I think it's part of an "I Can" series.)

Herringbone has become a very popular beading stitch in the last few years. It is basically the traditional African Ndbele stitch, which has a lovely intuitive logic to it, and creates a great texture even in flat items. Modern western artists have come up with all sorts of permutations on it, and it seems there's no limit to what you can do once you go down that road.

The book is like a master class in Herringbone beadwork. It has 26 projects, ranging in difficulty from beginner-level to quite advanced. So there's something for everyone. Many of the projects can also be used as a starting point for your own wild imaginings. Doing a few projects from this book will definitely boost a beader's confidence.

I didn't originally plan to participate in this challenge, because the due date conflicted with too many other obligations. But when the deadline was extended, I figured I had six days to work with, so I could probably manage one of the simpler projects in the book. Now that I've done it, I very much want to do a couple of the other, more involved pieces, "when I have time."

I chose to do "Poseidon's Gem," a bracelet with 6 colors in graduated sizes. I was limited by whatever few colors of 4mm fire-polish beads I had on hand, so they determined the color palette.

As I mused on Facebook, I'm not entirely happy with the color scheme. Too glitzy, too many transparent colors, the two reds are too similar, and the whole thing doesn't look good on my pasty white Oregonian skin. But I have to admit it's growing on me, and would probably look fabulous on someone with a tan.

I did have to make two modifications:

1. The author wrote that each section was about 1 1/2 inches long, so her diagram with 8 sections should be more than long enough.  But when I had finished 8 sections, the whole thing was only 6 inches long. So I added a 9th section, but that made the ends face each other in the wrong way, so the closure was very awkward. I solved the problem by making a half-section at each end, instead of a whole section added to one end.

2. The way she had the pearl attached did not leave room for the loop to grasp it properly, especially since I used a smaller pearl. I re-did the pearl attachment, adding a size 8 bead between the pearl and the bracelet body. This made all the difference I needed.

These are minor things that inevitably come up as a result of the differences between beaders. All-in-all, it's an excellent beading book, and I will use it again.


Clair said...

Hi Esther! Thanks so much for joining in with Bead, Book & Bounce this month. I'm glad that extending the deadline a little gave you the chance to join us!

I really like the colour palette that you've worked with - and your work around for the ends is genius. It would never have occurred to me!

estherbeads said...

Thanks for the kind words Clair! I enjoyed doing this challenge.

Anonymous said...

Hello Esther! Nice piece! I totally LOLed at the tan remark, can SO relate. However, I did like the color palette and would def take your idea into consideration if I ever get around to making one of these!