Secret Bead Along – All Finished

National beading week is now over, last time I told you all about the prep work I did for the secret bead along a pattern from Jean Power designed especially for the week by giving you a little bit of beading each day.

I surprised myself with this project because I honestly didn’t expect to finish it on time, I had a spare day as our beading group met on the Saturday when the project was scheduled to finish on the Friday and I did end up taking a day off. (more on that later.)

Of course if you have been following me on instagram you’ve had all the photos in real time, my feed has been filled with tiny little beads for a whole week. I did also pop the days photos on my facebook page too but I left out a lot of the details.

secret bead along day one

Day One

With the prep work I had all but two rivolis ready so at the start of day one I opened the instructions up, got out the beads I needed and set to work. Day one was relatively simple and I had it finished quite quickly, and had just enough thread left to knot off the ends. (beaders problems, will the thread last or will you have to add a new one in just for a few stitches.) I very proudly posted my “finished” day one on the secret bead along facebook page, however when I started looking at everyone’s finished pieces I realised that I had missed a row. Thankfully it would be simple to fix, I just had to add a thread in and bead the last row, but not today.

secret bead along day 2

Day Two

Perhaps my favourite of the whole lot. I loved this from the moment I had added the first bit of fringing. I did have to adjust the pattern slightly as the bicones I used were a little larger than they should have been, but it wasn’t a problem adding in the extra bead. I got so carried away with this one it was finished quite quickly so I beaded another of the rivolis left over from the prep work and left it threaded up ready for the next day.
I did see one of these on the facebook page where all the leaves had been nicely stacked so it looked more like a pinwheel. I’m not sure if I like the random or the organised look best, they both have appeal.

secret bead along day 3

Day Three

Another fairly quick one, a simple design yet very effective. I didn’t fully understand how this was going to turn out as I was beading the first round but it really did all click together when I started the second. It’s a really well thought out design and I think my second favourite of the 5 pendants. I do however regret my seed bead colour choice as the black looked a little dark against the rest of the beadwork, though I was determined not to change my colours at any point as that would have felt like I had cheated a bit. If I make any more of these I would match the colours better and probably try it with an extra round to fill it out more.

secret bead along day one reworkedAs this one was quick I took the opportunity to go back to day one and add in the third round that I had missed. I had to bring the new thread in from the 15’s at the back of the rivoli as it was to tight to bring it in from the 11’s where I had finished the second row but I don’t think that mattered as it doesn’t seem to affect how the beads sit. This is probably one of those designs that looks great either way (2 or 3 rounds of fringing. It obviously works with 2 as I didn’t originally notice there was anything wrong.) the full pendant does really stand out a lot more though the rivoli is more obvious when there are only two rounds of fringing.

secret bead along day four

Day Four

Then onto the first time I encountered any issues. This looked simple enough to start with and round one was done in no time but as soon as I got to round two I started to have a few problems. First I read the pattern wrong and attempted a thread path that didn’t really work at all. I had also ended up beading at the back of the piece so I needed to bring my thread back round to the front. Second attempt and reading the pattern right this time it was a lot easier to follow though it was quite fiddly to stitch.

Then I had a rest day, I had intended to prep up that last rivoli but instead I had a day off entirely.

wpid-wp-1438604814613.jpegDay 5

Another one where I didn’t read the pattern as it was written, round one was really fast and easy, though I couldn’t hazard a guess at what it would look like finished. Round two things started to take shape and then round three made some beautiful petals. I could have  left it as it was but there was another, similar, round to do behind it. This is where I failed a bit as I got to a point in the instructions that told me to repeat what I had just done and I had to ask if I was supposed to because it didn’t look like it would work to me. It does work, but I didn’t think it would for me and I left it out and continued with the rest of the pattern. I am probably going to have to get another rivoli to make this one properly or completely unpick it at some point.

secret bead along days six and 7

Days Six and Seven

These come together as it’s all about the rope, at the end of day 6 I was regretting taking that rest day as I didn’t feel I had got very far with the rope. But I also didn’t want to go too far just in case day 7 yielded another surprise. My day 7 was at our local beading group and I got most of the rope finished and the clasp made but I had to finish it off when I got home as during the group I was also helping other with parts of the pattern and showing them how bits were done. I do really love this rope though, I usually use herringbone as a rope but this is far more interesting and a lot simpler to bead as the path of the thread flows a little easier.

Secret bead along the finished piece

The End

One thing I would change if I did this again would be my thread. I’m a fireline girl and while it didn’t pose too many problems with the pendant parts the rope certainly benefits from a softer thread as it made my rope quite stiff and therefore difficult to get the pendants on where others ropes squished a bit better to allow for easier threading. I probably also needed a longer attachment to the toggle for the clasp.

All in all a very enjoyable week of beading that shows you a little each day can go a long way. I will thank Jean again for a wonderful pattern and all her help throughout the week on the facebook page.

I also read Jeans latest newsletter this morning and am already quite excited at the prospect of doing something like this again next year.

Did you take part in the bead along? Which was your favourite day? Which one did you find the most difficult?

Secret Bead Along – Prep Work

With just a few days to go before the project starts properly I really need to get a move on with my prep work, but it is causing me a few problems…

finished bead work rivoli My first rivoli went quite well, the instructions in the pattern are very clear and easy to follow. But in a rush to get my son of to his kayak lessons I had left the ends to do later.

So with the brief trip to the lake over I went back to my beading. Even though I had a meter of thread left I thought it might be best to knot it as if I had finished the thread, then if the worst happened in another part I could happily cut it off and add a new thread.

Then came tying off the tail end. I popped the needle onto the tail and weaved it through a few beads.

one lost delica bead in the beadworkIt was at this point I realised just how tight my tension was,  I had problems tying off the thread. When I finally got the needle through where I wanted I heard a rather soul destroying crunch that was one of the delicas breaking.

Yes I was a little gutted but learn from your mistakes I’ll start again and this time I’ll knot the tail end before I get onto beading in the 15’s. That way the tension won’t be as tight and I’ll not risk the same happening again.

3 rows of delicas So starting again, I got all three rows of delica done and knotted off the tail. that wasn’t going anywhere, I was happy and continued with the beading. It did make the whole thing a little tighter going round but it was manageable.

Then onto the 15’s, I did the two rounds for the front and weaved through to the back. I checked at this point to see if the rivoli was going to fit and it was lucky I did because if I had done the first round of 15’s on the back I wouldn’t have been able to fit the rivoli in.

first row of size 15 beads to tighten up the bezel settingI completed the first rivoli again and this time opted not to knot the longer end, after all I didn’t really need to I was only going to so I had it secured if needed when I might make a mistake in the next steps. I’ll just have to try and not make a mistake.

Onto the second one, feeling a little more confident now, knotting the tail after the delica rounds again. I think this one may have been a little tighter though because as I was zipping up the back part I crunched one of the 15’s. Typically it had to be one from the bezel and not from the bit I had just stitched or I could have just worked backwards a little.

So start again on that one, but I was over stressed at this point and after knotting the tail I found that I hadn’t even stitched the delicas right. (answers on a postcard on how you mess up peyote) I had to stop for a bit.

Now we are just a couple of days away from the first days instructions being released and I only have one rivoli prepped. On the facebook page Jean has told me not to worry as I can always do a rivoli a day with my normal beading but I hope that I can get a few more done before Saturday.

The moral of the story

Check your tension. It’s a lot easier to tighten up slightly loose bead work than it is to try and force a needle through a stitch that is too tight!

National Beading Week

NBW LogoFrom 25th July to 2nd August beaders will be getting stuck into projects for National Beading Week.

Bought to us by the Beadworkers Guild the incentive can help you find that mojo, try new things or get into beadwork for the first time.

The national beading week website has some great links to projects that you can take part in, my regular bead group, Barmy Bassingham Beaders, (it’s “that” half of the room that are the barmy lot, sometimes we do wonder what is going on.) will be running an extra session on 1st August at Aubourn Enterprise Centre. If you are local and interested you are welcome to come and meet us all.

One of the things that we will be doing is a secret bead along from Jean Power, she has created a pattern as a set of instructions where we receive a part of the project step by step each day throughout national beading week. The idea being that you have no idea what you are making until the last day when you put it all together.

Since Rivolis were the only thing I needed to buy for the project (I usually bezel my own lampwork cabochons) I spent a little while choosing a colour and settled on Tanzanite thinking that I would be able to easily make a colour combination with the rest of the beads I did have.

This morning I have spent probably longer than I should deciding which beads I am going to use. With a little help from my husband I picked out these;
seed beads, rivolis, delicas and all other types of beads ready for the secret bead along

  • Slate grey delicas
  • Matte black 11’s
  • Purple pearls
  • Teal bicones
  • Iris blue super duos
  • Iris gold 15’s
  • Iris blue 15’s

I’m a little undecided on the 15’s at the moment I’m not sure if I want to do them as all in the iris blue, all in the iris gold or split in half. This is probably the only disadvantage of not knowing what I’m making because I can’t visualise the colours in the finished piece. I’m quite attracted the iris gold though as it gives more of a contrast overall.

If you are interested in the secret bead along you can find the instructions on Jean’s website, the pattern is only £5.

Of course if you are completely new to beadweaving don’t feel left out by wondering how on earth you are supposed to make a start, here are some great free instructions on peyote stitch or if you are really serious about learning all the wonders of tiny beads you can join the guild for access to lots of stitch resources or get yourself an in depth book like Mastering Beadwork.

I’m off to make a start on the prep work now, are you taking part? what colours do you opt for?