Sunday, 1 November 2020

 It's been an age since I last blogged, and I though that I should start again... to keep you all updated with what's going on in my beady little mind. 

Firstly, lockdown has been really tough on my creativity and except for a couple of Zoom classes I took, I stopped beading altogether!

Moving house seemed to bring my creativity back though, so I'm back to beading, designing and enjoying myself. 

I thought I'd share a little free tutorial with you all for some beaded beads made from pinch beads.  They're cute little beaded beads and make pretty earrings. 

To make one beaded bead

15 pinch beads

5 size 11 beads

Beading thread - I usually use fireline, but KO or OneG  beading threads or similar in colours that match your beads will work just as well. 

Scissors or thread zap

Beading mat

Step 1

Pick up 3 pinch beads and tie them into a circle.  Thread through the next pinch bead in the circle.

Step 2

Pick up two pinch beads, and thread through the bead your thread is exiting from to make another triangle.  Thread through the two beads just added.

Step 3

Pick up 2 pinch beads, and pass through the bead your thread is coming out from to create a triangle.  Go through the first pinch bead added in this step.

Step 4

Pick up two pinch beads, and thread through the bead your thread is exiting from to make another triangle.  Thread through the two beads just added.

Step 5

Thread through the bead marked with an arrow, pick up one pinch bead, and then thread through the bead your thread was exiting at the start of this step.  Keep threading through bead until your thread is coming out of one of the side beads (shown with an arrow).

Step 6

Pick up two pinch beads and go through the bead the thread was exiting at the beginning of this step.  Go through the first pinch bead again.

Note – The beads from this step onwards are purple to make it easier to see what to do.

Step 7

Pick up one pinch bead, go round through one of the side beads, back towards the beads already added in step 6 – following the arrows in the diagram, so you are exiting the next side bead around.

Follow the numbers on the arrows to show the thread path.

Step 8

Pick up one pinch bead, go down the next pinch bead, through the side bead, then up the pinch bead just added – see the arrows and follow the numbers to see the thread path.

Step 9

Pick up one pinch bead, go along through a side bead, up a pinch bead, and down through the pinch bead just added (follow the arrows and numbers to show the thread path).
Step 10

This step finished off the pinch beads… without picking up any beads, go through the side bead, up a pinch bead, down the next pinch bead, and back through the side bead.

Step 11

Now to embellish the side of the bead… pick up one size 11 seed bead, pass through the next side pinch bead.  Repeat this all the way around the bead.  Weave the thread through the beads to get to the start, tie the ends together and trim the threads.

I hope you've enjoyed making these little beaded beads. If you've given them a go, please leave me a message below - I'd love to hear what you think. 

Happy Beading! 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Unicorn Balls

In October last year, I went to the Big Bead Show - nothing too unusual about that.  I had a lovely chat with Vicky Roberts, the new editor of Bead and Jewellery Magazine and she asked if I would be interested in designing something new and geometric for the magazine. Of course, I was interested!
I decided to re-imagine my spike-balls, to include some two-hole beads in them to make them easier to zip together, giving them a different look. 

Here are my original spike balls...

They are made from twelve spike beads, each set in a pentagon - making a dodecahedron. These spike balls are made entirely using 'traditional' seed beads, with crystal embellishments.  The tutorial for these spike balls is available in my Etsy shop

When I initially designed these spike balls (back in 2012), two-hole beads weren't readily available, and I certainly hadn't considered designing with them. Now there are so many choices! I chose to use miniduos when re-imagining my spike-balls as they're the smallest of the two-hole beads, and they fit in nicely with the size of the beads I had used in the bezels. 

These spiky balls, (named 'Unicorn Balls' by a friend of mine) have been published in Issue 85 of Bead and Jewellery Magazine.  
The team at Bead and Jewellery Magazine liked my design enough to decide to put it on  the cover of the magazine! I was so shocked and delighted when I saw it, I actually squeaked! 

The second generation of spike balls are slightly larger than the first, and the way the miniduos interlock and form triangles at the corners makes them a slightly stronger structure. 

I love the way that beading is so versatile that you can re-engineer a design to accommodate new bead shapes and techniques. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

That's no moon.... it's a space station!

Oh dear, it has been far too long since I last blogged - I am so sorry!
I have been wanting to blog about a piece of beadwork I made for quite some time (I actually finished it in January), but I had to wait until the judging of a competition before I could publicly share it.
I decided to take part in the Beadworkers Guild Crystal Anniversary Competition; it was sponsored by Swarovski, so it had to be something bling.
I'm not often a very sparkly beader - I have the odd moment when I go crazy with crystals, but usually, I'd prefer pearls.  After my first geometric beaded sculpture being accepted as a finalist at the British Bead Awards, I decided to make another piece along the same lines.  Still 60 triangles, but joined together in a different arrangement, to make a stellated dodecahedron (a round(ish) structure made from 12 pentagonal pyramids).

To show off the crystals to their best, I decided to make the majority of the structure from white delicas.  Buying delicas in 50g packs was something quite new to me... it felt very odd!  To complement the white, I added a pale pink (think coconut ice) and a matte copper to embellish the edges of the triangles. 
I chose five different finishes of Swarovski chaton to include, and a generous sprinkling of Swarovski sequins to add some shine to the vertices.
As my first geometric structure ended up with a nickname (sixty flippin' triangles), this one did too - I jokingly started calling it The DeathStar (I am a secret sci-fi geek).
When I had finally finished making it and stitching all of the triangles together, it was so close to the deadline... I only just made it!  I took some photos and submitted them, and I was honoured to find I had been selected as a finalist in the competition.  The Beadworkers Guild website has a gallery of all of the finalists and winners.There is some incredible work on display in the gallery, it is well worth checking out. 

I wasn't selected as a winner, but I am grateful to have got through to the final round of the judging.
Here is my DeathStar... It's so nice to have it back, proudly displayed in my living room.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New Year's Resolutions

A slightly late post, but I wanted to share my new year's resolutions with you all.  I made two resolutions this year:

  1. Learn to knit properly
  2. Avoid being diagnosed with cancer again
Ok, so the second one I couldn't control all that much, but I've managed to keep it so far... despite investigations to exclude bladder cancer.  I've got the all-clear... phew!

So, learning to knit properly.  I've included 'properly' in this as I could just about knit... not really purl, I certainly could do any shaping.  I started a little early (between Christmas and new year), and bought myself a Craftsy class - Knit Lab, by Stefanie Japel.

Hours later, I could cast on, bind off knit and purl... I could increase and decrease in many ways and I'd made a lacy scaflet!  

So, what to knit next... I though a scarf and hat would be good... not matching though.... I'm never that co-ordinated!

The scarf is bamboozle yarn, it's thick and thin in places and has the most amazing mix of colours.  It reminded me of spring, and was a great excuse to practice stockingette stitch.
The hat was worked flat in Sublime cashmere, merino and silk blend and stitched up the back.  It's cosy and soft and lovely to wear.

As my husband has a love of funky hats (he wears a hat every day, whatever the weather) I thought I'd knit him a stripy one (to practice changing colours).  He loves it, although it's not as warm or distinctive as his usual head-wear.

My next victim (or recipient) was my niece... she is a gorgeous little girl, always smiling... this was my first attempt at using double-point needles, knitting in the round.  It was made using the left over cashmere, merino silk blend that my hat was made of... and the pompom on top was made from the left-over bamboozle.

Next I decided to tackle cable knitting... after a couple of practice squares, I moved onto another hat... this one in grey aran wool/acrylic blend.

So, after all that, I thought I should probably make a garment of some description... and I didn't want to start a massive project knitting for  me (plus-size knitting takes a lot of time and a lot of yarn); so I opted for something for my niece again.  This is a kimono-style cardigan, designed by Mary Kate Long.  Again it is made in Sublime, cashmere, merino and silk so it is lovely against the skin, and I finished it off with cute little flower buttons.  
My pet-panda, Barry, decided he wanted to model it, but very soon it will be worn by my niece... I just hope it fits!! 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Beaded Baubles

I love beading beautiful but quirky, whimsical things; Christmas decorations are right up my street!  As it turns out, I really enjoy beading baubles, and it seems that they are very popular.  I am selling them as fast as I am beading them (sometimes faster!).

So, here are photos of the baubles I've beaded recently.... I'd love to hear what you think of them.

Unless it says otherwise, these baubles are for sale for £10 each (+p&p - UK addresses only).



Saturday, 1 November 2014

British Bead Awards

I've been very quiet on my blog for a very long time - I had been blogging a little on my sister-blog (, but I've not had a great deal that I can share with you all... I have been beading in secret!

Usually, I get so excited about what I make that I just want to share it with everyone, so making something for a competition, where the entry has to be anonymous is very difficult.  I have blogged before about competitive beading, and how I find it a bit of an odd concept, but I recently made something that I would be willing to submit to a proper beading competition.  

In the summer, I started playing around with triangles, making eicosahedra (or icosahedra).  An icosahedron is a platonic solid, made up of twenty equilateral triangles, so I made a couple using peyote stitch.

This was my first colour selection - I love the bold bright colours and the contrast of the lime green with the blues and purples. I made a second in pastel tones, which looks a lot more subtle, but is just as pretty.

I do confess to being a bit of a geek when it comes to geometry, so I wanted to see where I could take this idea next - so a stellated icosahedron seemed like the next logical step (of course)!  Stellated means star-like, so instead of making a smooth ball, it would be spiky - like a 3D star.

Of course, spikes mean more triangles and more beads.... so I stocked up on some delicas and decided to throw some crystals and pearls in the mix too.  

I stuck with the bold colour scheme, but in metallic finishes, and set about to bead sixty more triangles.  You'll soon understand why my stellated icosahedron very quickly got named "Sixty Flippin' Triangles"

The resulting ball of beady spikes was something I was very proud of, and ultimately, I decided to enter it into the British Bead Awards.  I entered it into the 'Beadwork - Non-Jewellery' category.  

After entering, I pretty much forgot about the fact that I had entered, and to my absolute amazement, I received an email several weeks later telling me I had been selected as a finalist. (I have to confess I squeaked in excitement when I read the email!)

So, my sixty flippin' triangles got sent off to be judged 'in the bead' against the other finalists... and I was invited to attend the award ceremony at The Big Bead show in October.  It was an absolute honour to see my beadwork on display and to overhear people discussing it, but unfortunately, I didn't win any awards.

I'm not deterred though - this journey of making geometric shapes out of beads has really sparked some interest in me, and I think I am now beading my 126th triangle of the year - keep your eyes open for more of my geometric bits and pieces! 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Beaded Bowls

This was originally published on on 26th March 2014

Bowls full of beads.... or bowls made of beads.  Either is good  with me!
My slight obsession with beads means that I often buy beads when I don't actually *need* them.  Well, who does actually need beads...???

So, I bought some big tubes of bead soup a while ago, I think I ended up with 6 tubes of 24g of miyuki bead soup - just size 11 beads... nothing fancy, but some gorgeous colours.
Quite often I sit down with some beads with no idea what the finished product will be and just 'doodle' with beads (or beadoodle, as I like to call it).

I didn't have a plan when I started off with this, but I ended up with a bowl, looking rather like this!

It's a little flexible, but holds its shape nicely, with a rolled-edge at the top for stability.  It measures about 7.5cm across at the top.

The bowl is made using a mixture of peyote, netting and right-angle-weave - it's quite a multi-stitch project, but it has been great fun to make.  So much fun in fact, that I made three!!

I'm not sure they actually have much of a practical purpose, due to the holes in them, they're not massively useful for storing beads... but they are quite handy for putting earrings in at the end of the day.

 The earrings in this little bowl are made using bead quilling techniques - the pinky ones are designed by Kathy King, and the golden ones are my design - published in Bead magazine in December.

I plan to write a tutorial for making these cute little bowls... I'd love to hear what you think about them.