Bead Soup

Recently, one warm, sunny day, I decided to declare it as a personal holiday, a total beading day, which meant no housework, dog training or yard work.  But what project should I start?  Should I choose a new project from one of the new issues of Beadwork or Bead and Button magazines, or rummage through my plastic shoe boxes for a project that is labeled and ready to start?

Not too long ago the clasp on one of my favorite necklaces broke.  It is an easy necklace to make but one that I have received the most compliments from the first day I wore it right up until the last time I wore it.  Matter of fact, I liked the necklace so much the day I first made it I bought two containers of mixed beads so I could make more.  But that was around 2006 while I was living in Hillsboro, Oregon.  Talk about procrastination.  That is my middle name.  Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, in this case six years later.

To prepare for my outdoor beading project I’d need something to hold the project in my lap or on a TV tray.  Behind one of my mother’s china cabinets I found two wooden breakfast trays that would be perfect for beading projects.  To keep the little Japanese Delica beads from rolling around I put two foam bead matts on the bottom of the tray.  Placing a comfortable chair in the sun, I set up a TV stand for my coffee, put the wooden beading tray in my lap and I was set for the day.  The dogs were nearby in the yard napping or scoping out the squirrel activity, the birds were singing and the neighborhood was quiet.  Life is good.

To make a Bead Soup necklace it requires using leftover beads of any size of your choice, in my case size 11 Delica seed beads as well as cube beads, size 8 seed beads, pearls, or whatever I had from various projects.  At one time when I vowed to do this project (but again procrastinated), I ordered two Figaro chains from Fire Mountain Gems, www.firemountaingems.com.  The order number is A35-1763-CH.  To make the necklace, attach a long strand of Fireline 6# line to your size 10 needle and tie a knot to one end of the Figaro chain.  Then put three small beads on the line and enter the third hole from the starting point.  Figaro chain has one large hole and three small ones.  In this pattern you never actually bead into the large hole or the second hole.  From the third hole add three more small beads and enter back into the first hole, then add three beads and weave forward to the third hole again.  From there you can add a small bead, a large bead (to cover over the large Figaro hole), and a small bead and weave forward into the next first hole, back to the previous third hole, and forward again into the first hole.  Think about the Herringbone stitch where you go back and forward, back and forward. When you reach the end of the chain, you can turn around and do the whole process again.  I hope I have given you an incentive to try this necklace.  It is so easy, works up quickly and you will get a lot of compliments.  You can make any variations you want, add Swarovski’s, dagger beads, etc.

Lately beading has not been very relaxing for me.  I found myself getting into a rut, doing the same easy projects or easy stitches.  I love making necklaces and bracelets using right angle weave, peyote and sometimes herringbone or Ndebele stitches.  But sometimes we need to push ourselves to try new things. Sometimes those new things just don’t work out.  My beading teacher has encouraged me through these bad times by letting me know that sometimes instructions are not written for the masses and even she has run into problems.  Lately I had to walk away from what looked like a simple pattern after spending two days trying to make small peyote flower petals.   I had to remind myself that I do this to relax and my headache was letting me know this was too frustrating.  I didn’t tear up the project but will surf the Internet to see if others have an alternative plan for that particular design which was in one of the beading magazines years ago.

Beading is supposed to be a form of relaxation, something to do during the hot afternoon when dog training and yard work is out of the question.  The nice thing about making jewelry is that there are many, many avenues it can take me, from learning to make resin jewelry or chain maille to making bead crochet and tapestry bead crochet items.  For me it is not about what I can sell to the public but what I can learn and create artistically, wear to dog functions (naturally) and give as presents to friends.  But it has to be relaxing!

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