Friday, August 10, 2012

Bead Tool Software (I'm Watching You Bracelet Pattern)

So I have had the trial version of this software for quite awhile, and I actually created my first butterfly coin purse with Bead Tool.  Well I am finally at a place where I thought it was well worth the money to purchase the software (49.95).  This price may seem steep, but if you are serious about your craft and want to take beading to the next level, you will need some sort of software to incorporate your creative desires. 

Personally, I wanted to become more skilled at creating patterns, but I simply did not want to doddle with beading graphs.  I love that you can insert a picture and viola, with the touch of a button, a full bead graph, with a word chart is at your disposal. 

Of course there are downsides to all products, for Bead Tool, I would love if it could transfer colors and lines more fully (it does with some pictures, others, not so much).  The finer the lines, the more abstract the picture becomes, however, that is expected since on a bead graph, one would find it hard to incorporate fine lines within the bead design.  Another downside, the limited stitches that can be used (peyote-many forms, RAW, brick, and square)...what! no herringbone, no embroidery, no CRAW, what's a beader to do.

I complained at first and then I started to play with the software and the aforementioned disappointments were quickly dissapated; simply put, I was blown away by what I COULD do and the fact that I was slightly limited was not that much of a concern.  I created a few patterns and I am actually working on two.  One is a koala coin purse for a friend (I had this project on my to-do-list for over six months, but getting that koala onto graph paper proved harder than I thought, also, I wanted a word graph and that was just too time consuming).  Instant gratification with Bead Tool, I loaded that pic, tweaked some of the colors, and hit save; a color graph, legend, and word chart were all created within moments.  I also love that I can determine the length and width of my pieces using the row/column calculator on Bead Tool.  Also, the color palattes are pretty amazing as well and the combinations of colors are endless.  Not to mention, there are numerous sizes/types of beads included to adjust your particular graph.

My second project is a bracelet for a friend who is leaving.  I wanted to use letters and so I found the word(Jehovah),  in an amazing font made a copy, uploaded it to Bead Tool and simply tweaked my colors. I now have a complete customized pattern that will create something unique for such a special person.

The picture I have included is actually different pictures and I combined them on Bead Tool (another great feature) and so again, I was able to take different aspects of different drawings and customize them to create a pattern that fits my style and taste.

I am going to add patterns as I create them and if you are interested, please check out my page at; you can search for the patterns by name.  Also, I will be offering some for free, like I did with my Shutters Bangle tutorial, you can simply print the information right from my blog and create your own stylish jewelry.

I'm Watching You Bracelet (Brick Stitch)

One thing to note, though yo can crete patterns, there aren't any finishes that are created on Bead Tool (clasps) so you could manually create the decreases if you wanted, or manualy create a pattern for beaded toggles and I think that I will do just that as my next free pattern offer.  Knowing how to bead a toggle clasp, or a beaded loop closure is a fine way to finish off a bracelet or necklace.

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Barrettes, bracelets and bows

I have been seeing a lot of tutorials on bows, barrettes and bracelets for younger girls, and my niece (knowing I'm crafty) asked me to create a bow for her.  I made one, and just went overboard with creating hair pieces and cute little bracelets and what-nots for her.  She is 12 and she loved every item I had made.

The tutorials can be found via the internet, there are so many, and really, I could not pinpoint which is best.  I used youtube to locate my tutorials but there are written tutorials as well on pinterest and various blogs, so pick one and have fun creating something unique and cute for a little lady you may know.

Sorry about the glare from the flash, it was night time so I did not have the use of natural light.

Rosettes made with fabric, faceted bicone beads, and a large jewel

Rosette hair clip made from ribbon

Hair bow barrette made from ribbon

Four loop hair bow barrette made from ribbon (had quite a bit of this ribbon)

Stretch bracelet made from plastic beads

Charm bracelet made from colored wire links and various charms

Heart necklace made from plastic link chain

Star necklace made from plastic link chain

Sassy earrings made from beads found in a bead mix

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Odd And Evens of Peyote

Midnight Mystique by Chris Manes

For those who know little about beading, or for those who may have some questions, I wanted to introduce you to an extremely versatile stitch; the Peyote Stitch.  Peyote stitch was developed by the Native Americans hundreds of years ago, “Peyote” refers to a religious faction; the peyote stitch was named accordingly due to the fact that the ceremonial artifacts were decorated using beads, hence, the name “Peyote Stitch” was born.  However, somehow, the Peyote stitch found its way over to Africa and was a popular stitch used in ancient African beading as well. 
Peyote stitch can be woven flat in odd or even count (more about this in a second), odd or even count tubular, flat circular and freeform.  The size and number of beads you use will determine the length, width, and pattern of your piece. Tension is also important when using the peyote stitch, most styles will require a nice even tight tension but there are some projects that will require you to have a light/moderate tension.
Starting with freeform peyote, one can choose varying sizes/shapes/colors of beads to create a genuinely unique piece.  Although it is possible, most beaders do not attempt to duplicate freeform patterns because it takes away from the “free” nature of the piece.  Also, I have yet to see anyone create a freeform pattern because again, the great part about this type of peyote is that it leaves a lot of room for personal taste and imagination.  An example of freeform peyote is my Red Mosaic Bracelet.

Flat Circular peyote is also a great stitch to play with and despite the name, you can easily conform the flat circular stitch to other shapes (triangles, squares, and hexagons).  In fact, most shapes, when done in peyote stitch are started the exact same way as flat circular peyote. An example of this would be my Feathers Bracelet or my Triangles Necklace and Triangles Ring. Your tension with flat circular peyote should be moderate at best, if you bead too tightly, the piece will start to curl up.
I am going to digress for a moment and explain what the terms odd and even count mean. Simply put, odd/even count refers to the number of beads on each row; peyote stitch is done in rows so in an even count; a row would have beads divisible by 2 and odd count would have beads divisible by 3.  You can find examples of these in my gallery, the Butterfly clutch is an even count project (~32 beads vertically) and an odd count project is the Rainbow Feathers bracelet (31 beads horizontally).

Tubular peyote/Cellini Spiral can be done in either odd count or even count; I have yet to try odd count, and other than working with tight tension constantly, the tubular design should not pose an issue. An example of this is my Purple parade choker.

I must digress again and talk about “step-ups” (tubular and circular) and “turn-arounds” (flat/even/freeform).  Again, peyote is done in rows, so you have to be cognizant that you are constantly starting on a new row.  The number of rows depends on the project design.  Using my Purple parade choker as an example, I had to “step-up” after adding my succession of beads (11o,10o, 8o and 6o); each row contained the aforementioned formula.

The turn around has the same concept but differs in the fact that the piece is a flat rectangular/squareish piece. Oh and let me not forget to mention, even count turn-arounds are different from odd count turn-arounds. If you ask anyone, they will swear by the even count turnaround, and truly, it is the more simple out of the two, however, odd count turn-arounds are not impossible, they just add extra steps to your beading. For a visual, I suggest downloading the FREE tutorial on the site for Odd Count Peyote by Unique You, she explains it well and her pictures are also helpful. Even count is simply the exact same movement left to right.
So if you have not completely fallen asleep, I will share one last aspect of peyote with you and that is the increase and decrease. An increase would require you to add more than number of beads required.  For instance, if you are doing the basic 1 drop peyote, then adding 2 or more beads in the space will cause a gradual wave to occur.  You would then decrease the number to get back to your flat shape; or you can go from a flat shape and begin a decrease (subtracting beads by skipping spaces) in order to create a point-See La Mona bracelet for example, finish off a bezel (rivoli/stone encircled in peyote stitch-See Dushi Ring for example) or create a hexagon shape.  By increasing or decreasing, you can create waves and bumps to make your bracelet appear three dimensional, examples of this are my Royal Ribbons, Red Mosaic, and Snake Skin bracelets.

Peyote stitch is truly one of my favorite stitches to work with, not only because of its versatility, but also because of the amazing patterns that can be created and completed when referring to this ancient and much appreciated technique. So if you have not yet had the pleasure of doing so, why not explore the odds and evens of peyote.

*All referenced jewelry that I have made can be seen in my respective galleries on this blog, or at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rainbow Feather Bracelet

I completed this bracelet last night and it is an odd count peyote project.  I had never attempted odd count peyote and was a bit intimidated by the turn around, however, once I got the hang of it; it was quite easy to adjust.

I actually had to start over 3 separate times but I loved the pattern so much (Suzanne Cooper pattern on, that I was determined to make it work.

I will post n article tomorrow based on odd and even count peyote; the history of peyote stitch and the differences/similarities in the two stitches.