Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Diagonal Square Stitch

Here it is. I've finished the twisted diagonal square stitch I mentioned in a previous post. I don't have a suitable clasp for it yet.

The pattern for this bracelet is by the late Marji Brohammer and is a free pattern available at Beading Daily.

The pattern carries the "techi tip" that it's an advanced pattern and you should practice square stitch until you're ready to scream.

To that I say practicing square stitch will do you no good. You must practice diagonal square stitch. The tricky part is in the increase and decrease turns. Obviously I need to practice some more. This was my third start. I still didn't get the start 100% right, but I did figure out a few things that weren't given in the pattern.

If you want a different color border, where it says string 1 bead or string 2 beads, string accent color beads. Where it says string 3 beads, string 2 accent beads and a main color bead.

When you split the strap remember to square stitch an accent color for the last bead on the right side before you skip the next bead, and use an accent color for the first bead on the other side. If you look closely you can see I didn't do that.

Don't turn your work, work back and forth. The pattern consistently refers to the right and left hand side. If you keep your increases on the right and the decreases on the left you won't be as likely to get lost.

I found the diagram totally confusing because it had symbols that I'd never seen before, but I managed to figure out the design using the written instructions and comparing my work with the diagram.

I almost didn't post this because there are so many bobbles and boo-boo's in it, but then I thought maybe it would be encouragement to someone who was totally intimidated by the whole idea of diagonal square stitch.

This forms a very supple, slinky "fabric" feeling project that is really quite delicious feeling on your skin. I'd definitely encourage anyone who hasn't ever worked square stitch to try it.

To learn a new stitch on your own there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1)Chances are really really good that you're not going to get it right the first time, so don't get discouraged. Be ready to do lots of frog stitch (rrrrip-it, rrrrip-it).

2)If you get frustrated, put it aside and do something you're familiar with to bolster your confidence. You're not a doofus or an idiot. It just takes time to process something new.

3)If you get to a certain point and then just get completely lost, put that piece aside and start over, but don't rip that one out yet, use it to refer to so you can figure out where you made your mistake. You can take it out later.

4)Don't be afraid to try something new. You may use up a lot of thread, but the beads are always reusable!

5)Join the About.com Beadwork Forum for lots and lots of help. There are a lot of caring beaders there willing to share their knowledge.

Happy Beading.

About.com Beadwork Guide

Yipee!! The About.com Beadwork forum finally has a new guide. If you're interested in beading and would like to join the forum just click on the title or the text link and come on over and join us. It's free and there are lots of great beading buddies over there.

I'll write more about my diagonal square stitch in a little while. I just got the notice about the new guide in my e mail and wanted to share the news with you.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Native American Bead Embroidery Update

Earlier this month I shared with your my struggles with learning Native American Bead Embroidery. I finally finished one little section of the design and have decided it will go into my "unforgettable experience" box. I do love the designs especially by the northern tribes. They are so soft and fluent unlike the angular geometrics of the southwestern tribes which I grew up seeing. I want to figure out exactly what I want to put a design on, and make it specifically for that item, but I won't work it on muslin.

Fabric and a hoop is recommended, but I just had too much trouble working with a hoop even though I have been embroidering for well over 50 years. When I make my next design I will work it on peltex 70 or lacy's stiff stuff which won't need a hoop.

I've ordered the beads to finish Dragon Scales. While I'm waiting, I got started learning the diagonal square stitch I mentioned in Summer Beading The edge color beads aren't noted in the pattern and I couldn't figure out which ones of the increase beads were going to actually be on the edge, so I'm working my practice swatch in all one color. I've gotten to row 6 and am beginning to get the hang of it. I'll be posting an update later. It will either be a post of utter exhilaration or total frustration. From progress so far it will be the former.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I'm just ramblin' today. I've started a beaded collar that I just do not know how to describe. It's kind of a Van Dyke in the front, but not exactly and kind of a Victorian lace around the neck, but wider. LOL I'm very good at doodlin' up a new design from old stitches, but not very good at describing them. I'll post a picture when I'm finished, but I've run out of the main color beads. Unfortunately the only local store that carries seed beads is Hobby Lobby, and they don't match what I have, so those must be ordered. GRRRRRRRRRRRRROAN.

I held the center part up to myself when I got it finished and what was staring back at me in the mirror was "Dragon Scales" so that will be the name of the collar. I may never see it quite that way again, but first impressions are good.

Rings&Things is having a Review a Product Contest. Check it out. You could win something fabulous!

I've written tutorials for working Cubic Raw and Waffle Stitch and posted them on eHow. Feel free to take a look. Unfortunately they're aren't quite as easily downloadable as a PDF file, but I hope they will be of some benefit to someone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finished St. Petersburg Chain.

I mentioned before that I was wrestling with learning St. Petersburg Chain. Well I finally finished a project that had been brewing for nearly a year.

My son and daughter-in-law came for a visit from California last summer and on the way out here they stopped in Gallup, NM and browsed around the Thunderbird Supply Company there. They brought me some beautiful little treasures. Among them were two aquamarine Swarovsky crystal pendants. My daughter-in-law had told my son she would love to have one on a beaded strap as she always breaks chains, but she didn't know of a stitch that wouldn't overwhelm the pendant. That's why I've been trying so hard to get this finished. I want to give it to her.

Now it's finished. . .finally. I really enjoyed doing this even though I got so frustrated, because it was for someone special. Oh and by the way, that third bead on the left is NOT green. I took this picture and had to run back and hold the chain under my full spectrum light to make sure. LOL it's just the way the light shown on it.

I have made my own tutorial how to do St. Petersburg Chain and tried to submit it to e How, but so far it hasn't gone through. I've edited it twice and will keep trying. When I finally get it submitted, I'll let you know.

Happy beading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Beading

Do you find yourself working different stitches at different seasons as well as working with different colors? It seems that summer jewelry should be light weight, not too complex and just sort of float at your throat, around your wrist or ankle or dangle delicately from your ear lobes.

It seems that summer time has me looking for new stitches or new adaptations of old stitches. Some of my finds can be solid and rather chunky like this free pattern for Twisty Square Stitch bracelet pattern at Beading Daily.

Square stitch isn't something that I've gotten well acquainted with simply because I never liked the way the edges looked. I think I may have to try this pattern even though there's a warning that it is an advanced pattern. Oh well when did a little thing like inexperience ever stop me.

Rings & Things has introduced a new Gift Registry. Check it out.

Well I thought the thunder storms had passed and we were through with storms for today, but the thunder is rolling again, lightening can't be far behind. I'd better sign off and power down again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bead Ramblings

Looking through bead sites and blogs I came across this post by Designing Vashti. She gives instructions for a crochet stitch called foundation stitch, which is great for crocheting with beads. This stitch obviously helps keep the beads in the position you want them. I haven't tried it yet, but definitely bookmarked the page.

Crocheting with beads isn't something I've thought seriously about because you usually have to string the beads on your crochet thread first. This is something I've admired since the '60's when I had a neighbor making the very popular beaded lariats, but never got up enough patience to actually do.

I'm still working on the Native American bead embroidery project. Hopefully I'll have something to show in a few days.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Native American Bead Embroidery

Hats off the the skilled bead embroiderers of the many Native American Tribes. My already great admiration for them has just multiplied about 100 percent. I'm working on my first authentic Native American bead embroidery project and am finding that I suddenly have 2 left hands! I've done a little bead embroidery the European way which is a modified back stitch, but the couching method used by Native Americans is much more difficult for me. In spite of the fact that I don't laugh at myself easily, I must present a hilarious picture trying to learn this simple stitch.

I got as far as "stamp your design on the material and place it in a hoop. Thread two needles and tie the ends of the threads together. Pass the needle threaded with the bead carrier thread from the back of the material to the front. Load enough beads on the bead carrier thread to go around the outline of the design" without any trouble at all, but when I started actually trying to couch the beads, my bead carrier thread managed to somehow get underneath the work and tangled in the couching thread.

I solved this dilemma as shown in the picture by passing my bead carrier needle through the material at the start of the design and wrapping the extra thread around it. ROFL

As you can see, I'm also having a little trouble getting the beads to lie in a nice smooth line.

More on this when I'm able to quit laughing enough to finish at least a portion of this project.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Authentic American Indian Beadwork

I received my "Authentic American Indian Beadwork and How to do it" book today. It was a used book and I only paid .89 plus shipping. Total came to less than the price of it would have cost new.

I have to admit I only wanted it to see what colors, designs, stitches etc. were used by various tribes, and I wasn't disappointed. There are tribes mentioned that I never heard of, but that's another research project.

I'm really pleased with this book. It shows methods for applique that I was not aware of and which will make a much neater back than the method I always used for applique. It also has bead charts for loom weaving which can be done in square stitch.


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