I recently bought an entire stack of books with instructions, plenty of advice, patterns, etc. So I was flipping through them trying to figure out what project to work on first. My last project was a very simple single strand bracelet (picture below) – that I managed to screw up by making it too long. Since I also got a bunch of new seed beads and I have made beaded earrings before, I opted for a project that used brick stitch.
I have used brick stitch before and have had good results, so I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult.. right? I was hoping to start on a good note to get the ball rolling, give myself a dose of confidence before I moved onto something completely new. (I have an eFriend who wants me to make a bracelet for her from a picture she found and I am pretty sure I have figured out how she made the bracelet but I wanted to get my beading “mojo” back before attempting this feat.)
I have to also mention in the interest of full disclosure that the earrings I made using the brick stitch technique had exactly 5 rows of brick stitch, no more and no less. So I’m definitely no expert! Here is a picture of one of the beaded earrings like the ones I made (I did not make this particular earring but it’s exactly like the ones I did make). I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality – that’s what you get when you try to use a webcam to take pictures!! The brick stich is that tiny triangle part at the top of the earring.
Anyways.. my first project I have chosen to work on is from the book Easy Bead-Woven Bracelets. It’s part of Bead & Button’s Easy Does-It series, with 10 projects. Obviously, it’s not all bracelets since I chose an earring project.
My computer is being slow and special right now otherwise I’d show you the photo of the earrings I’m TRYING to make.
This has been my progress so far in summary:
1) picked out the project: earrings using brick stitch technique
2) chose the seed bead colors I wanted to use for the pattern (easier said than done when you have over 40+ seed bead/bugle beads to choose from – I always thought having as many choices on hand would be a good thing.. now I’m finding out the downside is it takes a lot longer to find and decide on what you want to use for any particular project! I also picked out the 4mm beads that the project called for. I also decided to use Silamide beading thread (instead of the Nymo D the project materials list called for.. since I didn’t have any!)
3) I then laid out the design on white paper 2 different ways (since this project uses 2 different seed bead colors I wanted to see which beads I wanted to use for the accent color and main color.) I laid them out accordingly both ways on paper and made the decision on what I thought looked best.
4) While in the future the 3rd step was probably a great one but in this attempt it was a bust. My previosly foray with the brick stitch earrings started with the base row using ladder stitch with bugle beads. This particular project uses seed beads all the way through, even with the base row ladder stitch. Let me tell you I had the most FRUSTRATING time trying to get seed beads ladder stitched. I finally gave up and decided to change up the earrings a bit and use bugle beads for the base row (like the other earrings I made) and build off the brick stitch from there. In light of this choice I also opted for a completely different color palate of seed beads to go with these bugle beads.
So there we have it. Not to mention the trouble I had threading my needle. That in itself took me a good 30 minutes to where I finally gave up and opted to try out the new needles I got from Fire Mountain and Gems (my favorite place to get all my bead stuff) they are called wide eye needles.
Mini Product Review of Fire Mountain and Gems Wide Eye Needles: Supposedly really easy to thread and incredibly flexible. Which I found they are incredibly easy to thread – but they also become unthreaded pretty easily as well, which I guess isn’t that bad of a problem because it’s easy to rethread but the constant rethreading can get old too. I also found that the needles (at least for this particular project (so far) were almost TOO flexible and the needle is so thin it’d be easy to run it through the wrong bead or even inbetween the beads.
Extraneous thoughts: Since I am still fairly new to beading it’s hard for me to know when it’s OK to make substitutions and what substitutions are appropriate! So far in this project I’ve made substitutions in the thread and needle I used, also using bugle beads for the base row of ladder stitch instead of seed beads. I have to only wonder if I shouldn’t wait until I have the necessary supplies in order to attempt the project – but it seems like if I did that I would NEVER do any beading because I’d always be waiting for supplies to show up on my doorstep. I think for a beginner I have quite a bit of supplies.. probably more than the average beginner since I recently went on a rather large shopping spree.. I think this is just one of the challenges of not having enough experience. I don’t know if these projects are harder because I don’t have a good grasp of the technique OR if the substitutions I make are the problem.