A Time to (Herringbone) Stitch

When Therese of Therese's Treasures was looking for a way to celebrate her one-year blogoversary, she teamed up with Christine of One Kiss Creations, and their A Time to Stitch Challenge was born. The requirement was simple: both new and experienced beaders were encouraged to create a piece using herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, or both.

I'm quite sure I'm not the first beader to be captured by the seduction of peyote stitch. It was the first stitch I learned, and it was love at first sight. Herringbone and I had a more platonic relationship, until I began experimenting with different sized beads and realized how versatile and surprising this stitch can be.

One of my favorite herringbone patterns is Virginia Jensen's Spinner Rims from the October 2009 issue of Bead and Button. Spinner Rims got me thinking about herringbone in a new way, and although I'd created several earrings from the pattern, had never considered using it for a pendant. I had the perfect focal for it, a turquoise, orange, and deep chocolate brown flower disc by Susan Barnes of the Fire Goddess. I love the feeling of momentum this pattern gives to the pendant.

The second component in my necklace uses a smaller disc in the same colorway, accented by Mexican opal teardrops.

I used peyote stitch to create a cradle to stabilize an uneven bottom surface on the second disc, and to fill in around the bezel. Staying with my complementary color palette of oranges and blues, I finished the necklace with a leaf charm and chain in artisan coppers.

Thanks to Christine and Therese for inspiring us with this challenge. Click on the links below to explore the rich possibilities of these stitches through the work of the other challenge participants.


Staying Organized - Tray Simple

How do you organize your work(s) in progress? My first year of beading, I worked on one piece until the last bead slid into place and the final knot was tied. Once I started taking classes and participating in challenges and hops, I needed a system to stay organized while I juggled multiple projects.

My solution came in the form of trays from BeadSmith.  At 11”x14”, they can accommodate most everything needed for even my most ambitious designs, although I wish they were a little deeper than half an inch. Best of all, they’re stackable.  I have limited myself to five – one for my monthly Bead Journal Project , one for my latest class, two for challenges and one for experimenting.
Great for taking a project from room to room when I'm seeking inspiration, they also travel well - just slip one into a two-gallon storage bag, and you're ready to go.

I store my trays on a small built-in desk in my bead room, and gather all the information for each project in its own folder.  The pattern if I’m using one, challenge rules and deadlines, inspiration and colorway photos, bead receipts in case I need to purchase more of something (also great for pricing, if I plan to sell the piece), any sketches and notes of design ideas. That way, I never uncover a bottom tray I’ve set aside for several weeks (months!) and wonder, why are these triangle beads here?
My top tray today holds all the beads I’ve been pulling together for next week’s A Time to Stitch Hop. It’s a beautiful afternoon in the mid-seventies – tray and folder in hand, I’m heading outside to the deck to make some design decisions and get started!


May Bead Journal Project

With winter a no-show in Atlanta this year, my May Bead Journal Project celebrates the earliest, longest-running, and  most colorful Spring in memory.
"Spring comes: the flowers learn their colored shapes."
- Maria Konopnicka

In April, a reader asked if my Bead Journal project  would be used as a pendant, and I thought, why not make that my goal for this month? I oriented May's project horizontally, pairing it with some enameled rounds, a bold crystal and some leafy chain. It's ready to bring a bright touch of Spring floral to the simplest of outfits.