A Time to Stitch Five - Reveal

Blues are slated to be big this Fall, and I love the shades Pantone includes in their Fall Color Report, especially when paired with the trendy neutral, Aluminum.

Classic blues and silver-grays were the colors I chose to work with for today's A Time to Stitch Challenge hosted by Christine Altmiller and Therese Frank. Our challenge was to take one stitch and make three designs with it, changing up the beads in each - either the size, color, shape or finish. The purpose of our exercise was to observe how bead choices affect the overall character of the design.

My stitch for this challenge is right angle weave and the design is the very chic O. Mosaic Cuff from Rachel Nelson Smith's Seed Bead Fusion. My first cuff is five rows wide in blue pewter and sterling silver size 15 Japanese charlottes. Bright Cobalt is the star of this cuff with accents of the not-quite-gray, not-quite silver Aluminum. Light and delicate, the cut surfaces of the charlottes shimmer metallic on the wrist and give this cuff a definite special-occasion quality. Rachel offers several design options for the cuff and I took this one directly from the pages of her book.

Still the O. Mosaic pattern, but for my second piece, I came up with my own design variation. Color blocking and round size 11 seed beads make this version instantly more casual. I went bi-tonal with the Aluminum, weaving in a matte and a metallic shade with the classic blue. At four rows wide, it's the same width as the charlotte version, but the slightly larger beads, smooth surfaces, and combination of finishes make this cuff appear much heavier.

I'm just starting my third design. At three rows of size 15's, it will be a skinny version. The blue is royal, the silver-gray is understated, and I think the minimal matte-metallic gold is really going to pop!

This has been a fun and very enlightening exploration of bead choices and how they impact the finished design. Many thanks to Christine and Therese for continuing to challenge all of us. (I, for one, am hoping there will be more!) I hope you'll have time to check out the work of all the participating designers:




A Better Answer to "How much would it cost..."

You're at a summer party, proudly wearing one of your latest designs. Let's face it, we all hope someone notices our creations. What if another partygoer does notice and wants one for herself? For her getaway vacation next week? Would you know how to guide the negotiations and quote a profitable price for your handmade jewelry? I've made a number of pricing mistakes when I found myself in this situation, from forgetting to include a key component when doing a quick mental tally of costs to seriously underestimating the time it would take to recreate a piece.

To prevent such pricing faux pas from happening again, I'm adding one more very important step to my design process. I'm documenting the production process from gathering up the beads to tying off the last knot!

I plan to generate production notes for every piece I design, beginning with the Bridesmaids Earrings I created for my son's wedding last month. I was making six pair of these brick-stitched designs, so I sat down at the computer after completing the second pair. My production notes have a space for a materials list (the digital document includes links to purchase), a breakdown of costs (including scrupulously accounting for my time), and a crisp photo of design options. The rest of the sheet details step-by-step instructions and design notes.

An added bonus: documenting the step-by-steps this way brings a different eye to the process and I quickly saw a better thread path to ensure optimal alignment of the center crystal.

And if someone admires these in daughter Dani's ears and wants to know if they can be made in turquoise and silver? I'll know the answer can be found at Fire Mountain Gems, since my production notes tell me it's the only place that my design's non-standard size of faceted crystal ovals can be found!