Sunday, 16 December 2012

Did you Rizo yet?

Millipilli, two designs using
Rizo beads
Rizo, or little grain of rice (?), is a new Czech bead which is about the size and shape of... a grain of rice with a hole across one end. 'Meh, and so?' was my first thought, a mini dagger. But these are beguiling little things once you start working with them and now I am completely in love with Rizo!!!!!
I've created several patterns already, all of which, if only I had the time, I long to make in more and more colours and variations...
Centipilli, a Rizo and
Roses (montees) design
Colleagues have instantly used the beads as petals and in bezels, lovely and set to become a firm favourite with beaders. But, for me, what is truly appealing is to see them en masse, and happily, the neatly tapered shape behind the hole means that these beads will nestle and line up in any design from the simplest to the most complex.
To date here are my creations, made with the first sample beads to arrive. Millipilli was the idea that got me thinking about the satisfyingly bristly textures this bead can create, utterly tactile, like the best jewellery should be. Centipilli happened because there is always a need for simple patterns too, the 'make it in an evening and wear it next day' projects. I love this one and have plans for many more, and yes the Rizo do stay in that position. Both these designs are available from bead store where you can also feast on Rizo in a truly delicious array of colours.

Jurassica, don't you just want to
 stroke it!
Jurassica too, a different
and more random texture
Jurassica is the successor of Millipilli, the design where I just wanted to explore the grouping of these beads to make something strokable and textured.
For me, this is where these beads become interesting and I'll be pushing this idea around some more in the weeks to come.
Truthfully I haven't taken my Jurassica bracelet off since I finished off the last thread tail! and I soooo want to go shopping for more and edgier colourways. The design can also be worked to make more random textures as in the pink version. Jurassica is available in my webshop as a download pdf or a traditional printed version.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Wish upon a star

Crystal Star charms
I first taught this little pattern in 2006, and have carried on teaching it pretty much every winter since then. In 2008 it was among the patterns on my first little webshop and continues to be hugely popular. It is quick and easy to learn, and a really useful thing. I like useful, by which I mean it can be worked up in lots of different ways, in different quantities and used to make things from the most (last minute) simple tree or parcel decoration, to a bag or phone charm, used as a festive pendant or grouped together for a bracelet or necklace.
It is also the best fun design for playing around with colour combinations as it doesn't take many beads, or too long to make... another useful aspect.
Here I've been inspired by things Nordic. For the photograph I found myself painting twigs white, this is an excellent time-waster and hugely satisfying in a 'let your mind wander' kind of way while you fill the missed bits. It is only later that you notice a fine mist of white emulsion freckles all over you and the surrounding area... Oh look, permanent snow!
If you are in the mood to enjoy a quick to make festive design,  the printed version is called Stars here (allow extra seasonal posting time) or the download version for instant gratification is called Crystal Star Charms which you can find here.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Let it snow, Mistletoe

Let it snow, mistletoe beaded charm
I've long debated whether to offer my designs as downloads. Call me old fashioned, but I rather love receiving the deliveries of brown cardboard boxes packed with freshly printed patterns. Opening the box is a print lovers heaven scent of silken paper and exotic inks. I also get great pleasure in packaging up my orders in old fashioned crisp paper and cellophane bags, with pretty cards and lovely labels.
I am not so fond of the constantly rising prices of postage, so totally can see why my lovely beading customers in distant lands would prefer the immediacy of downloads.
Now to my personal gripe... and this is being, I know, an editorial aesthete, but... there seems to be a great store and set by offering design instructions on pages and pages and pages and pages.

So, pattern on a postcard was a little technical challenge to see whether it could be done, first here for a much requested design and now given away free with my clasps. Next here, with a design I wanted to share to help the many fund raising requests.
So of course now I'm loving the process, a kind of pattern writing haiku and find myself reviewing designs mentally to see if they can be edited to fit. Of course, these designs by necessity assume a level of ability and are not intended for beginners... although Daisy chains on a postcard is a definite possibility for beginner classes.

I have finally dared myself to try and master the technicalities needed to offer downloads in my webshop. I will be putting more designs into the store as quickly as I convert them from my beloved A5 booklets to easy to download one sided A4's...
So this little pattern is just one lovely printed postcard here, or a single A4 sheet download pdf  here.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Jolly Holly Charm

Holly helping with a crochet project
I often get asked if people can use my work to raise money for charity. And before I start let it be known that I work quite closely and extensively with one or two charities, so I am not a total curmudgeon, nor insensitive to the needs of others.... but, sigh! It is so hard to hesplain that lovely though the idea is and honourable though the intentions may be, it is sending out a really mixed message about copyright if it's OK for some to make a design to sell (for fundraising and charity) and not others (for personal/commercial profit or gain). There it is said.

But, I'm also keenly aware that there is a real pleasure to be had in making something for love, of donating time and skill for the benefit of others. There is also an honest enjoyment in purchasing something lovingly made, whilst knowing that the proceeds will go to a good cause.

Beaded Holly Charm
Holly is part of a series of new designs called Pattern on a Postcard and to celebrate it is a copyright free design. Hopefully you will make many and raise heaps of money for your favourite charity.

All the profits from the sale of the design will go to our local animal sanctuary where they do amazing work every day, as a memorial to my beloved rescue cat Holly. Before things get mawkish, Holly was an amazing character who taught me a lot about the purr-suit of happiness. We were life long friends, a cat life, well lived of 12 years, three months and five days.

So if you are in need of a fairly quick and easy pattern for your fundraising, you can download it here, as a single A4 size pdf, or order the design as a printed 'pattern on a postcard' here.