Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dragons - Delightful and Dangerous! Artwork & Decor Featuring Dragons & Serpents

As I get closer to my due date, I find that I am returning to old favorites and new ways to share that love with others.  Currently, I'm working on a dragon plushie for my daughter - I'll post photos and a link to the tutorial when I'm done and if new baby doesn't keep me away too long! 

So, dragons are on my mind this week and I've found some fantastic dragons and serpents on Etsy to share with you all!  I know it's not my usual display, but hopefully it is still inspiring.

Follow the link to the Treasury to see more images or read more about these fine artists and crafters and their work:  Dragons Delightful & Dangerous Etsy Treasury by PZ Designs

Happy Creating,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tutorial: My 1st Beadweaving Stitch - The Triangle Weave

The techniques I employ in jewelry making often cycle - I started with beadweaving and often return to it, but I've also explored loomwork, kumihimo (Japanese braiding), wire wrapping, knotting & macrame, and of course your basic bead stringing.  All of these techniques can make gorgeous jewelry depending on the thought that goes into the design and the proficiency of the execution of the design.  Practice and planning are key to any successful piece.

A triangle weave collar style necklace variation:  
This necklace sports an embellished edge as well as decorative fringe elements.

Sometimes, however, it's nice to return to an old, familiar technique that doesn't require a lot of planning or practicing to create a lovely piece of jewelry.  For me, that's beadweaving.  More specifically, the triangle weave, which was the first beadweaving technique I learned over a decade ago!  I was taught by a Native American instructor and have always thought of this stitch as Native American in design, but it's been employed in various forms around the world.

I learned the basic, single row triangle weave with seed beads.  My first necklace has survived the years and I occasionally still wear it:

 The basic triangle weave (single row):  My 1st necklace with this stitch! (above)
& a close-up of the basic weave (below)

I like this look - it's both form-fitting and comfortable.  The gaps between the edge beads allow the necklace to curve to fit your neck perfectly, like a 2nd skin.  It can be made short, like a collar (12-13 inches) or choker (14-16 inches) and possibly as long as a princess (17-19 inches).

An embellished triangle weave collar style necklace: 
The clear beads are the basic stitch, while the blue beads form the embellished edging

I learned that embellishing the edge (filling in the gaps of the basic triangle weave with another seed bead) results in a stiffer necklace that doesn't curve to sit nicely on the neck - so if you like the embellished look, I suggest adding an adjustable closure (lobster clasp and chain is an easy solution) because an embellished triangle weave necklace needs to be worn high on the neck as a collar or choker to look really good - or it makes for a great bracelet!

 Another embellished edge triangle weave collar (above) & example of adjustable clasp (below)

I've put together a tutorial showing how to complete the basic triangle weave, as shown in my first necklace.  Following my tutorial are several other tutorials showing how to make a 2nd row of triangle weave and another technique for a different look.  I've also included some stunning examples of what can be accomplished with the triangle weave simply by changing up the beads you use in your design!  Many people prefer to use long beads, such as bugle beads, in place of 3 seed beads or incorporate crystals and other glass beads for a completely different look.  Once you get the hang of the stitch, play around with other beads to create your own unique jewelry pieces!

PZ Designs Basic Triangle Weave Tutorial:  Single Row, No Embellishment

Please click on the above image for a larger version!

Additional Tutorials:

Beading Daily:  Learn Triangle Weave - use bugle beads & add a 2nd (or 3rd!) row

 Beading Daily Tutorial

Bead Jewelry Making:  Triangle Weave - use seed beads singly for a different look
           Example of a finished piece using this technique: Black Triangle Weave Bracelet

 Black Triangle Weave Bracelet

 Triangle Weave Band

Around the Beading Table jeweler Deborah Roberti seems to enjoy using the triangle weave in her designs.  She has several more tutorials for purchase that also feature the triangle weave, such as the Geometric Obsession Bracelets.

 Geometric Obsession Bracelets

Around the Beading Table:  Hana-Ami Motif - similar to the Beading Daily tutorial, but create wheels with the triangle weave instead of rows.  

 Hana-Ami Motif

These wheels can be combined in various ways for stunning designs!  

 Crystal Wiggles Bracelet - Hana-Ami Motif Option

Several examples are shown at the end of the tutorial, and here is another:  Pinwheel Bracelet.

Pinwheel Bracelet - Hana-Ami Motif Option

I'd also like to showcase the work of jeweler and artist Laura Shea, who regularly uses the triangle weave:

(also available as a kit)

Stained Glass Triangle Cuff - embellished (double layered) triangle weave

While I love the triangle weave for its ease and nostalgic memories, it looks like I've got some exploring to do with this stitch!  I hope you have enjoyed reading and learning about this weave and that you try it out for yourself.  As you can see, some very extravagant designs can be accomplished from this simple and easy stitch!

Happy Creating,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Heather from "A Mom, A Kid, and Art" has passed on The Versatile Blogger Award to 15 blogs - and I'm excited to say that mine was one of them!  Thank you so much, Heather!  Be sure to check out Heather's blog about life, crafts, and her handmade copper jewelry - she designs truly lovely pieces.

This is how it works:

1. Thank the person that nominated you, and give a shout out to them on your blog with a link to theirs. 
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself. 
3. Send the blog award to 15 other bloggers whose blogs you love and appreciate, and let them know they won the award.
7 Facts About Me:
  1. My favorite color is purple, but I like wearing teal....
  2. I think reptiles are awesome - I have hatched snake eggs, raised the babies, and still have a couple adults....
  3. I generally don't eat pig products, but I do have 1 BLT a year with real bacon....
  4. I want to travel to Australia and New Zealand but every time I make plans, something prevents me from going....
  5. I never played a video game until I met my husband....and I only like co-op games!
  6. I love crafts and learning new techniques, but I have to limit myself to 1 new craft a year or our home would be taken over with supplies!
  7. I used to think all children had icky, sticky, grabby, grubby little hands - and then I had my own child and found I love child's hands.....
Now for the 15 blogs I awarded this to, in no particular order:

Thank you again, Heather, from "A Mom, A Kid, and Art"!

Happy Creating and Blog Reading!