It’s All in Black and White

Do something everyday that can’t be undone.
The Mother’s Almanac

Now that I’ve wrapped up that purse, I’ve moved on to some smaller projects. Nothing kickstarts a project like a new, inspiring focal piece. I got this lovely one from my friend in Hawaii, Patricia Larson. Her lampwork glass pieces are unique and so colorful. I’ve collected a few beads that Patricia has made, but this is my first cabochon.
I originally wanted to use this cab as a focal on a cuff bracelet, it looks like it’s going to be a little big for what I want to do, so a necklace it will be!
I’ve been having fun with a few smaller collar designs thanks to my daughter’s inspiration…basically she told me what to do. I doodled a bit and put down a few stitches and promptly took them out. Finally, I came up with something that made me happy. For this one I’m keeping it simple and working with shapes more than color.
When I teach or just get together with a bead group, the topic of color choices usually comes up. It can be the most daunting part of any project. I think I’ve covered this in a previous blog but, it bears repeating.
For starters, I begin by rounding up anything I like that might work in the project, you can narrow down your choices as the project gets underway.
I have a little formula that helps keep a project from getting too disorganized.
#1 – Pick your focal.
#2 – Pick your secondary beads – smaller than the focal. Larger pearls and fire polished beads are great candidates.
#3 – Seedbeads – I start with three colors in the same family, usually 15s. Pick a matte, colorlined and irridesent. Think monochromatic. Add an 11 seedbead to vary the size and an 8 as a stop bead.
#4 – Toss in a couple of crystal colors. Vary the size, 3mm and 4mm.
This should give you a good start. For beaders new to embroidery, I recommend avoiding very shiny beads, especially black beads. If you aren’t sure how a bead is going to look before you stitch it down, put several on a thread and lay it next to the focal or another row of beads. It’s hard to judge bead color when they’re in the tube. Sometimes I stitch a few sample rows in a 1” square just to see what they look like next to each other.
Contrary to my quote at the beginning of this post, I do undo things…at least when it comes to beading.

3 thoughts on “It’s All in Black and White

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