Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Festa Botanica and the Big Book Giveaway!

May is quickly approaching and for those of you who have followed the Beadweaver Blog, you know May is Beadweaver's anniversary!!! And guess what? This year it is Beadweaver's fifth anniversary of covering beadweaving online :)

I have recently received five (how coincidental!) new books from various publishers including Kalmbach and Lark - some of the best books by the best artists around! So...in honor of the fifth anniversary of Beadweaver, I have decided to give these books away to you, my wonderful readers! Each book will be reviewed and given away in a drawing like we've done in the past through the month of May. Are you excited? I am!!!

What books are they? I can't tell you because it would spoil the surprise :)

The Big Book Giveaway will commence next week. Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to be entered into the drawings. You can click on "Get Posts by eMail" to the left to subscribe. More details on that to come.

The images in this post are a sneak peek at what I've made for our upcoming Festa Botanica which will be going on this weekend at the Turtle Bay Arboretum (my fingers are nothing but bones!). A few new patterns will be coming your way out of these lovely creations.... (Sunshine Lariat, top left; Giant Flower Rings, above; and a lovely Beehive Bracelet - tba!)

See you in a week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beading Needles

I've been steadily working away to prepare for the upcoming Festa Botanica. I think I've worked my fingers to the bone! In the meantime....I still have two more articles to go on beading and bead supplies. Here is the third article in the series - this one on beading needles. You can view the first two articles in my archives by clicking on these links: Thread Basics and Seed Bead Basics. And as always, feel free to write in and share information if you'd like!

Types of Needles used for Seed Bead Weaving
• English Beading Needles (listed largest to smallest)
• John James: size 10 long
• John James: size 12
• John James: size 13
• John James: size 15
• Thomas & Sons: Size 16
• Japanese Beading Needles
• Tulip Company of Japan: Zohata and Tenrai
• Miyuki
• Twisted Wire Beading Needles: soft; good for stringing larger threads and beads
• Big Eye Needles: needle splits open to allow easy threading

Needle Lengths
• Needle length varies depending on the manufacturer, the type of needle, and its use. Needles as long as 3-5 inches are useful for loom weaving; shorter needles are commonly used for off-loom weaving. Very short needles are useful when you have a limited amount of thread to work with (John James “Shorts” or cut the end off a twisted wire needle).

• Convenience Packs: John James needles are often packaged with 4 needles to a pack in a variety of sizes for convenience.
• Bulk Packs: Most needles are available in bulk packaging of 6 or more needles all of the same size. John James come in 25 needles per packet; Thomas & Sons come in 4 needles per packet; Japanese needles come in a variety of packaging depending on the size.

Needle Sizes & Use
• The larger the bead, the larger the needle. As a general rule, the John James needles will work on similar sized beads (a sized 10 needle will work with a size 10/o or 11/o seed bead). Japanese beading needles tend to be larger in diameter than John James and are designed for working with larger-holed Japanese beads.
• Choose your needle according to the size of the bead and its hole and the thickness of the thread.
• When you must work a number of passes through a bead, try switching to a smaller needle (especially if you get stuck) or using a thinner thread.
• Never, ever, pull a needle through a bead using pliers. You will weaken the bead and it may break (if not now, eventually).

Links to more information on the web:
Beading Needles: Everything You've Wanted to Know!
Bead Cats Needles
Barbara Elbe's Needles
Japanese Needles

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Treats!

Happy Easter! Rather than send you on an Easter Egg hunt, I thought I'd just give you the treats :)

Here is an online exhibition of beadwork from the Smith Museum: African Beaded Art, running online through June 15th. The exhibit contains beadwork from a variety of regions and includes explanations of each item when you click on the image. There is also a catalog available that includes all of the objects in the exhibit (only a selection of items are shown online).

I love that they have organized the Southern African work under the linguistic name of "Nguni" which is the appropriate term to describe antique beadwork from the region (i.e. not all beadwork from Southern Africa is Zulu - a mistake commonly made when describing items from this area). Shown right is an item from my personal collection.