Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway: Tapestry Bead Crochet

I received a copy of Tapestry Bead Crochet in the Fall from Lark Books to review. I've always wanted to learn bead crochet so you can imagine how excited I was to receive this book. I held onto it until I had time to sit down with crochet hook, thread, and beads in hand, and really use the book to learn the skill. I did that and here is what I think!

Ann Benson is a great teacher. She's known for her website BeadsEast where beaders can find all sorts of tutorials, patterns, and kits for beading. The first chapters in Tapestry Bead Crochet describe the tools necessary for bead crochet including the techniques and stitches required. I purchased a size 7, 8, and 9 steel crochet hook to learn with (size 10 seemed a bit too small for me!). I sat down with #10 crochet cotton and began hooking. It was a wonderful experience. Her diagrams were straightforward and easy to follow. Because I am an absolute beginner, I got a bit confused with crocheted tubes and the "step up" technique but found the bonus DVD extremely helpful in terms of understanding how to do it. 

The remainder of the book explores using bead crochet and patterns to create a variety of beautiful purses. After getting through the first chapters, I was excited to look through the patterns to see what I'd like to try. The very first pattern is a beautiful dragon purse. In the section on "Techniques" I found the information for reading patterns. She also takes care to note on her patterns which direction the threading of the beads should go. 

For flat crochet (not crochet in the round) the directions on how to read/thread your beads are located amidst the flat crochet pattern - "Listen Up Pouch". If you couple that with how to bead crochet "Back and Forth" from prior sections, you're set to go. (Note: you may also want to view her DVD to see how to crochet the beads on the front vs. the back of the fabric). 

The book comes with a bonus DVD that shows the various techniques used for purse construction. I found the DVD to be extremely useful. The DVD shows how to step up at the beginning of a new row, how to create a round "Hex" base, and how to read the patterns, in addition to the basic techniques. It also really helped me to understand the techniques involved and is indispensible to the book. 

Overall I liked this book. Ann Benson does a wonderful job of presenting a wide variety of bead crocheted patterns to create purses. And many of the purse styles are based on old antique beaded purses. Her patterns are beautiful and there is a wealth of knowledge in this book regarding purse construction. If you have some experience with bead crochet then you'll love this book. If you're a novice, like I am, then you will definitely want to watch the included DVD to understand the techniques and basics of purse construction before you get started on a project.

How You Can Win A Copy

I have one copy to give away. Here's how you can win it:
How To Enter:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not yet on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, April 4th (Monday next week!) - That's 5 days from now!
For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And The Winner is.... Beading Across America

And the winner of one copy of Beading Across America is:  deborah@

(Note: I have a few deborah's so check your email for the winning notification)

Congratulations! 


Next Up in Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway is: Ann Benson's Tapestry Bead Crochet by Lark Books
(Be sure to check your email tomorrow for details!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Into Spring with Beadweaver's Big Book Give-Away!

Great New Books for Beadweaver's SPRING Big Book Giveaway!

I've got some great new books to share with the readers of Beadweaver. These are *mostly* bead weaving books (Yay!). There are 7 titles in all, so stay tuned! Up first - and no small feat - is Beading Across America edited by Paulette Baron, Amy Katz, and Sherry Serafini and featuring works from 30 artists across the U.S.

Beading Across America: Jewelry Inspirations from Coast to Coast.

Beading Across America features a compilation of a large variety of artist's styles and designs brought together in one place. The only other recent, novel beading book* that presents individual artist's works along with detailed instructions for completion is Valerie Hector's The Art of Beadwork. The difference with this book is that the work has a very strict contemporary focus: the artists are currently very active in the U.S. beading community, the work presented has a very popular focus, and the projects are mostly beginner and intermediate level projects.

The projects presented run the gamut from very simple such as Jeannette Shanigan's Moose Forget-Me-Not Pin, to the complex - Louise Hill's gorgeous Paradise Pendant. I was very excited to see Laura McCabe's Eiffel Tower Ring (Partly because of the French theme, partly because I love that design!) and to see the many well known artists presented in this book. Among them: Diane Hyde, Heidi Kummli, Louise Hill, Sherri Haab - just to name a few. Many popular techniques used in off-loom weaving can be found amongst the projects - or at least a variation of them. The graphics are great and the step by step instructions are detailed enough to guide most beaders through the projects to completion - that's quite a feat when you consider that there are 30 individual artisan pieces! While some projects may appear to be familiar to viewers, the vast majority of them were newly designed for this book.

Also included in this book is a brief bio about each artist and a comment the artist has written pertaining to the project at hand. It adds a personal touch to their work and gives us a glimpse inside their lives as bead artists.

I think this is a "Must Have" addition to any bead weaving library.  It's full of little treasures :)

How You Can Win A Copy
I have one copy to give away. Here's how you can win it:

How To Enter:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not yet on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, March 28th (Monday next week!) - That's 5 days from now!
For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!
*excludes books that are compilations of already printed projects.