Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Tutorial - Book of Kells Beaded Angle Weave Bracelets, Pendants and Beaded Beads

Learn to bead a Book of Kells Bracelet with just Japanese seed beads, shank buttons, and thread. No fancy shapes required! The Book of Kells weave is a fine beaded fabric that is flexible and comfortable. You can weave it in many different shapes because the pattern repeats like wallpaper.
This beading tutorial includes step-by-step instructions for weaving the aqua bracelet with the button hole clasp. This clasp is quite easy to do and undo, and it stays buttoned when you want it to. You will also learn how to layer the Book of Kells beadwork for 3D effects, and I show lots of examples to inspire you including these and more.
Book of Kells Jewelry
An unusual and complex angle weave, the Book of Kells design is suitable for intermediate bead weavers or advanced beginners who are comfortable with right angle weave. If you like RAW and want a new challenge, you’ll love this.

The beading tutorial is 29 pages, including over 100 illustrations and photographs. The tutorial is a PDF file that gives complete step-by-step instructions for how to make the aqua and black bracelet with a button clasp.
Book of Kells Beading Tutorial
On pages 19-24 are step-by-step instructions for how to add layers to the Book of Kells lace to thicken it for pendants and bracelets. This includes step photos and brief instructions for the pendant shown. As an added bonus, for more advanced weavers, I also include clear photos of the front and back of the pink bracelet, with information on the clasp with brief hints and tips (pp. 25-26), a chunky dimensional bracelet with larger beads (p. 27), and even a few step photos and hints to get you started on the Book of Kells beaded bead (pp. 28-29).
The tutorial only gives a few key step photos and a bit of written guidance for the beaded bead because I think after you've made the pendant, the beaded bead won't looks so complicated.  Plus, you advanced bead weavers need a little challenge from time to time to keep your minds nimble. Besides, after 29 pages of writing, I decided I needed to finish this tutorial and move onto the next project.

Here is what one customer said of this tutorial, "I am really enjoying this pattern. As always it is well written and illustrated, you have a way of presenting diagrams that make even the most complicated stitches understandable! It's turning out lovely."

If you're wondering why I called this design "Book of Kells" you should really pop on over to the Trinity College Dublin website and check out the 1200 year old Book. Give the page a second to load.  It's setting up 680 thumbnails, photos of each page of the Book of Kells.  Scroll about 1/8 the way down the list on the left, and click on folio 33R.  That's the one that gave this design its name. While you're there, click on some of the other pages because the calligraphy is amazing.  The carpet page of Folio 188r about 60% down is also worth taking the time to click on it.
Thanks for looking!

Friday, February 6, 2015

T4 Bacteriophage Art Object in Beads No.2

A few weeks ago, I showed you my first beaded bacteriophage.  In the process of beading it, I learned that there were many more details known about the structure of the T4 bacteriophage than what I built.  So of course, I had to make another one with more details, bigger and better than the first.  Here you can see the two of them together.
The most significant difference between these two art objects is the capsid, or head. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
The first phage includes 12 pentagons and 30 hexagons.  It turns out that 30 isn't nearly enough.  So, the second phage shows 12 pentagons and 155 hexagons, making it more representative of real T4 phages as far as I understand it.  There seems to be some debate over the precise arrangement of the hexagons, but I think this is the most recent understanding of the structure. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)  This capsid has about 3500 beads in it, just in case you were wondering. 
For the first phage, I made the sheath like a tube of stacked rings (of beads) because I didn't realize the sheath is actually a spiral.  So, for the second phage, I used a beaded spiral tube instead.  It's not quite the same type of spiral as on a real phage because I opted for artistic aesthetics over scientific accuracy.  Sometimes I worried a bit about these adjustments, but I kept reminding myself that no matter how accurate my representation of a virus, it still wont work.  Like, it's never going to be able to infect a bacteria.  You'd be surprised how many times I had to remind myself...
The second phage also has a  more accurate collar shape with whiskers on its collar. Here you can see how big it is.  The legs are quite springy.
The second phage also has a more elaborate base plate than the first with little fibers that hang down, as if it's getting ready to make its move and insert its DNA into its host bacterium. 
Both of these art objects are for sale in my Etsy shop, gwenbeads.
Small Bacteriophage (No. 1)
Large Bacteriophage (No. 2)

I always enjoy a good beading challenge.  So, I'd like to thank Dr. Mark O. Martin for encouraging me to bead a bacteriophage.  I really knew nothing about these things before he shared a picture with me.  In beading these pieces, I learned lots of fascinating facts about viruses and microbes, but one of the weirdest is about color and electron microscopes. It turns out that electron microscopes take pictures with electrons instead of light.  This way, they can "see" things that are much smaller than visible light waves, like a thousand times smaller!  Think about that... visible light waves are WAY too big to capture images of these viruses.  These virues are TOO SMALL FOR COLOR!  Chew on that.  A consequence of this is that electron micrographs never have natural color.  When you see color images, they are always colored after the fact by people (possibly with the help of a computer). 

In other beading news, I also made a Twisty Bits Necklace.  Ever since I finished writing the Twisty Bits Tutorial, I've been wanting to make this necklace in these colors, mixed metals with gold as the feature.
So here it is, a long beaded bead on a yard of silk cord.  It's for sale.  Click the photos to go to the listing.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Upcycled Sweater Hoodies No. 7 8 and 9

Here are some photos of my latest hoodie cardigans made from felted wool and cashmere sweaters.  I wash the sweaters in hot water and dry them in the dryer to make them felt.  Then I cut them up and sew the pieces together on my serger sewing machine with some stitching done on my regular sewing machine because a serger doesn't do everything.  First is Sweater Number 7.  My great accomplishment on this piece was the front placket with buttons.  The placket is two layers, so it lies flat and is quite functional.  I'm quite pleased with this design, and I'm now using this placket on all of my cardigans. Of course, I used this as an excuse to splurge on vintage buttons.  I love buttons, and I was tickled to have a reason to buy more of them.  Sweater Number 7 is in marsala burgundy, hot pink, gray and brown, size medium with woven leather buttons.  It has two pockets and is super snuggly.

This is a photo of some of the pieces before I assembled them, mostly wool with a bit of cashmere.
This is some detail on a matching cotton skirt that you can see peeking out of the bottom.
I made Sweater Number 7 as a commission for a friend, not realizing that she's actually much broader than I am.  Although it fits me perfectly, sadly, it's too small for her.  Before we found that it doesn't fit her, she asked me to cut off the point of the hood.  Here you can see the difference that a pointed hood makes versus a rounded hood.  I thought I was in completely in love with pointed hoods until I cut off the point.  Now, I think I actually might prefer the rounded hood.  One thing I wasn't expecting when I cut off the point is how much it changes the shape of the collar around the neckline.  The very first sweater hoodie I made, I kept for myself, and it has a pointed hood.  I find the point kind of gets in the way.  I think from now on, I'll make most of my hoodies with rounded hoods.
Sweater Number 8 is in aqua blues, size small.  This one is quite elvish with a pointed hood and a long pointed pocket. It's about two-thirds wool and one third cashmere with green vintage plastic buttons.
Sweater Number 9 is in purple, blue, gray and olive, size medium.  It has a stripe up the back in purples and a pocket on the front. It's mostly wool with a bit of cashmere and vintage purple plastic buttons. 
These pieces are all for sale at Isabella Boutique in downtown Sunnyvale, CA.  Many of the techniques I used I learned from the ever-talented Katwise.  Thanks for looking.
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