April 27, 2015

Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar: My Loot


The Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar held this past weekend in Denver was fantastic!  Rack after rack of every size, color and shape of seed bead imaginable, followed by table after table of gemstones and glass, on top of booth after booth of artist pieces.  What's not to love?  Here are some of my favorite buys:


The brass pieces of Judie Mountain and her partner Wayne Robbins' glass make Mountain Robbins a must see.  I couldn't resist these pieces with a primitive cave art vibe.


 Sue Laupp of Star Spirit Studio has long been a favorite of mine.  She had some new pieces - little hand carved birds and a house that I could not pass up.  And the new teal-ish color she's working with (like the leaf at the top) had me at "teal" :)

I found a few seed beads I thought would go with the raku I favor and some metal end pieces (for earrings, I think?) that I want to use for bracelet ends.  Oh, and some snapping jump rings I want to try in place of jump rings in my micro macrame:




I found some other great raku pieces including these from Urban Raku I think will be perfect - the bars on the sides should be just right for anchoring macrame cords.


These larger necklace focal pieces are from Beady Eyed Women.  She had some great beading kits, too, but these jumped into my "cart":


Last but certainly not least, I picked up a couple of finished bracelets from The Bead Parlor because even if I thought I had the patience to do something like this, I don't think that I would ever get around to it.  So much better to let a professional do it for me!


They also had some classes I thought looked like fun.  Next year, I'm going to have to sign up for one!  Who's going to meet me there?



April 22, 2015

Another Knotting Hint

My students weren't the only ones learning something during my micro macrame classes last weekend; I got some insight on the problems new knotters experience.  We worked almost exclusively on the  double half hitch (DHH) knot, and one of the most common issues was the knot ending up on the wrong cord - on the knotting cord instead of the holding cord.  It's not always easy to tell that's happening unless you know what you're looking for, but it is easy to prevent.

Here's the trick:


Hope this is of some help to someone out there!

April 20, 2015

A Learning Experience: Teaching Micro Macrame

Micro macrame Leave bracelets by Sherri Stokey.

Well, I did it, folks!  I finally jumped into the pool (or maybe I was pushed in, I'm not really sure).  I taught my first in-person micro macrame classes this past weekend at a lovely bead store in Hastings, Nebraska - Julie's Xpressions.  To say it's a bead shop is sort of misleading, though.  It's so much more than that!  Co-located in the same building as Julie's bead store is the Calico Cottage (a quilt store), The Plum Nelly (fiber) and Blu J (scrapbooking).  If any of you are passing through Nebraska on I-80 (and a lot of people do!), it's well worth your time to take a little detour south to Hastings (exit 312 - you're welcome!).  If you can't find something in their three floors (yes, three floors!) to inspire your creativity, I'm not sure there's any hope for you.  I could spend a week in there.

Micro macrame bracelet class being taught by Sherri Stokey.

We worked on from my Leaves micro macrame bracelet tutorial (the first photo shows the class samples I sent ahead of time) and I think it went well.  I had a great time and I couldn't have asked for a better group of folks.  They were all very eager to learn to knot.  Just look at the concentration going on here:

Students learning micro macrame.

I should have taken more photos of the shop - notice the spinning wheel and the looms?  I was seriously in love with that place.  As if that wasn't enough, Stephanie and Chris Haussler (Pixybug Designs) took me over to see the 2nd Floor Studio, too.  They have an awesome studio space there with Deborah and Frank Brooks in what used to be the old middle school.  They make some absolutely beautiful pieces in glass (lampwork), precious metal clay and metals.  They also display and sell pieces from some other local artists including batik, mosaic and pottery.  It was a truly inspiring place.

I hope to be teaching more classes in the future (provided I can find places where they'll have me!) so stay tuned for that.  If you can't make it to a class, don't despair!  You can learn how to make micro macrame jewelry by taking my online classes at CraftArtEdu.com.  Or, if you prefer, I also have several tutorials in my Etsy shop and some videos here on my blog.

Leaves bracelet in sage green by Knot Just Macrame.

So, now you have a couple things to add to your to do list: visit the fabulous store in Hastings and learn micro macrame!!


April 14, 2015

A New Micro Macrame Tutorial: Some Assembly Required

Gypsy Earrings Micro Macrame tutorial by Knot Just Macrame.

I have a brand-spankin'-new micro macrame tutorial out today:  Gypsy Earrings in Micro Macrame!  I had fun designing these earrings and I hope you'll have fun making them.  There are a billion pictures (okay, you caught me - there are "only" 75) and step by step instructions that I think even my husband could follow (and that's saying something!).  I will show you how to make this short pair:

Short version of Gypsy micro macrame earrings from Sherri Stokey

And I also cover how to make the longer version, if you're so inclined (because who doesn't like a little fringe now and then):

long version of Gypsy micro macrame earrings from Sherri Stokey

And then, just for good measure, I added some ideas for you to run with like adding a dangle or using something other than a plain, round hoop:

steampunk version of Gypsy micro macrame earrings gearsShort version of Gypsy micro macrame earrings with dangles

And (insert drum roll here) I made up a few kits while I was at it.  The same kits can be used to make either the short or the long, fringed version.  Both the new Gypsy Earrings Micro Macrame Tutorial and the kits are available in my Etsy shop.  Have fun!



April 8, 2015

Game of Thrones Jewelry Challenge - I'm All About the Dragons



Game of Thrones Jewelry Challenge

Heather Powers of Humblebeads is hosting a jewelry challenge based on one of my favorite shows, Game of Thrones.  Not only do I love this show, it gives me a great excuse to make dragon jewelry, and let's face it - dragons are cool.  Like so cool that I don't even wait for special events to make dragon jewelry, I make dragon pieces all the time.  Don't believe me?  Check this post about a beaded dragon bracelet and this post - A Micro Macrame Fairy Tale (featuring dragons).  Or check out my Etsy Shop, Knot Just Macrame.  Here, I'll give you a little taste of some pieces I've done featuring dragons:

Bead embroidery dragon bracelet by Sherri Stokey.

Dragon bracelet in khaki by Knot Just Macrame.

A trio of micro macrame dragon bracelets.

Micro macrame bracelet with pewter sea dragon button.

Micro macrame bracelet with copper dragon button.

Beaded macrame bracelet with dragon button closure.

Multi strand micro macrame necklace with dragon button closure.

Even if I wasn't a big dragon fan (and how could I not be - come on, people, they breathe fire!!!), I think I'd still be a big fan of Daenerys Targaryen, Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons.  She's an awesome character and we've watched her grow from a meek, timid girl to a strong, confident woman over the past seasons.  Along the way, she hatched three dragons even though dragons haven't been seen in generations.  And if that isn't cool enough?  She did it by climbing on top of her dead husband's funeral pyre with her petrified dragon eggs and woke up unharmed with the baby dragons. That, my friends, is why she is my inspiration for this Game of Thrones Jewelry Challenge piece:

Micro macrame bracelet with dragon heads closure.

I've had this dragon head clasp in my pile of cool-stuff-I-just-had-to-buy for some time now, just waiting for the perfect project and I decided this was it.  Some simple spiral knotting for the body of the bracelet and one cool clasp and it's all about the dragons!

Micro macrame bracelet with dragon heads closure by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.


April 7, 2015

Gearing up for a Hop!

Micro macrame necklace from Knot Just Macrame with ceramic owl pendant by Karen Totten.

I've been doing lots of scheming and plotting about what to do for our upcoming Beading Back in Time Blog Hop which has led to countless hours of reading about the early history of man and quite a few hours digging through my stash of treasures.  I came across this ceramic owl pendant from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio.  It's one of her owl amulets from a series she called her woodland totems.

Micro macrame cord and bail with ceramic owl pendant.

Although animals were featured in art very early on, I think it is the hand print on this one that makes me think of our hop challenge theme.  It reminds me of the cave paintings featuring hands.

Handprint cave paintings.

Cave paintings - hand prints.

I also came across another ceramic piece from Starry Road Studio - a round bead that matched the pendant perfectly.  Taking my color cues from those pieces, I knotted turquoise, gold and ecru into a cord/strap for the necklace. I used this technique (that links to the free macrame tutorial) that looks like kumihimo, but is done without a disk.  I love the look of the cord - slap a couple of caps on the ends and it's neat and tidy and can be made in any color combination.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Any bail would work on this cord, but I thought I'd take the design a step further, so I knotted one myself in the same cord.  It has a sort of fun plaid design in micro macrame and is completely integrated into the design (the same cord that ties on the pendant and goes up through the bead is knotted through the bail.

And yes, I should be working on my piece for the hop rather than getting sidetracked, but what a nice sidetrack, huh?  And if you're not inclined to make your own, you can purchase this one in my Etsy shop:  Knot Just Macrame.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey with owl pendant from Starry Road Studio.

April 1, 2015

Beading Back in Time Blog Hop Challenge: Early Human Edition


And we're back!  Remember a while ago when Lindsay Starr and I (she's the short one in the photo hahahahaha), along with a group of our beading friends, brought you the first Beading Back in Time Blog Hop? Maybe these will jog your memory:



No?  Still nothing?  That's okay - shake it off.  We're moving on anyway!  I'll give you the short run down.  A few months back, my pal Lindsay Starr (of Phantasm Creations) and I came up with a brilliant idea to combine our love of beading and all things old into a blog hop challenge.  We had so many ideas (history is a huge topic, you know) that we finally had to break it down into a series of four hops over the course of a year.  Our first one covered the period before humans (you can find my post here if you want to catch up).  And now... we come to the period of early humans.  We're going to focus on the period before 3500 BCE this time around - before writing.  Which is okay, since it seems those early folks were too busy trying to survive to be kickin' back with a novel anyway.  Here's what I've learned:

This period of human history is often broken down into the Paleolithic (or Palaeolithic for those who like to add extra vowels to everything - you know who you are) and the Neolithic.  No, I'm not an expert on these matters, and no, we're not going to debate the inclusion of a Mesolithic period because I don't have that much time.  Moving on...

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALucy_Skeleton.jpg
Lucy

The Paleolithic era, or old stone age, was a time when humans were nomadic and completely dependent on the environment.  The climate was much colder during this period and large herds of animals roamed in search of food.  Man out of necessity followed the herds, hunting and gathering food.  They used fire for light, heat and cooking and invented stone weapons such as daggers, spear points and axes.  Temporary shelters used during warmer seasons were made of animal skins and plants (as were clothes).  Caves provided shelter during the colder periods.

Bisons from the Black Hall of the Niaux cave, replica in the Brno museum
Bisons

Because of this lifestyle, art was either drawn on cave walls or was small enough to be carried from place to place.  Most art from this period focused on hunting, women and fertility.  Shells that are pierced and covered with red ochre dated to 82,000 years ago have been discovered with wear patterns suggesting they may have been strung as beads.  The oldest known sculpture is a 2.4" female figure carved in mammoth ivory dating to 35,000 BCE.  Cave paintings from about the same time have been found in locations across Europe and even older ones in Southeast Asia.

Engraving of a mammoth on a slab of mammoth ivory from Siberia
Mammoth engraved on mammoth ivory

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AUpper_paleolithic_reindeer_antler_tools_with_figurative_art.jpg
Tools made of reindeer antler


Woman or Venus of Willendorf, c. 24,000-22,000 BCE.
Venus figurine


The Neolithic era, or New Stone Age, started sometime around 10,000 BCE.  The big change during this period was the invention of agriculture.  Man learned to manipulate nature and produce food by planting and harvesting crops, and all of this was made possible by the warming climate. New types of tools were introduced and animals like dogs, sheep, goats, cattle and pigs were domesticated.  Religion becomes more apparent as group mentality grows. 

Human beings beginning to live in fixed settlements and in larger groups now have more time for art.  Pottery shows up more often during this period (although they had the skills before, pottery was not practical for carrying when constantly on the move). The female form and fertility are still strong themes in art from this period, but animals appear as well.

Photo credit Wolfgang Sauber via Wikimedia Commons
Bone beads

Photo via Wikimedia Commons A. Amet, musée de Bretagne
Neolithic stone beads

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AReconstitution_of_a_prehistoric_tomb.jpg
Neolithic burial of two women who were wearing necklaces made of shells.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABritish_Museum_Jericho_skull.jpg
Human skull covered in plaster with shell eyes

The challenge for this blog hop is an easy one:  during the month of April, make something inspired by this theme - whatever your take on it.  Then meet Lindsay and I and the rest of the team back here on May 1st for the big reveal.  I can't wait!!