April 29, 2013

Failure 101

Micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

So, I was messing around the last couple of days, trying to learn how to knot this scallop pattern.  I have had to really think about each knot, which is something I haven't had to do much lately.  I even had to switch off my ridiculously cheesy sci-fi shows to concentrate on the knotting.  I started off fairly well, if a bit slowly:

Learning a new knotting pattern

The color looks a bit more blue than teal in this photo because of the lighting I used last night, but here's where I was.  I used five different shades of cord to get the ombre shading.  I couldn't wait to get home from work this afternoon so I could work on it.  I knotted and knotted and knotted:

Ombre shading in teal

I'm absolutely fascinated with the undulations and the color gradient.  I'm admiring my handiwork, when it starts to dawn on me that I'm running short on cord.

Unfinished macrame bracelet

And no matter how hard I try, I'm not going to get this bracelet past 5.5".  I've had some suggestions for adding some beads to one end before the clasp and I may have to explore that option.  It's not a total loss, though.  I did get a handle for this knotting pattern, I think.  And I will definitely be trying it again.  If you want to try your hand at this one, I found the video here.  Be warned, though - she doesn't explain the actual knots, just the pattern, and it's not in English.  Or if you'd rather see a bracelet in ombre shading that didn't fail, check here or here :)

April 28, 2013

Organically Yours - Year of Jewelry Week 17

Antler tip pedant on a macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey
Our theme for this week for the Year of Jewelry was Organically Yours.  I stink at free-form business, so I decided to take the organic theme literally.  My dad made some antler buttons and some antler tip pendants for me a while back and I thought this would be the perfect project for them.  I painted a couple of lines on the pendant to add some color and interest, and then I sanded most of it back off to keep it looking weathered and rustic.

Altered antler tip pendant, painted and sanded

I wanted just a little more color, so I added a cool recycled glass bead from Ghana.  I love the imperfections in the glass.

Recycled glass bead from Ghana

My usual nylon cord just didn't seem right for this project, so I dug deep and pulled out some hemp.  It just isn't consistent enough for fussy micro macrame pieces, but it's exactly what this piece needed.

macrame knots in hemp cord with bone beads

Oh, and those two beads in that last photo?  Bone.  Then one of Dad's buttons for a closure to finish it off.

Antler slice button

And there you have it:  Organically Yours.

Knotted hemp macrame necklace by Knot Just Macrame with antler pendant and button

April 19, 2013

Week 16 Year of Jewelry - My Color Experiment

Four color variations of a micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Yes, I've gone off-road again.  This week's theme was Something Hidden, but I (quite accidentally) went my own way again.  I started off with this bracelet.

Bracelet knotted in teal, turqoise, marina blue and mustard

I like to play around with color and I know blue and orange is an age old combination, so I put my own spin on it using a deep marina blue cord, teal and turquoise beads and then a pop of mustard.  I loved the result, but someone mentioned using coral instead of mustard, so I had to make another with that variation.

Bracelet knotted in teal, turqoise, marina blue and coral waves pattern

And by this time I was thoroughly smitten with the "what-if" bug and just had to see what would happen if I replaced the coral beads with chartreuse.

Beaded macrame bracelet knotted in teal, turqoise, marina blue and chartreuse

That one, by the way, is going in my books as an all-time favorite, but of course, me being me, I couldn't leave well enough alone.  I had to try switching out the chartreuse with lavender.

Beaded macrame bracelet knotted in teal, turqoise, marina blue and lavender seed beads

Needless to say, after all this what-iffing and substitution, I ran out of time to make a "Something Hidden" project.  Unless you count the newest project I have pinned on my board - marina cord with teal and turquoise beads but substituting orange for the lavender.  It's a sickness, really.

Four color variations of a micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

April 13, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

Handmade fringe bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame with Juli Cannon lampwork focal
Yay!  Today is the day I can show you what I made from the fantastic bead soup my partner Juli Cannon sent me!  Do you remember what everything looked like?  You can go here and read more about everything she sent if you'd like, but I'll give you a hint:

Bead soup from Juli Cannon with black and tan lampwork

I have been wanting to try a different fringe technique for a while and Juli's lampwork focal was the perfect piece.  I used several colors of seed beads and made billions of loops (okay, you got me... I didn't count and there might not be quite a billion, but there are lots).

Close up of bead weaving fringe seed beads

And after all that work, the clasp didn't look right.  Well, shoot.  So I stewed around on it for a week or so and decided the only solution was to make my own using some of the matching lampwork beads.

Close up of handmade clasp with clapwork beads

It's simple, but it works and it doesn't distract from the rest of the piece.  That's a win in my book.  

Handmade fringe bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame with Juli Cannon lampwork focal

Of course, that meant I had to make another piece to use the clasp, since the rules say you must use at least the focal and the clasp.  I sketched out a sort of funky necklace and it actually came together just like I'd hoped.  That never happens. 

Black and tan necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

And what's even better?  This piece can double as a wrap bracelet.  In fact, I think I like it better as a bracelet!

Necklace doubles as a wrap bracelet

Many thanks to my partner, Juli, for the great beads I used in these pieces AND the second set she sent just for me:

Lampwork glass beads by Juli Cannon of Studio Juls

And heaps more thanks to our gracious hostess, Lori Anderson, the mastermind behind the whole Bead Soup phenomenon.  She does an amazing job at bringing together a talented group of jewelry designers - 541 designers from 28 countries!  With so many folks eager to participate, she had to split us up into three reveal dates to keep things manageable. Hop on over to Lori's blog where she has a list of ALL of the other participants:  here.  Oh, and don't forget to check out Juli's page to see what she did with the soup I sent to her.  Happy hopping!!

April 10, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 14 - It's Egg-citing Beadweaving Bracelet

Square stitch circles beadweaving bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

OK, OK.  If you've been following my Year of Jewelry exploits, you might realize that I skipped a week.  Week 13 was to make a personal talisman and I just haven't found the perfect piece yet.  Meanwhile, the weeks were starting to pass me by, so I skipped ahead to Week 14 - It's Egg-citing.  And yes, I should have had this piece done last week and I should be working on the piece for this week, but that theme is The Fibonacci Sequence which has me totally baffled, so I floundered a bit.  

All that aside, let me tell you about this bracelet.  The theme was eggs, as in decorated Easter eggs.  I went with circular patterns and used spring colors that would be right at home on an Easter egg.

Apricot, blue, teal and pink seed beads

Let me tell you, this was slow going.  And by that, I mean it took FOREVER.  Eons, at least.

Close up of square stitch circles

It's a fun piece, though, and I like the outcome.

Square stitch circles beaded bracelet in Easter Egg colors by Sherri Stokey

Close up of bead weaving bracelet in apricot and teal and other spring colors

Now I just have to figure out how to use the Fibonacci Sequence in jewelry.  Uh huh.

April 5, 2013

Bead Shopping

Holy cow!  I've been MIA for quite a while now!  Oops!  I have been out of town all week babysitting for my brother's children so he could take his wife to Europe.  I'd forgotten how much energy it takes to chase a four-year-old and a six-year-old around all day.  Whew.  I did, however, find a little bit of time to do some bead shopping.  I found one store going out of business where everything was 40% off.  Now that's my kind of sale!  I found some Czech assortments and some great Czech buttons there:

Czech glass bead assortments and Czech glass buttons

I also got to meet up with a friend who took me to a couple more shops.  Star is a fellow jewelry maker I met on Facebook and we finally got to meet in person:

Star Teague and Sherri Stokey

She's great fun!  We hit The Colorado Bead Company and The Peacock Shop, and I picked up a few treasures to add to my stash.

Star Teague at the Peacock Shop in Denver

I Fondle Beads bumper sticker from the Peacock Bead Shop and some things I bought there

Czech beads from The Colorado Bead Company

I also found a couple of kits to play with.  I don't usually do kits, but sometimes it's a fun way to learn something new.  I bought one for a chain maille bracelet that I'm excited to make:

Chain maille bracelet kit

After we'd shopped, Star bought me a latte at her favorite coffee shop.  It was the perfect ending to a great outing.  

Latte from Paris on the Platte

And I can't leave out this photo:

Star Teague in a mustache

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