Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bead Crochet Fun

Bead crochet was one of the first techniques I learned when I started playing with beads a few years ago. It seemed like an easy thing to learn, since I already knew the basics of crochet. And while it's not as easy as it looks (there's definitely a learning curve), it's still one of my favorite types of beadweaving.

I'm in the midst of stringing a bunch of beads right now for a custom bead crochet rope. The beads were actually sent to me by the customer, and they're beautiful. The only challenge I have with them is that they're vintage beads, which means that the holes are irregular and sometimes too small for my needle. It slows down the stringing process pretty drastically, but the results are definitely worth it.

You can see the challenge here in this picture. That's as far onto the needle as this bead will travel. I have a whole pile now of the beads whose holes are too small for the needle. They can probably be used for something else - just not bead crochet. And not with the size needle I'm using (a 10, maybe?).

I did quite a bit of bead crochet back in November and December, but I'm only just now getting around to taking pictures.

Yesterday I listed one of the ropes I made in November, which I named Amaryllis (I looked the name up on a site called BehindTheName and found that Amaryllis means "to sparkle" - a very fitting name for this piece which is made with matte gold and shiny bronze beads.

The smaller beads in this piece all came from one of my favorite sources for Czech beads, Shannon of beadsandbabble. She has such a great selection!!

And just today I listed a lariat that I named Chloris, after a Greek goddess.

Again, these beads came from beadsandbabble, and while I purchased them thinking I'd use them as accent beads, the mix was so beautiful that I decided to just string them and crochet them. I used the entire hank for this lariat, and then added some random glass beads and silver toned bead caps to the ends for some extra pizzazz.

The beads in this piece are size 8/0, crocheted with five beads around on dark green nylon upholstery thread (my thread of choice for most of my bead crochet).

As much fun as I have making these, I consider myself a novice when I compare my work to some bead crochet I've seen. A friend of mine just sent me a link to the website for an Italian gallery, where I saw the INCREDIBLE work of Jacqueline Lillie, a French artist with amazing talent.

I am just blown away by her designs and by the fact that the ropes in this bracelet appear to be crocheted with 20 or more beads around and - my guess - size 15/0 or even smaller beads.


It's work like this that inspires me to play more and explore more.

Right now, it's time for me to get back to stringing... I still have about 30" of rope to be crocheted, which means I have a few thousand beads left to string. Darn those tiny holes!



Rita alias alatvian said...

Thank you so much for sharing!
Beautiful works both by you and by Jacqueline Lillie! Have fun stringing and crocheting!

Carol Dean said...

There are some amazing bead crochet artists in Germany, Austria, and France. Their work floors me every time I see it.

Nancy Sopp said...

I am excited to find your blog. I have been trying to learn bead crochet. Actually, I can do it with size 6 and 8 beads--just not yet with 11s. Like you, I found that upholstery thread is super!