Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Perfectly Coordinated

I love a challenge, especially when it's presented to me by someone looking for something ultra special. That's why I was so excited when I was contacted last month with a request to create a set of three bead crochet ropes to coordinate with this lovely dress that had been purchased from Anthropologie.

The dress has a simple, classic style, with a bold plaid design in navy, olive, and cream. I was given lots of leeway in the design of the necklaces, as the only criteria was the length (37") and the number of ropes (3).

I immediately envisioned a set of ropes made from beads in these same colors, and I set about to design a bead crochet pattern that would mimic the bold plaid in the dress. My plan? One rope in olive and cream, one rope in navy and cream, and a third rope using all three colors. That would allow the person wearing the dress to wear the two 2-color ropes as necklaces and wrap the third rope around her wrist for a perfectly coordinated bracelet. I love versatility!

So off I went to work on the pattern, as I anxiously awaited the arrival of the beads I would need. I planned to use Czech glass picasso finish size 11/0 beads for the olive portion, but I needed to order some opaque pale cream and some matte metallic dark navy. Although I have some picasso finish beads in navy blue, I didn't think they were quite dark enough to go with the dress, and I thought it would be nice to have some matte beads in the ropes for extra contrast and texture.

Finally the beads arrived, and I strung and crocheted as fast as I could in order to finish the ropes by the deadline -- the dress and ropes were to be worn to a Baptism, and I didn't want to disappoint!

And here are the ropes, just as I planned (luckily, I didn't make any mistakes in stringing the 200+ bead repeat in the pattern, so I didn't have to do any unraveling!). I'm so happy with them (and I've since received word that the recipient loves them). :-)

I was also asked to make earrings to coordinate with the dress and the ropes, so I made a couple of prototypes so the requester would have a choice. Ultimately I used tubular herringbone to make these loops from the same beads in the ropes, again mimicking the plaid pattern in the dress.

It was great fun creating something so special! And now I must get back to crocheting those size 15/0 24k brushed gold charlottes I mentioned in earlier posts.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Bead Crochet Insanity

Don't let anyone tell you any differently. Size matters, particularly when you're talking about beads.

My last post showed off some of the beautiful beads I just received, purchased for a custom order. The request I received is for a 90-100" long bead crochet rope made from these gorgeous 24k brushed gold size 15/0 beads. And I thought I was all set for the challenge, having pulled out some of the size 15/0 beads I had on hand so I could see just how much of a challenge the rope was going to be.

Surprise #1? The 24k gold beads have smaller holes than the other size 15/0 beads I had. No problem. I just switched to a super skinny needle (yes, I know some of you would know what size needle, but I don't know - I just know it's really skinny and bendy, and smaller than a size 10). A little more tedium in picking up the beads because the needle's so thin, but no biggie. Right?

Surprise #2? The 24k beads themselves are smaller. They're labeled as size 15/0, as are the others I used, but there's a significant difference in their size. See what I mean?

There they are next to each other. I just used my size 12 needle to pick up some of the red size 15/0 beads I used before. There are 19 of the red beads on there, and it takes 27 of the gold beads to span the same distance. The gold ones are 30% smaller. Sheesh!

I'm still not willing to back down from a challenge, though, so here's where the "Bead Crochet Insanity" comes in. I'm busy working on the custom bead crochet rope using these teeny tiny 24k brushed gold size 15/0 beads. I've strung 10 grams of them onto my thread and, with the help of my cheapo magnifying glasses, am crocheting away. The rope itself is only slightly more than 1/8" in diameter (it's crocheted with 5 beads around). I feel like I'm crocheting with grains of sand. But I will persevere. The rope is going to use 500 grams of these little beads.