Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have had a fantastic couple of weeks and so busy I couldn't get to blog. I flew to Louisville, Ky to visit a friend who had set up a beading class for me to teach with Geri (one gracious lady). Geri has a Beadweaver's shop in the Mellwood Art Center, where she holds classes and sell beads, finished jewelry and has a second store where her students can sell their work.

I taught a 4 hour bracelet class with an Ndebele base and embellished with flower, leaves and a butterfly. Five wonderful beaders participated and we have a great time. I can't wait to go back and teach again.

The next day, I spoke at the Unity Church in Middletown. (In my previous life, I retired from ministry in Colorado.) Then I did a workshop for the church.

For the next three days, my friend Sharon drove me all over Louisville and showed me the sights. There is a wonderful glassblowing factory in downtown. It was fun to watch how this hot liquid becomes such a beautiful creation. We also visited an art installation in the hotel 21C. In the ladies restroom is a mirror with small TV screen set in it and constantly showing on the screen are the eyes of people looking around. The we went to the Kentucky Arts and Crafts Museum where many Kentucky artists have items for sale and the current major display was of woven tapestries. You have to see them upclose to realize how much work is involved. The one that really caught my attention was of a woman's face (and many other images) but the face was so realistic in color, texture and shading, you almost waited to hear her speak.

As soon as I got back, I had a class that night, then duties at church on Sunday and Monday. Then Monday evening I found a group of beaders who meet in the Palm Harbor area at Uncommon Threads and I joined them for an evening of beading and chatting. Some exquisite work was shown. One lady was working on the Star Compass Purse in the recent Beadwork Magazine, but she had enlarged it to about 10" across.

Then on Tuesday I participated in the Great American Teach-in at an elementary school in the Clair-Mel area and had 30 girls to learn a 2 drop peyote. They were so eager and so much fun, but by the time I finished, I was hoarse.

On Wednesday, I met with my usual group and taught them a new trick on an old techique.

Then Wednesday night I met with 6 beaders for another Ndebele bracelet with inclusions. I'm winding down now, but what a great time I had.

I'll look for another project for my next blog and in the meantime, a tip I learned was to use chapstick to coat your thread if you forget your Thread Heaven or microcrystaline wax. Rub you finger lightly over it and then pull the thread through your fingers. It seems to help with the Fireline tangling too. Try it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Russian Leaves Eye Candy

To follow up on the article on Russian Leaves, here are some examples of the ways they can be used. I really like using them as a loop for toggles, especially when there are leaves on other parts of the work.

When leaves are used as the toggle on a bracelet, they become the focal point and the band no longer vies for attention.

When grouped together (5 or 6) they make a nice pendant for a St. Petersburg chain. The one here is done in southwest colors with black accents.

Notice the black leaves on the pumpkin colored sweater. The leaves were don in black with red tips matching the colors in the sweater. Later the leaves were sewn on to cover a pull in the knitting and complimented the embroidered leaves in the green thread (not visible in this shot).

Hopefully, these examples have given you some inspiration.
Leaf On,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Russian Leaves Are Easy and Useful

Russian Leaves seem to be one stitch many people want to learn, yet not everyone knows how to teach it. I took a class at a Bead Fest and didn't quite get it from the instructions or the instructor.

When I got home, I practiced and realized the problem was that I kept getting lost in the instructions and didn't know where I was going next. These particular instructions were not separated into steps and it was hard to keep my place, so I broke it down and marked where each turn was and then I finally got it.
In all the instructions I've seen, you put a stopper bead in the middle of the thread so that you can work each side of the leaf from the center. I like to use two different sizes of beads such as 11's (Bead A Green )and 15's (Bead B Red). String one A, seven B, one A and one B. These beads will be pushed to the stopper bead and this is the center of the leaf with the stopper bead being at the top inside. See Picture 1

When you turn to go up the strand as seen in the photo, you are at the bottom outside of the leaf. When you get to the top (where the stopper bead is, you are at the top inside) Put the needle through the 6th bead of the original 7.

Then work every other bead (peyote stitch) by picking up one, skipping one, going through one, exiting the red size 15 at the top. (The stopper bead is ignored for now.) The second and third pictures show the beads loose, but worked in peyote and then tightened into position.

*Next, pick up 1 A and work the peyote stitch to the next to last protruding bead. Picture 4

** This is the bottom turn. - Note: it is at the opposite end from the Stopper bead and two beads are picked up for this turn.

Pick up 1 B, 1 A and go up through the last A bead added in the last row. Now you will be working toward the top and you have made the first bottom turn, which will be repeated all the way up the outside bottom edge. Peyote the next two stitches exiting the top bead. Each time you go up to the top, make certain you exit the A bead.

***This is the top turn - Note it is at the same end as the Stopper bead and uses three beads to create the turn.

With thread exiting the top bead, pick up one A, one B, and one A and push the bead down the thread next to the finished work. Put the needle back through the first of these three beads, pull snug and peyote down to the to the next to last bead.Go back to the bottom turn and repeat until the side is the desired length.

Then remove the stopper bead and repeat from the *. To make certain the sides are even, count the outer red bead and complete the same number, using the center bead as #1 on each side.

Today's tip: Stopper beads are useful for maintaining and tightening tension as well as keeping your initial strand of beads from fallling off. Using a Size 11 bead for your stopper bead will keep the tension better than a Size 8, which has a tendency to slide down the thread on it own.
Walking the bead of a different drum. Marilyn