Thursday, September 4, 2008

September's Project Completed!

I finished September's BJP project. Starting early, working small, and using relatively large beads are some of the reasons I'm done so soon.

Technical details:
I used Lacy's Stiff Stuff as the foundation. Because I didn't want to work on white Stuff, I sprayed both sides of the Stiff Stuff with Memories Mist in yellow and brown. I found it on clearance in the scrapbooking department of one of the large chain craft stores. It is permanent when heat set, and, as far as I can tell, it doesn't change the hand of the fabric.

The size of the piece is 2.75" by 2.75".

The large beads are amber chips from a child's necklace I got in Vilnius, Lithuania, last September. The amber chips are 1/4 to 3/8 inch across. I hadn't worked with so many large beads before. They take up a lot of space fast! I didn't want any of the other beads to compete with the amber so most of the rest of the beads are 11/0 and 15/0. There are a few bugles and 8/0 beads.

What I Was Thinking:

I was thinking about our trip and about sand dunes. The dunes in Lithuania are a World Heritage Site. We have plenty of dunes on Lake Michigan so they are a familiar sight. I wanted to show the layers in the sand as it moves. (OK, so I was also thinking about how excited I was at being part of the BJP group.)

Issues That Came Up:
  • Did I choose a format that is too small? Should I do another beaded project for September? A larger one?
  • The Stiff Stuff drew in more than I expected as I added more and more beads, and some of the beaded rows buckled. How can I reduce the thread induced shrinkage? Or remember to leave a little breathing space between beads? Or at least remember not to pull the thread so tight?
  • Should I try a different stabilizer? Perhaps paper under fabric, which I liked a lot when I used it. My knuckles can get awfully sore from pushing the needle through anything heavy.
  • How can I improve my photography of shiny things?
Now I'm ready to start a new project, but I'm not sure if it will be September 2.0 or October or something unrelated.


a2susan said...

Hi, Marty. I used Stiff Stuff last year for my pieces. If I did the back stitch, I started by putting on two beads, going back through them, adding two more beads, and then going back through three beads. This kept the beads from sinking in to the St/st and gave me a nice line.
I'm going to use st/st again this year. As far as photography, several people gave me help last year. The two tips that really helped were 1) put camera in macro setting 2) turn off flash. Try to photograph with the sun behind you. Of course, I am sure you can more advice from other people.

Marty S said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll play with the camera again when the rain stops.
Marty S

Z'anne said...

Lovely piece, Marty. I love those amber shades and tones. Sometimes it helps to take a picture when the sky is overcast. You won't get at much reflection off your beads that way. Experiment with times of day and weather situations. Good Luck!

pam T said...

Marty -
Very, very nice - love the colors and the amber!!!!
I did a relatively small size last year - 4 x 6 - and swore I was going to do much larger this year because I just had more I wanted to "say" with my beads. I ended up that I am using a 5 x 7 piece. Oh well, an inch all around I suppose IS bigger... Anyway, I used Timtex last year towards the end and really liked that, believe it is much like the Stiff Stuff, plus you can paint it or draw on it too, like the Stiff Stuff. This year I am using the EZ Felt... so far it seems to be working out well and I don't have to make the decision of what color to paint it... !

Lois B said...

Congratulations on finishing early and with such a lovely page!

I usually use paper, for backing, acid-free interleaving paper. If I pull tight on the thread, it shrinks, too. I tend to get too enthusiastic sometimes, and have to remember to just relax. At that point I'm using less tension and the beads do not crowd and cause the backing and fabric to pull down and shrink. As for photography, I have been just scanning the page of beads into the computer directly.

The bad Liz said...

Nice job Marty - I like the way the colours play off the amber chips. Very pretty. It is a yellow sunset on Lake Michigan, isn't it?

I bead on an interfacing fabric that a friend gifted me with about 2 years ago. I don't know the brand of it, but it is a fairly heavy product. I've also used Pellon with good results.

I am also a scanner of my projects when they are finished - it seems to work for me.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous colors, Marty!

As for the photographing, *don't* wait for the rain to stop! I've had my best success at getting pics of shiny/metallic objects on overcast days. (it's still a somewhat hit and miss process, but you get more "hits" than "misses")

And yup, no flashes or other sources of direct light.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful piece, Marty!
It brings me a vivid image of dunes so you have done a great job.

I've noticed that stiff staff shrinks when I pull a thread pretty tight. This has been almost a problem to me when I made the bracelet cuffs to a carefully measured foundation...

purplepaint said...

Marty - this is gorgeous!!! Thank you for visiting my blog and your comments on my sketch, you can sketch too, just takes a little time and practice. :D Marva

Kiwi Ellen said...

Hey slow down, you're making the rest of us feel like slugs LOL But seriously Marty, that is a gorgeous piece of beading & I'm looking forward to seeing what you do each month

Rose Anne B said...

WOW I would say the size you chose was great considering you're covering the whole piece. You might consider a larger background and as you fill in your space and if it shrinks you can go over the boundaries to make it the full size finished.

As for the photography, I've been told to take the items outside on an overcast day or in the shade and use the tripod for a still setting.

I LOVE this piece and can't wait to see others you come up with!

Robin said...

Wow, Marty... this is fabulous!!! And the picture isn't so bad... I agree with others that an overcast day and turning the flash off works best for bling beads, although they never photograph as well as matte beads. Crowding beads and tight tension are the two causes of "shrinking." Try giving yourself permission to allow the background to show... Incidentally, that's one of the reasons I enjoy using printed fabrics and always choose fabric that I LOVE... so that when I shows, it's OK. Last year (and again this year) I am intentionally allowing a lot of the fabric to show on my BJP pieces... My tension is improving as a result of this. You'll get better during the year... and your work is lovely just the way it is.

By the way, I like Rose Anne's suggestion about mounting your work on some other uniformly-sized background so that your 12 pieces are the same finished size.

Robin A.

freebird said...

I did my father's hand (reduced in size) for my first BJ page last year. I put the rows of beads so close together his hand got fat and the felt curled. I ended up removing the outside row and ended up with the right sized hand. I learned to be careful about bending the fabric as I put on a new row of beads. That makes the fabric show and you think you've got it till you lay the fabric down flat. Spacing comes with time so be patient with yourself.

Your piece is lovely. Don't worry that it didn't take all month. It's easy to start out thinking you can do more but then the holidays come or you get sick or something else comes up and you wish you had a smaller page. If you want try a bigger one but do keep in mind that life gets in the way occasionally. A lot of us were caught off guard last year. I have greatly reduced my size of page!