Saturday, January 28, 2012

Folly? Or Not? BJP January 2012

It's a new year. A fresh start. A new beginning. White beads symbolize this new start to a new year.

But is it folly to think that we can begin again with each new year?

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff.

This piece includes 15/0s, 11/0s, 10/0s, 8/0s, and 6/0s, hexes, cubes and bugles. More than 25 different kinds of beads were used.

Stitches used are the backstitch, the stop stitch, couching, and some fringe.

The piece is 2.25 inches by 3 inches.

White Nymo thread in size D was used.

What I Was Thinking:
To what degree can we start fresh at the beginning of each year? Does This is the first day of the rest of my life make any sense at all?

If we could start anew each January 1, would we really want to?

If we decide we can't start fresh, are we admitting defeat?

Or can we pick and choose what we carry over from the previous year?

Is it folly to think that we have any choice in this at all?

I've thought about this issue before. You can see my January 2010 page here. I don't think I've changed my mind in the past two years.

Issues That Came Up:
I used the beading thread I picked up at the dumpster diving place for ten cents a bobbin. It's labeled Belding Corticelli and for all practical purposes, it's Nymo. My research showed that Belding Corticelli makes Nymo. My guess is that the production has improved since this particular thread was made. I found that lubricating the thread with Thread Heaven helped limit the fraying.

My 2012 BJP pieces are 2.25 inches by 3 inches. For the past two years, my pieces were 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. I wanted to make my 2012 pieced a little smaller so I would have more time to work on other beading projects. It doesn't sound like much of a difference, but the earlier pieces are 8.75 square inches and this year's pieces are 6.75 square inches. That's significant.

I started this piece by making the three quarter-circle corner sections. Then I made part of the frame, followed by the "branch of flowers." That's where I got stuck. I liked it, but I needed to fill in the background. This had happened before, and I did not enjoy trying to fill in the background. You can see that project here. So I ripped out the branch of flowers, completed the background, and put the branch of flowers back on.

It was really difficult to get a good picture of this white piece. It looks better in person. I'd show you, but it seems to be hiding at the present moment. It will reappear in it's own good time so it's probably not necessary to do any radical cleaning.

And with the spare time from the smaller piece I've made a very good start on the little white doll.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UFOs or USPs? And Who Will See My Lining?

My sewing group is having a UFO challenge. We're challenged to finish as many UFOs (unfinished objects) as we can during January, February and the first part of March. There may be prizes!

I don't have a huge number of UFOs--or at least I don't have a huge number of UFOs that I want to work on this winter. I may be competitive when prizes are involved, but there's a limit! My UFOs are unfinished for good reasons. Really good reasons.

But I do have a number--an adequate number--a significant number--a substantial number--an embarrassing number--of USPs. Unstarted projects.

These USPs are projects for which I have the idea, the fabric, the pattern, or at least two of those three. Some of my USPs may be almost vintage USPs. Last winter I completed a nearly vintage project, a lap quilt called Fabric in its Prime.

My first USP was a pair of navy corduroy slacks. Nothing fancy--pockets, front zipper, belt loops. I purchased the fabric last fall so I could replace some slacks that were getting rather worn.

My second USP is a white beaded doll. I've made two white dolls before. You can see the first one in this post. She was sold. The second one was given away. This is what she looks like. But I wanted a white doll for myself so I decided to make one. She's about half beaded.

My third USP is a purple corduroy jeans-style jacket. I've used this pattern McCalls 5191 twice before. Each time I make a few more alterations, but it's a fairly loose fitting jacket. I leave off the pockets which are right below the yoke.

The pattern does not call for a lining, but I'm not crazy about raw edges on the inside of a jacket. My first jacket was made of cotton with a little spandex. I made flat felled seams instead of the topstitched seams called for in the pattern. I bound the edges of the facings with a quilting cotton. My second jacket was made of a mid-wale corduroy. It was too thick to make flat felled seams without big lumps. So I lined it.

This third jacket is made from a fine wale corduroy that is somewhat heavy. So I decided to line it, too. It has a rather bright lining. Make that a fantastically loud lining. Purple, red, fuchsia, blue, green, yellow, orange, even metallic gold. Perfect for a purple jacket. But who will see this lining? No one, unless the laundry elves come in at night. Who will see it? You will, because it's right here:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Starting on January BJP

I've been working on my January 2012 Bead Journal Project. After a bit of embroidery, I felt the need to edit, to revise, to modify. So I did.

This is before:

This is after:

Yep. I ripped some beading out. See those tiny dark spots in the photo above? They are the holes in the Lacy's Stiff Stuff where the needle and thread went through. The thread is gone, but the beads the thread was holding on are in a very small plastic bag. I'll put them back on starting tomorrow, and I'll use the before picture to put them in approximately the same places.

But what happened in the meantime? What happened after I ripped the beads out? You'll have to come back in a few days to see the final result.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Experiment In Not So Dark--BJP December 2011

In December 2008 and December 2010, my Bead Journal pages were made with shiny, dark iris beads. You can see December 2008's The Longest Night of the Year Sparkles here and December 2010's The Garden at Midnight here.

Since I enjoyed working with these dark, sparkly beads so much and since they were blue, I had earlier decided to use the same beads in my December 2011 page. But when I began to dig through the bag of dark beads, the matte finished beads spoke to me. They wanted to be used. So I decided to experiment with a combination of matte and shiny beads. This page is the result of that experiment.

Technical Details:
The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a dilute mixture of Azure Blue and Black Dye-na-Flow.

I used 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, Delicas, Toho Treasures, hexes, 3 mm bugles, 9 mm twisted bugles, 3 mm cubes and 4 mm cubes.

I used the stop stitch, the lazy stitch, the backstitch, and couching.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used Nymo size B navy thread.

What I Was Thinking:

When I started on the page with the matte beads, I was not thrilled. They looked dull. Then when I added some shiny beads, the real challenge began. How would I give the piece unity? I'm not sure I succeeded, but this experiment was an experience in determination dominating artistic judgement. I was going to finish this, if not on time, at least close to on time. I finished it January 2.

Issues That Came Up:

The matte beads looked lovely and sophisticated spread out on the tray. But when I stitched them to the foundation, I wasn't so sure. I had painted the foundation with the intention of using the dark shiny beads. The background color created a visual dissonance with the colors of the matte beads. That was distracting. Folding the edge of the background back helped, but I couldn't stitch that way. Now I know why I paint the background to match the colors of my beads.

The colors of the beads and the background changed depending on the lighting. The piece-in-progress looked much better in natural daylight than it did with the overhead lights or with my not-Ott full spectrum lamp. I was surprised at how much difference the lighting made.

I did not go back to look at my earlier dark, shiny pieces until I'd finished. Compared to the other two, this page seems flat. I know which of the three pieces I like best. Which one do you like?

Not So Dark Experiment #2:

Before I put the beads away, I decided to make a small piece using only the matte iris beads. It's pictured below. It's 1 7/8 inches square and stitched on a dull blue quilting cotton backed by lightweight sew-in interfacing. I like this look very much.