Wednesday February 12, 2014
I'm not going to lie, I have several friends who are returning from trips to the Tuscon bead show and I'm just a tiny bit jealous. But I can't be too upset that traveling wasn't in my budget this month because I did get to attend the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show last month. Besides, I was able to attend the Intergalactic Bead Show this past weekend and spend the day with a good friend. I think I'm doing OK.
Do you attend bead shows? They can be a great way to get out of the house if you've been snowbound most of this winter like I have and they can be a great way to see and touch beads if you spend a lot of your bead allowance online. Being able to hold the beads in your hand is a great help if you are thinking of trying some new beadwork techniques.
Bead shows can be overwhelming, especially if you've not been to one before but I wrote an article Bead Show Tips to help you prepare for attending the show. Even if you are a veteran of bead shows you might find a tip or two that you can use.
Monday February 10, 2014
I recently reviewed the French Knitter from Clover USA and shared the ins and outs of the tool. I found it easy to learn and even easier to use. So easy that my sample swatch turned into a full length necklace!
This is a great tool and project for getting your feet wet in beadwork. The French Knitter also makes it easy to work fibers and larger sized beads into your jewelry designs giving you, the deigner, many more options in design. With the French Knitter you could easily work multiple fibers and various sized beads into your projects. It would be a great way to use up odds and ends in your bead and fiber stash.
With some beadweaving, or in this case French Knitting it can be hard to know how to treat the ends of the work so that it looks polished and professional. I'm happy to say that by using end cones in this piece I was able to achieve that in the French Knit Necklace Tutorial.
I hope you give this project and the French Knitter from Clover USA a try and if you do I would love to see a finsihed photo of your project!
Disclosure: The French Knitter was provided for my use. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.
Friday February 7, 2014
French Knitting isn't a new technique and French Knitters have been around for quite a while. Homemade versions of the French Knitter have been made from wooden spools with nails driven in one end as well as models made with Popsicle sticks and toilet paper tubes. But those tools have their issues (nails catching on loosely woven fibers and toilet paper tubes that quickly fall apart) making them cheap but unreliable.
Luckily Clover USA produced the French Knitter and I recently had a chance to review it here: Review: The French Knitter from Clover USA.
I tried French Knitting with just yarn to get a feel for how it worked and then moved onto a lovely "Ripple" yarn from the local yarn shop with size "E" seed beads from Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts.
I experimented with using the different peg variations (the top goes off and on easily) and differing numbers of beads. The knitted tube is quite easy to reverse knit so that you can try out a few different combinations before settling on a design.
I was only going to knit a short section to see how the tool worked so that I could share it in this review but I got a little carried away. Once I got rolling I found it fun and easy to just keep going.
Be sure to visit the article linked to above to see the full review.
Saturday December 8, 2012
I've had an amazing couple of years writing for About.com Beadwork, and the time has come for me to move on to other projects. I'm so glad to have met so many awesome, inspiring beaders along the way, and I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone -- and continuing to explore the art of beadwork -- long into the future. In 2013 I encourage you to keep on beading, getting better at what you do and discovering more of your hidden talents! Always feel free to keep in touch; just search for "Chris Franchetti Michaels" online to find out what I'm up to.