Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working the Curve

After Linda's post yesterday about escaping the box I thought I'd talk a little about freeform beadweaving which is one of the easiest ways to escape the box.

Many are daunted about working without a pattern and shy away from freeform work but there are a few easy guidelines to make your freeform successful and open up this style of beading to you.

Firstly, work with a monotone palette.
Get together a selection of beads in different sizes and shape but all in shades of the same color. Things will be a lot easier if you don't have to think about color changes.

Secondly, know your curves.
Practice working on a strip of peyote, use large beads at one side and small beads at the other, try 8/0 and 11/0 sizes to begin with.  As you work you will see that the work willl curve towards the side with the samller beads. Now switch the sides for the beads, using small instead of large and large instead of small....this will make the work straighten up as it curves in the opposite direction.
Use one stitch.
On your first attempt stick to one stitch...one you are very comfortable with.  Try breaking the work into columns, you can play with curves and even braid the columns, even twist columns before bringing them back together.  Once you have created a couple of freeform pieces using one stitch you will be much more confident about adding more stitches.

Go for it.
Don't second guess yourself the first time you try. Freeform work can be embellished, worked over with netting and added to allowing you lots of control to get the finished look you want.  There are no rules which means you can't make mistakes :) The more you do freeform work the better you will get at it so don't beat yourself up if your first attempt is not something you would wear....look at the lessons you learned in creating it.

There are tutorials out there that give you some techniques to incorporate into your work. They aren't patterns per se, but give you tips about changing sizes, changing stitches and adding embellishments.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ask The Mavens

It's Sunday once again and we had an interesting question from Sandy Spivey this week.

Do you use a software program for writing tutorials and if so which one?

Cindy (Jewelry Tales) "I use Photoshop."
Chris (GoodQuillHunting) "I use Paint Shop Pro X3, Powerpoint and Bead Tool 4"
Mikki (Mikki Ferrugiaro Designs) "I use Bead tool 4, CoreldrawX3, MS Digital  Pro10 and MS Office Publisher" 
Linda (WildWickedBeads) "I use beadtool, photos when necessary, and Paint Shop Pro for instructions and patterns."
Peter (Beadsage) "I don't use anything. I have a sketchbook and a lot of pencils." Nancy (NEDbeads) "I don't design? I used to, but it was all pencil and graph paper... sorry! Now I don't even sketch things, I just sort of go by ear and whatever happens to be in my head at the time... "

I think maybe we interpreted the question differently.
While I think most of us design without software when it comes to writing tutorials we all use some kind of software to either edit photos or write the words:)

As I haven't used anything except what I've listed I'll tell you a little about those.
This is an amazing program if you like to do flatwork. You can, and I have, design right with the program, you can import pictures and it will turn them in to picture charts, word charts and also tell you how many and what color Delicas you need.   This program literally saves me days of work.  It's also quite inexpensive.
GQH's Crazy Cat cuff (right) is something you'd create with this program.

This is a true graphics program. When I was looking for one I couldn't afford to pay a few hundred dollars so I went with this one for about $89 and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's very user friendly and I can draw the project from start to finish.  Though I have an Associates degree in Graphic Design I'm also old enough to have got that degree before computors were the only way to go...yes, I'm a dinosaur.  So I was starting from scratch and I haven't been too intimidated.

MS Digital Pro10
I bought this eons ago and it works fine for retouching, resizing and correcting photographs.  The clone tool is my friend :)  If you were to see what some of my photos look like before I edit them you wouldn't believe it. I got really good at using the clone tool after my divorce when my ex magically disappeared from many photographs <G>

MS Office Publisher
Once I have all my illustrations and photos done I put it all together with Publisher. I have a format for my tutorials so I can just add what I want and write it all up. I can import pictures and files from the other programs and turn them into PDFs.

Well, there you have it...a bit about software. It's just the bare bones and I would have loved to include more pictures but for some reason it wouldn't let me. Ahh.....software...sometimes it's as contrary as a muse.  If you have more specific questions head on over to our forum and we'll try and answer them for you.