Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New bead books

Today the mailman delivered two more bead books: Embeadery on embroidery with beads by Margaret Ball (c2005) and Getting started beading from Bead and button. This has 52 projects. I haven't had any time yet to look at them but they look nice anyway.
I spent the day on a new necklace with 5 stars or flowers at the bottom and it looks like this is going to take another 2 days and also I plan on making it several times with other colors and next time with delicas.
The really good news today is that my mammogram test was fine although as usual I got very worried until I got it.
But I never get through an August without something bad happening and it came yesterday when I learned I need to have a tooth crowned. Other than that, August was a good month unlike in past years.
And I am feeling very happy now and relaxed. I celebrated with a hot fudge sundae today, albeit only one scoop! Oh the days when I used to have a big one with two scoops!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

square bead bracelets

The green bracelet was done in class and the pink one later. For that one I added more pink beads on the edges in a picot stitch. Which one is nicer?
In the last 2 days I've bought two beading books in Russian and I don't know one word. But here in Israel we have loads of Russian bookstores and they all sell bead books (and knitting and crochet and tatting even). I've ordered the big "white" one and just can't wait which is why I bought two more. Life is good.
I did my annual mammogram in Ramat Gan today so I took a long hot walk down Herzl Street which is now full of little Russian stores and it was really a lot of fun. I need to remember to do it again when the weather cools down a bit. I also went into a yarn store on Bialik which doesn't seem to have changed any yarns since the last time I was there, maybe a year ago or more. so utterly boring. The only good thing is that she has a lot of DMC 25 for embroidery.
I did get a slew of books the other day when the post office wildcat strike ended. What I got was Sue Hawkins, Crewel embroidery, Jill Nordfors Clark, Needlelace, (UK, Amazon), Roy and Barbara Hirst, Raised embroidery and New designs in raised embroidery (from Lacis and ABE), and Annie Maloney, Personal knitwear design. Next I have to read them because they are really important books in their fields.
When I was in England, I had a good opportunity to find out about the newer embroidery books. Up until this summer, I was just sliding on what I had learned nearly 30 years ago in embroidery and now I am ready to move on. Needlelace and stumpwork are difficult topics in embroidery and the Hirst books were the first ones that reopened the subject. The Clark book on Needlelace is almost alone in this field and it looks very good. It's her second book. There isn't too much being published either on crewel which is a longtime love of mine. But the Hawkins book looks just wonderful. The Maloney book is privately published and is her 4th book and includes at the end some of her own designs. She writes in an informal style as if she is writing a letter to me personally full of good advice and it's a nice book to own.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

RAW lavendar and crystals

This was a 2 1/2 day job. But it is very strong as the foundation is RAW. I used rather tiny seed beads in lavendar and some lighter crystals also in a pale lavendar. The instructions are in the Yvonne Rivero first bracelet book.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Green orange necklace

This necklace started out as a simple pattern from Olive Humm, my teacher of beadweaving at Missenden Abbey. I made a mistake as I used two different sizes of seed beads and it began to spiral. So then I started adding embellishments and added 3 different rows plus a crystal bead and made another mistake. I had made the necklace 16.5" long but once I started adding the new rows, it got shorter, so then I had to open up one end where the clasp was, and remove the clasp and add more. But I think it worked and it was a very good lesson.

Anyway, it's still too hot to knit although I am working on a few cotton projects anyway.

I've decided to purchase some older bead magazines and cut down again on my knitting mags. I'm not overjoyed anyway with the new ones as they are so geared for the beginning knitter. The new Bead and button arrived yesterday and it looks excellent. From the Fall VK the only item I want to make is the shawl by Barbara Venishnick and I have a dk yarn from Hongkong that should be adequate although the color is a pale aqua. However, it's still too hot to get to it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I returned on Wed and am quite happy to be home so I can get back to my normal hobbies: beading, knitting, crochet, embroidery. It's so hot that beading and embroidery are the best to do now. I've decided to redo all the items I learned in class and then to keep on. Class really helped me as now it's easier for me to understand my printed books and magazine patterns. I didn't see any bead books I wanted to buy in London (I guess I have all the good ones) but I did order one of Suzanne Cooper's books.

I found the knitting books on sale to be of no interest with one exception: Louise Roberts book of 1000 motifs. I just hope it's not a repeat of materials I already have which it might be as it's Rowan inspired.

John Lewis was pretty bad in selection this time both on embroidery and on knitting. Liberty is still in the dark hallway but at least they have a good selection of Rowan yarns and I chose 8 different balls of Harris 4 ply to play with.

One of the beadstores up on the Kentish Town underground stop (Northern line) had not only beads, but lots of other crafts including some knitting and lots of embroidery materials. The most interesting threads though came from America so I didn't buy them. But the best beadstore for me was near Covent Garden and down in the lower level they sell wholesale or 100 gram bags. The prices were too good so I stocked up. They carry mainly Japanese or Czech beads in lots of colors.

I also did well in school as every day sellers came there. The best price on beads was from a seller there. I finally found triangle beads which I bought from a teacher and my own bead teacher also sold us beads.

The only other item I bought was a kitchen electronic scale so I can weigh my yarn and beads and it has the grams and measures even as small as 4 grams.

The day I was supposed to head back to London was a bit of a strange one as I discovered there was an opening for the stumpwork embroidery class and also one room left at the Abbey. I changed my travel plans and spent the next week working very hard trying to learn stumpwork. This is a little used type of embroidery which might be coming back and it is difficult. It also includes needlelace and I found it very interesting but it requires good vision or strong eyeglasses. Mine wern't that good for this.

Class atarted on Sun aft and I was intimidated by the other students who came in with lots of suitcases holding all their materials and equipment. All I had was a pair of scissors! The next morning I came very late to class and everyone was trying to find me. I had been in another class of embroidery but I left it as it didn't go in the direction I wanted which was stumpwork. My teacher Kay Dennis immediately came over to me and I got involved in making a strawberry. I also made a bee, some acorns, a squirrel, some berries and an orange, or lemon. I still have plenty of room on my sampler for more. Kay is a fabulous teacher and really loves and knows this subject. The other teacher Pat Trott also had a lot of demos on doing 3-D stitches which is the subject of her new book. Both teachers were lots of fun and I still have lots more to learn as I stopped improving my embroidery skills almost 30 years ago, so it was great to make some progress. Pat worked with me on long and short showing me her tricks for doing it right.

I also learned about a course on batik maybe for next time and I might even take a drawing course at some point. Possibly here in Israel. I attended some of the evening lectures and there was a very good one on the National Gallery so on my last day in London I went there with Rita who had come in from Indonesia. She introduced me to Gaby's, a hole in the wall place for Arabic foods on Charing Cross Rd.

The embroidery stores in London were not as good as the two near my school. Threads of Amersham and Rainbow in Great Missenden had much better selections.

Just before flying home, I met up with my bead teacher in Israel, Tami, and we had a good chat. I think she bought more beads than I did, but not by much. Until I actually got on my plane, I was worried there might be a wildcat strike as nothing had yet been settled by the strikers of the catering company for British Air. However I was given a 5 pound voucher to buy food at the airport and we also got baggies of sandwiches on the plane so I had a surfeit of food and can't complain. As far as I'm concerned they can hand out vouchers or lower their fare and the baggies inflight and for me that will be plenty.

My friend Jennifer told me I missed some really unpleasant hot weather in Israel while I was gone.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

course finished

My week went so fast and I had such a great time. Everyday devoted to hours and hours of beading. My class had 13 ladies some beginners and some with varied beading backgrounds. Our teacher Olive was very inspiring. We were told to choose a project from the collection of her own creations and then she spent the day helping everyone. I made a total of 6 projects including two gorgeous necklaces and one still just starting. I was able to buy the beads from the teacher at wholesale prices also. I had a lovely room to myself at the Abbey and meals also which were a bit too fattening.

I took several photos of a gorgeous embroidery piece at the local church which had stumpwork, metalwork, beadwork and used all kinds of threads including metals. Pictures will be posted later.

Now it's back to London for a few days of shopping and then home.