Saturday, 22 March 2014

Swarovski's New Pearls ... YUMMMM!

These new Crystal Iridescent Green pearls from Swarovski have a really unique color and shine to them.  Wasn’t too sure how I would use them initially, but decided they had to form part of another Kumihimo piece made for the March Challenge – making a 16 Strand braid.

I’ve only ever made one braid with 16 cords before … and I wasn’t much impressed with it … so I switched things up a bit by using a sparkling metallic cording for the ‘ridge’ of a spiral braid and 2mm dark olive rattail in the ‘valley’.  Once the braid was done, I anchored a double strand of FireLine to one end and started to string the new pearls separated by matte silver, cut, size 15 seed beads (called Charlottes, I believe) and lay them in the ‘valley’ of the braid.  Every 5 to 10 pearls, I did a little back stitch into the rattail and then passed through the last seed bead loaded to hold things in position.  Once the pearls were in place, I just finished the ends as usual.

This braid is fairly stiff, so I didn’t want it to go around the back of the neck – a chain seemed the best solution for that.

In the Kumihimo Challenge Group I participate in, people enter anonymously and members get to vote for 3 of their favorites.  I’m quite pleased and surprised to say that this piece actually came 1st in the March challenge!  It's an honor that other Kumihimo enthusiasts liked my version of a 16 strand braid.  Thanks so much everyone.  You made my day!

And special thank you to the wonderfully talented Julia Lindsay Tomascin for taking both of the photos you see here.  My pictures just never come out as well as hers.  You rock, girl!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Adding some Swarovski Flash to Kumihimo

I have been participating in a Kumihimo Challenge Group on Facebook for a while now and thought I would share some of my recent and not-so-recent creations.  While I am banned from sharing the current entry as it might be considered ‘begging for votes’ and the entries are anonymous until after voting week is over, here are a few of my other submissions:
Back in December 2013, the Challenge theme was Winter.  My entry came fourth but I have since been fortunate enough to have a much improved photo taken by the wonderful Julia Lindsay Tomascin.  The piece is one of my personal favorites as it is a mish-mash of beads, fresh water pearls, and lots of fabulous Swarovski Xilion beads as well as Swarovski Bicone Pendants.  The texture is fabulous and I must say that Julia captured it well in this wonderful close up shot.  The piece was made with full strands of various components and again, a basic 8 strand braid

The January Challenge was to create a piece for Valentine’s Day.  I decided to try a new tutorial I had from the multi-talented Kumihimo artist, Pru McRae ( called Netted Treasures.  I created a long piece that could be worn either as a necklace that does up with the funky, chunky heart clasp at front or as a 3-wrap bracelet.  I wanted to use Swarovski’s new Dome Beads in Crystal Lilac Shadow as modified end caps for the braid and I was happy with the results of both the piece and that it came in second place in the Challenge!

Always a Bridesmaid, never a Bride, my entry for the Mardi Gras February Challenge came in second place as well.  For me, it isn't about winning though ... it really is just loads of fun to come up with something with a theme.  Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold and it was fun to use 2 strands of Swarovski Xilion beads (Amethyst and the new Dark Moss Green), 4 different colors of long magatama beads, 2 strands of some fun eyelash yarn, and some coordinating Swarovski crystals for the dangle embellishment – all in a basic 8 strand braid.  Truthfully, the eyelash yard was SUPPOSED to be a scarf for my sister several years ago (purple is her favorite color) but I really suck at knitting and since there was only about 2” done I thought I would re-purpose the yarn to something I would actually complete!  I’m sure I gave my sister something else for her birthday that year.  Sorry, Joni … maybe you want a bracelet?  J

The status of my entry for March is still in the wind and likely will be the subject of another blog.  Wish me luck and go play with your beads!  Thanks for stopping by and happy beading.