As I said before I am a seed beader...I researched and studied and practiced until I learned all of the off loom bead stitches and techniques that I could find. Then I bought one of those wooden sleigh style looms from FMG. It was only an $8 loom but I really just wanted to play around with it and see if it held my interest enough to invest money in a better loom.
Well, I did like the fact that you could add 30 beads at a time (or even 100 beads at a time) as opposed to 1 bead at a time like most off loom stitching! But at the end you are stuck with 30 or 100 warp threads on each end of your loom work! And you have to stitch all of these back into the beadwork! Major pain in the ass!
So I started looking around for more info about bead looming, and there's not much out there in terms of actual finishing techniques. There are plenty of books with beautiful loom work in them, and even patterns to loom the projects, but nothing with any real substance for learning the technical aspects of looming.
I did purchase Sharon Bateman's book, "Contemporary Bead Looming: A new look at a traditional stitch". This is actually a pretty good book. I won't go into a review of it here, but it is worth buying. It just doesn't have any new ideas for handling those warps...and that is what was keeping me from looming!
Then I joined a Facebook group called A Bead Looming Intervention (BLI) and have learned several different techniques from the members of the group and by taking "classes" within the group and then using these techniques in our class projects. We also share our ideas, suppliers, photos of our Works in Progress (WIP's) and just a bunch of random stuff about beads and bead looming.
Here are just a few of the cuffs I have made since joining the group:
Art Deco in Blue
Design by: Catrin Maier
Techniques: Warp Management by Erin Simonetti, Brick & Picot Stitch Edging
Materials: Miyuki Delica 11/0 and Miyuki Seed Beads in 11/0 & 15/0, One G Warp & Weft threads, Ribbon End Crimp, Sterling Silver Lobster Claw and Chain
Copper Ripple Fringe
Design: Juanita Carlos at Jaycees Patterns, modified by me
Techniques: Reweave warps, 2 needle weaving, Brick Stitch Pattern Extensions and Fringe Pattern Extension
Materials: Miyuki Delica 11/0 Duracoat, Miyuki Mini Fringe Drops, Nymo D Warp, KO Weft, Ribbon End Crimp and Lobster Claw clasp, Chain
Sorry about the quality of those photos...no light box or photo booth set up yet, and I just used my iPhone instead of my real camera!
Like I said, I am not that into FB, and I tend to be a solitary beader, but this group is a lot of fun...and it's not just a bunch of crazy old ladies either, we actually have 2 crazy guys in the group too!
Recently one of the ladies found an EBay store that is selling Delica Bead samplers. These are not the Miyuki color cards with the beads sewn down to the cards, in no particular order! You know, the ones that cost $10 to $20 each and you have to buy 20 of them to have all the colors! This is a set of 971 little 1"x 1" baggies with 10 beads in each...one baggie of each Delica color produced by Miyuki. And these kits are $32 including shipping. Here is one of the little baggies:
Of course the poor lady was not prepared for 18 of us to order them all at the same time...so it took her a week or so to put them all together and send them out to us, but she is very friendly and provides excellent service. And now even more people in the group are ordering them!
We all discussed how we were going to store these samplers. There's a lot to think about with this...we are talking about 971 packets of beads that you need to keep organized in some fashion if you want to them to be useful!
Some of them decided to print out the Color Sample Charts available at Silver Hill Design and stitch their beads onto these charts. Others decided to stitch them into little Peyote squares...971 Peyote squares!! With 10 beads each! That's a lot of thread changes!
And some of us decided to store them in 3 Ring Binders in some sort of pocketed page protectors. So I searched around and found some Coin Protector pages with 20 pockets on each sheet. These are PVC Free, Acid Free, Archival quality coin protectors...so I figured they should be good enough to protect little baggies of beads!
I purchased 2 sets of 20 pages on Amazon (free shipping is awesome). And I put them all in a 3 ring binder. The pockets are big enough to easily fit 2 baggies in each, with a little square of Card Stock separating them:
This way you can have 40 baggies per page and see them on each side of the page. However another lady found these same pages with 30 pockets per page, so that means you can have 60 samples per page! I wish I had found those before I bought mine! But I am still very happy with this storage system!
I arranged mine by color and then in numerical order per color group. I just used the ROYGBIV system plus Whites, Blacks, Browns and Metals (not metallic finishes but Metal colors like Silver, Gold, Bronze etc).
This sampler has turned out to be such an awesome tool...having every single Delica color in my possession allows me to see what they look like in real life, how they change with different color thread and how they change depending on the bead next to them.
And it helps you decide if a color will work in a pattern you are designing or a project you are creating...and it is extremely helpful when shopping online! Those photos are never accurate representations of what those beads will really look like in person! Besides, not only is every monitor going to show the colors differently, every person sees color differently...
So if you work with Delicas on a regular basis, or if you are trying to sell patterns on Etsy using Pattern making software, you should really consider purchasing one of these sets! It is well worth the investment!
And another day I will share more about how useful these bead samples are...and maybe more about my thoughts on loom work.