Monday, April 17, 2006

Heidi's Iris

I've started a new piece! Well, I actually started it on March 28th--and am just now getting around to blogging about it.
This is the piece I'm making for Heidi--the wonderful Heidi who redesigned my website. It took me a long time to get to this design--I knew I wanted to do something with polka dots because of Heidi's affinity for dots and Heidi had mentioned persimmons as a possibility. I couldn't find persimmons in Colorado though I looked and looked (I'm sure that it has more to do with my timing and forgetfulness than the availablity of persimmons in Colorado). So then I moved onto other ideas--polka dots on my pregnant belly (I've been working on this for a while!), polka dots on a comfy chair, holding fruit against my pregnant belly--but none of these were working for Heidi's piece.
So then when Heidi was visiting in March, we talked and looked at the designs. She mentioned flowers--poppies and iris--and I have lots of photos of those that I've taken from my garden and we looked through those photos. And then after she left, I found more polka dot fabric and took an iris from a beautiful arrangement my sister-in-law gave me, and came up with this design that Heidi liked!
So I was able to start beading (here is the beginning on Thursday March 30th)--and it has been going very quickly. I've learned some things, too.
For many years, I've been telling people that I can bead a square inch in 2 hours with my size 15 Japanese seed beads. Well, I actually started timing myself and the reality is that I can bead a square inch in 2 1/2 hours. While this may not seem like such a big difference--it means that a 5x6 piece that I thought would take about 60 hours (or about two months of beading since I do this in my spare time) will actually take 75 hours.
Here's the piece on 3-30-06 (40 minutes).
This isn't marathon beading, by the way, it is just beading as I normally do for relaxation and enjoyment in the evenings while I hang out with my husband and daughter and watch tv (preferrably something that I've seen a lot, like a lot, doesn't have subtitles, and isn't on a channel with commercials. This is so that I'm not too distracted while beading, but still pleasantly entertained. I really like listening to narrative while I work. Books on tape work really well if I'm on a deadline--then I don't get distracted by the visuals.
Here is the piece on April 2 after 3 hours, 55 minutes.
So far, I've put in an average of an hour a day--I've completed a circle that is 3 inches in diameter--so that means (using the trig math my husband so wonderfully remembers!)--that I've beaded 4.71 square inches in 17:55 hours.
Oh wait a second there! That's 3.82 hours per square inch. What is going on here? I'm sure it has something to do with my math.

Okay--I know that I've spent 17:55 hours on the piece and I know that it measures 3 inches across. So I divide that in 2 to get the radius= 1.5 inches--oops! I see what I did--I forgot to square the radius.
Here is the piece on April 5 after 7 hours, 25 minutes.
Phew--this makes more sense. So the radius squared is 2.25 x 3.14 (pi) = 7.065 inches and that is 2.5 hours per square inch--much better.

I'm glad to have these moments to use math--even though I can really freak myself out.
I forgot to take photos for a bit--so here is the piece this morning after 17 hours and 55 minutes.

The iris on the blue polka dots is a real challenge to bead because the dots are nearly the same color as the iris, except for places where the fabric has a shadow cast across it. It is a wonderful challenge that I'm really enjoying. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lucie--the silamide sleuth!

Here is Lucie--she took the workshop in Montreal that I've been talking about (look here and here). She brought in some quilting thread and wondered if it would work for beading. I tried it out and it worked well enough, but it was a bit more difficult to thread the needle and it tangled a bit more than the silamide that I've been using ever since a student introduced me to it in another beading class. Silamide is a 2-ply waxed nylon thread that is sold on cards or on spools and comes in a range of colors (though not as wide as nymo, I believe). I usually buy it from my friend Betcey at Beyond Beadery when I see her at bead shows or from her online store. I like it because it is fairly easy to thread into the size 10 sharps that I use to bead (though not as easy as nymo)--and also because it doesn't tangle as easily as nymo. Like nymo, I stretch it between my hands before I start beading (usually when I put the knot in the end).
You're probably wondering why Lucie is the silamide sleuth--it is because she had a hard time finding silamide in Canada--but was not detered. Even before she took the class she had been looking for the supplies for beading and came with ideas for where to find Japanese seed beads--size 11 and size 15 in Canada. So if you're looking for beading supplies in Canada, here is the scoop from Lucie (she gave me permission to post to the blog):

Hi Amy!
Just a quick update regarding Silamide thread suppliers in Canada. I further investigated the matter with Canada Beading Supply: the retail price of a spool (900 yards) is 14$CA, but you must add something around 10$CA for handling & shipping (plus the applicable taxes). I'll continue shopping for it and keep you posted.
I did however find the Clover Desk Needle Threader Lily had: it was not at Kava (on St-Hubert Street, as I wrongly understood) but at Quilte Classic in Pointe-Claire. La Maison de Calico, also in Pointe-Claire, carries it too. But Pointe-Claire might be a bit too far away (it's in the western part of Montreal) for those of the girls of the workshop who do not have a car.Now, with respect to Silamide thread, should I be looking for a specific gauge?! Thanks,Lucie

Hi Amy!
Me again with my Silamide anxieties ;-) Here's the latest update:That Bead Lady in Ontario, who does carry Miyuki 15, sometimes have Silamide thread on 900-yard spools, or they will special order it if needed. They sell it 10.99CA$. Their shipping rates are quite reasonable.
If anybody else finds any other good Canadian sources for both Silamide and Miyuki 15, I'll be glad to know. From what I learned on Internet, Size A is the regular (and maybe only?) size Silamide is available so there will be no confusion, I guess.Have a nice day, Amy!Lucie Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 07, 2006

Montreal Part II

Here are more photos from my trip to Montreal March 16- 20, 2006. I was invited to teach at the Montreal Center for Contemporary Textiles by Louise Lemieux Berube (see part I here). There were 19 students in the 3-day workshop--Designing for Bead Embroidery--many of them already established artists working in fiber who were interested in adding beading to their quilting, felting, weaving, or embroidery.
I was very excited to see how they adapted the techniques for their own purposes.

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

Why my husband does most of the cooking....

I'm working on Part II to my trip to Montreal--but in the meantime, here is a photo of what happened on the stove top this morning. It started off as a small sauce pan of milk and chai tea bags. This is what happens to milk if you leave it on low on the stove top for say, an hour or nearly two. It is solid mass! And it has beaderly beauty to it with all those little dots. (Notice that it is the same red sleeve as in my piece, Atalanta's Apple.)
Now I understand how knitting needles can be made out of milk!