Friday, 30 August 2013

Bead crochet

My first ever Crochet rope
with 4mm cube beads
One of my highlights for any trip to Germany is to hook up with bead artist and queen of crochet Brigitte Ilander
Her work is so utterly deliciously coloured it is tempting to buy her kits just to own those colour combinations. The detail in her patterned ropes worked in size 15 seed bead is breathtakingly intricate too.
A couple of years ago I was in despair of ever mastering bead crochet, despite some lovely lessons from a student, many tried and failed false starts. I so wanted to be able to stitch one of Brigitte's kits!
The Lime Zest rope
work in progress
My german friends challenged me to go learn before my next visit. Happily for me, bead artist and dear friend Gillian Lamb welcomed me into her class, Bead crochet for beginners, total numpties like me, welcome. Thanks to her 'can do' approach, and a devilishly clever way to get started... with nice big beads... I finally got the knack.
Next came a rope all by myself is size 8 seed beads. I love this technique for it's ease of transportation, and my rope grew steadily on long haul flights to and from the USA. It grew and grew into a lariat of slinkiness!
Beady tassels and cute ceramic beads
to decorate the ends of my rope
Whilst there, I shopped for accent beads and chose this cute ceramic bird and flower beads set from Melanie Brooks at Earthenwood Studios.
I'm a beader at heart, so I couldn't resist finessing my triumphant first piece with a couple of beaded tassels. It's fun to wear, as the crochet rope is strong, but flexible enough to tie into cute knots.
So, when I met with Brigitte in Hamburg last week, she was hugely encouraging and agreed that I am now ready to graduate to size 11 seed beads, to try a pattern and a smaller hook. Once my second size 8 rope is done, I will be stringing up my 'Simply Red' kit and hope to have it finished to show her on my next visit.
I love that my friends were so encouraging, I'd all but accepted that this technique was not ever going to be a happy one for me, so thank you Brigitte and Gillian for pushing me to try again!
Oh, and I've had lots of requests for the pattern for those tassels, so I'll write it up soon.