An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beading Apps by iPhone – do you, would you, what would you wish for?

I recently lost my rather antiquated mobile phone and this week I took the plunge and decided to buy an iPhone. It’s temptations included its capacity to sync with my computer address book and calendar, take videos and photos and of course the thousands of Apps (little applications) that can be downloaded to it. This morning I found an App that tells me local tide times locally so I can plan my walk on the beach at low tide time. I always seem to arrive at high tide when walking on the sloping sand at the high tide line is so much harder. Bouyed by my first foray into Apps I decided to see if Apps makers have targeted us beaders in any way. I was surprised to find several Apps for beaders.

  • Beading by Deep Powder Software
  • Bead Animation Class (Roidus Co., Ltd)
  • Bead It! SD (Byron Lo)
  • Bead It! (HD) (Bryon Lo).

There are also a growing number of Apps targeting crafters more generally that could just tempt us beaders. Here’s just two I have stumbled upon to date:
  • Sketchbook – for sketching creative ideas on the go
  • Evernote – for storing PDFs and sites you find on line that have great patterns or inspiration.

Curiosity got the better of me and today I downloaded the Beading App by Deep Powder Software. Its lovely bright yellow icon belied the grey interface that meets you when you enter the App. It is simple to use - you can access information in a couple of ways. You can do a search, touch a letter of the alphabet or scroll through their extensive A-Z of beading and beading related terms then click on any you want to know more about. A new screen with more information pops up.

This new screen is a missed opportunity in my view – it would have been perfect to include pictures in full colour on it (and there is the space to do so)– as it is true that in most cases a picture says so much more than words do. For instance, if you want to remember or know what a French earwire looks like it is much more helpful to see it than to read about it. Similarly, with bead finishes or with gemstones seeing images would make it much easier for me to recognise them when I see them.

The Apps makers say that they are open to suggestions so I’ll be making some to them. If you have used this App and have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

If you have used any good Apps for beaders I’d also love to know. I’ll review those crafty Apps that I try over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned, or should I say stay ‘apped’!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Odd count peyote turns: Which way do you do it?

Are you a beadweaver? Do you use peyote stitch? If you answered 'yes' to each of these questions you'll probably have a way to do odd-count peyote stitch. We need to use it anytime we are trying to centre a design or a join between two pieces of peyote beadwork. Sunburst Towers (see Photo) is one of the longest pieces of peyote I have woven that was based on odd-count peyote so it gave me plenty of practice at the turn. So, I know that I know how to do it - but have you ever tried to explain how you do this turn to others?

I have just taught my first beadweaving class at the Victorian Bead Society's annual Bead Retreat in Mt Eliza (Victoria, Australia). It was a lovely setting and I enjoyed my teaching until the moment that I realised most of the class participants had no experience of odd-count peyote stitch and to finish the project they would need to know how to do this variation on peyote stitch. I know of at least 3 ways to do the turn and each of them equally daunting to explain:
- using modified square stitch
- using a slip knot
- using a Figure 8 turn.

My favourite way to do the turn is using a modified form of the Figure 8 turn so I opted to try to explain that - all I can say is that my participants were very patient and to my surprise several of them actually learnt it. I think it was more good luck than good teaching so I have decided to write some clear instructions to take with me to my next class... one of those 'just in case' things to do. In thinking about how best to do this I wondered what most beaders find the best way to do this turn.

If you have a view, a good set of instructions you've found on the web or your own hints or tips I'd love to hear from you.

Here's a great animated site which I could have used as a helper with my participants:
Suzanne Cooper -

Update on the Festival of Glass

Stop Press: Website live now for the Festival of Glass, 2oth Feb, 2011, Drysdale, Victoria, Australia. Click here to visit. They will be hosting a glass jewelry competition so any beaders out there might like to consider entering.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Festival of Glass - celebrate all things glass

A reminder for your diaries if you like all things glass. The Festival of Glass 2011 is on 20th Feb 2011 in Drysdale, Victoria, Australia. Its shaping up to be an exciting event with bead glass artists, beadweavers, glass sculptures, mosaics, glass etchers and glass slumping for those who enjoy crafty glass work. You can bring you old glass along to the Old Glass Roadshow where you can ask glass specialists about your glass. Read poems and stories about glass and choose the best photo featuring glass. Food, music, workshops and more. Dax Designs Bead Art will be there with new designs along with other wonderful beaders and suppliers for beaders.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Highly commended for Sukathai Gold

What a lovely New Year's present - I have just recieved my Highly Commended Award certificate for my entry in the Victorian Bead Society's (BSV) 2010 Bead Challenge. I called it Sukathai Gold and as usual taking a good photo seems almost as much a challenge as the beadwork did. The BSV challenge entrants all began with the same beads but could add to those in designing their entry. Here's a taster of what I did with mine. It was a long necklace that featured three large focal beaded beads that I created using my own beaded bead design, the challenge beads and some lovely 24ct gold-plated Japanese Delica beads.

To see the other award winners pop by their website - great inspiration for beaders around the world and those who love beadwork.

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op