International Beading Week… July 29 – Aug 5

It’s International Beading Week!   

To celebrate, all the items in the Etsy Shop are 15% off this week!

I’d love to hear how you are going to celebrate… Maybe a trip to your local bead store, or taking a class to learn something new…  Share by leaving a comment below the post.  I’m going to have family visits, so not sure how much beading I’m going to get done.  But my plan is to finish some projects, start creating some new designs, and getting instructions/handouts ready for classes.

A reminder that the Fall 2018 Heart of Texas Bead Retreat is coming soon (September 20-23, 2018).  I’m looking forward to taking classes from Jean Power, Melanie Potter, and Amy Katz.  And don’t forget that Jennifer Stephens and I are teaching add-on classes for anyone attending the retreat.  Click on over to their website to see all the glorious projects!!!

Bead On…

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Tips… Strong Patterns and Warped Squares

Recently, I’ve had some students mention that their Stars or Phoenix patterns didn’t look like mine.  They had followed the word chart from the graphical pattern, but when they joined, they looked different.  I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that I work in a “counter-clockwise” direction and that my graphs and word charts are laid out that way.  (I usually add that disclaimer in all my graphic patterns.)  So, I beaded the two small squares below to look for differences.

This graphic pattern is from The Phoenix – Stripes; I followed the word chart for both.  The one on the left is done by beading “counter-clockwise”… notice where the thread exits… the one on the right was beaded “clock-wise”.   The only difference is that the pattern is reversed, but it is still intact (look at the vertical lines).


Since that wasn’t the reason for the distortion in the pattern, my next investigation brought me to how the squares are being joined, and that was the culprit!

The Stars are meant to be joined from center -> point -> center, and in my graphs and word charts, the center is where you step-up to begin the next row.  In the photo above, where the working threads are exiting will become the center of a Star.


For The Phoenix, the thread exits in the front, bottom herringbone corner after the step-up.   When you don’t position your square in the proper direction before joining, you end up with a kind of “mushy” stripe pattern as shown in the photo to the left.   If you follow the Assembly Instructions for joining, I don’t see how this would have happened, because the working thread would be in the proper position.  But, possibly a thread was ended before beginning the join, and the wrong end of the square was used.

So, my suggestion is to be sure to read through instructions, and position your squares appropriately when you are working with a graphical pattern.  That way, you won’t be surprised at the outcome!

I welcome any comments and suggestions on clarification that might be needed in my instructions…  Happy Beading!



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Austin Bead Society and Carrier Beads…

Carrier Beads are making a huge impact these days!  I will be leading a workshop at the Austin Bead Society on June 25th on how to work with them.  We’ll be doing even count peyote in the workshop, and I guarantee that once you make one, you’ll be hooked.  I’ll have a few patterns for the workshop.  But, there are already so many  online, that I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding your next project!

Here are few of mine:

May the Beads be with you…


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Tapestry Star Pattern is available

The “Tapestry” star grew out of wanting to use certain beads together… I really liked the look of the mandarin orange and royal blue colors, so I made them the focal points.  The beautiful luster of the cream color and a little sparkle with the metallic iris (one of my favorite beads DB0029)  were the final bead choices.   The pattern is available in my Shop now.

TapestryStar_KLDI think this is one of those stars that would look great no matter what bead colors you choose.

The trick to exposing a great graphical pattern in your pieces is to use different tones/finishes of beads.  If all your beads are a luster finish, it will be hard to see the pattern that you take so much time to create.  Also, having a strong contrast between bead colors brings out the details of a pattern.

I tend to use opaque and matte finishes, then compliment with a shiny bead, like the metallic in this one, or a luster finish.

Have fun!  Happy Beading!

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Warped Squares and New Star Patterns…

After creating two new graphic designs for The Phoenix (see post), I was on a roll!  Making warped squares always starts me dreaming up new patterns for the Stars…  The first one I finished is based on the middle tier of the “Summer Fun” pattern.  It’s named “Summer Links” and is available in my Shop now.


I really liked the effect of changing colors on the herringbone stitch, and thought it would be interesting to see how I could incorporate it into the seams of the star.

The “links” are very obvious because the colors – pink and yellow – are so different.  This star turned out to be a joyful celebration of color and fun!

I’m working on two more designs… will have more info once the stars are finished.

Many people only make the stars around the holidays, but I like to give mine as gifts year round.  They are perfect to celebrate special occasions, like a graduation or promotion!  Last year my niece, Ashley,  graduated with her MBA and my nephew, Ian graduated from high school.  They both got a personal star from me and loved them.  And, a few years ago, my sister, Deb, got a big promotion.  Her special star is on her desk at work.

So pass the love around and  reward your shining stars with their own Star!

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