Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cathedral Spire Earrings Tutorial: The Making Of

I'm happy to announce that I have completed my first tutorial and listed it on Etsy:

 I've been working on earrings using modified herringbone for some time and have many variations listed in my shop, but this was the first version that I felt warranted a tutorial.  This pair has layers of intricate detail and I had finally worked out the system for getting the embellishments to come out just right, both in terms of spacing and placement.  I originally learned about the basic technique of adding extra beads in herringbone to cover visible threads from Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes.  I have since then played with it extensively and made it my own by experimenting with different types of embellishment beads and ways to incorporate those beads into exterior structures on the work.

Creating a pattern is a surprisingly different process from simply designing/creating one pair of earrings.  It definitely required multiple parts of my brain to work at the same time.  After each stitch, I had to write down exactly what I did and snap a couple photos for the illustrations. Here's an example of my detailed directions for tubular herringbone. 

Beading is usually a fairly flowing and intuitive process for me, but the interruptions required to make detailed and accurate instructions led to a few mishaps, including picking up the wrong size/shape of teardrop beads at one point:

I was so focused on trying to explain the stitches in writing and photography that I didn't notice for a few more rounds!  When I finally realized what had happened the earrings had become sloppy and unwieldy, so I had to start over.  I think it was worth these types of headaches to make sure that each step in the directions were clear and easy to follow.  And I love the final product; they are striking and dramatic, with a classic elegance:

I also realized that not everyone likes or can tolerate such long earrings, so I made sure to include suggestions on variations in length as well as suggestions for color variations and other options.  These are things that I always appreciate in a pattern.  What things do you particularly appreciate/look for in beading patterns/tutorials? 

My next pattern, also for earrings, focuses on using the new rulla and rizo beads I bought from Whimbeads at the Bead and Button Show.  I'm enjoying the challenges of experimenting with them and am hoping to figure out something effective and attractive in the coming weeks.

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