Sunday, January 30, 2005

seed beads

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I have finally started to spin the silk that I purchased this past fall from the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.  I purchased this tussah silk from "The Copper Moth" booth.  The color I chose was called "Moth Wing".  I also purchased some beautiful Wensleydale Top roving, called Juniper, to go with it.  A few weeks ago while shopping in the craft department, I spotted some seed beads that reminded me of the tussah silk.  They were a mixed bag of copper and silver and bronze colors.  I suddenly had the impulse to spin with beads!  I had read about spinning with beads in Diane Varney's  "Spinning Designer Yarns", but never wanted to try it.  I figured I had better re-read the chapter before I attempted to spin with the seed beads.

The first order of business was to string the beads.  I looked around in my old sewing baskets for some silk thread that would match the "Moth Wing".  Jackpot!  I found several spools of old "Coats and Clark" silk thread that still had the price tag on them.  Imagine, only 15 cents for 250 yards of silk thread.  I almost did not use them!  The next challenge was finding a needle small enough to thread the seed beads through.  I must admit, it was a bit frustrating trying different needles, only to have the seed bead get stuck when it was almost to the eye of the needle.  Finally, I was successful, and set about stringing beads that evening while watching "24" on TV.

I decided to do some more reading (as I did not feel confident enough to simply start spinning all these beads with the silk).
I pulled two back issues of Spin-Off, (Winter of 03 and Spring of 04), off my magazine shelf.  The '03 issue offers a very nice article by Judith Mackenzie McCuin, including Thread and Bead Sources.  The article covers 3 different methods of spinning with beads in a very clear description of each.  So, after reading several different accounts of several different methods, I figured I would try spinning with a core method.

I got the hang of it rather quickly, but that was the only thing that happened with any speed.  I found I really had to take my time and treadle slowly so my hands had time to maneuver the seed beads into place.  All in all, I find spinning with beads to be a very time consuming project...what with stringing them in the first place...then stringing them into place while spinning...but it will be worth it for a unique design.  I still have another bag of seed beads to string up and spin.  This time I will load about a foot of beads at a time.  

This is what I have finished so far.

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