Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Working A Brick Stitch Base Row (Ladder Stitch) Using Only Long Magatamas

The Brick Stitch base row using only Long Magatama beads is worked exactly like any other brick stitch base row; but since the Long Magatamas are directional it's a challenge to get them facing in the correct forward and upright position.

Because of the nature of Brick Stitch, the needle alternately enters from either the top or the bottom of a bead as you work through the base row. For the base row only, you have to pick up the 1st and all odd numbered beads from the bottom. The 2nd and all even numbered LM beads are picked up from the top of the bead.

1. When working a brick stitch base row using only Long Magatama (LM) beads, pick up the 1st Long Magatama (LM) bead from the bottom, and the 2nd LM bead from the top. Pull them down together to about six inches from the tail end of the thread.  Next, pass your needle back UP through the bottom of the 1st bead and then DOWN through the top of the 2nd bead. Make sure the beads are facing towards you as you hold the beadwork in your non-working hand. (see previous post for bead direction).

These beads like to twist around so you may have to manipulate them until they are facing you. Your thread should be coming out of the bottom of the 2nd bead and the "horse hooves" should be pointing towards you. If they are twisted, loosen the thread a little and turn them around. The holes in these beads are quite large so you may want to tie a knot at this point, or pass through the two beads a second time. I use doubled One-G thread but you may want to try a size D thread instead.

2. Next, pick up the 3rd LM bead from the bottom. Pass your needle DOWN through the 2nd LM bead and then back UP through the 3rd bead again. The new LM bead magically turns right side up as you tighten the thread.

3. Pick up the 4th LM bead from the TOP side by passing the needle DOWN through the top of the bead (as shown in my previous post). Next, pass your needle UP through the 3rd LM and then back DOWN through the 4th bead again.

4. Pick up the 5th Long Magatama bead from the BOTTOM side. Then pass your needle DOWN through the 4th bead and back UP through the 5th bead again.  Continue making your base row until you reach the desired length.

Hint:  How to keep track of where you are.

If your thread is exiting the the bottom of the bead you just added, pick up the next bead from the bottom. If your thread is exiting the top of the bead you just added, pick up the next bead from the top.

Enjoy! Barb

P.S.  For more Long Magatama fun please visit Judith Bertoglio-Giffin's bead crochet site at Bead Line Studios. She's taken it one step further by bead crocheting these beautiful beads into her own designs. :) 


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dragon Bangle Bracelet From Beadwork Magazine (Feb/Mar 2011)

I rarely make anyone else's design but Dragon Bangle really caught my eye!

I love how the 'scales' look. They remind me of the 'Horny Toads (aka Horned Toad Lizard') that I used to play with as a kid in Arizona. They are full of spikes and 'spit blood'. In our young minds they weren't lizards - they were ancient dinosaurs or medieval dragons.   So when I saw the awesome spikey Dragon Bangle by Nancy Jones in the February/March issue of Beadwork magazine it really jumped off the page.  Link: http://www.interweavestore.com/Beading-Jewelry/Magazines/Super-Beadwork-February-March-2011.html

About the same time Cindy of Cindy's Crafts http://www.beadlady.biz/ mentioned that someone she knew was having a bit of a problem getting the scales right, so I dug out my beads and Beadwork magazine and sat down to play a little.

The bangle uses the new Miyuki Magatama Long  4 x 7 drop beads for the scales. Their unique design gives a super 3D affect to the dragon scales which I absolutely love. Kudos to Nancy Jones for creating this awesome medieval looking design.

So far, I've only done about an inch of this great little design. I got side tracked and haven't been able to get back to it. I might leave it just the way it is because it makes the coolest medieval looking ring!

All inquiries about the Dragon Bangle should be directed to Nancy Jones through Beadwork Magazine (link above).

Long Magatamas Are Directional Beads.

Working Nancy's design was the first time I'd ever used the long magatamas and I quickly realized that the they are directional. They definately have a 'top side' and a 'bottom side'. If you string the bead the wrong way it doesn't sit right and the mis-strung bead will slant upwards instead of flowing downwards with the other beads. 

While I was working with these beautiful beads I noticed how much they reminded me of horse's hooves. As you can see in the picture below, the non-hole end of the bead slants downward just like a horse's hoof.

Take a close look at the picture below. You can see that the bead on the left slants downward on the non-hole end and the bead on the right slants upward on the non-hole end. So make sure that you pick up your beads from the correct side.  Just for reference, I labled them top side (bead on the left) and bottom side (bead on the right). It helped me keep the beads going in the right direction.

When working brick stitch (except for the base or ladder stitch row) the needle enters from the top of the bead, passes under the next 'thread bridge' on the beadwork and then passes back up through the bottom of the bead. I laid out my beads with the topside facing up (horse hoof facing me) so they would be ready to pick up with my needle. See the picture below.

Here's another view:

See how the beads look like little horse's hooves, or little shoes. Sooo cute!

I got my beads from Cindy, http://www.beadlady.biz/beads.html 
The color that I used in this sample is one of my favorites: LMA-2144. I also have black and matte black AB which I can't wait to play with.

Here's a picture of picking up an LM bead from the BOTTOM. Notice that the 'horse hoof' end is slanting downward on the left.

Hope this helps someone get a Long Magatama brick stitch base row started.