Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's Supposed to Be a Challenge, Right?!

When the lovely Lisa Lodge, of A Grateful Artist - Pine Ridge Treasures suggested a blog hop with her bead table de-stash, I jumped right in.  It's not like I need more beads.  I truly, truly don't (and I would show you a picture of my Bead cave but it's been officially condemned by the cats).  But Lisa always comes up with something I've never tried and I am determined to try new things.  

The theme this time was to be Sand and Sea; the beads each participant received would either be the colors of the sea or the colors of the sand.  I am very comfortable working with blues and greens.  I rarely work in earth tones.  But this was supposed to be a challenge, right?

Right. I got the sand.

Lots and lots of sand.  I finally corralled the little beadies and began to ponder.

I tend toward wire-wrapping.  I like to make sure those little guys never escape again.  But these were, for the most part, quite small and would not lend themselves well to techniques with which I am comfortable.

So I pondered some more.  This was supposed to be a challenge, right?  Finally  had it.  I would do some bead and wire crochet.  So I went looking for a tutorial.

It turns out I am tutorial-challenged.  I failed Slip Knots 101.

Then I remembered:  Hey!  I know how to crochet!  At least, I used to know how to crochet.  Hopefully it was like riding a bicycle.  Oh, wait.  I don't really remember how to do that, either.

So I found my old crochet hooks and ordered the 28 GA wire recommended in the tutorial and started just crocheting.

I crocheted and crocheted and crocheted.  It was just like old times except there were beads rolling all over the place.

The cats thought it was even better than chasing yarn... not that they remember.  They weren't around in my yarn days.  They actually only know how to chase beads.

And there were plenty of beads to chase.  They slithered right off the wire.

I persevered.

And look!  A necklace!

I also tried a new wire-wrapping technique on the focal.  I was a veritable beadie adventurer!

As long as I was going wild, I thought I'd model the necklace myself.  Do you recognize me??

What I learned in this challenge:

18 GA wire is rather delicate and can break.

It is hard to put a broken crocheted wire and bead necklace back together again.  You have to start over.

To start over you have to now un-capture all those beads you captured in the crochet stitches.

It's good to have extra beads.

The cats agree.

Here's the rest of the blog hop.  Go take a look and see what the others have created.

Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Dot Lewallen, Speedie Beadie
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs

Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Leah Tees, My Beady Littleeyes
Monique Urquhart, A Half Baked Notion
Gloria Allen,   Gloria Allen Designs
Cindy Anderson Wilson,  It's My Sea of Dreams
Suzi Campbell, Suzi Campbell Creations
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha's Ramblings
Annette Rivers, MamaOwl's Mess


  1. Ok, you so had me crackin' up! I love how you embraced the challenge, and moved out of your comfort zone. I do crochet a little, but have never ever wanted to wire crochet. I really love how this turned out, and the wire wrapped stone is an awesome complement to the crochet.

    1. New horizons await! What's next? Bead weaving. Um, no. ;0)

  2. Love the pieces and how you tackled all aspects of this "challenge!"

  3. Love your beady story, you did a wonderful job and I love how your necklace turned out in the end. I don't know if I would have persevered after the wire broke. You have alot of patience.

    1. You should have heard me when it broke and started shedding beads. The cats had to cover their ears.

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous.. I love it.

  5. Oh wow, drool. That is so beautiful.

  6. Your story was inspiring, Eleanor. I "used to" crochet,too but I wouldn't be brave enough to try it with wire... (yet)! Your necklace is a design to be proud of, and I know you recognize the creative influence of your feline assistants LOL.

  7. I love this one Eleanor! You really took the challenge to heart and came up with a beautiful design!

  8. How funny! I so enjoyed your telling of the journey to what turned out to be a beautiful necklace! You had me smiling the whole way through!

  9. Your post had me giggling. I have always wanted to learn crochet and I have tried and set it down, tried again, but never got the hang of it.

    I love the way your necklace turned out. It makes me want to try yet again. :)

    1. If at first you don't succeed... stuff it in the corner of the bead box. ;0)

  10. Great post. I love all the photos of the cats reflecting your emotions. Your piece turned out beautiful. I had a similar problem with the color palette.

    1. Ah, yes... those of us who must have color... Thanks, Ema.

  11. This is lovely--it certainly turned out well, considering how much of a challenge it was! I am very impressed. :)

  12. Oh, Eleanor! Your post had me smiling all the way through. Love the kitty cat photos, and the story of your creative journey. I think the necklace came out very well - kudos for sticking with it and creating something with a color palette that was out of your zone. Thanks for participating in the hop!

  13. Now see crocheting with wire would terrify me. I love how your necklace turned out and I am sure that your cats had a ball. I know that mine sure tried to help me out.

    1. Just think how "helpful" they'd be if they had thumbs. ;0)

  14. Oh my gosh - love your post!! Too funny, and a great honest look at how we work through these challenges. Also adore the cat pics!

  15. Sorry it's taken me a while to get here to comment ... love what you made with your kit! And clever you to learn a new technique while you're at it!

  16. How awesome is that! I recognized you as the model immediately! Your amazing heart shines right through!

  17. We did wire crochet at my bead group a couple of months ago and the teacher there said to use 24 gauge wire because smaller than 24 breaks too easy and larger is too stiff to work with easily. I enjoyed learning wire crochet too. I think your necklace is beautiful.