Choosing Bead ColorsA while back I was asked how I decide on the color of beads to use in a project and did I have a favorite color. My favorite color is red, but if you looked through my finished bead and jewelry projects only a few are red.
My choice of bead color for a project depends on the type of project, materials and who will be the recipient of the completed piece. In making my ornament covers the colors I use are those most often seen at Christmas time; though I have been branching out and using other color combinations as I did in the Mardi Gras and the Black and Gold cover. I recently made a Shamrock pen cover for St. Patrick’s Day and naturally chose green as the focal color.
Shamrock Pen Cover
I like using semi-precious gemstone beads and cabochons for jewelry pieces and the colors in the stones play an important part in deciding the other bead colors. I recently finished a necklace using a Blue Goldstone Cabochon with the mixed Blue and Brown Goldstone beads. To make the bezel surrounding the Cabochon I used blue, brown and gold seed beads pulling from the colors in the Goldstone beads.
Blue/Brown Goldstone Pendant and Necklace
Sometimes I make a piece using established color combinations. I did this when I made my Onyx Cuff bracelet combining black and white beads and a touch of gold.
Onyx Embroidered Cuff
Choosing color combinations can be difficult at times and you can get stuck using the same color combinations over and over. Look in your jewelry box and see if all your pieces are in the same color family.
One way to break away from using the same colors over and over is to use the Color Wheel. The color wheel begins with the primary colors red, blue and yellow. The secondary colors added to the wheel are a combination of the primary colors giving us purple, green, and orange. When you add a primary color to a secondary color you have colors like red violet, red orange, yellow green, blue green and blue violet. On a color wheel the colors across from one another are called complementary colors. Combining red beads and green beads or orange beads with blue beads or yellow beads with purple beads will give you a piece in complementary colors. Colors next to one another are called analogous; blue next to blue violet and blue green. A jewelry piece made using different shades of one color, tone on tone, is called mono-chromatic. The color combination of black and white beads in the Onyx cuff makes it achromatic or a colorless theme. You can generate more color by choosing three colors that are equally spaced from each other creating a triad of colors. Putting red, yellow and blue beads together in one necklace or bracelet is one example of a triad of colors. Take a look at the color wheel and use it to add more color to your beading.
A basic color wheel can be found here: http://www.firemountaingems.com/beading_howtos/beading_projects.asp?docid=6912&doccat=tutorials&sact=search
This sight gives more information on the color wheel and you can see how the different combinations of colors work. http://colorschemedesigner.com/
If you need more help in selecting colors call on Mother Nature, she has the best color combinations around.
We have reached 1000 members in the Seedbeadersters Yahoo group. The members just finished with the Bitty Beads Bead Along and made some lovely pieces.
Go to the Seedbeadersters Home page and take a look http://groups.yahoo.com/group/seedbeadersters/
Not a member? Take this opportunity to join us for some beading fun.
The current project involves making a beaded bezel for a Cabochon, Rivoli, or a large focal bead and turning it into a pendant. There are various beading techniques to use to make a beaded bezel. The tutorials I have found on the web include Peyote, netting, Right Angle weave, square stitch, brick stitch, and Herringbone.
This is a jumping off project in preparation of doing Bead Embroidery for a future Bead Along project.
Can’t wait to see all the lovely pendants the members create.
Peyote and Peyote Starter Strips
Peyote is one of my favorite beading techniques and the Bitty Beads I designed for the Seedbeadersters Bead Along used the Odd Count Flat Peyote technique. Peyote stitch is one of the most used beading techniques for bead weaving and yet it can be feared by many. The first three rows seems to be the hardest part when it comes to doing Peyote. Fortunately for us two beading mavens, Suzanne Cooper and Deb Moffet-Hall, have developed easy methods to start Peyote. Suzanne Cooper’s method uses a Peyote Starter Strip you make using the Brick Stitch technique. Deb Moffet-Hall designed and developed the Quick Start Peyote Card.
I must admit I had not used a Peyote Starter Strip until the discussion cropped up in the Seedbeadersters’ group, and I had Quick Start Peyote Cards too. Most of my Peyote projects have not been too wide and starting them had not been a problem for me, but I decided I would try both Starter Strip methods and see how well they work and which one I liked the best.
First up was the Quick Start Peyote Card, because I had two and did not have to make them. I am working on a Bitty Bead necklace and matching cuff for one of my daughters and used the card to make some of the Bitty Beads. Since my Bitty Beads are done in Odd Count Flat Peyote I followed the instructions on Deb Moffet-Hall’s web site for using the Quick Start Peyote Card. The card itself is made of a laminated type of paper and is designed to be used many times. The card for use with Delicas and size 11 seed beads contains 16 spaces. To make a piece wider than 16 beads you can put two cards together, which is shown on the packaging and the website. The Bitty Beads were easier and faster to make using the card. Two things to watch when using this card; be sure to hold the card closed when doing the first row or the row falls out before you can add row two and when using Fireline watch don’t yank the thread or pull it at an angle against the notches where the beads sit.
To make my, Starter Strip designed by Suzanne Cooper, I used Delica beads. Suzanne’s pattern will make a 4” or 6” strip. Since most of my peyote projects are not very wide and the cuff I am making is 31 beads wide I decided to make my strip a little over 3”(60 beads wide and 8 beads high). I used three different colors of beads to make the strip one main color, a different color to indicate an inch, and a third color to mark every tenth row. The strip worked very well. I will be using it again and plan to make two more for working with regular size 11 and size 8 seed beads. This is such a handy tool I may make some for my beading pals too.
With both the Quick Start Peyote Card and the Starter Strip you will need to remove the starter piece from the Peyote project. To make it easier always use a different color thread for the first row and put a stop bead on the thread when you start the row and another stop bead when you end the row. To do the return row (row 2) use thread best suited to your project and put a stop bead on the tail and work the row. You can leave the starter strip on until you complete your Peyote or remove it after several rows are complete. Remove the stop beads from the thread used to do the first row and then gently pull the thread away.
To learn more about the Quick Start Peyote Cards and the different sizes of cards available go to Deb-Moffett Hall’s website. http://www.patternstobead.com/ Good service and fast response.
To make your own Starter Strip you can find the pattern on Suzanne Cooper’s website. http://suzannecooper.com/free/measure.html
To understand how to use the Starter Strip go to http://www.vacacita.com/tutorials/peyotestrip.html
My Delica Bead Peyote Starter Strip