Monday 8 October 2018

Two-Cut beads - or not to cut!

Hello everyone!

Things are still a little bit topsy-turvy in my life at the moment, so this will be another brief post, but I wanted to show you a few little pieces I made using PRECIOSA Two-Cut Beads. I have quite a lot of cut beads in my collection, ranging from Two-Cut and Three-Cut, to various sizes of Bugles, and although I love the way the light glints and reflects off the cut edge, I've been more a collector of cut beads rather than a user. I must admit that I used to shy away from any cut beads as I feared that they would have sharp edges that would sever my beading thread, undoing all the hard work in a carefully crafted piece of beadwork. However, not long ago, Preciosa Ornela asked me to work with some of their Two-Cut beads and so I put my fears to one side and gave it a go.

Instead of jumping in with both feet, I thought I would take my introduction to weaving with cut beads slowly. I decided to make a simple Kumihimo bracelet to start with, which would enable me to use thick S-Lon thread, therefore reducing the thread-slicing risk. The lovely rhythmic braiding process gave me chance to look closely at the beads, to get to know them a bit better and to start to relax. I chose red and blue Two-Cuts and mixed them with some white size 7 rocailles and white S-Lon to give a patriotic feel - the colours of both the UK and Czech Republic flag! I made the bracelet long enough to wrap twice around my wrist, and added a little button and loop closure.

Although I was happy with the results of my first piece, I still didn't quite have the confidence to use my usual Nymo or Fireline with them in basic beadweaving stitches. So next I did a bit of embroidery using Ultrasuede and heavy duty 14lb Fireline to create a Gothic style brooch. I used a mix of Two-Cuts, Drops, fire polished beads and Charlottes to circle a glass button with a skull and crossbones design and completed the look with a drooping black ribbon bow. I had absolutely no problem with the Two-Cuts and the thicker Fireline, so by now I was starting to wonder if I had spent years missing out on using cut beads in my designs because of my unnecessary fear of them.

So for my final Two-Cut piece, I went back to what I know best - 6lb Fireline and herringbone stitch! I made lots of little beaded tubes with grey AB Two-Cuts in both shiny and matte, threaded them onto sterling silver beading chain along with some cream 4mm glass pearls, and then added a sterling silver clasp to make a three row bracelet with lots of movement. This is the sort of beadwork I love to do and I made 24 of these little tubes with absolutely no trouble at all. None of the beads cut my thread while I was working with them and the bracelet has been worn repeatedly with no problems. So there - accepting the opportunity to work with PRECIOSA Two-Cut Beads not only gave me chance to work with interesting bead shapes and colours, it also cured me of my phobia of cut beads!

See you next time!