Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perserverance Pays Off

The Tea Party is over: the cups are washed and put away, glitter and crumbs swept up, and life goes back to normal. I picked up where I left off with Mikkey's beaded amulet bag and finished it yesterday.

This was the mother-of-all-beaded-projects for me so far and here's how it progressed since my last update:

I finished the cylinder section of the bag and then went to the directions to find the next step. This wasn't hard, since the instructions were fairly terse:

"2. Work bottom and close." Well - not too helpful! HOW do I work the bottom? What is it supposed to look like? Is that little strip of blue at the bottom of the color map supposed to be the bottom? Or are they supposed to be flaps that hang down behind the bag with fringe attached to them, like the front flap diagrammed between them? Where is it written down?

I finally shouted "S**T" to the skies and headed to the bead shop for some help. I've heard rumors of a peyote stitch expert who works there, and maybe SHE could give me some direction... I showed her the pattern, the bag itself, and the kit directions. She stared at it for a good long while and said, "Huh!" She'd never seen such poorly written instructions before. After banging our heads together for several minutes, she pretty much said that however I decided to finish off the bottom was going to be right. OK.

So, I went home and figured out how many stitches and rows were in those two little patches of blue at the bottom of the color map. Maybe, they weren't supposed to be TWO flaps, but one joined in the middle behind the front flap? Sure enough, after making it up, this flap was JUST big enough to fill the bottom area. I stitched it closed with a huge sigh of relief.

The next step, the triangular flap at the bottom front, required some research - I hadn't learned to do decreases at the edge of peyote stitch yet. Easy peasy! I worked the flap and added it to the center front of the bag.

The fringe was also easy, just time consuming. Three down...

forty-seven to go!!

The strap was the final step, and required some patience. The words on it read:

"... and from the sea rose Venus, Goddess of Love, the brightest star in the infinite sky." ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

I did take some liberties with the strap. By the time I got close to the end of the alphabet, the strap was REALLY long. Then I saw there were TWO "X's" as well as several punctuation marks after the letters in the diagram. I'm not a fan of redundancy, especially when my eyes are at stake. So, I left out the second X and those punctuations.

I tried on the bag, and the top hung even with my navel! With the added characters in the strap, it would have hung like a sporran in front of a kilt.

At any rate, it's done, and I'm happy with the result:

With all the fringe, it's fairly heavy, a little over four ounces. I think having the fringe run all around the front flap and the back at the bottom was unnecessary. But, it is very lush to look at.

What I learned from this project:

I know I can do something really difficult if I'm patient and ask for help.

I know I could write better directions! One simple line drawing diagram of how the bottom should look would have been a huge help. Even an additional photo of the back would be been a good idea.

After peering at the complicated pattern diagram, then switching to peering at tiny Delica seed beads, I fear I need a pair of these.

I prefer to see Botticelli's on the wall here.

Time to let out a deep breathe, pack the bag up and mail it out, then go onto something new...


Jewllori by Lori said...

wow, wow and triple wow!!!!!!! I can't believe you're done it, ALREADY! That didn't take you too long, and it looks amazing. You seriously are talented! I know I would never have attempted to even try something like that. Good for you :))

Snap said...

Wow, Kate. The amulet bag is beautiful. I KNEW you could do it and now YOU know it, too! You go!

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

Congratulations!! And WOW! I can't believe what you accomplished in a relatively short amount of time (as the weeks are counted). It's great and your mom's friend is going to love it (and you) :). Way to go!

TattingChic said...

I am so very impressed! You have my utmost respect for perservering with that project! Way to go!

So many tatting patterns are written poorly so I can truly understand your frustration and the work you had to go through to figure that one out! Good for you! :)


TesoriTrovati said...

I am so sorry to be so late for your fabulous tea party! But being late allowed me to marvel at your handiwork. That is beyond words beautiful! I have no patience for those tiny seed beads whatsoever! Congratulations on a stunning project (and most what you learned from it!)

I am still tea-partying! I am holding a giveaway of my own to keep the party rolling. Please come by and say hi at http://treasures-found.blogspot.com

Enjoy the day!

rochambeau said...

Oh MY!! This turned out WONDERFULLY KATE! Adore the how the beaded fringe flows out from Venus' neck and the delicate strap!

Great JOB!!


Andrea - Faded Plains said...

That is simply amazing! I can't believe you made that...well, I mean I can believe it cuz I've seen what you can do...but that is amazing! Wonderful job!

3rdEyeMuse said...

*standing ovation* three cheers, woot-woot & SUPER well done!

that was one heck of a project and the result is stunning.

Runako Designs by Dee said...

the bag is beautiful, you did a wonderful job, bad directions and all..very talented lady!!

Gabriela said...

Hello Kate,

Just awesome!

~ Gabriela ~

Gypsy Moon Designs said...

I love it!

Rhonda Roo said...

Egads woman! You should get some sort of Pulitzer, or something! Gorgeous crazy beautiful. I'm cheering with the cheering section, and standing with the ovation section, all while my mouth hangs open and my eyes hurt from sympathetic reciprocal strain!!

Isabel said...

I never doubted you could make it. You're THAT kind of girl-committed and coureagous. What a lesson in perseverance and "you can do it" attitude.
You go GIRL! The end result is AMAZING!