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Friday, September 2, 2016

"Aflame" and Friends

I have been playing with chenille stitch and gradation for over a year, and find there is a nice depth in working with the same idea over an extended period.  Part this work is the rope above, published in the October 2016 Bead & Button Magazine.

I submitted the project with a maple leaf pendant, employing the same gradation, but only the rope was chosen for publication.  One nice thing about working with Bead & Button is, although you cannot publish your accepted project anywhere else before they do, afterward, you may submit it for publication elsewhere, or self-publish, which I have done in my Etsy shop.  I have published a tutorial for the leaf, rope, and bail here, as well as a kit in the "Aflame" colors shown above.

I think they play nicely together, and really like the flame-ish aspect of the whole.  I tried to combine both the colors of the leaves I pick up on my daily walks, with the colors in the bonfires I find so appealing in my fire pit in the fall.  I love the crisp cool air on my back and toasty toes, and the blue-purple embers at the edges of the fire.  I tried to roll all of the juicy goodness of Autumn together into this work.

I worked up two other colorways to include in my tutorial.  I realize that "Aflame" is a very bold piece with bright colors.  So I did a much more subtle version.  This is "Singe". I made up jest a few kits in this color group, since the investment in the 24k beads is substantial.  They are available here!

It represents the leaves of the Silver Maples that fill my yard, which go almost directly from green to coppery topaz, bypassing all the reds and oranges of the Sugar Maples in the neighbor's yards.  They always seem a little burnt to me.  But they have their own beauty, and the colorway has more a feeling of proper jewelry, (a bit less fantastical than bold "Aflame") given the 24k gold edges and accents in the rope.

And then, there is "Psychedelic Scarab".  OK, get out the mushrooms. This might be a tribute to my coming of age in the early '70's. I had a few Scarabeus Green Swarovski beetles left over from a dressmaking project, and the color in that little piece of glass was pretty awesome.

I added a beetle to the bail, and despite the "tripiness" of the colors in the leaf, this baby looks awesome worn with either of my two cobalt blue tops, and turns heads. Ladies who share my table while I am sipping my tea at the farmer's market demand I take it off for closer examination. I have to admit, it might be my favorite.  And the ROPE!  The kit for this color is here in my Etsy shop.

Both pieces (rope and leaf) could also be worn separately, and I have made a few leaves as samples for another, larger project, which I am also selling in my shop.

These leaves use the same pattern, MOSTLY.  I have scaled the bail down for the thinner rope. As you might notice, I take liberties with the exact placement of the beads as I work this pattern.  You can bead both sides symmetrically if you like, but in my world, it looks much more natural if each side is a little different.  I suggest in my pattern that when you lay out the second side, you use the beads I suggest, but switch a few with their neighbors.  In my samples, I have fiddled further than that, and changed a few edges a bit, but it's nice to know that once you have the shape established, you can play with color placement to your hearts content.  I really look forward to seeing what you all will do with this pattern.

I hope your will enjoy the curly-edged, ripply-centered, funky shape of this project too, which also keeps the leaves looking realistic!

Happy Autumn to you!  I hope you will enjoy making your very own leaf pile!


  1. I tried the chenille rope once and did not like the way it turned out but I always like the way it looks in pictures. Your rope is beautiful, the graduation is just right. Perhaps when I find a spare minute I should give it another try.

    Congratulations on the publication. I am sure the leaf will sell well.

    1. KJ, I don't like Chenille as it is usually done either. One of the secrets to my ropes is working the stitch around a core. It can be any supple 3mm cord, leather, satin covered, paracord, and other possibilities. I also do a thicker cord with an additional bead (or two!) in each round. I hope you will give it a try! As always thanks for reading and commenting!

    2. I did a beautiful turquoise slab necklace with a herringbone rope. The rope always looks smashed. For various other reasons I need to make a "better" version of the necklace. Next time I will use cording in the center of the rope. One of my beading suppliers also suggested tubing for aquariums. Thanks for a great tip.

    3. Yep, I have used aquarium tubing too, in my January Dawn piece. The clear tube means it works with any colors. :)

  2. These are beautiful designs, congratulations!

    1. Thank you Chris! I love using gradation to manipulate color, and pleased with the response to this project. :)

  3. Wonderful colorways and movement!
    -Eva Maria