Friday, March 23, 2007

Opulence

Pure opulence is all this is. It will be extravagant, it will be expensive, and it will be worth it! I've always wanted a pearl lariat, and that is exactly what I had in mind for these lovelies when I made this purchase, . I bought them with the intent of crocheting a rope with them. I love lariats, even though they are quite time consuming to produce.

Especially with these irregularly shaped freshwater pearls! I had no idea what I was in for when I started stringing these. Armed with my trusty 3.5 inch long needle, I was ready for the attack. I know from experience that stringing beads of irregular shape such as these is very difficult. The beads roll all over the place, haphazardly, and you always seem to be chasing the hole. So this time, I tried to outsmart them, I decided I'd string the pearls onto my needle while they sat primly on the temporary string. Well, no can do! There's no way I can squeeze the needle between the pearl and the thread. NO SPACE!


Ah, but the ever resourceful Jewels had a Plan B, and here's how it went down:



Pre-strung freshwater pearls.
Everyone of these babies looks perfect, but as the years go by, you learn that they're not all perfect. I'm a stickler for good beads, and refuse to work with broken or uneven beads, so I like to cull them as I work. (I've also been known to 'waste' a whole evening doing nothing but culling, separating, and organizing my beads...) Well, when working with natural pearls, you tend to find stuff like this:


Irregular holes, double holes, broken holes, half-drilled holes, broken pearls, nasty looking pearls (Is that even POSSIBLE????) , which of course, need to be removed from the stash one at a time.

Self-portrait (timers are great!), too early in the morning to even attempt to look good, hat was handy, so this is what you get. Hah! I'm an early morning Gansta' Beada'! ;)

Sitting at the dining room table, stringing my pearls. I carefully dissect the knot of the temporary thread, hold the thread taught, and grab onto 5 pearls. That's all the pads of my index and thumb will hold. And for my next trick, I will try my hardest to keep the pearls as still as possible, making sure the holes stay aligned end-to-end without shifting, as I gently pull the thread out, and will then insert my needle, hopefully through all five of them.


And this little ritual will go on for at least an hour, maybe tack on an extra 10 minutes or so if you happen to get a knot in your stringing thread, and you have to juggle a 10 foot long piece of string as you try to untangle it.


Since the beads are pre-strung in a bead crochet project, you have to carefully push the bulk of the beads forward as you string the new ones on. This is done slowly, taking care to not scrape the beads too much, or tangling your thread beyond repair (which would cause a do-over that might take months to get to, due to the sheer frustration of it all). And depending on the size of the beads you're working with, this could exceed 15 feet of strung beads. Yup! Just like juggling a long string of wet spaghetti!

Thing is, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Everyone has their own technique. My friend likes her bead spinner, which isn't bad, but I find you lose a lot of beads due to the fast spinning of the bowl. Best part of a spinner, is that it takes a fraction of the time to string your beads. Like, 10 minutes as opposed to an hour. I like my trusty old olive dish, got it for a steal at the Dollar Store! If I'm using all the same beads, then it usually takes me about 15 minutes to string a project with my olive dish. But when you work with irregular beads, you have to do it by hand.



All Strung!

... and I'm all strung out! LoL!...


This white one is my second bead crochet pearl rope. I made another one right before, in a brassy khaki color, and it looks awesome! I'm just finishing off the ends before I photograph them and show them off. But so far, oh my Goddess they're yummy!!!! I've never seen anything like it.

9 comments:

Jodie said...

OMG! Can't wait to see it all finished!

Not Ashley said...

Just realized I haven't seen the other one yet.

TeAntae said...

As I'm reading this post and looking at the pictures I keep telling myself, "She's not going to do bead crochet with all those pearls. She just couldn't be that crazy?" Holy sh*t lady!

I love bead crochet myself but pearls? I can't wait to see how gorgeous this turns out!!!

Dino aka Katy said...

uhhhhh pretty like the self portait and the hat

Jewels said...

Oh, girls, I can't wait to finish them, and show them off!
This is turning into a more enterprising project than I'd imagined. See, now that the ropes are done, I can't just have plain ends on them! I simply must make something worthy of them. ;)

What to do, what to do... I've got a few ideas, but then, how do you chose the best one?

The Phosgene Kid said...

If I went to all that trouble to make a bead rope, I would probably wind up hanging myself with it!!

Nice pearls, I prefer the freshwat3er over the regular ones...

Gnat of Glass said...

How many pearls will go into this thing?

Could you make some hair pins to go with this? IE> use some silver wire to attach to the ends of the hair pins to give you a nice little addition to the neckless. My wife has some and I love when she wears them, it is such a small thing but really does it for me...ok I have once again said way to much.

Gnat.
.

Jewels said...

Thanks Phos. Oh, but no, we can't have you hanging yourself! Nope! Can't have that! ;)


Scott, I believe you've just stumbled unto my very first contest idea... Guess how many pearls are in this rope kinda deal. What do you think? As far as the hair ornaments, I'm a very visual person, so if you had a photo, that would help me lots! It would be fun to try something new and different. Get the old creative juices going.

LJ said...

I LOVE the pictures! What a great series - and for those who don't bead, it gives some idea of the amount of work involved. Bravo.