Welcome to Bead, Book & Bounce, a bead and book review project organised by the lovely Clair in Operation Tackle that bead stash. If you want to know more about the project then read the introductory post on the OTTBS blog here. To summarise though, its a monthly blog feature encouraging us to actually use our wonderful beading books!
Like many members of the group I have many beading books that I look through regularly, but there are very few that I've actually made anything from so I was eager to take part. I can't promise I'll join in every month but I hope to when I can. The first book chosen was "Bead Romantique" by Lisa Kan.
To be honest, I was disappointed with the first choice because its not a book I owned and I wanted to join in straight away. Although I've seen this book on many an Amazon browse I never felt tempted to buy it because I'm not an elegant, ornate and ...well...romantique-y sort of person. Whilst occasionally I do dress up 'all posh like', I spend most of my time in scruffy purple DMs and jeans so I'd never felt the urge to buy the book. However, when fellow OTTBS members started posting pictures of goodies they had already made in our facebook group I became more interested. As I had a birthday coming up I decided to add it to my wish list and see if some lovely person would buy it for me- and they did!
Things then conspired against me to join in this project but fortunately for me the reveal date got pushed back a month so that gave me more time. Lacking mojo and other projects have meant that I haven't really done a lot but I thought I'd join in the project with my thoughts and the little bit I have done.
On a first flick though the book I thought there were many beautiful designs but, like I'd thought, many are too ornate for me. For those who'd like to know, the instructions are in written and diagram form. I think they are clear and easy to follow. There are beautiful photographs of the finished pieces of jewellery, occasionally in different colourways. There are a variety of different materials used in the 17 projects, such as seed beads, drops, triangles, chain, crystals and pearls. There are easy projects more suited to beginner and more complex ones too though they are not difficulty graded.
Despite the fact that this book is too ornate for me, on closer inspection I discovered that I want to make elements of more than half the patterns. There are probably only 2 projects I would make pretty much 'as is' (Netted Rivoli Chain Earrings and Victorian Diamond Cuff), but many projects I like certain elements of. For example, I love the pendant bit of the design on the front cover but its too much for me with the rest of the necklace. I'm thinking about making just that part and adding it to a simple beaded rope or many making a few of them and linking together in a bracelet.
The small bit of the book I have actually done so far is a rope. Lisa has a few gorgeous ropes in the book with wonderful textures. I decided to make the rope from the Deco Collar as I love the combination of triangles and 15s. I decided to make a simple bracelet with some frosted black toho size 11 triangles and some fuchsia lined 15s I've had in my stash for yonks. In the tips, Lisa mentions how to make the tube smaller so I decided to go for a 3 unit start rather than 5 to end up with a narrower tube. Whilst the instructions are clear and easy to follow I got a little confused by Lisa's description that it is odd-count tubular peyote. Its not like any tubular peyote I've ever done before and to me it looks much more like Russian spiral (a quick search to check and I'm pretty sure it is)- but I've never gotten round to doing that stitch yet either so I ignored my knowledge of peyote and just followed the instructions. I did remove the starting row at the end so that I could make a seamless tubular bangle. Here it is, totally un-romantique-y but much more me.
I have also started the Black Lace Lariat but not gotten very far with it yet. I'm not going to make the full lariat, it will be a choker instead. The pattern calls for size 11 and size 13 charlottes. Hmmmm...I don't have any and you don't see them much in the UK. You can get size 15s and I occassionally see size 13 but not sure I've ever seen size 11s online or at fairs, haven't looked that hard though yet! (Quick aside about resources: Lisa gives a suppliers list for each of her projects including contact details at the back. She is California based though so all her suppliers are US) I would love to make it in black charlottes because the single facet would make it fab but as I don't have any, I decided to see if it would work with normal size 15 and 11 seed beads. It does seem to be working okish. So far I only have 2 medallions done. I think I'll need 12 to make it round my neck and I will run out of the gunmetal fire polish before then so it wont be finished any time soon but here it is so far.
Another project I really want to do is the rope the last project in the book, though I'd probably make it a bracelet. Its triple spiral and has lots of 3mm swarovski bicones. As this will make it quite expensive I've shelved my plan for this one at the moment. However, on an impromptu visit to my local bead shop (The Southampton Bead Shop) I found 3mm Chinese crystal bicones. Not quite as regular but they will probably be fine for this project and lots cheaper. I didn't buy any as I'd spent a small fortune at a bead fair the other day but definitely worth remembering!
I will make more bits from this book (I hope) and will let you know on my blog when I do. My verdict on the book? Excellent if you like the more ornate and elegant style. There are still some good elements if that style isn't really your cup of tea, but maybe try and get hold of a copy to look through before you buy.
I hope you enjoyed my review. Now, hop across to the main review page on the OTTBS blog to see other peoples' reviews.