We could include the pattern, the exact type of beads we used (specifically, what brand! - see below), the stringing material, and the colors, even needle size. And most importantly, include tips for the average beader. I know what patterns call for, but sometimes, we need to use what we have at hand and something this works and sometimes it doesn't!
This week, I decided to try out the Halo Earrings by Lisa Kan. This pattern is from the February/March 2016 Beadwork magazine. I liked the structural look of the beadwork and the fact that it was an earring (so it wouldn't take forever!). Well, these were a labor of love. And, honestly, a kit would have been quite nice.
Before, I begin, I should say the pattern calls for 11 Japanese seed beads and 15 Japanese seed beads.
First, I tried the pattern with some purple glossy speckled 11 seed beads from Tamara Scott and metallic silver 15 rocailles (from Fire Mountain Gems). Well, I kind of thought the purple beads seemed on the larger side for 11 seed beads, so the initial circle was very tight and difficult to pull together and... it ended up not too much like a donut circle and more like a circle in the shape of a Pringles potato chip.
So, I tried again with some shiny greenish 11 seed beads, that on comparison, actually looked close in size to the purple speckled 11 seed beads & with the metallic silver 15 rocailles. Again, the end result was of a Pringles potato chip. And, working with two very shiny beads was making my eyes cross-eyed! Way too hard to see, even with sufficient lighting and reading glasses!
**The 11 seed beads from the 14st and 2nd tries. They purple one looks just slightly bigger than the greenish-metallic one.
**These are the two different 15 seed beads. The one on the left is a size 15 used in #3 & #4. The one on the right is a rocaille, used in #1 & #2.
So, then I thought it might be the rocailles causing the problem. The 3rd time, I tried all new beads - Toho transparent rainbow frosted black diamond 11 seed beads and round matte metallic silver 15 seed beads (from Tamara Scott). And this combination worked perfectly (and was so much easier to see!).
So, I thought I would try a 4th time with the purple glossy speckled 11 seed beads again and the round matte metallic silver 15 seed beads (from the 3rd attempt). And... this one also came out like the Pringle shape but not as bad as the first two, so I finished the piece to see if the embellishments would help pull it straight. They kind of worked, but the piece is still a little wonky in shape. (See the picture up above - it has pink embellishment beads.)
So there you have it! The type/brand of bead really does matter for the integrity of the donut structure! (Learned the hard way). And, wouldn't this be nice to include in a beadweaving ravelry for others to learn from my mistakes?
One more tip - the beaded bead really doesn't come together until that last Finishing step. It really pulls everything into place and makes the pattern pop!