Bracelet Making – When My Muse Takes a Holiday

It happens to the best and most prolific of us beaders. Every once in a while, my beading muse up and decides that it’s time to take a holiday, leaving me in the lurch. But, really, it’s good to take a break sometimes and get away from what I think I should be working on and give my brain a break. This week, I’ve been playing around with some bracelet making projects using peyote stitch patterns by Carol Dean Sharpe to keep my fingers busy while my muse is off enjoying a little rest and relaxation.

I figured after working so hard for the last few weeks, I deserved a little beady treat, so I went over to Carol Dean’s Etsy Shop, Sand Fibers, and picked out a few new peyote stitch cuff bracelet patterns to keep my fingers — and my mind — occupied. The rhythmic thread pattern of flat peyote stitch is so much like meditation for me, I find myself feeling relaxed and refreshed after a couple of hours spent beading them, and after a while, it’s hard for me to put them down and get on to other things. (Like blogging!)

Bracelet Making Using What I’ve Got

The first reason why I love these beaded bracelet making projects is that they need to be worked up right away — there’s no waiting around for a new order of beads to arrive. Just like every other beader I know, I’ve got a bead budget, so these bracelet making projects are the perfect way for me to take a good look at what colors of cylinder beads I already have in my stash and start using them up. When you pick out a new beading project or pattern and you just have to start making it right now, it’s amazing how easy it is to find just the right bead in your stash!

My biggest concern when it comes to these kinds of peyote stitch bracelet making projects is whether or not I’ll have enough cylinder beads to complete the pattern. Thankfully, I have very slender wrists, so I can usually get away with using a few grams less than is called for in the peyote stitch pattern.

It’s also a lot of fun to watch my six year old as he fawns over the little piles of colorful seed beads on my bead board. He just can’t resist sticking his fingers into the cylinder beads and swirling them around, making shapes and, ultimately, a new batch of cylinder bead soup.

Speaking of Color…

These bracelet making projects also give me the chance to experiment with color. Once I’ve decided that I’m not going to buy any new cylinder beads, I start playing with color combinations that I might not have ordinarily used. Because I’m limiting myself to using just the colors I have on hand at the moment and not buying any new cylinder beads when I start working on them, I’m forced to come up with new color combinations. It’s actually a pretty good way for me to start thinking about new color palettes for my other beading projects. It’s also a pretty good way for me to look at certain colors of cylinder beads in my stash and wonder what, exactly, I was thinking when I bought them. (Along the lines of, did I really think that fifty grams of bubblegum pink cylinder beads would come in handy one day?)

Before I start working on these kinds of bracelet making projects, I like to work up a couple of swatches of peyote stitch using the colors I’ve chosen. It’s not a bad idea for your other beading projects, either, because we all know that just because your seed bead colors look good together when they’re in the tube, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll work together in an actual piece of beaded jewelry. If I happen to make a particularly pleasing sample with a new color palette, I’ll hang on to it with the bead numbers and colors for future reference, too!

Everyone Needs Closure

And of course, with these peyote stitch bracelet making projects, there’s great potential to play with closures. I usually experiment a bit with the closure on the first peyote stitch cuff bracelet that I make, adding a toggle made with seed beads, or maybe digging out a special button from my stash that can be used as a bracelet closure. For Carol Dean’s Air and Water cuff, I used a new copper hook from TierraCast as my closure. But by the time I finished my second bracelet, the Scroll Lace Redux peyote stitch pattern, I had an idea bubbling around in my head that I was eager to start, and I decided to go with a couple of simple magnetic closures.

With an easy bracelet making project like these, I’m more comfortable allowing myself to experiment with different closures like peyote stitch toggles or buttons. I want the closures for these kinds of bracelet making projects to closely match, or even fade into, the overall design, but I let myself try out two or three different options before deciding.

The best part of these bracelet making projects was how they relaxed my mind and let some new ideas bubble up! Just a couple of hours after I finished my second peyote stitch cuff, I was feeling motivated to pull out some Shibori ribbon and a few crystal rivolis, and before I knew it, I had started working on a new bead embroidered collar! If you’re looking for a beading project to bridge the gap between inspiration and finished jewelry, I can highly recommend a few good beaded bracelet making projects to help you keep your fingers busy while your muse takes a break.

What could possibly be better than a new bracelet making pattern? Maybe a new bracelet making kit? If you’re still swooning over Melinda Barta’s Tambourine Bangles beading project from her latest book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch, take a look at the three colorways available in the Beading Daily Shop. Pick one out, and give yourself a little beading treat with a new bracelet making project!

What’s your favorite way to get out of a beading lull? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with us here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,


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