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The secret behind a successful show
When it comes to getting all the cool Beads, Baubles, and Jewels stuff, you have it easy. Just watch and learn! But weeks of preparation happen before the show you see. For Marlene Blessing and myself, as the two editors featured on the show, the fun you see online or on TV is the result of many, many hours of preparation and creative outpouring–for each episode! So today I want to tell the story of the evolution of what I do before you see our manicured fingers on the air.
Learn the stitch
I know lots of stitches but not nearly all. Sometimes I have to learn them first myself. I know–what a terrible job having to learn bead stitches–just remember, I have to master them to be able to teach them to you. For the latest taping of season 12, which will be available in Spring 2010, I learned two new stitches–St. Petersburg and the chevron stitch. I look at projects from Beadwork and books, then I practice, practice, practice. I make little samplers in different beads to get comfy with the new stitch and see which shape and size beads work best, then show you my most successful samplers on the air. I probably make about 8–10 samplers to get the hang of a stitch, but you see only the ones that turn out. No use confusing you with my goofs!

 

   
The chevron stitch was pretty easy to learn, and I made samplers using Delica as well as Czech seed beads, trying patterns of color in multiple rows of the stitch.

Step-by-step illustrations and bead samplers
Next, I create digital illustrations of beads arranged in position as they appear when you stitch them, print those diagrams, and then draw the thread paths for the taping of that lesson. It’s a bit like watching animation. (I use Adobe Illustrator, for any techies out there.)  I also stitch actual beads, step by step, to match the diagrams. With only a few minutes for each actual lesson on the air, I have the steps already stitched in stages, to teach you the most in a brief lesson.

Here’s one of my chevron-stitch diagrams and related step-by-step beadwork from the Beads, Baubles, and Jewels show that will be released Spring 2010.

Finished examples
I try to have some finished piece of jewelry on display with each lesson. If I haven’t made something yet myself, I sometimes get other editors to give me items, but mostly I try to make more complete pieces myself. I wish I had time to bring every sampler to fruition! Multiply this by 10 or 12 techniques, and you get the idea of how much love and time go into my segments.

This is a picot-trim-lesson diagram and sampler and a detail of an almost-finished cuff.

Taking it to the next step
The lessons I teach for Beads, Baubles, and Jewels are basic techniques. But I want you to see how you can take your work to new heights once you know the basics. So, I sleep less and bead more to create a finished piece that’s a step or two beyond the ABC of a stitch. I did this with one of my newly learned stitches, one I decided I loved, the St. Petersburg stitch.

These St. Pete samplers use seed beads (green Czech and blue Delicas shown here) since I’m the seed-bead DoodleBeads lady for Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.
Stitch satisfaction
I had to satisfy my own hunger to play with this new stitch and something in a style of ethnicity I’m exploring. So, I made a necklace using more nontraditional beads in this traditional seed-bead stitch. Look at the different character that emerged using the same basic stitch as a jumping off point, but with non-seed beads and modifying the stitch with extra embellishment.
     
[view:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WChUykYlDPM]
The best lesson you can get from Beads, Baubles, and Jewels is that once you know the basics, you have the power to keep going. Be inspired to play. Practice the stitches, the styles, get comfy with all the other materials and techniques each complete season showcases, and it won’t be long until you’ll go beyond the basics in your own work. Ready to be inspired? Check out the DVD of the 11th season of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels!
Watch my tubular herringbone lesson here! 
   
Earthy Zen

Here’s a great basic stitch project that becomes a more sophisticated finished piece. Featured in this series, the Earthy Zen necklace by Marlene Blessing combines the tubular herringbone stitch you’ll learn in Season 11 of Beads, Baubles and Jewels with trendy chain and metal focal dangles.

Ready to go beyond the basics? Which new stitch from the 11th season of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels will you choose to explore? Try some little samplers like I do. Share with us on Beading Daily and post your samplers in our gallery.

Bead on!

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