How Carole E. Hanley Moved from Knitting to Bead Weaving
Carole E. Hanley is a knitter, crocheter, quilter, and bead weaving artist. She lives in the northeast of England, where she loves to bead and recently began designing her own pieces. Carole’s daughter, Jill Wright, who is also a knit and crochet designer, first submitted Carole’s work to us. We loved Carole’s original brick-stitch designs made from Delicas. We published four of her bracelet patterns in 2015, including two that we recently kitted: her Diamond Fire Bracelet and Dancing Diamonds Bracelet.
Carole recently shared her beading journey with us, including the unique places she gets some of the ideas for her patterns.
An Accidental Beader
Q: How did you get started with bead weaving?
A: I started beading totally by accident. I used to belong to a machine knitters group, and at one of our meetings the organiser brought everyone some Delica beads, needle, thread, and a simple square stitch bracelet pattern. I was hooked at once and haven’t stopped since!
Q: What’s your favorite stitch or technique, and why?
A: Brick stitch is my all-time favourite stitch. It makes the design process so much easier. The pattern is easier to work out and follow while stitching. And the resulting work is always very fluid and ribbonlike.
Maintaining the Creative Flow
Q: Do you plan your designs in advance, or do you just let the creativity flow?
A: I usually get bursts of inspiration and can design several pieces all in a few sessions. Then it can take a good long while for me to design again. I can’t seem to design just one piece at a time.
Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: My solution for getting out of a creative rut is to change crafts for a while. I typically switch to patchwork and quilting, my second love, which still involves shapes, patterns, and colour.
Design and Color Inspiration
Q: Where do you get your design ideas?
A: I get ideas from all over the place. I see patterns everywhere, from garden fences to electricity pylons. [U.S. translation: electricity pylon = transmission tower] I was even inspired by soccer goalposts once, and I was very happy with the resulting bracelet! Designs just seem to jump out at me.
Q: How do you approach the use of color in your designs?
A: I like strong, bright colours with good contrast. I seem to have difficulty with pastel hues unless I use them to shade from bright to pale. I have to really love the colours I’ve chosen; otherwise, I don’t enjoy the process of creating.
Two Very Different Diamond Designs
Q: What was the inspiration for your Dancing Diamonds and Diamond Fire bracelets?
A: It may seem odd, but Dancing Diamonds came about from some doodles on graph paper. It just kind of evolved from there. Diamond Fire was inspired by a sketch on an old scrap of paper that I came across while doing some sorting. Years before I must have been looking through a book on Bargello [needlework] and decided to see if I could create something. It obviously worked!
Carole also shared with us that although she does have a sewing room, she doesn’t really have a dedicated beading space. She simply beads on her sofa! (Personally, I’m always amazed and impressed by people who can do this!)
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine