Talking One + One with Brooke Nico

February 29, 2012, 10:41 am  Posted by guestblogger

We’re celebrating the upcoming, March release of One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs, the first book of a new series that focuses on two-skein projects. Talking with us today is design contributor Brooke Nico.

Lavish Cape


Did you enjoy working with a limit?

I was so excited when [author Iris Schreier] approached me about this project. I loved the concept, and for me limits like the two-skein requirement force me to think outside of the box. In fact, when I used to sew, I would occasionally buy less fabric than needed in order to make myself think of creative solutions!

How did you choose your yarn combination?

I knew I wanted to use the Silk Rhapsody and Silk Rhapsody with Glitter from the beginning. For one thing, the value and yardage per skein in this yarn is wonderful. My goal was to do a garment of some type, and with over 450 yards between the 2 skeins, this was the perfect yarn. I also wanted to work with a larger gauge yarn. People often think that lace knitting requires fine gauge yarn. I wanted to show that you could create beautiful lace with a heavier yarn, which makes it less frightening for beginning lace knitters.

Tell us about the Lavish Cape.

Because I had a finite amount of yarn, I designed this cape from the top down. This is always a great option when you don’t know how far your yarn will go, just knit until you run out, and that is how long your garment will be! I used the Silk Rhapsody for the main part of the cape, and added the Silk Rhapsody with Glitter for the edging. I love the subtle pop that the glitter adds to the hem of the cape!

What is your approach to design? How would you define your design style?

I approach design from a combination of math and art. Lace knitting is very mathematical, which is a huge part of its appeal to me. The challenge is in taking that rigid pattern and making it flow. I also like to be sure that all the shaping fits into the lace pattern, keeping the design visually pleasing. As a designer, I strive to create lace garments that women love to wear and that are easy to wear!

Learn more about Brooke at kirkwoodknittery.com, Ravelry (user bdnico), and facebook.


Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects: Designs from Stringing to Beadweaving is the brand new book from one of the world’s most popular beading designers and authors. It presents 25 beading projects for a range of skill levels and with a range of techniques. Everyone will find a lot to love in this book, from new beaders to very experienced ones! Here’s how Jennifer VanBenschoten described the book last week in a review on her great VanBeads blog Jewelry, Art and Life:

“These projects represent the very best of Diane’s extensive technical knowledge when it comes to crafting beaded jewelry. There are knotting projects, beadweaving projects, and assemblage projects that use some basic wire skills to create. Not all of the projects are technically challenging for an advanced beader, but they are most inspiring. In the Buddhist tradition of getting back to a ‘beginner’s mind,’ some of these projects will provide a wonderful and welcome break when you just want to bead something beautiful. If you want to expand your general jewelry-making skills to include work with fibers, fabric, and knotting, this is the book for you. Diane has really allowed herself to develop as an artist over the course of her career, and this book is a delightful compilation of all the skills and techniques she has mastered along the way. For any serious bead artist looking for something new to try, Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects will provide hours of enjoyable beading projects.”


You can preview the book at two other blog posts: download a PDF of the Fortune Teller Beads necklace project from the book here AND see a preview of photos of projects in the book and download a PDF of the beautiful Midnight Snowflakes necklace project here.

We’re giving away a signed copy of Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects paired with a signed copy of Diane’s classic book Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork: Dimensional Jewelry with Peyote Stitch, which was the best-selling first book released in Lark Jewelry & Beading’s Beadweaving Master Class series.

Diane Fitzgerald

How can you enter for a chance to win the pair of two outstanding books from Diane? Easy: Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 7. Any comment counts, but in the spirit of some recent posts from my colleague Nathalie Mornu, it would be great if you’d tell us which bead store is your favorite — and what makes it so good.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, March 12. Click here for the official rules. Thank you for being a part of the Lark Jewelry & Beading community, and please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook.


UPDATE, March 9, 2012: Congratulations to Christine Forgo of Mansfield, Texas. Christine is the randomly selected winner of the two signed books from Diane. Thank you to everyone who participated! ~ Ray


FREE PROJECT: Crafty Appliqué T-Shirt

February 24, 2012, 16:29 pm  Posted by Lark

You know that old t-shirt tucked in the back of your closet that you don’t seem to wear anymore but just can’t bare to part with because of the delicious, well-worn fabric or fabulous color? Transform it into something new and stylish with this fun and easy project from Signature Styles. Designer Amy Tangerine’s offers up a simple reverse appliqué technique that you could follow exactly as offered, or you could experiment by trying out your own shape or word to suit your personal style.


Find out more about Amy at www.amytangerine.com.



One + One giveaway!

February 24, 2012, 11:44 am  Posted by Lark

Got the One + One bug? We do, too! We’re celebrating the release of the first book in this new series – One + One Scarves, Shawls, & Shrugs – all month. So stay tuned for  contributor interviews, giveaways, and a free project (or two!). And we’re continuing our celebration today with a giveaway… read below for more info!

To enter for a chance to win the book, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, March 2. Any comment is fine, though we’d love to hear what’s on your needles now. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Monday, March 5. Click here for the official rules.

Comments are now closed for this giveaway, and the winner will be announced soon. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Want to read more? Check out this interview with author Iris Schreier.


Talking One + One with Iris Schreier

February 22, 2012, 10:23 am  Posted by guestblogger

We’re celebrating the upcoming, March release of One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs, the first book of a new series that focuses on two-skein projects. Check back in on Friday for a chance to win a copy!

Talking with us today is the author of One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs, Iris Schreier.

Romantic Jabot Collar


Given One + One’s two-skein limit, how did you create such a variety of designs?

There are many knitting books that include one-skein projects. But in some cases, one skein doesn’t have enough yardage for the project you have in mind, such as a scarf, shawl or shrug. So I decided to help you figure out how to use two different skeins in a project, whether they were two different colors of the same yarn, or two completely different yarns. This book includes lots of original ideas for using yarns this way. From the shop owner’s perspective, who is often left with individual skeins of yarn in the shop, this is an ideal collection of ideas to combine different colors or different fibers.

Although it appears that there are a variety of designs, the possibilities are endless. I was fortunate to work with a group of very talented designers who brought their own perspectives and techniques to the table. Each project in the book uses different techniques of combining yarns in a compelling way.

What considerations did you make when choosing yarn combinations?

Some of the projects needed yarns that were complementary and of similar colors to create subtle striping effects, while others used yarns of different colors and textures to enhance their details. Some projects used a combination of a classic yarn for the body with an embellished yarn for the trim.

Diamond Lace Wrap

Crown Royale Crescent















What is your approach to design? How would you define your design style?

My design style is freeform, and I let the yarn speak to me.  Sometimes the project just flows right away, evolving into something I love, while at other times, it is more difficult and I have to take my knitting out and re-knit quite a number of times before I am satisfied.

See Iris’ newest projects on facebook, and learn more about her and her work at Ravelry, irisknits.com, and artyarns.com.


[This article from Gordon K. Uyehara is actually the introduction to his new book, Metal Clay Fusion: Diverse Clays, Detailed Techniques, Artful Projects, which has already achieved No. 1 bestseller status on Amazon in the Jewelry category. I thought it made for a lovely blog post introducing people to Gordon's voice as an author and artist. See photographs of a few of Gordon's 22 graceful, inspiring projects from the book below and in this earlier blog post.]

Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.Joseph Campbell

Just words? If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I probably wouldn’t believe it. I understand now. For if it weren’t true, I wouldn’t be writing this book. Nor would I be spending hours planning workshops, sketching designs, sitting hunchedbacked over a cluttered table obsessing over details, or daydreaming about my next metal clay creation.

I knew I wanted to be an artist. The desire was there, but I wasn’t sure of the medium in which I wanted to create. I remember being open to trying different things, and I can rationally speak of the events—like the blurb in the alternative newspaper—that led to my first class in silver clay. What transpired after, however, is harder to explain.

Bronze Faux Bone Brooch project from Metal Clay Fusion

The near obsessive compulsion to create with silver clay in the face of a dwindling savings account and the feeling of spending way too many hours on something that might just lead to nothing, go beyond logic. Yet, I plowed forward, ignoring the part of my brain that questioned, “Was this just an unhealthy preoccupation?” and I shared my creations, entered competitions, and connected with other silver-clay fanatics.

What followed were numerous, exceedingly kind comments from strangers (many now my friends) encouraging me on, inquiries about my work, invitations to teach, and editors asking me to write articles. These were the doors opening before me, and some at just the right time. I stepped through them, often with apprehension, and now continue to go forth with eager anticipation of what is still to come.

One thing I will mention, since it brings everything full circle, is that the same alternative newspaper that caught my interest many years ago published a short blurb about my Saul Bell Award. It appeared in the back of the paper, in the same place as the original paragraph about the class. That event is one of the many things I credit to synchronicity rather than mere coincidence. The lessons I take are to always be open to possibilities and to keep searching until you find what you enjoy doing. And, then, to appreciate it once you find it.

Bronze & Copper Triangle Bead project from Metal Clay Fusion

It is nearly impossible to write a book on metal clay without setting some kind of limit on the coverage. Metal clay is a young medium still finding its place. Yet, there are already a myriad of techniques and active experiments always in progress. So frequent are the rumors of new clay types and new complementary products that any snapshot in time is instantly lacking. In fact, as I began writing this book, many new clay types were being announced. Metal clay truly is a moving target.

So, the projects presented here are easily adapted to the various clay types, and the designs are customizable. I always design first, so you may notice that none of the projects are conceived around a technique. Rather, the techniques are provided to fulfill a design goal. The included artist contributions show the variety and excellence of work being created.

Inlaid Cuff Bracelet project from Metal Clay Fusion

Metal clay is no fad. Enjoy the adventure.











Condiment Spoon project from Metal Clay Fusion


Colorful Etsy Finds to Beat the Gray of Winter

February 21, 2012, 13:17 pm  Posted by Lark

In a departure from the winter wonderland we’re accustomed to having here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we’ve had a rather balmy, wet, and unflattering gray winter so far. I’m not complaining—it’s nice to not turn on the heater all the time—but it’s not necessarily pretty out there. Mud, fog, and that in-between chill are sort of the themes right now.


So I thought I’d create a little homage to all things bright and cheery to battle the mid-Ferbruary-ness of it all. Thanks to the talented Etsy artists featured below for boosting our spirits and creatively reminding us that spring and all its colors really are just around the corner.


Rainbow Colorful Hearts Cupcake Toppers :: by VeraPaperLab


POW! Hair Clip :: by JanineBasil


Orange California Poppy :: by kathrynaalto


Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, Citrus Vinyl Wall Decal :: by decalico


Felted Scarf Ruffle Collar :: by galafilc


L’Amour Dress, Grass Green :: by AmandaArcher


They are also here with us – art illustration :: by tubidu


Continue reading...

My Local Bead Store–Chevron in Asheville, North Carolina

February 20, 2012, 19:31 pm  Posted by Lark

Here’s a new monthly featurette–a write-up by any and all of you about your local bead store. It’s useful information for anybody visiting a new town and wanting to check out the bead stores. I invite you to send in your own dispatch about a bead purveyor in your hometown. For more information about submitting, see the italicized section at the bottom of this post.


My Local Bead Store, Chevron Trading Post & Bead Company

By Nathalie Mornu

Here in Asheville, we’re lucky enough to have three bead stores plus a couple of craft chains, so there’s no shortage of beadiness. Beads & Beyond and Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co. are downtown, and Silver Armadillo is a mile or two from the center of town. I chose Chevron for this “report” because it’s only a block from my office.

Chevron has beautiful paper stars in its windows to entice customers in---these lanterns are for sale inside.

So, what’s great about Chevron? Plenty.

The bead selection is outrageous! Bali silver, African trade, crystals, Indian glass, vintage, seed beads and more seed beads, art glass, gemstones, pearls, cabochons, carved wood, Czech glass, bone. And that’s just the major sections of the store! You can buy most beads by the piece, rather than in strands or prepackaged in baggies. (Seed beads are sold by the tube, of course.) My only suggestion for improvement would be to beef up the filigree department. Chevron carries findings galore in every finish of metal, nearly 100 different sorts of chain, silk ribbon and other stringing materials, feathers, minerals, tools, and wire. You’ll find the latest magazines and a good selection of books. There’s some nice jewelry for sale. They also offer classes. And if you hunt around, you’ll find all kinds of unexpected oddities. Today I noticed replica Tibetan locks and keys for sale. Too cool.

The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and definitely interested in what you’re making. Every time I go in there, an employee comments positively on my project or asks what I’m going to do with my purchase. They’re all so sweet!

Here's Angela, at your service!

After a hard day of peyote stitching, Kitty can't bother to pose for the camera.

A gorgeous saltwater aquarium harmonizes nicely with the hues of the beads around it. There’s a store dog–a big ole sweet lab named Millie–and a store cat. I just love a shop that keeps pets around, don’t you?  Once you’ve shopped til you’ve dropped, go across the street to the Lab, a restaurant/brewery. After recharging with a little snack and a drink, you’re ready to walk up the block to Tops for Shoes. You did bring your charge card with the highest limit, didn’t you?



We encourage you to submit a post about your local bead store! It can be anywhere on the planet. Simply write a few paragraphs about the shop, making sure to include the town it’s in, and your name. Take a digital picture or two of the exterior. Only take interior shots and photos of people if they give you explicit permission to use them on larkcrafts.com’s blog post. Email text, store photos and a picture of yourself, too, to mylocalbeadstore@sterlingpublishing.com. Once a month, I’ll pick a submission at random and post it, giving you full credit for writing it, of course. (Lark reserves the right to edit your writing so you’ll sound your best!) In exchange for your trouble, if your review gets chosen for posting, I’ll send you a copy of any single Lark book you want, as long as it’s in print and available in our North Carolina offices.


Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects contains two dozen of the world-famous beader’s favorite designs from across her career, including everything from basic stringing to beadweaving designs. The book will inspire advanced beaders as well as be accessible to beginners, and it includes an additional small gallery of Diane’s work from over the years.

To give you a taste of the book, here’s one of the projects: Download a PDF of the beautiful Fortune Teller Beads necklace. You can also try out the Midnight Snowflakes neckace project by clicking here; you’ll get to preview a handful of photos of other projects from the book via that link, as well.

You can buy the book at your local bead store or bookstore or online on Amazon.com or BN.com.

Fortune Teller Beads necklace from Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects



Fortune Teller Beads necklace from Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects



Jamie Cloud Eakin is the popular author of three books — Dimensional Bead Embroidery, Beading with Cabochons, and Bugle Bead Bonanza — with more than 50,000 books in print. She was generous enough to do a little interview with us, and even more, to create and let us share a wonderful stitch index for Dimensional Bead Embroidery and Beading with Cabochons, as she explains below.

Jamie lives in Modesto, California, and she teaches classes all over. See more of her work at http://www.studiojamie.com/.

Jamie, what are your favorite bead shops?

I love ALL bead shops! I can’t walk into one without some treasure that calls my name and has to come home with me.

But it really is more than just the beads. I love spending time with other beaders and people who love beads.

There is a joy and energy in bead shops that is difficult to describe. I think many people go to bead stores and bead shows thinking “I’m here for the beads,” but it really is so much more than that.

My theory is that the creation process accesses certain parts of our brain. Whether you are designing something yourself or following a pattern by someone else, the transformation process, the creation process, has an elevating influence on the person.

Classic Chic Earrings project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery

I think this happens more in beadwork than in some other crafts because of the process itself. You’ve heard many times, “When you are angry, count to 10 before you act to calm yourself.” Well, think about how many times you are doing this “counting” when you are beading … lots!

For this and other reasons, I think beading lets us get in touch with the best of ourselves. The end product is a huge bonus, but it’s the process itself that keeps us beading.

There are many types of beading — from stringing to elaborate stitches — so there is a process available for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your choice of process is, it is all wonderful.

How much do you teach in a given year? What do you enjoy about teaching, and what do you find most challenging about it?

How much? That’s hard to say in terms of a number or count — let’s just say LOTS.

I teach at my local bead store and some shows and even at my local bead society.

I love spending time with other beaders. I get a special pleasure seeing new beaders discover the joys of beading and experienced beaders take it to a whole new level.

It is really fascinating to see how different people can see the same instructions and interpret them differently. The challenge is to create instructions and illustrations that work for everyone. Teaching a class where you can see the reactions to the instructions is a big help in doing that.


Midnight Waterfall Necklace project from Dimensional Bead Embroidery

Dimensional Bead Embroidery, your recently released book, is already a popular bestseller, and of course your Beading with Cabochons is widely regarded as a bead-book classic. But these are both technique-driven books focused on bead embroidery. Why would a beader want to have both of them?

Good question! This really comes down to my philosophy of beading, which says that techniques are tools in your beading toolbox. Both books are filled with techniques, and there is very little overlap. So you actually need both to fill your toolbox.

I find that many people who do bead embroidery tend to use the same techniques over and over again. These books give you more options for design — and for beading fun!

Personally, I’ve used a list of stitches and techniques at my beading station that I refer to when designing. I thought a much more useful thing would be pictures and a page reference guide for other people.

So, I created a kind of cross-index of stitches in both books that shows a picture of the technique results, which book each one is in. and the corresponding page number. [Download a PDF of the index here.]

Both of these books are used by many beaders as reference books while they’re designing and beading. I think this index will help those people.

Jamie Cloud Eakin

Jamie, what are you working on right now, bead-wise?

I’ve been working on new books concentrating on design. One of the questions I hear most often is, “How do you come up with that?” These books attempt to answer that question and give advice for doing it yourself.