Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Free Pattern: Diamond O Beaded Chain

I wrote a free beading pattern! This one is for the beaded chain I've been using so much lately, the Diamond O Chain.

A Delicate Beaded Chain

I first developed this beaded chain for the Annular O Necklace, because I wanted to use a light, delicate chain that included O beads, and also matched the angles in the beaded rivoli components. Two lengths of chain attach to either side of the focal to complete the necklace.

I liked this beaded chain so much that I used it again for the pendant in the O Stars Set. This time, I kept the chain unattached so it can be used with other pendants as well. This particular chain is 24" long, but it can be woven in any length desired!

Attach a Beaded Chain to a Focal

The Diamond O chain can be attached to many other kinds of focal components. Here it is again with a theobromine beaded molecule, most famously found in chocolate!

Tons of Variations!

Several variations are possible on this design. In the necklace below, I added in 4 mm bicone crystals in every third link to include a touch of sparkle in the chain. I describe several other possible variations in the pattern.

The Diamond O Chain is the fourth free beading pattern available on my website at Now that I look at it, I think it would pair nicely with a couple of Tila Droplet Charms!

As always, if you decide to work up this pattern, I'd love to see pictures!

Monday, February 10, 2014

New Pattern: Chocolate and Raspberry Molecules

I've been spending a lot of time beading up chemical structures over the past few weeks, satisfying a craving for delicious chocolate without consuming any calories! I couldn't resist turning these beaded molecules into my latest beading pattern!

Chocolate and Raspberry Molecules Beading Pattern

This pattern describes how to weave three different chemical structures; raspberry ketone, the compound responsible for the intense flavor from red raspberries, and two molecules found in chocolate; theobromine and phenethylamine. This design only requires three different sizes of Japanese seed beads, so you can quickly weave one or more of these molecules using the seed beads already in your stash. I've classified the project as intermediate because it requires the small 15° Japanese seed beads, and the molecules themselves are not particularly symmetrical, so many of the repeats in the pattern are not as predictable as in other beading projects. But the pattern includes over 70 photographs and illustrations, so advanced beginner beaders should be able to follow and understand how to weave the molecules.

Chocolate Molecule Necklaces

To explore the different kinds of jewelry that can be made with these beaded molecules, I started by making two molecules each of theobromine and phenethylamine from chocolate. I used a gold and bronze colorway with just a hint of purple, to mimic a strong dark chocolate truffle with a decorative gold leaf:

I attached one of the theobromine molecules to two lengths of beaded chain, connected to the two oxygen atoms in the molecule. The diamond-shaped chain is the one with O beads that I used previously in my Annular O Necklace and O Stars Pendant designs, but you could substitute another type of beaded chain such as a RAW chain or a spiral rope.

I connected the other three chocolate molecules together with copper jump rings and curb chain for a slightly more substantial necklace. I'm not sure if the metal approach works as well as the beaded chain approach, but I like how the theobromine molecule makes the focal of the necklace.

Food Chemistry Bracelet

For my last piece, I connected two phenethylamine molecules to one molecule each of theobromine and raspberry ketone for a chocolate and raspberry bracelet! I used silver-plated, red luster, metallic red, and opaque brown seed beads for this piece to give it a rich flavor. Can you tell that I prefer dark chocolate? ;)

The Chocolate and Raspberry Molecules Beading Pattern is available exclusively at if you'd like to make your own chocolate chemistry jewelry!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Evolution of the O Stars Pendant

Sometimes when I'm working on a new beading design, I'll have a specific idea in mind that I'm trying to achieve. This was the case with some of my more floral and geometric designs such as the Sakura Bouquet Necklace and the Tila Garden Pendant. Other times, a new design will evolve from a previous beaded component or set of components. This was the case with my most recent design, the O Stars Set.

Lucky O + Snowflakes + Rizo Triangles = O Stars

The O Stars Set started as a variation on the Lucky O Bracelet, one of the first designs that I completed using the new O beads:

While I liked the open, lacy look of these components, especially when paired with bugle beads in the bracelet, I noticed how the Lucky O components can also almost perfectly enclose a Swarovski rivoli crystal. A few bronze seed beads and two rivoli crystals later, a pair of such components quickly became earrings:

Since the wintertime was just beginning, I wanted to expand on the six-fold symmetry of these components to see if they could become snowflakes. I had already experimented with a more open version of beaded snowflakes in the aptly-named Snowflakes bracelet:

This bracelet gave me the idea to use SuperDuo beads for snowflake points, however I wanted to make the new components a little stiffer than those in the snowflakes bracelet. Another one of my designs that makes use of SuperDuos as points in beaded components is the Rizo Triangles Necklace, and, while this necklace is more complicated than the snowflakes bracelet, each component is more heavily engineered to be solid and self-supporting.

With these ideas in mind, I began work on combining the ideas from all three pieces together.

First O Stars Pendant

My first attempt at executing these ideas turned into these two components. In the medium component, the SuperDuos are added with sets of O beads on each side, as well as one on the top of each point to further decorate the component with these shiny little sequin-like beads. Interestingly, the result is more star-like than snowflake-like, a surprising but pleasing development. I immediately paired both components together with a briolette crystal to make a petite little pendant.

While I was very happy with how this pendant turned out, several people told me that it needed something more. Several friends said it would work better as a three-component pendant instead of two, and my husband said I needed to make a larger version to complement both smaller components. I was reluctant to step up to the challenge of more bead component engineering, but I also knew that they were right...

Final Pendant and Earrings Set

As it turns out, designing the large component was similar to the process of designing the large component of the Rizo Triangles Necklace; it's more challenging to create, but the result is definitely worth the effort. Here's a picture of the completed set of all three components in one pendant, plus two small components in matching earrings:

How do you explore new beading ideas? Do you find yourself returning to your previous work for inspiration? Drop me a line in the comments!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Pattern and Kits: O Stars Set

I finished my fourth O bead jewelry pattern, the O Stars Pendant and Earrings Set!

Seeing Stars!

This pattern describes how to weave three different six-pointed star components from Swarovski crystals, round and shaped Japanese seed beads, two-hole SuperDuo beads, and O beads. The pattern starts with the relatively straightforward small component (a close relative to the Lucky O Bracelet component), and gradually works up to the more complicated large O Star component. I've classified this pattern as advanced because each component is engineered to be self-supporting from many rounds of beadwork, and it uses different bead counts and shapes in each round, so it keeps you on your toes towards the end of the pattern. However, each step is described in my usual level of detail with several full-color illustrations and photographs, so intermediate students should be able to complete the small and medium components and then work up to the large component.

A Cascading Pendant

The cornerstone of this pattern is the O Stars Pendant, which features all three stars connected together. A beaded bail and a briolette crystal complete the pendant for a long, cascading design.

A Matching Beaded Chain

I liked the diamond chain with O beads that I used in the Annular O Necklace so much, so I also included instructions on how to make this beaded chain to match the O Stars pendant. It's a fast, easy design that makes a light, delicate chain, and it's not sewn into the pendant, so it can be used for other pendants too! I'll definitely be using it more in the future.

Matching Earrings

Finally, two small components pair with additional briolette crystals for a cute little pair of matching earrings, completing this 3-in-1 pattern set.

Four Kits!

Kits for this design come in the four colorways seen above, and include all the beads and findings needed to make the pendant, earrings, and a beaded chain up to 24 inches long. The components can also be incorporated into many other jewelry designs!
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