Thursday, October 4, 2012

Return to the Worktable

I'm posting a follow-up to yesterday's Wednesday Worktable post about the double spiral.

Let's put it this way - it was a learning experience.

Here are a couple of pics of my "finished" double spiral from yesterday:

Looks remarkably similar to the pics from yesterday, right?

But it's not! There are 2 (TWO!) more loops on this sample than on the ones from yesterday.

I don't know if you can tell from the pics, especially the 2nd pic above, but the core of this double spiral is extremely tight and inflexible. Wow - look how the spiral stands up, all on its own, in that first pic: it is stiff! I knew it was tight when I left it on Tuesday evening, because I had tried (unsuccessfully) for 10 minutes to get the needle into the core before giving up.

Yesterday, I spent 20 minutes trying to get the needle into the core, and finally succeeded. Yay! I added a loop, and spent another 20 minutes trying to maneuver the needle into the core - and made it. Then, came to my senses and gave up, because there was no way I was going to make an entire necklace if I had to spend 20 minutes on each pass. Plus, eventually the needle's going to break under that much pressure!

I decided to switch to a size 6/0 for the core (the tutorial had recommended either a 6/0 or an 8/0). I picked some more seed beads - subbing in an 8/0 for two of the 11/0s in the loop, because I didn't like the look of going directly from the 6/0 in the core to an 11/0 on the loop. I like to make more gradual changes in the bead sizes in my spirals.

I stitched up about an inch or so, and could have easily finished a rope - except that the 6/0 core, while it was plenty roomy, made the spiral too large for the design I had in mind, plus the loops were not as tightly compacted as on the 8/0 core, so I didn't really care for it.

Here is what I was doing on the original piece - which is exactly what the tutorial called for, by the way (and I add that for those of you that know me, and my propensity for deviating away from the beads recommended in tutorials, in order to suit my aesthetics!) -

8/0 core - 4 beads per loop
7 11/0 seed beads on each loop

OK - I lied. I used 6 11/0s and one 8/0 (in the middle) for each loop - but this could not, in any way, affect the core.

So for those of you that are familiar with double spirals - what beads did you use for the core and the loops?
I'm really curious, because I like the result I was getting with the 8/0 core - such a nice, dense spiral. I would love to make one, if I can figure out the bead sizes that will work AND please my picky aesthetic!

Yesterday was certainly not a loss - I would have stopped my stitching without finishing anyway, because I wasn't thrilled with that root beer colored 8/0 in the middle of the loop. It went great with the focal I was going to hang from the rope, but it just detracted from the design.

Drop me some comments - I'd love to hear from successful double spiralers!


Christine Altmiller said...

i use 8 for the core and 11 for the loops (with an 8 or some other similar size bead in the center of the line of 11s). it does get tight in there but it has such a nice look.

Sweet Freedom said...

That's exactly what I used, Christine - maybe I need to really loosen up on my tension .. ? If that's possible - yanking it tight is such a habit!

Maybe I'll try again with a shorter loop, spanning only 3 cores instead of 4. Then I won't have to pass through so many times.

Christine Altmiller said...

i am making one in the coming weeks. i will take special notice as to what exactly i do and report back to you :-) i keep my tension really tight with everything i make too. maybe needle width? i do sometimes need to pull through with pliers for the final pass through, which gives me heart palpitations.

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, Christine! I appreciate it. I was just thinking this morning about how much I want to start another one, but I have some other stuff I need to finish first.