Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Version of "Egyptian Cuff"

I finished my version of Shelley Nybakke's "Egyptian Cuff" yesterday - the pattern is available online from Beadwork Magazine.

 Bracelet stitched by Sweet Freedom Designs (pattern by Shelley Nybakke)

The pattern calls for stitching the bracelet with 11/0 seed beads and approximately 140 3mm Swarovski bicone crystals.

While I have a huge selection of 11/0s, I have a dearth of 3mm bicones - and only 3 colors where I had at least 140 crystals to play with!

I was none too thrilled with those 3 colors, but paired them up with some 11/0s the best I could, and stitched up the first section of the bracelet, and just wasn't excited about any of the outcomes:

Left: a purple sample using 8/0 seed beads & 4mm bicones; 
Right: galvanized silver 11/0s with turquoise AB 3mm bicones, crystal AB 11/0s with amethyst AB 3mm bicones, and gold-lined opal 11/0s with Caribbean Opal bicones. 

However, I have tons of 4mm crystals, so I decided to step up to 8/0 seed beads and 4mm bicones, and see how the pattern worked, and it stitched up perfectly!

My favorite of these initial trials was the purple/purple combo on the far left - but it seems like everything I'm stitching lately is purple, and I wanted to get out of my "purple rut." It finally hit me that I could use 2 colors of bicones in the pattern, one for the RAW segments, and another for the connecting strands. Duh.

I stitched up a RAW sample with Gold-lined Opal 8/0s and Chili Pepper 4mm bicones, and loved it. I paired it with Indian Sapphire 4mm bicones, and I really liked the combo.

detail, Egyptian Cuff stitched by Sweet Freedom Designs (pattern by Shelley Nybakke)

While the pattern stitched up perfectly with my step up to 8/0s and 4mm bicones, it did cause each of the RAW sections to be almost 1.5 inches wide. I dropped down to using 11/0s for the connecting strands, in an attempt to decrease the size a bit, but it still turned out to be way too small with just 6 RAW segments, so I added a 7th RAW section, which makes the bracelet a little too large for an average wrist, even with the tube clasp I chose to use. Sizing wouldn't have been an issue at all if I had used the 11/0 seed beads and the 3mm crystals, as each of those RAW sections was only 3/4 inch wide!

The RAW technique used in this bracelet was, coincidentally, the same 3-D Right Angle Weave as that in the Amphora Beaded Bead by Marcia Decoster that I was stitching when last I blogged!