Niki.Tasha – Glossary

Hiya, Niki.  I have added a Glossary so there can be one place to go when you can’t remember what something means.  I will add definitions as we go along so if there is something you would like to see here, let me know.   …H

Fabric:  Besides cotton, linen, silk, polyester, etc.  a fabric or cloth can be made of nothing but beads and thread without any cotton or linen, etc.

Hand: Refers to the feel or the texture of a piece of cloth:  the rougher and thicker the texture, the harder the ‘hand.’ 

Stop Bead:  A bead through which the needle passes twice  to keep all the beads on the thread.  After the first 3 rows it acts as a weight to help identify  and keep the long tail away from the working thread.

Tubular Peyote Stitch:  A technique in which a hollow tube is created by adding a bead in the space between 2 beads of the previous round.

Working Thread:  The thread going from a bead and through the eye of the needle.  It becomes evident once some beads are added.  ‘Working Thread’ becomes a helpful shorter term when describing a complicated needle movement.


Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.


Niki.Tasha – Lesson 6 – Amulet Bag

It is my hope, Niki, that you will have all the bits and beads you will need so you can begin beading on the weekend.  I forgot to mention it in my Lessons 5 and 6, that it would be a good idea to have a mixture of texture.  If you have shiny beads, and 1 colour that is a matte finish.  If all the beads are shiny people can’t see the subtleties of the design. 

I don’t know what your weekly schedule is like, how much time you have to call your own.  But I do know my own schedule:  I will be carving out some evening time after dinner to get beading on this project.

An amulet bag has been used by our First Nations since before recorded time.  It is a small pouch on a leather cord worn around the neck and inside the personal totem or good luck charm was carried.  

Making an amulet bag gives you a good opportunity to think about yourself:  how you would describe yourself in 30 seconds or less.  Sometimes the answers are along the lines of ” I am the supervisor of x number of people” or “I have 6 children.”  That tells somebody of what you do but not what you are.  Reflect on your likes and dislikes, how you want people to remember you after you leave.  Consider what influences you:  is it Nature in all its glorious colours that inspires you?  Is it the texture of something that draws you to it? 

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?  If you were a flower, what flower would you be?  If you were music, what would you sound like?  Asking questions like that helps define who you are.  And it helps determine what your personal totem is.  I have a sister who is a peacock and a bird of paradise flower.  But her totem is a teddy bear.  My older sister’s totem is a horse, a thoroughbred.  Me?  I am a rubber duckie.  What is your totem? 

You live in a land of such ancient culture and such diversity of landscapes; both physical and cultural.  Canada is a young country by any standard and the greater population is gathered in its southern areas.  The culture of our First Nations goes back before written history but so far we have learned very little of their past, in all its richness.  Instead, we choose to think of 1867, the year of our confederation, when we became known as the nation of Canada, as the ‘beginning’ of time.  Personally, I think we do ourselves an injustice not to honour our First Nations.

This amulet bag is made of 11/o Delica cylinder beads.  It will use over 2,600 beads in total.  Print the pattern and take it with you when you choose your beads.  The person in your bead shop should be able to guide you.  Do yourself a favour:  do not substitute any of your beads with seed beads.  Seed beads vary more in their bead size and will give a bumpy texture to the surface of the amulet bag.

We will work this pattern from the bottom upwards.  Peyote Stitch, also called the Gourd Stitch, is stitched in the hand in a tubular fashion.  Once the main tube is complete we will close the bottom with a few extra rows of beads.  We will also be beading the flaps that will close this amulet bag.  And, finally, we will bead a thin strap so the peyote stitch amulet bag can be worn.

Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 4 – Colours

Good afternoon, Niki, let’s talk colour.  I have broken the 4th lesson into 2 parts:  the theory [ Lesson 4 ] and the real use of colour [Lesson 5].

There is a helpful tool called a Colour Wheel.  I did not include it in the list of tools in Lesson 2 because it is not necessary to have one to understand colour theory.  It is very useful when designing something and colour seems to be an obstacle:  kind of like writer’s block but with colours.  If you go further in design, you may want to purchase one.

Pure colour is called a Hue.  When a prism is held up to the light it refracts a ray of sunshine into the colours of the spectrum:  the Hues of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, violet.  Colour comes from sunshine.  A single white ray of light is broken into many different colours so it would make sense that when you add all those colours together you should get the original white.  Instead, you get the colour of mud.

The 3 primary Hues are red, yellow, and blue.  Some artists add green as a primary colour.   They are primary because they turn into other Hues when added together – for example, red and yellow make orange, red and blue make violet, and blue and yellow make green.

The Secondary Hues are those that occur when 2 primaries are mixed together.  All the variety of colour depends on how much of one Hue is used to make another colour.  If yellow and red make orange, then more yellow and less red will make the Hue yellow-orange.  If blue and red combine, the colour is violet:  when more red than blue is mixed together the resulting Hue is maroon. 

A Tertiary colour is that which is made when 2 Hues next to each other are added together:  a Primary Hue and a Secondary Hue.  An example of this would be mixing primary red and primary yellow to get a Secondary Hue orange which, when mixed with Primary red makes the Tertiary red-orange.  Another example might be mixing Primary Yellow with Primary Blue to get Secondary green.  Secondary green and Primary blue join to make Tertiary blue-green.

So far we have been mixing Hues.  Let’s talk about putting 2 Hues side by side without mixing them together.; now we are talking about Complementary Colour Harmony.  If you choose the Hue ‘red’ and want to pair it with another Hue, choose ‘green’ which is directly across the colour wheel from red.  That is a Direct Harmony.  Each Hue  will intensify the impact of its Direct Harmony:  green will look greener and red will look redder when paired together.

A Split Harmony occurs when choosing, for example, ‘red’ as the start point, and adding yellow-green and blue-green.  The yellow-green and blue-green are on either side of the Hue ‘green’.   A Split Harmony is made.

A Triad Harmony occurs when ‘red’ is joined by ‘yellow’ and ‘blue’; the other primary colours.   

There are cool colours:  violet, blue, blue-green and green.  And there are warm colours:  red, orange, yellow and yellow-green.  As well, each Hue can be both cool and warm.  For example, blue on the Colour Wheel is cool but that side of the blue which is closer to the red on the Wheel is considered a warm blue while the side of the blue closest to green is considered a cool blue.  Using red as the main colour, the red closest to blue is a cool red and the red closest to yellow is a warm red.

 Harmony means agreement; a happy balance.  If you choose only cool colours the work can appear cold and out of balance.  But if you choose a balance of cool and warm colours, then the work ‘works’.  Choose a warm red and a cool green and the piece will be a Direct Harmony that is in balance.

Analogous Harmony is any series of Hues that are beside one another:  putting red-violet, violet , blue-violet, blue into your work would be one Analogous Colour Scheme.   Red, red-orange, orange, and yellow organge is another Analogous Colour Scheme.

Finally, for this chapter on colour, we add black and white to any Hue.  If white is added to a Hue, the new colour is called a Tint.  Adding black to the same pure red Hue results in a Tone.  For example, pink is adding white to red and is a red Tint.  Maroon is made by adding black to red and is a red Tone.

When you can’t figure out what colour to use, retreat to your colour wheel and start with the basics of colour theory to jumpstart your design.

Copyright ©2008 Helene Turnbull.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

We Blog: costume vs. fashion jewelry

scan0002.jpgWhat makes a successful blog? 

You need a theme:  beads of all kinds.  

Is that all?  No.

You need variations on the theme.

That’s not enough!  What do you need to make a successful blog? 

You need an opinion.  

Just one opinion?  That won’t make a successful blog. 

You need a whole lot of opinions. 

But how do you get a whole lot of opinions on a theme and its variations?

You ask.  Just ask.

This blog’s theme is beads and its variations will play out in future days.  You have an opinion.  Share it with everybody.  Your opinion might even be a variation on the theme.

Here comes a question:  and you thought you were done with questions.   How do you define costume jewelry and how does that differ from fashion jewelry?