Book Review: Shaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote Stitch

Shaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote StitchShaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote Stitch by Diane Fitzgerald

One of the first things I noticed was the feel of the book. It is a paperback, but it has a bit of a heft to the cover, making the book feel as if the cover wouldnt’ be damaged immediately.

Upon opening the book, I was enchanted by a photo of a group of bead starfish. they look like they are photographed on a piece of Styrofoam, but it isn’t obvious and it is the perfect background. I love these little starfish.

Both are, of course, irrelevant to the content. As with her previous books, Diane Fitzgerald makes a brief introduction and then gets on the with the projects. This book is STUFFED full of projects, 43 in all. If you want a peyote stitch project book, you won’t be disappointed.

Unlike Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects Designs from Stringing to Beadweaving, which I reviewed before, there is a ‘Basics’ section, which includes the contents of a Basic Beadwork Kit, understanding the Peyote stitch, general techniques (including unpicking!), and recognizing patterns. Chapter 1 is brief, but seems to be fairly comprehensive.

After Chapter 1’s intructions, there is what I would call a practice/basic pattern. It is a basic triangle (as 60 degree triangle, if you want to translate the patterns to quiltmaking), which is a component of many of the projects in this book. I see immediately, in the Oh My Stars! necklace (pg.18), a pretty and delicate piece, that this triangle is used. It is clear from leafing through the book that mastering this first pattern will go a long way towards success with the other patterns.

Throughout the book, the author shows very clearly how to put the beads together into the larger units needs to make the various projects. In looking at these images, I am sure a clever quiltmaker could apply beads to a quilt project in the same manner and achieve a great, if flatter look. This book can also be used as a good source of inspiration as it has wonderful pictures of different beads used as well as different pieces.

The Temari Beads necklace (pg.23) gets the reader early into the dimensional aspect of the book

I was hard pressed to pick a favorite project as I started to look through them. I liked many of the projects as objects, but weren’t my style in terms of wearing. If forced, I would choose the Rivoli Bracelet (pg.104). I like the sparkle and flash and think it would go well with what I wear to black tie events. I also think the construction is interesting. The Navette Pendant (pg.132) is also something that I might wear. The construction makes it look like a very large gem and I can see people doing as double-take as they see from the middle distance. Aside from the eye bead, which I liked and was a bit repelling, the Eye of Providence (pg.142) is appealing. I can see wearing the Eye of Providence with Roses(pg.145) pendant.

Chapter 6 covers pointed ovals. While the shape can look a bit weird and eyelike, I did like the variety of options presented in the book, especially the Eye of Apollo necklace (pg.133). This shape and the projects shown really look like jewelry to me.

Each project has a good description of the supplies required along with the nice photos. Variations are mostly shown, though not always described. The reader can get a brief idea of what the project looks like in slightly different colors.

The end of the book has a gallery of projects, by different artists, but all, presumably made in the peyote stitch.

As I said, this book has a whopping 43 projects. At an MSRP of $27.95, that is about $.65 per pattern. If you want to try a lot of different techniques, this is a good buy.

Enjoy this inspirational book and thanks to Lark Books for sending it to me.

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Onward HO!

My machine is back from the spa and seems to be running only when I press the foot pedal.

I put on The Girl You Left Behind audiobook and drove down to San Jose to pick up the machine. It is about an hour each way for me, so I want the machine to be right when I go to get it. I know many of you have dealers that are far away and can sympathize.

I have to say that I don’t think they take very good notes at the dealer because they gave me another new foot pedal just in case. They did that last time, too. It makes me wonder how they keep their business in business.

I told the repair guy/owner of the shop that I would demand he come and pick up the machine if it didn’t work. Clearly, I can’t force him to do anything, but it sounded good.

This whole machine drama has made me think about opening a sewing machine repair shop in the City. It would be so nice if there were one closer. The place I bought my machine from closed a few years after I bought my machine after a number of family tragedies. Of course, I know nothing about repairing sewing machines, but why should that stop me? 😉

Obviously, if I were really going to do something like that, I would need to do a lot of research.The quiet of the drive down to the shop was good for me. I am a little impatient with people these days and I am pretty sure my work colleagues were glad to see the back of me at the end of the week. Listening to the book made me not have to think too much. My brain is tired.

Now I am going to put on Still Life by Louise Penny (yes, I am listening to it a second time, as I think I missed half the story in the drama of last week) and figure out if I remember how to sew.

What are you working on?