Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'm a Noob and I so get it!



Off and on over the years I have dabbled in jewelry making. I love playing with the colors and textures and working on a small scale item. My number one passion has always been  sewing. But I have decided it would good to stretch my creative wings and really learn how to make jewelry and do it right. I've been concentrating on this a lot lately, investigating classes, forums, youtube, vendors, etc. and as I do I keep seeing how this applies to sewing and more specifically, being a new sewist. It's been a long time since I was a new sewist but I think there are some universal truths that travel across any creative endeavor. I would love to share a few of my observations with you.

*1      I am overwhelmed. There are so many beads and wires and findings and on an on. How does one know even where to start? Do I want to learn wire work, loom beading, pearl knotting? Yikes!

For a beginner sewist it must be the same. All those patterns, fabrics, threads, notions, just so so so much stuff to it all. Where does a person who is just starting to sew start? Buy a pattern and just go for it, follow sewing blogs for inspiration, look for classes?  My suggestion would be to start simple. I should follow this advice with the jewelry, but will I?

*2      I have unbridled enthusiasm. I can't wait to learn more, get better at it and just attack the whole endeavor with all I've got. 

As a beginner sewist, there was no stopping me. I couldn't wait to get to the fabric store and pour over pattern books, drape fabrics over my fist and just fantasize away on the upcoming garment I would make. Today the internet magnifies this even more with such a marketplace online it's incredible. And there are many to share sewing enthusiasm with through forums and blogs. Wow! See Number One. It can be overwhelming.

*3     I want to go straight to the difficult stuff despite my having no clue. I see amazing hand made jewelry on Pinterest. I can make those too, right?

How many times have you seen posts on Pattern Review where someone says they have never made a dress but have decided to make their sister's wedding gown? Oh, and it's a knockoff of a 20,000.00 Monique Lehuillier model. Same deal! Wild enthusiasm can do that to you!

#4     I don't know what I don't know. I think the three previous bullet points  prove that. 

The same faces any new sewist today. Their moms and grandmothers are not teaching them to sew. Neither is the educational system which taught everyone at one time what a quality garment was in Home Ec class. But this not knowing what you don't know has a good side for newbies. They will try anything and that's great and how we learn. And they may come up with new ways of doing old things. I love that. 

#5      I am amazed at all the opportunity there is out there to learn jewelry making. Craftsy classes, the local artist's guild, vendor's tutorials. 

Craftsy is a great opportunity for the new sewist. Various teachers have various skills but if you start listening to different teachers with different skill sets, you will still learn and it won't be long before you know who is great at teaching  quality sewing. Newbies need to also look locally for classes, dressmakers or tailors to help with slopers or measuring, guilds for friendship and encouragement. There are lots of options. It's just a matter of being open to those who have come before. I have found a local fiber artist to teach me about dyeing, shibori, etc. Seek and ye shall find!

#6     Jewelry blogs and forums are just like sewing blogs and  forums. You can read and lurk or you can jump right in. Some people know lots and inspire. Some don't. 

Newbie sewists have these options open to them as well. I would love to see a forum for really new sewists, in particular. Wouldn't that be great? Newbie sewists deserve the depth of convo and learning that takes place on forums. It will only enhance their total sewing experience. And you can make great, real friends! ETA: There are countless Facebook sewing groups. Those are good but sharing one liners is not what I am talking about here. On forums you can have in depth discussions, varied opinions and much learning and friendship takes place as you get to know regular posters. Stitchers Guild and Pattern Review are two great ones but there are others. 

#7     Jewelry making has its tools, jargon and types, all of which are very new to me. I have ordered so many books through our interlibrary loan. You can't imagine! I pour over them all the time lately and of course most of it is still foreign to me. 

Sewing also has it's jargon, tools and specialties. It is not easy to figure it all out as a newbie. And sometimes terms can have more than one meaning, just like in my last post. The best way to get a handle on all the "biz" is to just stick with it. The third or fourth sewing book will be a lot more familiar than the first one which may seem to be written in a foreign language. The same could be applied to following patterns. Look to forums and blogs for recommendations on good sewing books. There is a plethora of newbie books out there, but on more than one forum I have seen the request for the "next level" sewing book. Reader's Digest or Singer Sewing Library would be great. Anyone know of good beading books?


So right now I am a newbie beader, I guess you could say. And it has come with all it's frustration, excitement and creative inspiration. It makes me sympathize sooo much with those of you who are just starting out with your passion for sewing. Keep at it. The more you make the better you will get. That thought gets me through some of the more sloppy things I have made. I am going to try to teach myself as much as I can through youtube, books, classes, yada yada.... A new sewist can easily do the same as information is so readily available to day. 

I just want you to know that I understand what it is like to be new at something creative. I'm a pretty old hand at sewing at this point and offer my experience and help to any newbie out there. Now can anyone answer a few beading questions for me?...Bunny


30 comments:

  1. I understand where you are coming from. I started making my own jewelry a couple of years ago. I stick with basic stuff. I enjoy it because it is so relaxing except when beads go flying thru the air. When I go to the bead store, I'm like a kid in a candy store. Welcome to the wonderful world of jewelry making. Have fun.

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    1. Thanks, Towanda. I've cursed a few flying beads as well. It's good to know I now know someone else who beads and sews.

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  2. Being a beginner is a wonderful experience, and the feeling of endless possibilities is so delicious. I ride horses, and your post applies to that pursuit also. I switched to a western saddle last year and found that beginner mind again :-)

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    1. It is wonderful trying new things. At this stage of my life I think it is critical to keep stretching my "faculties" for the obvious reasons.

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  3. From the pictures in your post, it looks like you are more interested in the off-loom bead weaving. If so, pick up the Beadwork magazine or Bead and Button magazine. They would have projects you would be interested in. Beadwork does rate their projects as beginner, intermediate, and advance. There is a legend describing what they feel goes into the levels. Beading daily website does have some free patterns.

    I also post reviews of the bead weaving projects I do in my blog (www.sewbeading.wordpress.com). You can go over there and look at what I did.

    I can't think of a good beginner pattern for you to try. But if I come across one, I will be sure to let you know.

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    1. What great encouragement! Thanks so much. I do like the weaving. I think it is the textile part of beading that really appeals to me. I will check out those magazines. I have a couple of mags but not sure if either is one you mentioned. I can't wait to get to your blog. Thanks for your suggestions.

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    2. The two I came across so far are Elspeth's collar (June/ July 2011 Beadwork) and Black Tie Affair (December 2011/January 2012 Beadwork). Usually Interweave has a mid-year sale. I usually wait for that and then pick up the cd collection of the year's worth of magazine for around $10.

      I will probably be posting a new project next week. It was the contemporary corsage (from 2011 Beadwork). It was bead embroidery, probably the more complicated part for you would be the bezel setting the center crystal if you haven't done that yet. With your sewing skills, the backstitch should be good.

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    3. I came across two patterns. The first ones is the Elspeth’s collar (June/July 2011 Beadwork). And the other one is Black Tie Affair (December 2011/ January 2012). They both had one bead for skill level.

      I just finished the Contemporary corsage (also from Beadwork 2011). It is a bead embroidery project. Since you sew, the backstitch shouldn't be too hard. The part that may be more complicated is bezeling the center crystal stone if you haven't done that yet.

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  4. Whatever you do Bunny, just have fun. A great resource I have found for beading problems is my local bead store. They are always happy to help with any problem or on my part just plain lack of knowledge.
    No where near sewing related, but my husband and I have started taking ballroom dance classes. We stink, but we're having fun and like you said, it's good to stretch our faculties ;)

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  5. I love making jewelry - especially statement necklaces to go with dressier garments I've sewn for myself, but now that I'm retired and we've relocated to Smallville, our lives no longer include a use for more of those things. But I'm still inspired to occasionally jump back in.

    Now that you've read some books, I'd suggest going to your local bead store where you can see various samples and take a couple basic classes - stringing, wire work, weaving, whatever - even if you don't wear or keep the items you make in class. Books I love for history, inspiration and a little how-to include Africa Adorned (a big coffee table book by Angela Fisher), Ethnic Jewelry (edited by John Mack), Bedazzled - Where Beads & Inspiration Meet (by Penelope Diamanti, photographs by William L. Allen), Multistrand Jewelry (for basic multistrand how-to from the publisher of Bead Style Magazine), Beaded Dimensional Embroidery (by Helen Pearce - created for the millinery artist, but easily extrapolated to the garment artist's work), and Making Wire Jewelry - Sixty Easy Projects in Silver, Copper & Brass (by Helen Clegg & Mary Larom). Unless out of print, you should be able to preview most of these through a library system or even at your local bead store (unless it's a bix box place).

    I wish I had known of your new venture a year ago, when I couldn't find anyone interested in about five years worth of several jewelry magazines. I would have happily shipped them - book rate ;) - to you. With your foundation in heirloom hand sewing and all your more current work, you should have a shorter learning curve than most of us. Go for it - but prepare for the addiction to a whole new stash!

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    1. I live in a very rural community as well but well dressed at work is NICE jeans, nice top and some nice jewelry to tie it all together. It does finish a look, that's for sure. Thanks for your encouraging words, Charade. I will take your book list to the library tomorrow. These are new titles I am not familiar with. Thanks so much.

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  6. I took some jewelry classes as electives in college ( I was a painting major). That was a lot of years ago! I didn't do anything with beads etc. I learned to do lost wax casting (I made mine and my husbands wedding rings senior year) I worked with silver, learned to solder, set pearls and made bezels. There is a lot of choice in making jewelry. My cousin makes beautiful jewelry with silver wire and semiprecious and silver beads and makes a nice living out of it. I think that classes are an excellent starting point and you don't have to invest in as much equipment for something you may or may not pursue.

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    1. I am not surprised at all at your fine arts studies, Nancy. It shows in your good taste and your sewing skills. There is an excellent "Arts Center" in the Thousand Islands, not far from here with a large variety of classes. I hope to attend a class or two there. Thanks for the encouraging words.

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  7. I've dabbled in beading too. Here are links from a page of the website of The Bead Society of Greater New York.
    http://www.nybead.org/links/

    I know what it is to be new, enthusiastic, and overwhelmed, too. I'm still more respectful than some of the newbie sewers I encounter on the web every day. They ask for detailed help about projects that are too difficult and if you say so they attack you.

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    1. That gets back to the "you don't know what you don't know". I'll be honest, I don't have the patience for that sort of situation. Luckily for these new sewists there are those who do and they carry them along. I see it on PR quite a bit, but I back off as I am just not that patient a person. Kudos to those who are.

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  8. Thanks for this great example from your own life to help those of us who may have gotten just a teeny bit exasperated with some of the new young sewists to arrive at a more balanced view. If any of us want to start something brand new to us we have to start as "newbies," so if we're not noobs in any aspect, we're not trying anything new.

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    1. And I want to always feel that I am trying something new. It adds flavor to my life, for sure. For many years I tried to have some new task in each garment I made. That taught me and reinforced in me so much about sewing. It really improved my skills over time.

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  9. Have fun with your new hobby. I've been doing some beading for the last year or so - I wanted to copy some things I thought were exquisite and I thought "I can do that." There's a beading association here where I live, bead shops around, a beading expo several times a year which offers great prices, but the thing I've found most difficult to get are findings. Fire Mountain Beads and Gems is an online site with tutorials, FAQs, and more stuff than I imagined could exist - findings galore. If you haven't discovered it yet, the link is here: http://www.firemountaingems.com/?navsrc=1

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    1. I have found them, Joan. Yes, they are a wonderful resource with loads of tutorials, etc. Thanks for your input.

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  10. Being a noob is humbling, isn't it? And challenging and fun. And frustrating sometimes. I've found being a noob is easier now than when I was younger, since I seem to have no qualms about admitting my ignorance or lack of skill. It's oddly freeing and stimulating. Although the unfinished kayak in my living room is beginning to seem like the project that will never end. June, July, August, is it really September?

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    1. You brought a smile to my face! Thanks, Elle.

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  11. So true Bunny - the enthusiasm is contagious and exciting! Learning is a process. The difference between someone that will be successful and someone stuck as a newbie is the process of learning to improve - though classes, books, etc. as well as practical experience. :D I have no doubt that you will be creating some beautiful jewelry just as you create beautiful clothing. I know you - you will continue to research, read, explore and experiment until you get things just right!

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  12. I've been adding beads as embellishment to my sewing - jewellery and clothes in one! You have a fabulous selection of beads and I so admire you're new found enthusiasm too.

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  13. Leave the beads while you still can. Run, now, save yourself. Otherwise, you leave shops with very tiny, very expensive bags. :-) As a side note, I am now in love with that triple stitch as well. It really is awesome.

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  14. I love looking at beads. I love jewelry made from beads - they are my favorite. They are just so much fun! But I do not look for too long at beads lest I pick up another "addiction." Anyway, I certainly look forward to seeing your creations!

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  15. Hmm. I thought I posted a comment but don't see it now. Please forgive if this is a duplicate. Back in the 70's I taught macramé jewelry making and showed my work in local fine art stores. That was so much fun! More recently, my daughter and I caught the crystal bug and made jewelry and other little things using crystals and various kinds of wire and cord. Are you drawn to a certain kind of stone, cord, wire or other materials? That might be a good place to start...but I agree, with so much to choose from it's not easy to stick to just one kind! I know you will soon be turning out gorgeous jewelry...with your artistic eye, you can go wrong : ).

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    1. Thanks for commenting. I have been reading A LOT! I am pretty sure that bead loom weaving is the way for me but only time and effort will show me for sure. I like the precision of the bead woven pieces and that really appeals to me. I have been looking at a lot of looms and hope to buy one shortly. I like the Mirrix Looms, NAYY. They seem unique and the one I am looking at is also a textile loom so it really intrigues me. I will keep you all posted and thanks for the encouragement.

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