Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Photo of The Color GridMy friend Mary Ann told me about the Color Grid, a tool to help designers choose colors. The clever part of this tool is that it not only identifies colors that are “close relatives” to your base color, but it shows you “spark colors” that will add life to your design. It reveals these colors without you having to know how to use a color wheel or understand color theory. How nifty!

After my Color Grid arrived in the mail, I decided to use it to add some “spark” to my Felt Simplicity necklace. This necklace has a single burgundy felted bead, and I think it is almost too simple. Would it be more interesting with some beads in spark colors?

To start, I put the necklace on the grid and found the color that best matched my burgundy bead:

Using the Color Grid to find the base color

Next, I placed the black template so that its largest circle was over the matching color:

Using the template to find the spark colors

I then examined the “spark” colors, shown in the bar along the bottom of the black template. To my surprise, the spark colors for burgundy are lime and olive greens. I never would have thought of pairing those colors, but now I can see that some olive wool beads would add so much to the overall impact of the necklace.

The burgundy felted bead next to the spark colors on the template

What do you think?

Recently, I was shopping at San Francisco’s General Bead store, where I picked up a ready-to-wear necklace cord made from a delicate woven nylon tube. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but for fifty cents, I decided it would be fun to experiment with it.

Back at home, I wondered if I could create a felted bead directly on the cord.  When making felted beads in the past, I have needle felted the fiber into a round ball, soaked it, and then rolled it between my palms to create a sphere. Would the cord prevent me from rolling the felt into a ball? Would the cord collapse if I needle felted the fiber directly into it? I wasn’t sure, but decided to give it a try.

Step 1: I assembled my materials:

Photo of my materials

Step 2: I pulled off about 6 inches of roving:

Photo of pulling off the roving

Step 3: I knotted the roving around the cord:

Photo of knotting the roving around the cord

Step 4: I needle felted the roving into a ball:

Photo of the needle felted ball

Step 5: To finish it, I soaked the ball in water, rubbed on some “Kiss my Face” olive oil soap, and rolled it in my hands. I then put it on a towel to dry. Here is the finished product:

Photo of the finished necklace

Although my teenagers think it looks a bit like a Rudolph nose, I’m happy with the overall result. The cord did not collapse during the felting process, and the bead is a nicely shaped sphere. What an easy, inexpensive project! I can imagine selling these at my holiday boutiques for less than $10, which would be a nice complement to the more expensive items I offer.

For those of you who are interested in making one, I have published the steps in a downloadable pattern.

This necklace, however, is almost too simple. Do you think it would be better with a few more felted beads or perhaps some purchased metallic charms? I look forward to hearing from you!

–Karen