Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stitches West and Betsy's Beads

I've just returned from 4 wonderful days teaching at Stitches West. I love going to Stitches. Since I work at home, it's an incredible feeling to be surrounded by thousands of people who share my love of yarn and knitting and all such pursuits. I spent some quality time with good friends that I don't get to see nearly enough, and I met new people who I just know are destined to become good friends. The women (and, yes, it was all women this time, but it isn't always) who took my classes were the BEST. STUDENTS. EVER.
I have a hard time remembering to take photos at events like this. When I'm thinking about taking pictures, I find it takes me away from being in the experience. So the only photo I came back with is this one.....
from left to right: me, bead and lace designer extraordinaire Sivia Harding, Karin Skacel and Michelle Hunter of Skacel Yarns, and Andrea Wong. Susie Moraca from Kollage Yarns was seated to my right, but got up to take photos.
 This was taken Thursday evening at the launch party for Betsy Beads, the new book by my friend Betsy Hershberg. Like all good cocktail parties, there were more people than chairs. We started out leaning against the wall, then one by one slid down to the floor. Before the night was out, this was the picnic spot were all the cool kids were congregating.

Let me tell you about Betsy's excellent book.  Betsy makes the most amazing bead knitted jewelry.  I am the proud owner of an original Betsy Hershberg bracelet, which she made for me a couple of years ago in exchange for a cowl I knit - I definitely got the better end of that trade.
Betsy Beads is rich in technique.  Detailed illustrated instructions will enable you to reproduce any of the spectacular designs shown.
But the heart of Betsy's book is the essays that open each chapter.  Betsy revels in the creative process. In her essays, she shares her journey of experimentation and discovery, and encourages you to set out on a journey of your own.  I was familiar with Betsy's work and knew it was beautiful.  What I did not know is that she is such a good writer.  You'll want to take time to savor each word.

The photography is this book is also a treat. It is a challenge to capture bead work in photos. I've often seen pictures of beaded projects where you wouldn't know beads were included if they weren't listed in the materials list. Alexis Xenakis is a master of capturing the nuances of knitwear in photos. With this book, he has extended his mastery to beads.  The subtleties of color and finish are beautifully rendered.  And his choice of background for the close-up shots is flawless. The use of jelly beans? Brilliant.

If you'd like to buy the book (and you really should), here is a link. Following that link takes you to the website of the publisher, XRX books.  While there, you can download a free pattern for a necklace, and see photos of all the projects included in the book.

Here is what jumped out of my stash as soon as I got the book home.  I don't actually have time to start a new project. But since I already have the yarn and beads, and I only need to find a clasp, it doesn't really count as a new project, right? Right?

1 comment:

  1. sandi- thanks for checking out my blog! how can one find your patterns? i can add that to the blog post. thanks!