Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Farfalle Stitch

I received an envelop with a selection of Farfalle beads from Preciosa Ornella, to participate in a contest. They offer to send samples of a particular shaped bead to beaders who, if they accept, have 14 days to come up with something to participate in the contest. That means that I had until the 7th of March.

Tests with hexagon and
octagon stitches
Generally I push my creative brain as far as possible for a contest, which takes a lot of feeling thinking and testing, in other words: a lot of time, so it's needless to say that 14 days sounded extremely short to come up with something new. But I liked the idea of a short deadline somehow. Deadlines have something energizing. I had a last bead to add to my Toho Challenge piece (which took 2 months to complete), photograph it and then could play with the Farfalle beads.

Mini Menat
My initial plan was to make something floral with one of the many Diamond Weave variations explained in my book, because the Farfalle beads behaved very well in the Mini Menat design.

I think that they bring great depth and texture to beadwork. They can be a strong structural bead in DW, but my attempts at little daisies, with either hexagon and octagon stitch didn't work as I hoped. Adding little white pearls to hold the center of the units to prevent the farfalle from dancing didn't work well, because with their peanut-shape (or butterfly or bowtie shape, as their name suggests), they interlock naturally.

To stand tall, they should have no room at all in the center of the beaded units, otherwise they flip, which means only 4 beads per unit in DW and I didn't want to use them like that. I could try to find another math or magic for the daisies, but the "texture"aspect of the beads took me on another path.

I had been willing to create a pentagon stitch in DW since quite a while... pentagon stitch would, perhaps, offer a less symetric, but still structured design aspect. I looked at the 5-bead units as if one half was a basic unit and the other half a hexagon unit, and added single and double bridges (thread cover beads), and suddenly something amazing appeared: the beads formed a gazillion of little butterflies!

"Constellation" - farfalle stitch
Some farfalle beads still misbehave, but that's ok. The cuff has a wonderful, uneven texture, as if it had been "glass-smithed", yet a strong, regular woven structure. It has a nice weight and a pleasant, thick feel. With the 14kt gold-plated seed beads, the cuff looks like a starry night.

Starry night (without constellation)
 And because I love pearls, I added little 2mm white rounds to emphasize the starry night look without taking away interest from the woven structure. Now it looks a little bit like the Hydra constellation in a dark, starry sky, hence the name "Constellation" for this cuff.


Bats in the snow
And because I love Italy, and butterflies and because farfalle is the Italian translation for butterfly as well as for bowtie (which can also be "seen" in the structure), I can only call this stitch Farfalle stitch.

With Escher's drawings in mind, I started another cuff with black and white farfalle beads to better show the butterflies, but the texture of the beadwork looks like hail or snow - (I love it on its own) and the butterflies look more like little bats, and that, somehow, doesn't feel very compatible. So to show the little butterflies, I decided to make another cuff with Preciosa's beautiful Solgel seed beads, in a rainbow of colors, and alabaster white. 

I think that it is cute as a button:

"Butterfly rainbow" - farfalle stitch

 I love to see the two cuffs one beside the other, to show how two exactly the same pieces of work can have a different looks when different materials are used.

I started writing a tutorial for the butterfly bracelet.


Your comments are welcome!