Monday, April 25, 2016

Jean reviews Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry 20+ Projects to Make, by Cathy Jakicic

This jewelry stitching book is so innovative in that true beginners are going to be able to learn the basics of over 20 projects, each one utilizing a different stitch. As the back of the book says, "With Cathy Jakicic's Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry, you are going to create a wide variety of jewelry pieces--in just a few hours". It goes on to mention that "each stylish project includes design variations and new color choices".
Wonderfully, as the author says, she created this book not just for beginners, but for the more experienced beader who is looking for project ideas for an afternoon, an evening, or the rare lazy weekend.
I have never seen a book quite like this, so I was delighted to check out the projects and the variations.
The projects come before the basics. The projects are very nicely photographed, and varied. There is something for everyone. The color palettes boost some of the projects right over the top and lure the reader in with their charm (see "Lush Loops", where you get your choice of rivers of golds and browns, or iris tones, purples and pinks, in necklace form, cuff bracelet form, and even earrings).The tips are excellent, as well.
I also loved the author's beginner peyote project, "Grasping at (colorful) straws" and look forward to making one of the versions of it. In this one, the author makes a pretty and colorful necklace. When she runs out of a bead she might have preferred to have used, as well as headpins, she offers great tips on how to solve these little problems handily. I like this sort of thinking outside of the box. The bracelet for this one is perfectly stunning and very chic, as are the earrings.
The reader really gets intrigued while perusing this book. There is just so much to want to try! If you have always loved big beaded cuffs, get ready to make Cathy Jakicic's inventive version of one--and quite a bit more easily than you may have expected. It starts with a button or one leftover vacation coin. Once you choose your focal, the amount of bead embroidery you decided to do around it is up to you, as the author explains. You use a bracelet blank to finish this charming bracelet. The coin surrounded with beads is just as elegant and pretty.
The author's version of Cubic Right Angle Weave is very cool and not difficult to make. It is wonderful to have such a gorgeous necklace made available in this book. It is a series of seed bead bar shapes on a seed bead necklace. The colors are incredibly pretty in  whatever version you make (one is made with coin pearls and only one bar, and a third one is made with three bars and two coin pearls!!!). The color variations are amethyst, peach or forest green, basically. Heavenly any way you try it
The "Bicone Bands"necklace is stunning. The reader will be using turquoise daggers, with black 3mm crystal bicones surrounding them (by using the technique of right angle weave), and black double link chain on each side. It is totally hip.There is a variation which is a pendant which is gorgeous, too.
A beautiful project uses square stitch. It is called "Tiny Tapestries" and you will want to snap it right up and learn to make this design. It really shows how color can make a project sing, and the squares, with some lovely round gems, are fascinatingly modern and ancient at the same time. The variations on this are smashing in  both design and colorway.
It is also so cool to see a project using Charlottes in a beginner book! Charlottes are tiny seed beads and not often used. In the project in Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry in which they are used, they look beautiful, add a lot and are not used too much. A bit of history on Charlottes is included as well. It is very interesting.
When the projects section is complete, the basics section finishes up the book in a very helpful way. Techniques, tools, and materials which are essential are discussed and photographed.
This book is a delightful introduction to seed beading for many of us who have always wanted to learn but keep putting it off because somehow it seems more daunting than other forms of jewelry designing. With this author helping you, don't worry. You will be having fun your way, and learning everything you need to know at an easygoing, friendly pace. It is a great book to have in your library at home, to get you started and keep you going. Love this book!

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