Designs and Patterns

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I much prefer creating my own designs and patterns rather than following someone else’s. Even if I take someone’s instructions, I almost always find myself doing my own thing at some point. This isn’t necessarily bad. Even the designers who create the patterns don’t judge it. They like to see the variations of the basic bones they’ve shared.

Knitting Patterns

Many years ago I attended a knitting lecture by Norah Gaughan. She creates beautiful knitting patterns that often stem from designs in nature. (pun intended, did you see that – stem!?!) Her basic message was that everyone copies from something. There is no truly original design anymore. I am not here to argue the validity of her lecture. Everything has a starting point or influence that then goes off in different directions.

Beading Patterns

I just finished Jean Power‘s Winter 2021 Secret Beadalong. She creates a pattern and slowly parses out the instructions over a 24 or so day period so that the subscribers follow the steps without a clear idea of the end product. This is not my usual cup of tea (she’s British) but I get to learn new techniques and stop thinking while I’m beading. Well, not really thinking, but I’m just following the instructions without any of my own input.

Here is my finished product. I played around with the angular edges around the piece – some are green and the others turquoise. Other than that, not much originality on my end. (Still pretty, but not my usual style.) The chain is also made of beads and was part of the pattern.

My usual style?! Very free form. Since I love oysters, I made a loom pattern from a photograph and then created bead embroidery around it to make a pendant/brooch. I hope you can see the oyster. Even if you can’t, it’s an awesome fun piece that I adore.

Pearls, a lemon slice and red buttons with white beads to evoke cocktail sauce embellish the oyster. And don’t forget the oyster fork! All very proper.

Here’s the back. It’s set to be a brooch or a necklace. Right now, I am preferring the necklace.


Beading has some specific common ways of putting beads together, which are defined as stitches. There are quite a few basic stitches that are then used to create amazing pieces. The real reason that I follow some patterns is to understand the basic components of the craft. Once I understand the structure of these basic building blocks, I have more tools to be creative.

Jean’s pattern taught me many basic steps that were very repetitive throughout the pattern. Even though this could be extremely painful (to do the same thing over and over), there was a timed end that was attainable. I knew that if I could get through this project – and finish it! – I would have new skills that would be valuable in my future creativity.

That is really the beauty of following a pattern – as much as one needs to learn the basic skill. After that, time to explore and fly!

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