What I did today.

I have a bead stash. (Beaders understand this. So do knitters, for that matter.)

I know people with much bigger stashes, but mine is not really anything to sneeze at. Ignoring the silver (I can’t quite remember how much I have, other than 300 3mm silver balls, 25 feet of 24 gauge dead soft sterling, and about 3.5 feet of 20 gauge dead soft sterling, plus headpins of various gauges — I have more than that but I can’t remember exactly what), the replacement value of the Swarovski crystal bicones alone is $60. (I’ve used up a lot of what I had. Were I to buy full packages of the crystals in the shades I use, it would be approximately $130. I know, I priced them out this morning.) Then there is the amethyst, onyx, carnelian, various shades of jasper, malachite, sodalite, three types of quartz (rose, crystal, and ice), freshwater pearls (although I’m low on these), faux pearls (Swarovski, of course, they’re the best), cloissone … and so on. All of these in multiple sizes and in some cases shapes.

And the lapis. Mustn’t forget the lapis: 4, 8, and 10mm.

They’ve been languishing in their bag for quite a while now. (One of the big advantages of beading as a hobby over knitting is that you can have a decent stash that fits in the size of a carry-on bag, rather than taking up half a wall.) I have felt guilty every time I looked at them, thinking I really should find a beader — preferably young and just starting — to give them to.

Right now I am a) waiting to be called in for training for a job, and 2) have a health issue which limits how much I can do. So this morning I thought “hey, let’s try beading!”

This what I made:

It took two hours, and I was exhausted at the end. Ten years ago it would have taken half an hour, tops. On a slow day.

Specifics, for people who are into that sort of thing:


  • 8 mm amethyst rounds
  • 10 x 6 (I’m estimating here) amethyst ovals
  • 8 mm rose quartz rounds
  • Swarovski: light amethyst bicones, 6mm and 3mm; amethyst, 3mm bicones

Clasp: 20 gauge dead soft sterling silver (I am out of hard, which is what I would normally use for clasps


  • Aforementioned amethyst ovals and rose-quartz rounds
  • 3mm amethyst Swarovski bicone
  • 2mm sterling silver bead
  • Surgical stainless fishhook ear wires (I’m out of sterling ones)

My design originally included mauve freshwater pearls, but ten minutes frustrating labor convinced me that the holes were too small for me to be able work with. I would have used faux pearls instead, but the colors of the ones I had clashed with the rest of the materials.

I’m a little nervous about the earrings; I needed to open the loop on the fishhook, which is not something I ever like to do, but I think I closed it completely, and besides which I was using a 20 gauge sterling headpin as the base, which is pretty thick for that application (at least as far as I am accustomed).

So, that is my major accomplishment for today.

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