2022 Double Helix Test Batches

Since the 2010 Rochester Gathering, I have had the opportunity to create sample beads on some of the test batches Double Helix being offered at the annual International Society of Glass Beadmakers conference. After skipping the last two years due to the pandemic, I am thrilled to be doing this again even though the 2022 Gathering is virtual. It’s not as good as holding them in your hands but hope you will find the write up and pictures helpful.

My favorite this year is the HxOpl batches – there will be four (subject to change!) – a rich pink that opacifies into yummy translucency when worked long but never goes completely opaque and retains the pink (and sometimes lavender) hue.

HxOpl on white except the Leaf bead on the left that’s on Periwinkle, spacers are all HxOpl
HxOpl with Clio and Zephyr clear. HxOpl/Clio/Zephyr were used on the calla lilies of the Bouquet beads.

CFO- 855 is a yellow opal – Leaf beads were made four hours apart with the right one (over Rhea) being the last bead made.

CFO-855 yellow opal

Two striking silver glass. First one – KS-853 – yields a range of hues depending on how long it’s worked. Long Svelte bicone lost color so more silver glass was added at the end to strike to this beautiful magenta and purple. Center of that bead is HxOpl! Yummy luscious pink! Second one – KS-858 – is the first ever transparent striking silver glass and has sooooo much potential! It does get a bit translucent when worked long. See captions for more details.

SK-853 – all encased except for the small Leaf bead on the right and the long Svelte bicone (its center is HxOpl). Range of hues dependent on how long it’s worked.
KS-858 Transparent/translucent striking silver glass that can be reduced for shimmer. Two Leaf beads on the left are encased and have flashes of pink and purple.
KS-858 – really fun glass encased and layered since it stays transparent/translucent. Middle and right beads have Rhea core while the left one is with Black core and White dots.

There are also a couple of UV Opal batches but since I don’t have a black light, the beads pretty much just look white.


Double Helix 2019 Test Batches

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers annual glass conference, the Gathering, is next week in Las Vegas, and I have the opportunity to play with the some of the test batches Double Helix Glassworks will be offering!

The ones I tested were EG-711, EG-714, ZL-691, WH-731 White, WO-733 Translucent White, and re-testing PL-699 which will be released as Phaeton.

EG-711 – clockwise from top: on Effetre Light Ivory, on WH-731 White, on WO-733 Translucent White and encased in Zephyr, (next two spacers) on WO-733 Translucent White, (last two spacers and sphere) all EG-711.


EG-714 – clockwise from 11 o’clock: on Effetre Light Ivory, on WH-731 White, on WO-733 Translucent White and encased in Zephyr, (next two spacers) on WO-733 Translucent White, (last two spacers and melon) all EG-714.


ZL-691 – clockwise from top: spacers and melon are all ZL-691, next two Galaxy beads are all encased in Zephyr, first one has a core of RN685 Gold Ruby test, second is just ZL-691 with Zephyr.


Phaeton – New Release of PL-699/PL-708 –  clockwise from 11 o’clock: encased in Zephyr, all Phaeton melon bead, encased in Zephyr, the next three Galaxy beads are all encased in Zephyr, first one has a dual core of WO-733 Translucent White and RN685 Gold Ruby test, second has RN685 Gold Ruby test, and last one is just Phaeton with Zephyr.


These are pictures of my PL-699 sample beads from last year:




Machine-Stitched Bag!

As of Saturday the 11th, I have concluded all the projects of the year-long program at Amblard Leather Atelier with the completion of my machine-stitched bag  (I have even learned how to split leather using the skiving machine)! To think that a little over a year ago, my sister and I independently found Amblard the same day and decided to give it a try. We started with the two-hour evening class and knew this was what we wanted to do during the first class of just cutting paper! We did six evening classes and as soon as a new session started, we were on board for each of the four 12-week full-day programs. , We can’t thank Beatrice “Bea” Amblard enough for providing this incredible opportunity sharing her knowledge of the centuries-old craft of refined leather working. Bea and her daughter, Amelia, are amazing artists and teachers!


Interior with zippered and iPhone pockets, as well as the magnetic closure.


There is always a cattle brand on each hide. This one was H5. I utilized it as my initial HS and used it as the bottom of the bag.


The slide allows the strap to be shortened so I can either carry it short on my shoulder or long across the body.


Next up … project of my own design without any restricted guidelines!!!


Photo credit – top photo by Amelie Amblard

Machine-Stitched Bag

The machine-stitched bag is the last project in my year-long workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier. Can’t believe I have gone through Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced sections and am well into my last project in the Master class! I did a lot of homework in order to make it through all the required projects. The motivation behind this is that I will get to design my own project next! If you think my anticipation in working on my first TOTE when this journey began a year ago was over the top… it pales in comparison in my excitement in design my first bag! 😀

But first I must finish this machine-stitched bag! I wanted a smaller cross-shoulder bag for everyday use but was told that the smaller the bag, the more difficult it was to be sewn on the machine. So a compromise was struck.

After my usual blacks and greens, I decided to go with a fabulous medium dark slate grey leather named Oceania. It reminds me of stormy sea and will work perfectly with jeans. The project normally encompasses top-stitched seams on the sides with two straps on the front and back. I wanted a two-tone asymmetric design and moved the seams in the front and back pairing Oceania with Black for a more contemporary style. This also enables me to have the tabs with the attachments for the long cross-body strap (one instead of two) on the sides of the bag.


Piping is one of the techniques and I surprised everyone by choosing an accent color in mustard yellow named Kayak! It is reinforced by having the tabs and the entire interior lining in the same color!

A couple of classes were spent on putting all the pieces together – phone pocket, zippered pocket, tabs, bottom with feet and piping, etc. Then it was time to learn how to use the industrial-grade Juki leather sewing machine. It took a bit of getting used to but with my sewing experience since the age of 10, it wasn’t too difficult to pick up – except for the fact that you can’t pin or hand baste anything before hand AND if you make a mistake, the holes are permanent!

The up side? It’s FAST! I machine stitched the bag and its lining in one day – something that would have taken days and weeks if stitched by hand – and there is no finishing required except for a handful of areas!

My homework is to finish the edges on the strap, then add the binding on the top edge next class and my last required project will be done!

Now off to design my next project … so exciting!



Protea – Fourth Annual MKAL


The Fourth Annual enVision MKAL – Protea Shawl – will start 3 August 2018. Join us – enVision group on Ravelry! Four clues with each one being released one week apart. Get the pattern – Info pdf – today on Ravelry (you do not need to be a member to purchase) and a notification will be sent to you automatically when each clue is ready for download!

Protea Shawl is a crescent-shape shawl using a pair of complementary yarns – one variegated and one solid/semi solid in contrasting color. It is named after the exotic flower, Protea, for its associations to change and transformation across cultures, thus symbolizes diversity and courage.

Protea is the third (after Affinity and Nephthys) original design of mine that utilizes my love for juxtaposition by combining solid fabric with lace.

For more information and to purchase the pattern at US$6.50, please visit my Ravelry store!

Structured Purse – Complete!

The last of the annual series – Master Session – at Amblard Leather Atelier starts Saturday so I have been busy finishing up my Advanced Session project in order to start another 12 weeks of leather fun (finally leaving hand stitching behind and will be using a machine!)


Structured Purse Part III

Want to share a few work-in-progress pictures of my structured purse! Stitching the side gussets and finishing those edges are the final steps! Master Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier starts on 14 July… so I better hustle to get this done so I can leave hand stitching behind and finally get to use the Juki sewing machine!






Structured Purse Part II

I have been remiss in updating my structured purse progress! Lots have happened in the last month and we only have a couple of weeks left in our Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier! And yes, both my sister and I have signed up for the Master Workshop to complete our full-year leather learning fun!

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am using black grain leather with an accent of snake skin. This is the classic-style structured purse with leather rope handles and reinforced bottom.

Here is an action shot! Hand stitching! The awl is to pierce through the multiple layers of the bottom.


Here is a quick shot of the front and flap showing the python accent, slim silver-tone hardware, and asymmetrical design.


Feet and closure hardware set, rope handles attached. I have finished hand stitching the handles onto the front and back (an extremely persnickety process!) It’s finally looking like a purse!!!


Sea Foam Cowl

When some of my knitting friends from my Ravelry group – enVision – had our first meet up in Colorado last year, some of them went on a yarn crawl and purchased a skein of Malabrigo Caracol, a super-bulky-weight yarn. They all knitted a cowl that evening! I finally picked up a skein in Diana colorway and got a chance to knit one myself. I have written up this simple pattern and it’s available free on Ravelry!

Here is the official write up:

Sea Foam Cowl is a quick knit using super-bulky-weight yarn. It uses one skein of Malabrigo Caracol or equivalent – 90y / 83m on size us15 / 10mm needles with a gauge at 8-9 sts / 4” / 5.0 cm. Final size after blocking is approximately 12” x 13” / 30.5 mm x 33.0 mm (w x h). If you prefer a long cowl/infinite scarf, cast on double the stitches and use two skeins.

Sea Foam Cowl may also be knitted in worsted weight but you will need to adjust the number of cast-on stitches (in increments of 10). For example, if you elect to use Malabrigo Rios in worsted weight with a gauge of approximately 18 sts / 4” / 5.0 cm, you will need to cast on 100 sts). Please note that your required yardage will differ.



Structured Purse, Part 1

Now that we are into big projects – totes and purses! – instead of accessories that can be done in one or two classes, I am going to write about this current project in parts as I did my first tote! So here goes… 😀

After a couple of days of hand skiving, the majority of the Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier is devoted to the Structured Purse project. As with the tote, there are guidelines we must follow but do have some creative input. I sketched out two themes with two to three designs each and settled on one with lots of angles. We are also allowed to use something exotic so I jumped at this opportunity to work with something other than calf leather.

Did some shopping on my own when a friend and I went up to Napa last week. The Hide House is an amazing retailer of leather and I was like a kid in a candy store! One of the finds was a soft metallic hide in dark pewter – a dark grey piece with a touch of greenish bronze shimmer that I will use for the inside lining of the purse.


The exterior is black with an accent of snake skin!


I am so excited to get going now that all the pieces are cut!!!