Monday, 1 September 2014

The September Challenge

Welcome to the September challenge! It's theme time again and this month we want you to be inspired by our beautiful universe - real or imagined - to create something with the theme of Outer Space.

Image by JPL

This month our sponsor is Celia and she's offering £15 to spend in her shop Jencel!

Simply email a photograph of your entry to Liz at and include a few words about what inspired you. The challenge runs until Midnight on Tuesday 30th of September and the winner is drawn and announced the following day. The challenge is open to beaders worldwide.

Entries must have been started on or after September 1st 2014.
You can use any technique but it must include beads.
Your entry must be a finished piece.
If your entry isn't your own design you must credit the original designer.

Good luck everyone and happy beading!

The August Challenge - and the winner is...

Well done to everyone who took part in our August challenge, as always it's been fun opening your emails and seeing all your beautiful creations! I must also tell you that this challenge breaks the OTTBS record for the most number of entries that have used the twist - well done everyone! Ok, I know you're dying to see who has won this month but please take some time to have a look at the beady goodness below before you do :)

Everyone's names were put into the list randomizer at and the lucky beader who's name is at the top is... drum roll please...


Congratulations Dawn, you've won the £25 voucher to spend at Beads & More by Yashma!

We'll be back later on today with a brand new challenge for September :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

The August Challenge

Welcome to the August challenge! It's colour time again and this month we'd like you to create something in Purple, Pink, Grey and Silver.

Original image by Lele Breveglieri

THE TWIST: This month the twist is NO JEWELLERY! There are so many other things you can make using beads: works of art, bookmarks, decorations, key rings, pens, perfume bottles, stitch markers, wine charms, bag charms to name just a few. Remember this is entirely optional but if you create something other than jewellery in our colour scheme then you will receive two entries into the draw!

This month our sponsor is Valentina and she's offering £25 to spend in her shop Beads & More By Yashma!

Simply email a photograph of your entry to Liz at The challenge runs until Midnight on Sunday 31st of August and the winner is drawn and announced the following day. The challenge is open to beaders worldwide.

Entries must have been started on or after August 1st 2014.
You can use any technique but it must include beads.
You must use all of the challenge colours unless otherwise stated (findings are exempt).
Your entry must be a finished piece.
If your entry isn't your own design you must credit the original designer.

Good luck everyone and happy beading!

The July Challenge - And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who joined in with our July challenge. Here are the fabulous entries we received, who knew scientific subjects could be so beautiful! As always, the winner of the draw is at the bottom of the post.

Aryd'ell says: Octagons are a big deal in molecular science, as well as in bees' honeycombs.

 Coral says: Here is my entry...I call Atom's In Orbit.

Ev Says: used fractal art as my inspiration for this piece.
Ev also blogged about her piece here.

 Fatema says: In keeping with the science theme, I have beaded two pairs of earrings-the first one is based on the molecular structure & the 2nd one on the atomic structure.

 Jeanne says: Here is a photo of my finished necklace and the Fibonacci diagram I based the beadwork on. The neckstrap has repeats of bead colors/sizes in the Fibonacci progression as well, i.e., 1, 2, 3, 5, 8.

Jenny says: Brick stitch ornament inspired by the sky at night - spherical object with orbits of varying widths.

 Rachael says: Here is my entry for the July challenge, inspired by DNA sequencing and made using the great tutorial from Jenny Argyle, Twins in a Spin.

Everyone's names were put into the List Randomizer at and the lucky beader whose name is at the top is...


Congratulations Fatema, you're the winner of the inspiration kit from our sponsor Snoochy!

Don't forget to check back later on today when we'll have a brand new challenge for August :)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Basic Stitch Tutorial - Brick Stitch

It's been some time since we had a Basic Stitch post so here we are with a brick stitch tutorial! In brick stitch, each bead is offset from the beads below, rather like a brick in a wall (hence the name). You can use any size bead for this stitch but you'll want to use beads that are fairly regular in size, to keep a straight line, and any of the Japanese seed beads are great for this. I'm using Toho size 11 seed beads here.

Start off with a ladder stitch base. If you're not familiar with ladder stitch we have a tutorial for you hereIf you'd prefer a thicker base to hold onto you can always make a two bead stack. I've made a one bead stack here. The length can be any number of beads but you'll want your thread to be coming out of the top of the last bead.

Pick up 2 seed beads and pass the needle under the thread that connects the two end beads on the ladder stitch base...

...and sew up through the last bead added. Pull the thread taut so that the two beads sit neatly side by side.

Now pick up 1 seed bead and pass the needle underneath the next thread. These connecting threads are also known as 'bridges' so that's what I'll refer to them from here on.

Sew up through the bead you just added...

Repeat the above step, adding 1 bead at a time, until you reach the end of the base and have no more bridges left.

To make this end of the brick stitch identical to the other you will have to add one more bead so pick up 1 bead and pass the needle under the same bridge that you just used and sew back up through the bead as before.

And that is your basic brick stitch!

Now there is the subject of increasing and decreasing with this stitch which you'll need to learn in order to complete a pattern. Depending on the pattern you have two choices on how to start and end your rows. 

If you start as I did at the beginning, by adding 2 beads onto the first bridge this will increase the edge by 1 bead...

If you keep doing this you'll have a diagonal shaped edge which you can see starting in the photo below...

But what if you don't need a diagonal edge? Easy! You pick up your 2 beads as usual but skip the first thread bridge and pass the needle under the second....

...and back up through the second bead...

But ugh, now my beads are wonky! Never mind, there's a trick for this. Sew down through the first bead...

...then up through the second bead...

And ooh look, nice neat beads! I do like it when my beads line up lol, but I guess you could skip this bit if you're not bothered ;)

Now when you get to the end of this row you can either stop at the last thread bridge to decrease the edge or add another bead to it if you need to increase the edge. 

Tips: You can use two or more beads to give your beadwork extra height, remember to pick up double at the start of your row. So if you use two beads per stitch then pick up four to start.

Notice how brick stitch looks exactly like peyote stitch when you rotate it? This means that you can use any peyote pattern for brick stitch (and vice versa), you just need to turn the pattern on it's side!

Here are some examples of finished brick stitch projects, all made by our very own Carol Passaro.

Carol's own design

Adapted from a pattern by Rita Sova

 Holly pattern by Threadabead

 Poppy by Kerrie Slade

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The July Challenge

We have something a little different for you as this month I'm handing over the reins for the July challenge to Catherine Chinoy! Over to you Catherine...

"Welcome to the July challenge, which departs from the usual colour themes, but will hopefully stretch your creativity just as much!

As I am a full time worker in a research laboratory, I love scientifically inspired art pieces. For this month, I would like you to choose a scientific subject, and interpret it either literally or in abstract form, and share your project and your inspiration with us.

I'd also like you to have completely free rein, but if anyone is struggling for ideas, then try typing in 'Scientific Discovery', 'History of Science', 'Famous Scientists', or Scientific Images' into your favourite search engine. Discoveries from any branch of Science, Technology, Mathematics and from any era are valid.

From Atoms to Astrophysics, Microbes to Ecosystems, Past to Present.... can't wait to see where inspiration leads you. "


How do I enter?
Simply email your photograph to Liz at
*** Please also include a few sentences describing your project ***

We're happy for you to post your photos on our Facebook group if you are a member but please make sure that you've also emailed your entry. Entries that have not been emailed will not be accepted. By submitting your entry via email you are giving the admin of Operation Tackle That Bead Stash permission to share your email address with the sponsor if you are the lucky winner. We take your privacy very seriously and will not share your email address with anyone else.

What can I make?
Anything as long as it involves beads! Any technique is accepted, from beadweaving and stringing to wire work and bead embroidery. We're sorry but any entries that do not include beads in some form or another will not be accepted. Your entry must be made especially for the challenge, to be fair on everyone who takes part please do not submit something that was made before July 1st 2014.

***Please remember that your entry MUST be a finished piece***

Does it have to be my own design?
No. We're happy for you to make something using a pattern from a book, magazine or tutorial but if you do please let us know the designer's name so that we can give them credit.

When is the deadline for entries?
The deadline is Midnight (in your time zone) on Thursday the 31st of July. The winner will be announced the following day.
Can I enter more than once?
You can make as many pieces as you like using the chosen theme. All entries will be shown here on the blog but you will only be entered into the draw once.

I'm not in the UK, can I still join in?
Yes of course! We welcome submissions from around the world so don't worry if you're not in the UK. Our sponsors have agreed to post prizes overseas so you can still enter and be eligible for the prize!

Any other questions?
If you have any questions at all about the challenge please email Liz at

The Prize

This month we have a guest sponsor, Chantal from Snoochy, who's offered this lovely Inspiration Kit which includes: 1 Star & Moon Pendant, 2 x Large Wooden Beads, 8 x Packets of Czech Glass Beads, 1 x Small Packet of Vintage Freshwater Pearls, 2 Metres of Waved Polyester Cord, Silver Jumprings and Silver Eyepins. All beautifully presented in a little black box!

Good luck everyone and happy beading!