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Contemporary Cube Bead Designs
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Virginia Jensen offers more exciting ways to create with cube beads in her second book, Contemporary Cube Bead Designs. Advanced beginner to intermediate beaders will love the step-by-step instructions and detailed illustrations for 28 striking projects. Readers will use many stitches including ladder, herringbone, peyote, and step stitch, Virginia’s modified version of St. Petersburg chain, among others.
96 pages • 100 color photos
Price: $19.95
Product Number: 64360
ISBN: 9780871164360
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Contemporary Cube Bead Designs : Stitching with Herringbone, Peyote, Ladder Stitch and More

I'm a fan of cube shaped Japanese beads because they work up very quickly in designs and tile beautiful. This is Virginia's second book that focuses on cubes shaped beads.

If you're a beginning beader, cubes have extremely large holes, and come in sizes that are bigger than seed beads without being as large as pony beads. The squared edges in bead weaving makes a more rigid fabric than rounded beads. They are ideal for learning new stitches.

The book starts with an introduction to cube beads, it covers the 2 main manufacturers of cube beads, as well as an overview of other possibilities for cubes. The designs in this book can be done using cubes that are the same size as the beads suggested. So if you have a gorgeous strand of gemstone 4 mm cubes, you can use them in place of the 4mm cube seed beads.

The rest of the introduction covers knots and explains a bit about the stitches used in the book.

The projects are all well photographed with good diagrams. If you're a beginning beader, you'll learn brick stitch, herringbone, peyote, peyote using different bead sizes, and square stitch which is an absolute natural for cube beads. There is also a new stitch offered called Step Stitch which is used to create dramatic chains and geometric shapes like stars, and the Points Collar pictured on the far right on the cover.

One of my favorite things in the book is the way that cubes are ladder stitched together to create multibar spacers for strung pieces. I also love the way cubes and seed beads work very well to make the rounded shapes of the Aztec Ladder Bracelet, and the Flame of India Earrings.

My favorite project in the whole book are the Paisley earrings, using the same herringbone variation that creates the Flame of India Earrings, the author creates a wonderful versatile paisley shape that can be used as a motif in other pieces.

Step stitch makes nice simple chains, but it's also used in ways that are reminiscent of architecture.

The projects for this book are well chosen. The stitches are explained well with clear thread paths, and they are building blocks to your own designs. The designs are classy and adult. The Points Collar would look lovely with the right dress and the Tila Checkered Cuff combines cube beads and Tila (two holed square beads) for a bracelet that would go office to evening very well.

Recommended mostly for beginning bead weavers and beaders who like quick projects, but more intermediate beaders will probably enjoy the Step stitch, and the herringbone variations in the book.

-Shala Kerrigan, BellaOnline

Cube beads have been a favorite of mine for years. They are a fun alternative to regular seed beads. The angular shape definitely gives a geometric look to designs resulting in a contemporary look.

Colorado based Virginia Jensen is a bead artisan who must love cube beads because the book I just received from Kalmbach Publishing is her second featuring these beads! It is called Contemporary Cube Bead Designs. Click here to see a preview of the book.

There are more than 25 projects in the book featuring different types of stitches such as herringbone, peyote and ladder stitch. It is obvious even without reading the author bio that Virginia is not only a designer but a teacher. None of the projects are particularly difficult but they all succeed in making cube beads the star of bead work.

There are a number of bracelets and simple necklaces which are not time consuming to do. That's another benefit of using cube beads instead of smaller seed beads. Virgina also came up with some original designs too like the Aztec Ladder bracelet below.

My favorite projects were the earring projects. The clever off- center placement of the cube beads produced some stunning designs.

The repertoire was further expanded when Virginia incorporated larger beads in the designs such as the earrings below.

However, the main reason why I think this book is fabulous is the way the author encourages beaders to learn the basic design idea and develop into other unique designs. Take the Paisley earrings for example. It makes use of the curved herringbone stitch. It does make lovely earrings for sure.

But the motif itself could be repeated to form a striking necklace.

Virginia also included a number of stunning designs of her in the book. The example for how the curved herringbone stitch can be exploited is illustrated in her Blue/Green Baroque necklace below.

She said, " Here, I've worked the curved herringbone into an open lacy look. I started with 6-bead-wide rows of herringbone at the back and worked forward, splitting the upper section off and crossing it at the center. I made the blue center section, and then I went back and picked up the lower herringbone strand and developed the green outer section, working around the blue center section and attaching dangles and crystals as I went along.The crystals secure and strengthen the curves against the overall weight of the piece. The curved sections work the arcs back and forth to result in a graceful flourish."

Utterly inspiring and will definitely get beaders experimenting with cube beads. Highly recommended for all levels.

-The Beading Gem's Journal
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