Anatomy of a kit

I thought it would be fun to share how kits are built at Heatherworks. After a design is created (which is a story for another day). The beads used in a design are counted (yes, really), then that quantity is counted out (which take ages). These beads are weighed and a percentage is added for just in case.

Materials are ordered in. If a design uses special components it can take a while for them to be made and shipped.
Beads are weighed into little bags and labelled. Sometimes there are willing helpers, this is Fennel sorting beads.

Next the little bags of each bead used, are gathered together and arranged nicely to go into each kit.

kit-contents readytogoThe process is repeated for each colourway, Then the kits are ready to go to a workshop, safely packed in boxes.


Or they are filed in the Heatherworks shelves ready for when a customer places an order.

Wedding Bees

Earlier this year Julia Herdman and her daughter Kelly came to a bumble bee workshop at GJ Beads in Cornwall. Their bees were destined for a very special occasion, a wedding! They had great plans to make several bees so I was enchanted to receive these lovely pictures (taken by the groom)
wedding-beeJulia told me, ‘ We made nine bees, one in the bride’s bouquet and the rest placed in table decorations and given as gifts to seome of the special guests. The bride was delighted with her bee and a lasting reminder of a truly wonderful day”.

I am so touched! what a lovely destination for my humble bumbles, and I just adore the soft vintage colours of the beautiful bouquet. Bumble bee continues to be a popular workshop, and I’ll be posting next years teaching schedule at the end of October.


New in the PDF store

I’m taking a short break from the computer for a bit of R&R before my autumn travels begin, so I’ve added some patterns to the Digital store.
Beloved is now available for download, it is definitely my most worn this summer and now making it in autumn colours pendant! beloved-main

Relic, first created in 2012 and still one I reach for when the leaf colours begin to change, a customer recently requested the pattern so it’s now available again.

relicpic5aQuick make projects are just the thing to use up the bead stash and get the autumn beading started, Kelim beads are quick and easy to do, so like a patchwork quilt, you can just keep adding more. They are also the ideal little sampler to test new colour combinations.kelim6

Take some greens

I’ve just returned from a trip to the Bead Days event in Augsburg, Germany. I could show you lots of people busy beading, shopping for beads, talking about beads, admiring each others beadwork… I could. Teaching at a bead show is huge fun, but full on bead gatherings also needs a counterbalance, so mine is to take a walk.

augsburg parkThis is a view of the park next to the lovely venue. As the sun goes down, I love the way it lights up the leaves, the air smells of warm grass and juicy greens, sun baked soil and frying food, it’s en route to an outdoor Beer Garden, well a girl’s got to eat.

green glass cabsNo trip to a bead show is done until the shopping has commenced, I like to pick out a few pieces to remind me of the show, the laughter, new students and old friends. Bead Days has a wonderful selection of traders. A true ‘Salon’ of bead shows, with artisans, new designers, small family businesses and bead shops who’s owners really ‘get’ their customers quests for the exact mix of ingredients for a project.

I chose these mouthwateringly gorgeous sherbet and sorbet coloured glass cabochons from traditional pressed glass manufacturer Friedrich Seibt.
Some have an iridescent sheen, some change from green to aqua as they are moved, and I love each and every one! I have a project in mind, have the beads already gathered together, but it will be a while before I can sit and create, so for now they are a fresh green promise of beading to come.

On the spot

The lovely people at Facet have put me on the spot and asked five questions about my beady life as part of the National Beading Week celebrations here


Painting Rainbows

I am so happy! well over 1000 beaders have now downloaded my free bracelet pattern for National Beading Week!!! (you can find the free patterns here). I love the feeling this brings, the thought of beaders all over the world sitting and beading ‘together’. It’s a tough old world out there just now, so it’s very reassuring that so many of us find peaceful delight in our ‘weapons of mass creation’, a phrase my lovely friend Huib Petersen shared, inviting us all to show images of our crafts.

I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone’s bracelets. If you’ve downloaded the pattern and are still rummaging thdads paint boxrough your beads in search of perfect combinations? Here are some mixes I found in my studio this morning.

First, my Dad’s watercolour paints, I love the mix of inky dark colours with a dash of bright coral and yellow. The pale grey background gives these colours added vibrancy.


Next is this pilsofter colourse of Miyuki Duracoat permanent finish seedies. When these colour samples first arrived, I confess to bead lust! They are all those in betweeny shades we didn’t know we were missing until they created them. Soft and a bit vintage, like William Morris printed textiles. Any combination of these is gorgeous!

rainbow hair

And, this, a hairdressers sample swatch I begged from my local salon. Lots of fairy dust shades of pastels, with more vibrant accents of magenta and purple. Now if only I had the courage to use them all on my hair, tehehe. I love the teal and lime combo in the centre, so now I’m curious to see how adding a coral or peach to my all time favourites will work out in beads.




National Beading Week 2016

People Chain x 12

Last year the Beadworkers Guild here in the UK launched National Beading Week. A way to get people talking about our wonderful hobby, gathering together to bead, and, to visit our fantastic bead shops to show love and support. I don’t think anyone expected it to take off quite so quickly, but within days it was no longer National, but International beading week.

NBW Logo - 2016 Dated

This year I was invited to be an ambassador. Well you know I can talk beads like, forever! but I thought it would be fun to create a simple bracelet and bangle design to share. It is free to download here. Or you can click on Shop and then click on free patterns.

National Beading week bracelet

You’re welcome to use it at your bead shop, store, group or club, just show and share your creations as the week progresses. I’ll be inviting posts to my facebook page and we’d love to to spread the word and share the bead love, so feel very welcome to get in touch and join in.

Why a rainbow? well the logo has a rainbow of beads on it. There are seven traditional colours of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, so that’s one of each day of National Beading week.(Or eight if you are a Terry Pratchett fan and include Octarine, the colour of magic).

Bright playground colours are not everyone’s thing, so how about a pastel rainbow just like the ones that light up our skies.

Or maybe muted one lifted from the colours of antique tapestries. If you are more a single colour kind of person, how about going from the darkest shade to the lightest in seven steps. I’m loving the idea of a coffee lovers rainbow from sultry cafe noir to frothy cafe latte with shades of mocha and cappuchino in between. Closest to my heart would be a set of turquoise through green to pale lime.

Download the pattern, then have a joyous time picking out your beads and don’t forget to show and share your rainbow creations.

If you’d like to know more about the Guild and the things get up to visit

If you’d like to find out about National Beading week there is a special website with more freebies and lots of information

People Chain x 12


The story behind Beloved

The story behind Beloved.

The inspiration for Beloved is sitting right here on a shelf in my work room.

A squishy, lavender filled heart in my favourite shade of lichen green, made by English knitwear designer Catherine Tough. A present from my friend Jackie, it has become a treasured posession which is hugely comforting to hold in times of stress, and calming to look at when things are going well. Next to it is a cute folklore gift tag made of painted wood which arrived on a parcel at Christmas, too nice not to keep.

A little shelf full of hearts.
A little shelf full of hearts.

The first Beloved necklace came about because I was experimenting with Albion stitch and the ways in which  it has similarities to crochet. The challenge to self was to see if the beads could form gently rounded shapes in three dimensions, one experiment grew into a little heart shape. Which led to more heart shapes.

The one I settled on was this. I added a  loop at the top, then had fun making a tassel and beady beads to go with. I found myself wearing it a lot, having conversations about it, enjoying it’s versatility.




So, I decided to see if the pattern would work in other colours too. I like the gentle sparkle of mineral metallic in the original so I kept that in. Next with thoughts of romantic hearts in mind, I chose shades of pink inspired by  this gorgeous rose.

beloved rose2


Then I got to thinking about wild hearts, the rebels wearing denim and their hearts on their sleeves, this colour mix is my second fave as it is a perfect fit with jeans and whatever.


Beloved ColourwaysIf you’re a true romantic you can fold away a secret on a slip of paper to tuck inside the soft as a cloud cotton wool stuffing. Add some dried Lavender or a couple of drops of Rose essential oil and the pendant becomes a pretty pomander to hang in your room.