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Reviews By Vancouver Sun and Toronto Star

Beading Books: A Treasure of Gift Ideas

"The author, a Vancouver resident, began beading at the age of 10. In addition to tools and materials, Rempel covers how to string your beads, illustrates projects to make such items as earrings, necklaces, rings and brooches, how to bead clothing and how to make a dream catcher. She discusses off-loom weaving and loom weaving and how to make your own beads. If you are planning to give this book as a present, why not visit a local bead shop and buy the materials for a simple beginner's project to get your special person started? It could become a lifetime passion, as it is for Rempel."
-Vancouver Sun


Bead Book Strings Fans Along

Karen Rempel started her first book - Complete Beading For Beginners when she took a technical writing course. She was given a short writing assignment and, as she'd been in love with beadwork all her life, it was a natural topic. But the Vancouver native says once she got started "I couldn't stop.

"I found it very creative and I'd always wanted, when I was younger, a simple book with all the basics," says the 30-year-old writer and beading enthusiast "It is not a complicated thing to learn. Given the motivation and sufficient motor skills, really anyone can do it."

The book, published by Harbour Publishing, and priced at $19.95, is a 158-page easy-to read and follow guide for anyone who wants to get started in beadwork. Though not geared to children, with some support from an adult, it could be used by children about age 10 and up.

The books first part is organized into five sections - stringing, earrings, off-loom weaving, loom weaving and bead embroidery.

Later, it covers more complicated tasks, such as making your own beads, planning and designing a project of your own and solutions to specific beading problems.

In the first five sections, there are start-up projects outlining the technique being covered in simple steps, with tips in the margins.

The illustrations are in black and white and are large enough to serve as quasi instructional patterns. Making a simple leather choker using a few largish beads is the first project. The simple approach helps you get acquainted with using different types of findings (clasp, wires etc), always the most difficult part for beginning beadworkers, next to actually weaving beads.

According to Rempel, first you decide on the length of the choker. Then line up the lace end-crimps (wire finishings) on either side of the clasp to see how much space your finishing will take, and subtract this amount from your total length of leather lace. Add one inch for knots and cut the cord to this length. Then centre the beads on the cord and tie an overhand knot in the cord on each side of the beads.

Check by measuring that your beads are centred. Attach the finishing by putting one end of the leather lace in a lace end-crimp and, using needle nose pliers, press one side of the crimp shut, then the other. Do the same with the other side. Attach the clasp loops and your clasp is in place.

Rempel goes into detail about how to pick different-sized beads for specific stings or threads and how to choose and apply different clasps and crimps. The earring section has a glossary of findings to help you decide which will suit your project, from bead caps to clips, screw earrings or kidney wire.

The more dedicated beader can use the section on how to make your own findings from wire.

Rempel's sample project of fringed earrings has a triangular foundation of woven seed and bugle beads, with bead fringes attached to the base and a loop of beads at the top for the earring finding.

By mixing and matching the foundation and fringe beads you can get very creative effects.

"That's what I hoped most," says Rempel. "That people will be able, after a few tries, to design their own projects and be creative. You don't need to be afraid to express yourself."

According to Rempel the hardest part for beginners is threading the needle. She advises that you cut the thread at an angle, trim away any uneven fibres, wet the end of the thread and press it flat as you insert it into the eye.

Rempel also offers great tips on the common but infuriating "knots in the thread" syndrome.

She says they are inevitable and the thinner the thread the more likely it is to tangle. Knots also form very easily on doubled thread, she says. Prevention is the best solution, so if you notice the thread twisting or coiling in a loop, hold it straight with one hand and pull with the other.

And if you see a knot forming, STOP and untangle it while it is still loosely formed, no matter what stage you are at in the project.

The nicest part about beading is the way it lets you personalize your jewelry or gifts in a way that need not be costly.

Rempel gives information on everything you'll need to keep costs down and make your own materials.
-Toronto Star