Rhyolite & Unakite
beaded embroidered bag to match memento

I recently made this item for a family member celebrating a significant milestone. The idea came from the contents, which was made by the owner's sister, and which I restrung after it broke. As the rosary is kept more as a memento, I thought something to store it in would be appreciated; wishing to echo the hand-made quality of the original item (and to be frank, because it was lying around, and I was in a hurry)[1] I selected some fabric I'd dyed years ago as the base. Though the fabric was kind of fragile—the reason I had the scrap was that the bleach discharge had rotted a number of holes into the original garment—I figured it wouldn't, as a keepsake, get much wear.

Beaded embroidery featuring rhyolite, unakite, artist soda-lime glass beads, pressed (czech) glass, seed beads, swarovski, etc on fabric dyed and stamped by the artist.

Owing to the care of the owner, only one 3mm unakite bead had been lost off the original rosary, which served as the basis for my choices—rhyolite and unakite[2] were the backbone, or focus, with some brown (including tigereye), cream and green (to pull the fabric lime greens in better) thrown in. I packed up these beads in a mini-cigar tin, about 5x5" and perhaps 3/8 deep. Perfect and portable for working while en route, especially long plane trips.

Closeup of same. July 2015

backside, showing quilted interior, plus the rhyolite, unakite, green-aventurine[3] , malachite rosary with fancy-mixed jasper cross. Restrung, July 2015.

The original stringer made the rosary with good quality 018 49 stranded beadalon, and double crimped above and below the centerpiece[4] —but, like a lot of amateur stringers, didn't leave enough ease, or takeup, for when the piece is coiled. I carefully restrung the rosary bead for bead, substituting pairs of tiny silver crimps for the basemetal ones—partly because it's what I have, and also to match the white metal eyeloop of the cross; however, I only crimped one of the 4 crimps, relying more upon friction (a tight fit) of beadalon through the 3–4mm unakites. In fact I relied upon friction alone for the crucifix end—a slightly sneaky approach made possible by the fact that unakite is relatively soft, and that I have a foredom I'm not afraid to use:)

The interior of the pouch is green, because I like the color, and thus had some quilted fabric in that color; the french knots are picked in orange not only because I like green and orange, but also because I wanted to sneak some of the recipient's favorite color into the piece.

After avoiding doing any beaded embroidery for years because the heavy fabrics Joanne Laessig recommended caused my hands to cramp, this piece was a joy to make. It also caused me to reconsider some of my working methods. I love taking classes, but it's oh-so-easy to take the teacher's assumptions without necessarily questioning them; and I needed to adapt this stricture to the realities of aging hands.

[1]Which is why I can date this item so precisely—I didn't have the time to stretch it out so long I forgot when I'd started it...

[2]Of which I have a good assortment, because, like the original creator, (whom I knew) I'm very fond of green beads!

[3]Probably a mistake, actually...

[4]Usually a 3 holed metal plate to which loop and cross dangle are attached; in this case, a large malachite bead