Tuesday, 6 November 2012

OTTBS Bead Book Bounce: Little Bead Boxes by Julia S. Pretl

The third OTTBS Bead Book Bounce (and the second in which I've participated) features Julia S. Pretl's Little Bead Boxes. I bought this book after seeing the dedication in Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork, but other than looking at the pictures had barely touched it. I decided to attempt at least one of the projects in the book, and possibly more if I could for Christmas presents for close family this year.

Although the book patterns begin with a triangular box, the one I really liked was 'Star' which is pentagonal.

I had no real problems with the base of the box, working in 4 colours of delicas, and following the word chart and the graphed design. It may seem odd to some that the word chart always starts at a corner, when due to stepping up, the point at which you actually begin a row varies, but once you are used to it it seems straightforward enough. The increase cycle section for pentagonal bases helps to clarify so is worth sticking a marker in.

My shaping at the top of the box was also trouble free, but I hit a snag at the hem round one (and I really needed the bookmark in the hem instruction page) I managed to break a bead in the corner of the row from which the hem begins so had to unravel right back to the beginning of the inner column. The 6lb fireline ended up like frayed Nymo!

My top tip here is to cut the thread if you are going to unpick more than a side, fasten it off and begin a fresh thread length from the problem point. Switching to a thinner needle and 4lb test for the 4 hem rows and the last two body rows and the zipping up, was also beneficial, although by the time I did the lid hem, I was comfortable with 6lb and a size 10 needle.

The box took me about a week to make so the prospect of making a few as presents is not too onerous. This is the finished piece and I have completed the lid with a little ceramic star which was just the right blend of lime and turquoise:

Have a look at the OTTBS page for a few more boxes made by group menbers, and links to other blogs


  1. Star is my fave too! I love your colours and the star top is delicious. I can't believe you were using size 6lb and a size 10 needle and frosted delicas!! How?!?!
    (A rather baffled) Gemxxx

    1. The matte metallic khaki delicas are a reasonably 'strong' bead, and I'd used them before on needlecases which are also quite high tension pieces, so I knew they could take the strain (although the one which broke was one of those), I was also always careful not to work at an angle, but tried to stay in line with the bead hole. Where Julia recommended working the hem through from inside to outside I stayed on the inside. I don't know how it worked, but it did!

  2. It's lovely! I wish I had been able to take part in this one, the boxes are lovely... but moving house kinda got in the way! I love your box though - I think it's the design I would have chosen too. xx

  3. Thanks, it was fun but required concentration, so trying to move house at the same time would have been an immense challenge!

  4. Thanks so much for such a wonderful review. Your tops tips are really helpful and your beautifully beaded box is a delight to look at! xxx

  5. A gorgeous box and a fantastic review! I love the colours you chose for this, beautiful :)

  6. Beautiful box! I like the star on top. I started with 6lb thread, but switched to 8lb because I didn't think the sides of my box were stiff enough. I thought I'd have to switch back down to 6lb for the hem, but surprisingly it worked out fine.

  7. Beautiful box Catherine & fab review! I bought the book but was far too lazy to make one! I had planned to make some chrimbo pressies too, oh well, there is still time!