Chaos in the Bead Cave – How to Modify Colors in an Existing Pattern

Chaos in the Bead Cave – How to Modify Colors in an Existing Pattern

So this week THIS Happened…

KC Dragonfly - Peacock Bracelet Project - substituting colors

Yeah…I bought a peyote-stitch bracelet pattern on Etsy I fell MADLY in love with without checking if I had the colors in stock. Guess what?

I DIDN’T.

*sigh*

*and FACEPALM*

Sound familiar? It happens to all of us…Pattern Makers/Masters and their customers alike. And I have done a few new pen wrap patterns in the past month (6 to be exact) and expanded my already extensive collection of Miyuki 11/0 Delica colors to make them, so I was taken completely aback when out of needing a dozen colors for this beautiful peacock bracelet, I had only ONE COLOR in stock.

Now What?

We always have options when running across a situation like this. It’s why when I started listing pen wrap patterns in my Etsy Shop, KC Dragonfly, I always include a visual of the colors used, like this:

(Well, for that reason and because I want to seduce buyers with the pretty, shiny & colorful side of the pattern XD) But is also for the convenience of letting a customer know what kind of expense they are getting into ahead of their purchase, so they can avoid going broke buying all new bead stock.

So even if you can afford 11 new colors, there are other considerations to uh, consider when doing a purchased pattern and getting it so you are happy with the final result. And those are:

  • Expense
  • Color Scheme
  • Pattern Accuracy
  • Your Personal Skill Set
  • Time

So let’s take these points one at a time in the case of the peacock bracelet design I am currently working on and you’ll get the idea – and hopefully some ways to troubleshoot any future problems you run across in your own pattern-making/purchasing.

Expense

As mentioned above, this is on the top of the totem pole for a lot of beaders – especially serial beaders like me. After all, what good is having that shiny new bracelet if every time you look at it, all you see is you sacrificed food money for a week to buy the beads to make it?

In this new pattern’s case for me, it was eye-opening to shop online as opposed to running out immediately to my local bead store. And I actually hate saying this because there is only one bead store with a large, dedicated section of Delica beads within 50 miles of me, so I go there all the time to feed my bead obsession and ensure they stay in business. I knew I would be spending more money than I had budgeted to make this particular piece, so I checked out the prices online and found them everywhere from 40 to 90 cents cheaper than my local source!

So why didn’t I buy them online? The problem came with the next consideration and that is…

Color Scheme

Are you sure you will like the colors in that shiny new pattern you just acquired? I was happy with mine and ready to buy the Delicas online, but since I wanted to make it now (heh, don’t we all?), I called and spoke to the owner of my local Delica supply store. In going over my list, she said it wasn’t the colors she would use. In the case of the peacock feather bracelet, I grabbed an actual peacock feather and compared them and to my horror, she was right!

Pattern Accuracy

In a lot of cases, you don’t have to worry about this if it is an “I ♥ Cats” or a geometric/subjective design – unless of course there is a glaring error in the pattern itself. In the case of the peacock bracelet, I wanted to modify and add colors I thought were missing that were both more accurate and would make the bracelet pop. The original suggested colors of orange and yellow did do this, but I wanted a chance to play with some beautiful, inside-dyed, pearl-lined copper colors! I also discovered in comparing the pattern to an actual peacock feather, the interior surrounding the eye itself is an amazing shade of coppery bronze. And guess what? Have you ever looked at a peacock feather? Believe it or not, some of them have a lining of hot pink at the top of each eye!

Photo by Margaret Jaszowska on Unsplash

Here it’s oversaturated to emphasize the color and where it is, but even on an untouched photo, if it has it, it’s visible:

Peacock Feather
Photo by Eran Menashri on Unsplash

So in the end, I took a trip to my local Delica bead shop, pattern, notes and a peacock feather in hand and continued our phone conversation whilst perusing her hundreds and hundreds of vials of colors for that perfect look.

Your Personal Skill Set

Another thing I ran across that made me pause before hitting the “Buy” button for this pattern was that it was a “two-drop” peyote pattern. I have never done two-drop before, but knew I could master the stitch with video tutorials and advice from my favorite local Facebook Peyote Stitch Patterns group. And expanding your beadwork skills can only lead to bigger, better and more beautiful projects to tackle, like this one:

Beadwork Cacti photo by Nancy Wesseling-de Wit

This amazing beauty took the photographer 12 hours to complete, being a combination of peyote stitch, herringbone and embroidery. And one day, when I have the time, I’m going to buy that pattern and make this!

So the takeaway on this point is if you want instant gratification from your pattern purchase, don’t get something you don’t currently have the skillset to make. Buy it if you have to, but for maximum satisfaction out of the purchase – and the “build” – make the goal of developing the skill to do it and do it right.

Time

Ah, yes…Time. The friend and enemy of us all. It all depends on whether you have the skills to master it such as planning, organization, focus and discipline. And being a good juggler helps too. You don’t have to wait to be a master at one or all, just be aware you have to take all of them into consideration when embarking on pattern modifications. There will be trial-and-error periods where you might end up tearing out a row or rows because you don’t like the colors, but with these experiences comes wisdom which will win you time back in future projects.

In Summary

So don’t be afraid to change up/throw out/add to those colors in the patterns you buy. Just remember to check with the seller if you plan on selling the finished piece – many sellers allow this, but not all of them. And if it’s for you or as a gift to a friend, the only rule of thumb then is to have fun and go nuts!

Kristine
Resident Bead Whore
KC Dragonfly

Credits and Sources
Peacock pattern by Diushes available through her store here.
Cacti pattern by BeadCreativeByFiona available through her store here.

About

Owner of KC Dragonfly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*