Recently the Charmsters group that I'm in did a "cocoon bead" swap. This was hosted by the wonderful Maureen, who always does a super job running a swap. Our inspiration for this swap was a couple of photos of beads that some of the girls did while at the Art & Soul retreat in Portland. I really had no instructions for making them, but I was impressed by their look: a wire base, wrapped in fabric or ribbon, then wrapped in a thin wire that has been strung with beads. That was enough to go on for me. I tried a few with a silk ribbon. They were nice, but not spectacular. I then pulled out my box of yarn. Jackpot! Thick yarn, wavy yarn, "hairy" yarn -- they all looked wonderful when wrapped with wire and beads. Each wire base was two inches long. I experimented with 12 - 24" of yarn, depending on how thick it was. I also used silver wire, copper wire, and black artistic wire. I found that matching the outer beads to the yarn color wasn't the best idea. They got lost in the yarn. Contrasting, brighter beads worked better. I also tried the "more is more" theory, and some of them really looked fantastic with a ton of beads. I ended up making six different kinds for the swap. Here is a photo with the yarns that I used.
I've seen these beads called fiber-wrapped beads, fabric-wrapped, and what we called them, cocoon beads. Going with the cocoon name, of course I just had to package them as if they were butterflies. I rubber stamped a card, punched holes in it, then attached the cocoons with wire, twisting the ends in the back.
Here are the groups of beads that I made. They were so fun to make -- my kids even tried their hands at it. I think for awhile I was addicted. I've even bought more yarn since I did these so I can do more.
For the swap, we send all our packaged beads to Maureen. In this case, there were 19 of us participating. Maureen then sorts them so we all received two beads from each person. She mails them back and -- surprise -- it's like Christmas when you receive that package in the mail! It's so fun opening it up and looking at everyon'e creations. I immediately put mine on a chain, and made one heckuva necklace. There were so many that I made another, more sedate necklace. But you've just gotta have a wild necklace like the first one -- and be bold enough to wear it out. I did, and got lots of raves from my friends.