A Quiet Week

I have been very busy this week which has left very little time for jewellery making. I am trying to do some work on the garden and also I bought a ukulele for my youngest daughter. However, I have fallen in love with it and so she is barely getting to use it!  Luckily I found a couple of items I made earlier this year and lost before I could take pictures of them.

This is the hair comb I made using blue seed beads on 0.5mm silver plated wire. The leaf shapes are surprisingly easy to make. One difficulty with this is getting the freshwater pearls to stay in a straight line along the top of the comb. They do a good job of covering up the wire fastening the leaves in place. Another technique for covering the wire is to use ribbon, wire mesh ribbon works particularly well for this.

This is the blue bracelet I made using the viking knot. I love the simplicity of these bracelets and the noise made by all the dangles clinking together. I am slowly building a collection of these in all sorts of different colours. I haven’t yet found a green faux suede I would like to use.

I have got around to making a necklace this week. I used thin red cord which I knotted between each bead, this is quite a tricky technique to get the hang of as you want the knot to be a close to the bead as possible. The beads are beautiful cream and black semi-precious beads and the combination of the beads and the red cord is stunning. It is finished off with a sliding knot so the whole necklace is metal free. I have left the ends of the cord quite long so they can be brought round the front of the body once the knot is tightened. I feel this adds a bit of interest to the necklace.

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A Bookmark

Ok, not a particularly good picture (or book either actually). It is a beaded bookmark I made for a friend.  Unlike normal beady bookmarks this one is on a circle of elastic, rather like a large headband.  They are really easy to make, you only need a length of elastic cord and enough beads with holes large enough to thread on the elastic. The most difficult part for me is finding enough larger holed beads, they need to have a hole of about 2mm. You need enough beads to fit end to end the length of a paperback book. I used beads that I had got free from various beady magazines over the years and hadn’t found a use for yet.


Another good thing about this bookmark is that is doesn’t fall out of the book when you pick it up.



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Some Experimenting

I find myself being busy all the time and yet achieving very little. I wonder how that happens?

When I find myself lacking inspiration I pick up either a jewellery magazine or book  have a browse. This week I used a book by Linda Jones and had a go at making a tiara. It is modelled by my eldest daughter  (I should have brushed her hair first).  I didn’t have a tiara base so I had to improvise using some 1.5mm gilt wire. I got quite a good shape for the tiara base, but need more practise at the rest of it.  It is quite funny when you make something for the first time and you can see the improvement in your technique from one end to the other. The beads are a mixture of freshwater pearls, crystals and clear and white glass beads.

Both the girls love the tiara so it is making its way to the fancy dress box.

I really loved the viking knot bracelet so I made myself another one, this means I now have 3, one in pink, one in pale blue and one in rust-red. What is really good is that I made this one with no mistakes, it really was third time lucky.  All I need now is a green one and I should have enough to match all my different outfits!

This necklace to the right is why I haven’t made much this week. For the first time ever I have tried to plan out a piece of jewellery from start to finish.  This even included attempting to draw what I was aiming for!

It is for a challenge on a beading forum and the subject is babbling brook. The other people on the forum are all so massively talented and produce such beautiful stuff that I haven’t decided whether or not to enter yet.

The necklace has been through many stages. The chain dangles section was originally half the size and suspended from a wire triangle on a silver chain but it looked so wrong that I had to go back to the drawing board.  I then went for what is on the left but again with the silver chain. I still wasn’t happy so I got out all my ribbons, faux suede, fireline etc and tried them all.

I think the pale blue faux suede finishes it off beautifully. The necklace is designed to sit on the collar-bone.

Categories: Bracelets, Knotted jewellery, Necklaces, tiara, wire jewellery, wire wrapped | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My last Class

A sad week this week as it was my last class at my local bead shop. This means I will no longer be meeting a group of people to make jewellery and eat chocolate biscuits every week . It was even more sad due to the shop manager announcing that it will be closing at the end of March.  This is the place that I started my jewellery making and I have met some lovely people there and the staff have been so great and helpful and are really talented jewellery makers. The number of empty shops in my local town is really  depressing at the moment especially when you think of all those people who have lost their jobs.

On a more cheerful note, this the bracelet I made at the class. It made using 2 lengths of pink faux suede and the knot is the viking knot.  This knot is like plaiting but with 4 threads.  If you look carefully at the picture you can see the one mistake in the whole length (30cm) of the bracelet. It is just to the left of the small cluster of beads.  I may have mentioned before that pink is not really my colour but I have absolutely fallen in love with this bracelet and it has rarely been off my wrist since I made it. When I got home I made another bracelet in light blue faux suede with a cluster of blue beads but true to form  I have lost it!

I have also made a pair of earrings for the February challenge of Operation Tackle That Bead Stash (OTTBS). The theme is blue and green with a ‘twist’ of round. These earrings are very simple compared to most of the entries but the colours are lovely and surprisingly I found I had very few green beads in my stash. There are 3 green glass beads per earring and about 8 blue seed beads in each link. All the beads are threaded onto fireline and for the first time in a while I had to use crimp covers.

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A Break from knots (almost)

Due to the course I am doing I have spent lots of my time making stuff with knots so I decided to have a change of scene this week. I have a selection of beads I bought about 6 months ago that I have been meaning to use to make a fascinator so I decided to give it a go. It is a long time since I made a fascinator so it was definitely a case of trial and error.

It is made with purple, black and clear glass beads. The wire is only 0.4mm gilt which is not really strong enough for this use so it will need to be remade using stronger wire.  Either 0.5 or 0.6mm should be fine.  It  needs some ribbon for extra decoration to go either side of the beading and would look more complete with beads covering the headband. Aside from all that I do like the colour scheme.

Another technique I have been wanting to have a go at is wire wrapped pendants. I have watched loads of videos on you tube but never got round to trying it. I chose two semi-precious stones I had in my stash and used some 0.5mm gunmetal grey copper wire.  It was really good to have my pliers back out of their box as I feel they have been somewhat neglected of late.

I still had to practise for the course so I made another bracelet using brown coloured cord and green beads. I practised beading using the flat (or square)  knot and also the flat knot spiral which I think is my favourite knot.

After I finished the bracelet I worked out why my button holes always end up too big for the bead I plan to use. This was a wonderful breakthrough but I would have preferred it if I had worked it out when I was making it and not afterwards!

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Not much Making this week!

It is has been half term this week so jewellery making has had to take a back seat to all the other things in life,  like washing school uniform, days out, having friends to play and had I already mentioned washing school uniform? I can’t believe they have so much stuff.

I bought a new jewellery tree to display my earrings. I think it is absolutely gorgeous and tree-like.  I am going to get some brightly coloured stones to go in the dish at the bottom to help weigh it down a bit.

Now I just need to find a fair to sell all the earrings!

This week was week 5 out of the 6 week course. Yet again we had great fun with lots of chatting and drinking tea and eating biscuits.  There was even time to look around the shop and buy more beads.  I can’t believe that next week is the last class.

I made the bracelet in class, although the main aim of the class is to learn the knotting technique and not to actually make the jewellery I still manage to make a bracelet each week.  I used 33 polaris glass beads in red and yellow as well as 3 wooden beads. The colour has come out really badly in the photo as the cord is the same purple as the photo below. The knot is the flat or square knot used previously but with beads threaded onto the cord before you tie the knot. You can put a bead on one cord as you knot in which case you get an alternating  pattern of beads (as above).

The other option is putting a bead on both of the travelling cords before tying the knot, this gives a parallel pattern of beads.  I  had a go at this technique when I got home.

I used seed beads in 4 different colours and also put in a few spirals for decoration.  The seed beads give this bracelet a completely different look, it is far more delicate. I even experimented with doing the spirals in opposite directions. It is a shame the button-hole is too big, I will have to see if I can sew it closed a bit smaller with some matching thread. It looks like getting the size of the button-hole right is going to take some practise.

When you put beads on the travelling cords it spaces the knots out and you can see the core thread between the knots. I think I will have to have a go a using a contrasting thread for the core to see what it looks like.

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Another Class – spiral knots

I have now done 4 weeks of my jewellery course. We have now learnt how to make a ‘button hole’ for clasp of a knotted bracelet/necklace, these will last longer than the simple loops we have been using so far.  We also learnt how to spiral the flat knot, I think the effect is really pretty and after all my knotting practise it ended up being easier than I expected.

This is the bracelet I made in class. I used thicker cord to go through the beads and thinner cord for the knots. Pink is an unusual colour for me to use but I think it looks lovely with the blue swirly beads.  I got overenthusiastic with the knotting in class and had to unpick about 3cm of knotting. Next time I might end up with a necklace!

I had to practise at home so I bought some bright red thin cord and some light blue lava beads.  The thinner cords give a very delicate look. I got the measurements wrong for this bracelet so it is a bit smaller than I anticipated. It still fits me but only just.

Whilst at the course I looked around the shop at all the jewellery for sale and decided to make a necklace as well.

I love the natural colours I have used in this necklace. The ribbons are grey and gold and compliment the other colours beautifully. This type of necklace is a wonderful statement piece and is supposed to sit on/at the collar-bone.  At the moment I haven’t added a clasp as I like being able to tie a bow at the back as this gives flexibility to the length.

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What to do in a Power Cut?

I had a busy day planned, catching up on ironing and vacuuming. Luckily someone somewhere had better plans for me and the power went off.  I started making jewellery, stopping only for cups of tea (made by boiling water on the stove) and chatting to workmen. I also did quite a lot of watching out of the window whilst some very cold men dug up my road.

So here is what I made:

My first tiara. I had wanted to have a go at a tiara for ages and not got around to it so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I followed some instructions from a book (which is now back at the library) and the final result is pretty to look at.  I used glass and fluorite chips for the stones and I love the contrasting green and purple colours of the fluorite they make me think of a woodland glade in spring.  My daughters really like it but for an adult I think I should make the stalks bigger and cover a bit more of the band.

I also made a decorated hair comb using blue seed beads to make leaf shapes on stalks and covered the comb edge in tiny freshwater pearls. This has disappeared into the black hole that is my eldest daughters bedroom. If I ever find it again I will take a picture of it.

I also practised some more knotting for my current classes.  This resulted in two bracelets and a necklace.

The necklace is made from semi-precious stones, I can’t remember what they are called but they have beautiful green and white marbling. The clasp is a sliding knot and there knots between each bead so the necklace has no metal in it.

This bracelet has amber coloured glass beads connected with gold and green silken thread using an alternating half hitch knot.

I recycled some beads from a necklace for this bracelet. The picture is not very good but  the beads are purple faceted alternating with long black beads. The cord is the gold silken thread and as well as the sliding knot I have knotted between each bead.

Not bad for one days work – perhaps I should arrange for more power cuts.

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Some More Knotting

I  have done  another class (or two) in my local beadshop. In the first class (pictures shown in knotting on 28th Jan) we did alternating knots, in the second we only knotted on one ‘side’ to create a lovely spiral. I used a beautiful pale blue cord and some ceramic beads to make a bracelet. I love the blue butterfly as a clasp and the pearlescence of the ceramic heart beads.

This is a six week course. In the third session we learnt the flat or square knot.  It definately made my head hurt to start with. Once you start going it is fine but I am still having problems with getting the start right.  The flat knot can be used both as a decorative knot or as a sliding knot instead of a clasp. This type of jewellery is wonderful for people who can’t wear metal jewellery.  My first bracelet using this technique:

I do have a bit of a ‘thing’ for yellows and greens together so this bracelet is definately for me. Most of my stuff is also ‘small and delicate’ looking. Occasionally I try to go for ‘big and bold’ but my version is always smaller and less bold than other peoples.

When I got home from the course I decided to practise the flat knot and if you need alot of practise what is the best thing to make?

A necklace.

This is about as big and bold as I get,  the clasp needs some work, but as a practise piece for the flat knot it works quite well.

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Too Many Bracelets

Is it possible to make too many bracelets? I really enjoy making bracelets, they don’t take very long and are great for experimenting with new techniques. Also, if something goes wrong or your idea doesn’t work  it isn’t quite so demoralising when you decide to take it apart. Anyway  I decided I had made too many bracelets this year so to start February I have made a pair of earrings:Silver and Black Earrings

Of course, I had already made a bracelet. This is an idea that comes from one of Linda Jones’ books on wirework jewellery.

It uses coils of wire, which I made on an old knitting needle and glass  beads on a wire frame. The clasp is part of the armature of the bracelet which means it is important to make it the right size.  As I got over enthusiastic with my coiling it is too big for me so it will probably end up as a present for a friend.

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