Friday, May 29, 2009

Book review: Create Jewelry - Glass

Create Jewelry - Glass
by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett

Glass, affordable, stylish…and sparkly! What a winning combination that is. Beaders and jewelry makers have had a long term love affair with glass beads, and now Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett have teamed up to bring us a wonderful beginner guide to working with glass beads.

Create Jewelry - Glass is divided into three main sections: classics, special occasion, and fashion forward. Techniques are explained and build upon each other so that you can create more advanced designs as you work through the book. None of the techniques are really difficult, so this would be a nice book for beginners who want to challenge themselves to move to the next level.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making a treasure necklace

All the Keys to Emerald City started out life as a junky old pot metal necklace interspersed with red plastic beads. I wanted to use it as the base strand for a charm necklace, wiring the treasures on to beads that had been added specifically to serve as anchors, but I had no clear idea at first what the theme or colors would be. I had many collections of items waiting for the right home, but it took some deep green computer circuit boards with their silver-colored designs to bring the correct items together with the pot metal necklace.

Sorting through my collections, I was able to pull together a wonderful assortment of non-matching green vintage buttons in graduated sizes, green glass beads in several sizes that looked good with the buttons, a large collection of silver and pewter charms and do-dads, and (of course) some circuit board pieces. I especially liked the softer antiqued silver and the pewter pieces since the pot metal beads have a soft, warm pewter-like glow. I knew this was going to work when I found some pewter colored glass 6o pony beads with holes large enough to accommodate the wire for the charms.

I chose an old skeleton key first, as my focal "charm." Ranging upwards on both sides of the key went some smaller mechanic's keys and other symbols that I love: stars, sun, heart, circuit boards and a hammer (signifying my love/hate relationship with computers), floral motifs, a cross, and wire spirals.
Here are the basic steps that I took to create All the Keys to Emerald City necklace shown above. With a few modifications, the instructions can easily be adapted to any themed set of treasures you wish to use.

Old necklace to restring, or set of large beads for base strand
Collection of charms, buttons, baubles, and treasures
4 and 6mm round beads
8/0 seed beads
6/0 pony beads
2 wide holed beads, bead caps, or cones
Nymo thread
22 gauge colored wire
6" sterling silver wire
Clasp or toggle set
Beadalon or Softflex

Create a Base Strand
Crimp Beadalon or SoftFlex wire around small loops that you've turned in the ends of two 3" pieces of 20 gauge sterling silver wire. String your large base strand beads in a repeating or symmetrical pattern with a #8 seed bead between each. Crimp the free end of the Beadalon around the other piece of silver wire in the same way.

Create the Anchor Bead Clusters
Tie and glue nymo thread to one of the end loops. Add anchor beads between each bead of the base strand in the following manner. Pass the needle through a base strand bead, add the anchor beads, and, skipping the last bead added, pass the needle back through the other beads back down to the base strand. Pass the needle through the next base strand bead and repeat the pattern all the way across the necklace.

I used the following pattern to create each anchor: for the first few inches at each end, I used a #8 seed bead, a 4mm round bead, and a #6 pony bead. The opening of the pony bead is wide enough to accomodate the later passage of wire when you are attaching your treasures. For the middle segment of the necklace, I used 6mm round beads instead of 4mm.

Reinforce the Strand
Repeat the thread path with another strand of nymo, wrapping about three times around the base of each anchor to stiffen and reinforce them.

Add Buttons and Charms
Spread out your buttons and charms, working from the center outward, and wire them into place. Slip a colored 22 gauge wire through the hole of the #6 pony beads to attach them. I confined my add-ons to the middle of the necklace.

Finish off the Ends
Place bead caps, cones, or wide holed beads over the sterling wire loops to hide them. Add more beads to the remaining silver wire as desired and form a wrapped loop aroung the clasp to hold the weight of the necklace securely.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2005 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Floral quilt

I’ve been experimenting with some elevated beadwork, a very different style to what I normally do. I learned this particular style of raising the work from Nancy Eha, and it’s opened up some new avenues of exploration for me. It’s not too appropriate for most clothing, since the “petals” are only hooked down in three spots…it would be too easy to snag them on something and rip the whole thing out! But it’s a fun application for quilting.

As usual, I am stuck with no name for this piece. I’m not entirely happy with the results either. I thought that I wanted some of the petals to hang over the edge of the quilt (you can see them on the left), but now I don’t really like the way it looks. I’m trying to decide whether or not to add another strip around the quilt edge…what do you think?

Here are some process shots:

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Freeform seed bead necklace on a sterling silver armature

After making numerous bead-embroidered necklaces, I was looking for a change of technique. Freeform peyote, netting, and brick stitch appeal to me, but I still wanted some sort of support for the work. Heavy gauge sterling silver wire makes an excellent armature to work around. My inspiration for this piece came from Lynda Musante’s lovely book, Exquisite Beaded Jewelry. Lynda shows how to make a bracelet using wire links as a base. My piece uses a single strand of wire instead, but the look is very similar, so I would be remiss in not acknowledging her inspiration!

40 inches 14 gauge sterling silver wire
24 inches 18 gauge sterling silver wire
5 inches 20 gauge sterling silver wire
Sterling silver headpins
8/0, 11/0 seed beads
4mm tube beads
Assorted glass, stone, sterling silver, pearl accent beads, 4-10mm
Nymo O

Ball peen hammer
Beading needles
Wire cutters
Chain and round nosed pliers
Measuring tape

1. Assemble a collection of seed beads and assorted accent beads that you might use. I used mostly 8/0 and 11/0 seed beads, and some larger stone and glass accent beads.

2. Bend heavy gauge sterling silver wire into a curving shape, approximately 15 inches long from end to end. I used 40 inches of 14 gauge wire to create the shape you see below. Bend it into a gentle curve, using a CD case as a guide if desired. Form a loop onto each end and hammer the wire flat with a ball peen hammer.

3. String 16 inches of 8/0 seed beads in blocks of colors. Peyote stitch along the band with the same colors, doing two complete rows. Weave the band through the sterling silver armature.

4 Starting at one end, peyote stitch around the doubled wire below your loop. Stitch along the outer edge of the peyote band, wrapping the thread around each wire that you cross. This will be covered by future work. Cover the other doubled wire end below the second loop with peyote stitch.

5 Stitch back and forth from end to end along the outer edge with freeform peyote and netting stitch. Add ruffles, bridges, and arches as you please. For your final rows along the outer edge, add some larger decorative beads or dangles.

6 Move to the inner edge and build that up with peyote and netting stitch until the necklace is as wide as you desire. This is a good area to add larger decorative beads and to freeform stitch around them. I finished the inner edge of mine with a metallic bead ruffle.

7 Work up and down the middle band of the necklace, adding arches, bridges, and ruffles wherever you want more fullness. I added small hematite star beads on wrapped-loop sterling headpins as well as more peyote ruffles.

8 Make a beaded chain and hook closure. I used 20 gauge sterling silver wire for the wrapped hook, and heavier 18 gauge wire for the bead links and to mount the focal bead with a wrapped loop. Using a few more seed beads to hide the thread, stitch the focal bead into place.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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