My first project in the PCA art retreat. And my first batch of improvisations to compensate for lack of supplies where I live. 😉
Crocheted Polymer Clay Jewelry
This project uses the invisible spool knitting technique of wire crochet to embellish organic polymer clay beads with a delicate wire mesh, creating teardrop-shaped earrings and pendant. The wire crochet technique is used to create a fine necklace as well.
I could make the beads without much hassle. (Thanks to my sis for lending me her supplies to add the shine on them.) However, I can’t find the fine wire needed for the project here. So I used what I could lay my hands on — a thicker gauge wire.
Now, this wire does not really hold its shape while I work on it, so I couldn’t use the invisible spool knitting technique. I did regular crochet instead, which makes for a thicker mesh.
The wire mesh is also not the least bit delicate — if anything, it’s strong and yet springy 🙂 — but I wanted to work with it instead of trying to force it to be something it wasn’t, so I made the pieces look more traditional Indian instead of modern, by adding more wire-crocheted accompaniments for the earrings. Instead of making a fine necklace, I made a tube that a cord (or a seed-bead necklace) can be strung into.
I tried out Kumihimo again, though I know the beads I have are not really suitable — the more even ones are too small, show the thread, and don’t settle down well; and the larger ones are too uneven. :)
This is a 12-strand Kumihimo bracelet. After braiding only with the threads for about 0.5cm, I threaded an equal number of beads into all strands, and incorporated them into the braid. I added 1+2+1 cream+brown+cream beads for the next section. At this point, I became involved in another project and forgot all about this one. When I came back to this, I realized that I’d forgotten how many beads I’d added in the first section! 😀
I tried counting, but lost track. Then deciding that I didn’t want to undo the braid just to count the beads, I just winged it, and added 6 beads in each of the strands. It looked fine then (though it doesn’t now…) Anyway, I continued with the two sections until the rope was about 16cm long. I braided some 0.5cm more with just the threads, applied glue on the braid and snipped the threads off. Then, forming two pieces of wire eyelets at both ends, I secured bead caps at both ends.
To finish the bracelet, I attached jump rings and a lobster claw clasp. I also added a little leaf charm to one of the jump rings. So cute! ❤
In other news, I decided to take the plunge into international orders, and placed one for beads (not seed beads) with Fire Mountain Gems and Beads during a sale recently (not a Thanksgiving one). I’m delighted with the purchase! The downside is that the shipping costs end up being more than 50% of the order, and customs duty is about 30% on order+shipping, which means my pocket will be lighter by almost double the actual price of the items. Worth it? Only if most of my purchases happen during a sale and are 50% (or more) off! 😀
Oh, and I made a Kumihimo disc to make the bracelet with. 😉
Tired of searching for a Kumihimo foam disc here in India, and wanting to avoid ordering internationally due to all the hassles involved, I decided I’d just make my own from cardboard, since my Kumihimo plans for the near future anyway do not involve thicker cords.
I used thick cardboard from a package that arrived for a different order. My lovely sis used her trusty Big Shot machine to help me cut nice concentric circles for the disc. (Thanks, Sis! ❤ ) I eventually used a knife to fully cut out and cast away the centre. Kumihimo discs usually have 32 slots, but I decided to make it 36 because I’d used a protractor to mark the slots. 🙂 To reduce the strain on my poor fingers, I first cut slots in the cardboard, adhered card stock (again, borrowed from my sis) on both sides, and cut the card stock over the earlier slots. Less than an hour of cutting, gluing and snipping later, I had my disc! I was so excited to finally try out Kumihimo that I quickly made an 8-strand bead bracelet, with random placements of two seed bead colors. I finished it with bead caps attached to a lobster claw clasp.
The spiral weave is evident, but only at second glance. The unevenness of the beads completely overwhelms the weave. 😦 This technique really needs some good, uniform seed beads to make the pieces shine. The ones that I’d used for my bead crochet projects are more uniform, but still need a lot of ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ to pick similarly uniform beads. They’re also too small for kumihimo, and end up showing the thread beneath them. They may be better for beading stitches, like peyote stitch. But I don’t have thin needles or thin thread for peyote stitch…
I guess this means I’ll have to go the way of placing international orders, paying whopping shipping fees and dealing with customs frustrations, sigh!
Meanwhile, I’ll just admire my Kumihimo bracelet. 🙂
I made this macramé bracelet using yarn left from my autumn leaf lace top project.
I started out with two cords folded in half, which I made into reverse lark’s head knots around a jump ring pair. I started making symmetrical double half hitch knots from center to sides — I crossed the central cords and used them as carriers to knot the remaining. (This cross-and-knot is what the bracelet rows are mainly made of.)
I added two more cords in the next two rows, while I slowly started to incline the carrier cords more and more, so the two sides eventually made an inverted heart-like ‘/\’.
I continued making outward-moving double half hitch knots. After a few rows, I threaded a metal bead through the two central cords. (I really need more small beads that can fit a macramé cord through them. It’s so difficult to find them where I live — either they’re only wide enough for thin wires, or they’re huge beads.) I knotted the same inverted heart around the bead, leaving the worker cords lax around the bead. Rinse and repeat — a fixed number of plain inverted heart rows, followed by one around a bead.
After a while, I had reached bracelet size, but I guess I had grossly miscalculated the length of cords required, and I had so much of it left. Not enough for another bracelet, though. So I decided to make this piece longer. I can wind the piece around itself, chain a different short piece to its ends, and turn it into a double-loop bracelet. Or I can just add a long-enough chain and turn it into a fancy necklace. There are just so many possibilities, aren’t there? 🙂
I finished the piece by imitating reverse lark’s head knots around another jump ring pair and securing the ends before I snipped them off.
I’m back to using paper beads! I didn’t make new ones for this bracelet that I cobbled together, instead I reused some beads from a set that I’d made years ago. They’d been a part of some jewelry piece for a long time, but have been back in my stash for a while now.
I just love the shocking pink on the paper beads! It goes really well with the black and white. To make the rest of the bracelet look compatible, I used white, black / hematite and red seed beads.
To start with, I cut 4 lengths of about 20cm (8″) flexible copper wire. I crimped one end of the bunch, and strung seed beads through two of the wires. (Using all four wires for beading was overkill, but using just two wires made the structure not strong enough.) After around 1/5 of the wires was threaded, I added a paper bead, passing all four wires through it. More seed beads and paper beads followed. Finally, I crimped the other end of the wires and snipped off the extra. A small jump ring through both crimp tubes was enough to make the bracelet slide on and off my hand without requiring a clasp.
Now I’m back to pondering about what I can do with the rest of the paper bead set…
Gosh has it been a long time since I made some jewelry! I’ve been looking for thicker gauge wire here in Bangalore / India, but my net is still empty, and I’m taking a break from the search now. Meanwhile, I’ve not tried to create more jewelry with the same old coils of wire I have — every idea that comes to me (both from within and without) is either followed by a ‘been there, done that’ reaction, or requires equipment that is difficult to procure here.
Not thinking about jewelry ideas and not creating pieces should free up some time, right? In theory, yes, but in reality, I don’t know where that time disappears, because my life seems busier than ever, although at the end of each day I can’t figure out what I really did that day. Like air rushing in to fill up vacuum, I guess mundane stuff has rushed in to fill up free time. I’ve been thinking of making some paper jewelry but not really getting to it; now is probably the time to shake off those cobwebs…
Speaking of ‘been there, done that’ — remember these flowery earrings I made a while back: I decided to make a companion piece to the earrings — a charm that I can attach to a bracelet. I made it the same way I made the earrings (click on the earrings for details on how), except I also added a second, independent eye loop at the opposite end.
Flowery bracelet charm
I made the eye loop by first choosing the two beads between which I wanted that loop. 😛 I cut a small length of wire and passed it below the wire connecting the two beads. I wound one end of the wire around its other end to secure it, and shaped the other end into a loop. I then snipped off the extra lengths, of course. It was a bit more difficult than the other eye loop because there’s nothing to secure your wire while you work with it, but it’s not so difficult that one cannot manage it! 🙂
What do you think? Perfect match, or not really? Would you make it differently?
Strong hands are required to make these amber earrings and bracelet adornment. Well, at least it was true in my case because I used hard head pins to make them. 🙂
Stick the head pin in the amber bead, and start twisting and shaping the wire. You’ll want to mainly use your round nose pliers for the shape, and chain nose ones for the twisting. When you’re satisfied, snip the extra bit close to the top loop’s intersection point, and add an earring finding to it.
The bracelet piece
Though you can use a wire of similar hardness and thickness, I just used another head pin with its head snipped off. I first shaped one end similar to the earrings, but with one less loop. I then added the bead and shaped the other end.