Beaded partial necklace

My first attempt at bead crocheting resulted in a beautiful bracelet and some very painful fingers. 😦 I’d wanted to try my hand at Kumihimo instead, but I haven’t managed to buy a disc yet. While I’m thinking if I should make a DIY Kumihimo disc, I decided to give bead crocheting one more shot — this time, with cotton crochet thread instead of generic nylon wire.Partial beaded necklaceI tested out the pattern with a few color combinations before finalizing this one. The white seed beads are non-uniform and slightly larger than the others, which made me almost not use them, but it gives the piece a bit of a rustic and handmade look, so I decided to keep them after all. I like this look now. 🙂

The pattern is a 9-bead repeat of blue(3)-white(2)-brown(3)-white(1). It is broken in the middle by a 9-row single-color band of metallic silver seed beads. That makes it around 40 rows of the base pattern on each half, resulting in a partial necklace slightly longer than 16cm (about 6.5″).

To finish the piece — At each end, I used gold wire to make an eye loop that went through the visible crochet stitches and strung a bead cap through the remaining wire. I made another eye loop outside the bead cap to hold the cap in place. I then attached a large jump ring through the outer eye loop, through which I strung black rope to make the partial piece ‘complete’.

Macramé ornament

I was in the mood for macramé recently, and sat down to make something. I had all this remnant yarn lying around from my past knitting projects, and thought I would use a couple of them for this.

Macramé  ornament

I first made a wire-based yoke from my 18-gauge copper wire. Since I didn’t really have anything planned, I just cut about 50cm of yarn (I think it was that long… The more I wonder, the more I’m unsure) — 8 pieces of each color. I started with reverse lark’s head knots on the yoke. Then I just… went with the flow with double half hitch knots. The yoke made for oblique macramé lines, so I quickly straightened them out. When the lines got horizontal, I realized I want some beads in there, so out came some metallic beads. I really need to buy more beads with larger holes for macramé — the beads I have are either too big or are meant for smaller cords / wires.

Anyway, I started keeping cord pairs from the side free so I can thread in the beads eventually. When there were only only two cord pairs remaining in the center, I started incorporating the beads. I also began to re-add cord pairs from the sides into the knotting. My cords were getting used up now, so it was time to also think about the finishing, and I began leaving out cord pairs from the center as the knotting moved outwards. Here’s where I noticed that my tension has improved much, but there are still areas that I need to work on.

When all the knotting was done, I made a long fringe by folding the piece in half along the vertical axis and roughly hacking off the cords diagonally. I finally secured the carrier cord with some glue.

For an impromptu project, I feel it’s turned out quite well! 🙂

Torus pendant

I have a few of these metallic-silver tori in my stash, and had a few ideas on using them. This is the first of the ideas brought to fruition —

Torus pendant

Torus pendant

I used a 22-gauge black wire for the embellishment, simply wrapping it around the surface of the torus. Every 4 turns, I added a blue seed bead to the wire, fitting the bead at the outer circumference of the torus. I’d originally planned to cover about half the surface of the torus, but I miscalculated the length of the wire needed, and it came to a little more than a quarter of the torus. But no worries, I like how it looks. 🙂

The torus is large and does not have any clasp of its own, so I made one — I added four more wraps on the opposite corner using the same wire, looping the centermost wraps through a jump ring.

The pendant is neither too light nor too heavy, and it works well with short chains, or longer ones that already contain some embellishments. I clicked only one picture, though —
Torus pendantI’ve been trying to banish this insistent idea of making earrings with these, because they’re going to be just too large. Making a couple of them a part of a long chain is another idea I have. Which jewelry item pops into your mind for a torus like this?

Azure tears

I had my brand new turquoise seed beads in my hand, wondering what I can make with them, and then I remembered that I have these azure beads in my stash. So the seed beads became an accompaniment instead of going solo.Azure tearsI wanted to make something tear-shaped, but not exactly tear-shaped. So as a compromise, I made some ‘geometric’ tears. 🙂

I cut two lengths of about 10-12cm of 22-gauge wire for this, because I wanted to loosely secure the ends; you might want a cm or two more if you want to wrap a larger amount of wire at the ends. I started each piece by threading the wire through the azure bead, and used my chain-nose pliers to shape it in roughly triangular or rhombus shapes around the bead. From time to time, I strung in a seed bead.

When I want to work on earrings, I usually like to work on both simultaneously, repeating small steps on both. That makes it easier to keep them looking the same — okay, almost the same. 😉 And that’s what I did here as well.

So after the shaping on both earrings, and some pressing and prodding just to be completely sure they’re (almost) the same, I added earring findings to complete the pair.

I love how the seed beads add that extra something to these earrings! 🙂

Textured pendant

Sometimes, ideas just grab hold of you, and you have to execute them, at least to see how they turn out. This was one such time, and the idea was to make a pendant with a lot of texture. This is how it turned out —

Textured pendant

Textured pendant

And this is how I made it —

Body shaping

I cut two fairly sturdy sheets of cardboard into rectangles of desired shape. Mine are about 1″x2.5″ (2.5cm x 6cm). If your cardboard is thick, remember to cut holes for the final finishing right now. (Even if it’s not thick, it would probably be easier to cut the holes.) I shaped the circumference by first snipping off the corners into rounded ones, then lightly sanding the whole edge with a 400-grit sandpaper to give it a rough, half-finished wood-like feel. I then glued the two pieces together. If you’d like to, you could have another go with the light sanding, but I left the piece as is.

The paintwork

I applied watercolor paints on the piece, light brown on one long end and light blue on another. Note that for this to work, the brush should not be too wet. I made really long strokes, all along the length, sometimes straight, sometimes slightly oblique, until the texture slowly evolved to my satisfaction. I’d wanted a stripe of dark blue at one of the long ends, so I’d chosen cardboard that already had a stripe. (I’m lazy that way. 😀 ) But if you’d chosen plain cardboard and want a stripe too, you must wait until the paint dries. You could then cover the part where you don’t want the stripe with neatly-cut scrap paper, and paint away the exposed part. That’ll give you a straight stripe, and you can remove the scrap paper then.

The finishing

I wanted the finishing to have some texture too. Since the edges of the pendant are rough-wooden textured, I thought I’d try for a similar finish. I chose glossy Mod Podge for this. (I have no idea how a matte one will turn out. Personally, I think the texture won’t be very visible.) I scooped up a glob of the stuff with my finishing brush, and kept applying it, again with really long strokes, continuing even when it started drying. While it dried on the pendant, it dried on the brush too, which made it convenient to turn the strokes harsher — see the soft gouges in the picture below? There, that makes for a textured finish!

Textured pendantThe one last thing to do before you can call it a day is, of course, secure a jump ring in the top hole! 🙂

So, are large, textured pendants your cup of tea? Would you make this differently, unique to you?

Bead-crocheted bracelet

Bead Crochet Bracelet

Bead Crochet Bracelet

Ow! Ow! Ow!

That’s my fingers crying. They don’t hurt much now, but by the time I was done making this bracelet, they were not happy. But even they have to agree that it was worth it. As they say — “No pain, no gain.” (Although, there might be a less painful way of making these bracelets. More thoughts on that later.)

I’d learned about bead crochet a really long time ago, but had never got a chance to work much on it. Mainly because I didn’t have the appropriate crochet hook. Now that I’ve bought a size 11 steel one (to try out wire crochet, mostly), I was ready to give bead crocheting a try.

I got out some nylon beading thread along with huge stashes of various cylinder beads. I would make a 6-bead spiral, with alternating dark and light beads. For the dark color, I chose the dark blue stash that included some heavy metallic (almost-blue) green cylinder beads. For the light color, I chose white beads, and some brown ones scattered randomly amongst them. It was then time to start crocheting!

I used about 240 beads for each ‘arm’ of the bracelet, with alternating dark and light beads. I pre-strung the beads onto the thread, made the initial loop with 6 beads, and built on the loop until the rope was a little less than 3″ long. It was a bit tedious when I started with the first rope, but by the time I got to the second rope, I wasn’t even consciously thinking about what I was doing.

When both ropes were ready, I chained two jump rings and added them to one of the ropes, and chained a lobster claw clasp to a jump ring, which I attached to the other rope. I then took a length of 22-gauge wire to add the central bead. (That’s a bit weak for a bracelet, I know, but I don’t own thicker wires…) I strung onto it a large, but low-key, off-white bead flanked by two ornamental spacer beads. I then attached the wire to the free ends of both ropes by making eye loops. Done!

Bead Crochet Bracelet

Now, about that less painful way of making this bracelet. The problem: repeatedly pushing your crochet hook into tiny gaps between beads and their supporting threads is not good for your fingers. The solution: Kumihimo! I’ve been wanting to buy a Kumihimo disk lately, but they don’t seem to be available in this part of the world. Something to add to my to-ask-friends-traveling-abroad-soon list. 😀

If you have other thoughts about kumihimo vs. bead crochet, I’m very interested in knowing.