Tag Archives: Handmade jewelry

Twin beads

My jewellery making has taken a bit of a back seat recently. I am hoping that this is all about to change. Last months challenge over at Spoilt Rotten beads involved the use of twin beads. These are beads that have 2 holes in them. This obviously opens a lot more options. The first piece I made was this bracelet:

Twin bangelI really like the construction of this bangle style bracelet. It look complicated but was relatively easy to do. You just had to find a rhythm.

The next piece I made took me nearly the whole month. It was made in sections:

These are then join together to make the item of jewellery.

These are then join together to make the item of jewellery.

What I really like about this design is the 3D nature of it. It was fairly fiddly at times but I am pleased with the finished bracelet.

I made a bracelet.

I made a bracelet.

3d twin braceletI think that it was worth the effort.

Once I had finished this I went into slight overdrive!

I think this looks very Egyptian.

I think this looks very Egyptian.

Although I made it as a bracelet I think it would look really lovely as a necklace. It is not at all hard and works up quite quickly.

egyptian BraceletYou may well notice that I have yet to add a clasp. I am waiting to go shopping to find the perfect one!

Finally, I have a WIP.

 

This is slightly more fiddly....

This is slightly more fiddly….

I am not sure on my colour choice but we shall see….I need to work on finding the correct technique!

Still one and a bit in one day beats a whole month!

A huge burst of enthusiasm and ideas.

Since I went on my first jewellery making course I have to be honest in that I have been struggling a bit for ideas. At the time I put it down to the world of jewellery being so wide open with so many different variables which I found overwhelming. This weekend however something has ‘clicked’ and I am now bursting with so many ideas that I don’t know where to start or when I am going to get time to do them all before I forget! I have no idea what ’caused’ the change. I am just really grateful and full of energy. As such I am going to keep this post quite short so I can go and get on with the making.

Knitting

I have not got an awful lot to show this week – I hope that there will be a lot more next week. I have spent a lot of time trying to finish a knitting project that I am doing for a book (not my own design). That is nearly finished now 🙂 I can’t show you yet but will in a few months when you will have forgotten all about it ;).

Jewellery

I have to say that I am quite pleased with how my jewellery making has come on this week:

I made this button ring which I love wearing.

I made this button ring which I love wearing.

I also had a go at wire wrapping with this ring.

I also had a go at wire wrapping with this ring.

I have also made a bracelet but as I have yet to blog about this I don’t think it would be fair to share it on here yet. (If you want to see tutorials on these rings and have a go yourself they can be found here and here.)

The final thing that I have to show you is the beginnings of one of my ideas:

upcycled braceletsI took a simple silver wire bracelet and, so far have covered it with thread using crochet. I then crocheted some sewing thread in a different colour along each side. The idea is that I create a range of different sorts of these that can then all be worn together or not as desired. I have at least 4 more different versions in my head and that does not involve different colour versions of this one.

As always I am about to head over to Handmade Harbour to catch up with all the amazingly talented crafters/bloggers over there.

P.S If you have a great argument or strong view on pinterest then please add your comment here. I am trying to work out if it is a good idea to join in or not. 🙂

I hope that you all have an amazing week. x

Cylinder Necklaces

This week I have been working on two more designs that follow on from last weeks necklace:

The beads are not all uniform size hence the name.

If you look very carefully you can see that at the back I have crocheted a piece without beads. It is still a tube shape so this week I wondered whether it would work in wire. With wire you can usually see the stitches quite clearly and so could be quite intricate.

To start with I used some very fine copper wire with a 3.5mm hook. In order to keep the shape I worked around a knitting needle in the same way that I did for the above.

I was working on this with Joanne Scrace (the very esteemed designer – have you soon her latest design? It is fabulous and made the top ten patterns on ravelry this week. Do take a peek as even if you don’t crochet you will not be disappointed I promise.) She suggested threading ribbon through the middle. I was really taken with this idea as it not only solves the whole ‘how do I fasten it together debate, but also will probably create the perfect back drop to show the stitches off.

So what do you think?

A green and copper one.

A green and copper one.

wire tubular necklace 2

A silver and turquoise one.

This last one is a bit bigger than the copper one as I used slightly thicker wire and a larger hook. The main difference is the size of the stitches as the circumference is very similar. They both fit on the same sized knitting needle.

wire tubular necklace 3

A shot of one on a ‘model’.

Those of you who have seen my last post you will know that I am on a journey in an attempt to be able to decent photographs. Unfortunately I have been unable to get anything like a clear shot of the green one ‘in situ’. I also seem to have misplaced my white ‘model’ which is a little annoying!

A plus with this design is that there are many colour combinations so personal preferences can be accommodated. As can matches for outfits. What combination would you choose?

Now as always I am heading over to handmade harbour to see what everyone else has been up to this week. It seems to be the perfect thing to do on this cold, cold evening. Why don’t you join me?

Hope everyone has a great week 🙂 xx

Learning how to take decent photographs.

I have not done any crafting for 5 days now (as I write this at least a week ago now!) and my fingers are itching. To be honest I am getting very jumpy. However, I am busy on something else. It is to do with crafting but not creative (yet). I am more than aware that my photographs vary greatly. Some are ok and others have much to be desired. I do not mention the bad ones as I believe it is obvious but I do intend to improve!

I knew enough to know about light boxes and so created this little ‘studio’ in my house:

My Light sheet!!!

My Light sheet!!!

As you can see it is simply a chair covered with a white cot sheet placed in front of the patio doors. It worked ok for some photos but I still need a lot more practice. For Christmas I asked for and got this book:

It comes highly recommended from other crafters and I can certainly see why. Here begins my learning journey:

Step 1: Try to read the first few chapters mindfully. (My instinct being to skim it as fast as possible to move onto the next thing.)

Step 2: Umm (I am a bit embarrassed about this) read the manual to the camera. Not the most interesting material ever but thanks to the book some of it actually made sense to me and I even made some notes!! (Yep I read almost all of the 160 pages!!)

Step 3: Familiarise yourself with how the settings and functions are accessed on the actual camera. What does each button do?

Step 4: Do a bit of research. I spent a whole evening having a look at photographs of jewellery on etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy to see the kind of style I like. The book talks about the story you are telling by the photographs. Will you dress it up with props? What about the background colour?

Simonida necklace

On a bust to show the scale?

English: handmade beaded necklace http://www.e...

On a simple background?

The SpringTime Walk
With a prop?

This all needs to be considered apparently. Having spent some time looking at examples I think that I prefer simple, clutter free photographs on a pretty white cloth as a back drop. I also like close up views.

Step 5: After returning to the book again for a quick refresh (I really do not find all the technical terms that easy to retain!) I then had a play – I took loads of photographs with different settings so that I can compare them to find the optimum setting for my purpose.

I took 116 photographs in total! No wonder I got a bit tired! In case you are wondering, I did write down the settings I used on each one so that I will be able to replicate it again. (How organised am I?) 🙂

Step 6 :Look at all the photographs, deleting the ones that REALLY do not work (and there are some of those I can assure you.) So what am I looking for? Basically the photographs that show the best clarity and the best colour match.

As I liked the photographs taken on a pretty white cloth this is what I did the majority of the photographs on. At the end I tried a few different backgrounds. For each variable I took a photograph of three contrasting items I had made (the same three each time.)

A wire choker

A wire choker

A chunky beaded cuff

A chunky beaded cuff

A delicate beaded and wire necklace.

A delicate beaded and wire necklace.

(The above photographs are the ones taken before this process started!) I thought that these three items are a good representation across the styles I produce.

The worst are the ones I did under manual setting:

Would you believe this is one of the better ones of my bad ones?

Would you believe this is one of the better ones of my bad ones? Some were just black!!

Apparently I got the ISO level wrong in these – lesson learnt: keep to the automatic setting for this 🙂

To be honest the amount of the other photographs were quite overwhelming with only small differences between them. The other thing that I did find easy was the surface to use. I did not like the white cloth that I used as it is far too fussy:

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

The plain white background was good for this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 152But not so great for this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 154Especially when compared to this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 148The one sure decision that I have regarding the photographs that I took was that for the front photo of each item the grey tile is the background I shall be using as it shows the stitching detail off really well.

Do you agree? What experiences have you had with photographing your work? What works for you?

Bead knitting

Joanne Scrace leant me some books a little while ago. This was one of them:

Bead Knitted Bags: Unique Beading Projects with Step-by-step Instructions

I did have a go a little while ago, more to see if I could do the technique than anything else. I came up with this.

I used silver wire and coloured beads for this.

I have had the odd dabble since then but always with wire. Before we went on holiday I overcame the last hurdle that was really preventing me from continuing any further and learnt how to thread the beads onto a thread. (rather than the stiff wire). Look here for a technique reminder.

Project 1: A Union Flag Cuff

My first design, (completed whilst on holiday) was this:

Surprisingly it worked first time! I say this because unlike knitting there is a fair amount of preparation to do before you start knitting.

1. Firstly you have to work out your design. I downloaded some special paper that I found here, printed some out and then literally drew the pattern on:

2. The next step is to physically thread all the beads onto the yarn in the correct order. This is almost the hardest bit – make a mistake now and the whole pattern can be thrown off.

This is what the above bracelet looked like when threaded onto the yarn.

3. This final step is the easiest bit – the knitting. When knitting with beads on the knit rows you have to knit into the back of the stitch. This is so that the bead is on the correct side of the piece each time. You pearl in the normal way.

Here it is on the wrist.

Lessons

As always, when you do something new you learn something. From this I learnt that each horizontal row (vertical in the picture above) slightly alters the placing of the first bead depending whether it is a knit or a pearl row. This means that the pattern is slightly out in this project. This can most clearly be seen in the top row of the picture above where there is a bead on each alternate row. There should really be one on every row. I have learnt!

Project 2: Beaded star cuff

With Christmas rapidly approaching my thoughts turned to festive designs and stars came out top.

I wanted to make this one thinner!

This one i had to re-do once or twice due to mis-beading but I got the alignment of the knit and pearl rows right this time! YAY!

I did alternate gold and silver stars.

Project 3: A shaped star

My thoughts next went into thinking that the cuffs are quite limiting, wouldn’t it be great if I could make a shape that would then be suitable for a pendent….. In theory this would be possible because all it would need is some increasing and decreasing hmmmmm.

I drew the outline on the paper and then set off to have a go. It took me many attempts (and a long time) but I ended up with this:

I found it hard to get the tension correct and some of the beads are slightly off alignment but I am pleased with the outcome.

I am very pleased with it. I did try to replicate this with wire but found that the wire is just not flexible enough and kept breaking.

Here it is as a necklace / choker pendant.

Do you have any suggestions as to what I should try next?

As always I am now going to head over to Handmade Harbour to look at some really talented blogs to see what everyone else has been doing this week. Do come and join me.

Granny Squares and Flowers

This week, in an attempt to get my focus back I started out on some variations of granny squares as they had been successful for me in the past. My first attempt was coming along well, especially when I saw that I had found a new flower:

Really pretty but a bit too big!

It measured about 10cm so I stopped and undid it. One of the ‘pleasures’ of crocheting is that it is easy to rip back. Unfortunately this does not apply to wire. It takes as long to undo wire as it does to make it in the first place! (maybe even a bit longer.)I did go on to make another one, shortening the chains but will save that for another project as I quickly moved onto another project.

This time another granny square with a different flower in the centre.

I used 0.3mm purple wire for the central flower and then went on to make the rest of the granny square in  thinner gold wire (0.2mm) for a contrast. I was really pleased with this (Yay 🙂 ). I think this will make a great pendant on its own as well with some smaller gold wire flowers added in which I in the process of doing. I also think that this makes an unusual bracelet:

Thanks to everyone over at Handmade Harbour for your really encouraging remarks last week. These, along with your great blogs really helped me to not give up and therefore produce these. 🙂 If you are unaware of the great party over at Handmade Monday which is stuffed full of inspirational people who write great blogs, do follow me over there for a good browse.

Spiral Jewellery (Or going round the bend!)

 What an amazing week! The first amazing thing was that I came runner-up in the competition that I entered where I made a ‘necklace fit for a queen’.

I am understandably really pleased with this – especially as it was judged by a jewellery maker and I am never sure if my work will be appreciated as it is not ‘traditional’ jewellery making. I never know where my work fits on sites such as craftsy – is it crochet or jewellery? For the winner see here. I think that you will agree that it is truly stunning.

The second amazing thing is that the hat I made for my son was voted as winner of his class by his classmates. I am taking that as a win too (although I feel guilty as he had no hand in it!).

Here is a photo of the two hats I made for the jubilee hat parade this week:

Here is a close up of the second hat I made:

Unfortunately I chose to use the fluffy wool left over from the first one. This meant that the pattern is a bit obscured although you still get the general idea.

Now for the spiral jewellery. After a comment from my ‘wonderful’ husband last night I think that I am taking a bit of a risk with this and so am looking forward to your honest opinions about it please. It is very different from the recent necklaces I have been making.

I saw this technique in a book that I got out of the library this week and was keen to see what it would look like in wire. Here is the first attempt:

 I think that I may try it in my slightly finer, silver wire and instead of adding the border use some coloured beads instead. I would really value your totally honest feedback – am I completely wasting my time and going round the bend?

This is the second piece:

These are made using the same process as above but with thinner wire to make earings. Again, I would love to know your thoughts.

I am sorry that this is a long post this week but, as you can see a lot has happened. I am off to Handmade Harbour to see what everyone else has been up to this week on Handmade Monday – do follow me 🙂

 Thanks for reading xx