April 19, 2011

Wire Play - take 2

Sometimes a project seems to just migrate in a different direction. That's OK with me as I've been working with materials outside of my comfort zone. In fact, I've been playing and having fun with leather and wire.

It all started with Rings and Things tutorial for a leather and stone bracelet. I need to arrive in New Hampshire with presents for the Grandkids. The girls are easy, but finding (or making) something for the boys gets more difficult the older they get. These bracelets looked like the perfect male-oriented gift for teenage Grandsons.

The best part of these bracelets is that they can be made in a little over an hour. The hardest part was deciding on what stone beads to use; biker hematite, or Southwestern sand stone? Now I'm all set with gifts that I'm sure will be quite different from what their friends will have. After all, the large, expensive stores are selling these for over $150!

Well one thing lead to another and I looked at the black steel wire hanging on the wall. Before I could stop and think it out, I grabbed a length of wire, measured 2X my wrist size, snipped. and applied the same technique to a wire framework.

The 15mm rusty, matted woods agate beads were a perfect foil for the brass and steel wire.


Sometimes it helps to engage the brain before blindly cutting. Large beads take up more room and 2X my wrist size in wire just wouldn't make it around my wrist. I couldn't bring myself to take it all apart so finished the Xtra-Small cuff bracelet and gave it to my neighbor as an early birthday present. After all, she tried to wear it home she liked it so much.

This afternoon I cut and finished a wire cuff that fits me. This time I made it long enough to take in account the size of the large beads. The technique that I used for the leather translates perfectly to 16 gauge wire for the frame and 28 gauge brass wire for the sewing.

The leftovers became earrings with coffee antiqued ivory strips.

I think that my favorite boys in the family will like the bracelets that started this journey.

April 10, 2011

Bead Crochet Tip - tight tension

I've been hearing about bead crochet ropes that are so stiff as to stand upright all on their lonesome. The first thing to try is to go up a hook size or two.

If going up a hook doesn't do it for you, try training your hands to carry your loop a bit further up the hook shank. This will make larger loops/stitches and a more supple rope. You can see where my loops generally are in the first photo.

There are times when you might want a very tight rope. A bangle bracelet is one instance where you want it to hold the round shape. To achieve that, you would want to crochet as tight as you can. Using cylinder beads like a Delica, will also contribute to the overall compactness of the round shape.

April 3, 2011

What Next ~ Crochet, Wire, or Leather

I've had one sort of deadline or another for the past year. Now that all of my bits of paper from 2010 have been delivered to the CPA, I find myself deadline free. Yes, nothing hanging over my head to get done - no one waiting for me to finish something.

So what do I do now? Which of the many ideas tumbling around my head should be let loose? It's not for a lack of things, but an over abundance of ideas that has me stumbling around, looking for a direction. I pull out one thing, get sidetracked and pull beads for something else..... Then another idea surfaces and off I go in another direction.


Bead Crochet.....
Tails, scales and rings for bead crochet? I've lots of bits and pieces of interesting ideas in this area. Should I start fleshing them out with another Dimensional Bead Crochet Book in mind? . I can see an outrageous necklace with wire rings, glass rings and lots of bead crocheted rings. Plus, the rings would make beautiful toggles with a minor change or two.

I've also thought of doing an on-line necklace and inviting others to participate. Maybe it could be an 8/0 conglomeration of patterns that I could offer up in my Blog every week or month. Comments... would this appeal to anyone?

Then there is this mess on one work tray that's been floating around for the past 6 months. I started playing with wire, got a few things worked out that I like, and have just been adding interesting stuff to the tray for the past 5 weeks. I keep thinking I should put everything else aside and get the wire out of my system. I can't see this as being a permanent path to travel, but it would be nice to add elements in to other work here and there.


I made one leather and stone bracelet for a Grandson that was very well received. I do need to make 3 more bracelets; one for my son and 2 for the other Grandsons. I guess it's kinda, sorta a deadline as I head back for NH in about 5 weeks and I'll need them for gifts when I get there.

However I figure this would be just a weekend's project and then everything could be put away. I just need the will power to get it done. It's just not interesting beading once I figured out how to do it.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature has taken SE Arizona from Winter to Summer with a rush. It was in the mid-90's yesterday. The big freeze killed a lot of things in my yard that were 50 to 75 years old, so I don't have the usual things blooming. The humming birds disappeared completely. The Oriels are migrating through and finding it very slim pickings... no Aloe blooms, no cactus blooms, no ocatillo blooms. They wash up in the big water dish, look around and fly off.

Not complaining, just pondering what direction to take for the moment. Do I start another big project, or do I wander through some of the many possibilities?