Monday, 13 February 2012

Beaded donut frustration!

Yesterday I decided to have a go at making little beaded donut shapes. Its not somthing I've done before. I had a vague idea about how to go about it so decided to try and figure it out without instructions/diagrams. I don't tend to have any difficulties following tutorials but as I want to develop my beawork I thought it would be beneficial for me to experiment myself.

The first two I made were okish but I didn't find them too easy to zip up so I took a break for lunch and posted on the OTTBS facebook page that I'd been experimenting but was now going to look up how to do it properly. I knew there was some instructions in Laura McCabe's Creating Jewelry with Swarovski. Mary and Donna in OTTBS offered some very helpful comments so, after a slight detour to make a helicopter, sock puppet, playing cars and a lovely roast dinner with my nephew and inlaws, I spent the rest of the evening having another go. It did not go amazingly well.

Here are all 5 rings I made. OTTBSians may recognise the colours. I've been using 15s and 'delicas' (not actually sure they are delicas but a note about that later).

1. This one was made by stringing 40 delicas as the first 2 rows of a peyote strip. I then added 4 more rows of 15 and 2 of delicas. I joined the short ends of the strip together like brick stitch and then zipped the delicas together. It was a little tricky to zip up so I thought mabe I neede a bigger diameter. Plus I though I may as well work tubular.

2. This one was made by stringing 50 delicas and tying into a ring and working even peyote. Then 4 rows of 15 and 2 of delicas before zipping up. Ok ish but the symmetry is of (on this and no.1) Because I have an even number of rows of delicas and 15s, the wides point of the donut falls between rows and it would look better if it was on a row.

3. Mary suggested I work from the center and then alternate from side to side. Also she and Donna gave suggestions on starting numbers. This one was made by starting in the middle with 48 15s (and therefore giving 24 'up' beads). The final donut has 5 rows of 15s and 5 rows of delicas. Its not very ring like so I decided to decrease the starting amount of 15s and go back to 8 rows in total.

4. Very unring like! This one is 3 rows of 15s and 5 rows of delicas (started in the middle of the 15s). I initally strung 32 15s.

5. Probably the best so far. This one is 5 rows of 15s and 3 rows of delicas (again, starting in the middle of the 15s). I intially strung 48 15s.

Still not particulary happy. In Laura McCabe's book she uses charlottes, 15s and delicas and works from the centre of the biggest beads and zips up the smallest. I know its easier to zip up the larger beads so I'm going to stay doing that but maybe I should be using 3 different bead sizes? I don't actually own any tiny Czech charlottes so maybe I could use 15s, delicas and 11s?

I don't know. It was a frustrating evening making me think I really shouldn't have booked onto Laura's course in June after all.
But I WILL work on it and get there. I need to experiment more and possibly dig out more books to see if there's more instructions in them. Any hints or tips you have would be most appreciated.



A note about cylinder beads: Are there rubblish quality cylinders in the same way as there are rubbish quality seedies? I assumed they were all good but the green ones I've been using are quite irregular in height. The cylinders I have that I know are definately delicas are pretty regular so I'm wondering if these no-named ones I've had in my stash for ages are actually something else. I can't remember when and wher I bought them. The blue aren't tooooo bad but I thought I got them at the same time! 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Crystal hoop earrings tutorial

Well, as some of you know, I am currently participating in the Operation Tackle That Bead Stash earring challenge of making a pair of earrings every week for a year. I'm a little behind already (oops) but these are my week 5 earrings. I decided to jazz up a pair of old silver coloured hoops with 3mm fire polished crystals.

They're pretty easy to make so I thought I'd write a tutorial.

You will need:
A pair of hoop earrings- mine are 25mm in diameter
Enough 3mm crystals to go around both earrings- I used 48 in total (they are the lilac mix from RB Beads)
Clear beading thread (I'd recommend fishing braid like Fireline but I didn't have any and the monofilament fishing line I used is holding up fine so far!)
Beading needle

You need to work out how many crystals you need per earring. Lay them out around the hoop to check. Different sized hoops will require a different number of crystals. My hoops are 25mm in diameter and 24 crystals fit around perfectly.

Cut a length of thread, about an armspan length as you'll be using it doubled. This amount should be enough to complete the entire hoop unless they are enormous! Thread both ends through the eye and hook the looped end over the earring.

Thread all the beads you need for one earring onto your thread in the order you'd like. I used 3 different colours in a repeating pattern. Hold the crystals against the earring. Loop the doubled thread under the hoop and pass the needle through the last bead you added.

Loop the thread under the earring again, between the beads, and then go through the next bead. (Red thread path.)

Keep looping the thread under the earring, between the beads, and then go through the next bead until you get to the last bead.

After exiting the last bead, loop the thread under the earring and pass the thread back through all the crystals.

Remove the needle and cross the two threads under the earring and knot them. Cross the threads over the top of the earring and knot again.

Rethread the needle and pass the thread back though several of the beads before cutting the excess. You can add a dab of clear nail polish to the knots if you like.

Repeat for you second earring and you're done :o)

I'd love to see any earrings you make using this tutorial. You can leave me a link here or on my facebook page.
Any questions? I can be contacted via email: gemma[at]damselflygemma[dot]co[dot]uk

If you wish to share this tutorial, you may do so, but please link directly here. Do not publish it elsewhere. You may use a picture for the purposes of linking only. You are welcome to sell earrings made using this tutorial but please take your own photos!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

January crafting

Happy February everyone! Time for me to look back and see what I achieved crafting wise in January.

There was felt flower bouquet making for my friends' wedding. We made the majority of the flowers late last year but we but the bouquets together earlier this month. Here is one of the bridemaid bouquets, all four bouquets we put together one Sat evening and three flowers I made the day before. Sorry for the poor photography, wasn't really paying attention when clicking.

I also made four pairs of resin earrings as gifts for the bridemaids.

All other crafting this month has been beading. I made this choker for the OTTBS January moodboard. See all the fabulous entries here. Its square stitched in 15s and adapted from a pattern by Lynne Soto. Its a little tight so I should probably add a couple more rows if I want to be able to breathe in it!

I also made these three pairs of earrings for the OTTBS earring challenge. We're supposed to be making one pair a week so I'm a little behind. Ooops! More details about each pair can be found in my flickr set.

Well that's all the creating I completed in January (I think). I did experiment with some other bits but they're not finished yet. Maybe I'll get them done this month and you'll see them in the next roundup post.