Tag Archives: crochet jewelry

It’s All Over But the Zapping – Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I signed up for Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry months ago during an early bird special.  At the time, I had just – and I mean just, I think I got the email about this class maybe a day after I watched the other one – watched a beaded crochet video on Creativebug, but I had problems with it, and while I became intrigued with the technique, I wasn’t inspired.  The woman who taught the class did not know how to crochet – which is fine, I guess – do what works for you.  But, it was very hard for me to watch her hold the hook wrong, and pull the cord through incorrectly as well.  I hate to use the words “wrong” and “incorrect” when it comes to craft – I’m a believer in doing what works best for you, but for me, at least, it was painful to watch, mostly because she was doing it a harder way than the technically correct way, and I felt she was sending her students down the wrong path.  If you were taking the class, and wanted to actually learn how to crochet, you probably could get away with doing the weird chain stitch she was doing, but you wouldn’t be able to build on it – that would be the only stitch in your toolbox.  Someone actually posted something about it in the comments, and the Creativebug staff did jump in and say, this is not the traditional crochet method.  But, in any event, I didn’t mean for this to be a negative review of the Creativebug class, I just wanted to give a thumbs up to the Robin Dudlley-Howes class, hosted on Jeanne Oliver’s ning, which I had been anxiously awaiting, hoping it would be the class that the Creativebug one was not.  And, I was not disappointed!

The class consists of two wrap projects (one that’s a simple bracelet, and one that could either be worn as a multi-wrap bracelet or a necklace) from start to finish, as well as some extras, adding chain to your bracelet, creating a tassel, and sculpting charms from Apoxie Sculpt.  What makes this class special are primarily two things.  First, Robin teaches you how to do what she calls a bridge over the larger beads, and second, she has a really effective, three part method of securing her closures, which thankfully does not involve Super Glue.

This is the bridge –

img_2066

 

The top bead is the method she teaches in class, the bottom bead is my variation.  I’m not going to tell you how to do it, and reveal her secret sauce, but for an experienced crocheter, it’s easy peasy, for an ok crocheter like me it was easy, and for an inexperienced crocheter who is just learning to chain, it would take a bit of practice, and be a bit fiddly, but no more than actually what it would take to learn to chain.  Anyway, this element is such a nice touch in the finished piece – it just makes it look more polished, as you no longer have the cord showing while it’s awkwardly stretched over a large bead.  And because she films the whole process of crocheting the wrap, this technique is repeated enough times you don’t have to keep replaying the video, or slow the video down, or remember the exact tic of the video where to watch it, it’s going to come up again and again, which is great for learning.

The beads, by the way, are part of a custom made kit I bought from Robin through her Etsy shop.  This is the kit I received:

 

I told Robin the color family I was interested in (pink) and that I loved butterflies.  And here is my kit, with two butterflies!  I really appreciated the fact that she was able to go through her stash and find something that was exactly what I was looking for.  Perfect.  This kit also included the recommended hook, a Size 6 metal hook, as well as some C-Lon cord.  Mine was hot pink.  I wasn’t so into that, but you never know, I might use it.  Along with the beads and the hook, there was also a little packet of crimp beads, head pins for dangle making, and toggle closures.

How much nicer is this selection than my paper beads!  I’m so over the paper beads, now – spoiled.  I don’t think I can go back.

Anyway, after watching the videos, I got to sorting my beads:

img_2061

And arranging them how I wanted them on the cord.

img_2062

In the class, Robin doesn’t use a bead board, but (and that’s not to say she should, obviously, I just like it) she goes through her thought process in picking her beads, and how she strings them on her cord.  As she’s creating the longer wrap, there’s not a lot of skipping over steps just because they’re repetitive, and you see her crochet the entire thing over the course of several videos.  I found this really helpful; sometimes when I’m watching a speeded up video I’m disappointed – it may be boring to the teacher, having done it 50 billion times, but it’s new to me.  So, I appreciated that the whole process was there.

Then I had a choice, string up my pretty beads, and start crocheting, or wait because I didn’t have the final, necessary tool to wrap up the three part closure process, the ThreadZapper II.   Of course I couldn’t wait, and I whipped up my wrap bracelet:

At the beginning and end of the wrap, I used a vintage pearl bracelet, just by opening up the jump rings and splitting it in two.  So, I already had a ready made large jump ring on one end, and a clasp on the other.  The buttons are from my own stash, as was the Eiffel Tower charm, but the rest is from the kit.

I thought about using this rhinestone piece as a closure, but I really wanted the rhinestone bling in this one, so I used it.  You can’t see them so well in this photo, but there are these super cute pink, rhinestone rhondelles (next to the Eiffel Tower) in there too – love them.

And the butterfly!

I love it, but can’t wear it yet – not until the closure is complete.  I’ve completed steps one and two of the process, and now I just need the ThreadZapper.  Most videos that involve creating a loop, or securing a thread, or ending a bracelet like this, or perhaps a ladder bracelet like the one I posted about earlier in the week, use SuperGlue, or some kind of glue.  This does not work for me – not only do a make a mess, and end up glueing my fingers together, but it just seems to get stiff and brittle on the cord without actually securing it.  I’m not a fan of the glue, so I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my ThreadZapper.

Of course, I’m already planning my next bracelet!  This time, I’m going to do a button closure, with that big brass button with the pink stone in the middle (photo of the kit).  There are plenty of beads left to string up at least one, maybe two more bracelets, and I have plenty of head pins in my stash to make more pearl dangles.  And, I may have ordered some beads from Etsy as well.  Yeah, I did.

Of course.

Basic CMYK

 

 

Rumors of a Bead Fail Are Greatly Exaggerated

So, when last I left you, I promised to show you my bead fail.  Ah, I had such little confidence in myself!  Shame on me!

As I’ve mentioned before, my craft pursuits are usually the result of a tiny spark that leads to a stream of seemingly unrelated ideas – for instance, photography lead to image transfers that lead to art journaling that lead to portrait painting that lead to dolls.  Of course, it wasn’t such a straight line, from photography to dolls, there was sewing and sculpting along the way too, but basically, one spark lead to another.  This past weekend, after I finished up the doll, I switched to beads.  How did I get to beads?  Crochet to crochet jewelry to this class that’s starting next week   (I’m always a sucker for an earlybird special!) to a desire not to invest in any more store bought beads.  I’ve been down that jewelry hole before, you see.  Gotten all excited about beading or wire wrapping or soldering, or whatever, and then I’ve gathered my materials, made a sizeable investment, made one thing, and that was the end.  Not again, I said to myself.  Small investment, this time.  And, I stumbled on paper beads.  I invested in 2 bead rollers (a big one and a small one) from this Etsy shop, and paper marking template from this shop.  Of course, now I’ve made a $26 investment, but I’m still not paying any money for the beads, right?  Whatever, I say to myself.

img_1924-1

So, I marked up my paper with my template – for Pandora like, fat beads, with a large hole in the center to place a bead core, a fancy name for an eyelet.  This, frankly, was a pain in the ass, and no fun at all.  To make these beads, you have to cut three sizes of strips – one that’s the same size on both ends, a second stip,  with one end that matches the width of the first strip, and tapers in to about half the other end, and a third strip, which matches the width of the second strip on the one end, and then tapers to a point on the end.  That’s a lot of marking, cutting and rolling.

Bleh.

And, here are the four beads I finished:

img_1927-1

Not quite finished, I didn’t even bother to put the cores in – I was just over them.  For four beads, I had to measure and slice up 12 strips of paper!  That adds up, my friends, and with scrapbook paper, and a rotary cutter, is zero fun.

So, I thought I was done with the beads after only 4 beads, but then I went back to the youtube drawing board, and found this video – Paper Beads 101, and it all just clicked.  I don’t need to mark my paper – I can just measure on one end, cut to a point on the other.  I don’t need to use scrapbook paper – I can use magazine paper, and it’ll fit right in my Fiskar’s paper cutter.  And, I don’t need to use multiple strips for a bead, I can just use one.

With this measureless cutting technique (well, I did measure the one end to be 1/4′ but that was more about aligning the paper on the paper cutter, than measuring), I cut cut cut away my National Geographic magazine, tossed aside the big bead roller with the 5 mm hole for the eyelets, and started rolling up beads like a machine:

img_2006

These small beads are perfect for my crochet project!

Of course, then there was the glazing.  Unfortunately, even though I burned my hand on our grill (yes, the grill handle is there for a reason – don’t touch the top – oy! so stupid), I didn’t want to waste the evening, so I strung up my beads one handed, and created a makeshift drying rack out of my quilting hoop.
img_2010

Doing this one handed was quite a feat, and probably stupid – since the beads are too close together, and the Glossy Accents will probably glue them together, and then they’ll be worthless, we’ll see when I get home!  Fast and wrong.

Anyway, if you clicked on Paper Beads 101, she makes a bracelet that takes 300 beads.  When I first watched it, thinking it was the excruciating process of the big beads, I thought, holy cow, no way, but in the span of the PSU/Pitt football game, I rolled all of the above, about 150 beads, so 300 – easy peasy.

Since I didn’t do such a good job with the glazing, I think I’m going to make a ladder bracelet with these, and then start the rolling machine going again for crochet class.

For which, by the way, between my bead fail and my bead success, I purchased the class kit – so much for not buying any more store bought beads.  Although, of course, these are special vintage beads, plus charms! And a hook! And C-Lon thread!

I should have had more faith!  Hmm, but now I have the special beads and the paper beads – win win!

Basic CMYK