Tag Archives: paper beads

Still Not a Closer

As predicted, my one-handed, fast and wrong bead glazing and drying technique was a bit of a disaster – I lost a handful of beads that stuck together because they were strung too closely while they were drying.  At least it wasn’t a surprise – it was pretty darn predictable once I had it all strung up – just with only one hand, I was somewhat helpless to start all over again.

But, I did rescue enough beads to string up a ladder bracelet:

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I didn’t have any leather cord in my stash, just hemp, so I went with that.  And, I broke out the new C-Lon cord that I bought for my next up Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry class.  I did taped down my button closure, did some macramé knots to get it started, and laddered on down to a finished bracelet.

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As you can see, I tacked down my loop with the same macramé stitches with which I began, and I thought my loop was secure.  Wrong.

My husband is always asking me why I don’t sell my finished objects on Etsy.  First, the only thing that I think I make that is sellable quality is my knitting, and unless I come up with my own design for a small item – like mitts or a hat, the time v. expense v. profit analysis just isn’t worth it.  If I make a shawl, I’m probably spending at least – well, let’s not guess, let me look at the last shawl I made – which was super expensive.

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I made the Spice Market Shawl with a Miss Babs gradient set, $76 (now $83 in her online store), and then I ran out of the main color, and I had to buy an additional $26 skein to finish the project.  I think the pattern cost $8 or something close to that.  So, to break even, I’d have to start pricing at $110.  Now, what would someone pay for this?

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It’s hard for me to say. My motivation for making something is rarely “I love that shawl so much I have to wear it, and it must be a part of my wardrobe,” it’s “I love that yarn, I love that pattern, I really want to knit it.”  Once it’s finished, of course, I’m happy to wear it, but I’m a process knitter, not a product knitter.  But, I’ll render a guess that someone might spend $150-$200 on this handmade item created with luxury yarn.  But is my labor only worth 50-100?  That comes to less than $10/hr.  Obviously, I didn’t log my hours knitting this, but it took more than 10.  And, I have zero motivation to knit it again.

So, the only way I’d knit to sell is if I came up with my own one of a kind small item pattern that I could crank out in a fairly short amount of time, and use 1-2 skeins of luxury yarn.

So, until that time, my only marketable craft skill just isn’t worth it to me.

What does that have to do with the beads.  Well, while I may sew a lot of things, and put together some jewelry here or there – I just don’t think my workmanship is of the sellable quality.  I have never made a piece of jewelry that hasn’t, over time of course, fallen apart in someway – with the wrap bracelets, inevitably my button or my loop comes loose.  I made a lot of these ladder bracelets a few years back, and all of them eventually came apart at the button or the loop.

When I finished this ladder bracelet, Joe asked if I could sell it, and I pondered a moment – the paper beads are inexpensive, the wrapping/laddering only takes an hour or so – and then I stopped myself.  Let’s see if this holds together.

And, it didn’t.  Even though I had macramé knotted the loop closure down, it opened up.  Sigh.

But, there is hope!

I have now watched all of Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet class, and she has an awesome, three part method for securing her closures.  I was so happy when she admitted that before she discovered her method, her jewelry fell apart too.  I really do enjoy successful crafters and artisans sharing their fails as well as their successes.  Anyway, I’m now thinking that selling my stuff might be entirely possible.  Forget the paper beads for the most part – back to the junk jewelry beads, flea market beads, beads from broken jewelry.  And, the crochet bracelets are back in my wheelhouse – fiber, stitching – all good!  And, because I do know how to crochet beyond chaining, slip stitching, and single crochet, I’m thinking how I can add other stitches, and make bracelets that look more like my own.  Anyway, the cogs in ye old brain are turning.  But, I am so far ahead of myself.  Let’s get that bracelet closed properly first!  And, I will leave you with that, as I await my ThreadZapper II from my Amazon Prime 2 day shipping!

Back tomorrow with a Yarn Along, and a spur of the moment finished object!

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.
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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