Monday, 20 May 2013

Re-stringing: Improvement?

I found I wasn't wearing my bracelet from the Bead Soup Blog Party.

There were 2 main reasons for this:
1. It was too long for my wrist, and kept falling off.
2. The beads seemed too randomly placed, and unbalanced with regard to sizes and weights.

Actually it was quite good that I wasn't wearing it much, because the sky-blue thread it's strung on is quite slippery and the knots tend to undo themselves unless glued (which at that stage I was not doing). So I could have lost all the beautiful beads.

Original bracelet design. Gorgeous beads. But, to be honest, they could have been arranged a bit better.

So: lots of reasons to re-string it. Here is the new version.

Restrung onto double-length cord - no new beads, but immediately a different look.
The first decision I took was to string it onto double-length cord, and tie overhand knots between beads, so that you can see the lovely sky-blue colour of the cord. Learning from my millefiori bracelet, I decided to attach the knot onto the ring part of the clasp, not the toggle-end, because the toggle-end of the cord gets a lot more stress placed on it and needs to be as flexible as possible.

Then I realised that this double-length design meant that I could now string the smallest beads - the turquoise glass and the silver seed-beads - in parallel, rather than in series.This really changes the look of the design and I like it. Might start working with seed beads in their own right a bit more, rather than just using them as spacers.

The extra length given by the new knotted design (despite doubling up on the smallest beads) allowed me to remove all but two of the glass pearls to give a more balanced design. Now they don't seem to dominate all the others quite so much.

The silvery-coloured thing in the top right of the photo is a pewter leaf-shaped charm. My son sweetly made me a simple mobile (or a hanging ornament) using another leaf charm just like this, combined with silver-plated wire bent into an interesting shape, and hung on a piece of string. So now the leaf charm reminds me of him and his intense curiosity about the world. The disadvantage, however, is that he constantly suspects me of having taken apart his mobile to make my bracelet, and he keeps demanding I get it down for him to inspect and check that its leaf charm is still there.

What do you think? Do you prefer the new design, or the old one?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Wire-wrapped clasp

So, for the second half of the birthday present I sent to my sister in Australia. I had another go at making a hammered silver clasp. I also made my own spring ends. Both are made out of 0.8mm silver-plated wire (it really is fine when you hammer it) and the clasp also has some 0.4mm wire wrapped round it to strengthen it and to fix on a green bead. Hammering the thicker wire into a hook shape was easy. But wrapping the thinner wire around it was not easy and it's hard to get it really tidy. I expect this is one of those things that gets better with practice.

The nice thing about these over-sized hook clasps, though, is that they're really easy to do up compared to other clasps I've used (probably easier than toggle clasps and definitely less fiddly than lobster clasps).

The necklace is strung on natural leather, with some of the green beads that I was given for Christmas.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The New Adventures of Superglue

In line with my new adventures in stringing onto cord instead of wire, here's the bracelet and earring set I made for my sister's birthday (which is today!). I feel I can post a picture of them now that she says she has worn them. There was also a necklace, but she hasn't worn that yet so I'll post about it separately.

I strung blue/red millefiori glass, dark wooden beads and a single turquoise crystal onto turquoise 0.4mm Griffin Powernylon. It is very strong and has virtually no stretch. However, I found I had problems getting the knot to hold, so out came the Superglue! This seemed to work (fingers crossed) and the bracelet feels very light to wear.

Bracelet and earring set