I appear to have a bit of a thing for beading at the moment. I do that a lot. I’ll not touch a craft for ages and ages then become obsessed with it. And since making that gorgeous wrap bracelet a while ago, I’ve been thinking about beading a lot.
Doing the lengthening on some bracelets I already had just wasn’t satisfying enough. I kept thinking about getting more beads, and the colours I could use to create more of those wrap bracelets. All of a sudden I had inspiration, and a desperate desire to make more beautiful bracelets than I’d ever wear. But, being completely broke, I resigned myself to having to wait a few months before I could get some new beads.
But then two wonderful things happened. The first I can’t talk about just yet, but it is EPIC! And you’ll hear about it as soon as I can tell you. The second is not quite so epic, but still very cool. My sister bought me a pack of purple crackle beads, and another friend took me to a craft store and bought me a few tubs. BEADS!
With these new beads, I was unable to resist any longer, and despite the fact that I REALLY should be working on the baby blanket, I’ve been beading. I’ve made another version of my wrap bracelet, although this one isn’t a wrap bracelet.
(Please excuse my grubby wrist). I like it! I messed up the end a little:
But that’s not a big issue.
While I was stringing it, and suffering with sweaty hands, I was thinking about the pattern. I got that particular design from YouTube, and I thought that the internet must have many many many ideas for more bracelets. So I went looking. YouTube, Pinterest, Etsy, Google Images. And I found a LOT of stuff like this:
Which made me realise that there is far far more to beading than just stringing them in pretty patterns. So, naturally, I Googled it.
GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY! There’s so much to learn.
I decided to start with expanding the skill set I already have, and move on to the weaving stuff later.
Now, I saw this picture in a magazine ages ago:
And as much as I love the idea, I knew it would involve a technique I’m not particularly good at. One of the reasons I don’t do beading for long periods of time, and why I’ve stopped making earrings, and why I prefer a thin cord and crimp beads when making bracelets/necklaces, is because I have trouble manipulating wire. I’ve always ended up with a mess, and sharp edges.
To make a bracelet like the one above, and a couple of other ideas I’ve collected, you need to be able to bend a basic loop.
You can, and I prefer, twist the loop a second time to make sure there’s no gap for thin cords to slip out of. The trouble is, that I’ve always made a big big mess.
So I grabbed a handful of beads…
– bigger ones for better grip, and that I’ve always wanted a pair of earrings with – and some head pins, and I had a go.
FAIL! But instead of giving up, I had another go…
…and another and another and another.
I figured that the way to get good at something is practice, practice, practice. Headpins aren’t exactly expensive – you can buy 1000 of them for a couple of pounds – and it’s an easy enough job to remove them to get the beads back afterwards if necessary. And as I kept going, I did get better.
I even managed to turn them into earrings.
Woot! But no time to rest! Time for the next step. A twisted loop. This time, you hold the wire with a pair of pliers just above the bead before you bend the wire at a right angle, so you have a small gap, and once you have your loop, you wrap around that little gap a few times.
So I set up again with a new set of beads and a new set of headpins, and I have a go…
FAIL. Again. But I kept with my new philosophy of practice, practice, practice. After another go I realised that the technique I was following felt a little skewed to me, so I kinda jigged it a little to make it a bit more comfortable for me, and found I was creating a better twist. Still not great, but better:
I had another go, and another go, and another. After 15 or so, I had reached a plateau in my improvement and I was getting frustrated and angry. I was tired too, so I decided to stop for the time being. I’ll tackle the twisted loop again at another date, along with lots of other methods. Keep your eyes peeled for more picture heavy blogs!