Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pink cube bracelet and earrings

I'm saving all of my stitching projects for the LBS spring retreat, which is in just a few days.  There's no way I'm going to finish all of them, but it's nice to have options while I'm there.

In my never-ending quest to use up supplies, I decided to make a bracelet to match the earrings I showed you on Saturday.  I pulled out my bracelet beading board that I acquired a few years ago and very carefully lined up just over 6" of beads:

With the clasp it would be around 7" long.  If you have never used a beading board (bracelet or necklace), here's the basics on how it's done - the middle is marked as zero with each inch counting out from there.  If you line up the beads right next to each other, as I did above, you know exactly how long the piece will be.  The ruts in necklace boards are curved, and there are usually multiple ruts so you can plan multi-stranded necklaces.  I'd show you a picture of mine, but it's currently AWOL.  Here are some examples of beading boards from Fire Mountain Gems:  the bracelet board I'm using, regular necklace board, long necklace board.

All the boards I've seen are flocked so beads won't roll around willy-nilly, but it's still hard to get the little buggers to line up correctly.  With round or cube beads it isn't quite as hard, but most of the beads I used are rondelles.  If they don't "sit up and fly right", I won't get an accurate measurement.  I nudged them with my fingers and with my Xuron 4 in 1 crimpers.

After stringing, I measured again, and it looks like I did a good job:

Here's the final bracelet after adding the clasp:

It may be hard to tell, but there are pink rondelles as well as clear ones in two sizes.  It's very subtle.

After making the bracelet I had 5 cubes left and possibly enough rondelles to make a necklace.  I decided the middle of the necklace would exactly match the bracelet, so I lined everything up on the right side of my board.  I then divvied up the rest of the beads to see if it was possible:

Hmm.  I had 5 inches of beads measured out with the corresponding beads in the middle circle.  So if the middle section is 6", the whole beaded part of the necklace would be 16".  The clasp would add about an inch, so that's 17".  I had to decide if that would be long enough or if I'd have to supplement with another type of bead.  Most people have skinnier necks than I do, so I decided that 17" was just fine.

Here's the final necklace:

I have to say again how much I love my Xuron 4 in 1 crimpers.  If you haven't read my review yet, check it out here.  I will say that the quality of the crimp beads is about as important as the crimp tool.  If you use cheap crimp beads, you're going to get a crappy crimp no matter what tool you use.  At the last Rings&Things bead show here in Milwaukee I picked up a package of their silver plated size 2 crimp beads, and they work like a dream.  If you're interested in purchasing the crimp pliers from me, I have two left.  Check out my Etsy listing.

When I was completely finished, I had yet another dilemma:

I had leftovers.  I've talked about this before - I really, really, really like using up all beads if possible.  I stared at the three stooges and grumbled to Steve.

He asked, "Why don't you make a dangle and add it to the bracelet?"

That was a great idea!  He had meant it for the center of the bracelet, but that would throw off my symmetry.  I've seen pieces with dangles at the clasp, so that's what I did:

I should have used a softer headpin for this - the wrapped loop was a little difficult.

Here's the final set, after I spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to get good pictures:

The best part?  I used up four types of beads!

As I was entering these into my inventory program so I could tag them for sale, I kept thinking that since the pieces are on the smallish side, they'd be perfect for teenage girls.  The fanciness of the crystals reminded me of prom, and that reminded me that the Loose Bead Society members donate jewelry for the Cinderella Project - an annual event where deserving girls receive prom dresses and jewelry for their big day.  After the girls choose their dresses, LBS members help them pick jewelry to match.  I haven't donated anything yet this year, so I decided this set might be appropriate.  I'm going to take it to the retreat and see if our Community Service Coordinator agrees!

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