Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Woven Necklaces & Bracelets with Multiple Strands--How to Finish

This morning I was searching for some information and ran across a question by someone who wanted to know how to end a Kumihimo bracelet that had multiple threads.  The person who posted the question mentioned using crimp beads.  Unless there's something I'm missing, it's a very bad idea to use crimp beads on fiber because they will eventually cut into it and break it.  The same thing happens with stretch cord—and I know from experience that when the crimp bead causes the stretch cord to break it will cause an EXPLOSION of beads!

I have used crimp beads on 2 strands of Fireline in a couple of necklaces, but I worry that they will eventually begin to wear.  I don't think that using a crimp on a single strand of Fireline would work at all.  Bracelets are under a lot more stress than necklaces, so I would definitely not use crimps on a bracelet woven with Fireline.  From what I can see, most experienced beaders would tell us not to use crimps on Fireline.  As a general rule, crimp beads are strictly for flexible beading wire.

There are numerous methods for attaching clasps to necklaces and bracelets.   Here is one method which will work for multiple strands of Fireline.

You will need:
  • 2 eye pins
  • 2 bead cones
  • 2 beads, size 2, 3 or 4 mm
  • Hypo Cement
  • Clasp of your choice 
It's probably best if you make your own eye pins. That way you can choose the correct length and be sure that the eyes will be large enough to hold all the threads—just don't make them too big or they won't fit far enough into the cone to be hidden. Be sure that the eyes are closed tightly so that thread cannot slip off of them. You might want to hammer the eyes lightly with a rubber or nylon mallet to give them strength before you begin.

You probably want to use 18 to 20-gauge wire for strength. If you use a finer gauge wire, you should make wrapped loops for strength and security, but I myself wouldn't go with anything finer than 22 gauge. 

Start with one end of your bracelet or necklace:
  • Split your threads into 2 sections and tie a square knot, snugly against the beads.  For example, if you have 6 threads total, use 3 threads and in each hand to tie the knot.
  • Using the same two sections, tie a square knot tightly onto the eye.
  • Secure both knots with Hypo Cement.
  • Trim the ends of the threads (make sure that they are totally secure first).
  • Put the eye pin through the wide end of the bead cone, so that the eye, all the knots, and the trimmed ends are hidden inside the cone.  You should only see the beaded part of the bracelet/necklace protruding from the wide end of the bead cone.
  • String one of the beads onto the wire outside the narrow end of the bead cone.
  • Be sure that the eye and knots are tucked snugly inside the cone and turn a loop outside the narrow end of the bead cone next to the small bead.
  • Repeat on the other end of the necklace or bracelet with the second piece of the clasp.
 Fireline is my thread of choice for bead weaving because it really helps you to control the tension.  When you snug up the beads the thread seems to grip—and the knots tend to stay put. Of course, when you finish you should still make a couple of half-hitch knots as you weave the ends through the beads for added security.
I don't care for Nymo for weaving because I can't get the tension I want, but it's great for making fringe because it's more fluid than Fireline.  Fireline makes fringe that's way too stiff.
By the way, I mention Fireline and Nymo because they are the most common names used, but there are other brands of threads that have the same or similar characteristics. 
Some substitutes for Fireline are Wildfire, Spiderwire, Power Pro, and Dandyline.  I have only used Fireline, so I cannot recommend any of the others.
Some substitutes for Nymo are C-Lon, Super-Lon and One-G.  I have used C-Lon, but don't have enough experience with it to state a preference.

© Copyright 2011 Linda's Art Barn. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thank you, Blogspot Staff

Having worked for a computer company as a software test specialist some years back, I know that making changes to software frequently causes unexpected bugs.  Apparently that is what happened to some of us Blogspot bloggers this week after Blogspot made some changes.
I contacted Blogspot last night to tell them that I was unable to access my Dashboard, or even to make comments on other Blogspot blogs.  I am thrilled to find that my problem is already fixed and I'm back in business today.  That was so fast!

So, I want to thank everyone who has been working so hard to fix this problem.  You should know how much your hard work is appreciated.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Precious Metals Update & New Sterling Silver-Filled Wire

I read today that gold and silver prices have gone down a bit in the past couple of days after hitting all-time highs.  I'm not going to get excited, because it's probably only a temporary trend.  Also affected are the prices of platinum, palladium, and oil.  I don't pretend to understand the stock or commodities markets, so I have little understanding as to why this has happened or what the future holds.  I won't be surprised if we don't see a corresponding reduction in price when we purchase any of these commodity items, though.  If you speak investor language, then you might be interested in reading about it at:  http://www.tradingnrg.com/

Did you know that you can now purchase sterling silver-filled wire?  It's made in the same way as gold-filled wire--there is a thick coating of sterling silver bonded around a base of brass or copper.  It's a much thicker coating of silver than what is found on silver-plated wire, making the sterling silver-filled wire far more durable--and it can be soldered.  In addition, it shouldn't trigger allergies in people who don't already have a problem wearing sterling silver.

I heard about sterling silver-filled wire for the first time a few days ago at Lisa Niven Kelley's website, Beaducation, where she explains how it compares to sterling silver and silver plate.  http://www.beaducation.com/

If you go to Fire Mountain Gems you can see a drawing that shows how much thicker the silver is on sterling silver-filled wire than on silver-plated wire.  http://www.firemountaingems.com/sterling-silver-filled.asp

Another site, Bead Factory, has an article comparing sterling silver, fine silver, and sterling silver-filled wire.   http://www.thebeadfactory.com/catalog/pages.php?pageid=3

So at least we have an alternative to sterling silver that will hold up to being worn and won't cost us a fortune! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

FREE CINDY LIETZ TUTORIAL VIDEO--Available for a Few Days Only, Starts May 2

Let me start out by saying that I don't receive any benefit for telling you about this.

For the past 18 months I've been following Cindy Lietz's polymer clay blog, which is a goldmine of information.  Cindy is known as the "Polymer Clay Tutor."  Four times each month those of us who are paid members get to view a new polymer clay beading tutorial.  These are extremely high-quality videos--and as long as we continue our memberships, we have unlimited access to those tutorials--for an amazing price of less than $3.50 per month.  Oh, let me not forget the two color recipes that are included with each tutorial!  If you like to work with polymer clay, you're crazy not to become a member.

Recently, Cindy did a tutorial called the "Lietz Teardrop Blend Shift Technique." If you've ever struggled with the Skinner Blend, or just felt that the Skinner Blend is too time-consuming, you've got to see Cindy's video!  It's her own technique and it's brilliant!

Starting on May 2 Cindy is allowing free access to this tutorial. Read about it and access the tutorial here.  Hurry up and view the video because it may only be free for a few days.

ONE MORE THING...be sure to sign up for Cindy's free newsletter at http://www.beadsandbeading.com/ and you'll receive a free color recipe four times a month (these are different from the color recipes that come with the paid membership), along with free access to three polymer clay tutorials.

Don't miss these great free opportunities!


ADDED ON JUNE 9, 2011: 

Readers, please note that you can STILL get Cindy's free polymer clay newsletter, even though the "Lietz Teardrop Blend Shift Technique" video is no longer free.

Along with Cindy's free newsletter you get unlimited free access to three tutorials. You also get four free color recipes each month.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


A few weeks ago I posted that I've been certified as a Bead Cornerรค Design Academy Instructor at Michael's.  I'll be teaching classes at the Rutland,VT, Michael's Arts & Crafts store starting on May 10.  Here is my schedule:
  • Tuesday, May 10, 6-8 PM:  Fundamentals of Wire Wrapping
  • Tuesday, May 17, 6-8 PM:  Fundamentals of Bead Stringing
  • Tuesday, May 24, 6-8 PM:  Fundamentals of Crimping Techniques
To see detailed descriptions of these classes, click here.