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11  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Three Beaded Wrap Bracelets, with Full Tutorial on: July 03, 2011 10:39:21 AM

How to Make a Beaded Wrap Bracelet

What you will need:
-a smooth, strong cord of some type
   (often leather cord, but here I used cotton yarn and embroidery floss)
-beading thread, such as Nymo, or strong sewing thread (not the bargain-bin stuff, it's weak!)
-beading needle
-clasp, or a large bead or button for closure (optional)
-a macrame board (ideally) or strong cardboard/foam board to use as a support
-pins or alligator clips
-glue (optional)

First, decided how long you want your bracelet.  Two of mine are long enough to wrap around my wrist snugly four times, which works out to 26 inches; the third is two wraps, at 13 inches.  If you are using a clasp, be sure to subtract the length of the clasp from this measurement.  Cut a length of cord (2 x desired measurement) + 12 inches for waste.  Fold it in half.  Now, how you treat the fold is going to depend on what closure you're using for the bracelet.

If you are using a clasp, attach one half of it to the folded end however seems appropriate; my clasp had a solid ring to attach to, so I passed my cord though it then tied both sides together in an overhand knot.  If you are using a large bead or button, tie a loop in the folded end large enough to go over it easily, but not too loosely.  Test this before you move on! If you are using neither of these things, your last option is still a loop, which will eventually go over a large knot in the end of the bracelet.  Make the loop about 1 inch long.

Next, pin or clip the end of the bracelet to one edge of your board.  Stretch the two cords across and pin/clip them to the other edge, so that they are straight and relatively taut.  You want a little give in the cords, just enough to get a finger underneath them.  Position the board with the clasp/loop end of the bracelet at the bottom if you want to work with the board upright (like I do when I curl up on the couch and rest it on my drawn-up knees) or towards you (if you're working with the board on a flat surface.)

Cut a long length of thread, as long as you feel comfortable working with, x2.  (The longer you make this thread, the less often you'll have to join new ones; conversely, the shorter it is, the less likely it is to tangle.  Your choice of dangers!)  Pass one end of the thread underneath the left cord, match up both ends of the thread, then thread them both through your needle; this creates a doubled thread that anchors itself to the cord when you begin adding beads. 

Now, the beads.  They need to have large enough holes to get four passes of thread through (doubled thread going once each way).  Beyond that, the sky is the limit!  Most of the commercial bracelets I've seen have been made with small round gemstone beads, but I didn't have any of those in enough quantity to use, so I made my first one with bugle beads, and my second and third with seed beads, though I did have to discard the occasional seed bead for having too small a hole.

String your first bead(s) on the thread, then pass the needle underneath both cords, going to the right.  Snug the bead(s) in between the cords with your finger.

Next, pass the needle through the bead(s) again, going to the left and over top of the cords, like so. 

Pull the thread taut.  There! First bead(s) on!

Repeat with another bead (or row of beads, in this case), then another, then another, each time snugging the bead up to the one before it.

I'm right-handed; I hold the bead in place with my left while I control the needle on the return pass with my dominant right.  If you're a southpaw, you may feel more comfortable reversing my directions.  My husband and several of my friends are lefties, so I think about these things  Wink

Continue adding beads until you've reached the desired length (minus the clasp, still, if you're using one.)  If you're making this for yourself, I recommend removing the bracelet from the support board and testing it on yourself before finishing the end; you may find you need it a little longer than originally planned to account for multiple wraps around your wrist.  Or you may not.

Along the way you'll likely have to do two things: 1) reposition the bracelet on the support board, which is easy enough, just move it down to expose more open cord and re-pin or clip; and 2) finish off the working thread and add new thread.

Here's how I did it.

When you're down to four or so inches of thread on the needle, stop adding new beads.  Take the needle and pass it around the thread (not the cord!) at the edge of the bead you just exited.

Make a loop here and pull the needle through it, tying a knot around the thread at the edge of the bead.  Pass the needle over the left cord and through the bead again, then trim the ends.  If you like you can secure the knot with a tiny dot of glue, but I haven't found it necessary myself; you can also pass the thread back through more than one bead, if you like, to make it more secure.

Attach a new thread just as you did at the start, and keep adding new beads.

Finishing the end will depend, again, on your closure.  For a clasp, attach the other half to the end however seems best; I knotted my two cords on the clasp and secured that with a bit of glue.  For a large bead, pass both cords (if possible) through the bead and tie a large knot in the cords to hold the bead in place, securing with glue, trimming the ends, etc.  If you can only get one cord through, tie the two cords together around the bead instead.  For a two-hole button pass one cord through both holes and tie the cords together firmly on the underside of the button; for a four-hole button, pass one cord each through two opposing holes to form an X, then tie together on the underside.  For a knotted closure, use the two cords together to tie several overhand knots one on top of another until it's large enough to hold the loop on the other end securely when worn.  (Apologies for having no example of a button closure--I haven't made that many bracelets yet!)

Finally, wrap that thing around your wrist and marvel a little at its beauty!
12  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Caitlyn, Sheriff of Piltover on: June 19, 2011 01:11:14 PM
I am a proud geek, and I love to craft geeky things.  I'm in good company here at Craftster!

So a few months ago I started playing League of Legends.  My husband has been playing since last year--right after it came out it got really popular with some of our WoW friends, and they got him involved, and eventually I caved in.  The publisher, Riot Games, is incredibly involved with their player community, and they do a weekly video, the Summoner Showcase, that features player-made crafts and other LoL-related things, fan art, music, etc.  As soon as I started playing, my husband said to me, "You should make something."  I answered, "Yes, I should make something."

I had been on an embroidery kick lately, so I was thinking I'd do something like that, but then I started seeing all these poppets for the swap floating around, and I've wanted to make a poppet for a while, so this seemed like the perfect time!

Meet Caitlyn--

And for comparison, here's the art I worked from:

She's almost entirely made from thrifted or upcycled materials:  her skin, dress and hat fabrics are all thrifted, the leather is from a damaged purse of my mother's, the hat base is cardboard, the cog charm a piece of plastic lid, the wig base a section of a mesh onion bag.  Only the eyes, lace, wire, yarn, and lace trim on the petticoat are new materials!

If you were following my moaning on the Ongoing Poppet Along thread, you know I had a devil of a time with the hat, but I finally managed it and I'm pretty happy with it.  Even when I realized I'd have to pop the top piece off to glue the wire in because I forgot to do it first!

The cog charm took me a while to figure out, but eventually I thought to cut it out of a plastic lid.  I roughed up one side of the lid with a scrubbing sponge to give it a surface that paint would stick to; then to get it glued on, I cross-hatched the back of it with an X-acto knife for the glue to stick to.

Her leg bands are straps from the purse.  My sewing machine couldn't handle the leather, and gluing the ends together wasn't strong enough to hold, so I ended up notching  the ends, linking them with wire, then wrapping the wire around to hide the join.  I didn't have gold buckles for them anyway, so this works for me!

The boots, well, all I can say is that I love my hot glue gun.  Couldn't have managed without it.

The arm bands are made the same as the leg bands, but with thread instead of wire. And the gloves I am particularly proud of, the upper join is just like the bands, but for the lower join I lashed a long thong to one side instead, which threads through a slit on the opposite side, then wraps and ties around the wrist.  It was very important to me that, even though I won't be changing her wardrobe at all, that all her pieces be removable--for repairs, if nothing else.

I'm so excited that she's finally done--that hat! those boots! I thought I'd never get them right!  Thank you, of course, to ghilie for the pattern, it was very well done and I'd certainly make another one...though maybe not right away!

13  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Kimono Series #3: Purple Pinwheels on: March 06, 2011 10:29:32 AM

Three down, one to go!  Though planning #4 is proving more difficult than the others, I may not get started on that one all that soon.

Vital stats:  8 1/4 x 9 3/4"; both the stitched fabric and the border are reclaimed from clothing, the border from a tiered ruffle skirt which is why, even after vigorous ironing, it's still bit wrinkly; crayon tinted background; the outline is back stitch, as usual, and the pinwheels are worked entirely in heavy chain stitch.  Which I might never use again, I am now so thoroughly sick of it!

14  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Totes for Tots on: March 03, 2011 02:03:55 PM

My triplet niece and nephews just turned three recently, and my mom wanted to give them book bags for the preschool coloring/workbooks they're going to start messing with soon.  Her contribution to the gift was choosing and purchasing the fabrics, and mine was making them up.

Two different Noah's Ark prints for the boys, and Bedtime Bears for the girl, mostly because the bear in the print is carrying a pink teddy bear just like the one my niece has; all three fabrics are Debbie Mumm for Jo-Ann.  I like the NA print on the right best--I'm thinking of cutting out squares of the individual animals and making them centerpieces of mug rugs/potholders/etc.

The bags are interfaced (light, anyway) for some body, self-lined, box corners, no pockets.  I drafted the measurements from one of the workbooks that go with the bags as the gift, but I seem to have lost my notes, so I want to say they're in the neighborhood of 9x12".

I'm reasonably happy with how they turned out, and I'm very happy that all three only took me one long afternoon from start to finish!
15  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / From Plain to Stitchy in an Afternoon on: February 24, 2011 03:21:25 PM
With all the stitching I've been doing lately, I started looking around for embroidery blogs to follow for inspiration, and I hit paydirt!  I just love feeling stitchy and as soon as I saw the most recent post about the stitchalong for this month, I knew I had to jump on it.

It's not my best work, because I was so eager to start that I didn't use a stabilizer or even transfer the pattern--I just sat at my computer with the design image enlarged.  It only took me about an hour and a half from start to finish, and even though I ended up using colors outside my usual wardrobe palette, I just love it!
16  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Kimono Series #2: Super Peachy on: February 22, 2011 08:25:04 AM

Half done with the series!  I was waffling before about doing three or four, and now I'm leaning towards four.  Number three is started, but I don't think it's going to go as quickly as this one did, heavy chain stitch is very time-consuming!

So, here it is.  I neglected to include measurements the first time; they both have a stitched area of 4 x 5 1/2", overall size 8 1/4 x 9 3/4".  Peachy is nearly all satin stitch, with back stitch edges to the flowers and the kimono outline, and french knot flower centers.  The satin stitch is undoubtedly why this one took just a few days when the first one took a week.

Still stitched on fabric reclaimed from a dress shirt, this time bordered with quilting cotton.  In theory I'd have liked to have a solid purple border instead of the print, but I love this fabric, and the colors matched perfectly.

In the interest of pic slenderness, progress photos are on my blog.

Thanks to everyone who had kind words for my first piece, and I can only say I hope you'll enjoy this one too!
17  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Kimono Series #1: Green Tea on: February 20, 2011 09:53:27 AM

I've been bitten by the embroidery bug!  After I made my best friend's Christmas present, I didn't want to stop there.

It's stitched with cotton floss on cotton from a men's dress shirt and bordered with cotton from another dress shirt.  I just love thrifted dress shirts for crafting, the material is so good and so cheap!

The grass and leaves are done in fishbone stitch; the stems in split stitch; the flower buds, long and short stitch with straight stitch tassels; and the outline, back stitch.  The background is crayon tinting.

The story of the inspiration behind this piece is on my blog, it ended up being long-winded, even for me, so I didn't want to repost the whole thing.

I'm already more than half done with the second kimono in the series...I hope to end up with three, maybe four companion pieces I can display together.
18  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / My first mug rug ends up being a full set! on: February 19, 2011 07:50:04 AM

I've seen so many adorable mug rugs here, and to be honest, the beaded coasters I made in college were looking pretty beat-up, so I figured it was time to jump on that bandwagon!

I only intended to make one for myself, but by the time I had it done, I loved it so much I knew I wanted a set of them.  They're not identical, since piece-as-you-go doesn't lend itself to that well unless you start with a plan, which I didn't.  But I think I like them better that way, obviously related but not exactly the same...

They're all made from a mix of quilting cottons and dress-shirt scraps.  For the "batting" I used two layers of fairly thick sweatshirt material, since I don't keep real batting around, though that may change if I decide to make more mug rugs.  There's a bit of variation in size, though they're all roughly 6x9".

In order of creation:

19  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Apple Currant Bread Pudding on: February 05, 2011 12:26:45 PM

I have a basic bread pudding recipe that I love, and I'm endlessly coming up with variations on it based on what I have on hand that day...

Here's today's version.

Apple Currant Bread Pudding

8 slices bread (day-old is traditional, but I've used fresh if I'm impatient)
4 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced (approx 2 cups)
1/4 cup dried currants (or raisins, if they're handier)

2 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom*

Tear the bread into pieces and scatter enough in the pan to cover the bottom.  Then scatter half the apples, half the currants, half the remaining bread, the rest of the apples, the rest of the currants, then the rest of the bread in that order.  (The purpose is bread on the bottom and bread on the top to prevent excessive browning/burning of most of the fruit.  Too complicated?  Mix all of it together in a bowl then dump the whole thing in the pan.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Once they're thoroughly combined, add the spices and blend them in.  Immediately pour onto the bread mixture.  Squish the bread down into the liquid with a fork if necessary (usually is for me for the bread bits on the sides) and make sure the top is even.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes or so before cutting and serving.

*The cardamom can be considered optional, if you don't have it or don't care for it.  I love it, it's my favorite spice, but I know that not everyone feels the same!
20  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / From One Tree to Another on: February 04, 2011 01:24:50 PM

The WoWspeak explanation:  my best friend and I both raided as resto druids in Wrath, in the same guild, which was far more fun and less contentious (neither of us are loot whores) than we predicted.  She's playing her hunter now, and my new schedule at work precludes raiding entirely, so we miss that time together.  So I made this for her for Christmas.

The non-WoW version:  You won't get why it's funny, so just tell me it's pretty  Wink

The technical stuff:  Designed from two free alphabets I found online, charted with KG Stitch.  I designed the leaves myself.  Stitch on a scrap of 14-ct Aida leftover from a kit I'll probably never finish, oh well.  Bordered with scraps from my Challenge #59 entry!  And finally, laced over foam board according to the tutorial here at Craftster, which I love and adore because framing is expensive, and foam board is decidedly not.
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