Crochet Beaded Bracelets

My friend Gina sent me a link about two years ago showing some crocheted bracelets with button closures – so cute! I figured out the pattern, found different sized buttons, crocheted about twenty bracelets in varying lengths (multi-wraps are fun!), used jewelry o-rings to attach charms midway and started handing them out to friends on my travels.

Oh, the charms – they fell off in legions – usually after a household chore like doing the dishes…or walking across a room. Sometimes even before I was done with the visit (In Kauai I actually asked for some pliers and replaced the gifted charm with one from my purse. It probably also fell off soon after I left. Mrgh!)

I have not mastered the fool-proof closure of o-rings (does this exist, beyond soldering?).

Alas, a design failure the internet did not prepare me for. Also, I’m not sure how much I want to talk about how hard it is to BUTTON your own wrap-around bracelet…

New rule: Jewelry should not be a reminder of loneliness, or dexterity challenges, or a cause of any stress whatsoever frankly (right?!). Wait ’til you see how I’ve solved this!!! (P.S. o-rings replaced by stitching…why didn’t I think of that…first?!)

Magical Magnet Closures

I attended a presentation today of the San Diego Bead Society and was inspired to think again about what kinds of trades I could make for my next art retreat. I put 2 + 2 + 2 together and came up with: crocheted bracelet with beads and magnetic closure.

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Size 11/0 beads, Lizbeth variegated thread, size 10, gold magnetic closure

A couple hours before this creation I spent time looking up patterns for beaded amulet pouches and such, thinking that would be my thing. Then I remembered what I already know how to do and how many supplies I already have on hand. And how time works.

So I made the above prototype, using waxed nylon bead string to attach the magnetic ends to the crocheted piece, and also to thread the beads throughout. For the crocheters, I used a 2.25mm needle on Lizbeth size 10 thread. So far I’ve mapped a small bracelet (I have skinny wrists) like this:

  • Chain 60
  • Work a slip stitch in the 2nd chain from hook, and in all the rest to the end
  • Gauge: I worked these stitches fairly loose, to make way for the beads.

After that, I stitched the waxed bead string through a bead on one end and then worked a series of knots before attaching the magnet closure. Then I used the same waxed string to work my way back through the bracelet, attaching the beads on alternating sides.

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I aimed for every other stitch back and forth and it didn’t seem to need too much precision to attain a good effect.

I tried a couple of beading patterns (e.g. all on one side vs. alternating) and decided that going back and forth on the chain gave the best dynamic effect on the wrist.

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I used Dritz Fray Check on the end knots and wrapped the ends next to the magnetic closures with extra stitches. We’ll see how it holds up in the next few weeks.

The Front and the Back

 

So far it’s hanging nicely with beads on all sides and the magnetic catch falling to the bottom of my wrist. I’ll keep wearing it and see how it holds up throughout the week.

Favorite Discovery

Magnetic connectors do the work for you! And they come in really fun shapes – like fish and turtles. The ones I found were too wide to work with my current skinny crochet chains but I have plans for those magnetic turtle and fish connectors…just you wait…

 

 

 

 

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Kumihimo bracelets…WIP

These are fun and fairly quick to work up (despite the fact that I’m not done yet…need supplies…and rest 🙂 ). Aside: I’ve found it challenging and sometimes tiring to learn new techniques in new media every week. It’s been a great way to spend my sabbatical, but I definitely couldn’t jump around like this on a regular basis.

So first, the semi-end products:

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These need a variety of finishings: end caps, magnets, tassels. I’m liking the silk cord (two on left) more than the silk ribbon (bracelet on right).

 

This is what the ribbons looked like *after* I distressed them with water and *before* I wove them ever so tightly into that third bracelet on the right.
This is what the ribbons looked like *after* I distressed them with water and *before* I wove them ever so tightly into that third bracelet on the right.

Turns out I am a tight weaver coming out of the gate. It doesn’t seem to matter what project – if I’m weaving I’m pulling and holding things tight. I don’t think this is a good strategy all the time…so I’m working on it. In this case, there was a weight pulling the bracelet down through the loom, so I should have just let it do its’ job. I didn’t realize this until the end of the first bracelet (which was the silk ribbon one). Also, I’m not a fan of the big beads that line the ribbon bracelet…I have skinny wrists and these seem pretty big in scale for me. The smaller beads I could use on the silk cord (which is called “rattail” for enquiring minds) suited me better. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what size cord I used in the store to fit inside those beads (p.s. I still had to cut the ends of the cord at an angle then glue them into points before stringing on the beads…not the easiest part of the project.)

Here are some close-ups of the process, in case you’re not familiar.

Here's the disk needed - apparently these come in other shapes and you can make many different patterns.
Here’s the disk needed – apparently these come in square shapes as well and you can make many different patterns with each shape.

 

These cool plastic spools hang off the loom with the beads attached.
These cool plastic spools hang off the loom with the beads attached (they flip open/closed). The shiny thing in the middle is my highly technical weight (it’s a large metal nut, from my teacher). I like that they look like rudimentary flying saucers when they’re on the loom.
Here's a small beginning
Here’s a small beginning (I think I already accidentally missed a bead placement at this point…ah, first projects!).
Here's more bracelet - getting ready to remove it from the loom.
Here’s more bracelet – getting ready to remove it from the loom.

So I need to glue on end caps, use O-rings to attach magnets and put on tassels. I have the teacher’s email address if things get weird. 🙂

I’m looking into buying spools of this silk cord because I feel like I can’t get enough of this kumihimo weaving. It’s very meditative and I really enjoy it. Plus I love finishing projects within a few hours/days (so different from usual crochet projects).

 

Russian Spiral Jewelry…continued

Today I continued to work on these patterns and figure out the kinks (e.g. switching threads, tying off, clasp vs. connection for a roll-off bracelet).

Happy with my progress…

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It was fun seeing what different color combos created.
It was fun seeing what different color combos created.

The clasp on the third bracelet (from left) didn’t work out so I’m going to have to re-work it. (It’s tricky to get the “v” effect from those tiny connector beads (accomplished in the middle bracelet). Still learning, but happy to be wearing the first two bracelets…learning…!

Tomorrow I’m taking a class to learn how to make a Flat Ribbon Kumihimo Bracelet…pictures to follow!

Jewelry: Russian Spiral

I took a jewelry class today to learn how to bead the Russian Spiral pattern.

I messed up A LOT and created one and a half bracelets (I’ll probably re-do the half blue one pictured first below).

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It’s very loose and mooshy – as far as beading goes…but I really like this clasp – I’ll probably undo this bracelet and try again.

Here’s the semi-winner/runner-up of the day…

Interesting variations based on bead size and color...
Interesting variations based on bead size and color… 

I used size 11, red – size 11, rose gold – size 8, red (actual color numbers available on request. 🙂 )

Cool clasp - note that the top bead connect is cool. The bottom bead connect...not so cool...
Cool clasp – note that the top bead connect is cool. The bottom bead connect…not so cool…

I am learning, because it’s the name of the game.

I’m still not sure how to gracefully switch my needle from one set of threads to another (maybe I should just start with 6 full yards of thread – to avoid the tie-off problem mid-way?! Sounds like the possibility of lots-o-knots…). My bracelet is two different widths for some reason (first half is “fatter” and after I tied off and re-started the second half is “skinnier.” I haven’t figure out why yet – same stitches – same threads….) Maybe my gauge keeps getting tighter with my bead stitching as I go along.

Making art and figuring it out as I go along…