Sunday, September 30, 2012

Golden Crystal Spider Watch

Golden Crystal Spider Watch.

Kind of a strange title for this post but I really did make a spider watch.  When I first started making spiders this month I started thinking of what I could use for the bodies and heads.  That is when I started thinking about using a watch for the body making the spider useful as well as decorative.  At first I thought of a pendant on a chain.  Then It seemed cooler if I made it into a wrist watch so it looked like the spider was crawling up my arm!  So that is what I did!  I didn't take pictures as I went so there is no tutorial but I will explain how I made it.  These instructions are for the beads and wire I had, you may need to make substitution for your spider.

First thing the project went wrong.  I wanted to make a small spider using seed beads but I could only find the pearl and silver seed beads.  So I decided on a gold spider using small Swarovski crystal and pearls.

First I got a gold and black watch 3/4 inches by 1 1/4 inches.  On each end was a space for adding a wrist band.  The most important thing is to make sure to add the head bead to the 6 end of the watch.  Using 22 gauge gold colored copper wire (Zebra brand) about 8 inches long, I put the head, a 6mm round crystal, on the wire.  Next I inserted both ends of the wire through the wrist band opening.  Then I ran both ends through the crystal again.  Back through the band again.  Finally through the head bead again.  I pulled it very tight using pliers and then cut and curled the ends into pincers.  Between the head and the watch there is now wire forming a small space.

For the legs I used 26 gauge wire (Zebra) I cut 4 pieces about 8 inches long.  The space formed by attaching the head bead is now used to hold the leg wires.  I tried several ideas but the one that worked was to take two wires fold in half and wrap them through the wire space twice.  This will give you four leg wires.  You really need to make the wraps tight.  Do this in both sides of the head crystal.  Now the spider has 8 legs.

Now string the leg wires using any small beads.  I used 4mm bicones and 6mm joints.  Make at least two joints on each leg.  I also used a joint bead as a foot.  This part is as creative as you want, have fun with the spider legs and make them as long as you want.  Only one caution, you need to start the legs with small beads because the wires are so close together it will look odd with large beads.  Cut of excess leg wire leaving enough to curl a couple times.  This is what keeps the leg beads from being to loose, so tightened the loops be careful if the foot is a crystal.  Wouldn't want a spider with a broken foot.  You now have a spider watch!

Now how to attach it to your wrist!  First I tried having the spider going around the wrist but it didn't look like a spider.  So I decided to string a strong beading wire (Accu~flex 49 strands .024) and make a bracelet running the beading wire through the wrist band opening of the watch.  This wouldn't work because the crystal spider is to large and heavy.  So I made two bracelets!  A little strange but I like how it came out.  I took measurements and aimed at 6.5 inches plus the width of adding a clasp and the width of the watch band area.  It is important to measure your wrist because a loose bracelet won't work.  To make the clasp easier I used a two strong magnetic clasps.  The magnets want to attach to each other but they can be made to behave!

You can see the two bracelets, each going
through the area for the watch band.

So I cut the beading wire 10 inches long and added the clasp using a crimp tube.  Next I strung 3.25 inches of beads.  I used small black pearls with small small black crystal.  Then strung the watch through it's band opening then added 3.25 inches of the small black beads and crystals.  I had to adjust the number of beads.  But when it was right I added the other half of the clasp.  I did this again for the second bracelet at the other end of the watch.  Be sure to measure your arm where the second bracelet will be.  Your arm will be a little larger and will need more beads.  That is all I can think of to make this cute watch!  Just be as flexible as your beading wire and improvise if your beads are smaller or your wrist larger.  It is a really fun project!  Good luck!

Finished watch!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Figure 8 Ribbon Leaf Tutorial

Figure 8 leaves are really simple.  They aren't my favorite leaf but they are a great and quick fill in.

Step 1

Thread a small sharp needle with a matching color of thread as the ribbon.  Fold a piece of ribbon in your hand and fold the end over to form a loop.

Step 2

Sew through the loop end and leave a tail.  Make two small stitches to anchor the thread.

Step 3

Fold the other end of the ribbon so there is a loop the same size as the first loop.  You will have a figure 8.  Sew through the end of second loop.

Step 4
Trim any leftover ribbon and sew to your project.  Sew the leaf so that the center is hidden.  A quick and easy filler.  Interesting knitting yarns are also good leaves.
Figure 8 leaf under red daisy.


Crochet Wire Necklace Tutorial II

It has been quite a while since I posted the crocheted wire necklace tutorial.  Today I made another necklace using shades of blue, black and clear beads in a variety of types and sizes.  So along with the new picture I thought it might be helpful to repost the tutorial.  I hope it inspires.

Blue, black and clear crystal crocheted wire necklace.

How to make a crocheted wire necklace. First you will need to decide what kind and color beads you want for the project. I like to make my necklaces very open and lacy so almost any bead types and sizes will work. However keep in mind that soft gemstones and pearl can get scratched because of the wire rubbing against them. That said you can use just about anything and this is a good project for odds and ends. If you want to include heavy gemstones or glass beads try using small ones to minimize weight with a few larger beads for accent. The joy of this design is it floats around the neck. Once you have chosen a color for the beads find a complimentary metal wire in gauges 24 to 26. You can use a heavier gauge but much lighter and you risk the wire not supporting the beads. If you use sterling silver I suggest dead soft and gold half hard. The half hard gold is harder to work with but will stand up better. So let's get started, please be patient this is my first tutorial.
Step 1

In whatever order you want including random, place the beads on the chosen wire. Place on more then you think you will need. The number of beads will vary acording to size and spacing between beads I do not cut the wire off the spool.

Lots of beads strung on wire spool

Step 2

Make a loop on the end of the wire and twist to close If you are using a crochet hook make sure the loop is large enough for the hook.

Step 3

Just as you would make a crochet chain with thread, start pulling the long wire through the previous loop. Then you will start pulling up beads and just continue to make a chain. This I do in a pattern so when the chains are woven together the beads are more evenly spaced. So for the first strand I make one loop and then pull up a bead and make a loop Then two plain loops and then another beaded loop. Making the loops large will create a lacy looking necklace.

Step 4

Keep making chain loops until you have the length you want I usually stop at 18 inches but that doesn't make a very long collar length This project is made with 24 inch chain strands and it makes a generous length and width after braididing. When you have the length you want cut the wire with wire cutters and leaving 4 inches of wire. Then wrap the wire around the last loop to end off. For the next strand make two chain loops at the beginging and then start to add beads using the same pattern. This offsets the beads by one loop. The third chain strand is made the same as the first.

Step 5

Once the chains are finished take the ends and wrap them together. Then using a three braid technique loosely braid the strands together. If you decide to shorten the strands after finishng, the wire can be cut with wire clippers and the wire end wrapped around the last loop desired.

Step 6
Once the braiding is done wind the ends like at the begining so that they hold together.

Step 7

Now the fun comes! By gently pulling the braid apart it makes the piece shorter and wider. It also looks lacier! Sometimes it looks better pushing a bead into another place on the braid. Just follow the wire loops move the bead under the wires.

Step 8

The necklace is done except for a clasp. One finish is to buy a clasp with cone ends. All you need with that is to cut the ends and glue them into your cone. Or use plain cones and make a loop through the cone and attach a clasp. Or the way I finished mine which is to make a loop at each end attaching the ends to rings for an s-clasp. Below are instructions and pictures for the s-clasp

Step 9

In the picture below I am foldng the wire over a long nosed tool. Anything flat with a 90 degree bend should work, so you don't need a tool, the edge of a hard counter may work for you.

Step 10

Once the wire is folded over you will need a round nose plier or something like a dowel. I like to wrap wires around knitting needles or even a pen or chopstick. You are going to place the dowel on the opposite side of the bent wire. Then bend the wire around the dowel forming a circle.

Step 11

It is important at this point to remember to add the ring from the s-clasp before the next part. With the s-clasp ring in the center of the loop you have just made start to wrap the wire to close the loop. Holding the loop between two fingers or a pliers helps.

Step 12

Once the wire is wrapped at least a couple times clip off the rest with a wire cutter. Repeat on the other end and slip the rings onto the s part of the clasp. That's it! As you can see from the pictures the hardest part is putting on the clasp. So if you don't want to try the s-clasp, try the cone clasp and jewelry cement. Any craft store will be glad to help you find the right supplies If you are in the Santa Maria CA, come to the best Beverly's Crafts ever! Though this can be made without tools except wire cutters the tools do help and can be purchased from craft stores as kits some as low as $7.00. This project cost $1.99 for the clasp, approx. $5.00 in wire and the odds and ends beads around $4.00, $11.00 total isn't bad for such a lovely necklace This project took about 2 hours to make. Just remember to let the necklace lay flat when not in use. I like to decorate the square flat cigar boxes to hold them in. If you find a better way to better explain the project, pictures or spelling please let me know!

Fall is Finally here

Fall is Finally here!  The wind is crisp and cool and the cats have started their winter coats.  With Lee's help I hope to make apple sauce this weekend!  Because I can't stir a pot for very long I simply put the skinned and chopped apples in to a pan and slowly bake them.  It works really well with the apples in the yard at least.  Then I just freeze them in bags for later.  Applecake is a really wonderful treat.  So lots to do this weekend!

I've been designing a new necklace made mostly of wire.  Last night I dreamt that the wire had escaped and was choking people.  Guess I had better finish the necklace before I have more strange dreams.

This week I received two lovely pairs of Fiskar scissors.  It seems that their contest had a major problem and they sent the people who entered free scissors.  One is an 8" pair of fabric scissors and the other 8" paper scissors with a zebra stripe pattern on the blades.  The fabric scissors have been engraved with my name!  A few weeks ago I had another great pair of scissors from them with my Fiskateer number.  The Fiskateers is a sort of club.  People that signed up at their Fiskateer website and participate get a pair.  Anyway all the dealings I've had with them has been gracious and generous.  Thank you Fiskars!

Three new pairs of scissors from Fiskars!

Well lots of stuff to at least try to do.  Now that I have found my reading glasses I expect to get more accomplished!  I can actually see what I am typing and the keyboard!  Most of the time I hope I'm hitting the right keys and rely on the spell checker heavily.  What a great day!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ribbon Daisy Tutorial (part 2 of the polar bear saga)

The polar bear is slowly coming along and it looks nice so far but looks a bit haphazard.  It takes a bit of time before the ribbon doodling settles down and looks more together as spaces are filled in.  Part of doodling is learning new techniques while filling in or striking out in a new direction.  Usually I like to try new ribbon flowers in a corner somewhere in case it needs to be pulled out or covered over. 

The ribbon daisy I made almost needed to be pulled out but with some work and a bit of hiding it was saved.  I got the daisy technique from a wonderful ribbon work and ribbon embroidery book by Mary Jo Hiney called "Romantic Silk Ribbon Keepsakes".  Everyone serious about ribbon art should read this book, the illustrations are very helpful.  The book also has some fun projects.

To make the daisy you will need some 4 or 7 mm ribbons, the thinner the ribbon the more petals you will need.  For this tutorial I used 7mm ribbon.  You will also need a strong needle like a small doll needle for sewing through the fleece.  A more delicate needle small, thin, strong with a small eye will be used to sew through the silk ribbon.

Step 1

Thread the small needle with a thread matching the color of the daisy ribbon.  Take the silk ribbon and hold it in your hand creating a loop.  This will be one petal so the larger the loop the longer the petal will be.  You can measure it if you like.  I just held the ribbon between my finger and thumb and made the loop as small as I could without dropping the ribbon.  Do not cut the ribbon off your spool it will make it easier to work attached.

Holding the petal loop.
Step 2  With the small needle and thread pierce the ribbon end leaving a short thread tail.  Bring the needle around the ribbon's side and stitch through the front to the back again.  Be gentle and slow or the thread might come out of the ribbon.  Take a tiny stitch where the ribbon is being held together.  Sew through the last stitch to make a small knot.
Thread and needle piercing the ribbon.
Knotted ribbon petal.
Step 3
Cut the petal from the ribbon leaving a ribbon tail.  You will be sewing through the ribbon tail again so make sure it is about a 1/4 inch or a bit longer.  Trim the thread also.  Don't worry about wasting a bit of ribbon if it helps you to work faster and better.  After a couple of daisies you will know how short to make the tails.  You will need several petals to sew around a circle.  For mine I started with 12 petals but needed to add more.
Step 4
Using the small needle and matching thread stitch through the petal ends gathering them together in a straight line.  Mine got all messed up and doubled so take your time.  There will be a tiny space between each petal.  When finished, pulling the thread should gather them together.
Step 5
Arrange the string of petals in a circle on the fabric.  You can draw the circle if that will help.  You may want to change to a small but strong needle because you will be sewing through the fleece.
Petals unevenly stitched on the fabric.
As you can see I had a mess of petals and worse I though that adding pearls would help.  A bit of insanity there.  So I finally realized I had to either take it all out or add more petals.  I decided to add petals one at a time.  This was because I was afraid of damaging the fabric trying to cut out the work.
Step 6
After arranging and sewing down the petal.  Make more if you need some petal fill-ins.  What I did was to make one petal at a time.  Cut the petal loose from the ribbon and just sew it to a fill-in spot using the thread already attached.  In fact I think making and sewing the petals one at a time was easier.  After the petals were where I wanted them I sewed the underside of some of the petals to the fleece.  This helped to keep them in place and closer on the fabric.
Adding petals.  I just worked right over the pearls.
Step 7
Now to hide the petal ends in the center.  Normally I would try covering with pearls or french knots.  But it looked so bad that I covered up the center with a lucite flower bead.  Using the fleece needle I came up through the fleece through the flower center leaving a tail.  Then made two small stitches.  Next I changed to a needle that could go through a 3 mm bicone.  I brought the thread through the lucite flower bead and bicone and back through the flower bead.  Changed needles again and sewed through the fleece.  Finally securing the sewing thread.
Finished ribbon daisy.
The daisy looks pretty and most people would not be
 able to tell what a hash I made of it.
This is what the daisy looks like with the other flowers.
The left leg of the polar bear.  I've added  a string
of pearls and some more spider roses.
Tomorrow I hope to do a tutorial on making leaves.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Polar Bear Ribbon Project, Silk Spider Rose Tutorial

Finally I started stitching the fleece polar bear.  I've leaned a great deal stitching the bear.  It is extremely hard maniulating the needles and fibers with the bear already sewn.  It would have been easier to stitch the ribbons and then sew the bear together.  I am still considering stuffing the bear then finish sewing and decorating it. 

I've loved playing with the silk ribbons but they are very delicate to work with.  When trying to shape the ribbons any knots I've made has gone right through the ribbon.  I've had to adapt and sew through the ribbon leaving a tail and then making two tiny stitches to hold the thread in place.  Then shaping the ribbon and tying a knot at the end.  Also I forgot to make sure my hands were not to rough.  When I started to play the ribbons caught on my rough hands and nails.  When I was taking embroidery classes the teacher had us use emery boards on our finger tips.  She also said never use hand lotion right before embroidering because the lotion can damage the silk ribbons.

The first ribbon flower I tried was a concertina rose.  No matter what I tried I couldn't make the rose.  The silk just kept slipping through my fingers even the 7mm ribbon.  I got a partial rose but when I tried to secure it with the thread it just passed right through the flower. So I made an easier rose called a spider rose.

The spider rose is really pretty and very simple to make.  Some people start by drawing a circle the size of the rose they want on the fabric.  The first stitch is made with a strong thread that comes up from the back of the fabric through the circles center.  Then the next stitch is from the center to the edge of the circle.  Just reapeat these stitches evenly spaced a odd number of times.  What this does is make a loom on the fabric surface. 

Tiny loom on the surface of the fabric.

Then take the ribbon for the rose and with a strong needle, I used a doll needle, plunge just the end of the ribbon into the circles center.  I suggest sewing the end of the ribbon to the back of the fabric with thread.  Back on the top of the fabric, thread the ribbon into a tapestry needle and weave under a thread over a thread and just pulling gently and you will see the rose starting to form.

Starting to weave the spider ribbon rose.
Almost fiinished rose.
Sometimes you will need to gently pull the rose up a little in order to weave the ribbon over and under the threads called the spider.  The ribbon I used is a poly knitting ribbon I found at a knitting shop.  When the spider rose is full you need to change to a doll needle and bury the ribbon end into the back of the fabric.  Again you may want to sew this end down also,  After I made the spider rose I took a matching silk thread and stitched some of the rose rounds down just to keep them from being pulled out of shape.  Use a fine needle to stitch through the rose a straw needle is very helpful, that is if you can see it!
Two spider ribbon roses I made the pink is the knitting
ribbon and the purple a 7mm silk ribbon.
The daisy I added is extremely easy!  It is made with 7mm red silk ribbon using a detached chain stitch.  The detached chain stitch is work around a circle.  The only trick to the daisy is when you pull the stitch to form the chain, do it slowly or it will be to tight to look nice,  After stitching the petals secure the ribbon on the backside of the fabric.  Then with yellow silk floss make french knots for the center.  Very easy and pretty!  I hope that I was helpful to someone reading this blog.  I'm working on some other ribbon flowers for tomorrow.  This is going to be a long term project because I intend to cover this bear in silk flowers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Time of the Polar Bear Draws Near

The time of the polar bear draws near.  This morning I was working on some ideas for the polar bear project.  I've been thinking about the eyes.  There are some lovely round goldstones in the jewelry supplies.  But it may be rather eerie being so dark.  They could be added by using a cabochon method.  Perhaps I will make one on a scrap of fleece first.  One thing I do know is that the eyes are done after the toy is stuffed.  Perhaps I can make them separately and then sew them on.  Another idea is to have a trailing vine that circles one eye.  Again that might be eerie too!

This morning I was looking through ribbon stitches and found the concertina rose.  The concertina stitch is exactly like the paper folding I did at school.  You fold the ribbon one side over the other back and forth.  When you let go it springs up.  To make the rose you pull one end of the ribbon and it tightens into a rose.  This seems a good place to start.  Making the rose in several colors of silk and sewing them on the paws or at least not the face.  It will take more practise before I will feel confident about working on the face.

Well it is off to the gym to walk in the pool.  Great time to work on more ideas!

Missed a Blogging Day

I knew that I would miss a day sooner or later but had hoped to have made five months.  Yesterday Lee was working on the router and it took longer then expected.  So while he was routing I was finishing the last ATCs for the month.  It would be fun to do more but I feel like trying a bigger project.  The cards I sent to Canada still have not been received so I am remaking them.  The hard part is to come up with a different design just in case the first cards are ever delivered.  I will keep making cards until they show up so I'm not taking on anymore ATCs until they are delivered!  I just hope I don't have to walk there to deliver them!

Yesterday I also worked on the Polar Bear design.  At first I thought that I would do a mixture of ribbon work and embroidery.  Now I think I will do almost all embroidery and most of that in silk ribbons.  Roses will be the main flower, wool, spider, Brazilian, etc.  It is just starting that is the problem.  All that white fleece is daunting!  The other issue is whether to stuff the bear first.  I'd hate to embroider and then find that it looks funny after stuffing.

The embroidered card is done I decided that the copper bug was cute.  Now I need to make an envelope.  Yesterday I found two old map books, one was a larger atlas type!  Lee had bought them in 2005 so he gave them to me!  Now I can make some map envelopes!  Time to go back and get some more sleep I have to be well rested to work on the polar bear!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Planning a Polar Bear

Today has not been one of my best.  I've been resting most of the day.  Sorting through some books I found my Polar Bear project.  I've been having so much fun making ribbon projects I had forgotten that they were just practise for decorating the bear!  So tonight  I will start planning the design for the face.  I've always loved the ribbon decorated toys and now I can make my own!  I've been looking at the book "Explorng Elizabethan Embroidery" by Dorothy Clarke.  The book has some lovely designs but almost all of them are done in the chain stitch.  Perhaps taking a abstract flower and putting it on a cheek of the polar bear.  Of course it needs heavy embroidery on the top of the head and ears.  Also the book "The Art of Silk Ribbon Embroidery" by Judith Baker Montano has a beautiful example of ribbon decorated bears.  But I want to make a bear that is less organized and more spontaneous in design.  This is going to take some thought.  Time to try and sketch a polar bear and choosing some colors.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ribbon Card Bug and Crystal Chain

Friday I saw a really unusual visitor to the yard.  The last few weeks the number of bugs in the yard has dropped off.  It is only normal that you will see a butterfly or bee or lacewing in the yard.  But they have been scarce.  The birds have disappeared too!  No mockingbirds or blue jays only doves.  I was beginning to think someone put a strong poison in their yard and killed off the bugs the birds eat and the birds moved on.  So Friday I was watering and something flew out of the curry plant.  It was about 7 inches long and had big round wings.  It was slow flying because it was wet.  It flew into the apple tree.  At first I thought it must be a bird but it's body was narrow like a stick.  So after looking on the Internet I believe it was a flying praying mantis.  I had read they can eat a lot of bugs but this one was really putting on the feed bag!  Hopefully it will move on to eat bugs elsewhere.

The reason I have for telling the story was that I now wanted to put a praying mantis on the ribbon card.  But somehow that doesn't sound very pretty.  The card really does need a bug.  If I put a lady bird beetle on the left side it will be two much red.  A lacewing would be pretty but rather small to embroider.  So I need to decide soon so I can finish the card and mail it.  I tried a copper bug not very realistic but them neither is the embroidery.

Small copper bug.

Close-up of bug.
What I may end up doing is use the butterfly I made for the Herb Robert Project.  It wasn't realistic enough for the look of the rest of the embroidery.  When I get my nerve up again I want to make another butterfly using sewing thread for Robert. 
Herb Robert butterfly.
Today I also made a black and clear crystal lanyard it came out 39 inches long and it was made randomly picking beads. 
Black and clear crystal lanyard.
It was a very productive day I even made the final card that I owe for the ATC swap.  The cards I sent to Canada have not arrived so I will make them all again and hope they arrive this time.  Now back to reading "The Return of the King".