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Beading Blog - 2005, the year in beading

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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2005, the year in beading
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 30, 2005 at 7:50 PM (Pacific)

I know that sounds presumptuous, considering I started doing this only September-ish this year. But I would like to write something summing up my 2005 experience. It's always nice being able to go back, later on, and see where you were.

I'm at the point now where I feel 100% comfortable making anything on stretch cord. I use the 0.7 mm one (although I think the 0.1 mm one would work as well); I found the 1.0 mm one somehow not stretchy enough? The 1.0 mm works; you can, as promised, use crimps with it too. But how often do you really want to use crimps with stretch cord?

I prefer the technique of pre-stretching the cord before stringing anything on it; it makes it much easier to work with. I use a square knot followed by two overhand knots...overkill no doubt but that's what I do.

I then use Hypo Cement to glue the knot inside a "cover" bead (which can be any bead that has a big enough hole to put the knot inside). I no longer try to put the knot inside the cover bead and then glue it, that's too difficult. It's easier to simply cover the knot with a blob of glue, then pull it inside the cover bead. I let the piece dry overnight.

As far as beading wire, I've found 49 strand a bit dear. 7 strand is not flexible enough and it kinks too easily. I've settled on 19 strand. (This is Beadalon wire; other brands have different options.) The 0.15" diameter is best for me; 0.18" is kind of thick.

The crimping pliers are worth it. Much better results than using regular pliers.

I'm comfortable making simple loops. I can competently do wrapped loops but I'd like to get better at it.

As far as design, well I think I've jumped the first few hurdles. I knew from the start that it would not be easy, at least for me (having no experience making jewelry) to come up with designs that I myself would want to wear...and for me that is the thing.

I started out with the intent of making jewelry to sell, but for me that means first making jewelry to wear. Ultimately that is what I'm going to own personal jewelry collection that I, ah, have to first get good at designing and making.

As far as my hands...that's another reason I took an interest in beading. My hands were starting to get stiff particularly in the morning. Instead of doing exercises for them, why not do something that forces you to bend your hands? like stringing tiny beads and making wire loops? It really does work, it produces something useful and it's not as boring as exercises :D

So far I'm proudest of my pink earrings, funnily enough.

Plans for the future...I'd like to make more earrings. I've been googling's interesting. You come across designs that you suddenly realize that you can make yourself. I saw some that were $35 - $40 a pop, that were basically a finding (and I swear I've seen the exact same finding at my local bead shop), and three strings of beads connected by wire wraps. That's it! I can do that! Granted, whoever made them, wrapped better than I do now...I like her technique of making a shorter wrap and completing it by squashing the wire over the last part of the wrap, rather than smashing it into the bottom of the wrap (which forces you to finish the wrap above the bead).

I'm going to try that next, in fact I like her design so much...the three strings of beads connected by wire wraps, attached to a small finding...that I'm going to copy it for my own earrings. i.e. I'm not going to set up shop just yet but the earrings I'm going to make next, will follow that design.
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