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Beading Blog - Rambles...

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 25, 2008 at 8:38 PM (Pacific)

I've already changed out the silver hoops I used on yesterday's Madeira citrine earrings. The ones I'd made were too big and heavy. I realized I'd made them that way because I'd intended to hang a single citrine in the center of each...then figured the citrines I had were too small for that...and ended up using a seven-stone design instead. The small hoops I made today are so much lighter in weight and easier to wear.

It's funny, I knew from the beginning it would start out hard, then become easier and easier to do this sort of thing. Today I had this hoop, I was making the bend for the top and my pliers slipped and nicked the wire. Before I would have been upset, because the nick would weaken the wire at the bend. Today I just grabbed my chasing hammer and hit the nick with it to flatten it. Since this bend would join with the other bend at the top of the hoop, it wouldn't create a weak point.

Then, one side of the top of the hoop looked wrong. Before, I wouldn't know how to fix it. Today, I just grabbed pliers, a jump ring mandrel, you can use all sorts of tools and items on wire (the handle of my chasing hammer is one of my favorite mandrels) and bent the wrong part out.

Of course my goal is zero waste on heavy gauge wire. I keep it on the coil and work off the end. With the smaller gauges that's not practical, but I do try to use only what's needed...say, with your loops. Unless there's a decorative reason to make a large loop, why not make a smaller one? For my loop-ended head pins, I go for the smallest possible loop, the very end of the pliers.

I've also gotten away from the idea of "having" to use specific gauges and tempers of wire for a given project. I used to keep everything separate and organized, now it's kind of all over the place. Unless there's a specific reason to use a particular temper...say, you're finishing the ends of a bulk chain (half hard), or making a wrapped loop bringing the wire down to cover the top of the bead (dead soft)...the two tempers can be pretty much interchanged. If you run out of the one, you can usually substitute the other.

Oh, I will have to redo my earlier prasiolite and prehnite necklace. I like the idea, but it's way too "frankened" is a Frankenstein of a necklace. I didn't have enough green amethyst to do it properly, then I wanted to use the prehnites, and the chain itself is cobbled together because I didn't have one long piece. I'm thinking of something simpler, anyway.


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