Monday, 30 January 2012

Handmade Monday: Really productive week

It's been a bit of a craft crazy week here - don't know why but some weeks there seems to be a lot of creativity in the air.  The weather got better with more sunshine and frost and less cloud and rain and that always has a positive effect on me.

Bag or purse charms have been really popular in my Etsy shop recently - I think it's because it is much easier to get noticed outside of the jewellery category which is always so crowded.  Folksy sales are still not happening so my main venues now are Etsy and Storebeez - a fantastic little startup with amazing SEO, getting some of my items on the front page of google searches.  Now all I need is for folk to have the confidence to buy from a new and relatively unknown site....

As well as the charms, I was tempted by the lovely Rachel Norris, an amazingly talented jewellery maker, to have a go at twisting wire.  The only DIY tool we posses is a power drill, so having located it gathering dust in the bottom of a cupboard, it got its first proper use twisting some bronze wire to make these hoop earrings.  They were shown on Jewellery Maker TV this week so now I'm officially 'famous' for using a power drill.  Who would have thought that?  Lucky you can't do much damage with a power drill.

And, I've been messing with my flower loom and created some lovely little flowers which I'm making into bag charms, key rings and brooches.  Flower looming is relatively easy once you get the hang of the loom, and unlike some other sewing and embroidery projects that I've tried in the past, you can hold the loom up so it doesn't aggrivate my neck problems.  At the moment I'm using embroidery cottons for the flowers which give great vibrant colours, but I'm a bit worried about their durability.  Chris from Chrissys for Cards has kindly offered to 'road test' one for me, so hers is on it's way to the test site at this moment!  Wool and ribbon are the next mediums to try.

Not content with just that, I decided to try out needle felting, something I've been interested in for a while.  As some of you know, I am a complete disaster area in the field of hand/eye coordination, clumsiness and being generally 'kift' as my husband describes it, so starting a hobby that involves repeatedly stabbing small objects with a barbed needle probably doesn't sound like the best option!  Nothing to show so far, but thankfully a really thick glove of hubbie's has protected me from serious wounding.  Hopefully my needle felting might progress quickly, and as soon as it looks less the finger painting of a toddler, I be showing it off to you!

Here's the link to find out what others have been making this week.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Fanatical Friday: Bronze bag charms

Somehow I can't stop making these bronze steampunk-style bag or purse charms!  Is it a recognised illness?  Can I get treatment?!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Handmade Monday: How to make a Danish love knot

So, Valentines Day is creeping up on us, but whether you like to celebrate that festival or not, you might find these Danish love knots attractive!  I saw a tutorial for making them a while ago, then lost it, and struggled to find it again so I thought I might do one of my own.  They are easy to make and I think pretty effective.

You will need:

Some wire - I used 20 gauge, 0.8mm antique bronze wire but you could experiment with different thicknesses
A mandrel or object to wind the wire round
Step 1
Cutting pliers
Cup burr (optional)
About 15 minutes

Step 1: Start to wind your wire around the mandrel or cylindrical object.  You can work off the spool for this project which means there is virtually no wastage.  Can you see what I've used here?  Actually, it's a chopstick!  At about 6mm diameter, I've found it the perfect size to use with this thickness of wire and the fact that it's wood makes it a bit easier to grip than something metal or plastic, especially early on when you need to be firm with the wire.

Step 2
Make enough winds so that the whole thing can be divided equally into three parts. I've used four full rounds for each of my three coils, so I needed to wind 12 times round the chop stick for each love knot.  If you use a different thickness of wire and/or diameter of mandrel, you may need more or fewer rounds in each coil - you'll need to experiment a bit to find out what is the best choice. 

Step 2: Slip the whole coil of wire off your mandrel.  Then snip the wire three times at the appropriate points to make three equally sized coils.Try to snip so that the two cut ends are at the same place on the coil - this makes it much easier to hide the cut ends neatly at the end of the work.  You can tidy the ends with a cup burr at this stage if you want to.

Step 3

Step 3: Take two of your coils and hook one onto the other at right angles as in the diagram.  You are going to start winding them together.  It's the same action as putting your keys onto a slider keyring, except it is easier and you won't necessarily break any finger nails!
Step 4

Step 4: When you've wound them both together, they'll look like this.

Step 5

Step 5: Now take your third coil and begin to wind it on to one of the joined coils in exactly the same way as Step 3.

Step 6

Step 6: When the three coils are all joined to together they look like this.

Step 7
Step 7: The only thing left to do is to join two of the coils in the middle of the third.  This is a tiny bit fiddly, but easier if you hold the coils as in the picture and start to wind them together just as you did to get the first two together.  Be careful not to allow the end of the coil to be unwinding itself at the same time as you are winding it forward.  It is really just like when you are putting that second key on the slider keyring and you have to keep checking that the first one is not slipping off as you do so.

If there isn't room to manoeuvre the coils like this then you may have used a thickness of wire or size of mandrel that is inappropriate for this project.  It's a bit like chain maille in that you don't know if it will work until you get a bit further on in the weave.

Step 8

Step 8: Here's this final wind about half way through.

Step 9

Step 9: Actually, you've finished and the knot should look a bit like this.  At this point you can gently ease out the coils a bit, which will make the knot a little firmer.  Try to tuck the ends inside the knot so they can't be seen too. 

Step 10

Step 10: The finished knot can be mounted on a wire or threaded directly on beading thread.  Heck, it's your bead so you can do whatever you want with it now. There's a right way to put the wire or thread in the bead so that it sits properly - it's too complicated to explain in words, but you'll see what I mean as you try it out. 

I like them on wire with a bead cap or spacer on each end to cover the hole and give stability.

These ones in antique bronze wire are probably destined to become a bracelet.

I love these bronze earrings with red creek jasper beads too.

Look on the web and you'll see some stunning examples of folk making these in semi precious wires and then threading one on a chain as a stunning, understated necklace.

Why are they 'Danish' love knots?  I've no idea.  Some folk just call them love knots.  But I like the idea of them being Danish - it's so trendy at the moment with The Killing and Borgen providing our Saturday night entertainment!  You can't make them at the same time as watching, though, unless your Danish is so good that you don't really need the subtitles. 

Hope you've enjoyed the tutorial.  Here's a link to what my other handmade friends have been up to this week.

Related Posts with Thumbnails