One woman's adventures in the land of hand made jewellery

Monday, 16 May 2011

Necklace Blues

Looking Across Weymouth Harbour
Its been a while since my last post, I've been on hols in the UK then seemed to dive into all sorts on my return except jewellery making. Anyway while sitting in Weymouth Harbour one afternoon during Easter week I strung four strands of beads on some nylon I found in the bottom of my boat bead stash judging from the reel it was probably fishing line. Yes, I have managed to establish bead stashes all over the place rather like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter, Dubai, boat and our lock up garage in the UK!

The design idea I had was for a chunky collar style with the four strands plaited together and having choosen a variety of black or dark brown beads I had in mind a piece to dress up a casual white or black (t-)shirt for the evening. The larger glass beads are multi-faceted and reflect rainbow-like hues whilst the seed beads used are matt black plastic with a hint of gold. To add to the overall midnight effect I included two sizes of copper coloured beads. Stringing was easy even if it meant a trip to the lovely Jezebels Jewels in St Mary's St, Weymouth for some small copper spacer beads decorated with pretty flowers. Plaiting was quick and the piece seemed to be coming together. What I lacked was some form of fastening prefereably in copper or black, my stash has silver coloured catches and jump rings a plenty but nothing to compliment my efforts.

Eventually I knotted the strings loosely together and buried them in the contents of my sailing bag for the trip back to Dubai. Back home I realised I still had nothing suitable - gold, antique silver and even brass but nothing copper coloured. The strands languished on my workbench teasing me each time I entered the room. Then for several days I mulled over ideas, pulling books and back copies of magazines off the shelf to flick through the pages until inspiration hit. But I wasn't completely confident the idea would work so I continued to mull it over and sketch it on bits of paper.  Over coffee with some craft-y friends I mentioned my dilema and Leanne, another a far more skilled jewellery maker encouraged me to give it a go. So here is what I did:

I took two long lengths of thinner nylon beading thread each twice the length of my original strands. I then strung some of the matt seed beads onto both lengths and slid them to the middle ensuring there were enough seeds to fit snuggly around one of the large dark brown glass faceted beads. This will form a loop fastening with a large faceted bead on the other end of the necklace as the toggle. Then all four ends were threaded through a single seed bead and one of the larger sized "copper" beads. Then I took each of the resultant four strands and restrung my original four strands and plaited them together fairly loosely. A beading needle helped me mostly pick up the beads off their original strands which speeded things up a bit and helped me keep fairly close to the original pattern.

Next all four threads were threaded through a single seed bead, one large faceted bead (the toggle) and another seed bead before returning back through the previous two beads. Then I spent sometime easing each strand tight in turn, threading its tail down through one of the strands of beads before knotting it round the thread, threading it through three or four further beads and trimming the end.

The end result was a simple bead and loop fastening which ensured the continuity of the pattern right around the necklace. And the necklace itself is a chunky piece that catches the light and sparkles beautifully, just waiting for someone to wear on a night out. The lesson learned was to think through the fastening before stringing the beads. If I'd done that I would have been able to wear the necklace when we dined at Perrys in Weymouth that week!

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