jewelry making

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How-To: Stitch Markers

Published August 22, 2014 by kurolace

Hiya! Today I’ve got a quick tutorial for you on making stitch markers! This is great for yourself or as a gift for someone who knits. The stitch markers that we’re going to make are no-snag, so they wont damage the yarn you’re knitting with. They can also easily be made any size. ( These are closed – so they’re the kind of stitch markers you might use when knitting in the round.)

Okay…. let’s goooooo!

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First lets gather some supplies:

  • Beading wire, such as “Beadalon.” Please get a small diameter with high flexibility. You can get a wider selection online, if your local craft store doesn’t carry much.
  • Wire cutting pliers
  • Crimping pliers – or chain nose will work too
  • Crimp beads. The picture shows size 0, but I actually recommend size 1. (Your wire should be able to fit through the crimp bead twice.)
  • A knitting needle of the max. size you want the markers to fit.
  • Main beads (in this case, acrylic stars)
  • Seed beads to complement the main beads (in this case pearly white)

*When choosing your beads, please make sure they have a large enough hole to fit two strands of the wire through.*

First you want to cut small sections of wire. The exact length depends on the size stitch marker you want to make, as well as the bead (or beads) you are using. Hold your knitting needle, wrap the wire around it, and cut a section long enough. Give yourself a few centimeters extra length, for workability.

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My sections of wire were about 2.5″ or 3″

Keep the wire around the knitting needle, hold the two ends of wire together, and put them both through a crimp bead. Push the crimp bead up towards the knitting needle to tighten the loop. Don’t make it too tight though – you want to be able to easily slide the stitch marker along the needle. Crimp the crimp bead with the crimping pliers or with chain nose pliers. If using chain nose pliers, make sure it’s really tight and the crimp bead can’t move.

DSCN1855If you are making a set of markers, you might want to go ahead and get all of the wire sections prepared before moving on to the next step. I think it helps me keep them all a bit more uniform in regards to the tightness of the loop.

Next you’ll add your beads. I put one seed bead, one star bead, and one seed bead. Obviously this is up to you, and time to use your design sense! You can use any kind of bead that’ll fit on your wires!

 

*Remember that we’re always putting BOTH wire ends through – just think of them as a single strand.*

 

Next add another crimp bead, and crimp.

Make sure the crimp bead is secure and isn’t moving at all. Then you can trim the wires so that they end just after the crimp bead. If they seem sharp to you, use a file on the ends to round them off.

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Viola! Your stitch marker is now complete! Continue on to make a matching set of 5 or 6, or make a bunch of mix-and -match ones! As you can see below, I made a large set of rainbow stars!

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How-To: Make Satin Cord Necklaces for Pendants

Published April 27, 2013 by kurolace

Today I am going to show you why you don’t ever need to buy premade cord necklaces for you pendants! Seriously people, premade ones are a rip off, and if you are selling your item, they cut into your profit margin significantly! Making satin cord necklaces (or cotton cord or leather cord ones, for that matter), is really very easy and only takes a few ingredients!

From top to bottom: Rattail (nylon), Mousetail (Rayon), Bugtail (Rayon).

From top to bottom: Rattail (nylon), Mousetail (Rayon), Bugtail (Rayon).

Before getting into the tutorial, lets talk satin cord for a minute. This is my cord of choice. I typically prefer it over cotton and leather because it is much more flexible and therefore drapes better. Its even better than chain or ball chain in many cases, but of course this depends on the overall look you are going for.

There are two types of satin cord: Rayon and Nylon/Polyester. Rayon is a bit softer and the type that I prefer. You cannot heat seal rayon, because its mostly natural fiber, but you can use clear nail polish on the ends to keep it from fraying (Or glue, or that “no fray” stuff).  Nylon/Polyester cord has a slightly stiffer body, can be heat sealed, and is the type you’ll find at Hobby Lobby in the ribbon section.  Both Rayon and Nylon/Polyester Satin cord comes in a variety of colors, and in 3 sizes: Bugtail (1-1.4mm, also called “Petite #0”), Mousetail (1.5 -1.9mm, also called “Lightweight #1”), and Rattail (2mm also called “Heavyweight #2).

Check out The Satin Cord Store to buy either rayon or nylon satin cord by the yard, in 10 yard coils, or 70-yard rolls. You can also get it from Firemountain Gems – I believe theirs is nylon – in all three sized & many colors. Hobby Lobby only carries the heavyweight nylon satin cord, but its only $1.99 (or less if you go when its on sale), for 24ft (8 yards), and they have a decent variety of colors.

The rest of the supplies for this tutorial can be bought from your favorite jewelry supply store – In my case, Beadaholique, but Hobby Lobby or Michaels may also have what you need.

Okay… lets gather our materials, to make a satin cord necklace you will need:

I apologize... the lighting only gets worse from here.

I apologize… the lighting only gets worse from here.

 

  • Petite #0 / Bugtail Satin Cord (you can choose any length, of course – 18″ is usually the shortest length for this type of necklace)
  • Glue, nail polish or other sealing method
  • 2 Coil cord ends to fit cord (for Bugtail, you need 1.5mm)
  • 2 jump rings
  • 2″ Extender chain
  • Lobster clasp
  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • E6000 or similar permanent glue with some working time (not superglue)

To start, cut the Bugtail cord to the length you desire. Remember 18″ is usually the shortest length for these pendant necklaces. I actually prefer 21″… Obviously you can choose the length you prefer. We will be adding a 2″ extended chain, so remember to add that in when calculating the total possible length of the finished necklace.

When putting the glue on the cord, and inserting into coil, try to avoid the end of the coil on the left side of this picture.

When putting the glue on the cord, and inserting into coil, try to avoid the end of the coil on the left side of this picture.

Seal the ends of the cord. Use glue or nail polish or “no fray” if you are using Rayon cord. Use a lighter, candle, or heat tool if you are using nylon cord. A light touch is best for this step, especially with the glue or nail polish – too much and it’ll wick into the cord and discolor it.

Apply a small amount of E6000 to one of the ends of the cord. The slip the cord into the coil end. Push it all the way in. Clean up any excess glue on the cord.

Do the same with the other end of the cord. Allow the ends to complete dry… I usually leave them for about an hour or so just for good measure.

See where the coil wire end has been clamped down?

See where the coil wire end has been clamped down?

Take your pliers and clamp down the end of the coil onto the cord. I try to avoid splitting

the cord, and I try to keep the cord centered in the coil…. but it doesn’t always come out perfectly. Don’t worry too much about that. Its only crazy nit picky people like me who notice!

Add jump rings, then extender chain and lobster clasp

Add jump rings, then extender chain and lobster clasp

Put a jump ring on each end. The add a lobster clasp to one end, and the extender chain to the other end.

Voila! You have a nice satin cord necklace for your pendant!  Make a whole bunch at one time, in a few colors, so that you have them on hand to add finished pendants to later!

In case your wondering, this cord is actually "lavender" you just can see it due to the glare.

In case your wondering, this cord is actually “lavender” you just can’t see it due to the glare.

 

Gemstones – Uses and Meanings

Published April 25, 2012 by kurolace

Oh, hi there….. 😛 Sorry for being absent for almost 2 months. I’ve been kinda busy. In March, one of my cats had to be put to sleep 😦 Well, it wasn’t a surprise… he was 17 years old, diabetic, and also had cancer. He suddenly stopped eating, and after 2 days of no food, he could no longer move around on his own – not even to go the bathroom. So, my parents took him to the vet and did what had to be done…. 😦 RIP Maximilian.

Also I had to sort out my taxes. This is the first year I filed taxes by myself. To make it complicated, I have to do self-employment taxes since I’m technically an independent consultant when it comes to my job. On top of that, one of my former employers (from my time at the university) sent my W-2 to the wrong address, so I had to request another be sent.

Enough excuses… lets get down to business.

Today I want to write a little about gemstones. Attributing meaning to rocks and minerals is an age old practice. The most common place we see this in the modern era is birthstones. Birthstones are commonly used in jewelry. If you make jewelry, designing birthstone-themed pieces can be a good starting point when you are lacking design ideas, or if you’re making a gift for a friend. One thing about birthstones that I find interesting are the wide variety stones you can choose from for each month. Yep – that’s right – there are actually a lot more birth stones assigned to each month than just one….. But the one that you are likely familiar with comes from the English traditions – which was “standardized” in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.

What’s Your Birthstone?

Wikipedia has a great chart which lists the birthstones according the month of birth, and there’s also a poem from the middle ages about birthstones. However, its missing some of the Eastern and Ancient birthstones.

Here’s a list combining both ancient and modern birthstones (US standard / popular listed first):

January — Garnet … and: Onyx, Quartz, Beryl, Jet, and Obsidian

February — Amethyst … and: Blue Sapphire, Hyacinth (yellow zircon), Lapis, Aquamarine,

March —  Aquamarine & Bloodstone …and: Diamond, Turquoise, Jade, Jasper, Tourmaline,

April — Diamond … and: Ruby, Red Jasper, Rock Crystal, Carnelian, Coral

May — Emerald … and: Chrysoprase, Golden Topaz, Lapis, Azurite, Agate

June — Pearl, Alexandrite, & Moonstone … and: Cat’s Eye, Crystal, Agate, Aquamarine, Beryl,  Turquoise

July — Ruby …and: Cornelian, Moonstone, Pearl, Green Turquoise, Sapphire

August — Peridot … and: Amber, Sardonyx, Ruby, Jacinth, Topaz, Moonstone

September — Sapphire …and: Pink Jasper, Rhodochrosite, Azurite, Star Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Zircon

October — Opal… and: Fire Agate, Agate, Tourmaline, Coral

November — Topaz … and: Cat’s Eye, Citrine, Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Zircon

December — Turquoise … and: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Malachite, Ruby, Tanzanite, Topaz

 

Gemstone Powers – Uses and Meanings

Remember those power bead bracelets? Different colors of stones / beads were attributed specific benefits that they were supposed to grant the wearer. You could often buy them up near the cash register in bookstores or novelty stores… I’m sure you can still find them in some shops (although, it seems to me that the height of their popularity was back in about 1998-2000). The only problem with such bracelets was that there wasn’t always a consistent pattern in regards to which stone bracelet represented what.  Sometimes the meaning was based more on the color of the stone than anything else.

I have an entire book on the subject of gemstones’ beneficial properties and effects. Its called Stone Power, by Dorothee L. Mella…. published back in the 1980s. In it she lists some 48 stones with their uses and meanings. Needless to say, that some of it overlaps and some contradict…. I’m generally of the opinion that things mean / represent whatever you want them to represent. But here are just a few of the more popular associations:

Lapis Lazuli – A spiritual stone, it was associated with power, love, and Universal Truth (Ancient Egypt)

Opal – Commonly believed to open one’s mind to visions, used for prophecy and divination (Greece)… also considered a stone of romance and love

Pearls – Associated with femininity and beauty.

Peridot – Believed to contain the power of the sun, and the ability to cure liver disease, as well as jealous thoughts (Ancient Egypt)

Obsidian – A stone of protection, often found in ancient South American amulets and lucky charms.

Malachite – Thought to ward off negative energies (additionally thought to be able to warn owner of impending danger by breaking in half)

Moonstone – Associated with moon magic… but also used to promote love. Romans associated the stone with Diana.

Emerald – Represents security in love… also thought to strengthen memory and increase intelligence.

Garnet – A protective stone thought to help heal emotional issues and also clear the body of toxins. Increases positivity.

Coral – Thought to destroy negative energy. It was used by the Romans to protect children. Also used to by newlyweds to protect against sterility.

 

Well, that’s all for now, since this post has gotten rather long! Hopefully this has been of some use to someone out there :)… Of course, you can find lots of additional information by looking up specific stones, or by looking into specific traditions (Modern vs. Ancient, Western vs. Eastern). I’m sure there are newer books out there than the one I have (which, btw, was kind of a random handout from my grandmother, lol).