Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Labradorite with a faceted peridot

Hello everyone reading this.. I have been silent on my blog for a while. This is changing though as I dive in head first with my online presence. What was I doing while I was not blogging? Well aside from my pretties, I was working on a youtube channel! It's been a heck of a thing, and I am learning how to uploaded and combine videos right in youtube.. how to section and do the little popup comments on the video.. and pretty soon here I will venture into trying to put music on. I don't think I want music for the entire video though, as people should be able to listen to their own.. and I have a unique taste in music LOL

So here is the link for my youtube channel - Yukonreddy

Since I am doing links.. here's a referral link to - and if you sign up for the crystal rewards points, we both get points :) I order from artbeads a lot, as they have $2.99 shipping to canada, and I am used to paying at least $10 to ship stuff here.. so, great shipping combined with rewards points and regular sales.. you can't beat that ;)

On to the pretties!

with curlies/start of the panel
As always, you can click on a picture and scroll back and forth for a better sense of progression. This banded labradorite has a lovely light blue flash.. it almost looks silver in some places, and on one side of the flash it takes on a green tone. I don't wrap shapes with hard corners all that often, but this one had been talking to my muse and I for a while while sitting on a tray on my desk. I eventually listened and broke out the copper wire.

I measured how I always do.. with the stone, all of the way around plus a little extra on both ends. I then wove a panel starting far enough down the set of base wires as to leave room to make a bail, weaving it the length of one side. I brought over a couple of wires from both the top and the bottom, securing the stone in place, and added a coiled coil opposite from the woven panel for decoration and security. Then I made a flat coil on the top to cinch things together a bit and hold the stone in place so I could work on the woven section along the bottom without having to hold the stone in at the same time.

panel finished, now for beads
done adding beads on bottom
I brought another wire over on the bottom and added decorative curls, securing to/around the back and sides as I curled. It was time for the base for the round faceted peridot. Using one of the wires I was weaving the panel with.. the "top" of the two.. top meaning closest to the stone or center of the weave.. I made a spiral setting for the peridot. A spiral setting done in this way is done by going all the way around and half again on a mandrel or round nosed pliers so the lip of the gem has a place to sit in. Then I continued the panel so it was slightly wider than the lab. The ends of the wires from the panel became more swirls and loops, and I used the beading wire and some of the base wires to attach various beads in various places. I actually went totally freeform on the beads and the swirls as I tried to let what was in front of me 'talk' to me and come together. 

back view of panel and swirls
There was some wiggle in the stone at this point, so I used one of the base wires that was left uncurled to push in and out of the rest of the wire and make loops that I could press onto the corners and edges of the stone, removing the wiggle.

Once I was done securing, I needed to figure out what was up with the bail. I usually do the bail last as that gives my muse and I the greatest option as to what to do with it and where to add beads or other decorative touches. This is also where I can correct visual symmetry by bulking up one side or the other.
bail time
The bail stumped me a little as I had a cluster of wires on one side, and usually I manage to have some on either side, but I used the initial securing wires and swirled and looped around them, feeding the wire in an out as I went so the bail would have a strong hold on the base wires. I then wove a 2 wrap figure 8 bail.. (which I think is my favorite look so far) finishing off with a 3 and 2 double wire wrap curled around the edges of the corner of the lab. Then it was time to deal with the leftover wires. I really hate trimming, so I end up decorating as much as I can with leftovers, or tucking and securing with them.
2 up 1 down..
We decided that I was supposed to use up some leftover weaving wire, so I put on another 3 and 2 double wire curled section with two wires, and a small section of coiled coil for the last wire. I secured this as I went, adding the third coil section of the coiled coil by hand in a sewing type of action so I could use the wrapping wire to secure to the panel as I went.
all aged and pretty

Once I was done, I originally wasn't going to age it, but this looked too shiney left all bright, so I aged and polished it to bring out the glow in the lab.

The beads I used were garnet, amber, tourmaline, amethyst, copper and swarovski crystal.

I attached a short video so that everyone can get a real time view of the gorgeous flash in this thing. :)

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Stainless steel wire.. ouch

I couple of days ago, a jewelry friend in a group I am in on facebook asked about wire cages. I decided to whip one up to show her how to do one in the crisscross style.

bottom view
 I should have picked copper or something, but the first thing I grabbed was the stainless steel wire in 24g. I have been thinking lately about unisex jewelry, and I really love the industrial and steampunk styles.. so that probably influenced my wire choice as well. I wrapped the center of the wire so that the stone would have something to sit on, and then I shaped that section to the cab.

I then pulled over the back two wires, to create something for the stone to sit on while I was shaping the crossing wires.
First crossing wires
 The crossing wires started with the front two, which are the bottom cross. I normally would secure them to the side frame at this point, but this wasn't working with the stainless, so I pushed the cross down a little further and tried to figure out where would look best on the pattern before I continued with the crossing.
second crossing wires
 The 'side' wires became the second crossed area. I then pulled out the back wires to the shape of the cab, and pinched in the top where I figured the bail was going to be. At this point I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make the cab stay in the frame because the back bits weren't holding it the way I figured they should. If I had done this in copper, I would have just squished them tight against the stone.
The back, first shot
 So I pulled the bottom crossing wires to the back, and did a swirly thing to secure them. Lots of excess wire sticking out yet! With the end of the swirly, I coiled a little bit around the two bail wires.

It was time to deal with the second set of wires. Oi.

over under crisscross
 I tightened the second wires, and tried to get them to sit where I wanted. Not an easy task with stainless!

The bail is also crooked still. Tweak.. tweak.. tweak..

front, after crystal
 I curled and twisted around the back wires a bit to get the two top crisscross wires to stay in place, and then I added a crystal and made a rose kinda thing around it. A rose is also harder in stainless.

While I was making the rose, the cab kept popping out, so I decided to pull in the sides on the back. I am glad to say it worked :)
the back, with the wibbles
While I was making the rose on the front, I also went around the back again a few times to make sure it wasn't going to wobble around.
almost finished
 I used my new looping pliers to make the bail.. widest one of this type I have made to date! I went around the back of the bail stem after the second time around the pliers, which seems to have helped with stability. There was some leftover wire, so I went around and around the bail until I decided it would look funny if I added any more, and I *gasp* trimmed and tucked. I know.. I know.. so out of style for me LOL

I think another reason I chose the stainless steel wire is because I just ordered this ball chain, with the idea of unisex jewelry.

All finished, with stainless steel ball chain.
Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Netting backed pendant

I seem to have lots of times that I misplace the label on things. This is one of them. I can't remember what stone this is, but it is gorgeous. My muse and I decided that this needed to be mounted in a way as to cover as little of the stone as possible.

First and second row
First I took some 18g sterling silver, and then I bent it around the stone. This took a little bit of tweaking, as my DS 18g isn't as soft as I think it should be. Once I had it lined up properly, I hammered the wire to elongate the bottom to create a frame that you would be able to see a little once the pendant was done.

I wish I had used 26g or 28g for the netting, but all I had was 30g. Let me tell you, the smaller the wire is, the harder it is to stop from kinking and breaking during the netting process. This was a lesson in frustration for me, but eventually I got it all lined up properly.

The netted frame
As I was making the first set of loops, I found that I had to hold down the previous loop to set them in the right spot. I also had to slide all of them around a little once I got to the top on the other side, to make sure that the spacing was even and that the next set of loops was going to look right. I then did a modified figure 8 to secure the bail wires together and solidify the netted weave. This of course meant I had to over under a little to get back to the starting point and start the next row of netting, but other than the sewing action (I prefer to weave on open wires) that I find such a pain.. the next few rows of netting were fairly easy.
time to secure the 22g
I then figured that the easiest wire I had to secure the stone onto the back, was the 22g fine silver I have. Originally I planned on bringing the netting up the stone a little and holding it in that way, but that didn't work out.

I secured the 22g on the frame (I always use at least 3 times around to secure) and then pulled it back and forth a couple of times, making sure that it was tight to the stone before going back around the frame to bring it back the other direction. This nice thing about fine silver is that it's sooooo soft! It is incredibly easy to form to something.

Once I was far enough down on the top to hold the stone in, I secured the fine silver to the other side, and trimmed it. Then I did the same on the bottom.
all done!
I pushed all of the wire down onto the stone with my fingers, and then decided that it needed to be just a touch fancier, so I gave them all a little bit of a twist with my chain nosed pliers. The bail I made by hammering it a little bit and then curling it around my stepped mandrel.

I am in love with this synthetic rubber cording I found at I used argentium silver center crimp ends and a sterling silver clasp on the smokey quartz coloured cord.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, 20 June 2014

Mood bead spiral cage pendant

I did one of these spiral cages when I was learning to wrap, which was inspired by a caged bead pendant I had seen on one the facebook jewelry groups I am in on facebook. This in essence is also inspired by the same pendant :)

I had an idea while thinking about the heat conducting abilities of copper, that maybe I could cage a mood bead in copper and it would still work even if it didn't always have direct contact with the skin.

basket weave
I used a base wire in I think 16g and lined up pieces of 20g wire around it. I then used some 28g copper and after coiling around the one piece, I started doing a basket weave around the 6 base wires. I like to make a neck at the top of any basket weave so I can pull down curls over it and make it look a little like a flower.
where should the weave end?
 I then curled up the end of the 16g wire and hammered it flat, then textured it with my hammer. I put copper bead caps on the turtle mood bead and a crystal roundel and a wooden bead closer to the swirl. I then made the top section of the basket weave to slightly higher then the top of the bead cap.

I really hate trimming wire.. I would rather just find some place to curl or tuck it, but I have found if I don't line up my base wires right when I first start the basket weave, I end up trimming later as the curls need to be all the same size to achieve the look I like.
coiling and shaping
 As the coiling began, I measured the first arm I coiled against the bead cap on the other end and trimmed the wire, then forming it to the shape of the mood bead.

Repeated 5 more times.

Then, instead of trimming the weaving wire on the last arm, I use it to make a new basket weave section, or you could say, another neck. This is when I had to put the 16g with the beads on it permanently into the cage. I have to say.. coiling the protruding wire is much quicker and easier when you aren't doing it around a bead too.

basket weave a neck
 I then did the same coil and trim and shape as I did with the bigger bead, just in smaller scale.

When I got to the close spot on the roundel, I did another neck style basket weave and ended it where the wood bead was just peaking out. Them I trimmed all of the ends to the same length and curled them up onto the neck.
almost done
 I did the same curling and trimming at the top. If you notice, I had one of the top wires with a coil on it. I was originally thinking I was going to take that coiled wire and wrap it around the 16g wire to do a bail, but then I decided I wanted all of the curls at the top to be the same as the bottom, and I uncoiled the wire, and coiled up the 16g instead.

I coiled up the 16g till there was a little bit of bare wire left, and then I used my new multi-sized looping pliers to form the bail. Then I squished it more oval because I liked the look better, and I coiled the base and the end of the wire together and trimmed.
all done!

Thanks for looking!


Monday, 16 June 2014

Not wire, but beads!

My initial medium was beads. I love beads, but I was bitten by the wire bug a couple of years ago, and now I make mainly wire pieces. Once in a while, I make something with beads. And this is the process behind one of them.

When I got the dragon's eye cabs a couple of months ago, I knew I had to make something with them, and I also knew that at least one of them was going to be with beads.
eye bezel with picot

 I didn't think to start taking pictures right from the very beginning.. but this is a traditional peyote cab bezel. When it came time to do the last row of 15/0 in burnt orange, I added a picot at the "corners" so it would become the eye shape instead of staying round. I then did a couple of rows outwards from the bottom to make a base to embellish on. I used all of the corresponding colours that are in the eye, placed in ways to draw out the colours in the cab and be pleasing to look at.
second layer of picot
 I did hot pink picot edging on the base.. mainly because I like how it looks, and it also makes adding on to the size easier than trying to adjust with peyote.

After the pink picot edging on the peyote, I added black picots and then connected the tops of those with straight lines of beads.
starting of the duo herringbone
 I added a base of silver superduo beads as I was planning on making a neat pattern with them. At this point I didn't really know what it was going to be yet. It turned out that it was a bracelet, and that these duos were the anchors for the band.
one side
 Once I got a couple of beads in, I knew I was going to use an adapted herringbone pattern that I had been scoping out online earlier. I didn't have enough duo beads to do it in a solid herringbone, so I adapted (because necessity is the mother of invention) the pattern to suit my supplies.

I used delicas for the peyote section, but I then switched to tohos with the duos for the band section.
second side
 I am not a fan of being able to see the thread when you are finished a piece, so I did lining on the sides of the bands. This was actually very advantageous because it made going back and forth between sides and adding new thread in to be a rather easy and simple process, seeing as I just had to go up the beads on the side instead of weaving back and forth to get my thread going the right direction.

I actually stopped at these points because I needed to add thread.

I made the peyote bezel a bit taller than I normally would, to give it depth, and to allow for the corner tapering.
almost done the band
 The size of the band was actually partially dictated by how many duos I had to work with. I usually order 2 bags or tubes of beads of each style/colour when I know I am going to make a project, but I didn't know I was making this one until I made it, so all I had on hand was one of each.

 This ended up being a rather small bracelet. I think it measure at not quite 7in.

back view.. finished

front view.. finished

I used a herringbone panel to build the base for the antique button closure, and squared off a loop to go over it.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, 31 May 2014

Crazy lace agate in sterling silver. (It's an almost proper tutorial this time!)

So.. I actually managed to take pictures right from almost the very beginning with this one. Yay me!

checking spacing
 I have wanted to wrap this crazy lace ever since I got it from Juvy. I think one of the reasons I didn't is because it has such a great design, and it is all over, including the sides.. and I didn't want to obscure any of it.

I measured the stone on the wire, and bound the 22g square wire with 8 wraps of 22g half round wire, trimming and tucking the ends on the inside of the wire. Now normally I bind directly in the center of the wire, but this stone was calling for a different treatment so I bound where it would come up the side of the stone instead of the center. The center of the cab is to sit just past the end of the bind.
the start of the bind
 One of the things to know about the square wire cage style of setting stones, is that you make wibbles or prongs in between the bound sections. With prongs, I typically bind until I want to make a prong, make the prong, and keep binding around it. With the wibbles (yes, that's my official term for them) I create the center bind and then figure out where the holding wibble is supposed to be, then bind directly above it, or where it ends. You can bind and then make the wibble, or make the wibble and then bind at the end of it.

I almost always make the front wibbles after I bind, seeing as that is the easiest was to figure out how to do them to compliment and secure the stone.

6 times around and then trim
 I did 7 wraps in total, pulling them tight and then squeezing them flat. I find that if I don't give them a good squeeze, when I go to bend and shape the panel of square wires, they rotated and some are on edge instead of flat. This does not make for a secure bind.

getting the bend perfect
 I fiddled a bit and pushed wires around until I got them with the binding on the right part of the rock, and then I used my flat nosed pliers to hold the bound spot and bend. I actually bent too much to begin with, but because I use dead soft wire, it wasn't that hard to just push the rock in there and give it the right shape.

Time to work on the back of the pendant.
wibble spacing
double checking spacing
 I pulled over a "wibble" on the back, in the space between the two bound areas, trying to make it just enough to hold the stone but not enough to obscure the pattern. Then I pulled out another piece to get the proper spacing for where I was going to bind again.
binds and wibbles
I bound it with the half round wire, and then pulled out the other wibbles to hold on both the front and the back.

As you can see in the "binds and wibbles" picture, the half round can get a little distorted from the pulling, but I find that a quick squeeze with my flat nosed pliers fixes it right up. :)
I spent a little bit of time fitting and forming the wrap to the stone at this point, including pushing down the front wibbles to conform directly to the top and side slope of the agate. This was a good time to figure out where the last holding wibble was going to go, so I shaped the outside to the stone and then holding the wires down with my thumb, I pulled out another wibble, and then bound it. This is kind of opposite to the way I normally do it, but the final touches usually end up that way.
gathering the top together
I pinched the top together and gave it a once around with the half round to gather them all in place, and then I gave them a squeeze with my chain nosed pliers. Everything was tight enough at that point it didn't take much to do a secure binding with the half round for the stem of the bail.

bail stem all bound up
Once I got everything held together, I noticed that the tip of the stone wanted to pop out of the cage, so I gave it a couple more little wibbles to make sure it would stay.

spacing for the swoop and bail
I really enjoy the look of twisted square wire, and because of this, at least a little bit of every square wire piece I do ends up twisted. On this one, it was the two bail wires.

I forgot to take the pictures where I did up the swoop and spirals, but I normally shape and secure the bail, and then do up the spirals and/or swoops.
Prettified product pictures :)
Thanks for looking!

Becca :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Floral "turquoise" jasper teardrop in copper

I didn't take any start to finish weave pictures.. yet again.. but one of these days I will remember. It's an arduous process, taking step by step weave pictures.

I made a long panel of what I call ladder weave, because it looks like a ladder to me. I am sure that there are other names for this weave :)

Shaping the weave
I wove as close to a centered panel as I could, and once I was where I wanted to be on the brio, I coiled a little and threaded that wire through the bead and did a light anchor on the other side.  

the widest point
 I grabbed some more weaving wire and woven another short panel, with a 3 wire 2 and 2 weave, until I was close enough to the bail wires to weave a bail.

bend.. now to reduce
 I bent the bail over my stepped beadsmith mandrel and the continued the once around figure 8 weave. I then added swirls and copper beads.. and decorated as I went, making sure that everything was secured. I then worked on the other side, adding more swirls and a couple of swarovski crystal beads.

side with crystals
side with copper beads
 This one was actually fairly quick, seeing as the longest block of time was what it took me to weave the panel of ladder weave.

One of the local shops bought this piece, and it is for sale and on display there.

Thanks for reading!