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!