Winter necklace

Lately I’ve been making jewelry from patterns because it really is a lot easier than testing my own designs. The designer had to straighten out all the kinks beforehand, and they don’t include all the failed attempts in the final instructions. If you tend to only make from patterns, it can be easy to forget how challenging it is to design something.

This necklace was based on the Christmas Necklace pattern by Trinkets Beadwork. It’s available for free on Craftsy (you’ll need to create an account, but it’s free to do so).

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Because of my choice of colors, I’ve decided to call mine a winter necklace. The funny thing was that I had bought the 6mm matte sapphire Czech glass beads a year ago because they were discounted, but I didn’t have a plan for them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I discovered how nice they look with the Toho gilt-lined aqua opal seed beads.

The design is quite lovely. It looks like the seed beads form star shapes.

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I modified it a bit because the part that goes between the 6 mm bead dangles reminded me of a uterus. Somehow it didn’t in the photos on the pattern.

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Looks like a uterus?

Initially, I didn’t want to use more bicone crystals, but out of the three variations I tried, it looked best with the extra crystals.

Even though the instructions said you’ll need 5 grams of seed beads and I had an 8 gram bag, I ran out of beads! My modification actually used fewer seed beads than the pattern calls for.

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I only had 3 seed beads left, but 5 more dangly things to make until the end of the necklace.

The instructions say to go until the desired length is reached, but I went with what made sense for the number of beads recommended. I measured the length and it was almost 18 inches. The clasp would add another inch. I tried on what I had, and I didn’t want it that long, so I took apart two units from the other end. (I hadn’t tied any knots yet.) This made the finished necklace 16 inches. I figured if it’s too short, I can add an extender chain. Doing this gave me some beads back, which allowed me to finish the necklace without having to buy more beads. (I even had 17 seed beads left over. Not sure what I will do with them.)

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All the reclaimed beads. Yay!

What I didn’t pay attention to at the time was that the middle of the necklace wasn’t a dangle, but rather one of the crystals in between. Had I only removed one unit from the end, there would be a dangle at the middle. This is no big deal, since it can be worn slightly rotated so that there is a dangle in the middle.

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Experimenting with Viking Knit

I didn’t become interested in viking knit until I started the woven wire bezels class. After the instructor mentioned that she hangs her pendants from viking knit chains, I decided I needed to learn how to make it.

There are a bunch of free viking knit tutorials online. I found this video by JewelrySupply.com to be very informative, as she goes through all the steps. However, the setup was more complicated than necessary. I didn’t need most of that stuff. Instead, I used a never-sharpened pencil, and held it in my left hand, along with the weaving, as I worked. I’ve also used the end of a crochet hook, as they come in different diameters.

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Single viking knit woven on the end of a 5 mm crochet hook. This one was made with 28 gauge wire. It’s easy to get poked by the ends of the wire, so I wrap my fingers with medical tape when I do this.

I had a whole spool of 24 gauge wire that I never used, and was glad to finally make use of it.

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Viking knit necklace. Even though the colors look different, the 24 and 20 gauge wires are both Artistic Wire in Peacock Blue.

I don’t own a draw plate, because I read reviews of both wooden and plastic draw plates that said that the coating on the wire will come off. I simply stretched my weave with my hands. (I would recommend wearing gloves or wrapping your fingers with medical tape when doing that.) I know that the result doesn’t look as even as it would have, had I used a draw plate, but I didn’t want to risk scraping the color off the wire. If you’re reading this and have used a draw plate with colored wire, such as Artistic Wire, please let me know what kind of draw plate you were using and if the color on the wire came off.

I made my own end caps using this method found on gailnettles.com.

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After I completed this necklace, I looked online for more ways to finish Viking knit. I came across this necklace that inspired me to use multiple colors. (It looks like it was double or even triple knit.) As a test, I made this bracelet from different colored pieces of 26 gauge wire. For fun, I decided to make the end caps different colored as well.

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I love colorful things!

I am currently working on a project in which I am using thinner wires to create a chain. It’s extremely time consuming. More on that some other day.

Recently I learned about SilverSilk, which is a machine-woven wire chain. It looks so similar to viking knit and the price is reasonable that it made me wonder why am I’m even spending time weaving wire? It would take me 3 hours to produce a length that I could buy for $3. I decided to order some, to see how well it’ll work for the pendants. So far, my impression is favorable; it’s flexible, won’t stretch, and can hold the weight of the pendant. I’d much rather use it than weave my own chain. I suppose I’d only weave my own chain if it’s required to be handmade.

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My pendant with the woven wire bezel on a 3mm SilverSilk chain.

Rainbow “flower” necklace

This was a necklace that I designed back in 2009, but didn’t get around to making until a few months ago. I had had a dry spell for at least three years, but someone told me that I’m creative, and a few days later I was sitting in church when this idea (and four others) came to mind. I plan on making this in other colors, but my reason for choosing the “rainbow” scheme this time was that I had too many orange beads lying around unused, and this design was able to incorporate orange without it being too much. (For those of you wondering why I’m talking about orange in particular, it’s my least favorite color.)

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In the event that I do get around to opening an Etsy store, this item will be available. I’m currently trying to come up with a good store name. Any suggestions?