Josephine knot bracelet–Which do you prefer?

I got the idea to make a Josephine knot bracelet using SilverSilk knitted wire. I’m not sure which way to orient the knot. I like it one way, but my boyfriend likes it the other, which is why I’d like to get input from other people.

In the following images I tried my best to simulate what the completed bracelet would look like. However, I did not fix the ends and am hiding them under my arm and hand, so the knot will appear looser and messier than it would if the ends were affixed.

Here is the vertical orientation.
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This is the horizontal orientation. The knot got kind of loose and messy because I had a hard time holding the ends down.
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Here they are, side by side, for easier comparison.
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Which one do you prefer: vertical or horizontal?

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.

My First Wire Bezel

This is the first wire bezel that I’ve ever made. It was done entirely for the sake of practice, which is why a lot of it isn’t right, but I don’t mind. Recently, I signed up for an online wire weaving class on making bezels. (I did a lot of the things my way and showed disregard for instructions when making this one, so I won’t say which class it was because I don’t want to misrepresent it. After I make some more in the proper manner, I’ll include a link to the class in the post.)

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It measures 3.9 cm or 1.5 inches from top to bottom, and the width is 2.9 cm, or a little under 1 and 1/8 inches.

Since I didn’t want to just do a practice weave for the sake of practicing, I decided to use my practice wires to make an actual bezel. I had a ceramic heart that I made for the sake of testing an underglaze color. (See? Even my test tiles are not just in the shape of tiles and were made to have other possible purposes.) At first it was destined to become a magnet, but after seeing some other people wire wrap (not weave) a bezel for a heart-shaped stone, I realized that it was possible to weave a bezel for a heart-shaped cabochon.

This project was different to begin with because in the class we were taught to use 30-40 mm cabochons. (I have subsequently made various cabochons that size but they’re currently being fired and I will have to glaze them.) My ceramic heart is about 26 mm at its widest. That was why I only left two inches of wire on each side for my bail, instead of three. I decided to make my bail smaller, so it would be proportionate to the rest of the pendant.

P1090896cqAlthough I measured my “stone” all the way around, and wove that length, I discovered that I didn’t want the weaving to go all the way into the “dip” in the heart, so I had to cut off the extra weaving. Since this is practice and I didn’t want to waste wire (even though it’s just silver plated copper), I straightened the pieces to reuse them. (That’s usually not advised because the wire would have already hardened some from being manipulated and would be harder to work with and more likely to snap.) I used one of the 26 gauge pieces for weaving the bail, even though we were told to use 28 gauge wire for that. Unfortunately, it was too short, so I ran out and needed to add more wire, from the spool. The other piece was used on the backside, which explains why it looks kind of crinkled and might not feel smooth to wear comfortably. But that’s fine since this piece was intended for practice only anyway.

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There’s no color on the backside of the cabochon because I can’t put glaze on the bottom of pieces or else they’ll stick to the kiln shelf. In order to make ceramic beads, I’ll need to buy a wire tree to hold them, but I’m too cheap and lazy to at this point in time.

I know that I need more practice because I had a hard time keeping the warp wires the same width apart, and it’s noticeable from the sides.

P1090900qSo even though I cut a lot of corners and used entirely different materials from those suggested in the course, and made something less than perfect, I got some practice and I am still happy with the result.

Tiny Tree of Life Pendants

A couple of nights ago I was lying in bed when I thought I should attempt to make a tiny Tree of Life pendant (more like a charm). It actually wasn’t my idea; I had read about a challenge to make a wire wrapped Tree of Life that’s smaller than a nickel.

Yesterday evening I gave it a try, and here’s the result.

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The nickel is in there for scale. My use of purple seed beads would make these resemble flowering Jacaranda mimosifolia.

I struggled at first with making the frame, because I thought a wrapped loop would look disproportionately large on a small ring. That’s why I did the three loops, and secured the ends of the ring when wrapping the tree branch. Then I discovered the three loops are practically impossible to replicate exactly. (It’s possible that I just need a lot more practice, or maybe it can be done using a jig.) At first I thought I would use these charms for earrings, since they’re small and light, but then decided against it. When it comes to earrings, I prefer that the frames be close to identical. I don’t mind if the trees aren’t identical, because it’s even more difficult to make identical trees than it is to make identical frames. (But if people actually want mismatched earrings that don’t look deliberately mismatched—like the outer two in the photo above—then I’ll make them.)

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Although the trees aren’t identical, the size and style of the frames are similar enough for me to use them for earrings.

The tree part was actually fairly easy and enjoyable to make. I used 26 gauge wire for it, so it’s easy to bend. It takes me about half an hour to make one piece from start to finish, so I am seriously considering selling these. Because they are so small, there’s no room for complicated details, so the design remains simple, and I like that.

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The smallest one has a 1.4 cm diameter, and the larger one has a 1.6 cm diameter.

I made the ring by wrapping the 18 gauge wire around a ring mandrel. I started out at size 5. Making the tree was easier than I thought it would be. Then I decided to try size 2. Once again, no problem. To challenge myself more, I tried size 1. (After wrapping the loop, the ring got smaller so that it no longer fit on the mandrel.) That one actually was challenging, and it took the longest to make. I’m satisfied that the whole piece fits on a nickel. I don’t plan to make another one like that any time soon.

DSCF7437qThe next morning, I couldn’t wait to try to make more, with wrapped loops, so they could be used for earrings. My fingers were still sore from the night before, so I didn’t have as good control of the wire as I would have liked. It took three attempts before I had two frames that were close enough in size, but during the process I scraped the silver plating off the wire on one of them. However, it’s not noticeable after I wrapped the 26 gauge wire on.

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Clip-on earrings, because I don’t have pierced ears, but I have ear hooks for those who do. This one has a 1.6 cm diameter.

Wired rings that I made

A couple of weeks ago, I took a class on how to make wired rings. I finally got around to finishing them now. We learned how to make six styles in all. Everyone got the same kinds and colors of beads to use, which explains why some of them are not what I would choose, but we brought our own wire.

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The numbers indicate the order in which they were made.

These rings are made by wrapping wire around a mandrel. We first needed to find our ring size for the fingers we wanted to wear the rings on. I prefer to wear rings on my index fingers, so I made my rings accordingly. Unfortunately, it’s easy for the wire to slip on the mandrel from one size to another, or for the coil to loosen after removing it from the mandrel, as many of my classmates experienced. I was lucky that most of my rings ended up the correct size or close enough. For all of them except #6, we were taught to wrap the wire one size larger than the desired size. For #6, it was half a size larger. This is necessary because wrapping the wires around the shank (to secure the ends and keep the ring together) will make the ring smaller.

My first ring was kind of messed up but it was still wearable. The second one turned out nice, but I think the third one (with the button bead made from bone) turned out the best out of all the ones I made that day. It was actually the easiest one to make.

My “rose” ring (#4) ended up much larger than I intended because I accidentally unhooked the connection between the two ends of the wire. (I was aiming to make it a 6.5, but it ended up a size 10.) I didn’t feel like picking at the coils to make them look more like rose petals out of fear of destroying the whole thing. It’s green because I didn’t want to use my silver wire for it and the only other 20 gauge wire that I had with me that day was green. It was the design I was least interested in, but it might look lovely in pink if I ever buy pink wire.

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I hope to redo the one with the three crystals, since it was done a bit messy. I think I will use a different silver plated wire that is dead soft copper instead of half hard, so it’ll be easier to work with.

The last ring we made was the one with dangles. At first I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, but after finishing it, I like what I got. We ran out of time to complete that one in class, so I finished making the dangles on my own. Everyone’s designs probably turned out different. I was afraid of accidentally cracking the crystals while making a wrapped loop, so I made simple loops when crystals were right under the loop. But to have balance (3 simple loops, 3 wrapped loops), I hesitantly made a wrapped loop for the last crystal I added. I also was concerned that simple loops might get pulled open too easily and I would lose the crystals (even though this is 20 gauge medium temper wire). I didn’t want to only make coils at the bottom of all of them, so I tried (for the first time) the design with the three loops, which I had seen in a book. Once again, there were 3 coils and 3 of those loopy things, for balance.

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I am happy with the result.

We were told to file the edges of the wire where it was cut, so it wouldn’t be sharp and cut the wearer. Yesterday I finally got around to filing them, but after filing two of them, I decided I didn’t want to file the rest. It felt as though the filing made the surface rough when it originally was smooth. (I used a flush cutter, so it’s not like the wire is pointed.) It also took off the silver coating and exposed the copper underneath, which is unsightly.

Tree of Life Ornament

Last week I took a class to learn how to make a wire wrapped Tree of Life ornament.

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The second one that I made.

The instructor decided to teach it as an ornament since it would be larger and easier for people to manipulate the wires. She had also made the outer circles and cut the wire for us, since she wasn’t sure they’d have enough tools for everyone to use. That took a lot of the work out of it. The method she taught started it by twisting the wires together to form the trunk. (I was aware that there are two other methods: one that starts from the roots, and one that starts from the leaves.)

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The first one that I made.

All the materials were provided, so I didn’t have a choice in the color of the wire, and the color choice for the beads was limited as well. This was why, by the time I got to my second one, there weren’t enough purple beads for me to finish it entirely in purple. However, given how low the materials fee was, I didn’t mind that much.

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The larger one measures almost 2.5″ across. The smaller one has a 1.75″ diameter. The frame was 12 gauge wire and the tree was made from 26 gauge wire.

The wire wrapped Tree of Life is such an elegant design and it’s fun and easy to make. I definitely want to make more, and make them smaller so that they could be worn as pendants. I’m thinking of giving the bottom to top method a try. There is a pretty good tutorial at Instructables, if you’re interested in making your own.

My second woven wire cuff

This week I started making another woven wire cuff. It is the same design as the one I made a couple weeks ago, but in different colors and a smaller size (to fit my 6-inch wrist).

The color of the weaving wire didn’t appear correctly in the photos. I tried adjusting it, but couldn’t get it to match exactly. (If you’re wondering, I used 26 gauge Artistic Wire® in Peacock Blue. I didn’t buy it from this site, but the color in their photo looks most like it.)

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Given what I had learned the first time around, I knew to do some things a bit differently, such as trying to leave more room between the top and bottom wires so I can have an easier time securing the coils in place. To minimize waste, I measured out a length of wire that I believed would fit me for the outermost wires, while leaving the middle wires long for the embellishments. I still ended up cutting off about 1 and a half inches from one of those wires, so if I were to do this project again, I would adjust the lengths of the three middle wires as well, even though it’s a bit clumsy to weave when the base wires are different lengths.

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Once again, the embellishments were the hardest part. I feel stressed out when I do them because I don’t want to accidentally knock off the colored coating from the weaving wires. It’s also difficult to decide how I want to position the coils.

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I think it looks quite nice at this stage, but it’s not practical to wear because the loose coils can get caught in things.

There are three things that I am concerned about when doing the embellishments. The first is how the wrapped wire looks. Unfortunately, this time I had forgotten to do the weave for three wires that I had done last time. I didn’t feel like taking apart my work again, so I kept it that way. Since I did not have any instruction on what to do with the ends of the wires, they are challenging for me. I need to make sure the sharp ends of the wires are tucked away so that the bracelet is comfortable and the wearer doesn’t get scraped. Also important is securing the ends so that they don’t come apart.

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I had a hard time deciding what to do with my coils. Although I think they’d look more interesting sticking out more from the cuff, it’s usually better to have them stay as close to the cuff as possible to prevent them from accidentally snagging on anything. Since I didn’t want to copy the example design exactly, I left one coil sticking out completely. After I finished securing that wire in place, I thought it would be better if the coil were lying against the cuff, but it’s too late to change it because I don’t want to undo and then redo that part. I figured that I’ll be careful when I wear it. If I were making it for someone else, I wouldn’t do it that way.

I do think the end result is pretty, though I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out. I don’t plan on making another one of these any time soon, given how my fingers are sore again and my thumb nail chipped again during the process, but after they’ve recovered, I might want to try a different style of a woven cuff.