Sunday, June 23, 2013

You Do NOT Need a Starter for Half Persian 4 in 1

When I first got back into chainmaille, specifically chainmaille jewelry, I really wanted to recreate a Half Persian 4 in 1 bracelet that a good friend had made for me years and years ago.  I was disappointed, however, after doing some research online and finding that a lot of experts said that you had to use a starting aide to make HP 4-in-1.  There were different recommendations, from using a rather stiff piece of plastic with holes punched in it to buying a starter chain that someone else had made.  After not being able to find the right plastic and not wanting to pay for a starter chain I became discouraged and put it off.  I also don’t like using starting aides.  If you learn a weave using a starting aide you will become dependent on that starting aide and never really learn how to do the weave on your own.  Every time I see a weave that requires some sort of aide I try to find instructions that show you how to do it without the aide.

Well, eventually I decided I just had to give it a try, and pulled up a tutorial on CGMaille.  This tutorial makes it extremely easy to start HP 4-in-1.  Give it a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make this weave.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Breaking out the Big Guns

I recently found a new online bead store that I just adore: Fusion Beads.  They carry a lot of bead sizes that I was having trouble finding, like size 2/0 and 3/0 seed beads.  I have been going through the projects in Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry and Dylon Whyte uses a lot of really big beads and wondering where in the world I was going to find them (I had some limited success with Etsy and Fire Mountain Gems).  After seeing an ad in the Spring 2013 Wirework magazine for Fusion Beads I decided to check them out.  I have to say I just love the beads that I got!  I ordered a fairly diverse selection of size 3/0 beads in colors that I think will look great together (I also picked up one of their size 6/0 bead mixes that is Gorgeous!). 

So… after getting some big beads I decided I needed some big rings to go with them (the holes are really big in size 3/0 beads) so I ordered some up from my friends at C&T Designs and got straight to work!  Here are a few projects that I’ve already attempted.

This first project was featured in the August 2012 Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine.  It is a pretty beaded bracelet designed by Amy Leggett that she has dubbed a Wreath Bracelet.  This one is fantastically customize-able since you can drastically change the look with different bead colors.  It also goes together very quickly which makes it perfect for a last minute accessory before dashing out the door!  I chose to do the first one in gunmetal and dark aqua beads which look fabulous together – very chic.  I have a lot of other colors though, so keep watch on the ole’ Etsy page for additional color variations!

This next project was ultimately inspired by the Centipede bracelet in Dylon Whyte’s book, though I have seen it in many books and websites called a number of different things (like Cleopatra which I think is a much lovelier name).  I loved the way it looked in the book, except it needed more color for my tastes – so I added more.  I also had to adjust the pattern for the rings that I already had (and let’s face it – I’m not buying Sterling Silver!) so I used the 16g rings that I ordered and added a couple of side beads as well (there was entirely too much room on the sides of the rings to not do something else – this also makes it a cross between the Cleopatra and Calypso designs).  It give is a very playful, sparkly look that I like much better than the silver version in the book.  I also did this one in gunmetal and dark aqua and I adore how it turned out.

That’s it for now!  I hope you like my “Big Guns!”

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring into Color

Well, the weather finally warmed up and we have actually gotten some warmer weather - at least during the day time.  We have had some really nice, sunny days that we’ve been able to spend outside which has been very nice.  To celebrate I’ve done some really nice, colorful pieces.
This first piece is called Anansi and was featured in the Wirework Fall 2011 magazine.  This one really does look like little spiders!  All I could think of while making this one was Anansi Brothers by Neil Gaiman (A great read if you haven’t checked it out already).  I love the contrast between the rainbow niobium rings and the stainless steel and brass.

Next up was a bracelet that I designed and have named Awa, which means bubbles in Japanese.  This one was inspired by the Tsunami bracelet that I did a couple of months ago.  For this one I used a custom niobium fade and stainless steel.  The outer rings are graduated sizes which give the bracelet a rolling, moving feel… like bubbles rising to the surface from deep water.  I’ll also be making a tutorial for this one!

Next up is a Scherzo bracelet and earring pair.  This was in the recent Spring 2013 Wirework magazine.  I honestly thought I would like this one more than I do.  I think it is just too sparse for me.  Oh well, live and learn.

Then I decided to make a Dragonback bracelet.  These are so much fun because they are reversible, which can give one bracelet two completely different looks.  I did this one in 19g niobium, brass and stainless to keep it on the smaller side.  I think I may try it in 18g at some point as well because it was fun and easy to make.

My next project is an example of how you can take a simple weave, in this case European 4 in 1, and dress it up with some beads.  I’ve done this one in a couple of colors to see how they work.  The first is in stainless steel with black anodized aluminum and a bead mix that has white, black, gray, blue, and purple, and the second is in brass with red anodized aluminum and amber beads which is for sale on Etsy.  I think they both are gorgeous.

Well, that about catches me up for now.  Be sure to check out my Etsy store… I’ve been adding a lot of items lately!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New, New, New!

It was an eclectic week of new weaves again here at Ring Around the Wrist!  I did one bracelet in a variation using rubber rings, a couple new weaves that I found on Etsy, a project from the book Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry by Dylan Wythe, and a project that was included in the Spring 2013 Wirework magazine.  For those who haven’t seen it, Wirework is a biannual magazine that comes out in the Spring and Fall and normally features several chainmaille projects.  This one had 4 separate projects, but I’ve only tried one so far.  So, without further ado, here are my new items!

This first bracelet is Captive Zen by Rebecca Mojica, except that I used rubber rings in the pattern to make it a little looser and easier to work.  This also makes the bracelet not as stiff as the original, allowing it to be made smaller and fit more naturally.  This variation was developed by The Ring Lord.  I really love the way this bracelet looks, both the original and the rubber ring version.  They both have their own unique look, but definitely evoke the same feeling.  I featured the Captive Zen bracelet in the blog previously, but I’ve included it here as well for comparison.

Next is a new pendant design.  This pendant appeared in Wirework, Fall 2011, which I purchased from Elemental Art  Jewelry on Etsy.  I love, love, love this pendant.  It isn’t difficult to make, it can be made in a variety of colors, and it looks stunning.  I have several of these in different colors which are available on my Etsy shop.

I also found a pattern for Viperbasket on Etsy, by Aussie Maille.  This one is also really fun and easy to make.  It very strongly resembles basket weave going in and out through the larger rings.  I made this one in several colors to fit a variety of looks and I love how they all came out.  These will all be up on Etsy for sale as well.

I’ve also started planning some projects out of the book Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry by Dylan Wythe, which I started working on this week.  This first one is a very basic chainmaille weave that highlights some really big, beautiful iridescent wine-colored beads.  Dylan calls this one a “Red Carpet” bracelet and I have to agree, this one would really turn heads.  This is also for sale in my Etsy shop.

And last, but certainly not least is the Zeela bracelet from the Spring 2013 Wirework magazine.  This is such a great pattern.  It makes a substantial looking bracelet that can be easily customized with several different colors.  The instructions in the magazine frustrated me a little bit though.  For one the pattern calls for slightly smaller rings at the beginning and end of the Half Persian chain that forms the base of the bracelet.  The first bracelet I made I tried this way and I hated it.  I liked it much better just using one size throughout.  The second thing that frustrated me about this is that there is a note in the article that says the edging rings will shrink the bracelet by up to half an inch.  I’m not sure what rings were being used when that was discovered as my bracelet didn’t shrink at all.  It does have to be made bigger than you might think since it is a fairly think bracelet, but it doesn’t actually shrink.  Oh well.  I ended up making three of these: one for me, one for my sister, and one to put up in my Etsy shop.

Well, that’s it for this week.  I have some exciting things coming up in the near future though, including my own tutorial for a Japanese 12-in-2 bracelet that I designed!