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Necklace and Bracelet Tutorial with Vintageday’s Bull Heads
October 13, 2009, 1:18 am
Filed under: Etsy, Tutorial | Tags: , ,

I received some great bull head charms from Vintageday‘s Etsy shop as part of the Totally Tutorials Program! As part of the deal, I created a tutorial to show everyone how to make the jewelry that I made with them! For more information, tutorials, and chances to participate, please visit the Totally Tutorials blog!
The Necklace:
This necklace is fairly simple to make, but it adds great impact and the technique can work with a variety of materials.
To create the necklace, I added two types of turquoise colored beads, silver bell-shaped bead caps, silver round beads, and a lobster clasp to some black beading thread.
I measured the length of the necklace by draping a string on my own neck to see where I wanted the charm to fall. I staggered the rest of the lengths around this because I decided that the charm would hang from the highest and fall across the other strands.
I used a very tiny beading needle to thread each strand up, through the cap, silver beads, and around the jump ring that the clasp will connect to, and then back through the silver beads and bead cap.

I knotted the strands just beneath the caps and secured the knots with a dot of glue to reinforce them. Then, I started threading the strands with the beads.

Two strands were dyed, wooden beads and the rest were seed beads. All of the strands are just straight stringing. I repeated the knotting and gluing in reverse order to seal the other end.

Then I added the clasp on each side, knotted and glued it. As the final touch, I used a jump ring to attach the charm to the shortest strand of the necklace.

If you can use both hands and have two sets of pliers, this is a pretty good tutorial on how to do this.  In one of the photos below, you can see an assortment of jump rings with the bull head. I chose the jump ring based on where I wanted the charm to lay across the other strands. I tried a couple different options and even used the largest jump ring to group all of the strands together and let the bull fall beneath them, but I ended I liked it hanging from the shortest strand the best.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures in this post, I took these all inside with artificial light and I think I got a bit impatient.
Bracelet:

The bracelet that matches this necklace uses a similar strategy for stringing, but I wanted something a little more ornate so I used the bull head charm in the middle of two groups of beads since it has loops on both horns. I also added a  flat spacer that has some detailing on it and I used a clasp with a similar detail.
To make this bracelet, I measured out the final length that I wanted the bracelet to be and then added some extra thread for knotting because it’s always easier to trim extra threads.
I strung the strands separately and then tied a tiny knot in each strand to keep the beads from slipping before knotting them together and then through one end of the flat metal spacer.

I decided, after a little trial and error, to cut the string and use separate sets of strands to go from the flat spacer to the bulls head and then from both of those to the clasp. Essentially, you create short sections of beads to tie the metal pieces together.

To keep the strands separate, I made sure to knot each individual strand on each end before tying them to each other and the metal pieces. This is one of the first tutorials that I’ve staggered my way through, so please be sure to let me know if this is confusing! I prefer to tie overhand knots and then a double knot but there are lots of knotting tutorials on sites such as Youtube and even from manufacturers like Beadalon. I also use a small dot of glue to secure the knots because I learned the hard way that there’s nothing more frustrating then picking up a zillion little beads off of the floor.  In a pinch, clear nail polish can work in place of glue.

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Fabricar Friday: Embroidery Split Stitch
September 25, 2009, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Tutorial | Tags: , , , , ,

Fabricar Friday

Embroidery is one of those crafts that I picked up by reading, watching, and trial-and-error. I was given a great little book and a Stitch-It-Kit from Sublime Stitching that put everything I needed in one place. Unfortunately, it was a hand-me-down kit and was therefore missing parts and parts of a couple pages. Either way, I have become quite attached to embroidery and find the repetitive motion soothing. It’s a great skill that can be applied to nearly everything. I use it to embellish shirts and purses, make my own iron-on patches, and to create stand-alone works of art. I even did some very small scale embroidery that I set in resin to make pendants.

The split stitch is a simple stitch that I really like. It’s fairly simple to execute and looks very finished. I use it in the example below for text. The embroidery floss is made of several strands and the second stitch splits the threads of the previous stitch. In my head, it’s equated to that verbal math problem about the frog that jumps up two feet but falls back 4 inches every hour and is stuck in a 10 ft deep hole and they want to know how long it will take him to jump out. Okay, that’s probably obscure for everyone else because my brain makes connections in weird ways. Moving on … The thread starts beneath the fabric in the hoop and then back in a short distance later. This is one stitch. To make the next stitch, and start to see the way the stitch looks, bring the needle back up from the underside, through the fabric and through the middle of the stitch. The needle and following thread should come through the previous stitch, up and then back in a short distance after the end of the first stitch. Who’s lost? If you learn better through video check out Make It Magazine’s videos on YouTube. Or anyone else’s.
Picture 23

1. Here, you’re supposed to ignore the legs in the photos. I traced the hoop onto the fabric so that my design can be created within a safe area. And it won’t be too close to any edge to make it difficult to stitch.
2. I prefer to sketch my designs in pencil on the fabric. I get sloppy when I freehand, but don’t often use patterns.
3. I knot the end of my thread that is farthest from the needle by folding the thread over and then tying a knot. Pro: Never too small to slip through. Con: sometimes too big if you need the fabric to lie flat for the end piece.
4. To trim this knot, I would pull that little lose tail of the thread to the right with the other and trim it as closely as possible.
5. I don’t knot the end that’s close to the needle because it makes it difficult for the needle to travel through the fabric. If you force it through, your other knot is pretty useless and will go right through the larger hole.
6. Make the first forward stitch. Up from the underside and a short distance forward and then back into the fabric. Plenty of people do this without going down and back up, but I’m just not that fancy. Their motion is more sideways and less up and down.
7.  A view from the otherside.
8. Splitting the stitch. The needle and thread part the thread of the previous stitch as it breaches the fabric.
9. Repeat the steps.
10. Curves can be tricky. You may need to use the downstroke of the stitch to pin down the previous stitch to the curve. This is where having drawn out your design helps. If you don’t like your own handwriting, print out a font you do like and trace it.
11. Enjoy your hard work.

I’m pretty proud of the photographs used to assemble the above collage. I tried damn hard to get that macro working for me instead of against me. If it wouldn’t eat up so much storage, I would post the full images for you to enjoy too.

Here are some other projects that have involved embroidery.

A few recent embroidery projects

A few recent embroidery projects

If you have questions, please ask!!

I’d also appreciate any feedback.