Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bracelet featured in treasury!

One of my bracelets got featured in an Etsy treasury: Rainbow Colors

Am very happy! ^_____^

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wide bracelet

As promised, I'll be showing you a little bit how the wide bracelet in the Etsy shop was made.

The beginning is much the same as with the thin bracelets: Choose the pattern, choose the cords, measure the cords, cut them to length and then tie them together in the middle.

I always write down in a working journal which pattern or disk I'm using, what colors, the length of the strands and the distribution of the colors on the mobidai (the foam platform on which the pattern is fixed).

As you can see, the disk for the wide bracelets looks a little different. The real difficulty is the beginning. Unlike with the small bracelets, you can't tie the strands together really tight, or you'll have a very narrow beginning. So I used a toothpick instead. I wrapped the strands around the toothpick, then gathered them together *loosely* with a short string, so that they can expand a bit while I'm working.

I attached the weight to the toothpick and then placed the strands on the disk. Unfortunately, the toothpick is somewhat fragile and tends to break, so I'm currently looking at alternatives. I've tried a safety pin, but the stress put on the strings while I'm braiding bends the metal. So I'll be wandering over to the home depot in the next few days and browsing for something that will work. I already have an idea, but I'm not sure whether it will be available. We'll see.

So. Pattern set, strings all placed on the mobidai, you can start to braid. While braiding the first few passes, it's a good idea to hold the bottom of the strings with one hand, pulling downward a little, so you get a good and tight beginning. It's a little awkward, holding the disk with one hand *under* it, rather than actually gripping it on the side. But you only need to do this for the beginning. Once you have a good and tight start, you can switch back to holding the disk at the side. With the other hand you start to braid according to the pattern shown.

From time to time you'll have to tighten the middle strands *very* slightly (too much and you'll start getting an uneven weave - it will start to look very wavy instead of nice and straight). I've had to unbraid parts of the bracelet several times, because the whole thing started getting uneven. It's best not to stop while working on this kind of bracelet.

Keep braiding until you've reached the desired length. As you can see, you're working with fairly long strands here. You can wrap those around bobbins or the little plastic cans that photo film comes in, so as to keep them hanging straight without tangling. That funny thing hanging all the way at the bottom is a small glass that I've filled with various objects to add weight.

That's my daughter holding the disk, so that I could take the picture. :)

Once the braiding is done, it will look something like this:

Since I use a different kind of clasp for this sort of bracelet, I don't tie off the ends, I sew them shut.

Then I cut off the ends and seal them with super glue. In the case of this bracelet, I also decided to add glass seed beads as decoration.

Once I'm done, I add the clasp and seal it tight.

Done. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to make Kumihimo bracelets

As promised, here a small post about how I make my kumihimo bracelets.

Kumihimo is actually the art of braiding (silk) strands into braids and comes from Japan. If you want to know more, you can go here. Enterprising western companies have come up with an easier way of braiding though, offering Kumihimo discs made of thick hard foam and ready made patterns that are fairly easy to follow. At least *some* of them are. ^^ I'm currently trying to puzzle out the cord sequence for a new pattern, and I haven't quite gotten it yet... *ponders*

But, back to the bracelets in the shop.

After I've chosen the pattern, I choose the cords. I work with 1.5 mm satin cords that are very nice to braid with. They're very smooth and reflect the light nicely. I have a whole basket full of cords, so I can mix and match according to either my personal likings, or those of my customers.

As you can see, these are the colours of the Halloween bracelet that's listed in the shop.

After I've measured them, I half them and tie them together in the middle.

Then I thread them through the Kumihimo disk. Now the threads have to be braided together according to the pattern on the disk. A simple bracelet of a length of approx. 20 cm usually takes an hour to braid. That's because I only have one hand free - the other is holding the disk. But even with two hands it simply takes time to shift the threads from one side to the other.

I usually add a small (or large, depending on the amount of threads that I'm working with) weight to the thin thread holding the cords together, so that the tension remains equal while I'm working. That ensures that the braiding will be (fairly) even. If I use very long cords, then I'll roll up the dangling ends on bobbins or small spools so they don't get tangled.

While I'm working, I try to stay away from my four cats who think that I've just started up a new toy for them. :)

Because all those dangling threads are a *big* temptation to the four-footed ones...

When I'm done, then I pull the whole thing off the disk, tie off the ends with either silver wire or a very strong, thin thread. I trim the ends and attach the clasps, usually using super, super heavy duty glue that bonds in seconds. Among other things, on my hands, my fingers, my tongue (I was holding the cap between my teeth) and other interesting body parts... *gg*

Depending on the bracelet, I might add beads or other embellishments.

So that's the quick rundown on the round braided bracelets. Flat bracelet post coming up next. :)

Etsy shop is online!

Shop is online! Finally! ^____^

Took me long enough to get the first items listed. Mostly kumihimo bracelets, along with two keychains. We'll see how it goes.

Once I'm done with the listings, I'll post my WIP report on how the bracelets are made. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

First Post

So this is my first post on my new crafter's blog. I'll be posting WIPs, finished products, ideas and other stuff as I get back into the swing of things.

I've been away from crafting for a very long time. Mostly because of family reasons... But the urge never went away. I always kept my supplies and added to them over time.

And now it's time to dig into that wealth and start producing wonderful things. :)