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. :)

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