Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Jewelry Design Tips: Bead Organization, Simple Starts

Turns out that I must be able to see my newest and most favorite beads at a glance, just like I need to see my yarn to inspire new ideas. For years I have dutifully sorted beads into little compartments and packets and drawers. Many of my beads remain there, such as seed beads and recycled parts of old jewelry. But when I come home with a batch of fresh bead stash enhancement, I need to see them sparkle in the sun! (Photo taken at sunset, hence the pink cast.)
It's a thick, small cork board that I covered with felt. It's for macrame and so the pins are able to hold the weight of the larger glass beads. I can carry the board around to where I daydream and swatch up designs for them.

While I'm here, how about some tips* for creating your own metal-free crochet jewelry? These ideas come from a post I wrote for a Crochetpartners Yahoo group regarding crochet jewelry for a girl who's allergic to metal.

- I love crocheting my own metal-free jewelry fasteners and findings! Or, sew on a pretty button.

- Kids love Jelly Yarn® for jewelry.

- Take a bookmark pattern that you like and turn it into a bracelet or choker by make it longer, then add a button.

- Some belt patterns could make great bracelets or chokers if you use thread and beads instead of yarn.

- Take a pretty edging pattern and make it long enough for suspending a pendant. I'm often complimented on mine. I used size #20 crochet thread in modern colors.

- Just crochet a chain and feed it through big-holed beads. The craft stores have some exciting new beads and more of them now have big enough holes for crochet. Use thread that is strong and durable, and beads without rough hole edges. (A bead reamer--available at craft stores--will smooth the edges.)

- Take an interesting pattern from a stitch dictionary and do it in tiny thread; sprinkle in some seed beads. Sometimes just the first few rows of a fancy stitch pattern look beautiful as jewelry. Sometimes the opposite is true: many rows with just 1 or 2 or 3 stitch repeats in each row create a special jewelry look.

- Crochet some flowers and slide them onto ribbon. You can do this with any crochet motif, or vintage insertion pattern that is already designed to have a ribbon woven through the middle of it.

- When445t54ee you don't need your crochet jewelry to be metal-free, try any of the above with fine wire (28 gauge or finer) for a special effect and instant style.

Some of my jewelry blog posts:

*These tips are for readers who are making jewelry for private, nonprofessional, noncommercial use. For other uses, please consult current intellectual property laws in your country.