Saturday, May 24, 2014

Waxed Linen Cord Blog Hop

About the only thing I've gotten out of my Facebook profile lately is being able to check out the Bead Soup Cafe site.  Recently, while perusing that page, I saw an announcement for a blog hop involving waxed linen cord being hosted by Suburban Girl Beads (Diana Ptaszynski).  I've been hoarding cord for years now and just never had time to read up on techniques or really use it much so I thought "Ah ha!  What a great way to force me to finally use all that cord I've been storing in that bag for so long."

And thus a monster was born.

Yeah, I kinda went a little overboard working on this so I'm just warning you now that this is a LONG post.  You might want to take your bathroom break and get your beverage/snacks of choice now LOL!

Because this is a new area for me, I didn't focus much on coming up with dazzling designs, but more on experimenting with techniques, mastering certain knots/patterns and playing with color combos.  I started out with bracelets and made quite a few of them - most of which I'm not totally happy with, but I did learn a little something along the way with each one of them.


 
 
I started out with this set of ceramic beads from Gaea, a few additional ceramic beads from my stash to create enough length, 4 ply waxed linen cord in a "natural" color, a pewter seahorse button from Green Girl Studios, and a few size 8 seed beads for accents.  There are two pieces of cord running through the center of all the beads and then two more that run outside and then knot around the center cords in between each bead.  I then tied overhand knots all around the loop section to strengthen it and left the tails dangling as accents with some seed beads tied on for color.  Things I learned:  these beads have large enough holes that this might have worked better with 7 ply cord (I didn't have any on hand - my stash is all 2 ply and 4 ply), the knotting on the loop started off a little wonky until I figured out what I was doing (should've practiced on scrap cord first!), and I'm not sure the cord will hold up over time with wear and tear.  However, I wore this bracelet out running errands last weekend and got compliments on it so it can't be too terrible. 



 
This bracelet uses 4 ply chocolate brown cord, a ceramic bead in shades of brown and blue, matte denim blue seed beads and a pewter button from Mamacita Beadworks.  I'd be totally happy with this except that the beaded loop that goes around the button came out a smidgen too small.  It was perfect when I initially tied it, but as I added the half-hitch/bead treatment around the loop, it stiffened up and got a bit smaller.  It still works as a closure...it's just a little bit too tight for real ease of use.
 

 
 
So, I decided to try again and this time I left plenty of room with the loop.  A little too much, in fact.  This loop is too big.  ARRGH!  Materials are a ceramic handpainted bead with two cute owls on it, gold 4 ply linen cord, deep blue seed beads and a copper button from Second Surf.  I like the copper button and the way the frayed cord ends look against it...just need a smaller loop and...hmmm...maybe that cord color wasn't the best choice (although it matches the gold owl color in the ceramic beads in real life - not so much in the photo)
 
 
 

Then, I decided enough with the fancy knot techniques - let's just use some simple overhand knots and play around with color.  I really wanted to see how colored cord worked with clear beads so I used some lavender 2 ply cord with the clear wing beads and then added some other Czech glass beads to this.  Part of my frustration with this design stems from really wanting to use 4 ply, but not having very many beads with holes that will accommodate it.  Even in the 2 ply, I was still a bit limited which is why this bracelet has weird shapes and, now that I look at it through the camera's eye, strange colors.  I do like the clear beads with the colored cord, though, so that's worth more exploration.  I feel like I am on the verge of something good...if I can just get the right elements to pull together.


 
 
This is getting closer to what I wanted.  I used the gold cord with some clear, pink, purple and lavender/pink swirl beads.  The swirl beads are ceramic, the large purple is vintage Lucite, the small purple is dyed jade, the frosted pink are vintage German glass and the clear beads are glass that has a crackled center so it gives off a bit of a rainbow look (hard to see in the photos).  I did have to add some copper daisy spacers as, for once, the holes in the clear beads are TOO BIG (this whole hole size thing is wearing me down!)
 
 
 
 
Ah ha!  Now we are talking!  Everything is working together - cute wood flower beads, large vintage Lucite blue floral focal, and YES!  I finally found a use for these tri-color (yellow, green, blue) glass nuggets that are one of the first bead purchases I ever made back in 19mumblewhatever during my first trip to a bead store.  I've had a whole bag of them sitting in my stash ever since then waiting for the perfect project.  It just goes to show that if you hold onto the beads long enough, inspiration will eventually find a home for them.  They have more blue in them (to match the focal) than shows in the photo.  4 ply gold cord and a copper rope toggle finish things off perfectly.
 
So, enough with the bracelets.  I decided to start focusing on earrings, because how badly could I mess that up?  They had to be easier than bracelets, right?  Yeah...here's where the insanity really took over. 
 
  
 
 
I started with just some simple lark's head knots to attach 4 ply cord to white shell rings and then I used overhand knots to add some shell leaves.
 

 
 
I thought this would make a nice, light, swingy summer earring design.
 
 
 

Then, as long as I was playing with rings and knotting, I decided to try square knots in between size 6 seed beads as a dangle.


 
 
I had these orange tagua nut rings and bright green ceramic rounds and they made a lovely tropical combo with the gold cord and turquoise seed beads.
 
Then, I got kind of obsessed with that half-hitch/bead around a loop idea from the bracelet closures and thought that maybe what was needed was a solid ring that would hold its shape. I happened to have some brass rings sitting on my work station so I started with those.
 
 
 
 
In this first attempt (sorry for the blurry photo - I took this with my cell phone camera), I started and ended with overhand knots before and after doing the half-hitches and...I wasn't crazy about the idea. Just didn't seem secure (and in fact, one of them fell apart even after I glued it!) So, I put on my thinking cap and tried to figure out a way around this. I thought if I created a loop of thread at the top (to hook the earing finding on) and then ended up at center bottom and did some kind of fringe/tail thing, it might work.  You can see one of my early attempts here that was kinda sorta only okay.  Things got better after that.
 
  
 
 
I used 4 ply dark chocolate cord, brass rings, size 8 teal seed beads and the accent beads are apple green dyed howlite rondelles and orange/white striped lampwork rondelles. 
 

 
 
There are three half-hitch knots between each seed bead on the ring and I tied some seed beads on the tails as accents.
 

 
 
This version uses the same cord, but some frosted olive green druk glass beads and rose Chinese crystals.  I also experimented with the number of half-hitches between beads - using 2 instead of 3 to put more beads around the edges and let the brass rings show a bit more.
 

 
 
Then, it occurred to me (see what I mean about "obsessed") that I could go the other way...start with a seed bead at center bottom and end up at the top with an accent bead and a cute fringed knot to hold the earring hook on.  I used the same brass rings, 4 ply gold cord, pink gilt size 8 seed beads and some olive green resin disks.  I only did one half-hitch between seed beads on this pair. 


 
 
This might be my favorite pair out of all of them - gold cord again (I'm surprised how much I liked this color!) with royal blue size 8 seed beads and carved coral flowers.  One half-hitch between beads. 
 

 
 
Then again, these might be my favorites.  I bought these wonderful ceramic stick dangles from our hostess, tied on salmon 4 ply cord with lark's head knots and then did two half-hitches around the brass ring using frosted yellow AB Japanese drop beads until I reached the top where I tied a knot with both ends, strung a frosted pink vintage German glass bead and a lime green seed bead for an additional pop of color and then tied off the ends, trimmed and frayed them. 
 
And then I went out and bought more colors of cord and am looking for a wider selection of beads with larger holes to accommodate it. 
 
It's a sickness.
 
Send help.
 
KJ
 
Here's the list to the rest of the participants:
 
 

28 comments:

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

WOW and WOW! KJ, they're awesome! I always love how you share process and what works/what doesn't. Love the earrings made with Diana's sticks!

sandysewin said...

Wow, what a bunch a great pieces. Love you knotted loop that incorporates seed beads. Also, the earrings with the half hitch knot around the rings are great. Nice work!

Diana P. said...

Hahahahahaha I love that you went totally overboard on creating pieces with waxed linen. If I'm being honest, I didn't show the pieces that were essentially my practice ones...they are sitting in a pile in the office. Also, I LOVE what you did with the rainbow stick charms! Nothing is more exciting than seeing my beads used in pretty jewelry! Thank you for participating!!!

Ann Schroeder said...

Wow, you really went to town. What a bunch of great work! I think you are hooked - and that's a good thing! I love the half hitch earrings. It really features the linen in a nice way. I'm also happy to know that beads I got eons ago can find a place someday!

Becky Pancake said...

WOW!! Kelly you really explored using the waxed linen cording. Thanx for including your learning process, it gave me new ideas too. The seahorse clasp goes really well with the ceramic rounds. I like the colored cord through the clear beads. the pink/purple bracelet is beautiful. Youir tropical earring are so bright and sunny they just shout summer fun. The brown and teal knotted ring earrings are great. Good job figuring out how to start and end the cord on that pair. The earrings with the pink sedds and green resin discs with gold cord are lovely. You made wonderful color choices. Several times I thought i would not have put those color together but they look great. You really rocked this challenge.

Lesley said...

Haevens - what a whole heap of fun stuff you made...great job!

Janet Bocciardi said...

You've got some really wonderful things here. You took it seriously and look what all that practice gave you! The long earrings with yellow thread are the bomb! But then again I love those at the end with the seed beads around the jump ring. Wonderful!

Shaiha said...

It is a sickness! Once I started on designs for this hop, I decided that I didn't have enough colors so I went out and got more.

Just loved watching how your designs progressed. Your earrings are the ones that really impress me. Great job!

KelsyC said...

I can't pick a favorite! Every pair of earrings looks so amazing. The last ones especially. I feel so inspired to go make a ton of linen earrings now.

flowers said...

Yes, yes I agree it is a sickness. Your earrings are nice. I like the beads, and the knots. You done good. lol

kmorgan said...

So very many "creations"!! Wowwee!!! I'm so into earrings right now. I just love the first & third ones! Great color schemes on everything! :)

Kari Asbury said...

WOW! You really got busy with creating, so fantastic! You really explored working with waxed linen and definitely inspired me to try more techniques. I really love all the different earrings...fantastic job!

Kathy Lindemer said...

Great job! I adore the first two bracelets. They are my colors!

Sarajo Wentling said...

Woo hoo! You did go a little crazy, but in a good way! Thanks for sharing your process and your ups and downs as you worked through things. I think the earrings with the red, blue and gold might be my faves.

KayzKreationz said...

Wow, you created a lot of great pieces with your linen. But I really love that first bracelet with the little seahorse. So feminine, yet chunky, too. Love it. Good job.

Cheryl said...

Wow tons of work. Loved them. Especially the ones where you can see the linen through the beads.

Darlene said...

Love all the earrings! They are all so fun & thank you for sharing with us in detail your process of what worked & didn't work!

SueBeads said...

Wow, you are definitely back in the swing of things! Even if you don't like your bracelets, they are very nice and you learned from them! I love your earrings, especially the ones at the end of the post woven over a ring! I need to learn that! Great job!

Erin Siegel said...

Wow, Kelly! I'm so impressed with how you just dove right in and tried all these techniques. You discovered so much. I'm looking forward to seeing more cord and knotting designs from you. I really enjoyed reading your post and following along on your journey. I like your bracelet designs, but I really love all the earrings!!! I've used some similar techniques that you experimented with. I've used the first technique you used around the ring with success(the blurry photo), but I tend to be a really tight knotter. I've learned through teaching some classes that not everyone knots the same way. Some people knot loose, some tight and some somewhere in between. It's just like knitting. I pull the knots super tight and I haven't experienced the knots coming loose. I also leave at least a 1/4" tail after the last knot, so there is even less of a chance of the knot coming loose. I'm glad to hear you've caught the sickness that is waxed linen and knotting. ;) I love all the designs you came up with. You are inspiring me to re-visit my earring designs once again.

Michelle Mach said...

You were busy! I especially like the earrings with the seed beads. Those really pop!

flowers said...

Chunky bracelets and dangly earrings two things I like a lot. Your pieces are colorful, and fun.

PyxeeStyx said...

I love the mother of pearl earrings. They're so casual and free. Very bohemian. And the Salmon colored ceramics with the wrapped rings are really cool too. Fun experimenting.

Kashmira said...

Girl, you've been busy! LOVE all those earrings! I am going to have to make me some now. I think my fav ones are those with the square knots..totally cool and unique.

About the loop being too large..maybe you can make it smaller by wrapping some wire around it?

beadrecipes said...

Love your experimenting, you made some wonderful pieces! I love the earrings, all of them!!!

Kristen said...

You are killin me!!! All that gorgeousness and all the ideas you have given me!!!! I needs more linen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Jewelry Larder by Maybeline Tay said...

Oooohhh... Love your use of waxed linen. Your use of colours is amazing. Love your creations.

Jennifer Cameron said...

LOL! You did go a little crazy, but in a good way :-) I absolutely LOVE the green and pink/lavender earrings. LOVE! I also love the pair after that, the red blue and gold. Absolutely gorgeous! The rest are all wonderful too, but those 2 pairs of earrings are calling my name.

Natalie Green said...

WOW, every piece of jewelry looks so nice and creative, especially the earrings. Hope to see more in the near future :) This post is truly a treat for the eyes. Natalie