Gearing Up For Winter

One of my favorite things about the temperatures dropping is the opportunity to wear scarves. I’ve always viewed scarves as shoes. Shoes can make or break an outfit and a cool scarf can dress up even the most basic black coat. Once I learned how to knit and crochet scarves were the one thing I was looking forward to making – they are also the easiest things to make when you are just starting out. While I am usually partial to working with Lion Brand Yarn I came across yarn from Red Heart that I couldn’t resist.
Using Red Heart’s Boutique Magical Yarn in Wizard – which is actually four yarns in one – I created a scarf following a pattern called Spectrum. While the pattern said that only one skein of yarn was necessary to complete the scarf I actually used half of a second skein to get my desired length. One thing I learned quickly while using this yarn is that one section of it is not meant to be pulled apart in the unfortunate event you make a mistake while using it. That happened a few times to me and I ended up ripping the yarn when I tried to pull out the stitches – probably why I needed that second skein of yarn.

 

Next up I followed the Flights of Fancy scarf pattern from Lion Brand Yarn’s website while using Red Heart’s Boutique Midnight Yarn in Whisper – a yarn that has subtle changes in color with a metallic thread weaved throughout it. It’s a quick and simple pattern mainly comprised of double-crochet stitches.

 

And for the final scarf I used Red Heart’s Boutique Treasure Yarn in Tapestry – which again is a yarn that has subtle gradations in color – and followed the Snapdragon Stitch which is made up of double-crochet stitches and the V-Stitch. This was definitely my favorite of the three scarves because of the yarn color and the overlook look of the stitches. And while most scarves are made with at most two skeins of yarn this one actually took three. I initially only bought two but was lucky enough to find a third one with the same dye lot.

 

My winter accessory collection wouldn’t be complete without a good hat to keep me warm but I have always avoided wearing one. I have curly hair so hats tend to flatten down my curls… Not good. But, I have wanted to get a slouchy beret which seems to have enough room in it to allow my curls to stay intact. Before buying one though I decided to try and make one. First the search was on to find a pattern that would be simple enough to follow. I haven’t made a hat since I learned how to crochet a few years ago so I figured I should stick with something somewhat simple. With a Google search of “slouchy beret crochet pattern” I found a pattern from Donna Rutledge-Okoro appropriately titled Easy Slouchy Beret Hat Crochet. It was simple to follow and suggested using another Red Heart Yarn, their Supersaver Yarn which comes in a variety of colors but I chose Gray Heather. I was able to work this up in just a few hours and just in time too because it snowed the following day!

  

Crystals & Wire Pendant

At a shopping event I went to last month I saw a pendant that was made with crystals and wire that instantly caught my eye. While I did like it I thought it was a little too pricey and knew it was something that I could make myself since it was a free-form design that didn’t follow a specific pattern.

I used 22 gauge gold-tone wire (anything thinner would probably not hold up to all of the wrapping and anything thicker may be too difficult to wrap with) and random Swarovski crystals that I had left over from other projects to create my pendant.

Using about a yard length of wire I just haphazardly started wrapping the wire around itself adding crystals wherever I thought necessary. Afterwards I used round-nose pliers to curve any loose portions of the wire to ensure that the pendant would stay together. After about 25 minutes of work I ended up with a unique piece of jewelry.

I’m sure I’ll make a few more of these but I’m thinking I’ll use stones and seed beads next time to create more of a statement piece.

Ruffle Scarves

I came across Red Heart’s Boutique Sashay yarn at my local Michael’s store and thought it looked pretty cool, but, I had no idea how to use it – it’s a fishnet yarn that creates ruffles as you knit or crochet with it. So, after watching a few video tutorials and finding a pattern for a scarf I was ready to try out this new yarn.

 

With my first attempt at making the scarf I started by casting on 10 stitches, but, as I was going along I soon realized that the scarf was going to be a bit too puffy for my liking.

So, I started over by casting on only 8 stitches and was much happier with the final result. Using only one ball of yarn and knitting every row I ended up with a pretty cool looking scarf.

I’ve actually made a few more in different colors after a friend saw mine and requested I make her some. Once I realized that it was quicker and easier to work with the yarn by winding it into a ball before knitting, making these additional scarves was a piece of cake.

And in turn she showed hers to someone and they requested I make some for them to give as Christmas gifts. So I have a few colors all wound up and ready to be knitted.

Teardrop Double-Strand Necklace

While going through some papers I found a magazine rip out of a necklace that I liked and wanted to make – a long gold-tone necklace with semi-precious teardrop gems and pearls. I didn’t have those exact components, but, I did have blue/yellow swirl glass teardrops and gold seed beads. While I did have glass pearls as well I didn’t like how they looked with the teardrops and seed beads. So I opted to go with coral glass oval beads which I found at my local Joann’s.

My supplies.

I got to work on making the necklace and decided to place six size 10 seed beads between alternating teardrop and oval beads using gold beading wire. I made two of these strands in different lengths and attached them to a double-strand toggle.

And here’s the finished product.

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t too happy with how it came out. I didn’t like how the necklace was hanging with the double-strand toggle. Also, my strand length wasn’t proportioned well between the two strands so I felt that the longer strand was too long. And finally, the seed beads I used weren’t the best quality so the gold tone began to rub off. So, I decided to make the necklace again.

This time I used TOHO Size 11 Gold Seed Beads that I got at my local Michaels store. I’ve used TOHO seed beads in the past and have never had a problem with them fading so I knew they were a safe bet.

I got to working on the necklace once again and opted to use a single strand toggle this time in hopes that the necklace would hang better.

I was much happier with the necklace the second time around. Using a single strand toggle meant crimping both strands together which provided the weight for the necklace to hang better. To correct the problem of the strand length I decided to leave the shorter length as is and removed two each of the teardrop and oval beads and twenty-four of the seed beads.

Seed & Cone Earrings

I came across an earring pattern – known as the Taos Earrings – while searching through the different projects available on the Artbeads website. They looked simple to make and offered the option of being able to combine different colors which meant they would be extremely versatile to wear.

First things first I picked out the four colors I wanted to use. Being that I only had silver bead cones in my beading supplies I was limited to colors that would look good with silver. Since its summer time I opted for bright colors.

Next, I strung the beads on my thread. Since I wanted the earrings to have a little dimension to them I opted to string a different amount of seed beads on each of the threads. Afterwards I looped the thread through a crimp bead and crimped it.

  

I then used an eye pin to loop through the thread, put the bead cone on and then using the straight wire portion of the eye pin created a loop and wrapped it around the bead cone to ensure it would stay in place. I used a fish hook earring finding to hang my creation and voila it was done. In total both earrings took me less than 30 minutes to make.

While I liked how they came out, I wasn’t too keen on the colors once they were done. So, I decided to make another pair using colors that weren’t as bold.

  

Craft Fair

A few weeks ago I participated in my first craft fair. While I didn’t sell as many pieces as I would have liked, it was a fun time nevertheless. I spent the weekend with good friends and it was learning experience for future shows I may participate in.

A full view of my entire collection.

A nice assortment of earrings and bracelets.

A full range of necklaces.

A close-up view of my Swarovski crystal pieces.

In preparation for the fair I was feverishly working to get earrings, necklaces and bracelets done. Below are a few pieces that were among my favorites.

Crystal and Seed Bead Wave Bracelet – Made with fuchsia crystals and yellow-tones seed beads.

Flat Even-Count Peyote Bracelet – Made with transparent ivory, turquoise and topaz 1.5mm cube beads stitched in a haphazard pattern. I used an actual button for the clasp.

Pink & Gold Necklace.

Freshwater Pearl Necklace with Crystal accents – I actually saw a similar necklace in a recent issue of Stringing magazine but it was strung from silk cord. I initially did use silk cord but didn’t like the way the necklace fell so I opted to use gold chain instead.

Glass Pearl Beaded Ball – This was an experiment gone right. I normally make beaded balls using crystals but saw it one day made with glass pearls so I decided to give it a try and was very happy with the outcome. Up close the ball almost looks like it’s comprised of small flowers.

Necklaces Galore

I find inspiration for the jewelry I make in many different places. It could be from flipping through a magazine, seeing different colors together or from other pieces of jewelry. My biggest problem though is that I tend to buy the components I need to make a piece but then never get around to actually making it because I get caught up with making other things. Recently though I buckled down and finished a few necklaces that I have wanted to make for some time.

Tigerskin Focal and Semi-Precious Chip Multi-Strand

For this necklace I used a 40x30mm Tigerskin faceted glass bead as the focal point and Amazonite semi-precious chips, glass bicones and yellow stone nuggets for the rest of the piece.

Without a definitive pattern I strung the Amazonite chips along with the bicones and stone nuggets on three separate strands of gold beading wire. The only thing I did make sure of was that the stone nuggets were placed along the three strands so that they wouldn’t be next to each other. I then had the three strands go through one of the larger yellow stone nuggets, the Tigerskin glass bead and another larger yellow stone nugget and then continued in my haphazard pattern of stringing the chips, bicones and smaller nuggets.

I was really happy with the final product. It was exactly what I was envisioning.

Coral Semi-Precious Chip Spiral

The idea for this necklace changed quite a few times before I actually completed it. I even changed the design while I was working on it. At first it was just going to be the coral spiral on a gold chain but then I came across some ceramic blue-green beads that I thought would be a nice addition.

Using a basic spiral rope chain technique I strung the coral chips along with clear glass beads in a size 6. I then decided to use small yellow-brown stones I had along the ceramic beads to create the focal piece.

I connected this piece to the gold chain by using size 15 glass seed beads and reinforcing the thread a few times to make sure it wouldn’t ultimately break from use.

Glass, Shell and Metal Multi-Strand

Using black glass beads, white shell beads, two different size gold link chains and wire I created this multi-strand necklace.

Shades of Blue Multi-Strand

When I saw a necklace like this one while flipping through a magazine last year I was determined to make something similar. It took some searching to find the exact components I needed to complete it, 30 strands of beading wire and a lot of counting, but, it was all worth it. This is by far my favorite necklace from this group.