Beaded jewelry has a lot of meanings these days. When I first started on my jewelry journey, stringing was the fashion, especially with beautiful lampwork beads.
I had a blast with stringing, and it wasn’t too terribly long before I succumbed to the lure of actually making lampwork beads for myself. Then I got the idea to sell some on ebay, which I did for about 3 years or so. During that time, I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of other work because I spent so much time making beads!
Here is one of the sets of beads I made during my lampwork phase. Strung, of course, LOL.
Beadwork, Here I Come
Next was beadwork — beading patterns like peyote, herringbone, netting, and things of that nature. Going from working with the larger lampwork beads to the itsy-bitsy seed beads was a bit of a challenge at first. Gosh, those bead holes were small!
In all my work, I’ve been drawn to more organic designs. So while I did learn the beading patterns, I usually managed to go off and do my own thing. Freeform bead weaving intrigued me, and when I saw a freeform netting class at my local bead store, I jumped at it. And this is the result from the class.
I got to enjoying beadwork so much that I started my YouTube channel Beaded Jewelry Diva. I kind of was doing it for fun, but the first time I realized people really were watching was when I was in the hospital after surgery (strangely enough).
One of the hospital employees came into my hospital room and after confirming my name was indeed Gail Nettles, she asked, “Are you Beaded Jewelry Diva?” Wow! That sure did make my day!
I love Sherry Serifini’s work, and I never thought I would get a chance to meet her. But — my local bead shop had her come in for some classes, so I eagerly signed up. (BTW, Sherry is a sweetheart and a great teacher.) Well, now that I realized that I really could do bead embroidery, that gave me a new direction.
Beads! Beads! More beads! Talk about a license to buy beads in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Shibori silk was one of my favorite new supplies, and bought all kinds of colors and sizes.
I also realized that I could use buttons with my bead embroidery. The cuff photo actually does have a button — the big “cab” on the left. I just cut off the shank!
Beads and Wire
Wirework doesn’t seem to be a beading medium, but I am here to say that it can be. Here’s a bracelet I made, using sterling silver wire as the frame, and sterling silver wire for “stringing” the beads.
I did happen to buy a lot of sterling wire when it was really cheap, thus this was in sterling. These days I’d probably make this with copper, or perhaps silver-filled.
It’s a heavy bracelet, and has beads, gemstone chips, pearls, seed beads and who else knows what. 😀 It was fun to make, but it took a long time — I spaced it out over many months.
When people ask me what my favorite beading medium is, my only answer is whatever I am working on at the moment. I go back and forth with all kinds of beading, so I keep my hand in it all.
If you love viking knit jewelry and want to kick it up a notch, then my newest ebook tutorial Viking Knit Jewelry Embellishments is what you’ve been waiting for.
Now instead of just making a chain, putting on ends caps and calling it good, you can make beautiful jewelry that is truly unique. In this ebook you’ll use beads of all shapes and sizes to add pizazz and “bling” to your creations.
This ebook tutorial on how to make embellished viking knit jewelry assumes that you already know how to make viking knit chain. (If you don’t already know, you can check out my Intro to Viking Knit Jewelry tutorial.)
Please note that if you are reading this on a translation service, this ebook is written in English.
Viking Knit Jewelry Embellishments
So exactly what is waiting for you in this tutorial? Here’s what you will learn in the pages.
- How to effectively work with colored wire.
- How to make triple-knit viking knit, and a bracelet project.
- How to add beads into the knit itself.
- How to do the “caterpillar effect” — a viking knit overlay technique.
- Join two shorter pieces of chain to make a longer one, and spice it up with a beaded bead.
- Different treatments for the ends — you no longer need plain end caps!
The book is 40 pages and has a whopping 91 photos! And speaking of the photos, most are close-ups, and some are extreme close-ups, so you know exactly where to put the wire or the beads.
The knit overlay bracelet (to the left) is a really fun project and uses two different colors and gauges of wire, which to me gives a more organic look.
Getting Your Copy of Viking Knit Jewelry Embellishments
The Viking Knit Jewelry Embellishments tutorial is a mere $10. It’s delivered to you as an ebook, and it’s about 1.4 MB in size.
Simply click the “Add to Cart” button (which accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, etc.) and you’ll get an instant download — no waiting. You’ll get a link to the download after you’ve completed your purchase (as well as an email with the link information). Simple, quick and get it any time of the day or night!
Of course, this ebook is meant for you, and you alone, so please don’t share it (thanks). And because it’s an electronic product, all sales are final.
If you want to take your jewelry to the next level, Viking Knit Jewelry Embellishments will get you on your way!
Secure checkout, accepts all major credit cards through PayPal.
This viking knit chain tutorial is for anyone who loves the look of viking knit, and wants to create some jewelry of their own. Sound like you? Read on!
Viking knit chain is beautiful, and can have many different “looks”, depending on how you work it. And once you learn the basic technique, the sky’s the limit.
A note to anyone who is reading this post with a translation program; this ebook is written in English.
Introduction to Viking Knit
I’ve written a viking knit chain tutorial called Introduction to Viking Knit. It’s 31 pages filled that answers all those “how do I…” questions!
You’ll learn about:
- The tools and supplies needed. (Hint, you probably already have most of them.)
- How to create a single knit chain.
- How to create a double knit chain.
- What you need to know about your wire (and what not to get or it will drive you crazy).
- An answer for “how much wire will it take me to…” — how to make a good estimate of the wire you’ll need to complete a project.
- How to join wire.
- Lots more!
There are many, many pictures, with some extreme close-ups of where exactly you need to place your wire – no guessing.
Included is a beaded viking knit bracelet project that shows you how to make even fancier viking knit chain, and you won’t believe how easy it is (shh, don’t tell anyone, let them think you’ve slaved away).
Oh, and of course there is a gallery of work, for your viewing pleasure!
Buying the Tutorial – How Much?
The Introduction to Viking Knit chain tutorial is a mere $10. It’s delivered to you as an ebook, and it’s about 1.8 MB in size.
OK, How Do I Buy?
Simply click the “Add to Cart” button (which is Secure, accepts all major credit cards and uses PayPal) and you’ll get an instant download — no waiting. You’ll get a link to the download after you’ve completed your purchase (as well as an email with the link information). Simple, quick and get it any time of the day or night!f course, this ebook is meant for you, and you alone, so please don’t share it (thanks). And because it’s an electronic product, all sales are final.
Are you ready for a viking knit tutorial ebook that will have you creating gorgeous jewelry of your own in no time at all? Then just click the button and order yourself a copy of the ebook.
Without rings, there is no chain maille. Period. But with rings, a whole universe of patterns open up. Well, as long as you know what you have and what you need! After all, it’s not just how it’s cut (which was a topic in You’ve Got Maille), but its size, material and aspect ratio.
Who knew that such a little ring could cause so much debate (because debate there is). But since we’re talking jewelry here, I’ll keep the debate at a minimum. So let’s discuss the easier of the two issues first — material.
What Are Rings Made Of?
Traditionally, rings are made from a metal of some sort. Today sees rings made from rubber/neoprene and also from beads. To make it a little easier (and since the non-traditional materials have their own issues), I’ll stick to the metals.
There are two main classes of metals in chain maille, roughly defined as “precious” and “everything else”.
The precious category has the usual suspects — silver and gold — as well as niobium and titanium. I suppose we could put platinum in this category, but I’ve only heard tell of a platinum jump ring once…and it was beyond expensive! And although it might seem obvious, I’ll mention that gold-filled and the newer silver-filled jump rings also fall into this category.
Everything else is really everything else. Steel is the mainstay of those who make armor maille, with aluminum a close second. For jewelry the main metals are copper (which includes enameled copper) and aluminum (including anodized aluminum). Not to say that you couldn’t make jewelry with stainless steel (it’s actually pretty popular), but that it’s not something to begin with when learning maille. Steel is a tough material to work with (literally and figuratively), so why make it any harder on yourself at first?
Brass is also fairly popular, especially “red brass” (which has less of a bright yellow tone than regular brass). It’s a stiffer metal than copper, but nothing like the challenge of steel.
Gauging Your Wire
If you’ve worked with jewelry, you’re likely aware of something called a wire gauge, which is just a measurement of how thick or thin a wire is.
However…there are at least two sets of standards for measuring wire! The two that are the most common are the American Wire Gauge (AWG) and Standard Wire Gauge (SWG). It’s important that you know how your rings were measured (which standard) because they are not the same at anything below 20 gauge.
The three most common gauges of jewelry jump rings are 16, 18 and 20. For reference, AWG 16g is about 1.2mm, 18g is around 1mm and 20g is roughly .8mm. If you see rings marked as 18g and 1.2mm, it’s a dead give-away you are looking at rings based on the SWG measurements.
It’s really important that you know your wire gauge, because it has a direct bearing on something called aspect ratio, which is key for working chain maille.
Aspect Ratio, Chain Maille and You
Aspect ratio is a little confusing at first. In a nutshell, it is the relationship between the gauge of the wire and the inner diameter of the ring (yes, I know — I just introduced another term).
Different chain maille patterns require different aspect ratios (ARs) to work well. For example, an AR of 3.4 is great for the most popular maille chain — Byzantine. But if you want to make the related Box chain, you’ll want to bump up the ratio some to around 3.8. Or else you will drive yourself nuts trying to squeeze in those rings…
I wrote up a (free) ebook on AR that you can use to understand more about AR — it discusses wire gauge, sizes and of course, AR. There’s also a handy-dandy chart you can use to figure out which rings fit into which AR.
One more thing I want to mention. When you are buying jump rings for maille, make sure you know what the diameter (inner or outer) you’re looking at.
I’ll use 18 gauge rings for an example. Say you’re thinking about buying some rings and you see that they measure 6mm. But which diameter does that 6mm refer to?
For example, if the outer diameter (OD) is 6mm, then the inner diameter has to be less, because you have to take into account the thickness of the wire. If the ring has an OD = 6mm, then its ID will be around 4mm. (18g wire is around 1mm thick). 18g wire with an ID = 4mm gives an AR of around 3.9.
On the other hand, if 6mm is the ID, then the AR for the 18g ring is around 5.8. Big difference in a little ring! A maille pattern that worked well with 3.9 (example, Box) flat out wouldn’t work using rings with a 5.8 AR.
That’s about it for the moment….but look for more maille posts soon on the tools and supplies you’ll need (not a lot, I promise!).
I’m doing a chain maille series, with chain maille how-to tutorials. If you like wire jewelry, are into steampunk or renaissance looks, then this ancient form of weaving with metal may just “suit” you (pardon the pun). [The pun being that chain maille (also known as chain mail or chainmaille) was originally created to be used as armor.]
A Little About Maille
I did mention that this technique was weaving with metal. More specifically, it is weaving with metal rings. Today we who make jewelry know these as the unassuming jump rings. And depending on how you look at it, they’ve either come a long way or have come full-circle (I guess I can’t get away from the puns today!).
So maille has been around for several centuries, and although it was replaced by suits of armor for protecting the warriors, it’s found a resurgence in the last few decades.
For example — divers who work with sharks and butchers who work with cutting objects both can wear a fine-mesh maille. And then there are the folks who are into the Renaissance or Steampunk areas. But, this wonderful material has made it into the mainstream jewelry market (and about time, too).
All that being said, let’s start with the supplies you will need; rings first, then in a separate post I’ll cover the remaining tools (pliers, etc.)
With This Ring, I Thee Weave
So let’s get started by talking about the materials you need, and specifically about jump rings, as they are not all created equally. First, let’s discuss how the jump ring is made; more specifically, how it is cut.
Jump rings are made by coiling a piece of wire around a mandrel. This coil is then removed from the mandrel and cut, forming individual jump rings. So far, so good. But the way that coil is cut yields different results.
There are three main ways a coil can get made into the jump rings:
- Wire Cutter
If you use a wire cutter, the ends of the rings will have a noticeable “pinched” look. This is because the wire cutter basically pinches the wire in the process of cutting. This pinch makes it impossible to completely close a jump ring with an invisible closure. If you have a very sharp, very flush wire cutter, you can get a decent end, though.
A little better is a machine cut. A little more uniform than the pinch, but not as nice and flush as the saw cut. Machine-cut rings are great for practicing new weaves before you try them in a more expensive material. Please note: not all companies provide a nice machine cut, so if you decide to get some, look for a close-up of an example ring.
Saw cut are the cream of the jump rings. They are cut so that the ends of the rings are flush on both sides, and a really good saw cut uses a fine-gauge saw, so as to create a small a gap as possible. This gap created when sawing the ring is called a kerf. The smaller the kerf, the more invisible a seam when closing the ring.
Here’s a photo of wire cut (left) and machine cut (middle). I didn’t have any darker color wire when I was doing the wire-cutter-cut example (sorry ’bout that), so the brass makes it a little tough to tell the extent of the pinch. And the silver? As you might guess, it’s saw-cut.
As you might guess, saw-cut rings are more expensive than either of the other two, but if you’re planning to make some special jewelry with your rings, definitely go with the saw-cut.
I’ll stop here for the moment. There are some other things you need to know about jump rings, but I’ve made that a separate post because it’s a little more technical — all about the dreaded term “aspect ratio”. So here you go– more about rings and maille.
See you over there!
Color has always played a big part for me, when it comes to needing inspiration. I love looking at other people’s jewelry designs, and they do inspire me. But I am also aware that, aside from some relatively common designs, I can’t copy them. But I can use them as a base and take them further.
Anyway, sometimes it works wonderfully well; sometimes not so much. And I had the same problem with my lampwork for a long time until I finally hit my “look”.
So lately, I have been trying to come up with some new thoughts. I have a another class with Sherry Serafini coming up, and I want to be able to stretch myself a little more this time.
Since color speaks to me, I turned to kaleidoscope designs. And I am here to share some with you, hoping that you will also find your own “ah-hah” moment.
Creating Kaleidoscope Designs
I did design all the kaleidoscopes you see on this post. And interestingly enough, they all originated from my beads and jewelry. Sometimes you can tell right off; sometimes you have to look really hard before you see the beads. And some, like the one at the top of the page, you just have to take my word on, LOL.
Before you think I am some sort of wizard with the above (talking about making these with my beads and jewelry), please note that I used photos of my beads and jewelry to use as a base for my “colliding color” designs. I wish I could say that I was talented enough to put each piece together, but alas; I used the magic of digital photography.
So while I can claim that I made the beads and jewelry behind the photos, and I can claim I created the kaleidoscope look via digital magic, I did not actually sew these designs (well, the ones that look like they have beads, anyway).
One thing I have a tough time with is with combining colors so that they look good together. A lot of times what I think will be really cool ends up looking like mud when I see the project as a whole. But with these renderings, I came up with some neat combos. Hmm, maybe I am not as bad as I think I am when it comes to color! I just need to be a little more balanced I guess.
Anyway, I set up a page called Kaleidoscope Designs From Jewelry that you can take a peek at — pretty much just all photos!
Enjoy, and may you be inspired!
When I took the Shibori Bracelet class from Sherry Serafini in Feb 2013, it opened up a new world for me, bead-embroidery-wise. I never really thought about using fabric as part of the design before, at least not this way. So Sherry, thanks again for inspiration!
The bracelet I made during the class I ultimately christened “Gypsy’s Silk” — it’s the purple bracelet on the right. It’s a wide cuff, to make full use of the silk, which was dyed in purples and greens.
I used some of the polymer clay cabs I made as part of the design, plus lots of bling-y beads like sew-on flatback Swarovski crystals, and some dichroic cabs that Sherry had for sale.
Of course, these bracelets are like potato chips — I couldn’t make just one!
The next bracelet I made had a more monochromatic look, as the Shibori was in medium shades of blue. There wasn’t enough of a contrast color-wise in the silk, so I made do with pleating and crystals.
This one is much narrower than the one I made in class, but it’s still an imposing bracelet. Especially since I added a small fringe as the edging.
So what to do next? I got some silk in shades of copper and pink, and it was a beautiful color shading. I liked the silk so much that I did more pleating. But anchoring those pleats? That took a little more trial and error.
I used some rivolis this time, so instead of using a lot of crystals this time, I used more glass pearls. One of my new favorites is the new 2mm glass pearls from the Czech Republic, which come in a wide variety of colors.
And yes, I’ve made even more, which I will show in other posts. 😀 I’ve used more of the Swarovski rivolis in the other bead embroidery bracelets with the silk.
You can find the Shobori silk on Etsy, which is where I got most of mine. There are lots of different color combos.
The thing to keep in mind about the silk — if you have rough hands or fingernails, they will snag the silk. For the most part you can cover snags with beading, but it’s sad when you snag it when you are pretty much done. So be careful, and make sure your hands and nails are smooth.
Sadly, my original WordPress blog did a crash and burn at my old web host (which I will never go back to). That means that the vast majority of my old posts are no longer available — only what I can scavenge from the Wayback Machine. *sigh*
But on the other hand, this is a fresh start with new stuff. This site will be about all kinds of things, and not just jewelry — the main focus of my old site. Part of that is because I have other sites devoted to jewelry — BeadedJewelryDiva.com, ChainMailleJewelryPatterns.com and HowToMakeJewelryNow.com. Not that I won’t talk about jewelry here — just that most of it will be on the other sites.
(I’m also considering another site about wire weaving for jewelry – still thinking about it, though.)
So what’s next? First I’ll try to retrieve what I can from the old site — at least that will be a start. Then I just may update my theme to fit my new direction. But I think the most important thing is to be upbeat. There’s enough in the way of bad news elsewhere — I want this blog to just be a fun read!
Of course, I have my YouTube videos that I will plop in my posts from time to time. I have several different YouTube channels devoted to different things. The most popular is my Beaded Jewelry Diva YouTube Channel. I think I’ll probably concentrate on two of them though, when I put in the videos.
In any case — I’m off to see what I can do about bringing back old posts. Meanwhile — hope you’re having a great day! (And if you’re not — here’s a wish for you feel better soon.)