viking knit chain

Beading, Then and Now

I was trying to clean up/out my jewelry-making area, and in the process, I came across some of my very early work in different areas.  I found some necklaces from when I first started beading; some of my initial tries at viking knit, early bead embroidery and then wire weaving.

I sat down and stared at the pieces (conveniently ignoring the piles of beading supplies I was supposed to be cleaning up) and then picked up some of my more recent examples of each jewelry style.

Wow.  Big difference.

Jewelry Upgrade

The jewelry got me to thinking about how far I had come in many of my techniques.  And when I stared at my current work, I wondered where I'd be a year from now, five years from now, etc.

The way I see it, jewelry is just as much about the journey as it is the destination (i.e., the completed piece).

Save Some Pieces of Your Jewelry!

No matter where you are at in your jewelry journey, same some of your pieces -- especially some of the first pieces in a new technique.  Put them aside to look at later, so you can see the progress you have made!

As you'll see in the following video, some of my first pieces in a new technique aren't exactly stellar.  Yours might not be either, but practice is how we learn and grow.

Then and Now Video

So, here's a video that shows some of my jewelry from when I was starting, and more recent pieces in the same technique.  You'll see the evolution of my work, and some of the items I'm just starting to learn more about.

So....hope you enjoy the video!

Colored Wire for Viking Knit

I recently had someone ask me if there was a good colored wire that could be used for viking knit jewely.  You know, a colored wire that would survive repeated travels through a draw plate, and not look all mottled because the color flaked/rubbed off.  Guess what -- I found one!

I've tried several brands, with varying results.  One thing I quickly learned was not to use one that was plated.  I'm talking about the wires that are bright and colorful and shiny -- beautiful on the spool, but starts degrading when you're working it.  (Let alone try to put it through the draw plate.)

Before today, my standard wires were red brass (resembles 18 kt gold) and copper, because of the coating issue.  I was able to get some wire from the local Joann store which was fairly decent, as long as you only sent it through the drawplate twice.  It's manufactured by a company called Darice.

A New Kid in Town

A few months ago I had heard about a brand called Zebra Wire, but only recently did I get some to try it out.  And am I ever happy I did (and sorry I waited so long)!

To the above right are two samples I made, using 26 gauge Zebra Wire in magenta.  I did two double-knit chains, and passed them through the draw plate relentlessly.  Well, maybe not relentlessly, but the top chain was sent through 6 different holes on the draw plate, and it came through beautifully!

The bottom chain was drawn down less, only 4 times.  It had more petals, and I didn't want to have the chain any narrower anyway.

Still, as you can see from these extreme close-up photos, the color stayed on the wire!  (Any white-ish color you may see is just light reflection.)

Update:  I now have a new Viking Knit jewelry ebook featuring colored wire!!!!!

That was the good news.  The bad news is that it only comes in about 8 colors (although they are very nice) and it's really hard to find!  I've only found 2 places where I've been able to get it -- Fire Mountain and  ebay.

Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$4.24
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4.24
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$6.95
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $6.95
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$4.24
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4.24
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$6.98
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $6.98
ZEBRA WRAP WIRE SILVER COLOR 20 22 24 GAUGE 15 20 45 71 YARDS
ZEBRA WRAP WIRE SILVER COLOR 20 22 24 GAUGE 15 20 45 71 YARDS
$4.32
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 54m
Buy It Now for only: $4.32
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$4.48
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4.48
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$4.98
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4.98
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$4.98
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4.98
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
Zebra Wire Gold Silver Copper Round spool 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Gauge
$5.95
Time Remaining: 23d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $5.95

 

What’s Up With Jewelry?

I got to thinking about what's up with jewelry the other day.  We've run into some chilly weather and it's too soon to start the veggie garden.  Time for jewelry, perhaps?

The Curse of the Peyote

I should say organic peyote, because regular peyote is pretty easy to teach.  After I finished up my viking knit tutorial, I decided to start on one for free-form organically-designed peyote.  But here's the problem; how can I teach something that I do on a whim?  And how do I provide a pattern for something really free-form?

sculptural-peyote-bracelet-closeupSo I've been trying to come up with some patterns that are free-form enough to get you started, along with one that falls into the "Wow, where did you get that!" category.

I'm thinking about a pair of earrings (basic freeform), a pendant (a little more challenging) and then a knock-em-out bracelet.

Stay tuned -- I'm still working on it!

Another Jewelry Auction Site

I came across another jewelry auction site that looked rather interesting.  And while they don't have a ton of hand-made jewelry, they do have some nice pieces with precious gems -- amethyst, opal, etc.

Anyway, right now they have a $25 coupon -- $25 off your first purchase.  And yes, there are plenty of items for $40 and under, so you stand a chance of getting something really nice for a great price (the word "free" comes to mind). So, go on and check it out and get your $25 off coupon.

Bidz - CPS $25 Coupon

Viking Knit In Sterling

I made a really pretty necklace in sterling silver for a gift and darn -- I forgot to get a photo before I sent it off!  I'll see if the recipient will be so kind as to take a photo and send it on to me.

I made it with 24 g sterling wire, dead soft.  Ohhh, was it ever nice to work with!  Dead soft copper is pretty decent but the silver was even easier to work with.  At any rate,  I made it in a single knit, using 6 petals.  It ended up substantial, but still had a bit of a lacy look to it -- very nice, if I do say so myself. 

Of course I made the end caps, from 18 g sterling.  I went rummaging around and found some sterling beads, around 12mm that had been sitting around for a few years.

I finished with an S-hook clasp I made from 18 g sterling.  I made it a little fancier by wrapping it with 26 g sterling wire.  Had to end up using my hammer a little to harden it up some, but it was stiff enough to be safe.

Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough sterling left over to make myself a necklace.  Unless maybe I use some of my lampwork to add to the length some.  Hmmm -- maybe it's time to fire up the torch again!

Viking Knit Chain Photos

I know it's been longer than I had planned, to get you these viking knit chain photos, but I've finally had a chance to sit down and catalog what I had, and what you might like to see.

Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

First off, I've been making mostly bracelets, along with some necklaces.  So far, no earrings (that's my next project).   This first bracelet looks rather plain at first glance.  But when you hold it in your  hand, it looks like copper lace.  And it's nice and light and oh-so-comfortable.

Next is a bracelet I decided a little more color.  So, I've incorporated seed and lampwork beads in this particular piece of jewelry.

Beaded Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

Beaded Viking Knit Bracelet (Click to Enlarge)

I had a whole lot of fun with it.  Of course, I had to include some of my own lampwork beads while I was at it.  I've gotten lots of compliments on it, how it looks like the seed beads have been woven into a net.

(BTW, I have included instructions for a similar bracelet in my Intro to Viking Knit tutorial.)

OK, what next?  Hmmm, time for a necklace perhaps?

This particular necklace uses viking knit as the background, with the wire-wrapped pendant as the focal.

Viking Knit Necklace and Pendant

Viking Knit Necklace and Pendant

I have a blast doing these free-form pendants!  I've always had a problem with them though; they are substantial in size and need a chain that is equally substantial.  And viking knit fits in nicely!

But a viking knit chain doesn't need to be relegated to just the background, not at all!

Although viking knit can be a necklace all by itself, it can be equally intriguing when different gauges and styles of viking knit chain are incorporated in the same piece.

I have a work in progress there I've mixed 24 gauge single knit and 26 gauge double knit -- looks kind of cool so far!

So far I've used copper, artistic wire, brass and also am working in silver.  I have some gold-filled wire, but I haven't decided what to do with it yet (seeing as it's so very expensive these days).  I'm sure sooner or later an idea will come to me and I'll dig into my stash of gold-filled.

Viking Knit Bracelet -- Flight of the Bumblebee

Viking Knit Bracelet -- Flight of the Bumblebee

Here's something that I call "Flight of the Bumblebee" which turned out very interesting indeed!  You see, when I grabbed my wire, both the brass and the black wire were supposed to be 26 gauge.  That being the case, I figured I'd do some double-knit.

Well, if the brass was 26 gauge, I'll buy and eat a hat!  So my brass portions are thicker than the black (which really was 26 gauge).  At any rate, it's a cool look and it feels really neat!

In fact, I may dig into my small stash of gold-filled wire and do a mix of it with sterling silver.  Hmmmm......

That's it for the moment; more later!