Improving Me Time: Jewelry!

Beading with Wire, Chain and Leather on Craftsy

As you may know, I have a 12-year-old son. A couple of years ago when we were in Joann’s for other reasons he found a kit for making a paracord bracelet. I had a childhood flashback looking at it (summer camp! square knots! MACRAMÉ!), and of course bought it for him. And so began yet another hobby, knotting. It has bled over into my work world as some published magazine patterns for I-cord coasters, free macramé craft patterns, and in several classes (Knotting Nuttiness, Macrame Friendship Bracelets).

The Motivation

So great, right? I have all this leftover cool yarn, and I learned how to tie knots with it (patience is a virtue when tying knots in stretchy yarn instead of firm paracord). But how do I turn fasten all these pretty chains of yarn and knots around my arms or neck??  I learned some of the lingo (findings, jump rings, bead cone), picked up some of the tools (glue, round nose and chain nose pliers, flush cutter), and figured out *a* way to join and attach chain and clasps, but have always thought there must be better ways.

The Class

I looked through the jewelry offerings on Craftsy for something that would cover the basics. There didn’t seem to be a “Basics of Jewelry-making” class, so, having met the delightful Candie Cooper at the Craftsy Instructor Summit in January, I settled on her class Beading with Wire, Chain and Leather. Hearing her say “one of the keys to being happy is learning something new” made me sure I’d made a good choice.

I learned exactly what I wanted to learn. Lesson 1 started with basics of materials for beading—diameter and # strands of beading wire, crimp beads and tubes—and tools and continued with how to string and crimp. There were great details like how much slack to leave between finding and crimp, and gauge of wire used for different tasks. Lesson 2 continued by teaching how to make simple and wrapped loops, both things I want to practice by making some simple earrings using head pins!

Each lesson built on the one before, yet also I think could be viewed on its own. I used the Notes feature of the Craftsy platform for the first time while watching this class so I could find some of the techniques I really want to try. I’m intrigued with the idea of wrapping wire around large beads, and with making tassels (chain and yarn together!). Perhaps both will get used on the lariat I’m now planning. ;-)

The projects used to demonstrate each skill were simple enough that I felt I could make them, while also being beautiful enough that I wanted to. She showed ways each project could be changed, and displayed alternate versions of projects. I would have liked more closeups of those projects, to better see their construction. I understand there might not have been time for more footage, but a photo montage that I could have paused video on and stared at would have worked!

I love that Candie demonstrated how she sketches, specifically the simple shapes she uses to depict particular findings or chain types. I’m a fan of sketching, but sometimes get hung up on how to represent what I see in my head so seeing this was very helpful. She also said the same thing I say to my own students, and as I make future forays into jewelry making will need to remember for myself: “Be patient with yourself when you’re trying something new.”

My jewelry-making supplies

Stay tuned for results of my first forays!

 

 

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