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Posts Tagged ‘beads’

This month’s Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was a talk given by the very talented Jessica Grady, whose vibrant work includes embellishments made from all sorts of upcycled materials.

In the summer, to link with this talk, our chair gave us all an identical pack of bits and pieces to create something. I did blog about the start of my piece back in September when I hadn’t read the instructions and thought it had to be done for October’s meeting!

My starting point was the pale green tubing and a huge metal ring, to which I added a copper coloured earring middle and a holed limpet shell.

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There were more jump rings in the pack which I stitched down with random straight stitches to echo the big one…

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…and I also found a broken agate slice pendant which was a good colour match for the copper earring.

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Next I added turquoise coloured beads from the pack.

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Using the same metallic gold thread for all the stitching helped to bring it together. A few more smaller jump rings from my tool box and some gifted flat beads completed it and I even manged to get it mounted three days before the meeting!

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Needless to say, all the entries were amazing and incredibly different, give that we all had the same starting point.

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The other finish for the meeting were the embroidered Folk Art doves that will decorate our Christmas tree at the local Festival of Trees. They were a lovely fun, relatively quick stitch. Mine looks like this:

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And these are some of his friends:

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Even though a few more arrived later, there isn’t enough here to fill a six foot tree, so the chair has been frantically stitching over the last couple of months to add extra additions to the flock!

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There seems to be an awful lot of stuff getting in the way of my jewellery making at the moment but I was able to sit down on Sunday and make a couple of pretty things. First, I upcycled a vintage brooch with some bud-shaped nuggets of sea glass.

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I only have a couple of tiny pieces of red but this one fitted perfectly and then I had great fun choosing some more tiny nuggets in unusual, vibrant colours and setting them into the brooch. It’s available here.

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I have been mulling over ideas for this fantastic broken bracelet for some time. It’s unmarked silver with translucent lime green enamel and everything about it is superb quality.

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The green enamel proved to be impossible to match even from my extensive collection of beads and other findings, so I decided to go for a contrast of pale pink and use some lovely rose quartz beads I had wired and ready to go.

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After taking two loops off each bracelet panels and reusing the jump rings that were left, I started to join the components. I also added some sterling silver beads and curved tubes, some cat’s eye beads in two shades of green and some reclaimed silver belcher chain and a clasp to create this:

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It has taken some time to get to this point but I finally think I have done justice to the sad and sorry remains of that once stunning bracelet and it’s here in my Etsy shop.

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I fell in love with a bought an antique Art Nouveau broken silver plated belt on eBay several years ago purely because of the Green Man masks on each section.

green man

I knew they would make gorgeous pendants/necklaces but I only got round to it the other day when I unearthed a damaged silver chain which was the perfect weight and patina to work with the panels.

There was just enough chain to make two necklaces.  The loops at the top of the panel were perfect to attach the chain, but that still left the loops at the bottom, which looked a bit odd without anything attached, so to the first one I added a drop with green cat’s eye beads, silver colour leaf beads and a central silver and abalone shell pendant from an odd earring, all threaded onto a length of silver wire.

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For the second one I used an odd labradorite earring drop, two labradorite beads on oxidised silver wire and a tiny length of silver chain to make the drop.

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They were a delight to make and can be found here and here in my Etsy shop.

Then only a few days later, I was looking for something else when I found some vintage embroidered linens in the back of a cupboard. Among them were two napkins, one quite badly holed and inspiration struck again! I cut them into sections for brooches or pendants and added to each one a hoop from various bits of odd vintage jewellery – bangles and earrings. The result…

 

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…three brooches: large Daisy Spray, medium Daisy Wreath and small Golden Daisy

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…and two pendants: Red Bellflower on the left and Brown Daisy on the right.

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For each one, I laminated two circles of buckram together and gathered the embroidered piece of fabric over it to stiffen it and did the same with a plain piece for the back. Then I hand stitched the circles together with the assorted hoops/bangles sandwiched in between to give the whole thing stability. I used a variety of stitches including herringbone stitch, ladder stitch, beaded ladder stitch and chain band (below) to give an attractive finish to the edges.

DSCN8948.JPGIt then depended on whether the hoop I used already had an integral loop or not whether the finished piece became a pendant or brooch.  Lots of fun but not appreciably more space in that cupboard – two napkins go a long way!

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My next upcycled jewellery project is this stunning vintage necklace.

Green quartz necklace 1

It probably dates from the 1950s or early 1960s and is in lovely condition, professionally strung, with gimp loops over the ends of the thread to protect it from rubbing through on the sterling silver catch. The gently graduated green beads are some kind of (probably dyed) quartz and feel cool and smooth. In between them are little crystal bicones. Well, apart from the one that was missing.

I had two choices: to take the necklace apart and restring it, replacing the missing spacer bead, (and I really didn’t want to mess with the quality of the original work) or as the missing bead was to the right of the central bead, I could remove the spacer on the other side and add something of my own silversmithing to hang below/frame the central bead and fit over the thread on either side. So I gently removed another spacer bead…

Green quartz necklace 2

…and began to doodle possible ideas. My first was an organic drop, possibly with some piercing, so I made a paper mock up – silver sheet is far too expensive to cut unless I’m positive the idea is going to work!

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I liked that, but when I showed it to my middle one, she pointed out that the spacers were angular and didn’t feel the organic flowing shape fitted the necklace design. I took this on board and Mock Up 2, a more angular, crystalline shape, followed:

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Actually, I quite liked that too, so I showed my husband. He was dead set against both of them and felt the drop should echo the main bead. Like this, possibly with a pierced centre:

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I also offered this alternative, with the possibility of a bead hanging from the tip:

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And also this one, using diagonals rather than vertical lines and with the disc having a hammered texture – actually, I’ll probably hammer all of them.

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The problem now is that I’ve got so many that I’m really not sure which design works best. Every family member has a different opinion so I’m asking for blog help. Here are the five designs I’ve outlined:

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Which design (if any) do you think works best to complement the original necklace so I end up with a happy marriage of quality vintage and contemporary hand made?

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Belated, but I wish it all the same. :o) And I hope everyone has had a good and peaceful Christmas.

In between trying to organise Christmas early so we could go away, I finally finished the crazy patchwork Christmas tree. After the snow and the wreath, presents underneath, blanket stitched down with Kreinik gold thread.

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Tied with a Mulberry silk ‘ribbon’

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The bow is a lovely compound of stitches that I saw on the internet somewhere a while ago. Two lazy daisy stitches make up the loops, the knot is a french knot and the trailing ends, two straight stitches. Very simple yet extremely effective.

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In spite of this, I ended up taking it away and finishing the last two sections off with only my phone camera to take the final shots, so apologies for the quality.

The top left section was seeded with ermine stitch, a vertical straight stitch crossed 2/3 of the way down with an equal armed cross stitch and the existing stars outlined, all in Kreinik gold.

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Then, running out of ideas and time, I edged the existing gold pattern middle right with lines of french knots in poppy red Mulberry silk. I also found an iridescent star bead for the top of the tree and little pressed metal dangles to hang on the branch tips.

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From a difficult beginning it’s turned out rather well and made a very good card in the end.

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These have both been underway for a while but have taken rather longer to finish than I hoped as neither of them quite was going the way I wanted. However, now they feel right.

First, the eyelets block. I started it off with the eyelets embedded in french knots,

Eyelets block 1

but that was too busy and I felt the eyelet shapes were obscured, so I took all the knots out and left it as just eyelets. I covered the surface, avoiding the rust patches and it ended up like this:

Eyelets block 2

Which was better, but still, somehow, not right. It felt unfinished. So I decided to close the gaps with more eyelets in various sizes and shapes and use half eyelets around the edges.

Eyelets block 3

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It feels finished now, somehow and more coherent.

The other block came from some beads I found which, as you can see from the photo, were shaped like spools.  I wanted to do something taking advantage of that, both stitching the beads down and winding thread between them.

Spools block 1

I started off scattering the beads randomly over the fabric and then lacing between them with variegated metallic Madeira thread.

Spools block 2

I liked the crisscross lacing, but the thread was a little too thin and the long lines too loopy and then when I got round to the rest of the spools, it was just too random. So I finished lacing it anyway but by then found that the long threads weren’t stable, so then I had to think of a way of holding the threads securely and came up with french knots in turquoise silk.

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Some are stitched actually over the long threads and then I clumped some round the beads.

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I hated it. There was only one thing to do so I did it, and if you’ve ever had to unpick literally dozens of french knots… By the time I’d finished I had a clean slate and knew it was the right decision.

Take Two.

Spools block 5

Organised regular pattern of beads and turquoise silk lacing. Slightly more random and irregular straight stitches on the beads.

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It’s not my favourite of all the blocks but it’s much better than the way it was. And now I have nine finished and another one underway!

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