Fun With Beads (Part 2)

It’s Done!  

After my amateur photography detour I finally got down to the business of beading and here is the completed necklace:


I love it!  I saw this exact design in my Kumihimo book and decided to just replicate it for my first go-round.  I’m not sorry I did.  I had such a good time making this and at each step I learned something new.  Here’s how it all came together:

The initial set-up of the beads is similar to that of the simple Kumihimo bracelet I made before:


In this case, weighted bobbins are used as is a thin nylon cording. About eight inches of beads are strung on each warp before winding.  The bead spinner is a nifty tool that helps the stringing go quickly.  One hand spins the beads and the other uses a curved needle to skim across the top and quickly push the beads up the string:


After an initial half inch of braiding sans beads the beads are then individually placed in the proper position as the warps are moved back and forth and the kumihimo disk is turned.  Because each bead needs to sit beneath the crosswise warp a weight is attached to the bottom knot to pull the necklace down as it forms thus leaving room at the top to slip each bead where it needs to be.  Here’s what it looks like from the top:


My hands got tired, and it didn’t take long before I used an old honey jar to rest the work on:


Here’s a shot of the necklace taking shape:


Mistakes are easy to spot because the cording becomes visible on the outside of the necklace.  It didn’t take long for me to get the hang of reverse beading in order to back up and fix mistakes.  The goal is to NOT take the warps off because chances are you’ll get hopelessly lost and have to start over (yes, I learned that one the hard way).   Eventually, I had to improvise further because the weight underneath always has to be swinging freely and the jar didn’t cut it after several inches of necklace.  This time it was the jumbo pretzels container (with a hole hacked out of the bottom) that saved the day.  Not beautiful, but functional:


In case you’re wondering there are actual Kumihimo frames that are specifically made for this sort of thing.  Definitely one of those in my future.

Once the beads are the right length, another half inch of braiding is done without beads.  Then the necklace is taken off the disk and the edges are bound.  Here’s the necklace with the end caps/cones attached:


I had to get out my new jewelry making tools (i.e. pliers) to wrap the end cones and create loops to attach the clasp.  Here’s a close-up of my handiwork:


Not bad.  For veteran jewelry-makers this is a no-brainer, but I was all thumbs at first and it took a few tries to get it right.  After that the other pieces came together easily like this:


And this post would not be complete without a picture of me wearing my new necklace.  Ta da…


Can’t wait to make another one…


6 thoughts on “Fun With Beads (Part 2)

  1. Oh Lis… pretty! When I was reading I thought, “What a pretty clasp to just be hidden in the back of the neck”, but I was so pleasantly surprised to see it in the front! Love it! BTW…..I suspect you’re making this sound easier than it really is….. 🙂


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