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Tilted dice – the perfect focal for cuffs

It may be raining today but there is still plenty of summer to go and lots of time to make this beautiful cuff bracelet. The focal crystal is new this year and part of the Swarovski Designer Edition from the S/S 2018 Innovations. These amazing crystals were designed by Chris Bangle, the legendary former chief designer at BMW.

Swarovski crystal cuff, macrame, tilted dice fancy stone

Tiny rondelles and light blue iridescent pearls complete the design

 

I’m such a fan of macramé especially the micro size, using S-lon cord, as it makes up into such fabulous jewellery. Two of the top trends for this year – statement cuffs and macramé work amazingly well for this design.

I’ve added tiny Swarovski rondelle beads for contrast but you could use bicones instead.

These amazing sculptural crystals were designed by Chris Bangle, the legendary former chief designer at BMW and include the tilted chaton and tilted spike. The colours are applied to part of the crystal to enhance the amazing 3D effect.

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This cuff design was inspired by Swarovski’s theme ‘No normal’ which is all about embracing differences, whether it is design, perspectives or life itself.

Tilted stones are part of the Fancy Stone family of Swarovski crystals and available from Jilly Beads. You’ll also find they’ve got the 3mm pearls in iridescent light blue too!

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Use pins to keep the macramé exactly the same width along its length

 

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Crystal Clever Floral Sash

Ribbon flowers are so easy to make and this design, which I made to showcase the Swarovski 2018 spring/ summer innovations in London earlier this year shows just what an impact you can create. These exquisite pear shaped fancy stones and little round stones are from the new Crystal Shiny LacquerPRO range – the colour names themselves are so inspiring! They just shout SUMMER  – Crystal Azure Blue, Crystal Peony Pink, Crystal Summer Blue, Crystal Mint Green, and Crystal Light Coral. Don’t you want to dive right in?

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Is there a better way to add the wow factor to a simple dress? With so many exquisite ribbons around you can match the colours to your dress or go for a contrast making sure that one of the ribbons matches the dress exactly.

The design is featured in issue 25 of Dressmaker magazine with step-by-step instructions and you’ll be able to download diagrams for the flowers from 27th July 2017.

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Cords and Crystals

Crochet is one of the fastest growing crafts in the UK so it seemed the perfect time to launch this range of jewellery kits which combine my two favourite things – cords and crystals!

So many people are learning to crochet and these designs are simple to make using basic chain and double crochet with Swarovski crystals added in as you go, they are suitable for all abilities.

Summer 2017 bracelets pc1

My original intention was to make designer jewellery to sell and I launched the classic colour range last year but so many people asked for kits and patterns that I’ve added them to my ETSY shop.  We took the kits to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh last weekend where they seemed to just fly off the shelf so I’ve already booked for next year and will be in Harrogate in November

When you design kits, especially something like crocheting that requires a certain tension, you don’t know if other people can replicate the design but as I taught some workshops I was delighted to find that people could crochet the little stacking bracelet so that it looked exactly like mine!

I’m sure I’ll develop the packaging again but for the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh these little gift boxes were perfect. The stand was only 2m square so the table had to go down one side but it meant we could stack boxes ready made towards the back of the stand leaving the front area to display the goods, demonstrate and sell!

It’s always interesting to see what sells at a show – the new bright colours inspired by Pantone 2017 spring/summer trend, certainly drew in the customer though for Edinburgh the best sellers were amethyst, denim blue, and purple.  It was also fun watching people mixing and matching the colours picking different combinations to suit.

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The flat bottomed boxes worked really well

 

 

 

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Ways to use Deer hide leather lacing

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Single strand bracelets

Deer Hide Leather

Deer Hide leather is a fabulous new lacing material that is just so versatile for jewellery making. The lace is ethically sourced and available in a wide range of colours. I’m getting ready for summer, inspired by the beach and seashore, making two pretty bracelets using sand and stone blue shades available from I-Beads. You can learn how to plait with 3, 4 or 5 strands below and make yourself a pretty wrap bracelet. Instructions for the jump ring weaving bracelet follow at the end.

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Three different techniques

 

As well as these two easy to make bracelets you can also buy a pattern for this beautiful multi strand cuff bracelet from my ETSY shop.

Plaiting

The deerskin is very soft and plaits beautifully – so don’t stop at the usual 3-strand plaiting! It is just as easy to plait with four or even five lengths to make different widths of bracelet or cuff. Secure the leather at one end with tape or pin to a cork or macramé board. You will need an extra 1/3 to 1/2 more on each strand than the finished length to plait.

Plaited Wrap Bracelet

Use 10mm ribbon crimps to finish the ends of the three strand plaiting. Add an initial charm (from I-Beads) with jump rings and add a lobster clasp. Plait approximately 31cm to wrap around twice, or 46cm to wrap three times round your wrist (17.5cm standard size).

Three strand plait

  1. Lift the left strand over and place in between the other two strands
  2. Lift the right strand over and place in between the other two strands
  3. Repeat taking the left over, then the right keeping the plaiting compact
  4. Continue until the plaiting is the length required – tape at both ends to secure

Four strand plait

  1. Lift the left strand over the first and under the second strand
  2. Take the right strand under the strand that has just been woven across from the left
  3. Repeat lifting the left over the first and under the second strand
  4. Repeat taking the right strand under the strand just woven across from the left
  5. Continue until the plaiting is the length required – tape at both ends to secure

Five strand plait

  1. Lift the left strand over the first strand and under the second strand
  2. Lift the right strand over the first strand then under the strand that has just been woven across from the left
  3. Repeat lifting the left over the first and under the second strand
  4. Repeat lifting the right strand over the first strand then under the stand just woven across from the left
  5. Continue until the plaiting is the length required – tape at both ends to secure

Use these 25mm or 43mm magnetic clasps from I-Beads to finish the wider plaiting and make a quick cuff bracelet.

Jumpring weaving

Why not make this quick and clever idea? Use 8mm jump rings to weave two strands of deer hide lace to make a simple bracelet and finish with these cord ends.

  1. Take one strand of leather down through the jump ring from right to left
  2. Take a second strand up through the jump ring from right to left
  3. Slide the first ring along, begin again taking the top strand up through a jump ring
  4. Take the second strand down through the jump ring – you can see the leather is woven in opposite directions through the rings
  5. Slide the rings along so that they butt together and then repeat from step 1
  6. Continue until the weaving is the length required. Trim the leather and attach the cord ends – add a little strong glue into the hole in the cord end not on the leather
  7. Add a small jump ring to both ends and a large lobster clasp to finish.

 

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Win tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh

The Knitting and Stitching Show is coming to Edinburgh for the second year at the end of April. It is a fantastic event, so if you have never been, do come along as there is so much to see and do. As well as the usual sales stalls there are fascinating things to see including the Textile Galleries,  Craft in Action and the Butterfly garden as well as dozens of workshops. And once again I’m teaching several classes over the four days do take a look and if you’d like to try do book following the workshops link below. You can see below that these are quick projects that you should be able to complete on the day. As always my aim is to design pretty projects that are easy to learn that you will love to make.

This year I’ve also got a stand near the Learning Curve area so do come along to say hello at E48 where I’ll have some ready-made crochet jewellery, macramé and crochet jewellery kits all with Swarovski crystals and a selection of crystals for sale. If I’m teaching in the Learning Curve you’ll get the chance to meet my daughter Ashley who is coming up from Lincolnshire to help.

Fabric flower tag

Ticket Competition

I have two pairs of tickets to give away so I’m running a fun competition. One of my workshops is this beautiful vintage tag embellished with ribbon flowers and Swarovski crystals and pearls. I’d love to see your ideas using ribbon. Ashley and I will choose the most innovative/fun entries and send out a pair of tickets worth £26 or £32 on the door.

 

Put your photos on my Facebook page and I’ll add to this blog post as well. You’ve got until Monday 6th March at 15.00 to post your pics!

Click on the link to read more about each project and to book via the Knitting and Stitching Show website for any of the  workshops I’m teaching.

 

 

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What crystals are heart shaped? Your guide to Swarovski Hearts.

Let your heart shine

Every Valentine’s Day hearts become the motif of the moment but it is a incredibly beautiful shape to design with any time of the year.  How many different heart shaped crystals do you know about?  I’ve had a look see and decided to show you some of the different heart crystals available from Swarovski to help in your designs.

Bollywood Swarovski Heart necklace

I used two sizes of heart shaped fancy stones to create this fabulous necklace.

Fancy stones

These no-hole crystals have matching settings and you can order either with or without holes and in a range of finishes and in ‘Breaking news’ Swarovski have just added round stone settings to their range!

Settings with holes allow the DIY designer to make fabulous crystal jewellery without using a soldering iron. You just sit the stone level in the setting and bend the lugs down with pliers.

Wiring jewellery, like this fabulous Bollywood style necklace, is one of my favourite techniques and one that you should be able to do too. In this necklace the cupchain is wrapped with wire and then attached to the floral centre piece. The heart fancy stones are wired into the cupchain to create the beautiful flowing shape. Detail Swarovski Heart Fancy Stone

What crystals are heart shaped?

Plenty of crystals to choose in a range of heart shapes too! My favourite are the sew-on stones, perfect for that quick, easy to wear bracelet using macramé or switchback braid.

Check out this link to Beads Direct and Jilly Beads who both have lots of heart shapes.

  • Pendants made up to 37mm, these generally have a hole at the top, though one style has a heart shaped hole. Available in a range of shapes.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-13-27-22‘Devoted 2 You’ heart pendant available from I-Beads

  • Sew-on stones  easy to use flat back foiled crystals that have a hole at both sides. Perfect for stitching onto a backing or attached with jump rings to designs.

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  • Be Charmed pendants – beautiful charms and pendants with tiny Swarovski crystals embedded into clay.

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  • Flat back crystals – available in hot fix or plain these little heart crystals are perfect for embellishing clothing. Try placing the hotfix on a bead shaped from Fimo and bake in the oven to stick.

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  • Buttons – beautiful heart shaped buttons are perfect for making a fastening for macramé and other styles of knotted jewellery. They also look stunning on an embroidered design.

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Be inspired and buy some Swarovski Hearts for your next jewellery project!

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Checking for errors…

It is perhaps inevitable that mistakes creep in to beading books as there are so many diagrams to check and double check. One error (see below) in a diagram flagged up when my Knotting and Braiding Bible was translated into French recently but over the Festive season I got a lovely message from a lady in the US telling me that she had found errors on two diagrams in the spin-off: The Beginner’s Guide to Kumihimo is available as an e-book and a physical copy.

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16 strand round braid

I tried out the two patterns for 16 strand kumihimo last night and thought she was right initially but I felt that I wasn’t concentrating (watching TV at the time!) so I started again and was relieved to find that the diagrams are both correct!

 

 

 

 

 

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Rounded flat braid

 

This is the error on page 34 (p118 in the original paperback) – the instructions are correct but diagram 3 should look as the dark lines shown.