Friday, December 2, 2011

Quick holiday ear-blings for parties & gifts

Now that we're officially in the month of December, it's a great time to panic about what you're wearing to the flurry of holiday parties, and what your gift options are. Here's a pair of earrings made using right angle weave (RAW), which is quick, sturdy and open to endless variations. Make some for yourself. Make some for your loved ones. This is a multi-purpose recipe.

First I'm giving the directions for the basic pair (the gold crystal earrings on the left hand side of the picture), then I'll describe some of the variations I've tried.

You'll need:
  • 8 8mm crystal bicones or rounds
  • 6 6mm crystal bicones or rounds
  • 6 4mm crystal bicones or rounds
  • a few size 11/0 or 15/0 seed beads/Delicas in a complementary color
  • beading needle and 6lb Fireline

Thread about one and a half wingspans of Fireline onto your needle, and position the needle in the center of the thread (you don't need to knot it). Throughout your weaving, try to maintain firm tension on the thread -- this helps support the structure of the earring - but be careful about it. The crystals have sharp edges and if you just haul on the line you'll break your thread, which is a real pain when you're beadweaving with a doubled thread.

String (1 8mm crystal, 1 seed bead) 4 times for a total of 8 beads on your thread. Move them down to about 3 inches from the ends of the thread, and tie a knot so the beads form a circle. Pass the needle all the way around all 8 beads again to reinforce the weaving, and finish this section by pulling the needle and all the thread through one of the bicones. DO NOT pass through a seed bead as you finish.

Now string (1 seed bead, 1 6mm crystal) three times, and add an extra seed bead at the end, for a total of 7 new beads. This picture shows the needle pointing at the spot you'll weave through.

Weave through the "top" 8mm bead and all 7 beads you've just added, and then bring your needle through enough of the new beads that it ends up at the top of the earring.

If your earring feels a little loose, you can go back around the "circle" formed by t he 3 6mm beads and the top 8mm bead.

Repeat the last step using your 4mm crystals in place of the 6mm ones.

Finally, add a loop for your earwire. String 7 or so seed beads onto your thread, and then pass back through the top 4mm bead. Weave around the loop one or two more times to strengthen the loop. Then weave back down, knot your Fireline and trim the ends.

Add the ear wire of your choice. Make another earring and you're finished. After you've made a pair or two, you'll be able to finish them in about a half hour barring interruptions.

  • Mix round and bicone crystals for a slightly different look.
  • Add extra "tiers" to the earrings to up the bling content. The pair of earrings on the right hand side of the top picture starts with 8mm black diamond tin cut crystals, then goes through 6mm and 4mm tiers, then into 8/0 and 11/0 seed beads for more taper at the top. If you're going for this look, don't use the same size of beads twice in a row - it disrupts the proportions of the earring.
  • Turn it upside down - add your loop for the earwire to the largest beads on your earring so the beads get smaller as they go.
  • Use different types of beads. Nearly anything will work for this basic design, as long as the beads are about the same size length and width. Unfortunately, that doesn't include those dazzling Chinese rondelles. Fire polished smooth or faceted rounds, gemstone beads, metal, anything is fair game.

I hope this gives you lots of inspiration - happy holidays - Tina