Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sliding Knot - More than Just a Knot

One of the most practical knots you'll learn to tie when working with leather cord is the sliding knot. It's also known as a coil knot or a barrel knot because of its shape. It eliminates the need for a clasp and end caps on bracelets and necklaces and is a great way to lengthen and shorten necklaces to suit your neckline.
Adjustable bracelet with sliding knot on a brown leather cord, strung with copper freshwater-pearl cluster beads.

But it's way more than just a means of making adjustable jewellery - it's very versatile and it can be used in so many ways to add interest to your leather cord jewellery.

Take a look at some of the many different ways it can be used and then scroll down to see how to tie a barrel knot.

Use it to secure beads in the centre of bracelet or necklace.

Bronze leather cord bracelet strung with bronze acrylic pave beads, secured in place by barrel knots

In this example, a barrel knot on either side of the focal beads keeps them from working their way around to the back of the bracelet.

Use barrel knots as a decorative element to add interest to a plain cord

Decorative barrel knots made of white leather necklace cord spaced evenly around a black leather cord and strung with a black and white striped glass heart and long dangling tassel

This necklace uses white barrel knots to give the plain black stringing cord some interest, without taking away from the focal beads.

White leather faux barbed wire bracelet strung with red crystal hearts and pearl lampwork heart beads

On this bracelet, the barrel knots are trimmed longer and at an angle to represent barbed wire.

Use a barrel knot to create a loop for hanging components

Pearl clusters, pave beads and gold dust beads strung on lengths of brown leather cord to make dangling earrings

Create a loop in leather cord to hang from an earring wire. Then thread the cord with beads and knot to secure.

Barrel knots used on multi cord jewellery create groupings of beads

leather cord necklace strung with clusters of brass beads

Create clusters of beads by stringing one bead on each cord and then securing them all in place with a barrel knot.

Create a link connector

Stretch Magic cluster pearl bracelet with leather cord infinity loop focal

Create a loop, string a bead and then create another loop and you have a link that you can connect to other components. This link is attached to a length of beads strung on Stretch Magic.

Learn How to tie a Sliding Knot

Keep an eye out for some tutorials on how to make these pieces in upcoming weeks  but in the meantime, check out this short video from Silver Creek Leather which shows you how easy it is to tie a sliding knot.

'Til next time.......

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Shorten a Kilt Pin

In my last post, I shared a project using an unbent kilt pin. These are sometimes called hat pins or safety pins. With an unbent pin, you're able to string beads directly onto the shaft where they will be secured by turning a safety pin loop. The hard part is judging how many beads to string before creating the double loop. Sometimes, you don't get it quite right, like the pin below. After turning the loop, the pin was way too long to slide under the clasp.

But no need to despair..... it's fixable!

Read on to see how I do it.

You'll need a couple of tools to rectify the problem: memory wire shears and a drill with grinding bits. I like Her Embosser battery-operated drill because it's so portable and lightweight but a Dremel is good too.

Begin by trimming away the excess pin. It needs to be long enough to catch under the clasp.

I've trimmed this one just shorter than the beginning of the curve of the clasp. This is a steel pin so it's essential you don't use your wire cutting pliers or you'll damage the blades irreparably. Memory wire shears are designed to cut through steel, so use those instead.

Now that it's the right length, it just needs reshaping using the drill. I've selected the barrel-shaped grinding bit for this job. The idea is to remove the bluntness from the cut end of the pin.

Keep grinding it away on all sides until you create a point again.

Now it's just a matter of grinding the shaft below the tip until it comes to a gradual point.

Compare the piece that I trimmed off from the pin with the newly ground point. You can see how similar they are.

Now the pin is sharp enough (and smooth enough) to pass through fabric again.

There are many little jobs I use Her Embosser for when I'm making jewellery. Look out for a future post on all the different ways I use this marvellous tool.

'Til next time.......

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Garden Inspired Shawl Pin for St Patrick's Day

When there's a little chill in the air, a shawl or a scarf is a great accessory to add to your outfit. Even with your neck covered, you can still accessorise your outfit with jewellery - it just won't be around your neck. Try a pretty and practical shawl pin instead. Just drape a warm shawl over your shoulders, gather the folds and pin the two sides together in the front with this garden inspired shawl pin. Because you form this straight pin into a kilt pin after you've strung the beads and components, they will be secure and not fall off when you unclip the brooch.
DIY Swarovski crystal shawl pin made from a kilt pin

Here's what you'll need to make your own shawl pin:

Straight hat pin with hook - 5 1/2"
Swarovski bicones - 5 x 6mm Emerald; 4 x 4mm Erinite
Swarovski briolette - 3 x Erinite
8 x 3mm silver spacers
Curved silver flower connector 34mm x 17mm
5 x 6mm silver jump rings
4 silver head pins

Tools: flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, memory wire shears

String the Erinite bicones on head pins and bend each one at a 90° angle.

Turn a simple loop.

Hook a jump ring through the central loop of the flower connector and slip on a briolette. Close the jump ring. Attach a jump ring and briolette to the lowest loop of each of the two outer flowers.

Open the loop on each of the bicones. Attach one on either side of the central briolette. Hook the other two through the middle loop of the second and fourth flowers.

Hook a jump ring through the outermost loop of each of the first and fifth flowers and close them.

String two spacer beads, an Emerald bicone and the jump ring on one end of the connector. Then string two spacer beads, three bicones and two more spacers.

Slide the jump ring on the connector along with the beads close to the end of the pin so that you can hook on the second jump ring on the connector.

String a bicone and two more spacers.
Kilt pin strung with Swarovski crystals and jewellery connector

Now it's time to turn the straight pin into a kilt pin. In the next few steps, you'll create the loop in the pin. The trick here is to make sure that you have enough length left in your pin to be able to close the catch. Mine only just closed which means I made my loop just a fraction too large. To make sure yours catches easily, grip the wire in the jaws of the pliers just a little higher than the photo below shows so that your loop will be smaller. 

With the hook of the hat pin facing upwards, grip the hat pin next to the last bead.

Wrap the wire over the top jaw of the pliers back towards the hook.

Remove the pliers and reposition them so that you are now gripping the wire above the bend you just made. Wrap the wire around the bottom jaw of the pliers so that you have formed a complete loop. The wire will now be pointing away from the hook.

Remove the pliers again and insert the top jaw of the pliers into the loop. Bend the wire back over the jaw towards the hook to complete the pin. If you've used a longer pin and it's too long to hook under the catch, then check out this blog post which shows how to shorten the pin.

Pin it to your favourite scarf or shawl and step out in style - it's just the thing for St Patrick's Day!
St Patrick's Day shawl pin

Pin this Project!
How to turn a DIY kilt pin into a shawl pin inspiration sheet.

'Til next time.......

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs