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This pattern has been around for a long time, it seems--I learned the original method from the book by Ginke Root--Innovative Beaded Jewelry Techniques, and there was a recent article in Jewelry Crafts Magazine Sept/Oct '98 by Anita Barniville, expaining the same technique. I've modified the technique somewhat--don't think it's any 'better' or 'worse' than Ms. Root's technique, just easier for me to handle.

For a different look and technique, Caroline Bleil gave me these hints: Sarah, I use the crystals too, but when the first bracelet I made fell apart on me shortly after I completed it (and I ALWAYS use Silimide for everything), I thought "There must be a better way." A double-strand is too thick, so I considered Soft-Flex, but even the thinnest is too thick to make more than one pass through a crystal. So I decided to try using size 14 seed beads in the same color as the crystals that I was using to cushion and protect the thread. It works like a charm and I haven't had another bracelet break since I've been using them. (OK--update--even with the silamide, some of the bracelets were coming back broken--I now use spiderwire--a fishing line that seems to be pretty sturdy...all results aren't in yet--I've also used SoftTouch 0.01 size, but don't really like the 'hand' of it, even though it seems definitely STRONG!)I've even slept in them a few times. I think I've made 13 or 14 of them now. A bonus too, they "extend" your bracelet a little bit so that you don't have to use quite so many crystals. I use 70 crystals on a 7" bracelet, excluding the clasp, which leaves enough to make matching earrings if you bought a package or strand of 100 to begin with. Also, I found that the bracelets where I "skipped" every other crystal "square" with the Delicas (thus making 11 X's along the bracelet instead of 23) makes a more attractive braclet because you can see more of the crystals. This is especially important when you are using crystals with an AB finish. I just made one on Saturday from amethyst crystals with an AB finish that I got last year from Betcey Ventrella of Beyond Beadery, and it's LUCIOUS! Try it once and see if you like it. Caroline (Click on 'New Hugs and Kisses Bracelet for a fine example of this method)

Check out my auctions at Ebay--some of the beads I love best--Charlottes and whitehearts this week, and now featuring a Hugs and Kisses bracelet kit.

If you don't like doing the ebay thing, kits ARE available from me--a kit includes 90 crystals, 300 size 14 Japanese or charlotte beads, depending on the style you're looking for, and a toggle clasp, spiderwire, and crimp beads. Email me Prices run from $13 to $18, depending on what colors/beads you're looking for.

I use and highly recommend using spiderwire for this particular project, because crystals, even the Swarovskis that I use can be sharp, (I get my Swarovskis from Betcey at Beyond Beadery--she's got some absolutely wonderful ones!) and the silamide seems to hold up much better. First--cut about 2 yards of silamide, and thread a needle on each end--in these pictures, I used white silamide, though I would have normally used black or gray for these crystals, just to make the contrast a bit easier on my camera. String a delica bead close to the color of the beads you'll be using for your 'X's'--bring the delica down to the center of the thread.

The next step is easy--bring both needles through a 4mm crystal, and bring the crystal down the threads until it rests against your delica. (see photo below)

You now have a crystal with two threads coming out of it--a right hand and left hand thread--and are ready to begin what is basically two needle right angle weave. Thread two crystals on the left hand thread and one on the right hand thread.

Two beads on left hand thread, one on right.

Now you bring the right hand thread through the bead nearest the needle, the end of the bead also nearest the needle--this picture shows how I hold the beads to make it easier for me not to split any thread, which causes tangles/trouble. I balance the two beads on the left hand thread on my left index finger, with the needle held down between my left middle and ring finger (see the blue mark)--to make it easier to make this pass. At this point, the threads cross, and your left hand needle will become your right hand needle and vice versa.

Now, just pull the former left needle to the right and the former right needle to the left, to snug the crystals down together--this first set may need a bit of arranging to get them close and even.


EXAMPLES of different bracelets and one necklace in RAW.


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