1. Crystal Hugs Bracelet


Crystal Hugs:
a beadwork project for beginners 

by Marilyn Gardiner:

Overview

This is a beadwork project for beginners. The interesting idea is that you will use two needles, one on each end of the thread. But I repeat—it’s a project for beginners. The result is a wonderful, sparkly bracelet in your favourite colors. And a side benefit is that you will have learned how to do one row of right-angle weave.

The beads you will use are Swarovski crystals in the bicone shape. In other words the crystal has a point on either side, and if you lay them out in a square, the points fit together and form a diamond shape. The right-angle weave stitch is designed perfectly to make this happen.

Notice the alternating diamond shapes in the photo. The pairs of small clear crystals set apart the two diamond shapes.

Right-angle weave can be done with one needle, but this particular project works best with two needles. But, you only work with one needle at a time! You should have a fabric bead mat to work on (Vellux fabric mats are excellent for this.) If you are using the right-hand needle, the other one will be stuck into the mat off to your left, or “parked”.

I chose peridot for the large crystals and topaz for the
medium-sized ones. More photos below.
Supplies
36 of 6 mm Swarovski bicone crystals
36 of 4 mm Swarovski bicone crystals
36 of 3 mm Swarovski bicone crystals
These quantities will make a bracelet a bit more than 8.5″ long, including a clasp.
 

15-1 Seed Beads You need only 0.5 of a gram of these silver-lined crystal beads for a dainty silver loop on each end.
(15-3 is the silver-lined gold color alternative)

2 small, heavy Jump Rings
(I used 16 gauge, 3 mm ID—but you may have to settle for a lighter gauge if that’s all you can find)

1 Clasp in a silver or gold color

Thread: Nymo D or equivalent

Needles: size 10 & size 12

Crystal Colors: The color choice is up to you, but I often use a dark tone for the largest crystals, a medium tone for the 4 mm crystals, and a clear crystal for the smallest crystals.
 

Clasp: Any clasp, such as a toggle, will look great, but I used a “ball and socket” clasp for this one. I’ve also heard it referred to as a “snap” clasp. If you go searching to buy one of these, be aware that there is a range of quality & price. You get what you pay for. For about $4 you can buy 2 pairs of the heavier quality silver-plated ones.

Thread Color: I mostly use a gray thread for cool colours and a sand color for warm colors. These colors seem to disappear into the background when you have beads in a range of tones.

Needles: I always have both size 10 & size 12 needles on hand. I start with the size 10s because the eye is big & the needle is easy to thread. If I get into a tight spot & have trouble getting the needle through the hole because there’s lots of thread there already, I change to a size 12 needle. My last resort is to gently use a pair of pliers to help pull the needle. Don’t use too much force or you will break the bead—in this situation it’s better to go around that bead.

—————————-The Project: Crystal Hugs Bracelet——————–
Stitch the Crystals

Step 1: The Smaller Diamond

 

Measure off about 1.5 yards of thread. Optional: wax it or condition with Thread Heaven. Stretch it in sections to remove kinks.

Thread a needle and add 4 medium crystals (#1, 2, 3, 4). Slide the crystals to the center of the thread and thread a second needle on the other end of the thread.

Pass the second needle through crystal #4 so that it is going in the opposite direction to the first thread. This makes a circle. See the diagram.

Arrange the crystals so they are in the middle of the thread.

When working with 2 needles it is helpful if you are working on a thick surface such as a bead mat so that you can “park” the needle you aren’t using by sticking it into the fabric on your left or on your right.

Step 2: Transition Crystals
 

With the left needle “L” add a small and a large crystal, #5 & #6. Park L.

Pick up the right needle “R” and add a small crystal, #7. Pass this needle through the large crystal in the opposite direction to make a circle (just as you did in step 2). Park R.

Step 3: Large DiamondWith the left needle “L” add 2 large crystals, #8 & #9. Park L.

Pick up the right needle “R” and add a large crystal, #10. Pass this needle through the end crystal you added with L, going in the opposite direction, to make a circle (just as you did in steps 2 & 3). Park R.

Step 4: Transition Crystals

With the left needle L add 1 small crystal and 1 medium crystal, #11 & # 12. Park L.

Pick up the right needle R and add a small crystal, #13. Pass this needle through the end crystal you added with L, going in the opposite direction, to make a circle (just as you did in steps 1 & 2. Park R.

Step 5: Smaller Diamond

With the left needle “L” add 2 medium crystals. Park L.

 

Pick up R and add a medium crystal. Pass this needle through the end crystal you added with L, going in the opposite direction, to make a circle (just as before). Park R.

Step 6: The Rest of the CrystalsRepeat steps 2 to 5 for the length of the bracelet. Leave 1 inch for the clasp. (The finished length of an average-sized bracelet is about 7.25″.) End with a medium sized crystal, either step 4 or step 5, whichever works best to end up with a bracelet length that fits.
Clasp OverviewThe clasp is a “ball & socket” clasp, Each half of the clasp is attached with a jump ring to a loop of seed beads. After creating an end loop, you will stitch through beads to the other end of the bracelet—and this will tighten and strengthen the bracelet. When the second loop is completed you will again stitch through beads to the other end.
Step 7: Adding a Loop for the Clasp
The end horizontal crystal should have a thread coming from each hole. With R pick up 8 seed beads and pass through the end crystal to make a loop of beads. Park R.  

Pick up L and pass through the seed beads and the crystal. Park L.

Step 8: Move to the other end

Using one needle at a time, pass through crystals in an “S” pattern, following the original thread path. See the diagram. Your goal is to tighten up the tension of the beads and to reinforce and strengthen the stitching.

 

Use one needle and move through several crystals, stopping at a horizontal crystal. Then pick up the other needle and stitch until the L & R threads exit different sides of the same horizontal crystal. Tighten the thread. Continue in this manner until you reach the last crystal at the other end.

Adding the Other Loop
Add a loop of 8 seed beads following the instructions in step 7.
 

Move to the other end
Stitch with both needles, just like step 8 back to the other end, continuing to tighten & strengthen.

Finishing
Turn at the end crystal and continue to stitch for another inch or so. You may have to change to a smaller needle or gently use pliers to pull the thread through some beads. End the threads. By now the beads are pretty well filled with thread!

Add the Clasp
Open a jump ring with pliers. Slip the jump ring through a loop of beads and the small ring at the end of a clasp half. Close the jump ring. Repeat for the other half of the clasp. Make sure the bracelet is not twisted before you close the second jump ring. The top photo shows the jump ring & clasp.

Some ExamplesThe top bracelet uses Jet and Black Diamond crystals.

The middle one uses Amethyst and Light Amethyst crystals.

The lower one uses Sapphire and Light Sapphire.

References

There is a bracelet pattern called Hugs & Kisses, much like this one, that is also made with right-angle weave. It can be made with round Czech fire polish beads, and usually has crosses (or kisses) made of seed beads stitched on top of the crystals.

If you would like to explore right-angle weave further, Christine Prussing has a book called Beading with Right Angle Weave (Interweave Press) that has many projects to bead.

I always like to search out excellent teachers, and David Chatt is one of the most knowledgeable in right-angle weave. For inspiration, take a look at the gallery of his work. I had a delightful weekend workshop in Toronto working with him, learning the intricacies of this stitch.

Copyright 2006 Marilyn Gardiner.
All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission by the Beading Times.


HOME l SHOP l BLOG l MAKE JEWELLERY l SHOWS l CLASSES l GALLERY l FAQ's l ABOUT l CONTACT