Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I know when to give up.

And it was yesterday! After dreaming about this project for over a year, and working on one particular ring for over 2 weeks, I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to give it up for now.

I got this idea to make a series of beadwoven Jewish wedding rings from one of my favorite books, "Ancient and Folk Jewelry". It's more like a scholarly compilation of photographs of jewelry from all around the world dating back to ancient times, and it's got some incredible stuff in there. There was an entire page of Jewish wedding rings from the 13th - 15th centuries, and I just thought how beautiful they would look stitched up in tiny size 15 seed beads. So, I finally ordered some size 15 seed beads a few months ago, and then sat down to make the rings.

The first ring came out beautifully! I made it from gold-plated size 15 seed beads, and it fits the ring finger on my right hand perfectly. I wore it around to test it out to make sure it was durable, and got lots of compliments. My husband, who is not fond of large, bold jewelry, told me it looked like a "Wonder Woman" ring. I took that as a compliment! So I embarked on the more ambitious sculptural ring with a tiny structure that was supposed to be the Temple at Jerusalem, true to the original ring which was made in Italy sometime in the 14th century.

Well. I made all the sides and walls and roof for the temple. Then I found that because I had used Nymo D from a big cone that it filled up the tiny beads too quickly and I couldn't get the needle through to attach all the parts! So I remade all the parts using size B thread and managed to get the four walls attached to the base. I stitched the parts for the roof, and then stitched the embellishment around the walls on the base. Well, after I finished embellishing the base, I realized that there was once again too much thread in the bead holes and I couldn't get the needle through to attach the base to the ring band!

At that point, I decided to throw in the towel and embellish the band that I had already made as a simpler version of the first ring. I was feeling tired and frustrated, and I didn't really want to tear everything out and start all over. The other problem that I had was that when I used the Nymo B to make the walls and roof of the temple, the pieces were very flimsy, even after they were full of thread. So I'm going to have to let it sit for now in my UFO drawer, and I'll pull it out when I need something to work on at the farmers' markets and craft shows this summer.

For now, here are the two rings that I did manage to complete successfully:

I am also trying to find a better way to work, again. I moved my operations from the dining room table a few months ago in an effort to make sure we had a place to eat dinner. But the little table that I got at Target doesn't always work well. For starters, it's small. It gets crowded very easily, and I find that I am afraid of moving things around in case something critical gets knocked off, like a glass of water or juice! (Or wine!) It's also not very sturdy, and when Colden is crawling around and being a generally curious little kid, he can easily pull my piece of Velux right down onto the floor, spilling everything on the pad and knocking down the entire table. So my next brainstorm is to get a lap tray or a lap desk and glue a piece of Velux to it. I'd like to find one that has little walls around it so that if it does get bumped around, the worst that will happen is my beads will get mixed up and I won't be crawling around on the floor looking for that last 3mm bicone that I need to finish the project! I'm hoping I can sweet talk Tom into making something for me - he's really great with stuff like that, and he'd rather make something for me instead of having me buy it from someone else!

This is what my dining room table looked like last night after putting in several hours of beading. Luckily, it was just me and Colden at dinner - Tom was outside taking the snow tires off the cars.

So, I'm off to rehearsal with the ladies this afternoon with Colden, and then I actually have to COOK something for dinner tonight! After living off leftovers for a week, we finally ran out last night! But I whipped up a quick dinner of hummus, veggie sticks, and Mediterranean rice.

Waiting for the nice weather this weekend - they are predicting sunny and 70s, so I am hoping we can get out to the park for a few rounds on the swings and I can get some exercise in, too!


JaneLock said...

When you can face your project again try using a sz 13 needle, K.O. thread and conditioning it with artificial beeswax. The wax helps to "bind" everything together & the K.O doesn't fray like Nymo.
The work-in-progress is stunning, please go back to it after your breather!

VanBeads said...

Hey, thanks! I never thought to try a smaller needle, I just thought to use smaller thread, which didn't really work! Thanks for the suggestions - I will definitely try that!

Mariposa said...

Oh dear! And the already finished rings look so promising!
A sz 13 Needle surely would solve part of your problem. I always use fireline 0,10 mm and thread heaven as a conditioner for those projects. The fireline makes it less wobbly and is considerably thinner in diameter than K.O. or Toho-one-g. And (!) you can't stitch through the thread.
Don't give up!

The Beader's Muse said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just bought some size 15 John James needles. The smallest needle I had ever worked with before is size 12. I love working with charlottes and 15/o's and these needles make entirely new things possible. I highly suggest you invest in some of these little needles. They are a lot more expensive, but totally worth it if it saves you frustration. Also, I agree with Mariposa's comment about using Fireline. I'm not sure I would even be able to thread Nymo through the 15 needles, the Fireline makes it possible. I think your rings are beautiful!!! Very inspiring! I just finished a ring tutorial today and forgot how cute beaded rings can be. I also like to look at jewelry that is made from metal and try to convey it with beads. Thanks for sharing.

~Beads, Bliss, and Blessings!
*Scarlett Lanson*