Kristen broadcast her second episode of Free Spirit Beading on YouTube on Monday. Her first episode was an introduction to wire wrapped cones on knitting spool crafted bracelets. This episode focuses on how to design a beaded bracelet with a knitting spool. She shows you how to knit your design and then how to finish the piece with crimps and wire wrapped cones.
Kristen starts off the show with an introduction. She says she is going to talk about knitting on the knitting spool with Soft Flex beading wire and she is going to make a knitted bangle bracelet. She brings the camera down to her work table so we can see what supplies she is using.
She shows us a spool of Green Turquoise Soft Flex beading wire. Green Turquoise is available on our website in .019 (medium) diameter. Green Turquoise is a great wire to use for Southwestern jewelry. This color is also a great accent wire for translucent beads and crystals with a similar tone. If you string a color that is similar to the stone you are using and they are see-through, there is a wonderful highlight to the stones. Any of our colors of Soft Flex can be used on jewelry designs where the wire is meant to be shown. A color wire is perfect for illusion necklaces.
She shows us her knitting spool. She is using a 5 pin knitting spool. We have three knitting spools on our site. 3 pin, 4 pin, and 5 pin. The 3 pin has a smaller finished design and uses less wire. It is a great knitting spool for beginners as it is easy to pick up and forgiving when mistakes are made. The finish of the 4 and 5 pin are more wire intensive. More wire is used for these designs. All three knitting spools are fantastic. Designs on any of the knitting spool can include beads. If you are knitting with Craft Wire, a draw plate can be used to make the finished piece more compact and uniform.
She shows us her cutters. Kristen uses Soft Flex Professional Flush Cutters. These cutters are perfect for jewelry designers that do a lot of cutting or want to cut the wire very close to their crimps. A pair of economy cutters will do for a designer that is not cutting a lot of wire. Economy cutters do the job just fine. However, once you start cutting a lot of wire, you will find you are replacing your economy cutters frequently. You will also find that the finished cut is not always flush and perfect. Professional Flush Cutters are constructed with a harder metal. This means they will be much more durable. Professional Flush Cutters can also be sharpened (which might be necessary after a half a million cuts or so), this means it will be like owning a new pair. Simply take them to a knife sharpener. Once they are sharpened they can be adjusted so the blades meet like they were new. You will pay more upfront for Professional Flush Cutters. But once you start replacing economy cutters frequently, you will start spending more on toolbox upkeep.
She shows us her Magical Crimping Pliers. These crimping pliers are wonderful. They turn a crimp tube into a rounded bead. This eliminates the need for crimp covers to conceal the finished crimps. Not everybody likes the look of finished crimps from regular crimping pliers, but a rounded bead is always beautiful.
Kristen shows us her Nylon Jaw Pliers. She uses these to straighten her Craft Wire. Off of the spool, Craft Wire can be used to conforming to the shape of the spool and may curl a little. The Craft Wire can be pulled through these pliers to straighten the wire. She says if she has time, she will be using this tool with her spool of 22 gauge Silver Plated Pewter Craft Wire.
She shows us the rest of the materials on her bead mat. She has 6mm pearls. She has a focal bead from Jesse James Beads. She has two 2x2mm crimp tubes so she can finish the design. She says she will not finish this design with a clasp. Soft Flex designs on knitting spools tend to have a stretchy finish. You can easily pull a bracelet on and off without a clasp necessary if you make the bracelet long enough that it pulls over the wrist. When not being pulled, the design will sit on the wrist snugly and comfortably.
Kristen says for this piece, she cut a thirteen foot length of Soft Flex Wire off of the spool. She used that amount because she knew it would give her about five and a half inches of knitted bracelet for this particular project. She has larger wrists and planned the bracelet to be seven inches in total length. Her focal bead and the two pearls bookending the focal bead would bring her bracelet size to the length she wanted. She says it is important to consider the size of the focal bead so you can figure it into the total length of the jewelry. She says ten to fifteen feet of beading wire is the length you are going to need for bracelets like this.
Kristen shows how to place the wire onto the knitting spool. She shows how to start the process of knitting, how she holds the wire, and how she counts the wire as she maneuvers it around the spool. Her knitting spool is numbered for easier use. She wrote the numbers on the knitting spool to make the process easier. Kristen shows how the knitting spool works. She wraps Soft Flex Wire around each of the pins on the knitting spool. She then wraps a second layer on the pins. She then draws the bottom layer of wire on the pins over the top layer of wire. At the point the wire is drawn down the bottom of the spool. The process of wrapping a top layer of wire over the pins is repeated.
Check out our how-to pages on the three styles of knit we like to work with:
Knitting spools are easy and fun once you get the hang of it. The finished designs are rewarding. So simple, yet so beautiful; people will be stunned by your handmade jewelry. Once the basics of knitting have been learned, knitting spool work can be done while watching TV or relaxing. It is an easy and fun way to multitask.
I won’t spoil all of the fun. Make sure to watch the video to see Kristen at work. Make sure to join her on Mondays. She broadcasts her show every Monday at 11:00am PST. If you catch a live show, you can ask her questions about jewelry design or art in general. She is an incredibly gifted artist as well as jewelry designer. Her insights into crafting are always educational and fun.
Be sure to check out the video below for another demonstration with the knitting spool.
Visit the Soft Flex Company YouTube Channel!
Blog contributor Thomas Soles loves Jazz Age writers and crunchy French fries. His favorite gemstones are Lapis and Pietersite. His favorite hobby is day dreaming. And his favorite mustache is Freddie Mercury's. As you can see, he has a healthy (or possibly unhealthy) sense of humor. You can write to him at Thomas@SoftFlexCompany.com