Not too long ago I posted about getting back into crochet, and I even mentioned that I was working on a crochet jewelry project for BellaOnline. Then, I got busy listing liquidations on eBay . . . and working on my tumbler (so I wrote about that instead) . . . and getting ready for my trip to visit family in Las Vegas (tomorrow) . . .

In the meantime, Futuregirl Alice beat me to the punch with this extremely well-done crochet bracelet tutorial!

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Notice that you can alter this design by making it wider or more narrow, and you can easily size it to be an anklet or even a choker.

Very cool (and certainly not something found at Walmart).

Thanks, Alice!

I just published a new article on BellaOnline.com outlining how I use my Lortone model 3A rotary rock tumbler to polish sterling jewelry, pieces, and parts.

I’ll follow it up next week with some precautions and tips for tumbler maintenance.

If you’re looking for a good deal on a similar machine, you may want to check the current eBay listings.

plastic knitting needlesI’m a little late getting to this one, but I wanted to point out a cool, yet simple, project posted last week in Ric-Rac. Jodie carefully melts old, plastic knitting needles into round bangles. This got me thinking about plastic-melting in jewelry making, generally.

Jodie melts her needles in boiling water, which seems like a pretty good way to do it. It reduces the chance of scorching (or fires), and it allows the process to happen slowly and deliberately.

Of course, I’m always concerned about potentially toxic fumes from melting plastic. (I especially cringe when I see tutorials online for melting things like foam plastic food trays in your oven. It may sound like a good way to re-use these items, but consider the fumes!) But, it seems like the boiling-water method would be safer and less likely to emit fumes, perhaps. I’m sure it also depends on the type of plastic you’re melting – some, no doubt, are more toxic than others.

I do believe that you can greatly reduce all potential jewelry-making hazards by strictly following some important safety rules. On that topic, here’s an article I wrote a while back about polymer clay safety for BellaOnline.com.

Figural wire bending

July 21, 2007

The August 2007 issue of Bead & Button has a great article on creating shaped-wire dancing figures that attach to focal beads to make pendants.

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Designer Karen Rokoski explains how to bend 24-gauge wire into these little figures using round nose pliers for the round bends and chain nose pliers for the more angular ones.

I’ve seen a similar technique used before in elaborate wire artwork (which can be very cool). What’s neat about Rokoski’s method is how she attaches the figures to one another (like at the hands and feet for these dancers), and how she fastens the entire design to a focal bead using the drill-hole and a connection at the back.

The instructions in the tutorial are nicely done, with helpful close-up photos and an (essential) graphical chart.