zaterdag 7 april 2012

A wire and thread diversion

My Etsy shop calls. It's time I made something new to add to the collection. I've been thinking about making some Peruvian wire and thread art earrings. Ok, I admit, I discovered them while browsing around the other shops on Etsy, but they look like fun to make and so I'm going to learn. My first pair will be straightforward and maybe after a little practice I can vary them and give them my own slant. But, first the basics - one may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time. (What is that with me and mountains lately?!?)

I did a quick scan around the internet and found a ton of tutorials. This one (thank you Sue!:-)) seemed a good one to me - clear, step-by-step and with photos. Of course, I didn't follow it exactly - that's just me - but it would be perfect if you wanted to do that. I just have a congenital allergy to following instructions or lessons to the letter. I hasten to add that's not because I think I can do it any better, it's just that I like to experiment and come up with my own solutions to any problems that might arise (not always successfully I might add, but you live and learn and all the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind and all that twaddle!).

Anyway, get on with it woman! I took 2 lengths of aqua blue coloured coated copper wire (22 gauge as opposed to the 18 gauge wire recommended in the lesson (14 cm each in length) and fashioned two teardrop loops, crossing the wires over at the top and marking where they crossed by denting the wire slightly. This I did according to the tutorial, then I ventured out on my own. The instructions told me I should use a Coil Gizmo - don't have it, don't know what it looks like, won't wait to get one! - time to improvise. I found my slimmest knitting needle, a 2mm metal one and wound thick silver wire around the needle to form a coil. No, I don't know how thick the silver wire is! - it was just a coil I had lying around, but it's a good bit thicker than the 22 gauge copper wire. I thought I'd use silver wire instead of the suggested 22 gauge copper wire, as silver wire is sturdy and also flexible enough to bend easily around the needle using my fingers. I'm not one for using pliers and tongs when I can use my fingers. I like to feel what I'm doing.

So, I wound the silver wire (about 80cm long) around the knitting needle to form a coil, making sure to push the wire together with each turn so that it was evenly spaced. This was done surprisingly quickly because of the soft quality of the wire.

Leaving a few cm unwound at the end I removed the coil from the needle. As per the instructions, I then carefully pulled the coil, spreading it gently so that it equaled the length of the previously cut copper wire loop. I then threaded the copper wire loop into the coil, crossed the ends of the loop once again, tightening the coil and wire together securely to form a loop, leaving a piece of wire a couple of cm long sticking straight up (this is needed for attaching the earring loop later on). The result, a fairly decent-looking frame for the earring, although I say so myself!

Next step, was the thread-weaving, fun part! I chose a nice deep aqua blue embroidery thread. I split the thread and cut 4m (yes, it sounds a lot, but it is necessary)  of 1 single thread. I tied this with several knots around the top of the earring (we don't want it unravelling and messing everything up!). Then I brought the thread down to the halfway point at the bottom of the earring and looped it between the coils. After that it's just a question of bringing the thread back up and inserting it in the coil to the right of the top, then back down to the coil at the left of the middle, then back up and 1 to the right, then back down and 1 to the left and so on... It's important to try to keep the thread fairly tight but not to pull the teardrop out of shape while doing so, so pay attention!

After a short while you'll find you are back at the middle point again. Then all you have to do is bring the thread back up to the top and secure it, again with several knots. Easy peasy!
I got so caught up here I forgot to take more photos, but you get the jist I'm sure. The earrings needed a bit more colour so I added a little layer of aqua green thread in the same way at the bottom, starting as before by tying at the top of the earring, then bringing the thread down to the middle point again and then over to where I wanted the new colour to start. I continued this time until the right and left sides were at the same height. Then I repeated the whole process for the second earring, and this was the result:

To finish off,  I tied a few more knots in the threads at the top and cut off any long ends. I took a large patterned metal bead and slipped this over the wires and threads to hide all the ugly bits and added a few drops of transparant glue inside the top of the metal bead for extra security. The last step was to fashion a loop with the silver wire that was left sticking straight up at the beginning, fixing a silver-plated wire earring hook to the loop. I made sure here to attach the earring loops in the right direction, as these earrings have a proper back and front ( the back has vertical threads from the halfway point to the top, while the front does not).

Here you can gaze at the result of my labours...ok, they're not perfect, but I'll get there! Next time I think I might try a different shape...

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