Almost the end of the year for KL Jewelry Design

With the end of the shopping season coming to an end this Saturday at Papillion LaVista South High School Fall Arts and Crafts Show, I have to admit it has been an up and down year, mostly down in sales.  I had a few really good shows and festivals but mostly I crossed them off the list to skip for a few years.  There are just so many crafters out there making jewelry.  I honestly think that people think it is a piece of cake and any monkey can do it.

I have to agree with some of the things I’ve seen.  If you can buy or take notes from a magazine on jewelry making you go to the hobby store and pick up the exact same items and put them together in the exact same way then you copied a piece of jewelry, but what most of us do is use the magazines as an inspiration for a new design. 

Here’s how I work: I browse the jewelry and art jewelry magazines and books looking mostly for the latest trends in jewelry in order to keep up with the fashion desires of my customers.  Then I look at the different ways things are put together but again I am mostly looking for a new technique to use in making jewelry.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a design that I loved so much that I made it exactly the same way with the same type of materials.  All of my pieces that I offer for sale or that I keep for myself are my own original designs and combinations.

Retro Fun Set

Retro Fun Set

What I find the most rewarding is when I combine materials and colors that you just don’t think of putting together.  For instance, I have a piece named Retro Fun.  It is a necklace and bracelet set but what is unique about it is that I put lime green and AB (aurora borealis) finished teal colored seed beads with some lampwork beads that are simply blue and green with a little black detailing.  You probably wouldn’t think to put lime green and teal together but they work and look fantastic with the simple lampwork beads. This set is available for just $25.

Another way I work is when I’m out shopping at bead shops.  I normally don’t have a specific type of bead I’m looking for I’m just shopping for what catches my eye.  Sometimes when I see a strand of beads I know exactly what to make with them.  I say they are talking to me and yes I do spend time standing in front of the beads “petting” them waiting for them to tell me what they want to be.  That might sound strange but for those of us that create things this is pretty common that what we are using we say is speaking to us.  Maybe that’s why people think artists are crazy or insane, you decide. 
 
Anyway, when I was shopping in Kansas City a couple of months ago I found a strand of stick pearls.  I had never seen them before and had never seen any designs made with them but these were a beautiful peacock color and I picked them up right away, and they were the last strand.  My daughter was with me and said “What are you going to do with those?” and I just said these are a collar laying

Freshwater Stick Pearls

around your neck.  I have to find some little pearls that match to finish out the back of it.  I made that necklace and earrings set and the next day at a festival they were gone.  Since then I see hundreds of others making the same design selling them online but yesterday I just sold the 3rd set of stick pearls I have made.  This time it sold to a woman who when I started to explain to her they were real pearls she told me she knows.  She purchased a necklace exactly like the one I was selling for $300, mine sells for $55 and even though she already had that same design she bought it anyway.  I will be making my last set of stick pearls this week.  These are a beautiful cream color and the earrings will be slightly different but still dangling like the ones in the photo. 

 
But other times I purchase the beads with absolutely no idea what to make with them.  It could be I bought them because I love that stone, I liked the color, or maybe I had made something else with that material that was very popular like this rainforest jasper set.   These beads I purchased from a fellow artist that ran into trouble and was in the process of liquidating all of her supplies and they were such a good deal and I loved the colors in the stone I had to get them.  They sat in one of my drawers for a few months with me taking

Rainforest Jasper Set

them out and looking at them with no ideas coming to mind until I found the same stone in round beads.  Then inspiration hit and I made a necklace out of the larger Russian cross beads separated by the round beads but this left me with more of the Russian cross beads leftover to put back in a drawer.  When this set sold within a couple of shows, and the summer was ending I knew women would be looking for these colors so the next time I put this set together instead of  round rainforest jasper beads I chose a rather odd color of green freshwater pearls.  These freshwater pearls blend right in with the colors of the rainforest jasper beads and is for sale for just $35.

 
I have a story for everything I make.  I try to entertain my customers and educate them about the piece of jewelry they are purchasing with what the stone is, where is comes from, and sometimes I know what that stone is supposed to help you with like love or money or protection.  For the most part I find people are interested in knowing about the stones and appreciate learning about the jewelry.  Visit my shop at KL Jewelry Design at Etsy.com or  KL Jewelry Design at Bonanza.com.
 
Now it’s time to get to work.  Hope you have enjoyed learning how I work and shop to your heart’s content. 
Kris
 
 
 
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KL Jewelry Design’s Jewel School Contest Entry

Please visit JTV  to vote on my entry in the Jewel School Contest.  This is a photo of the piece I entered.  Thanks.

 

Musings from Kris

This week I went out shopping at my local bead stores because I wanted to do some wire work with Artistic wire.

A while ago I bought the Lazee Daizee viking knit tool kit and it came with copper wire. I haven’t played around much with it but I will be today.

What I wanted to talk about today was the Wyr Knittr. I read a ton of really bad reviews about this tool but when I came across it in one of the stores I picked it up to give it a try. I found the little instructions that came with the tool easy to read but the photos are not much help and I happen to be one of those people who rarely reads the instructions because I look at the pictures. If I can’t figure it out by the photos then I read.

Anyway I ended up going to their website and they have much better instructions for using the Wyr Knittr.

The first time I tried to use it the stitches just wrapped around the hooks. I searched the website and found this information and thought yep that’s what I’m doing wrong.

Q. My knitted wire gets bunched up around the top of the Knittr! What am I doing wrong? (This happens only if you have a Wyr Knittr with one clip.) Mine came with three but I was only using one.
A1. Pull down gently but firmly on the nose of the clip that’s holding the wire more often.
A2. The weighted clip may not be hanging freely. Be sure that it does not rest on the table and there is weight on the wire coming out of the machine.
A3. The stitches being knitted are not falling below the latches. Make sure you push EACH STITCH below the latch (see close-up of instructions) or the wire will not knit properly.
A4. It could be that your wire broke around the needles while you were knitting. Look down the tube to see if this has happened and, if so it would be best to just start again.
A5. If you are using 28-gauge wire, you will need to pull down a bit more often since this wire is thicker and less resilient.

Okay so thanks that makes a little more sense, but when I tried it I found that the stitch on the hook didn’t drop below the clasp so I had to find out about that and what to do.  Here’s what I found out, if it doesn’t go below you clasp on your hook you have to push it down.  No other solution for that problem and I had to push it down on every single stitch.

Push down stitch

I started using the Wyr Knittr but I quickly found that holding the wire in one hand and not putting tension on it, turning the handle with the other while holding onto the Wyr Knittr, pushing down each stitch and making sure I didn’t bump the weights and cause them to fall off was just too much to do.  I don’t know about you but I was only born with two hands and even though all moms learn how to multi-task and do things that used to take two hands with only one because the other is holding the child, I still couldn’t do all this.

So when my husband, Steve, got home from work I told him about what problems I was having and the looked around my studio work bench and said, “If you have a dowel that will fit the spool of wire you could put the dowel in your vise and drop the spool on that.  Then you wouldn’t have to hold the wire and your hands would be free.”  Genius, I knew there was a reason why I’ve kept him around for 32 years.

This morning when I got to my studio I got out one of my dowels and put it in the vise, dropped the spool of wire on it and just looked at it and the Wyr Knittr.  I was thinking okay I don’t have to hold the wire but I still have to turn the handle, push the stitch down, hold the Wyr Knittr, and not bump the weights causing them to fall off.  Still too many things with only two hands. 

I have figured out what to do with it and here is what I did.  I got out the clamp I use to hold my rotary cutter when I am making jump rings, placed my vise on one side of my bench and the Wyr Knittr on the other side; I angled the Wyr Knittr so that the handle was free to rotate and the wire could drop through the center without restriction.  Now all I had to do was guide the wire with one hand and turn the handle with the other.  As I said before with every stitch I had to push the stitch down but found I simply turned the handle, pushed the stitch down, and turned the handle.  While I would rather that I didn’t have to push the stitch down each time I found it was easy and quick to do.

I did have  a problem of the wire breaking.  I was using the wire that came with the Wyr Knittr and the only thing I found on their website was that it breaks when you are using too thin of a wire.  What I did was when it broke at the beginning I just kept going and cut it off when I finished, but when it broke in the middle I had to quit and I ended up with a shorter piece than I wanted.  Since I work a lot with wire I know that sometime I’ll need a smaller piece of this and I will get it out of my scraps and use it so it’s not a waste.

Now it was just like it should be and I was free to stuff beads into the mesh or coil it or do just about anything with it.  I decided to draw it down using my Lazee Daizee Viking Knit draw plate.  I pulled the mesh through the draw plate drawing it through a smaller and smaller hole.  I ended up with a slightly longer piece of mesh than I started with but what was the best is that is looks like a chain.  It’s very flexible and just beautiful.  I can’t wait to use this tool with all the colors of 30 gauge wire I have and see what it looks like.

For what it’s worth I would recommend this tool.  It’s so much easier than actually knitting wire in the round and what you end up with is so versatile you are sure to come up with thousands of ideas for your designs.

Here are some photos of my Wyr Knittr set up and the mesh I ended up with.

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Musings from Kris

Learn how to make this necklace for free!

 Fields of Green Necklace

 Click on this link if you need a pdf reader.

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Check out my Facebook page to see photos of the latest designs. Soon the new pieces will be at http://www.kljewelrydesigns.etsy.com so please do heart me in Etsy and friend me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001263081321

Musings from Kris

So I’ve been working myself up to start blogging again after almost a year off.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with MS. Not really a big deal until it decided that the best place to affect my life is by interrupting the transmission of what I see to the part of my brain that processes what I am seeing. That means I can be looking at something like an agenda and not see changes that need to be made at all on one side of the page. That happened over and over again when I was working as the Assistant Grants Administrator for the Omaha Community Foundation. In 2009 I was let go and applied for disability.

Now for those of you who don’t know about getting disability I’ll explain a bit about it. I applied, was denied like most applications applied again and was denied again; then I hired an attorney to represent me mainly because this stage involves a hearing and most claims with an attorney are approved. To my disappointment my attorney told me I could not be self-employed. I never looked at myself as self-employed making jewelry and selling it at arts and crafts shows but that is exactly what I was. Lots of steps had to be taken to remove my name from the company and any reference to me being with the company.

This was supposed to take over 3 years from August 2010 but with the huge number of claims waiting for a hearing date some of them were assigned to Sr. Attorneys with the SSA to see if the claim could be approved without a hearing. I was lucky to be one of those claims so now I can start blogging again.

That all said I’m ready to start blogging about my favorite thing; JEWELRY designing and making. Yea!

Since I first started making jewelry in 2004 I’ve learned a lot and realized a lot. I started out making jewelry with glass beads in kits, then started buying beads on ebay and selling on ebay. Now I find beads just about everywhere, even when I’m on vacation.

A quick update on how far KL Jewelry Design has come 7 years. Starting selling on ebay, then to co-workers, Etsy, local school craft shows, and then Artfire. Now you can find KL Jewelry Design at the Corning Center for the Fine Arts, more fine art shows and juried shows, and hopefully at New Realities in the Old Market. How exciting is that?

Check out my facebook page to see photos of the latest designs. Soon the new pieces will be at http://www.kljewelrydesigns.etsy.com/ so please do heart me in Etsy and friend me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001263081321

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