09 April 2013

Bracelet break

I've been diligently working away at my copious amounts of school work.  [Two papers and a midterm due this week!]  I've also managed to make some more progress on the hexie front.  I've now got close to 100 little hexies all pieced together!  Mom and Flea have suggested that I not make an entire quilt top out of tiny hexies and that I make some kind of pattern or shape to applique onto a quilt top instead.  In the class the quilt will be for, we have a sort of class joke about trees.  So I've decided that the hexies are going to make a nice tree top.  The hexies will be the leaves and I'll free-motion quilt the trunk and branches.  Then to quilt the hexies, I'll quilt little leaf shapes over them... probably randomly.  Thanks to the interwebs, I managed to find a free graph paper generator that gives me 1" hexagonal graph paper.  I'm using this to map out what my hexie tree top will look like.  In the meantime, I'm also creating quite the large quilt-y/hexie pinboard with all things related to this hextra special project.

Not that my interest in hexie-making is waning or anything, but I have been thinking about making bracelets recently too.  This afternoon, I'm working on my midterm for my motivation class and decided I deserved a little break.  When T and I were on our honeymoon, I started collecting bracelets from the places we visited.  A nice old man gave me a simple bee bracelet at the honey farm we visited and that kind of started the idea.  A few days later, when we were in Nice, there was a cute little craft fair by the port and I bought some pretty fabric bracelets.  Again, they are very simple, and the old lady who was selling them was very cute and French.  Her younger helper (maybe her daughter or someone whom she treated like a daughter) explained that the bracelets are made from scraps of fabrics and beads and baubles the old lady has collected over the years.  None of the bracelets were the same.  It was really hard to choose which one I wanted, so in the end I chose two.  Since then, I've been thinking it would be fun to make some of these bracelets, so today I tried it!  If you're interested in a pretty bracelet that can be made in 15 minutes (if you have all the supplies on hand because you are me or an old French lady), here's a quick tutorial!

Supplies you'll need:
Fabric - preferably a lightweight cotton lawn type with a smallish print
At least 1 bead with a big hole - the hole should be about the size of the hole in a pony bead
Tape measure (optional)

How to make it:
1)  Iron your fabric so it's nice and wrinkle free.

2)  Cut a strip of fabric that's about 1' wide by 10" long.  The length you'll need depends on the size of your hand (not your wrist).  To measure how long your strip will need to be, use the tape measure to measure your hand at its widest point when you put your fingers together as though you're going to put on a bracelet.  This length (mine was 8"), is the absolute minimum length you'll need.  Add 2 or more inches to this number to get your final strip length.

3)  Iron the two sides of the strip in towards the middle as though you are making bias tape.  In fact, if I had been clever, I would have used my handy Simplicity Bias Tape Maker for this project.  But that would have required me finding the appropriate tip and getting it all set up.  For a 10" strip of fabric, that seemed unnecessary.

4)  Fold the little strip of bias tape in half, as you would when you are using it to bind something.  Iron it.

5)  Here's the only slightly tricky part.  Start to twist the little strip you've got.  This is something like if you were spinning yarn.  You want the strip of fabric to turn into a round cord.  After you've twisted the first inch or so and it's staying put a little, iron down the length of the cord as you twist.  This way you're ironing the twist into the fabric, which makes it hold the twist better.

6)  Your bracelet cord is all done!  Now get that big-holed bead and string it onto one side of your cord.  String the other end of the cord through the bead in the opposite direction.  [Does this make sense?  It's like you're making a "x" with the ends of the cord and the center of the "x" is in the bead.]  Tie the ends to the cord in neat little knots.  If you had extra length in your cord, you can tie knots and cut off any excess.  If, like me, you made your cord exactly the length you wanted, you'll have to make sure your knots are very close to the ends.
7)  Ta-da!  Put on your bracelet and be the envy of everyone!

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