Tuesday, January 15, 2013

But How Do I End It?

This is a post I had done for the Artisan Whimsy blog back in October. Thought I would share it here for my readers not familiar with that group.


After Sherri's excellent introduction to fiber and leather and suede and lace and all...I bet everyone has a burning question...how do I finish it off? How do I make sure it stays and doesn't unravel??

I have struggled with this question myself, and am still coming up with different ways of doing this.
The easiest way, is, do nothing ;-) Like in this necklace:


When using this lazy "style" of fastening, you need to keep in mind a few things. The weight of the necklace, and the strength of your stringing material. Also, how well the ribbon "ties". Some are very slippery and tend to open up easily. Those won't be a good candidate for something like this.

Next up, we have different types of commercially available cord-ends. They all come in a wide range of sizes, and are quite easily available on etsy. I have had a hard time finding them in the regular craft stores though:
I will start with my least favorite one:


I bought these just once, and were just nasty to use. What you need to do is, insert the end of your cord in the coil, separate the last loop from the coil, and crimp it down hard. It is difficult to do if the coil is small and made of steel. I broke a very nice nail with these. So, my advice, if the design doesn't call for them, don't use them. Or make your own!
Next, are the ones I have used most often:


These are very simple to use. Just put a drop of glue in the tube, insert your cord and let it sit overnight. What you need to make sure with these is that it should be a nice, snug fit.
I think they look super cute in these earrings :-)

Then there are the foldover cord-ends. Not a big fan of these, just because they are not too elegant. But if you want a small, discreet way of finishing, this is a good option.


Very easy to use:
  • Slightly bend one fold towards the center
  • Place your cord in the center
  • Take your flat nose pliers and flatten the bent end
  • Repeat on the other side.
If the cord is slippery, or you are not too comfortable holding the cord while bending, glue the cord to the center before you try to fold it over. That way you don't need to worry about it falling off.
Here's a necklace where I used one of these:

As I mentioned, very discreet, not drawing too much attention.
Next, and last in this section, are the "pinch" cord-ends. I have used these in a couple designs.


These are even easier than the previous ones, since they are already folded. They work well with wide, flat ribbons and lace. Just insert the ribbon and clamp it down with pliers. Glue is optional, they have a very good grip on their own. Here's a few examples where I used them..different widths to give you an idea.

Here, I have used the ribbon crimps as an element of the design itself:

Other than these, you can always use bead caps, bead cones, just the way you do with beading wire.
Now coming to my favorite part, making your own closures. My go-to method for this is wire wrapping. It takes a bit of practice, but it looks SO much nicer than the commercial options. I will let the pictures do the talking :)

I have made a lariat here with brown suede. To finish it off, I have folded over the suede, wrapped it nice and tight with bronze wire and clipped of the ends. Lot of folks leave the ends a bit long, but I prefer it like this.


This is another lariat, a bracelet this time. The crocheted yarn is attached to a jumpring with a lark's head knot on one side, and wrapped wire on the other end. The difference here is that the end terminates in a loop, unlike the previous necklace where the suede cord created the loop.
I have used this method in a lot of my work, and I love it!
A very simple way to close off simple knotted work, is, well, to knot it. Like in these earrings:


So these are a few things I have tried, and there are lots more that I still need to learn.
Like this one by the Gossiping Goddess:


Luckily for us, The Learning Center here on the NING and The Learning Center Pinterest Board is chockful of amazing tutorials that will help you go on to make some pretty awesomely amazing fiber jewelry :) Hope my mini-introduction is a good starting point for those of you new to this medium!

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