One thing I know my knitting friends never have enough of is stitch markers. I've made up a few sets for gifts, swaps, and in general, to get rid of random beads in my never-to-be-sufficiently-downsized bead boxes.
These are closed-loop stitch markers, created with minimal supplies:
- flexible jewelry wire; 2.5-3.5" per stitch marker (the higher the thread-count, the more flexible it will be)
- desired number of large beads and/or small beads (your preference!)
- silver tube/crimp beads (2 for each stitch marker)
- wire cutters
- crimp tool (I think I have this one)
Note: I prefer the tube crimp beads over the round ones, because I've found round crimp beads can shear off your wire when you crimp them too firmly. And I believe in good crimping!
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Step 1: Cut the Wire
Before you cut your first wire, double a portion of it over and stick it through one of your bead arrangements (longer beads need longer wires). Remember to include both crimp beads.
Adjust as necessary to achieve a loop size you like.
Cut this first wire and then use it as a reference for the rest. If you make one or two markers that are different, you might need to customize each wire length to achieve even loops.
Step 2: String Beads, Crimp Thrice
Holding your newly-cut wires double (with the ends between your fingers), first put on a crimp bead.
String your decorative beads next, and end with the second crimp bead.
It's essential that your crimp beads be on either side of your pretty, pretty bead(s).
With your crimp tool, gently grasp the second crimp bead (the one on the end) in the slot of the tool that looks like a heart when closed (see note in picture above).
Slide the bead gently towards the end of the wires until they are inside, so that when you crimp, the wires will be hidden, thus preventing any sharp ends.
Don't think, don't hesitate, just mash your crimp tool together, creating a heart.
Turn the half-crimped bead on end, and put it in the second slot, and mash again, pressing the two halves of the heart together.
Finally, move the resulting mashed crimp bead to the end of the crimp tool, and mash once more for good measure.
(I told you I believed in firm crimping.)
Step 3: Finishing
Once you're sure the bottom crimp beads are secure, go back and do the top crimp beads the same way (the ones nearest the wire loops).
It is always helpful to test your mashed crimp beads; the cheaper brands can crumble after a good mashing. I have discovered that crimp beads containing silver are the best; they bend more than break.
That's it; all done! Go use your jewelry-crafting powers to impress your knitter friends, who I guarantee ALWAYS need more stitch markers!