Saturday, 24 May 2014

Irish Waxed Linen Cord Blog Hop

I admit it. I absolutely love Irish waxed linen cord (IWL). I know I am not alone! But I believe I am the only person taking part in this blog hop who lives in the country in which the waxed linen that most of us work with is produced, so the designs I create with these threads/cords are particularly Irish! (Despite Northern Ireland being tiny, I have yet to track down the elusive Crawford Threads HQ - I only have two more months living on this side of the UK so I need to get cracking! ;-) ) 

I have worked with IWL for a number of years now. It's a beautiful fibre - strong, supple and available in a range of colours and thicknesses, with a protective waxy coating that helps to slightly stiffen the cord and aids with placement of knots. At first, I spent a whole heap of money buying it in from America. Yes, ironic when you live over in the UK that you have to get Northern Irish products shipped in from the US, but it is often the case that things are wholesaled over to the US and then we have to buy them back. 
My problem was that I wanted ALL THE COLOURS. These waxed cords come in a myriad of absolutely beautiful shades and I am a self-confessed colour-aholic. I also got fed up with buying in relatively small quantities and paying customs and handling charges every time. Surely I wasn't the only one in this predicament? I thought to myself. And so, The Curious Bead Shop was born. Yes, it really was the desire to work with all the beautiful colours of IWL that led me to set my little shop up! 

As I have such a range of gorgeous colours and plys available at my fingertips, I really am spoiled for choice. So that I have a good selection on hand at my own work/design area, when a spool gets near the end, I take it out of the Curious Cabinet, and stash them on my desk. 

Really, just look at these beautiful, saturated hues! Yum.
When Suburban Girl Diana P organised this blog hop, I knew I wanted to play along. But because I work with IWL often, I wanted to try and do something a little different. So, I gathered all my little end spools together to see what they looked like. I decided not to include the Denim, Lemon or Olive cords from the picture above, but the rest I gathered together in one gloriously, chaotically joyous colour scheme. I also grabbed a lampwork ring from Earthshine that I'd been hoarding, in a juicy orange....

How delicious do these colours look together? If I do say so myself.
 I grabbed some lovely dark wooden rounds from Smitten Beads to really show off the colours of the cord, some ceramic beads from Grubbi and a few tubes of seed beads (something else I always want in *All*The*Colours*)....

...and here's the finished piece.


I am pretty pleased with this! It's a riot of happy colour and has a pleasing bohemian, rustic feel. I added a central strand of coral reef 7ply to the main mix of 4ply, drawing these over each wooden/ceramic bead in a swath of stripy colour. 'Ply' refers to the number of twisted strands that the cord is made up of, so 7ply is almost twice as thick as 4ply. It's my thickness of choice when I'm knotting bracelets, as they have to stand up to a little more wear and tear than necklaces or earrings. 



I finished the cord tails by simply knotting on a few seed beads. Pretty, textural and easy to do. It's often my favourite way to finish cord tails - no chance of trimmed knots coming undone and it looks good too. 



...I even managed to inject some colour into the toggle bar, by choosing this creative component from Vintaj. They are hard to photograph, but you can hopefully see here the coloured seed beads (same palette as the cord tails) that I've slotted inside. {And it's now available over on etsy!}

To give you an idea of just how versatile IWL is, here are a few more of my designs featuring it:


I love knotting with coin/disc beads, so that the cord is exposed. Pretty and tactile, and this gives you lots of colour opportunities. 
(Art beads - Swoondimples and Helen Chalmers)

I've used a similar technique here as in the bracelet I made especially for the blog hop, but kept it simple, using only two lengths of cord - one to go inside the beads and one to go around. I then did a little macrame to create the loop for the button closure. 
(Art beads - Mamacita and Helen Chalmers)

You can even use IWL in earrings - and these were great, as they just used up a few tails I had left over. 
(Art beads - Pips)


Here, I've just used it as a simple stringing material - a subtle charcoal grey in this particular necklace. But if you wanted vibrant pops of colour, you could achieve that too! 
(Art beads - Elukka, Golem and Thea Elements)


And here, sweet and simple multi-layer stackable bracelets. Easy to wear and fun to make!
(Art buttons - Bo Hulley)

Thanks to Diana P for organising this hop! I hope you will be inspired to try working with this beautiful material (and if you like, you can check out the range I have available over at Curious).


36 comments:

beadrecipes said...

How clever to use so many colours together like that -- looks wonderful!

sandysewin said...

I love how you made the linen the star in the first bracelet. Those dark wooden beads are the perfect contrast against the bright happy twine colors.

Your stackable bracelets are my other favorite, simple but yummy. Nice work!

Sandy @ KeepsakeCrafts.net

Lesley said...

All great designs Rebecca but I do love that first bracelet...something very fun and flirty about it - kind of street carnival :0)

Diana P. said...

Loooooooooooove that bracelet! All those fun colors make me so happy! I love all the stuff you make with waxed linen so I was thrilled you signed up for this hop! Thanks for participating!

Becky Pancake said...

Hi Rebecca, your riot of color is great. The brown wood beads keep the linen colors from overwhelming. They are the perfect addition to this fun bracelet and I adore the toggle. Your flower earrings are pretty. My favorite piece is the necklace with the golem beads and the cute little house focal.

Ann Schroeder said...

I always love your work, but that bracelet is an extra fabulous way to highlight the waxed linen! It's wonderful!

Silver Parrot said...

Beautiful pieces, as always. Love the use of the colors in the first bracelet! I share your desire to own "all the colors" :-)

Janet Bocciardi said...

Wow! You opened up many more possibilities for me! The multiple colors of thread bracelet is WONDERFUL! Well happy to see someone in the hope from the linen's homeland. ;-)

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

It is as if you assembled all my favourite ingredients and waved a magic wand, Rebecca :) Love all these goodies!

Carol Briody said...

They are so gorgeous! My favorite is the spunky pair of earrings!

KelsyC said...

I was going to say that the first bracelet was my favorite, but those earrings are so awesome! Everything you made is just beautiful. You are so talented.

Shaiha said...

Wow! That bracelet is incredible! I love how the linen really is the star of the show.

And thank you so much for showing us some of your other designs. The ideas are percolating.

flowers said...

Ok, you have inspired me to try new designs with waxed linen. I am liking that bracelet and the necklace that used the coin beads. Hmmm....some new ideas for designing.

kmorgan said...

Where to start?! Your waxed linen colors in the first bracelet are so bright & vivid - love them!

& then I scrolled to #2 - well, I really like it too; esp the colors & the kind words bar.

The earrings will be so fun to wear & I love the colors & the flower bells! I think they are my favorites! :)

But I also like the other creations & the uniqueness of the last bracelets!

Kari Asbury said...

Loving the riot of color! Beautiful designs!

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Gorgeous, every single one of them! Love the fun colors of your first bracelet (and I never would have thought to combine so many colors - so happy!)! The necklace with the components from Elukka, Golem and Lesley is so soft and feminine!

Sarajo Wentling said...

Wow! I'm so impressed with all of your designs. I'm especially smitten with that first bracelet... so much wonderful color... and those earrings with the flowers. I want all the colors now too!

KayzKreationz said...

Your pieces are all so fun. I especially love that first bracelet with it's riot of color. I love all the color in it. And the little knotted earrings are so cute. I love working with this linen, too. Very nice job.

Cory Tompkins said...

Rebecca I really love your use of color in the first bracelet. I haven't tried 7 ply yet but I need to get some. I am so with you on wanting ALL the linen and seed bead colors!! Your stackable bracelets with the Bo Hulley hearts are just adorable!

Cory Tompkins said...

Rebecca I really love your use of color in the first bracelet. I haven't tried 7 ply yet but I need to get some. I am so with you on wanting ALL the linen and seed bead colors!! Your stackable bracelets with the Bo Hulley hearts are just adorable!

Erin Siegel said...

My, my, my, Rebecca. That riot of colors bracelet is hands-down, my absolute favorite thing I have ever seen you make!!! Wow, I love it so much! I absolutely adore every tiny thing about it. From all the colors, to the wood and ceramic beads, to the tail ends and seed beads. Love it all. It is totally something I would make and wear. Nicely done. Your bracelet blew me away!

lindalandig said...

I'm a great fan of all your work, Rebecca! That first bracelet is almost giddy with joy. I LOVE it!

Christals Creations said...

I love your bracelet. There are a lot of other lovely pieces displayed as well.
:)

Linda Y said...

Wow, what fun festive colors. I love all the pieces that you made with your waxed linen. I'm a big fan of flowers - the earrings are super sweet for spring and that last necklace is probably my favorite.

Claire Lockwood said...

Oh my goodness! That bracelet is phenomenal! I love it! Wish I'd got wind of this blog hop and taken part. Mind you, I'm sure I'd be thinking, 'Hmmm... Rebecca's is so much better!'

SueBeads said...

WOW, I always love all your designs but you are so creative with the IWLC! Too bad you have to buy it back from the US, that's very strange! Hope you find the company before you have to leave! I would love to see a tutorial on the last set of bracelets you made!

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Rebecca,
Gorgeous pieces! My favorites are the first bracelet with all the pretty colors and the necklace with the daisy lentil beads.
Therese

a2susan said...

Love everything you've done. The bracelet for the hop is fun, happy, colorful and just plain funky!

Karin G said...

Always gorgeous creations, but this bracelet! WOW, what a burst of colors!! I love it!!

Michelle Mach said...

You were busy! Your work is so beautifully finished, very professional. I really like the design with all the different colors of cord used together. It pops!

PyxeeStyx said...

I love the way the sea of colors looks knotted between the beads. The little blossom earrings are darling too.

Kashmira said...

OMG! That makes me feel like I died and went to color heaven! I HAVE to make one for myself, hope you don't mind that!

And thanks so much for sharing other examples. They are all super pretty!

Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends said...

Oh my! What a wonderful post! I subscribed by email :) There's so much information, technique & beauty to take in here, I am revisiting your post to take it all in. Gorgeous jewelry! Superb designs! A stunning collection of art jewelry -- bravo! Love everything! Happy Hopping! ♥ TJ

Kristen said...

They are all just so beautiful! I am jealous of your linen stash!

Janine said...

Great pieces, all of them! But my favorite is the first bracelet. You have a way with colour!

Jennifer Cameron said...

What a great way to take advantage of all those lovely cord colors! That's probably my favorite part...playing with the colors. Gorgeous bracelet!

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