Monday, January 14, 2013

Learning to Ladder

Every Christmas my family exchanges family names for gift giving.  This year I got my brother John's family who has three girls.  This past weekend I delivered Part II of my Christmas present to my nieces.  Part I was the kneehugger elves which I posted about here.

Part II was a class on How to Make a Ladder Bracelet...


In the past, I enjoyed making gifts for the girls myself but, now that they're older, I find we all enjoy it more when they get to create their own designs and make something themselves.

That being said, I wanted them to get a good idea of all the bracelets that were possible once they learned the laddering technique, so I made them each a little bracelet catalogue....


Explaining what the gift included and giving lots of pics of design possibilities that I found on the internet.

The first step included a trip to the bead store...Accent Beads in Rockville, MD...


There were so many beads to choose from that narrowing down choices was challenging.  The book was a helpful reference as we shopped...and roundish beads work best since they ladder very nicely.

I love seeing which beads attract their eye and which ones don't...



And they each had a budget to work within so there was some degree of decision-making.  How could you maximize the number of beads within the budget while still getting what you love???


Ladder style wrap bracelets have been pretty popular the last few years.  A ladder bracelet is typically made using two lengths of leather cord and lacing beads between them.   I made my first one a couple of years ago which you can read about in this post.

The actual beading is fairly straightforward so it's a good project for beginners.  There are great videos and examples of many ladder style bracelets at Beadshop.com if you're interested.

Each girl got their own bead mat to lay out her stash...


And we hunted through my button stash to find just the right closures.  Everyone chose a shank button but you could use a two-hole button as well.


We made a half-hitch knot with the leather cord through the shank of a button and pinned it to the top of empty cardboard bolts from the fabric store.


This makes a great working space and allows you to place tension on the cord by secure the leather ends with either tape or another pin.  This set up helps to keep thread tension even as you ladder stitch.

We also used those big-eyed beading needles threaded with beading cord (you'll need two per person-I forgot that part)...


These needles are really easy to thread and rarely come unthreaded, a valuable factor when you're teaching someone how to bead.  The fewer frustrations the better.


And so we beaded for a few hours...


All the girls plus their Mom.  My SIL's birthday was Dec 20 so she was making her own birthday present...


And she didn't seem to mind, bless her.

We laughed and made mistakes and smiled and laddered and sang and drank tea... [Aside: They all think I drink a LOT of tea.  Evidently, they don't drink enough.]


After about five hours, some of us were able to make TWO bracelets...


And everyone made at least one.

Hands down, they all did a great job...


Thank you girls for a great day...I just hope you have me back again.  I promise to bring my own tea supply.

Happy happy Monday to everyone else.  

P.S.  The formula for the amount of leather cording you'll need for each bracelet is:

[(circumference of the wrist in inches) x (# wraps desired) x 2] + 14 inches = total # inches of leather cording needed

I share this since we kind of figured this out the hard way.  http://www.beadshop.com/projects/youtube-videos/

24 comments:

Cath said...

What a great idea. Thanks for posting the link to Beadshop videos - I can definitely burn some time watching those :-)

Tamatha said...

It looks like your nieces loved their gift! What a fun idea!

Cari said...

Well how much fun was that!! Good tip too to use the cardboard from the fabric store !! Clipboards are too small. You are the best Auntie ever!!

Success once again....

MaggieLove said...

I would've loved to have an Aunt like you growing up, your nieces are very lucky to have you. TFS

coral-seas said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again .. your are THE BEST auntie in the world. Now you are the best secret(ish) santa ever, as well!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I just love all the fun projects you do with your family. Togetherness and creativity.

FlowerLady Lorraine

Gerry Krueger said...

You need to write a song to the tune of 12 days of Xmas with 9 nieces dancing, 12 brown eyes twinkling,, 4 brothers driving...etc. and a long, tall Jack a cooking... Love Jim and Jack as master chefs.. Am I mistaken or has one of the girls now gone braceless. what pretty smiles...

Mary Ann said...

What a great idea for teenage girls...thanks for the links too:)

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

You gave a lot of gifts with this one...a day spent together ..selecting beads and staying within the budget...another lesson in how to make your own...and the best of all...love.

xx, Carol

Sweetpea said...

Susan, dear, you have got to be the most precious aunt in the world...you always think of the most wonderful gifts for your nieces (well, EVERYONE for that matter)! I've had this style of bracelet bookmarked on my "To Do" bead project list for yonks, but now I don't know how I'll resist any longer. Great job, your bracelets are all so, so beautiful. How could they not be, gifted from such a generous heart?!

Warmest wishes of our new year, Susan ~ may 2013 prove to be a good & fulfilling one for all.

Createology said...

Susan Dear you are the coolest Aunt ever!!! The booklets are extra nice to have as reference tools. The girls are adorable and all the bracelets are beautiful. I am off to check out the links as I have never made one of these ladder bracelets. Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts...

black bear cabin said...

what fun! i love them! how can i get my hands on one of your ladder bracelet books? :)

verobirdie said...

Great idea again. I too would love your booklet...

Judy S. said...

What a fun day that must have been. Your bead shop looks to die for! How about making another jpeg for this one? Or sharing the booklet? You could publish a book of craft ideas...(in your copious spare time..lol) ;-)

Vicky aka Stichr said...

dammit Susan, you are the best! I bet all the other nieces place bets as to who will get you as their Santa. And the non-winners make the winners take them out for pizza...

margaret said...

how lovely to have all these nieces and for them to want to be creative and they all produced lovely bracelets, I bet they love coming to visit you as I can see you all had a great day full f creativity, fun and laughter

Rachel said...

What a treat of a day! And so much the best sort of present - memories of a lovely day, a new skill, and a lovely bracelet (or two) to remember it by!

Jillayne said...

Another home run I think! I always thought your crazy-quilt posts were my favourite but I have loved these ones where you create with your family - you will have have wonderful memories in addition to beautiful memories and that makes the gift complete!

Teresa said...

You come up with the most clever ideas. I wish Jack was old enough to marry my daughter so she could be a part and bring me along.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

FLOWER FRIEND said...

A lovely post Susan and thanks for the links. Definitely something to try.Do you think a 10 year old would be able to do it?

Catherine said...

You have got to be the best Aunt ever!!

underatopazsky said...

What a wonderful idea - the priceless gift of the memory of making the bracelets as well as the bracelets themselves. You really are amazing. :o)

Marie Alton said...

Well ... that was a fun adventure! I actually sat through the videos of how to make these ... because I hadn't seen this technique before ...however ... at some point there was a link to something completely different that ditracted me ... Kumihimo! Whoa ... this ancient braiding technique had me totally enamoured!
OMG ... this could become my next addiction! No ... no ... don't need another! But ... oooh looks sooo fun!

Phyllis said...

Hi, I just found your blog through a link party at Jenny Penny Poppy. I love these bracelets and want to make some for myself and others. I watched the video and wanted to know if you used KO thread or something else? Your bracelets are beautiful.

Thanks,
Phyllis

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