Meditate and Make - Multitasking for True Fulfillment

Baby-Jewel-Loom-Bracelet.jpg

Every Thursday I've been posting something about publishing and believe me, there's more where that came from! But I wanted to detour just a wee bit today and share with you a little how-to bracelet project. I am a firm believer that many handcrafts are some of the best meditation when steps in the process are repeated over and over. (Art making can be meditation, too, such as Zen doodling, but I liken art-making more to art therapy simply because different brain processes can be involved in creating intuitively vs. creating with a set, repetitive pattern.) Certain beadwork falls into this repetitive category and I've found working on the Jewel Loom ripe with opportunity for falling into a meditative state. And because meditation leads to greater self-awareness—something you know I'm all about encouraging you to explore—I thought you might enjoy something different this week.

I've been using the Jewel Loom for several years now and have made countless projects with it—both beaded and straight weaving. Well, now there's a new loom in town—the Baby Jewel Loom and I find this so exciting because I'm always drawn to smaller tools as I like working small. "The Baby" is about half the size of the full Jewel Loom and is perfect for making simple, regular bracelets. (The full version works for bracelets, too, but I always found it better suited to wrap-style bracelets which are typically twice the length of regular bracelets.) I know many of you enjoy getting your toes wet in the creation of simple jewelry projects and I love introducing you to ways of making that you might not have considered before. So, here is my first project using "The Baby" and I'm sharing it with you.

Here you can see the Baby on the left and the original on the right. As you can see, I'm gearing up to make a wrap bracelet on the original but haven't committed to a design just yet. Today we'll be focusing on the Baby Jewel Loom.

Here you can see the Baby on the left and the original on the right. As you can see, I'm gearing up to make a wrap bracelet on the original but haven't committed to a design just yet. Today we'll be focusing on the Baby Jewel Loom.

What You Need

  • Baby Jewel Loom
  • beading needle(s), 2 is helpful but not required
  • beading thread (I’m using white Nymo)
  • decorative 4-hole button (for closure) 
  • seed beads, size 11/0 (I prefer delica), color to coordinate with your ribbon
  • silk ribbon (I’m using recycled Sari strip), no wider than 1/2” (13mm), 23”–26” (58cm–66cm) length
  • two-hole tile beads, 6mm, 19–25, color to complement your ribbon

 

1. Start with a length of ribbon/recycled fabric that's about 1/2" wide and 2' long. (13mm x 61cm) and fold it in half. Turn over your loom and place the loop over one knob. Think about something from your day that you'd like to release—some little stressor—and twist each half of the ribbon inward, imagining you are wringing out the stress. Hold in place with your thumb as you carefully turn the loom back over.

1. Start with a length of ribbon/recycled fabric that's about 1/2" wide and 2' long. (13mm x 61cm) and fold it in half. Turn over your loom and place the loop over one knob. Think about something from your day that you'd like to release—some little stressor—and twist each half of the ribbon inward, imagining you are wringing out the stress. Hold in place with your thumb as you carefully turn the loom back over.

2. Keep twisting the pieces for the length of the loom and secure to the opposite end using your thumb again, and leaving about 1/2" (13mm) gap between the two strands. Carefully turn the loom back over to the back.

2. Keep twisting the pieces for the length of the loom and secure to the opposite end using your thumb again, and leaving about 1/2" (13mm) gap between the two strands. Carefully turn the loom back over to the back.

3. Tie the ends together around the other knob. 

3. Tie the ends together around the other knob. 

4. Turn the loom back right-side up. Cut a piece of beading thread to a length that is comfortable to you. I always work with a piece about 55" (140cm). It took me two and a half lengths (I think), to complete this bracelet. Tie one end of the thread to the left strand where it sits on the loom's grooves. Leave a tail of about 7" (18cm).

4. Turn the loom back right-side up. Cut a piece of beading thread to a length that is comfortable to you. I always work with a piece about 55" (140cm). It took me two and a half lengths (I think), to complete this bracelet. Tie one end of the thread to the left strand where it sits on the loom's grooves. Leave a tail of about 7" (18cm).

5. Take a nice deep breath and welcome yourself to the beading process! Thread you beading needle and guide it under the two strands of ribbon, coming out on the right side. String on one seed bead, one two-hold bead and a second seed beed. 

5. Take a nice deep breath and welcome yourself to the beading process! Thread you beading needle and guide it under the two strands of ribbon, coming out on the right side. String on one seed bead, one two-hold bead and a second seed beed. 

6. Coax the three beads together in a little row, between the ribbon strands and up against the edge of the loom. Don't forget to breathe. 

6. Coax the three beads together in a little row, between the ribbon strands and up against the edge of the loom. Don't forget to breathe. 

7. So . . . I got a little carried away here with the process and forgot to stop for not one, but two pictures! Ugh . . . so i'm going to add several more beads to the length of the bracelet and then show you the process again, this time with photos! But basically, with your finger pushing the beads up a little, bring your needle up from under the strands and around to the top of the right strand and insert the needle back through the three beads, this time right to left. Then, bring the needle and thread down under the strands again, left to right and thread on one seed bead. Insert the needle through the second hole of the two-hole bead, thread on a second seed bead and again, nestle everything between the ribbon strands, holding them up with your finger. Again, thread the needle back over the top of the right strand and through the three beads. Now, I'll show you again with better pics . . .

7. So . . . I got a little carried away here with the process and forgot to stop for not one, but two pictures! Ugh . . . so i'm going to add several more beads to the length of the bracelet and then show you the process again, this time with photos! But basically, with your finger pushing the beads up a little, bring your needle up from under the strands and around to the top of the right strand and insert the needle back through the three beads, this time right to left. Then, bring the needle and thread down under the strands again, left to right and thread on one seed bead. Insert the needle through the second hole of the two-hole bead, thread on a second seed bead and again, nestle everything between the ribbon strands, holding them up with your finger. Again, thread the needle back over the top of the right strand and through the three beads. Now, I'll show you again with better pics . . .

7. (again) Pretend we are still at the beginning of the bracelet. With your finger holding the three beads in place, and the needle in your other hand, bring your needle up and to the top of the ribbon strand and insert the needle back through the three beads, with the needle on top of the left ribbon strand. Bring the needle under the work and thread on one seed bead.

7. (again) Pretend we are still at the beginning of the bracelet. With your finger holding the three beads in place, and the needle in your other hand, bring your needle up and to the top of the ribbon strand and insert the needle back through the three beads, with the needle on top of the left ribbon strand. Bring the needle under the work and thread on one seed bead.

8. Thread your needle through the second hole of the two-hold bead. It's hard to see in this photo, but my needle really is through the brown bead.

8. Thread your needle through the second hole of the two-hold bead. It's hard to see in this photo, but my needle really is through the brown bead.

9. Thread on the second seed bead.

9. Thread on the second seed bead.

10. Use your finger again to nestle everything nicely between the ribbon strands. Bring your needle up and to the top of the work and thread it back—right to left—through all three beads with the needle remaining on top of the left strand.

10. Use your finger again to nestle everything nicely between the ribbon strands. Bring your needle up and to the top of the work and thread it back—right to left—through all three beads with the needle remaining on top of the left strand.

11. Repeat the entire dance by guiding the needle back under the work—left to right—and threading on three new beads. The process will feel not-so-meditative for the first three or four beads while you are still learning, but shortly after, it truly will get easier and you will find yourself getting into a rhythm; completely forgetting about everything else. You will enter a flow of creation, even though you are paying full attention to what you're doing. Continue adding beads until your strand is just a bit longer than the entire circumference of your wrist. For me this meant 19 two-hole beads—about 4-1/2" (11cm). If your thread gets too short to work with, tie the thread on one ribbon strand and then thread the remaining thread through one row of beads. Cut the excess. Cut a new length of thread and tie it to the left ribbon strand where your work currently ends. Proceed as normal. After you've added a few beads, thread the tail through a row or two of beads and cut off the excess. Do the same for the tail at the beginning of the bracelet.

11. Repeat the entire dance by guiding the needle back under the work—left to right—and threading on three new beads. The process will feel not-so-meditative for the first three or four beads while you are still learning, but shortly after, it truly will get easier and you will find yourself getting into a rhythm; completely forgetting about everything else. You will enter a flow of creation, even though you are paying full attention to what you're doing. Continue adding beads until your strand is just a bit longer than the entire circumference of your wrist. For me this meant 19 two-hole beads—about 4-1/2" (11cm). If your thread gets too short to work with, tie the thread on one ribbon strand and then thread the remaining thread through one row of beads. Cut the excess. Cut a new length of thread and tie it to the left ribbon strand where your work currently ends. Proceed as normal. After you've added a few beads, thread the tail through a row or two of beads and cut off the excess. Do the same for the tail at the beginning of the bracelet.

12. Turn the loom over. Remove the work from the loom by untying the ends.

12. Turn the loom over. Remove the work from the loom by untying the ends.

13. To create a closed loop for your button, you have a few options. If you are already a peyote stitch lover, you can create a little tube like I did and thread your loop through it to remove some of the slack. You could also simply tie an overhand knot above the beads. Another option would be to wrap wire or waxed lined around the strands. Whichever way you go, check that your button will comfortably go through your loop. If you're ready to be done with this project you can skip ahead to step 19 to complete the bracelet, but if you're not ready for the beading to end and would like to further embellish your bracelet with more delicate beads (so pretty and worth the effort!), I'll share how to do that next.

13. To create a closed loop for your button, you have a few options. If you are already a peyote stitch lover, you can create a little tube like I did and thread your loop through it to remove some of the slack. You could also simply tie an overhand knot above the beads. Another option would be to wrap wire or waxed lined around the strands. Whichever way you go, check that your button will comfortably go through your loop. If you're ready to be done with this project you can skip ahead to step 19 to complete the bracelet, but if you're not ready for the beading to end and would like to further embellish your bracelet with more delicate beads (so pretty and worth the effort!), I'll share how to do that next.

14. Cut a new length of beading thread and thread your needle. Insert it through the three beads on one end of your bracelet. I started with the loop end, but it doesn't really matter.

14. Cut a new length of beading thread and thread your needle. Insert it through the three beads on one end of your bracelet. I started with the loop end, but it doesn't really matter.

15. Leave about a 7" (18cm) tail. On the working thread (the one with the needle), thread on three seed beads and then insert the needle back through all three beads.

15. Leave about a 7" (18cm) tail. On the working thread (the one with the needle), thread on three seed beads and then insert the needle back through all three beads.

16. Snug up the three beads by pulling gently on the working thread. The beads should create a little triangle. Thread three new beads onto your needle and go back through the same beads again. (Note: if you don't have a lot of hand strength due to arthritis, like I do, using a pair of flat-nose pliers to pull your needle through makes life much easier. It can get bulky with thread inside those beads after a few passes. Just be very gentle as sometimes you will break the beads with too much force.)

16. Snug up the three beads by pulling gently on the working thread. The beads should create a little triangle. Thread three new beads onto your needle and go back through the same beads again. (Note: if you don't have a lot of hand strength due to arthritis, like I do, using a pair of flat-nose pliers to pull your needle through makes life much easier. It can get bulky with thread inside those beads after a few passes. Just be very gentle as sometimes you will break the beads with too much force.)

17. We now need to move down to the next row—the other end of the two-hole bead. But we don't want any more beading thread to show than we need to. Hold your working thread out of the way and insert your needle into the ribbon "roll" at a point that is even with the bead you just came out of. Exit the needle close to the hole of the next seed bead.

17. We now need to move down to the next row—the other end of the two-hole bead. But we don't want any more beading thread to show than we need to. Hold your working thread out of the way and insert your needle into the ribbon "roll" at a point that is even with the bead you just came out of. Exit the needle close to the hole of the next seed bead.

18. It's time to repeat the process. Thread the needle through the row of beads next to where your needle came out. Thread on three new beads and come back through the same row. As before, thread on three new beads, go back through the same row and now on the opposite side of the bracelet, repeat the step of threading the needle through the ribbon "roll." Continue for the length of the bracelet, taking your time, breathing (!) and enjoying the process. This is your time to be in the moment. When you've finished with all the rows, tie a knot around the ribbon strand and thread through a few beads before snipping off remaining thread.

18. It's time to repeat the process. Thread the needle through the row of beads next to where your needle came out. Thread on three new beads and come back through the same row. As before, thread on three new beads, go back through the same row and now on the opposite side of the bracelet, repeat the step of threading the needle through the ribbon "roll." Continue for the length of the bracelet, taking your time, breathing (!) and enjoying the process. This is your time to be in the moment. When you've finished with all the rows, tie a knot around the ribbon strand and thread through a few beads before snipping off remaining thread.

19. We're now going to thread our ribbon strands through our button—one strand per two holes, cross-style. Here's an easier way to get your strand through the button holes. Cut yourself about a 9" (23cm) length of dental floss and fold it in half. Working from the back of the button through to the front, thread the two ends of the floss through one hole.

19. We're now going to thread our ribbon strands through our button—one strand per two holes, cross-style. Here's an easier way to get your strand through the button holes. Cut yourself about a 9" (23cm) length of dental floss and fold it in half. Working from the back of the button through to the front, thread the two ends of the floss through one hole.

20. Thread one ribbon strand through the floss loop.

20. Thread one ribbon strand through the floss loop.

21. With your fingers on the floss close to the button, pull the loop through the hole. (Note: if try as you may, the ribbon just won't pull through, you may need to drill your button holes a bit larger.) Repeat the floss threading through the hole diagonally across, going back through the button from front to back. Then repeat the process for the other strand and remaining two holes.

21. With your fingers on the floss close to the button, pull the loop through the hole. (Note: if try as you may, the ribbon just won't pull through, you may need to drill your button holes a bit larger.) Repeat the floss threading through the hole diagonally across, going back through the button from front to back. Then repeat the process for the other strand and remaining two holes.

22. Tie a knot on the ends of the strands (I like to leave the strands a couple inches [5cm] or so) and cut off the excess. Adjust placement of the button to fit your wrist comfortably.

22. Tie a knot on the ends of the strands (I like to leave the strands a couple inches [5cm] or so) and cut off the excess. Adjust placement of the button to fit your wrist comfortably.

Congratulations! Look at the beautiful bracelet you made! And I hope you enjoyed the rewards of meditation during the process. I'd love to hear about how it goes for you and see pictures of your creations. xo

Congratulations! Look at the beautiful bracelet you made! And I hope you enjoyed the rewards of meditation during the process. I'd love to hear about how it goes for you and see pictures of your creations. xo