Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beading Anxiety

This is a necklace I completed last week for a client who also happens to be a friend.

I was commissioned to use heirloom beads that her family has been collecting since the early 1900s and "make whatever comes to my mind."

It's a task in which I am honored to take part in.

I hate to fail. Even when my failure is minor, I have a hard time accepting that I made a mistake. But upon delivering the necklace, the woman accepted it joyusly, but came back to me a few days later and wanted to know if it could be shortened. I almost went numb with shock. It wasn't good enough? How could I accept that out of myself? But I regrouped quickly and told her "Of Course!" Bring it back and I'll take care of it.

She returned it yesterday and, as it turns out, she would like about six inches taken off. Again, I graciously assured her that it would not be an issue and that I really wanted to make sure that she was happy with everything I delivered. Completely the truth. I'm sort of over having made it too long in the first place. At least kind of. My leg is still softly twitching with the desire to kick myself more, but I'm done with it. I took my best shot at the length, and that was it.

Now I have to consider the task at hand. The "chain" of the necklace is done in a modified herringbone stitch, and that is where I am going to have to redress the issue. Each stitch is made out of three beads... two Czech seed beads out of my stash surrounding a very sharp cut seed bead from hers. It was necessary to use mine because her beads pretty-much cut all threads on contact.

Additionally, this necklace is interesting because I made the chain in a tube. I thought the beads themselves would provide enough structure to sustain the tube, but in the end, it was collapsing on itself; not a pretty picture. I considered how to correct the problem; perhaps stuffing the tube with silk or wool or something. Then I thought that aquarium tubing would probably work better and be more durable. Then, inspiration hit. Why go out and buy aquarium tubing? From all the IVs I've received at home over the past year, I have tons of that tubing - still fresh in the package - sitting around in my condo. Using that would really put a piece of me... of my own life... into the necklace. And so it was threaded, and it worked well.

But now, I need to consider how to actually shorten the piece. When I first assured S- that it could be taken care of, I had no idea how to address it. All I could envision were tons of beads rolling around on my table and floor, and the necklace unraveling in an uncontrolled manner, never to be whole again. A nightmarish thought.

But of course reason took over within 24 hours. Of course it's do-able. I can meet pretty-much any challenge of making things given a little time and thought. So I thought and thought and thought, and I think I've come upon the method that I am going to use.

It's like when I make something knitted and I decide it's either too long or too short. First, I thread a safety yarn through a row of stitches above and below the selected point of extention (or reduction) to be sure the piece does not unravel beyond my intention. Then I carefully cut between the two rows. I knit (or unravel) until the piece comes to it's desired length, then I use Kitchner Stitch to bind the parts back together again. I've done this several times in the past and unless you know the issue was there and really look for the evidence, you'd never know anything happened.

I'm thinking that the same approach will probably work with the necklace, modified of course. I am going to double my stitching through the already-in-place beads up to the point in question, knotting regularly to be sure that the thread does not come out. Then I will cut the piece and unravel back to my thread. Re-sew the ends and the clasp back on and the necklace will hopefully be better than new.

It should probably work. I can't think of a reason that it wouldn't.

Of course, I did tell S- that I needed a week for the process when in fact, the whole thing can probably be accomplished in an hour or two. But that does not account for the several days that I will need to agonize over the project before just doing it.


Ang said...

the necklace is beautiful my friend. you have such a gift

Claudia said...

What a gorgeous piece. I'm sure you will figure it all out. How about 3 inches from each side. LOL LOL LOL

Love ya,

Wilda said...

Hello Laura
That is a beautiful necklace you do such great work. I know that when you think about it you will find just the right way to shorten it for her without any of the remaining thread being damanaged.

LI Laura said...

That is gorgeous!!!! When are you ever going to open an Etsy shop?


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