Make Perfect Wrapped Loops
Memory Tricks for Beading
Like you, I’ve taken classes of all sorts over the years. Most teachers use memory techniques to help you remember lists or a process. For instance, my piano teacher used the acronym (E)very (G)ood (B)oy (D)oes (F)ine so I could remember the lines of the treble clef; in 10th grade typing class I learned the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog;” when my daughter learned to tie her shoes we sang SpongeBob’s "Loop Dee Loop" song; and in college the ne’er-do-wells who tore me away from my studies taught me “Over the lips and through the gums, watch out stomach, here it comes.”
These learning techniques are beneficial in jewelry-making, too. I remember walking down a hallway at Interweave’s BASH beading retreat in Estes Park, Colorado a long time ago and listening to wireworker Mark Lareau (author of All Wired Up and Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry) do the same thing—as I recall, he was using sound effects to the great delight of his students. And I know Joyce Scott has some pretty colorful imagery to explain peyote stitch increases and decreases.
This is what’s great about taking classes, isn’t it? Gathering tips and techniques from the pros–things you might not run across when working on your own—helps eliminate little technique obstacles so you can move on to bigger and better things in the future.
The Wrapped Loop Doo-Wop
Many of my class projects include both bead stitching and wirework and I find many off-loom-centric students aren’t that confident about their wirework skills. Most beadworkers could benefit from attending one of the many classes at Bead Fest Wire in Pennsylvania May 1-3, 2009. (I don’t even have to mention how much fun it would be for a wireworker; there are classes for every level of jewelry maker!) One technique that’s especially troublesome is the wrapped loop, so I think it’s high time we come up with a little memory technique for it, don’t you?
Make an L . . .
(Use chain-nose pliers to make a 90˚ bend about 1/4" from the top of the bead.)
And make a C . . .
(Using round-nose pliers, shape the wire over the top jaw to form a partial loop.)
Swing it under, tweedly dee . . .
(Move the pliers so you grasp the loop with the bottom jaw, and swing the wire under the loop so it crosses the neck.)
Wrap it tight all down the neck . . .
(Use chain-nose pliers (or your fingers) to wrap the wire in a tight coil down the neck.)
Trim it close . . .
(Flush cut the wire close to the coil.)
And squeeze like heck!
(Use crimping pliers to round out the coil, tucking in the tail wire.)
Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website.