Saturday, 31 May 2014

Crazy lace agate in sterling silver. (It's an almost proper tutorial this time!)

So.. I actually managed to take pictures right from almost the very beginning with this one. Yay me!

checking spacing
 I have wanted to wrap this crazy lace ever since I got it from Juvy. I think one of the reasons I didn't is because it has such a great design, and it is all over, including the sides.. and I didn't want to obscure any of it.

I measured the stone on the wire, and bound the 22g square wire with 8 wraps of 22g half round wire, trimming and tucking the ends on the inside of the wire. Now normally I bind directly in the center of the wire, but this stone was calling for a different treatment so I bound where it would come up the side of the stone instead of the center. The center of the cab is to sit just past the end of the bind.
the start of the bind
 One of the things to know about the square wire cage style of setting stones, is that you make wibbles or prongs in between the bound sections. With prongs, I typically bind until I want to make a prong, make the prong, and keep binding around it. With the wibbles (yes, that's my official term for them) I create the center bind and then figure out where the holding wibble is supposed to be, then bind directly above it, or where it ends. You can bind and then make the wibble, or make the wibble and then bind at the end of it.

I almost always make the front wibbles after I bind, seeing as that is the easiest was to figure out how to do them to compliment and secure the stone.

6 times around and then trim
 I did 7 wraps in total, pulling them tight and then squeezing them flat. I find that if I don't give them a good squeeze, when I go to bend and shape the panel of square wires, they rotated and some are on edge instead of flat. This does not make for a secure bind.

getting the bend perfect
 I fiddled a bit and pushed wires around until I got them with the binding on the right part of the rock, and then I used my flat nosed pliers to hold the bound spot and bend. I actually bent too much to begin with, but because I use dead soft wire, it wasn't that hard to just push the rock in there and give it the right shape.

Time to work on the back of the pendant.
wibble spacing
double checking spacing
 I pulled over a "wibble" on the back, in the space between the two bound areas, trying to make it just enough to hold the stone but not enough to obscure the pattern. Then I pulled out another piece to get the proper spacing for where I was going to bind again.
binds and wibbles
I bound it with the half round wire, and then pulled out the other wibbles to hold on both the front and the back.

As you can see in the "binds and wibbles" picture, the half round can get a little distorted from the pulling, but I find that a quick squeeze with my flat nosed pliers fixes it right up. :)
I spent a little bit of time fitting and forming the wrap to the stone at this point, including pushing down the front wibbles to conform directly to the top and side slope of the agate. This was a good time to figure out where the last holding wibble was going to go, so I shaped the outside to the stone and then holding the wires down with my thumb, I pulled out another wibble, and then bound it. This is kind of opposite to the way I normally do it, but the final touches usually end up that way.
gathering the top together
shaping
I pinched the top together and gave it a once around with the half round to gather them all in place, and then I gave them a squeeze with my chain nosed pliers. Everything was tight enough at that point it didn't take much to do a secure binding with the half round for the stem of the bail.

bail stem all bound up
Once I got everything held together, I noticed that the tip of the stone wanted to pop out of the cage, so I gave it a couple more little wibbles to make sure it would stay.

spacing for the swoop and bail
I really enjoy the look of twisted square wire, and because of this, at least a little bit of every square wire piece I do ends up twisted. On this one, it was the two bail wires.

I forgot to take the pictures where I did up the swoop and spirals, but I normally shape and secure the bail, and then do up the spirals and/or swoops.
Prettified product pictures :)
Thanks for looking!

Becca :)

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