Monday, October 27

Handmade: Stitch Markers

Rather than putting each new handmade idea in one enormously long post that gets lost in the archives, I'm just going to start a new post for each idea as I come to it. I'm not sure yet if I can get a categories sidebar or not... either way from here on out all the DIY accessories will start off as "Handmade: 'subject' ".

Today's handmade idea: Stitch markers!

        A prior dabbling in jewelry making. A little know-how in this area will make this project easier.
        A familiarity with polymer clay. Again, it's not necessary, but knowing a little something about it (how it handles, fun ways to mix colors, etc.) will make the process smoother.

        Polymer clay OR Beads from your local craft store
        Tiny glass beads (optional) to finish the look
        Drop earring posts (called head pins or eye pins) - these are basically straight pins with the point cut off. You'll use these to secure the marker to the ring.
        Split Rings - size to fit your needles.
        Needle-nose pliers or a set of jewelry making pliers

To Make:
        With your clay, fashion a marker however you'd like. Mind your size, though, you don't want too much added weight on your needles! Ideas? The sky's the limit! You can make anything! Hearts, dogs, circles, flowers, snowflakes, mittens, socks, cats, rabbits, squares, triangles, weird shapes that don't have a name, mushrooms, leaves, faces, candy corn, anything! Just have fun and go nuts. Nuts! You can make those, too.
        Carefully push your earring post through the bottom up through the top of your marker, stopping once the end is flush with the bottom of the marker. Now, you have two options here: you can find a way to suspend your markers while they bake so they won't get flat on one side, or you can lay them out on a cookie sheet so they will. My suggestion: lay them out. One flat side can actually be a benefit so that your markers lay flat against your knitting and don't flop around so much.
        Bake your markers (with post still in) according to the clay instructions. Take them out and let them cool. If you want, now's the time to add a little bead or two to the top of the marker. It's a pretty little touch.
        If your post is particularly long, you may want to snip a little off. Just leave enough length on there for the pliers to bend the tip into a circle.
        With your needle-nose pliers, pinch the very end of the post and slowly wrap the post around the tip of the needle. You should have a small circle that's not quite closed all the way. Take your "ring" and slip it through that opening. Almost done! Your marker should now look like a marker! All you need to do now is close that gap in the circle you made so your ring doesn't ever fall out. Simply pinch the ends together with your pliers and you're done!
        Now - if you'd rather have pretty beaded markers, throw out all the steps involving the clay, add your beads, and pick back up on the pliers step.