Thursday, 8 January 2015

Braiding Shorter Lengths of Horsehair: braided bead necklace (part 2)

Find other pattern posts here

How to Make an Attractive Horsehair Necklace

Blog followers will recall that in 2014, some tail cuttings were found from my old Irish horse that had been stored in a bag for more than twenty years. The tail hair was dry and brittle and needed a lot of care before it could be used for braiding. The hair was also quite short. So many of us find we have short locks of hair as keepsakes from our horses. Apparently too short to turn into anything to wear. But maybe there was a way.....

Here I hope to show you one possibility.

The first part of this particular project can be found here Braiding Shorter Lengths of Horsehair part 1. Part 1 looked at how to make a smaller kumihimo disc so that more of the horsehair is used and not wasted.

NOW, you can see what can be done with shorter braids.

Look out for part 3 of this project coming soon, where braids will be incorporated into a pendant. 

Horsehair Braids, Beads and Wire Work

This necklace design is one I have had in mind for some time, but I wanted to gain more experience of beading, wire work and braiding before trying it out.

First, the braids were prepared. Four in total. Two braids of 3 cm and two of 7 cm. The braids were a 16 warp spiral kumihimo design (5 strands of horsehair per warp).

The ends of the braid were tied off as usual but rather than fix with an end cap or crimp end, wire was used to add interest and give the necklace a more conventional, flowing look. 0.6 mm silver plated wire was used. It was  soft enough to mould but firm enough to hold the piece together. Blog post horsehair bracelet starter tools showed the basic equipment needed to make bracelets and necklaces. No extra tools have been used for this necklace and so if you have the basic tools, you will easily be able to create braids incorporating beads and wire.

The beads came from a bead fair but you can find beautiful beads in the internet, in all sizes and colours.

The length of the necklace is approximately 60 cm. When you design your own piece, have in mind how long you want it to be. You can sketch out your design first and get an idea of how the braids and beads will fit together. Once the braids are complete I set them on my work tray and decide on the final order and size of the beads.

The wired braids are then connected to the wired bead segments. Should you ever want to change the colour arrangement you can simply undo one end of a bead segment and fit your new beads. If you find you cannot undo the wire segment it can be cut and rewired with minimal fuss and won't affect your braid segments.

The necklace is finished off with a short length of chain. You will find chain in your local hobby store or, online. This necklace has no clasp. If you make a shorter necklace you will of course need to attach a clasp to the chain.

I hope you have been inspired to try to make a horsehair necklace of your own. For more ideas you can join in discussion and share via the blog's Facebook Group