Wire Wrapping with Michelle - An Intimidating Art

The snow was thick on the ground in December 2019. My mom gave me the book Wire Jewelry Masterclass by Abby Hook (affiliate link) for Saturnalia that year. Up until that point, the only jewelry I had made of pure continuous wire was my own bracelet clasps and the occasional earring hook. I fell in love with the gorgeous photos and incredibly detailed guide to crafting rings, bracelets, and necklaces out of wire, pliers, and the occasional stone. Then I promptly shelved the book and tried to forget about it for a few years.

Every so often I would pull the book down and page through the glossy photos calmly describing how to turn coils and loops of metal into finished pendants that look like a cross between High Fantasy and straight Sci-Fi. Then I would place it back on the shelf and sigh wistfully. Wire wrapping is a rather striking art form and I was quite intimidated.

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest forms of jewelry making. Surviving examples have even been pulled from the Sumerian city of Ur (sumerianshakespeare.com). The Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, and Celts also utilized wire wrapping, although typically without any other material such as glass or stones. Fibulae (brooch pins) were often made of spirals of wire (harvardartmuseums.org1 and mgur.com/). Torcs (open necklaces) showcase wire braiding as well as decorative coils depending on the piece (britishmuseum.org.

9th-8th century BCE spiral brooch or fibula from the Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Image from https://harvardartmuseums.org/art/304071

I am no stranger to working with metal. After all, I have been making chainmail for some 16 years. At first glance, wire wrapping demands a continuous length of wire to weave about in effortless loops to yield a stunning finished piece. Chainmail is constructed of hundreds of individual rings. If I biff a ring and say, scrape the finish off with my pliers, it is no great loss to remove the individual ring and replace it with another. In actuality, wire wrapping is more forgiving than it appears at first glance. Extra coils for stabilization can and should be freely worked in to strengthen the piece as needed. While some attempts unfortunately end up too damaged and tossed in the scrap bucket, others can be salvaged with a bit of cleverness and a deft hand.

I finally decided to take a stab at wire wrapping stones when I bought my first quartz arrowheads. These pieces NEEDED some way to mount them as pendants. As they are modern works, the arrowheads were also affordable enough that I would not cry if I accidentally shattered one. I am extremely happy with how they turned out.

Arrowheads are historically found anywhere arrows have been used. They are commonly associated with Native American cultures in North America but archery developed all over the world. As such, prehistoric stone arrowheads are found in the caves of France, the cliffs of Greece, the fields of China, and countless other locations. I wanted to emphasize an Etruscan look and so focused on smooth spirals that still showcased the beauty of the quartz arrowhead. I wanted it to be a piece anyone could wear, and so used fine silver (.999) to avoid any nickel sensitivities. The cordage is 100% silk while the clasp is a nickel-free sterling silver (.925).

Wire wrapping is an intimidating art but not nearly as scary as it looks. I am sure I will wrap many more pieces in the coming years. I am especially looking forward to working with other semi-precious stones such as carnelian, amethyst, tiger eye, and apricot agate.

North Idaho Events, Fairs, and Markets News and Giveaway!

When things go well, sometimes we just have to shout it to the world. So in this case...our Facebook group North Idaho Events, Fairs, and Markets has reached the massive 5K member milestone! It is amazing to see the community come together and help each other out to find the perfect event to attend or to sign up to be a vendor. Not only do we have posts sharing the events, we have a calendar of events that is run by the community. Events are added by those who find them or are hosting them, making the calendar the go-to for what is happening in the area!

Because we reached this amazing milestone, We are hosting a giveaway to all the members in the group! Everyone in the group can enter for a chance to win an ad on the amazing calendar mentioned! Many will enter only one will win! Good Luck!!

About the prize:
One winner will get a 300x300 pixel advertisement on our calendar for one month! You can select any month you wish that is remaining in the year 2022. The ad will be one image that will link to a website, social media page, or an item in your shop. It must meet the groups rules and standards. Admins reserve the right to refuse ads that we feel do not match our standards. The ad will remain active for 1 month of the winners choosing in the year 2022. Please see the terms and conditions in the rafflecopter form below. On July 6, we will select one random winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cutoff Crafts' Online Store Is Growing!

I am very excited to announce that our online store is growing! As of May/18, 2022, Cutoff Crafts has officially posted over 140 items for sale! These items range from sterling silver jewelry to downloadable patterns! Now those who want our items but live in other states or can't attend the fairs where we display our wares are able to purchase online and either have them shipped or schedule a pickup.  It is truly exciting!

As our online store grows,  we gain new categories to display our items. Right now we 14 categories and some of them even have sub categories.  Some of our most popular sections include: Crochet Animals, Dice Bags, Earrings, Magnets, Gamer/Geek, Patterns, and Magnets. The Earrings category has several sub categories to help make it easier to find the perfect pair. Need animal earrings? We have them. Need chainmail earrings? we got you covered. Need to special order something unique? Guess what, we can do that too.

What is really amazing about our online store is that if you see something adorable and want it in a different color or if you want us to create a unique bracelet or pair of earrings, we take special orders! Simply send us a message requesting you design and we will work with you to make sure your item is what you desire. Check out some of the special orders we have already taken!

Image 1 - Stitch

Image 2 - Stormtrooper

Image 3 - Cow with purple spots

Image 4 - Gnome and Spider

The Spider in image 4 was a surprise request and it turned out crazy epic.  The Gnome holds a flower that actually changes color in the sun. It is a magical piece that was fun crochet.

So, long story long, we are online, we take special orders, and we are very excited about it! It has already been fun helping many of you to find the perfect gift whether for yourself or for someone you care about. We hope to continue to provide this service for years to come! If you wish to check out our store go to CutoffCrafts.square.site or click the image below.  Welcome to Cutoff Crafts!

DIY Crochet Bunny Garland For Easter Decorations

As a crochet artist, I love to look around the web for patterns and fun crochet ideas. With Easter around the corner, my attention has targeted anything bunny related. Their long ears, cute nose, and cotton ball tails make them one of the most adorable animals to create. Among the bunny patterns I found, the Red Heart Bunny Garland from yarnspirations.com is on my "To-Try" list. The adorable bunny tails and ears will make for the cutest decor ever. Which is why...I am making them!

The following steps come from the pattern I found here. I did make a change or two to the original pattern. I will state where I make changes from the original pattern in the steps below.  These changes are not a requirement, the original pattern makes an adorable bunny garland. I simply made changes because I have other stitches I prefer to the ones mentioned.

To make this bunny garland I used a Size 5 crochet hook (F), and pink Red Heart worsted weight 4 yarn.

Step 1: This is the start of the bunny body.

{Round 1} I created a magic ring and crocheted 8 single stitches inside the ring.  I then slip stitched into the first stitch. This made a base for the soon to be fluffy fur of the bunny's butt.

Step 1
Step 2: The original pattern calls for a sc puff, however, I personally like the popcorn stitch. So I changed the sc puff to the popcorn stitch. To make the popcorn stitch 
  1. Yarn over
  2. Insert your hook into the indicated stitch
  3. Yarn over and pull up the loop
  4. Pull your hook through two loops
  5. Yarn over
  6. Insert your hook into the same indicated stitch
  7. Yarn over and pull up the loop
  8. Pull your hook through two loops
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 two more times
  10. Yarn over and pull your hook through all the loops
{Round 2} -  I chained 2 and made a popcorn stitch in the stitch I made a slip stitch in. I then chained 2 and made a popcorn stitch in the next stitch followed by another chain 2. This repeats around until all 8 stitches are done. I then slip stitched into the first popcorn stitch At this point I had 8 popcorn stitches and 8 ch2 spaces.
Step 2

Step 3: This step is almost exactly like Step 2. 
{Round 3} Ch2, popcorn stitch, in the same stitch,  ch2, *popcorn stitch in the next ch2 space, ch2, popcorn stitch in the Round 2 popcorn stitch, ch2* This was repeated until I had 16 popcorn stitches and 16 ch2 spaces. I then slip stitched to the first popcorn stitch

Step 3

Step 4 was pretty simple because it was a single stitch around to finish the bunny's butt. 
{Round 4} Ch1, single stitch in all popcorn stitches and 2 single stitches in all ch2 spaces. I had 48 stitches at the end of round 4. I then slip stitched to the first single stitch. This actually completed the fluffy bunny butt. Isn't it cute!?!?!
Step 4

Step 5: This is where I started the head. 
{Round 5) Ch1, Sc in the same stitch and the next 8 stitches. 

Tip: Make sure the fluffy butt part is facing you when you stitch the 9 stitches. I didn't do that and I had to undo 3 rounds and restart the head. Woops.

Step 5

Step 6: This step is almost the same as Step 5 except all stitches are Half Double Crochet (hdc). 

{Round 6} I started with a chain 2, which will count as a hdc for the next step., I then hdc in the first stitch and the other 8 stitches. I had 10 hdc at the end of this step.

Step 7: This step was fun to complete because I had to crochet a bit different than I normally do. This step is crochet on the bars of the previous round. I call the stitch a Bhdc. A Bhdc is made like so

  1.  Yarn Over
  2. Take your hook and push it through to the right of the bar of the previous row, go under the bar, and come up to the left of the bar
  3. Yarn over and pull a loop up
  4. yarn over and slide your hook through all of the loops

{Round 7)  To complete Round 7  I chained 1 and then Bhdc across to make 10 Bhdc stitches

Step 7

Step 8: This step completes the head by making it curve in on either side.
{Round 8}I chained 1 and turned. I then skipped the first stitch and sing stitched into the next two stitches. I then stitched two stitches together, single stitched into the next 3 stitches and stitched the last two stitches together. At this point I had 7 stitches across and the head was completed!

Step 9: This is where I started the ears! Below are the steps I took to finish the first ear.
{Round 9 A} Ch 1 and turn, skip the first stitch and sc in the next two stitches
{Round 10 A} Ch1 and turn, sc in the first stitch, 2 sc in the next stitch. This will make it 3 stitches across
{Round 11-14 A} ch 1 turn and sc across
{Round 15 A} Ch1 and turn, skip the first stitch, make 3 hdc in the next stitch, slip stitch in the last stitch. Fasten Off

Step 9

Step 10: This step had me make the second ear! To start the second ear, I skipped a stitch next to the first ear on the base of the head and attached yarn to the second stitch using a slip stitch. Below are the steps I took to finish the second ear.
{Round 9 B} Ch 1 and sc in the same stitch and in the next stitch
{Round 10 B} Ch1 and turn, 2 sc in the first stitch, sc in the next stitch. This will make it 3 stitches across
{Round 11-14 B} ch 1 turn and sc across
{Round 15 B} Ch1 and turn, skip the first stitch, make 3 hdc in the next stitch, slip stitch in the last stitch. Fasten Off

Step 10

Step 11: This step will finish off the bunny body. 
{Round 16} With the bunny butt facing me, I attached my yarn to the corner where the head meets the body on the right side of the bunny. I then slip stitched along the stitches going up the head, around the ears, and back down the head. Then I fastened off and sewed in every free yarn tail. 

Step 12: The final step allowed me to add the fluffy tail! I made my tail by making a pomple and sewing it to the bunny's butt. However, if anyone needs to, they can always purchase a puff ball at the nearest craft store. Either way, the bunny is finally completed! 
Step 12: Bunny is complete!

To make the garland several of these have to be made, attached to a string and hung. At this point I have another 11 to make.  Perhaps I will display this at our Easter event April 16, 2022 at the Silver Lake Mall. Can I make enough in time? We shall see.. hahahaha

Cutoff Crafts' Crochet Treasures at the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show

With the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show opening March 12 & 13, 2022, we here at Cutoff Crafts have been handmaking treasures as fast as humanly possible. From epic chainmail bracelets and earrings (as seen in our last blog post) to crochet awesomeness, this show is going to be featuring tons of Cutoff Crafts Treasures!  In preparation of the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show I have been focusing on one of a kind creations and gold themed items that will make everyone feel like they are panning for crochet gold.

Some of our one of a kind items often involve our reversibles. While we have several reversible octopi, each octopus is unique due to yarn dyes, eye placement, and mouth placement.  One of the most recent reversibles I have made features a red sparkly yarn with a happy face and a light blue yarn with a sleep face. Sooo cute! 

Reversible Octopus is $35

Of course, nothing says unique like our one of a kind unicorns! These chibi unicorns are a special Cutoff Crafts pattern made by me (Ahsoka), Each is made with unique manes, colors, and horns.  I love finding fun yarns to make each unicorn. The unicorn below features a new pastel yarn variation that I adore.

Unicorn is $35

Since March 12 & 13 will be all about treasures and gold, I am preparing a few gold themed items! First, the very popular Bumblebees are coming back! Using a Cutoff Crafts exclusive pattern, I made these adorable little bumblebees featuring blue eyes, black stripes, and tiny wings. They truly are a treasure to be hold and they are almost as yellow as gold. 

Bumblebee $12

Continuing the gold theme, we will have several gold colored scrubbies at our booth. These scrubbies are made from 100% nylon. They won't take the finish off of cast-iron skillets, enamel, and teflon! Highly prized in the kitchen, these scrubbies are a must! And because they dry fast, they are mold resistant!  But don't limit their amazing attributes to the kitchen, they work anywhere in the house as well as on windows. They even make great body scrubbers! Buy different colors to designate what they are used for; for example: gold in the kitchen, green in the bathroom, and purple as a body scrubber.

Scrubbies: $5 each or 3 for $12

Along with our crochet work we will have fine jewelry, sterling silver earrings, and chainmail bracelets! Check out what we are bringing to the gold and treasure show here. We are so excited for this event and we hope to see everyone there!

If you are wishing to make a special order and pick it up at this event, contact us and we will get your order started. 

More information about the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show:
Come and join us at the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show. Learn all about small scale mining, gold prospecting & the exciting hobby of recreational gold panning. See the latest in small scale mining equipment and metal detectors. Try your luck at our panning booths. Learn how and where to prospect for gold or look for treasure. Get ideas on how to turn your treasures into keepsakes and collectibles. Visit our gold display and talk to our members about their equipment display and experiences. Vote in our homemade/modified equipment contest. Food and beverages will be available. Admission $5 per person, children 12 & under are free. Fun for the WHOLE family. Saturday, March 12th, 2022 (9AM to 5PM) & Sunday, March 13th, 2022 (9AM to 4PM) in the Jacklin Building #25 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds at 4056 N Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, ID. (https://nwgpagoldshow.com/)

23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show March 12 & 13

Get ready to do some prospecting at the NorthWest Gold Prospectors Association Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show March 12 & 13, 2022 in CDA at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds! This amazing family friendly event will host panning booths, craft booths, and seminars. Attendees can learn all about small scale mining, gold prospecting, and gold panning. There will be examples of mining equipment and metal detectors where visitors can talk to members about their equipment and experiences. Once loot is found, several inspirational booths will help treasure hunters get ideas on how to turn their loot into keepsakes. On top of all of this excitement there will also be craft booths featuring local artisans.

This is where Cutoff Crafts comes in. We will be hosting a booth at the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show!   Michelle and I are so excited to be a part of this amazing event! We even have some very special items that fit in with the precious metals and treasures theme.

Our booth will be displaying some amazing handmade pieces made of fine silver (.999). From dangle earrings to chainmail bracelets, the craftmanship is absolutely impressive. Michelle works her pieces one ring at a time in specific patterns to create true works of art. The fine silver bracelets are listed at $180 each and feature Sterling silver (.925) clasps.

The earrings are on nickel-free sterling silver (.925) hooks with drops of fine silver (.999) rings. Like the bracelet, the rings are opened and closed one at a time to make a perfect dangle of beauty. The fine silver earrings are $40 for the pair and match perfectly with the chainmail bracelets.

We will also be featuring copper chainmail bracelets and earrings. Each one is handcrafted by our expert jeweler, Michelle. The copper bracelets are $60 each and the earrings are $20 each.

Along with the fine silver and copper items, we will also be featuring one set of Mercury Dime earrings. These dimes fit perfectly inside a sterling silver bail, which allows the dimes to be displayed without damaging the coin. One lucky customer will be able to purchase this set for $60.

Our treasures don't end there. We will have semi-precious stone jewelry featuring carnelian, jasper, amethyst, lapis lazuli, and so much more! Michelle will also have gorgeous necklaces created from antique beads. These necklaces are a wonderful way to take a piece of history home with you.

We are excited to offer a brand new item in our line-up, carved buffalo horn whistles! These working whistles will be available as both intriguing necklaces and entertaining keychains. 
We look forward to seeing you at this fantastic event. Be sure to stop by the Cutoff Crafts booth and check out all of our items, from crochet toys to fine silver jewelry, we have the coolest items to shop!

More information about the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show:
Come and join us at the 23rd Annual Gold Prospecting & Treasure Show. Learn all about small scale mining, gold prospecting & the exciting hobby of recreational gold panning. See the latest in small scale mining equipment and metal detectors. Try your luck at our panning booths. Learn how and where to prospect for gold or look for treasure. Get ideas on how to turn your treasures into keepsakes and collectibles. Visit our gold display and talk to our members about their equipment display and experiences. Vote in our homemade/modified equipment contest. Food and beverages will be available. Admission $5 per person, children 12 & under are free. Fun for the WHOLE family. Saturday, March 12th, 2022 (9AM to 5PM) & Sunday, March 13th, 2022 (9AM to 4PM) in the Jacklin Building #25 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds at 4056 N Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, ID. (https://nwgpagoldshow.com/)

Chainmail Bracelets Make The Perfect Gift For Valentine's Day!

Our new craft fair season is upon us and our first craft fair of 2022 will be just before Valentine's Day on February 12 at the Silver Lake Mall!  Last minute shoppers will find a variety of items at our booth, including new items for 2022.

This year, Michelle and I have focused on several new items that we hope everyone will love. We have even made some adorable Valentine themed items! For example, Michelle received some amazing anodized aluminum rings in fuchsia, light pink, and dark red. With two plyers, determination, and skill, she takes these rings and forms a beautiful chainmail bracelet.

Byzantine Chainmail Bracelet - $20.00

The bracelet above is in the Byzantine pattern with three colors skillfully placed throughout the design. She is also working on other stylish patterns using Valentine's Day colors to produce other unique gifts (image below).

A new bracelet design for 2022 is a Dragonscale pattern that almost looks like mermaid scales! The way the silver and blue interlock and because the blue is inlayed behind the silver tone rings, the mermaid scales appear to shimmer. I will admit, I love this one! (image below)

Dragonscale Chainmail bracelet - $60.00

All of our chainmail bracelets are nickel free and hypoallergenic. They can be sized to fit, which makes each bracelet a custom gift for yourself, a loved one, or a friend.

We hope to see everyone at our next event! We love attending craft fairs and meeting those who have shopped with us before and new faces that have just been introduced to our creative line.

If you are unable to attend any of our crafts fairs, we take custom orders and ship items anywhere in the USA. Simply contact us to start the custom ordering process. :)

Let the 2021 Holiday Craft Fair Extravaganza Begin!

Sat Nov 6, 2021 starts our amazingly epic holiday season craft fair extravaganza! Starting this Sat, Michelle and I will be at a craft fair every weekend through Dec 11. I will admit, I am extremely excited!  We have so many amazing events this year that I can't wait to get the holiday shopping season started!

Nov 6. marks our first holiday event at the Black Bay Depot in Post Falls, ID. We will be hosting a large booth with some of our most iconic items such as reversibles and beaded earrings. We are also bringing a few new items! These new items include Squid Game inspired toys, beautiful Birthstone earring studs, and exciting mystery bags!

The other events we will be attending are:

  • Rathdrum Craft and Farmers Market – Nov 13, 10am – 4pm
  • The Rusty Star A Merry Little Christmas Craft Fair – November 20 and 21, 9am – 4pm
  • Silver Lake Mall Black Friday event – Fri, November 26, 9am –3pm
  • CDA Makers Craft Fair – Sat, November 27, 10am – 4pm
  • Post Falls Winterfest – Fri, December 3, 4pm – 8pm
  • NICS Holiday Craft Fair – Sat, December 4, 9am – 3pm
  • Cowboy Christmas Market – Dec. 10 4-7pm and Dec 11, 10am – 7pm

With so many craft fairs, shopping at our online store is even easier.  Pickups can be scheduled to correspond with the craft fair times! Simply order your item, schedule a time during one of the events and pick it up. during the event hours.  You can also make special orders to be completed and picked up at one of these times as well. Contact us with any questions and we will be glad to help.

The Rathdrum Craft and Farmer's Market is for the Community

October 9th, 2021 is starting the Rathdrum Craft and Farmer's Market holiday seasons! This event will not only support local artisans and farmers, it will also be helping out the Rathdrum Senior Center with a food drive, donations, and a fun raffle featuring handmade items from local crafters. Along with helping out the Rathdrum  Senior Center, visitors will find wonderful handmade gifts, produce, farm fresh eggs, flowers, plants, baked goods, & more. Check out their event page here.

Thanks to Sandra Cook and Kayla Johnson The first of the three Rathdrum Craft and Farmer's Markets will run from 10am to 4pm Saturday October 9th. Future events will take place Nov. 13 and Dec. 11.

Cutoff Crafts received the opportunity to interview Sandra Cook.

I know you are working on benefiting the senior center in Rathdrum. What are you doing to help support them? 

   Times are tough with no signs of things easing in the near future. Food anxiety is at a record high as are the need for assistance with food. The community center in a non profit with limited resources. They are very sweet and generous people who desire to help the whole community. We are a community focused market and our hearts break seeing how people are struggling to get food, pay their bills, etc. To help the community we are doing a food drive, many vendors are donating products for raffles, and all the money raiseed from the raffles will go toward the community center. 

Should event attendees bring foods for the senior center?

   We are accepting non-perishable food donations from non-vendors. The more we receive the better.

How many vendors are you expecting?

   For the October event we have about 20 indoor vendors and 10 outside vendors. 

What can visitors expect to see?

   We have a photo booth with a photographer and cute themed outfits for people to use, raffles, food drive, and wonderful vendors from food to handmade gifts.

What do you look forward to most about this event?

   Kayla and I look forward to helping others, it's sappy but true, and this event is certainly helping the Rathdrum community. I also look forward to vendors and visitors enjoying themselves. The Rathdrum Craft and Farmer's Markets is a great way for people buying or selling their products to meet new friends and customers. 

Thanks to Kayla and Sandra, there is going to be a wonderful community event filled with fun! And of course, Cutoff Crafts will be there having a blast as well.