An Abacus type of counter bracelet for counting knitting rows or crochet rows or for weight watchers points or what ever you please, was one of the more recent swaps I signed up for with Swap-Bot. I had my beads already picked out before the partners were even assigned........and then I read that my partner had a preference for neutral colours. I guess the aqua and red beads will be set aside to make one for myself. No matter....I found this assortment of what I consider to be fairly neutral beads and this pretty rose quartz focal bead and went about my way to plan this counting bracelet. I decided to make it of flexible jewelry wire and a toggle clasp. You can also make these out of elastic cord or leather cording....but I think this way looks a little more like jewelry. I decided to go with a toggle clasp rather than a lobster clasp since I find them much easier to do up by yourself. I also included a second large ring on the non toggle end to allow for a bit of flexibility in sizing. If I had known the wrist size of my partner before making this I would not have needed to do this step......but I wasn't thinking very clearly and as I was stringing this together it dawned on me that some adjustment for sizing might be a good thing. So it was kind of a last minute thing:)Want to make one??
- 40 inches of flexible (accu-flex or other brand) beading wire
- a clasp of some sort...lobster, C ring, toggle etc.
- 9 large beads (8mm)
- 9 small beads (5mm)
- 6 tiny beads (2mm)
- some small coordinating beads (3-6) optional
- a focal bead
- 5-8 crimping beads (that includes a few extras)
- A small (5 inch) piece of beading elastic
- crimper and wire cutter
Take your beading wire and gently fold it in half. Don't squeeze the fold though....you don't want to stress the wire. Slide your toggle end over one of the cut ends of the wire and slide it down to the mid way mark where your fold in the wire will be. Take the two cut end of the wire and feed them both through a small coordinating bead (I used a 2 mm silver bead in my example)
Next slide on two crimper beads over the two wires as with the previous bead. Leave enough wire running through the toggle end to have a relaxed loop (don't make the wire loop that holds the toggle too small....the toggle should be able to flop about a bit) . Crimp your crimpers.
Now feed through your focal bead also running the two wires through the bead. Follow the bead up with two more crimper beads (also run both wires through) and crimp them.
Next add a coordinating small bead if desired. Now the wires will be beaded separately. String one strand with 10 large beads and the other with 9 small beads. And now it's time to treat them as one wire again and run both wires though a small coordinating bead, then two crimpers, then another coordinating bead and then trough your final toggle fitting.
Adjust the two wires to make sure their lengths are even for both strands, and then make a loop (with both strands) running the two wires back through any coordinating beads and on through the two crimper beads. This is the time to check you final bracelet length.
Once the length is right, crimp the two crimper beads and trim the two wire ends close to the crimper beads. So you will have two wires making the loop around the final clasp fitting, and four wires running through the last coordinating beads and into the two crimper beads. You should also make sure that on that final crimping that the double wire loop on the very end (which holds your clasp fitting) is again just loose enough to allow the fitting to flop about.
The last step is to take your length of beading elastic and make your little ring that will mark your place on your counter. String as many beads as you need (try 5-6) to make a ring that will hold it's place when beads are on either side. It will need to be small enough to stop one of the single small beads. Once you have the right number of beads on you elastic...bend it around both wires and tie it off with a square knot. I also took a hot match and melted the edge of the knot so it couldn't loosen.
Note: You will want to make certain that your large and small beads can fit on their wires withour being crowded. For example, when you have counted 9 rows....all the small beads will be on one side of the marking ring and all the larger beads will be on the other side of the marking ring. Make sure they all fit without crowding before finishing off.
To use the bracelet:
- The focal bead marks the start. Bring all beads towards the focal bead with the ring marker at the far end.
- Move one of the smaller beads (the 1's beads) through the ring each time a row is completed.
- Once you have moved all nine small beads though the ring, your next move will be to bring all the 1's beads back to the beginning and slide one of the 10's beads through the ring.
- Then you continue to move the 1's beads through until all nine are through and your next move will be to return all the 1's to the beginning and move another 10's bead through the ring.....and so on.
- The bracelet in the photo is showing a count of 88....as the beads on the other side of the marking ring and way from the focal bead are the ones in use....this bracelet counts to 99.