It’s a milestone for me! I have my first piece of finished loom-woven jewelry. My “First Step” Bracelet is an original pattern that I made up while I was weaving it. There was no planning involved, other than deciding to use 11 warp threads and 11/0 Delica cylinder beads. I used S-Lon bead cord, which is rather thick, and does show. But, it proved to be very user-friendly for a brand newbie like me, as it didn’t stretch and and was very forgiving with my ignorance about proper tension. I did make another bracelet using One G thread to warp, and the beads bunched up when I took it off the loom. I understand this is a tension issue, so I need to learn more about that. I really made this bracelet up – somewhat out of thin air. I didn’t follow any instructions for finishing. Poppyfield Bead Company, my bead shop, is in the middle of “Indian Country*” which means I am privileged to see original Native American handwork in progress, as well as finished. Many of my Native American customers are happy to share their techniques with me and talk with me about the materials they like to use. This style of finishing was inspired by one of my Dine (Navajo) customers who is working for a women’s empowerment enterprise called Etkie. The pattern represents the 4 cardinal directions: North, South, East, and West…and the theme for me was taking my first step with the loom. I don’t know my way with the loom, and so the Social Market for a Mirrix program is my compass pointing me in a direction. In the end, we all have to take our own “first steps into the unknown”. Finishing this bracelet involved securing the beadwork to cowhide with craft glue and then using the whip stitch to sew the beadwork down to the leather. I used a glovers #6 needle and Nymo thread. I folded over the leather and glued it over the warp thread ends – which are sandwiched in between. I used a leather punch and then a setter to fix the eyelets. Not only does the eyelet look nicer than a plain punched hole, but it also secures the leather ends and they don’t require much stitching. I like the drawstring, but I am going to experiment with other clasp methods. Not everyone wants leather lace hanging off their bracelet. Leather work is another unknown for me. If you want to read more about my first steps with leather click here to go to my personal / professional blog @ www.poppybeads.com * Please note that I use the term “Indian Country” with respect, because that is the term used by Native American people in the media, such as press and radio and it denotes their belonging to the land.