Attaching a Clasp to Brick Stitch Beaded Chain

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It's not over until it's over

Sometimes, it pays to think about how you are going to finish a project before you even start - especially with beadwork. Unfortunately, I know this all too well from experience. There have been many times when I have started a beading project without thinking about how I'm going to attach the clasp or jump rings and I end up less than satisfied with the results. 

In this article, I will describe how to add jump rings or a similar style clasp or ear wires at the start and end of a brick stitch chain.  This technique can be applied to more projects than just brick stitch - it just happens to be the type of project that I am using to demonstrate the approach.
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Add a jump ring to ladder stitch

The brick stitch chain bracelet project starts with a row of ladder stitch.  To provide a place to add a clasp, I string a jump ring along with the two beads in the ladder stitch. This not only provides a way for me to add a clasp or other finding, it also makes it a little easier to hold the beadwork as I am weaving it - especially in the beginning.
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In addition to adding a jump ring, I also repeat the thread path through the beads and jump ring at least 3 times to add strength.  

And again.
When I get to the end of the beadwork - before I do the final stitch, I add another jump ring and stitch around it.  After completing the last stitch of the project, I go around the last two beads that include the jump ring at least 2 more times with ladder stitch.  Again, this is to add strength in the area where there is often the most stress on the project, near the clasp or finding.  

Another reason to wrap the jump ring multiple times is to provide a thicker area of thread to prevent it from slipping through the opening in the jump ring.

The brick stitch bracelet with handmade heart clasp is a great example of using this technique. The bracelet is a brick stitch chain that alternates 1.8 mm Miyuki cube beads with Miyuki 8/0 seed beads.

I also make sure to only use jump rings that are either soldered closed (these are the most secure, but increase the likelihood of the beadwork breaking if you get it caught on something), or have a smooth flush cut with no gaps.  Generally, jump rings that are made for chain maille are higher quality and have the best closure.  Split rings can also help avoid the problem of the string slipping through the gap in the jump ring, but they can also rub against the beading cord causing unnecessary wear.

The bottom line is that it will be much easier, probably be more secure (and may even look better) if you give some thought to how you will finish the project before you get to the end and actually - preferable before you start.  I have to admit, I don't always know what direction my projects will go, so I can't consistently take this advice, but when I do know the direction of the project - it always (always!) works out better.

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