During this last week, I went from a high of 132 items in my Etsy shop to 114. Although about half of the drop is attributable to purchases, the other half is simply due to the end of my "Christmas in July/August" sale, which was a true clearance sale - anything left isn't going back to a regular price but is disappearing from the shop to be remade. As you might guess, the rosaries in that sale were the ones that have been sitting in the shop for the longest time - most of them were made in 2009.
When you make things by hand, you're always gradually improving. While there's nothing wrong with those earlier rosaries, they're not quite as well made as the ones I'm making now. Around the beginning of 2010, something happened that made a not-so-gradual change: I discovered tornado crimps. Once I started using them, I never went back to traditional crimps, and the dividing line for what went into the sale was pre- and post-discovery. I wanted to be able to say that every rosary in the shop was made with tornado crimps, and now I can! I was going to post a picture here of a rosary with a good view of the tornado crimps, but even with the close-ups you have to enlarge the picture to really see the them, and I don't know of any way to do that on the blog. But you can see them now on any rosary in my shop if you enlarge a closeup of the center and crucifix. The telltale sign is the spiral around the crimp, which looks like diagonal lines in the photos. (There are four crimps on every rosary: three connecting the center and one holding on the crucifix.)
Some people don't like tornado crimps because they're not quite as pretty as traditional crimps used with a crimp cover (a metal bead placed around the crimp so you don't see it). A crimp cover doesn't fit around a tornado crimp. Most of the people who don't like them make jewelry, and if I were making jewelry I might agree. But I consider rosaries to be functional objects - it's a plus if they look nice, but that's not their main purpose. And one thing tornado crimps are is strong. Once they're on, they're there to stay. If for some reason I need to undo one, I have to take my memory wire cutters to it.
That's probably more than anyone wants to know about tornado crimps. I can't tell you why they work as well as they do, but I assume it has something to do with that spiral design. This is supported by the fact that the wires have to run through it in a specific arrangement in order for it to work well. That takes a little more care than traditional crimps, but it's nothing compared to what I used to go through with crimp bead covers. And, besides, they're just so strong.
In more important news, the Prayers on a Wire Etsy Team is having its first blog giveaway, which happens to be one of my rosaries. There are a lot of options for entering, so please check it out.
Just yesterday, the mail brought some opals I've been waiting for in order to make an October birthstone rosary. That will get done hopefully this weekend. In the meantime, here are rosaries for September and November. Also, in honor of the sapphire month, all the rosaries featured in the righthand column of the blog are blue. As usual, clicking on a picture will take you to more photos and a full description: