Hi! My name is Krista, and, like so many others, I have some physical issues.
I have a problem on my left side which makes using my left hand difficult, though I am grateful that I can use it some.
Fourteen years ago, I fell off a treadmill – probably due to the aura of a seizure – and got a disorder called Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy.
At first, it was unbearable. It gives intense pain, and while I was having a procedure for it, the RSD spread to the other side of my body.
The thing is that I am blessed beyond blessed. I have a part-time job teaching with my husband after school.
I have time, and even though the pain and meds can make me foggy, I’m still tremendously grateful.
I love jewelry and always have, and I make some.
But I have difficulty after I have strung my beads to make a necklace or bracelet because I can’t (yet) hold the wire/string taut enough to get the clasp installed close enough to the beads.
Do you have any ideas for me?
Thank you very much for sharing your story, and I love the pieces of art you create.
All the best to you,
Would one of these clamp tools help?
Have you tried what’s called a “helping hand” tool or “extra hand” clamp?
It looks like this:
A helping hand tool is often used in crafting and soldering, to hold things just like a hand would, when an artist needs “just one more hand” to accomplish something.
In your case, it may be able to stand in for your left hand for various jewelry-making tasks.
It has a heavy base to keep it from moving, and usually has one or two clamps or clips plus a magnifying glass.
If you Google “helping hand tool” you should find a variety of places that sell them – I’ve seen them priced under $10.
If this isn’t the kind of tool you think would work for you, please be sure to say so – and we will think of other possible solutions for you! :o)
By the way, I love your positive attitude, Krista – you are an inspiration!
right hand dominant
There is a type of beading called Japanese beading that you pin the stringing thread to your shirt and the other end is push pinned into your desk. The right hand does all the work and the pinned thread is held taut by your posture. I can email the instructions to you to see if it is something you want to try.
More tools for one-handed beading
That sounds like a great technique, Char! Thank you for mentioning it.
I’ve also come up with a couple of other tool suggestions, Krista:
How about hemostats:
Although hemostats look like scissors, they’re actually a gripping tool that works really well for holding small, fine things.
The locking tabs just below the fingerholes (at the top of the photo) let you adjust the grip to as gentle or as firm as you need.
You can get these very cheaply – anywhere from $1 to $5 on up.
Another idea for a one-handed beading tool is a clamp-it hobby vise.
It has suction cups on the bottom to stick to your table, and an adjustable clamp bar that can help you hold all kinds of things.
The one I saw cost about $30 (not including shipping).
been there, done that!
i lost the use of my RIGHT arm after a car accident. i found that for the pain and muscle spasms a TEMS unit was the only “medical help” that worked. Physical therapy did me more good than anything, that and being stubborn.
i find that plastic covered cable (i use beadalon 49 strand extra flexible quite a lot) is easier for me to handle. i always put the clasp on one end of a “simple necklace” first, because it keeps the beads from slipping off! then i simply wrap the beads around my hand once (to keep it from being too tight and stiff) and leaving a slightly longer “tail” than usual, clamp the other end, then trim.
when using silk i use a big darning needle to slide the knot down, or a tool called a tri cord knotter, but a big darning needle does the job.
dont forget using tool dip to make your tool handles easier to manage!
PS i have seizures too,although that wasn’t involved with my car accident.
I have a stroke
help for beading with one hand.
by: Terri Jacoby
I am so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. One of the things I do is lay my design on the board, and kinda push the beads onto the wire. It takes time, but works. Also I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped my piece which left the beads fall of the string. (arghhh.). I do now use a clamp. like the one shown, and also the “thingy” with the magnifying glass, which I got at radio shack. They are really used for soldering(sp) but the devise is very useful when adding beads to a chain.
Or if you have children, get them to help you string simple things. It also gives them a sense of self worth. Good luck in your endevours and “Happy Beading.”
Thanks for your great tips, Terri!
I so appreciate your sharing your experiences with one-handed jewelry making. I know you have inspired and encouraged many other folks who don’t have full use of two hands. You are a gem! :o)
beading with one hand
by: Terri Jacoby
I am so sorry I didn’t see your comment. Thank You Rena for helping out.
I use a good beadboard to lay out my design,and put something against the beginning of where I want to start stringing, like a spool. Than I just take my wire and try to get them in the holes, in which sometimes I have to chase them around. (the little suckers can really get away from you. if your not careful.) But that”s what I do. Very time consuming but worth it in the end.
Beading with one hand.
by: Terri Jacoby
Dear Krista, Do you have enough of a grip to hold pliers together? Use your needlenose pliers to grip the wire, making it easier to get the clasp on. I use my pliers for almost everything I do. They come in very handy. and if need be, wrap rubber bands around the bottom of the pliers making them easier to grip. Hope this helps a little. God Bless and happy beading.