- Arts and Design
Accessorizing with Beads
Accessorizing With Beads
Accessorizing with beads is nothing new. The classic string of pearls, or multiple lengths of colored beads are some time honored accessories, but beads can be so much more.
There are many bead artists who, with various stitches that are hundreds of years old, create true works of art in the forms of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, etc. with beads of various sizes and thread of different types. Some even incorporate common household items such as buttons into their beadwork.
A universal stitch generally attributed to the Native Americans
Peyote is a stitch commonly attributed to the Native American culture, but in truth, items made with peyote stitch have been found in archaeological digs around the world.
Peyote stitch can be worked with all one size beads for a flat fabric as in the 2 drop peyote bearded iris bracelet segment in the first picture above. For the flat peyote, I like to use Delica seed beads because the little cylinders fit so nicely together for a very uniform weave.
It can also be worked in different size beads for a sculptured effect as in the bracelet in the center picture which is worked with size 15, size 11 and size 8 Czech seed beads with drop accents.
You can even work 3D objects in peyote as in the heart shaped toggle ring and bar in the third picture.
There are many other applications for peyote as well, but this will give you a good idea how versatile it is.
Proper Lighting is a MUST For Any Craft
You need good lighting for any type of close work. A full spectrum light is necessary if you need to see colors clearly, but a daylight type bulb is very helpful (and less costly). I like a desk lamp with a magnifyer for my bead work because threading the needle is difficult for me.
I've tried several desk lamps with magnifyers and found that even though the base was weighted, the circular lamp was so heavy if I bent the lamp down so I could see through the magnifyer it would tip over.
I've got one like this now and I love it. It's definitely worth the extra money. The light can be set to shine optimal light on my bead mat and the magnifyer can be adjusted separately. The magnification is only 1.5, but it's much more comfortable for me as I can sit upright with my hands on the mat and see perfectly.
Right Angle Weave or RAW
Also Known As Cross Weaving
Right Angle Weave or RAW is one of the most versatile stitches I've found. Most of the time I prefer to use the two needle method. In it's simplest form, pick up one or more beads on each needle and cross threads in a third bead, it can form either a simple or an elegant strap for a necklace depending on the beads used. In more complex designs one thread can "take a side trip" before it comes back to main body, forming beautiful designs. Or both threads can double back on the pattern giving the design more weight
In the pictures above, right angle weave in it's simplest form is created by making several rows of RAW and using color as you would in peyote to create a design. In the second picture this asymmetric bracelet is made up of six different units, five strips and one focal, all using RAW variations. You can see by just these two pictures how versatile the stitch is. The feature picture at the top is also made using two needle raw and is also adapted from a design by Bohemian Heart.
Clasps on hand beaded jewelry are often very unique. They can be anything from a pretty button and loop, to beaded balls, or beaded toggles. The beaded balls and toggles are a real boon to people with metal allergies. They can still wear pretty jewelry without worrying about the metal causing a break-out.
The rings in these pictures are simple bead loops, but they can be 3-D beaded rings like the heart shown in the picture above the section on peyote.
For the beaded balls, I like to use crystal bicones because they offer some good angles that serve to hold onto the beaded rings. I've used them in several very formal pieces of jewelry and think they give a very unique, unified look.
What's Your Favorite Bead Stitch
If you're a beader, or if you just like buying or looking at beaded items, vote for your favorite stitch.
What's your favorite bead stitch?
More About Bead Stitches
I've only given you a look at what you can do with two bead weaving stitches. There are many, including brick, which gives a similar look to peyote, loom, St. Petersburg chain, diagonal peyote, pondo, herringbone (Ndbele), netting, cubic RAW and the list goes on and on. Each one has the ability to be quite simple, or to take on an elegant air according the the designer's imagination.
You can find tutorials on these bead stitches and more on The Bead Doodler's blog.