Sometimes, when I can't sleep at night, I try to relax by dreaming up new beaded jewelry design ideas. (I'm not the only one who does that, right?) A couple of weeks ago, as I was trying to fall asleep, I thought about what I was going to do with a hank of beautiful striped seed beads from York Beads. I don't know what made me think of it, but I wondered if I could stitch them together using fine gauge copper wire and using my favorite bead-weaving stitches. Wire jewelry made with bead-weaving stitches — why not?
I'm a lot more adventurous with my wire jewelry projects these days, so I dug out a spool of 26 gauge copper wire and a hank of beautiful aged stripe beads from York Beads, with the idea that I would stitch up some kind of peyote stitch focal point for a necklace.
After I cut a reasonable length of wire (about five feet), I used my wire straighteners to try to get some of the curl out of that wire. I also had my Xuron needle nose pliers handy, since you never know when you're going to need to grasp a tiny end of wire as it pokes out of a bead.
Before I got started with the actual peyote stitch, I sorted through the hank of striped seed beads. (These were larger 8o seed beads, so that I could get more than one pass with the wire through each bead.) For my first attempt at peyote stitch with wire, I decided to use mainly the larger, cylinder-shaped beads.
Since I was feeling brave after completing these two little pieces of wire peyote stitch, I decided to try something else: a large v-shaped piece of peyote stitch with wire and the round seed beads from the hank of striped beads. All I did was work peyote stitch with an increase on the top and a decrease on the bottom to form the "v", the same way I do when I want to make a peyote stitch leaf. After a while, it really didn't bother me that I could see some of the wire between beads. I love the ethnic look of this piece!
I will say this about doing peyote stitch with wire: it isn't easy on the fingers. But the end results were worth the pain!
Looking for great wire jewelry projects made with seed beads? Treat yourself to a subscription to Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine. You'll get page after page of great wire jewelry projects for all skill levels, plus tips and techniques, great jewelry-making product reviews, and enough inspiration for a lifetime of wire jewelry making.
What do you think about working traditional bead-weaving stitches with wire? Have you tried this technique yet? I'll be sure to post the follow-up when I finish the beaded necklace!