Like a lot of bead-weavers I know, I got started making jewelry by learning how to string beads. Once I started learning how to do off-loom bead-weaving, though, I started looking for creative ways to combine my bead stitching with my bead stringing skills. Fifteen years later, I still love finding new ways to combine bead stringing with my favorite off-loom bead-weaving stitches. It seems like there’s just unlimited potential for your beaded jewelry designs when you combine these two jewelry-making techniques!
Amulet bags. Because I learned how to do bead-weaving in the late 90s, I was totally swept up by the amulet bag craze of the time. I made hundreds of those little purses as I learned stitches like beaded netting, peyote stitch, brick stitch, and herringbone stitch. Sometimes I would make a spiral rope for a strap, but more often than not, I would string beads on beading wire and attach it to the finished amulet purse using crimp beads! In a recent post on social media, bead artist Marcia DeCoster asked if anyone was interested in seeing the return of the amulet bag. With all the advances and innovation in beaded jewelry design that I’ve seen in the last fifteen years, I’d say my answer to that question is undoubtedly, yes!
Bead embroidered pendants. Oh, yes. I love to work bead embroidery around gemstone cabochons to make gorgeous beaded pendants. When my son was an infant, I would sell my bead embroidered pendants at my local farmer’s markets and fine craft shows, but I always had a major panic attack when I sold 9 or 10 pendants in a single morning — selling lots of inventory meant that I needed to make more, quickly, to sell at the next week’s or next day’s markets! Never fear, I soon discovered that I could use creative bead stringing techniques to create fast, easy, and beautiful straps for my bead embroidered pendants, and still have a full table of inventory to sell in just a few days. This technique also works very well for making beaded bracelets with multiple strands of beads attached to a clasp. Try it the next time you spend a lot of time on a bead embroidered focal point for a great “instant gratification” finish to your beaded jewelry design!
Stringing with beaded components.
Making beaded beads is the classic way to combine bead stitching and stringing, but I decided to take a series of peyote-stitch beaded chains and string them together with some vintage Lucite cameo beads for a fun, light-weight necklace. The next time you stitch up a batch of beaded components using crystal Rivolis, cabochons, or your favorite bead-weaving stitch, forget about trying to stitch them together and see what happens when you slide them on some beading wire with a few accent beads thrown in just for fun!
Want to learn more great bead stringing techniques? Check out Jewelry Stringing magazine! Each issue is full of beautiful bead stringing projects that range from classic and elegant to trendy and cutting-edge. You’ll find loads of inspiration for using old favorites and great new beading supplies to create beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that reflect your own beautiful style. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine and get creative with your beading projects in 2015!
Do you have a favorite way to combine bead stitching with bead stringing? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your ideas, techniques, and tips with us!