Hello seed beaders! I bet you thought I forgot all about you, didn't you?
One of the wonderful things—as well as one of the challenges—about Beading Daily is that every bit of the beading world is being covered. This is a very diverse group—we have almost equal numbers of stringers, wireworkers, and beadweavers—plus a host of other folks who enjoy bead embroidery/embellishment, beadmaking (polymer clay, lampworking, metalwork, etc.), loomwork, bead crochet, bead sculpture, and a whole slew of other beady adventures. If you ever feel that I'm neglecting your part of the beading world, please drop me a line and let me know what you'd like to see.
So back to working with seed beads . . .
When I was looking through Mastering Beadwork for a possible Beading Daily project, I felt completely overwhelmed. Which project should I choose? The classic netted pearl collar? The peyote-stitched card case emblazoned with stars? The cabochon securely wrapped with brick stitch? The penta-petal bead created with triangle weave? Every day I had a new favorite. So I finally took the easy way out and asked the author, Carol Huber Cypher, to recommend a project from her book for the intermediate or advanced seed beaders on the Beading Daily list. She selected the Harlequin Bracelet, which uses the African Helix stitch. When I asked her why, she gave this terrific answer:
"Harlequin would be a fine choice. There is the thrill of four differently colored panels separated by checkerboard piping. If the beadweaver hasn't learned African helix already, it is a fun start. It calls on transitioning to peyote AND embellishing the join with fringe! Yippee! Plus a beaded toggle closure."
Doesn't her description just make you want to drop everything and try this project right now?
Fringe! I'll admit that I wasn't familiar with African Helix before this project. It looked a little like bead crochet to me. So what is African Helix anyway?
Here's what Carol said: "African Helix stitch produces a gently swirling rope of three or more panels separated by raised piping. It has more in common with bead crochet and stringing than with bead-weaving, because once the beads are picked up on the thread they are never passed through again. Unlike other off-loom bead-weaving techniques, the beads are incorporated into the beadwork solely by anchoring the thread that carries them to the thread between two previously placed beads."
But what about brick stitch?
"Brick stitch," Carol explained, "does rely on anchoring thread to thread, but it also requires passing back through the new bead."
Beaded toggle! What kinds of projects work well with African Helix?
"This stitch is great for using those cherished beads that have vexing tiny holes such as pearls and gemstones. (Though, gemstones often have ragged holes that break thread.) I love size 12 stripey Czech beads, whose holes can be pesky for peyote and impossible for right-angle weave, but, quite all right for African Helix."
I'll have more from Carol on Friday—she's graciously agreed to answer your questions. So start thinking up what you'd like to know about seed beads or beadweaving or even felted beads. (Carol is also the author of Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads and How We Felt.) You'll be able to post questions right here on Beading Daily.
Filed under: Bead Embroidery, Pearls, Bead Crochet, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Stringing, Brick Stitch, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Beading Daily