Stepping Up to Ladder Stitch

Sep 18, 2007

The first few rows of ladder stitch

When I was shopping at Target this past weekend, I saw a thick cookbook titled, How to Boil Water. It made me laugh, but when I started cooking, I really needed a book like that! Did I put enough water in the pan? Was it the right pan? What’s a "rolling boil" look like? (It sounds like something you should dab some kind of medicinal cream on.)

Getting Started with Seed Beads by Dustin Wedekind, the source of this week's featured project (Ladder Rings), reminds me of that cookbook.

As the project name suggests, Ladder Rings uses ladder stitch, which is typically used to form a foundation row for other stitches. A good example of this use of ladder stitch is the recent Bead Hoarder’s Collage bracelet (last Friday’s special bonus project). Ladder Rings are pretty quick to make and don’t require too many beads.

My Ladder Rings

I intended to make only one sample Ladder Ring to show you, but I had so much fun, I ended up making two more. (I'll show you the last one on Friday.) A few tips: 

  • To close the ring, I put it on my finger and stitched two ends together with the ring on my finger. It was easier for me than trying to hold the ring in my hand to finish it. If you're making the ring for someone else, you'll want to use a ring mandrel to size it.

  • The base of the ring felt a little loose to me no matter how much I tried to tighten it. I was tempted to go back through it again with a second round of stitching. What I found, though, was when I added the edging, the ring did tighten up quite a bit and no additional stitching was needed.

  • For my second ring, the one with brown edging, I decided to use a mix of random seed beads (a mix of Japanese size 11s and Delicas). I also decided to ignore the instructions to use only two beads at a time when constructing the edging. That gave the ring a more uneven, almost ruffled look.

If you saw the first Beading Daily video experiment on Friday, you may have noticed that I stopped in the middle of a row. (To finish the row, just pull your needle and thread through the last two beads.) Oops! It’s more difficult than I imagined to talk and bead at the same time, especially standing up in front of a camera. Kudos to all you beaders on craft shows who make it look so easy! 

 Have you voted yet?

  • Have you voted yet for the easiest beading stitch? I'll report the results this Friday, plus share some tips and advice sent in by readers. [This poll has ended.]
  • This Friday is also the last day to vote for the free project from the new book, Zulu Inspired Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald. Two of the projects are running bead-to-bead and your vote could be the deciding one! [This poll has ended.] 

Free Projects from Step by Step Beads 

We have added some great projects from the editors of Step by Step Beads in the Free Project Library. More to come!

Pictured at left, Twigs and Branches Earrings by Pat Wexelblat. 

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She went a little crazy with this Ladder Ring project. On Friday, she'll show you a photo of her Extreme Ladder Ring.



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JenniferK@61 wrote
on Sep 19, 2007 3:27 PM
I liked the step by step video to show how to do the ladder stitch, but the lighting was not flattering to you at all. demand a reshoot.
SaraJ wrote
on Sep 19, 2007 3:51 PM
I do dislike how long it seems to take for the ladder to build, but once I'm past that I enjoy whatever other stitch I'm doing. A ring is a great "practice" as well as a quick finished item, where it's not near so "when will I be done with the ladder part" as a bracelet can be on my 7-12" wrists (ie, I make 7-3/14-8-1/4" bracelets, as 7-1/2" is too tight).
on Sep 19, 2007 4:09 PM
Hi Sara, I agree--this ring is just about the perfect amount of ladder stitch! Jennifer--I'm hoping we'll get a real studio--lighting, a microphone, the works! Thanks for writing!
Coley J wrote
on Sep 20, 2007 6:07 PM
The ladder rings are beautiful. I really like yours Michelle! I love the colors you chose. I am a beginner and have just recently signed up with Beading Daily. I didn't know anything about lampwork beads, but I saw them on one of your past articles and they are my favorite!! So fun and colorful. What are you favorite beads, Michelle? I am truely enjoying my Beading Daily e-mails. I loved the video by the way. Thank you for posting that. I also wanted to let you know that I really enjoy all of the interviews, projects and seeing your personal creations - along with other artist's jewelry. It's so refreshing to come on after work and enjoy a dose of beading. Thank you so much for all of your hard work!! I appreciate it!
on Sep 21, 2007 9:42 AM
Hi Colie, Thanks for all your nice comments. I love lampwork too and anything that is handmade and unique, but lately I've been buying more seed beads!
CynthiaC@45 wrote
on Sep 29, 2007 12:46 AM
God, I found great projects to do! Now I need a vacation - AFTER the upcoming bead show, that is...