Beaded Straps and Cords and Fringes...and a Giveaway!

Jun 15, 2011

So, the first thing that you should know about me is that I'm a total cabochon freak. I love beading with cabochons. One of the things that I always find to be a fun challenge when I'm stitching up a beaded cabochon necklace is what kind of fringe and strap I'm going to add to turn my beadwork into a piece of wearable art.

Sometimes, it's easy. The cabochons will pretty much tell me what to do when it comes to adding beaded fringe and beaded straps. I can draw from the colors of the cabochons themselves, and sometimes the textures or patterns on them if the cabochon has been made by one of my favorite ceramic artists. Other times, it's not so easy, and I've been known to stash a piece away in a drawer for a year (or more!) while I wait for the right inspiration to hit me. To give all of you some inspiration for ways to use beaded fringe and beaded straps, I thought I'd share some of my favorite beaded cabochon necklaces and talk a little bit about what I did for each of them. (Keep reading - this all ties into a giveaway at the end of the post!)

My Azteca neck piece was one of my first attempts at making a bead embroidered neck piece. I loved the way the embroidery came out, but when it came to fringing the piece, I was completely stuck. I tucked it away in a drawer for nearly a year before I realized what I needed to do for fringe. Oddly enough, the idea came to me when I was out feeding my chickens one afternoon! I rushed back into the house and took out my bag of bamboo tubes - the provided just the right earthy feel to the piece, and the seed bead loops on the ends of each fringe provided wonderful movement to the piece.
One of my more recent pieces, Midnight Sun, features a handmade cabochon by the wonderful Lisa Peters. I didn't want to distract from the beautiful gold design on the cabochon, but I still wanted it to have a little fun! Combining long and short fringes made it look like something my mom might have worn back in 1973. I alternated short fringes with vintage glass flower beads with longer strands of simple looped fringe. (And this piece looks fabulous when I wear it with a black turtleneck sweater!)
Another of my favorite ceramic artists, the very talented Marsha Hedrick, inspired me to create a dramatic necklace around her handmade Art Nouveau cabochon. The beaded fringe on this one was pretty simple - black onyx drops suspended from loops of seed beads - but then I decided to take it a step further and include those drops on the beaded strap as well. And of course, I had to find just the right color of seed bead to match the colors of the cabochon!
Sometimes I like to use materials for my beaded straps that aren't necessarily beads. For this gemstone cabochon beaded necklace, I decided to make use of some of the satin cord I had lying around and beaded up some peyote stitch slides. I used the same glass drops on the slides that I used on the fringe, and I added a larger size seed bead to the slides to give them some texture.
When I was stitching up this piece, using another funky handmade ceramic focal bead also made by the fabulous Lisa Peters, I decided to do an embellished rope in the style of Laura McCabe's intricate beadwork. Because I didn't want to overpower the focal bead, I just added a short length of simple fringe using pressed glass drops. The whole necklace is asymmetrical, and the fringe makes it fun to wear!

And so here is the good part: the giveaway!

Way back when I first got started in beading, I needed ideas and inspiration for ways to fringe my beaded creations. I found a copy of Jean Campbell's 32 Beaded Cords, Chains, Straps & Fringe and was instantly inspired! In fact, I still have a well-loved copy of this book handy because I still go back to it for ideas. And we just happen to have one copy of this fantastic book here in the Interweave offices, just looking for a brand new home.

So here's what to do: post a comment on this blog about your favorite stitch for a beaded strap, your favorite style of beaded fringe, or your favorite stitch for making beaded cords or ropes. On Friday, June 17, 2011 at 5 p.m. EST, I'll choose a random winner using my trust random number generator.

Good luck, and bead happy!


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kareng915 wrote
on Jun 15, 2011 11:07 PM

My fallback for a beaded cord has be peyote/celini spiral.. everyone comes out different.  If I want something to just work on and relax, I'll pick up some iris beads and do a netted rope.  I have looked at this book and keep thinking I really need to pick up a copy!  I would love to win it :)

on Jun 16, 2011 2:24 AM

I cannot believe there is just one comment here!. I really enjoyed reading the blog and looking at different choices of the fringes for those cabochons. I love spirals - crocheted, stitched, any kind. Working with them is relaxing and bring so much pleasure because there are countless varieties in style, color, size, and so on. I did not see the book closely, but I am sure it would be a great addition to any beader's library..Thank you, Jennifer for giving this chance - I'd love to participate!


tpfrank wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 5:43 AM

Spiral rope is my favorite beaded cord and I have only fringed one or two items and I used seed beads, gemstones, and crystals.  I'm always looking for new ideas to expand my beading experienence.

Beth Eltinge wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 6:20 AM

My favorite beaded cord is tubular netting.  To add strength, sometimes I run another cord through it.  As for fringe, I love it all.  One of my favorites for a really big impact is branched fringe.

EyesofBlue wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 7:01 AM

I like spiral ropes.  You can make them thick or thin and as textured or as sleek as you want.  This book looks great.  Thanks for offering it!

veredgy wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 7:21 AM

No doubt the herring bone stitch is my favored stitch for straps and bracelets and even chains, when it's twisted. I love to stitch in a svarovsky line for more shine.


AmyB@83 wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 7:41 AM

What a fantastic blog post, Jennifer !  Thank you for sharing not only your work, but so many great and inspiring ideas.

My favorite stitch for a beaded strap has to be tubular herringbone.  It works up quickly, you can make it twist, and creates a lot of opportunity to change sizes of beads along with embellishing the heck out of it if you wanted to !!

I haven't done much in the line of fringe, so I can certainly take the time to learn more!!


traci staves wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 7:55 AM

Hands down, my favorite is the spiral rope.  It is versatile and works up fast.  The possibilities are endless.

traci staves wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 7:59 AM

Hands down, my favorite is the spiral rope.  It works up fast, is very versatile and the possibilities are endless.

jamiebeads wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 9:39 AM

My favorite making one of the "beaded bails" in the book "Beading with Cabochons", then stringing beads that coordinate with the cabochon used in the peice.  When I do use a rope, I like the twist variation of the herringbone tube ( and I still use a beaded bail, just adds that design flair!)

Chibabies6 wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 10:25 AM

I have really thing for various chain stitches!  Nothing makes me excited than seeding a new chain stitch variations to try out!  Always so versatile!!

My favorite would probably be the open chains like the chevron, netting or any little delicate lacy stitch.. I like that they look and feel can be very different depending on if you  used 8s or 15s or adding in a little crystal for sparkle or the sophistication of pearls or just a mix of fun funky colors!  ;-)

on Jun 16, 2011 10:32 AM

I'm fairly new to beading so I have not done a lot with fringe. I love cabochones and my favorite cording is a twist. I have several necklaces with a twist. I'm looking forward to learning more things in this wonderful hobby. I'm having a love affair with seed beeds.  :)

SandFibers wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 11:25 AM

Great post,  Jen!  

I love twisted ndebele for beaded ropes.  I think it's really important that the rope not overpower the focal.

on Jun 16, 2011 2:04 PM

As I told a friend, "I do a lot of peyote." At the time I didn't realize how misconstrued that could be because I was in a bead store. Luckily the people with me knew what I meant. I really love to use peyote stitch and am looking for other things to do than just the tubular, which is what I have started with. Thanks.

jmh2142 wrote
on Jun 16, 2011 3:04 PM

I have only been beading for a couple of years, but I have turned into a total cabachon freak too!  I have made some using resin but my favs are gemstones.  The latest one incorporated a black onyx oval, I bezeled it with white and black seed beads using a window technique.  It was made into a necklace using the same white and black seed beads stiched with tubular herringbone.  The design is asymetrical and the clasp (a black onyx toggle) is the center focal.  It is dramatic, yet has a casual feel.  The great thing about this art form, is the more I learn, the more I learn that I have to learn! LOL  This book would be a welcomed learning tool.

Thanks for the inspiration!


Tami Cyphers wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 2:24 AM

Hi i am new to the art of beading so i don't have much hands on experience for a favorite stitch to do but my favorite stitch that wows me would be the spiral peyote or celini i think its the same. a spiral peyote rope stitch would make a great strap and i saw an awesome necklace with branched fringe so i am going to say that is my favorite fringe.

waase wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 9:08 AM

Wow Finally  an editorial I can really enjoy. I love beads and cabachon work as long as it doesn't get too "punked" or wired. Probably has to do with the fact that I am a Native elder, too used to the old ways!! Chains ,cordsd and straps usually come to me as to what the piece wants, whether it be for a man, woman, or child.        Waase

beadmarie wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:03 AM

I enjoy making spiral weave straps.  I love the orange necklace with the cab from Lisa Peters.  Gorgeous!

StaceyLeeG wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:04 AM

I like to combine tubular peyote lengths with strung sections of other beads. I don't think I've met a fringe that I didn't like... and when I use it I like to use a bunch!! :D

TheresaA@6 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:11 AM

I really love a nice spiral rope but I'm REALLY into the idea of herringbone for a strap as I just love the way it looks with the way the beads sit.

Laura@325 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:12 AM

My fallback strap is DNA spiral with seed beads that are featured in the piece combined with smallish bead soup in complimentary colors.  It uses up a LOT of beads and thread, but looks and feels stunning.


NicoleT24 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:20 AM

Right now, I'm stuck on RAW ropes. It took me literally 20 years to learn RAW, and now that I finally have it down-pat, I can't stop! I'm on the crazy RAW train!

on Jun 17, 2011 11:25 AM

I like using RAW and I like using tubular herringbone for beaded ropes.  I like working with fringe and will fringe just about anything! The first stitch I learned was a daisy-on-a-vine which I really like for beaded straps. I, too, have only been beading for a couple of years, but absolutely love learning more. The more I learn, the more I realize there is yet to learn! and the fun-er it gets!

aneva9 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:30 AM

I love them ALL, but right now my favorite is the spiral.  It can be changed so easily, add or drop a bead here or there and you have such different designs.  So many more wonderful ideas in this book, I would love to expand my skills with it!  

on Jun 17, 2011 11:34 AM

I love working the Peyote stitch!!

ChristyinCA wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 11:40 AM

I am a new beader and just learning all the types of ways to weave seed beads.  I have been using the peyote stitch to make cords but I sure am looking to learn more designs.  I am addicted!  Peyote is my favorite right now!

on Jun 17, 2011 12:02 PM

I use the good old reliable spiral rope the most.  I have been timid about trying new ideas and would love to have the book to get ideas to try new things and gain confidence.  By the way I love this blog and I would say that even if there was no prize involved.

on Jun 17, 2011 12:02 PM

I use the good old reliable spiral rope the most.  I have been timid about trying new ideas and would love to have the book to get ideas to try new things and gain confidence.  By the way I love this blog and I would say that even if there was no prize involved.

ami_03 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 12:18 PM

I haven't had much exposure to bead weaving, but I love the techniques I've tried! Brick stitch is one of my favorites because of the symmetry and precision. I also enjoy spiral stitch because it just looks SO cool! I want to learn peyote stitch.

driggers wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 12:35 PM

My current favorite is a beaded crochet rope. Relaxing to work on and lots of good variation.  I'm not great at needleweaving yet but hope to improve with more practice.

MaryV@9 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 12:39 PM

I love brick stitch chain. By varying the beads on each side, I can create so many different looks and variations that look very complicated to create. And the straps work up SUPER fast!

CatherineMK wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 1:09 PM

I've just discovered making straps, etc as I've been making bracelets out of magazines... I've discovered that I like two--the herringbone & the spiral strap teccniques...The herringbone is perfect for a simple strap but if I want a more fancier strap, I will use spiral and add some small embellishments to it.


YvetteF3 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 1:37 PM

I have not done any beaded straps, so it would be awesome if I won this book. I have a couple of really cool focals from Glass Monkey in Baton Rouge LA, and I have been wanting to make some kind of cord/strap for them!

on Jun 17, 2011 2:48 PM

Wow, great giveaway.  My avorite beaded stitch is herringbone, it's fun and easy, and it works up quickly.  This looks like a great addition to my favorite type of jewelry design.....stitching.  'love Jean Campbell's work.

' hope to win.


on Jun 17, 2011 4:18 PM

My favorite stitch is the brick stitch. I changed the bead size from 11/0 to 8/0 from the What's Your Sign? project in the 5 Free Brick Stitch Projects e-book to create keychains and am making them for all my friends!!

Chibabies6 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 4:36 PM

Yay!!  I just got the message that I won!!!!!!  Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!  Beading Daily is sooo awesome!!!!

Janz Joolz wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 5:37 PM

My first seed bead project ever was a lanyard made of peyote tubes strung on leather with wood beads between, so I have a soft spot for tubes!

DianeB@120 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 7:39 PM

By the time I saw this it was past the deadline but will answer anyway.  I love to use Kumihimo for a cord.  It can be a single color or various rows of colored beads for more interest.  Add a focal bead and you have a stunning piece.

DianeB@120 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 7:45 PM

I saw the post to late to enter but decided to share anyway.

Kumihimo beaded cord is great. All one color beads or mulit color and size makes a stunning piece.  Add a focal bead and it looks fantastic

paints wrote
on Jun 20, 2011 8:42 PM

I bead cabochons and do a lot of bead embroidered cuffs. I love branch fringe and totally random lengths with many elements. I really like right angle weave.

callyross wrote
on Jun 23, 2011 10:50 AM

my favorite cord or rope is any spiral, herringbone, peyote, netted especially with accent beads mixed here and there! gotta go, i need to bead!