A Quick Guide to Bead Speak (A Beginner's Glossary)

May 15, 2008

Are you new to beading? Are you wondering what can you do with all those beads you have stashed away? Beading Daily contributing editor Sandi Wiseheart shares a quick overview of some common beading techniques:

Stringing:This is the first thing most of us think of when we think of making stuff with beads. You take a length of something stringy, thread some beads on it, add a clasp and presto! A bracelet or necklace appears.
Wireworking:Pieces of jewelry wire—sometimes threaded with beads, sometimes not—are formed into loops and joined together. Wireworking examples include: making a loop on a wire pin in order to attach it to an earwire; connecting dozens of jump rings in projects to form chains or “chain mail” bags; creating wire-wrapped crystal links to make necklaces; attaching charms, pendants, and dangles to jewelry with wire wraps, scrolls, and free-form shapes.
Off-Loom Bead Weaving:One needle. One spool of beading thread. Dozens of itsy bitsy lovelies. Put ‘em together, and you have some serious bead magic. There’s no loom involved, so the cost is low(ish); and there are as many needle-weaving stitches and techniques as there are types of beads. Ladder stitch, brick stitch, and peyote stitch are but a few of the many ways to weave beads together with nothing more than needle and thread. Seed beads are the most popular ones used, due to their range of colors and regular shapes, but you can use these techniques with any kind of bead.


On-Loom Bead Weaving:A small(ish) frame is used to string multiple, parallel threads and hold them at tension; then beads are places into the warp spaces using various techniques and stitched into place. Again, seed beads are the ones most commonly used (but don’t let that stop your creativity!).


Bead Knitting/Bead Crochet:String beads onto your yarn before knitting or crocheting with it, and voila! Bead knitting and bead crochet.

And that's just the beginning. There are many, many more ways to combine beads and create beauty, whimsy, and wearables. Come join us at Beading Daily and you're sure to learn them all! Happy Beading!


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