Now that my life is more settled down (son back home after training with the Marines...daughter on the honor roll after years of struggling with school...home improvements projects done for now...traveling for work is rare...), I find myself with the time and head space to bead for fun again! Coming back to the beading table is like greeting an old friend, as I stitch bead by bead, switching from stitch to stitch, knowing exactly what I need to do to get a desired result. Since I bead all day in my head for a living (as Beadwork's tech editor), I am often struck at just how many beading techniques are stuffed into this little melon of mine...
As I was beading today, doing some complicated cubic right-angle weave sculptural something, I was thinking about being a beginning beader and all of the questions I had about techniques. Really, it was the most simple techniques that stumped me the most: they weren't always explained in books or in classes. For instance, how to start/end a new thread? I discovered quickly that it's a very easy technique, but only after someone showed me how. So, you beginning beaders out there, here's a show-and-tell so you won't be left in the dark!
Starting a New Thread
1) First, cut a workable length of thread. I never use more than 6' at a time so you don't end up doing "beader's backstroke" (pulling endless amounts of thread through beads as you work). Weave the thread through beads to exit near the place you need your thread to start again. Note: You'll end threads basically the same way as starting them, so this is kind of a double lesson.
2) Pass your needle under the threads that are connecting previously stitched beads. In this case, I'm adding thread to a right-angle weave strip, so I am passing under thread that connects 2 beads in an end unit of the final row.
3) Pass through the loop you created by passing under the connecting thread. Pull tight to form a tight half-hitch knot.
4) Weave through beads, pulling the thread tight so the knot slides inside of the next bead, hiding itself.
5) If desired, form more knots on connecting threads, then weave through beads to exit from the place you left off.
Is this how you begin a new thread? If not, share your technique on the Inside Beadwork blog! Are there any other beginner techniques that stumped you when you began beading? I'd love to share them here in future posts.
Senior editor, Beadwork magazine