First try at beadweaving?

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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 3:26 AM

I am thinking about taking the plung into beadweaving I guess it would be called. What is the easiest stitch? I thought about the square stitch before but was not sure if that or peyote is the best to start with. I am looking at doing very simple bracelet to start with as I have to figure out what I am doing ( if I ever do ). I was thinking just a couple of colors to keep it simple ( mainly black with 1 or 2 accents ). Do I do this on a loom? Off a loom just using my lap? Do how do you attach that clasp?

I know all very simple stupid questions, but that is how we asking. I figured you were the experts so it was the first place to ask.  

Thanks! You are all SO wonderful and helpful when I get a creative urge.

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on Aug 12, 2008 4:30 AM

Wow, that's a lot of questions!  Seriously, though, if you want to get started in beadweaving, I would reccomend getting your hands on any book by Carol Wilcox Wells for fantastic instructions and projects.  Or, you can check out and look under their insutructions - some are free, some are for purchase.  I started out using Carol Wilcox Wells' first book, "Creative Bead Weaving". 

As for the easiest stitch, different people will tell you different things.  I taught myself every beadwork stitch under the sun - except peyote.  I could not figure it out, nor could I figure out how to read a peyote graph until I took a class.  I could do brick stitch, Ndebele, square stitch, African helix, right angle weave, netting, chevron - you name it, I knew it, except for peyote!  Big Smile Try out a few stitches to see which ones feel more intuitive to you. 

As for attaching a clasp, it depends on the stitch, the materials you'll use in the bracelet, and the bracelet pattern itself.  You canuse a simple button and loop closure, or you can use a small ring of beads with a jumpring, or when you get more comfortable with the stitches and all their variations, you can stitch a clasp to finish the piece.  The only limit is your imagination!

Good luck with the beadweaving - I hope we see some pictures of your first attempts on here!



"Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That's why it is called the present." -Kung Fu Panda

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Kokopelli wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 4:43 AM

Hi Sheila,

I started off-loom beadweaving with peyote stitch. The tricky part is about making the third row as you can get confused with sorting the beads of the first two rows. Have a look in the how-to section for the instructions. I then try switchback chain and zigzag chain form the book "Zulu Inspired Beadweaving". The techniques are explained very detailed with drawings and words, so they were very easy to follow.

On-loom I started with single strand square weave. Look at this site for weaving techniques: Although it is based on weaving with wampum beads you can also use seedbeads as well.

I simply sew the clasps to the end of the woven piece. You can also do a woven clasp: button & loop or a beaded toggle clasp. This beadingdaily member  does some very  nice beaded clasps: Just to give you an idea.

So that's just my experience. Maybe someone tells you, that another stitch is easier to start with. And sometimes the names change between English and German, so I don't know, if I always use the right name for the technique.

on Aug 12, 2008 5:06 AM

Yay, Sheila-you're taking the plunge!  You realize there's no turning back once you start, hehehe.

Jen is right-what's easiest depends on who you ask.  If you want to try peyote, invest in a couple small packages of Delicas or other cylinder beads.  It will make learning it SO much easier.  I learned w/seed beads cuz it's all I had but when I tried Delicas the 1st time I was hooked. (We really are a bunch of addicts, aren't we?)  I have both of Carol's books and they are fantastic-2 of my favorites.

Personally I'm not fond of square stitch because loomwork is faster/easier for the same result, I think.  Nice thing about square stitch/loomwork is you can use most charted needlework patterns as long as they don't have 1/2 stitches in them.

To me, I'd have to say the easiest stitches are probably netting & right angle weave.  They work up quickly and once you have the basic idea, there's so much you can do with them. Get the B&B RAW special edition-it's great.



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Billy Z wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 6:38 AM

 To me, the Brick Stitch was easiest to learn because i was like 6 or 7 and in the Cub Scouts when I was taught how to do it. As i got older and graduated to the Boy Scouts, I learned how to make your own loom and do the work on it. Loomwork is faster going, but if it ever breaks, you have a mess on your hands and it is kind of hard to repair simply because of the way you run the thread through the beads. With off-loom stitching, you can repair a broken or messed up spot and it will be as strong if not stronger than it was to start with.

 I have just recently learned the peyote stitch myself and I have to use a long headpin through the first row in order to get started. I know that I will eventually chuck the headpin, but it is a lifesaver for a beginner. I still have a bit of a problem reading the peyote charts, but I am getting there. I have several practice pices that look good, but I also have some that look like an unexperienced child did it. *laughz* I am rther proud of a black and white striped cuff that is 3 inches wide and almost long enough to go around my arm. I kind of ran out of white beads. *laughz*

 Just one more thing, start off easy and use two alternating colors so that you can easily see how it works. Use a headpin on the first row to start with and that will make it very easy to see which beads that you need to stitch through. And start with 'E' beads, the holes are bigger for the multiple thread passes and they are easier to see in general. And DON"T give up when you much up, it takes a little time to figure it out. That's just my tips from newbie to newbie. I hope that you catch on easily. Good luck.

 Billy ;o)

 I yam wut I yam and dats all wut I yam. ~Popeye~

Dragonfly Jewelry Designs - ArtFire Artisan Studio


on Aug 12, 2008 6:42 AM

True you are, Billy.  Another suggestion would be to try some small practice squares so you don't get frustrated trying to take on a bigger piece and it not work the way you want.  You can always take apart a small block, or combine it with something else later.



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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 7:05 AM

Okay, I figured that I would get all different stitches. I did a small ( about 2 inch ) long section of square stitch with black and silver. I liked it. It was E beads. My thought was that I would use E beads. I had read somewhere that those were easiest to start with. 

I won't say that I am taking the plunge just yet. Maybe dipping my to speak. 

I'll let you guys know. I am sure you will be able to read the frustration in my postings...

Again, Thanks for all your help and encouragement. It does mean ALOT!

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Keith L wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 7:24 AM

Hi Sheila, if you're happy to follow a pattern, might I suggest the following? (OK, so maybe it's bad form to recommend other beading sites, but hey-ho, here goes ...) 

(i) Sealed With A Kiss Bracelet from (free pattern number 11930 by Dancing Sea Designs). This will start you off with a right angle weave (RAW) base which is then embellished with seed beads and crystals in a fairly simple "X" design. It works up really quickly, and I have made loads of these in various colour combinations as gifts for neices and colleagues. The instructions also give details of how to attach a clasp!

(ii) Cubed Herringbone Bracelet (free pattern from this website). This will introduce you to ladder stitch and flat herringbone, and again has instructions for attaching a clasp.

(iii) Garden Necklace from (free pattern number 11849 by Deborah Roberti), which will get you into a variation of RAW (RAW in the round or Triangular Weave).

These were some of the first patterns I tried out, and have had great success with them (making several dozen of each, in a multitude of colourways!). As well as the various stitches, you get the chance to play with seed beads, fire-polish beads, crystals and glass pearls - the opportunities for variation are infinite!!!!

Hope this helps & happy beading, Keith


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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 9:23 AM

Thanks for the info! I am not sure if following a pattern will be help or hurt...but I am willing to try both. 

Thanks for the information as simple is what I need to start ( and maybe continue! )

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Mortira wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 1:46 PM

 When I first tried beadweaving with peyote stitch I got pretty frustrated with it.  For me, spiral rope was the stitch that kept me interested.  Not only is it compatible with just about every kind of bead, but it's easy to adapt.  I think it's important to start with simple stitches, just to become familiar with using the beads and thread together, maintaining tension, adding thread, etc. 

Flat herringbone weave is my second pick for beginners.  I've made some tutorials and write-ups on beadweaving basics for my Beading Encyclopedia that you are welcome to check out (and critique! Big Smile ).  Wherever you find instruction, just keep at it.  Once you get the hang of it, beadweaving becomes an obsession!

Good luck!



Inspirational Beading - tutorials, bead spotlights and plenty of inspiration!

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on Aug 13, 2008 1:35 AM


 Well, here I am on the West Coast USA, it's 1:30 a.m. here and I should be at least trying to get some shut-eye (insomnia is such a PITA!).  But I just can't seem to stop reading and hopefully absorbing all the wealth of info everyone's putting out here.

 I find it fascinating how almost everyone has a different first stitch.  Other than simple stringing, cross/bead-stitching and some loom weaving, I've never tried off-loom stitching, all the stitches have left me confused.  I'm still as confused as ever, but, seeing that so many of you have done so many of the stitches with eventual success for each of you, I now have the guts to just pick a pattern I like and give it a whirl.  I had already printed some of the free patterns mentioned by Keith, along with corresponding stitch instructions.  With so many I like, it might turn into a game of eenie-meenie-minee-moe.  But since I have plenty of seeds, e's and delicas, I'm hard-pressed to find any other excuse to not get started, eh.

 Sheila, thank you for starting this thread - it's certainly got me motivated to get off my duff!  Idea

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diane@285 wrote
on Aug 13, 2008 10:04 PM

 My suggestion is brick stutch.  That is where my addiction began and is still a favorite for earrings and amulet bags.  I love the books by Soggrid Wynnes- Evans.  Simple, easy to read and understand.  You can pick them up on line cheaply but new the list price is usually under $10.  She explains things very carefully.  Might I also suggest nymo for your seed bead work, higher number means thicker thread.  You actually want the thinner so you can go throguh beads several times.  I also love bead heaven to coat the thread, keeps it from knotting, bees wax (you can get it in sewing/quilting area of most fabric stores, even walmart has it) also works well.  And though they are more money delica beads are the most uniform bead I have come across and the holesa are larger which you will find is important, 2nd choice for me is the dynimite beads firemountain gems distributes.  The delicas larger holes allow you to easily go throguh a bead several times and saves on frustration.  You also want better quality beading neddles, cheaper needles are brittle and break you want some flex.  Be forwarned it is very addicting.  You probably can find instructions on line as well.  Good luck, have fun.



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on Aug 14, 2008 8:11 AM

Beading is NOT addicting; I can quit anytime I want, I just keep on coming back.

My choice of thread is Nymo, 0 and D sizes.  I acquired some beeswax/parafin mix for waxing; it works well.  I too pre3fer Delicas, but some things demand crystals and/or seed beads.  For needles, I use only "Big Eye" needles [4" and 2-1/4"] from FMG, they are flexible and my OLD eyes can find the eye easily for threading.   I can NOT get larger beads to work for me, excepting #8 hex.

Brick and square stitches are my most used, in thet order.  I use spiral and gourd/peyote or round work.

Stan B.

Stan B.

Lakeland, MN


Ignorance is curable; Stupidity has neither cure nor excuse.

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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 14, 2008 1:14 PM

 I tried last night with some E beads and tried the square stitch. It was not a big sucess. I think that part of the problem is that I have larger hands and trying to hold those beads and then get the line through. Well the first shot was not pretty. So I took it out.

Today is another day so I am going to try again tonight. I have done about 2 inches of square stitch a month or so ago and it went fine. Oh well...I'll try again...and again...and again... ( well you get the idea ).

Stan B. - You do realize that the first step is admitting the problem don't you? ( LOL ) ( If we all could quit none of us would be on this site would we ? )

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