Thursday, January 3, 2008


When I first started down the beading path, twenty-some odd years ago... There weren't that many books published on the subject. My resources were often reduced to hunting down old broken pieces in my mom's, grand mom's and aunts' jewelries, and if I couldn't find any broken ones, well, let's just say I figured out how to 'redo' a lot of pieces on my own...

I first learned how to bead on an old black wire loom with wooden spindles. You know the type, they still make them, you can get one for $6 at Walmart. Very simple, quite effective. Remember, some of the greatest artifacts available today were created across a bent bow.

Most of the pieces I made are long gone by now; some given as friendship gifts, others as presents... I did find one I'd made 17 years ago though. I should photograph is to share it with you. I've kept so many pieces over the years, and every so often, I like to go through them all, feeling them, examining them, and seeing their evolution.

Well, anyway, as I was saying, when I started, there weren't that many places you could go to learn new techniques, stitches, or patterns. It was usually passed down by a family member, friend, or teacher. It wasn't until I discovered the internet that my bead knowledge increased. There had been a few magazines and books I'd found, but nothing like what I could find on the 'Net. I couldn't believe the resources I was discovering.

And so, since I've learned so much through the internet, I thought it would be fun to return the favor. I'm starting this blog in the hopes of sharing my knowledge with all of you. I would like this to be a place where beaders can come and learn something new, or maybe just a new twist on something old.

I'll try to keep up on updates as much as I can, life permitting.

You'll be able to find any new tutorials below this intro, and I'll try and keep up with tags too. That way, you'll be able to search either by technique, or item.

Bead Crochet Rope

Clicking on each page image will enlarge them for better viewing. Again, these instructions are geared to the beginner, but once you've mastered the technique, you can move on to smaller beads, a smaller hook, and finer thread.

My choice of hook is a 0.9 mm, and this I use for beads anywhere between 15/0 and 6/0. My preferred thread for crocheting ropes with is 'Coats' button thread or dual duty thread. Both polyester based, and both very very strong. Upholstery thread is also good to work with. Try to skip cotton thread, as it will eventually stretch out under the weight of the beads, and in the long run, might give your rope a loose look.

As for your rope care, try not to get it wet, to avoid thread rot inside the beads. If such an accident should happen, lie your rope flat on a towel, and dry it with a hair dryer on a very low setting. This will help prevent the thread from rotting and weakening inside the beads.

As far as bead amounts and thread length, I usually don't calculate them, but just in case you want to make sure you've got enough beads, here's a rough method to calculate how many beads you'll need:

Bead size number x number of stitches will usually give you the number of beads you'll need in an inch. Example: Say you're using size 11 beads and are making a rope with six chain stitches. Multiply 11 by 6, and you get 66. You'll need approximately 66 beads to an inch (2.2 cm).

Let's try size 8 beads and a 4 chain stitch rope: 8x4= 32 beads. (again, this is approximate).

As for the thread length, again, I pretty much wing it. But I'd say I use about 1 meter of thread to each inch of a 6-chain rope. Maybe a bit less. I'll see if I can figure that out one day. ;)

X's & O's earrings