Thursday, September 25, 2014

Playing with Beads

Yeah!  This topic just needed to be its own post. So, let us play with some beads.  Whatever you have in your stash is fair game.
But, before I go any further, I want to re-address a topic I covered in an earlier tutorial: Adding a Round of Beads, and that is the informational article I shared on: How to Pick Beading Thread.  

It is important to consider the functionality of your piece when choosing to add beadwork.  Meaning--- Mother of Pearl is abrasive.  The edges of those drilled holes may not be as smooth and polished as you think. They can rub through, and break a cotton or polyester thread in no time.

That said, because I chose to work with fire-polished glass and crystal beads, and I knew early on, that my Winter Sampler was destined to decorate a wall--- AND, that I did not have the budget for thread shopping, I doubled up on a sewing thread that I already had on hand.
While laying in a full [pre-strung] or short strand of beads, I work with the Warp Loops pushed down to the base.  I turn over the loom, and work from the back.  Someone else might not find this necessary.  It merely makes things easier for me.

I like being able to work from the opposite side and see what's going on back there. That's along with the fact that sometimes, depending on what I am weaving, I need to be able to drop the needle through, and then pull it back up, around each warp thread. [THAT I did quite a lot of, while weaving my Rag Bag Tote.] Or when securing old and new weft fibers at the close and/or start of a new round. 

It's also quite handy when you're adding in beadwork as you weave.
As I covered in Adding a Round of Beads, there are two basic Rules of Thumb for this technique. Either--
The desired Size of beads will determine Placement of strand within your weaving. 
The desired Placement of strand will determine Size of beads to be used. 

Auditioning Placement

*If a picture is all you need click on the image above for a Slide Show
Once I determined where my beadwork would need to fall in my Winter Sampler, I went about weaving up to that point.  That gave gave me time to determine my layout.
I had some Czech Fire-polished Glass Cathedral beads and Fire-polished Crystal Beads that I really wanted to use, so the size that I had on hand, clearly determined where I could place them.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a larger view of individual photos:
Right Click on a photo and chose either
Open link in new tab --or-- Open link in new window
I also like these beads, because the size of the hole is rather generous. I didn't need to go looking for the finest needle that would have an eye only a magnifier could help me see to thread.
For the remainder of this tutorial, I will work with this arrangement of beads.
Re-audition the larger of the beads, and then secure the beading thread to the appropriate Warp Thread [on the back side]; using a Square Knot.
SPECIAL NOTE: The image to the left is a good place to speak about the beads that can be chosen for the outer rounds. 
This loom offers a unique warping, and the spacing is not so noticeable once the finished weaving is removed. But it is also not as noticeable in the inner rounds, so you can use all the same small-sized mm beads in a pre-strung round. 

Once you get further out, it works better to alternate the size.
Then string the beads accordingly.

While keeping the beading thread taut, lay the strand over the Warp Threads, and work the beads into place. 

It is now time to work the thread back the other way. 
This time making sure the needle goes UNDER the warp threads; threading the needle through one, maybe two beads at a time.
Below is a view from the front side of the loom.

While I chose contrasting threads for these shots [and the upcoming warping tutorials], finding the best possible match, or using a monofilament [where appropriate], can make your threadwork almost invisible.
Let's get back to the examples at hand.
Once you are back to the Tie On point, depending on the beading thread, functionality, and/or hole size, you can Tie Off here. 

If you are not sure of the functionality, or you lack the proper beading thread, and the hole size will allow it, run your thread through a second time.

Just make sure you are capturing both sides of the warp threads.
You can add in a Half Hitch knot, as well, before or after each bead.  Just do so consistently.

Studio Tip
I share tips from my studio, periodically on Facebook, and this is the perfect example for this particular tip. 

I keep a pair of silicone coated pliers close by whenever I do any kind of needlework.

This is also good tip for anyone with dexterity issues. 

NOTE: The example above [shown from the front side], shows the start of the fourth, and last pass.
If the needle gets tight and too hard to pull, grab the tip of the needle with the pliers, hold on to the bead in question, and ease the needle through gingerly. 

Once your beadwork is in place and secure....

Simply Tie Off [using the Tie On tails], with another Square Knot.

 You can then use your favorite Stick Pin or Stiletto to align your short round of beads.
A Tapestry Needle or Pointed Tweezers work as well.

And the thing is, you don't have to follow the arch.
Get Creative.

And think outside the box!
But most important....
Have Fun!
What's Up Next?
That would be the Warping Options!  OH, yes.  They do exist. It is the last of the three posts that have been sitting, seemingly forever, in the Draft folder.  But, I took a little time this afternoon to work through the warping differences  between my trusty old loom, and one of the newly purchased [for the Rag Bag Tote Project] knitting looms.  While the two looms pictured to the right both have 41 pegs, their placement is significantly different. And that will alter the Tie On/Tie Off instructions. And that is something worth noting for people.
Until then,

Leave any questions you may have in the Comments. 
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving!


  1. what a wonderful tutorial thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, bellsbaubles!! So glad that you found it. And, I hope it inspires you to play. Blessings~