Modern Beaded Lace: New Techniques and Designs with Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Using Beads to Create Modern Beaded Lace

I’m continually amazed by the “new” in our beading world: new techniques, new stitches, new beads, and new interpretations. The most recent example in my studio is Cynthia Newcomer Daniels’ beautiful beaded lace designs. Cynthia’s designs combine her love of beadweaving and lace, and she shares her experience through the pages of her new book, Modern Beaded Lace.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Excerpts from Modern Beaded Lace
“Beaded lace is a hybrid of lacemaking and beadweaving, and both have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. In traditional lacemaking, threads are knotted or woven together to make patterns; beaded lace mimics those pat- terns. When I was younger, I loved making lace using traditional methods; my threads and beads coexisted happily together. As time passed, I became more interested in beadweaving: lace takes a very long time to make, while beads are bright, shiny, and work up into something pretty in much less time.”

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Modern Beaded Lace: Behind the Scenes

“I can’t really say when I began making beaded lace; my beadwork has always been described as lacy, and it has gradually gotten more so over the years. I had a sort of epiphany several years ago when I realized that a bead could stand in for a single knot of lace. I quickly realized that many of my favorite beadweaving stitches resemble traditional lace stitches; from that moment on, I began applying things I had learned while making lace to designing my beadwork.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Throughout the book you can count on Cynthia for wonderful instructions, illustrations to help with each step, explanations on how she translates lace into beadweaving stitches, and how you can take all you learn and launch into your own beaded lace designs.

Beaded Lace Basics and Lace Types

In Part 1, Cynthia covers the materials and supplies you’ll need for weaving your own beaded lace designs as well as shares basic lace knowledge including types of lace and lace elements referenced throughout the projects. To follow is a glimpse into these basics.

Needle Lace

Needle lace is perhaps my favorite type of lace. It is incredibly detailed and takes many hours to make even a tiny piece. When worked with a fine thread it is breathtakingly beautiful. It isn’t made very much anymore, except as a labor of love; the cost would be prohibitive. However, it is a great inspiration for beaded lace; each knot can be represented by a bead and worked accordingly. If you are interested in designing your own lace, look for photos of needle lace and imagine each knot replaced by a bead.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Swirls and Pearls Earrings

This design is made by combining herringbone swirls with a bezeled and embellished pearl. Use this technique to create the earrings as shown, and/or use the techniques to create different shapes, expound on it to create a statement necklace, or an elegant pendant.

On Crochet and Tatting

Crochet patterns are very easy to adapt to beaded lace; you can usually think of single crochet as one bead, double crochet as two beads, and treble crochet as three beads; each chain stitch equals one or two smaller beads. It’s also easy to adapt tatting patterns to beaded lace. Each knot can again be thought of as a single bead for the most part; however, you may need to add or subtract beads at times to make your work come out evenly. It can be hard for me to say whether a design is more inspired by one or the other; sometimes I mix the two together in beaded lace.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Wisteria Bracelet

Wisteria Bracelet, inspired by crochet and tatting patterns is also a good example of lace edging. This design is made using modified right-angle weave (RAW) and peyote stitches and can be used as a simple bracelet or as a technique you add to other designs.

Hardanger Lace

Hardanger is a very geometric lace; it is made using a combination of embroidery and drawn thread work on an even-count fabric, usually linen, in which the number of threads per inch is the same on both the warp and the weft. Hardanger lace is characterized by woven bars that can be replaced by flat herringbone, squares of embroidery that can be replaced with peyote or right-angle weave, and picots of thread that work up very nicely and easily with strung beads.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Dots and Bars Bracelet

Made using modified RAW, modified square stitch, peyote stitch and reinforced herringbone, You can use these dots and bars to fill any shape you like; the pearls can be replaced with gemstones or crystals, or leave them unfilled for a multitude of different looks.

Insertion Lace

Insertion lace is a type of lace that is meant to be sewn between two lengths of fabric, so it’s the perfect type of lace to use as an inspiration for bracelets.

Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

Entre Duos Bracelet

This insertion lace–style bracelet combines SuperDuo cordonnets (definition to follow) with a substantial filling of seed beads and SuperDuos. You can use the cordonnets with other fillings or use the filling with different cordonnets to create your own designs.

3 Key Elements to Beaded Lace

Cordonnets

Cordonnets are the cords that define the edges and provide much of the structure in many types of traditional lace. In beaded lace, the cordonnet can be as slight as a single string of beads or as thick as a tube worked around a cord. In traditional lacemaking, cordonnets are often put in place first, and the rest of the lace is attached to them as you work.

Figures

Figures can be beaded flowers, leaves, scrolls, hearts, dots, or any other shape you can imagine. If your figures are lacy, it’s best if they fill the space on their own and are connected directly to the cordonnet (see Jacobean Blossoms Earrings) or are connected with simple groundwork and have fairly large open spaces surrounding them (see Thistle Bracelet, page 64).

Ground

Ground is the element that holds everything together; it connects figures to cordonnets or to other figures. It can be as simple as a few lines of beads to make bars between the figures, or it can be an almost solid fabric of squares, diamonds, circles, ovals, hexagons, stars, or any other shape.


Modern Beaded Lace, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, seed beadweaving, seed bead projects, seed bead earrings, seed bead bracelets, seed bead neckalce

With all Cynthia offers in Modern Beaded Lace, not only will you have the skills to create the beautiful projects in her book but you will be well on your way to knowing how to create your own modern beaded lace designs. As you make progress thought the book, please share tips you discover, designs you develop, and your version of Cynthia’s projects.

Yours in creativity,

blue_tammy