5 Reasons to Expand Your Beading Repertoire

How often do you see a beading pattern and think, “That looks too difficult for me”? Do you stick to techniques you know and materials you’re familiar with? Or are you willing to try something new and completely out of your area of expertise? Read on for 5 reasons to expand your beading repertoire with a new project or technique.

1. Overcome Your Fear

It’s natural to feel some anxiety about trying something new. The fear of failure can be a powerful deterrent. However, fear can prevent growth. Overcoming your fears can open doors to new experiences — and beautiful new beading projects!

beading repertoire

If you’ve avoided “difficult” beading projects until now, try Melinda Barta’s Tic-Tac-Toe Cuff, from February/March 2018 Beadwork. The repeating sections make this project a bit more manageable than most advanced patterns.

2. Challenge Your Brain

Learning a new skill makes connections in your brain that you can’t develop any other way. New neural pathways are formed, and existing pathways are strengthened. Just the act of reading a new beading pattern can produce this effect — but the result is increased when you add the tactile component of actually stitching a new project.

beading repertoire

If you want a real challenge, try freeform peyote stitching. Michelle Leonardo gives you the low-down in her blog post “Try Freeform Peyote Stitch to Bead a Dramatic Dragon Bracelet.” Once you’re familiar with the basics, try Michelle’s Ouroboros Dragon Cuff, in August/September 2018 Beadwork.

3. Stimulate Your Creativity

Doing the same thing over and over leaves little room for creativity. But trying something new can get your creative juices flowing. Learning a variety of beading techniques using diverse materials can be the first step in designing your own patterns — or just modifying others’ patterns to better suit your style.

beading repertoire

Mandi Bugatti’s Waterfall Pendant, from April/May 2018 Beadwork, is a perfect project for stimulating your creativity. I can imagine all kinds of different color combinations, bead substitutions, and variations (including earrings or a cuff bracelet). But of course the original is gorgeous, too!

4. Increase Your Self-Confidence

Everyone needs a confidence boost now and then. Successfully completing a new project, especially one you might have been afraid to tackle, can definitely increase your confidence. And once you’ve mastered a few challenging beading projects, no new technique will intimidate you!

beading repertoire

For a project full of techniques to learn, try Twyla Harbick’s Timeless Necklace, from October/November 2017 Beadwork. This design uses right-angle weave, peyote stitch, herringbone stitch, ladder stitch, and picots, as well as a unique 4-hole bead called the 4Ceed bead.

5. Find a New Love

They say that the best way to find love is to stop looking for it. Well, that old adage does NOT hold true for beading. The more projects you make, techniques you try, and materials you use, the more likely you are to discover something new that you absolutely love.

beading repertoire

I was completely intimidated by cubic right-angle weave when I first started beading. But I really wanted to make Melissa Grakowsky Shippee’s Silver Twilight Necklace, from December 2017/January 2018 Beadwork. Once I mastered CRAW, I fell in love with this beading technique — and it’s now one of my favorite stitches! (Read about my experience stitching this necklace in “How I Learned to Love Cubic Right-Angle Weave.”)

My Latest Challenge: Keystone Mandala Pendant

I recently set out to make one of our more difficult designs, Silke Steuernagel’s Keystone Mandala Pendant, from June/July 2018 Beadwork. All the shaped beads terrified me. How would I be able to tell which hole to pass through in the QuadraTiles? Would half of my crescent beads end up facing the wrong direction?

Surprisingly enough, I found the Keystone Mandala Pendant to be much simpler than I expected. The pattern directions were crystal clear (minus one tiny illustration error, which I easily adjusted, and a few flipped illustrations showing a reverse thread path — all of which are detailed on our corrections page, here). The Keystone Mandala Pendant kit includes a different color of keystone beads than the original design, but the finished design is just as stunning.

beading repertoire

Overcoming my fear of “difficult” beading projects has definitely increased my beading confidence. Now, I’m willing to try just about any technique or material that I haven’t used before. I also enjoy knowing that each time I learn a new beading skill, I increase not only my beading brain power but also my general brain function. And I’ve discovered several new loves: rivolis, shaped beads, and the sliding knot!

Are you learning a new beading skill? Are you using any new materials or tools? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Happy beading!
Lavon Peters
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine

Find a multitude of beading projects to increase your skills in the Interweave Store!

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