Beginning Bead Weaving Basics: What You Need to Know
To be a beginner is to be brave, hopeful, and confused. You simply want someone to tell you what to do, what steps to take and when. It’s an exciting time, but often characterized by small frustrations and roadblocks that you soon forget once you’ve moved past it. Luckily for you, the beginner, we remember. We’ve long wanted to develop a course specifically addressing the challenges of the beginning bead weaver, and no one had to think twice about who should teach it.
Tammy Honaman has been in the jewelry biz for twenty-five years and is a gifted, thoughtful teacher. In her new course, Getting Started Bead Weaving Series: Learn Peyote, Brick, Daisy Chain, Square and RAW Techniques, Tammy takes you through five popular stitches that will set you on the road to fulfilling your jewelry-design dreams. So, if you’ve been waiting for someone to tell you how best to learn to bead weave, we are officially instructing you to take this course.
Tools and Materials
Thankfully, beading is a hobby that requires little gear. But you do need a few things and there are a lot of options to choose from. For instance, you may be wondering how using metal instead of glass beads will affect your beadwork, or which type of thread is best for which projects. In this section of the course, Tammy surveys the tools and materials landscape, and recommends some of her favorites.
Threading a needle is so difficult that the phrase has come to represent difficulty writ large. And, yes, there is a right way to do it. With Tammy’s tips on this basic skill, and many others, such as how to hold your work and how to maintain thread tension, you’ll get a decade’s worth of lessons learned the hard way in an easy fifteen minutes.
Most beaders agree that peyote is the first stitch a beginning bead weaver should learn. It’s simple but versatile and has countless variations to explore as you continue to improve. In this part of the course, you’ll learn the most basic version: even-count flat peyote. But you won’t just learn how to stitch peyote, you will also learn how not to. For example, by maintaining thread tension, you’ll ensure that your work turns out like the sample on the right rather than the left.
This simple but stunning bracelet is a great example of what you can do with just this one easy version of peyote.
Brick stitch, by nature, creates a triangle. In the course, Tammy will show you how to stitch a simple triangle which can be easily made into a cool geometric pair of earrings. You’ll also learn how to make a rectangle, and how to turn that rectangle into a tube. Brick stitch forms a piece of beadwork that’s more rigid and stiff than the fluid, flexible beadwork that peyote forms. This rigidity offers different design options than what you may have with other stitches.
With just a few extra simple steps, you can turn your triangle and rectangle into chic, wearable pieces of finished jewelry.
Square stitch is a super simple stitch that creates a strip a beadwork that looks very similar to loomwork. It’s known for its tight, neat rows as well as its strength. In the course, you’ll get to know the thread path, which, because of its repetitive nature, can be quite pleasant and stress-relieving. You’ll also get some troubleshooting tips on how to recover when your thread gets caught or stuck on another bead.
Square stitch is great for a simple bracelet and offers opportunities to have fun with color and pattern.
If you’re just starting to bead, I imagine you’d like to make flowers at some point. Creating the curvature needed to stitch floral shapes often requires a little more skill and involves variations of the basic stitches you’re learning in this course. Daisy chain is an exception to that rule; it’s very beginner-friendly and forms a cute chain of simple beaded flowers. In this section, you’ll learn the stitch as well as a couple variations, such as using 3mm round beads as the center of the flower instead of a seed bead.
Daisy chain can also be used to embellish fabric, such as a pillow or a piece of leather for a bracelet.
Right-Angle Weave (RAW)
Right-angle weave forms connected circular units that create a beautiful, flexible beaded cloth. It’s many beaders’ favorite stitch and is a bit more difficult. It can be intimidating at first but Tammy takes it slow, explaining each movement with clarity and precision.
Here is a finished design made using RAW and a beautiful combination of contrasting beads.
Now that you have the skills to create a beautiful piece of beadwork, how do you turn it into a piece of jewelry? There are countless ways to finish your beadwork, and selecting one is a fun process. Finishing findings are also a blast to shop for. In this section, Tammy will give an overview of a variety of finishing options, such as clamp-on ends, glue-in ends, buttons, and ear wires. You’ll also learn a few ways to add embellishment to your pieces.
After these lessons, you should have all the information you need to begin creating your own designs. You may also find yourself returning to this video when you run into obstacles. In addition to the video instruction, the course includes a free pattern to accompany each of the five stitches — so, once you’ve learned the stitch, you can go on to create the finished piece that we selected specifically for you.
You’ll be able to interact with other students in a discussion board and gallery where you can post images of your work and receive feedback. Short optional quizzes are also available, as well as a place where you can keep personal notes. With all these resources at your disposal, we’re sure you’ll be making the leap from beginner to intermediate. And this is only the beginning: Tammy will be back shortly with ladder, herringbone, hubble, chevron, and chenille stitches. You’ll want to be ready so get going now with Getting Started Bead Weaving Series: Learn Peyote, Brick, Daisy Chain, Square and RAW Techniques.
Tammy shares more in these courses and videos.