Bead Weaving Polygon Stitch: Carol Cypher’s Top 5 Tips Taking You Beyond the Basics

Here at Interweave we have the awesome job of filming rock star teachers in our field, spending time with them and sharing a deeply meaningful camaraderie. That’s why I feel it’s so important to share with you! I wish you were all here playing with us in the studio while we filmed Beyond the Basics of Polygon Stitch, but hopefully this is the second best thing. We launched Carol’s first eCourse Polygon Stitch 101 recently. And if you’re anything like me, when you learn a new stitch you’re chomping at the bit to get onto the next level. So, here is Beyond the Basics of Polygon Stitch to keep you stitchin’ along with Carol!

Bead weaving polygon stitch with Carol Cypher

Carol was a delight in the studio and has led such an interesting life, check out the Q&A we did with her Beading as a Way of Life: Inspiration and Advice from Carol Cypher. Her vast knowledge of the history and technique of the stitches she teaches makes her even more endearing to learn from. Not to mention her wit, sense of humor and likability. What a pro! I’m always curious when I take a class as to the tips an instructor provides. Do they keep all their secrets to themselves or do they share? I’m happy to say Carol not only shares but encourages her students to interact with each other by posting questions or finished beadwork on the discussion board within her course. Check out her tips for Beyond the Basics of Polygon Stitch. One of the things Carol fell in love with on set was our new Bead On It Boards. We had many convos about what surfaces we like to bead on, how to bead on a plane, large or small surfaces-you know all the important topics we seed beaders love to discuss!

Bead weaving polygon stitch with Carol Cypher

Top 5 Tips for Beyond the Basics of Polygon Stitch

#1 Finishing Threads

I read or heard it said to “Take the time to finish off the threads, etc., in the best possible way, because, if you do not allow sufficient time to finish it off properly, where will we find time to redo or repair the piece later?” Boy, did that get my attention: pearls of wisdom to pass along to you. Now I approach the finishing and weaving in of threads as though I have nothing more fun or important to do.

#2 Choosing Closures

Pay close attention to your choice of closures or findings for your work. It can make the difference between a piece winning first prize over honorable mention. Make the beadwork more wearable or convey a particular worth. There are many styles of closures available that will enhance or detract from your work. Or, consider beading your closures and having them an integral part of your design. During the 16 years I wore my long hair in dreadlocks, this hairdo influenced my designs. No fringe to get stuck in my hair and no fussy closures for the same reason. I grew to love the ease and simplicity of magnetic closures, often opting to conceal them within the beads.

Bead weaving polygon stitch with Carol Cypher

#3 Needle Disposal

Before discarding a broken or hopelessly bent beading needle, I lay it on a piece of paper, cardboard or cardstock and tape it down. This way the needle is not free to insinuate itself through the trash and into a person or pet. In Japan, there is a 400-year-old annual event that puts to rest and honors spent needles for their service. It is called Hari-Kuyo. Both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines celebrate this festival that acknowledges the work done by even the smallest tools, by accepting the retired needles, placed in a soft loaf of tofu. In some areas of the country, February 8th is the day of observance, while elsewhere it is December 8th.

#4 Organization Après Beading

After you’ve completed a session of beading, take a moment to organize the work and the beads. Wind the thread and tail around paper or plastic bobbins before storing in a plastic bag. If the beads are still in separate little piles, return them to their container. If they have mingled, as they do, scoop them all into a little plastic bag of bead-soup. When you resume beading, just start with that bag. If the beadwork is finished, that little bag of bead soup may inform another project in similar palette of beads. Bead mats are convenient to roll the beadwork up in, or consider stacking them carefully, several projects ready to resume.

#5 Ergonomics and Comfort

It’s important to have a comfortable chair at the appropriate height for your beading table. I find a cushion behind my lumbar section is a delight. Bead store owner, Leanne Netzow designed an inflatable one that I love. I have one in my bead chair in the studio and one that I travel with for the window seat on the plane. I also use it between my knees for sleeping and to sit on while driving, strengthening my core while being comfortable on long drives. Elevate your beadwork rather than crunching or curling up to be nearer to it. And set your timer to remind you to move every hour or so. I set my iPhone to twinkle 2 minutes of each hour. I use it as a cue to have a drink of water, get up and swing my arms or walk around. But it is also easy to ignore, if necessary.

Kritsal Wick and Carol Cypher

(l to r) Kristal Wick and Carol Cypher

So there you have it, straight from the stitcher’s mouth! Some of Carol’s great tips to keep in mind while you learn more Polygon Stitching techniques.

I hope you’re ready to get lost in those little seed beads piles and create some new masterpieces with Beyond the Basics of Polygon Stitch with Carol Cypher!


Find more tips from Carol in her courses available in the Interweave Store.