Bead Weaving: Learn the Accordion Stitch with Nichole Starman
Like its musical namesake, the secret of the accordion stitch lies in the way it expands and contracts. Nichole Starman, the perennial innovator, designed this new stitch to solve the problem of stiff and stilted beadwork. We all know that feeling when you put hours of work and strenuous attention into a project only to find that it doesn’t lay quite right. As Nichole demonstrates in her video Accordion Stitch and Asymetrical Beads, creating with accordion stitch as your base will ensure that your work moves naturally with you — that you wear your jewelry instead of it wearing you. So throw on some lederhosen and get to know the accordion stitch!
What You Need to Know About Accordion Stitch
- It was designed specifically to be used with two-hole beads
- It’s Ideal for creating pieces with solid structure that are also flexible and lay naturally
- The flexibility is created through hole alignments that were designed to exert as little stress on your thread as possible, allowing the foundational layer to stretch and contract in the manner of an accordion
In Accordion Stitch and Asymetrical Beads, Nichole uses tiles to form the base of her Dahlia Bracelet, but other beads, such as bricks, can be used as well to create a thinner bracelet.
Nichole then uses crescents and TOHO Demi Round seed beads to build on the accordion base and create the stylish, spiky texture of the Dahlia Bracelet.
As you can see, the simplicity and strength of the accordion stitch technique, as well as the interchangeability of the CzechMates beads, makes designing your own impressive, structural pieces surprisingly easy.
In the June/July 2016 issue of Beadwork, we featured Nichole’s Avignon Bracelet, which also used an accordion stitch base and a mix of beads. Can you see how the accordion base allows the bracelet to curve easily despite its solid construction?
The CzechMates System
Nichole and her team at Starman Inc. are the minds behind the game-changing CzechMates two-hole beading system. In the video, Nichole will give you an overview of the beads in this system, focusing on asymmetrical beads, such as the triangles used in the Dahlia Bracelet. The theory behind the CzechMates system was to create a line of beads that would allow even beginning beaders to create pieces with impressive structure and dimension.
When Nichole visited our studios to film, we were impressed with how the CzechMates shaped beads worked flawlessly with one another to form solid foundations as well as gorgeous texture. Even the strongest of seed bead loyalists among us had to concede the beads’ usefulness and beauty.
There are a few members of the CzechMates family that, if you don’t already, you absolutely must know:
Tiles are 6x6mm two-hole pressed-glass squares.
Two-Hole Triangles are 6mm, flat, and triangular in shape; they have two 0.8mm holes on one side.
Crescents have a 10x4x1mm melon-wedge shape and two parallel holes that run from each flat side.
While there are many brands of shaped beads out there, we know we can count on Nichole and her team to surprise and challenge us with innovative shapes, colors, and finishes. We take great pleasure in watching our readers experiment and create with these beads that seem so simple, but hold so much potential. And, of course, to us beaders, learning about a newly-invented stitch is like a biologist discovering a new species or an astronomer a new planet. Check out Accordion Stitch and Asymetrical Beads with Nichole Starman and dive into this new stitch and discover what Czechmates beads can do for your beadwork.
To learn more about Nichole, the beads she’s designed, and her designs, check out these other posts:
Beadweaving Floral Motifs and Fresh Thinking, with Nichole Starman
Beadweaving Hinges, Basting Stitches, and More From Nichole Starman