Beading for Beginners: Top 5 Books You Need to Get Beading Today
When I first joined the Beadwork staff, I didn’t know anything about beading. I had quilted a bit and cross-stitched as a child, but beading had never been a community in the rural area where I was raised. When I arrived at Interweave, I was welcomed with a stack of books to help acquaint me with the art. These books were all about beading for beginners.
I was delightfully surprised at how approachable many of the books were, and how many tips, tricks, and projects were contained within them. Now a month later, with many stitches and projects under my belt, I want to recommend some of my favorites! The books below are great gateways into the beading world, and while I haven’t mastered every stitch, I feel confident in my skills because of these books.
Getting Started with Seed Beads
by Dustin Wedekind
With descriptions of many of the basic tools, stitches, and seed beads, Dustin’s book is a great introduction on shopping for the materials needed for your project and how to read a pattern. Plus, it is filled with detailed images and illustrations for clarity. Each project is each unique and introduces you to many of the different techniques and stitches used in bead weaving. This will give you a leg up as you advance your skills as a beginning beader.
The New Beader’s Companion
by Judith Durant and Jean Campbell
The New Beader’s Companion is an amazing source of reference for any beader, but especially for someone just starting out. With valuable information on beads, stones, gems, sizing, stringing materials, waxes, and glues, this book contains everything you need to know about the materials used in beaded jewelry. It is also a handy guide for every type of beading technique, including loom, embroidery, off-loom stitches, stringing, crocheting, and knitting. This truly is a quick and illustrative reference for anything to do with beading and a must-have for any beader of any level.
Mastering Beadwork: A Comprehensive Guide to Off-loom Techniques
by Carol Huber Cypher
This book came highly recommended to me as the essential manual for beginners. As so many beaders have started with this book as their guide through each of the stitches, I was not surprised to find it to be incredibly useful myself. Stocked with beading patterns for beginners, Carol’s book is thorough and encouraging for anyone new to the art of bead weaving.
I was so excited when Carol came to Interweave to film new courses, as I was able to schedule a meeting with her and ask her all kinds of questions. One was specifically about advice for beginners pertaining to her book, where she stated: “If you are looking at my book, start at the beginning and work your way through it because each stitch builds off of the other.”
Taking her advice, I was surprised at how easy it was to continue to the next stitch in her book. At first sight, some of the patterns seemed intimidating, but after taking them one at a time, they were easy to pick up! I would highly recommend this book, as others had to me, as an introduction into everything you need to know to start beading!
The Peyote Stitch Companion
by Melinda Barta
As many beaders know, or will soon discover, peyote stitch is one of the most common beading stitches among beadwork projects. It becomes the base for many things and because of this, has many variations which are each essential to learn as one advances in the difficulty of their projects. Melinda’s book is even the perfect guide for beaders who already know how to bead using peyote stitch, but are looking to expand their skills.
Starting with a large reference section on beads, needles, and thread, the book moves through an illustrated explanation of each of the variations, ending with a description and a prompt to design your own project. Melinda’s Peyote Stitch Companion is a necessity for anyone who is looking to move quickly through the basics and on to mastering this essential stitch.
Mastering Peyote Stitch
by Melinda Barta
If you have already been through Melinda’s Peyote Stitch Companion, this book should be the next stop on your list! Mastering Peyote Stitch takes the variations explained in the Companion and provides fifteen new projects to try, with tips and tricks to truly develop all of your skills as a beader. While the patterns are not exclusively for beginners, as they increase in difficulty, the book is well-organized and easy to follow for any skill level. If I were to recommend a book that brought me from beginner to intermediate, it would have to be this one! And as a bonus, Melinda has also written Mastering Herringbone Stitch for those looking for an extra challenge!
As I continue to grow more confident in my beading skills, these books are sure to never get old. I keep finding myself flipping back to one of them for reference or for gathering project ideas. While I may not need them for every step of the process now, it’s nice to know they are still there to answer any questions I may have. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable these books were for me as a beginning beader and I hope you find them just as useful and fun as I did!
Assistant Editor, Beadwork Magazine
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