Beadweaving Basics: Do You Know These 4 Fundamentals From Tammy Honaman?

When starting a new hobby, everyone starts at the beginning. The good thing is you won’t be a beginner for long! All the people who have gone before you are there to encourage you, offering advice, inspiration, and community. That’s what’s so great about Tammy Honaman’s beginning beadweaving workshops.

ABOVE: Maintaining proper tension is one of the keys to beading success.

In Learn These Stitches: Peyote, Brick, Square, Daisy Chain, & RAW and Learn These Stitches: Ladder, Flat Herringbone, Hubble, Chevron & Chenille, you’ll not only learn all the beading stitches you just ran your eyes over, but also so many useful tips as you’re starting out. You can tell immediately that Tammy loves to invite new beaders into the fold.

In this excerpt, learn four essential fundamentals of beadweaving. Enjoy!

4 Beadweaving Fundamentals

1. Try a Better Way to Thread a Needle

While reading The Prince and the Pauper to my kids recently, I came across this delightful line: “He did as men have always done, and probably always will do, to the end of time — held the needle still, and tried to thrust the thread through the eye, which is the opposite of a woman’s way.”

Apparently, this trick has been around for quite some time! Despite being female and constantly hand-sewing stuffed animals and doll clothes in my childhood, I never knew this useful bit of knowledge until I watched Tammy’s courses. If threading a needle gives you grief, try it the way Tammy demonstrates in this video. Slide the eye of the needle over the thread, rather than trying it the other way around. Even Mark Twain agrees.

2. Stop That Bead

A stop bead can be immensely helpful when you’re beadweaving. It acts as a “Thou shalt not pass!” guard at the end of your beading thread, preventing your hard work from sliding off the end. To start with a stop bead, pick up a bead of a contrasting color to your actual beadwork. Then pass through it again. Position it where you want it to be on your thread, and then pass through it one more time to lock it in place. Later, you’ll remove this bead.

beadweaving basics tension

See the difference proper tension can make! In the lower piece, the thread is loose and the beads don’t line up nicely.

3. Maintain the Tension

When you’re a beader, you hear a lot about keeping good tension. Tammy reassures us that your tension will continue to improve as you become more accustomed to beadweaving. Keeping things tight is the key to whipping those beads into shape so that they stack up in nice lines, without showing too much space or thread between them.



4. Use the Power of a Thread Burner

For heavy-duty beading thread, you may find a thread burner (affiliate link) to be helpful. You simply push a button to heat it up, and hold the end to your thread to melt it away. Just make sure you let your thread burner cool before making any wild gestures with it!

You Won’t Be a Newbie for Long

Check out Tammy’s workshop series Getting Started Beadweaving, or subscribe to online workshops to access a growing on-demand library of beading and jewelry courses. Before you know it, you’ll be the one giving these tips to the newest member of our beading community!

Do you have an essential beading tip for beginners? Let us know in the comments below.

Go be creative!
Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

Master beadweaving with guidance from the best!

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