Beadweaving Different Beads Together in Harmony

When creating something new, I enjoy figuring out ways to bring the beads I love into designs that challenge me. It isn’t always easy to bring different types of beads together to create a design that is both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound but I sure like to try. I was particularly taken by Melinda Barta’s ability to do this very thing in her “Tambourine Bangles Bracelet,” where she combined seed beads and lampworked beads – LOVE!

"Tambourine Bangles," by Melinda Barta as seen in her book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch.

“Tambourine Bangles,” by Melinda Barta as seen in her book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch.

In looking over the kit and her book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch, I wanted to share some of what Melinda offers on her eclectic design as she too, stepped out to figure a way to bring two different types of beads together.

Tambourine Bangle beadweaving kit

Tambourine Bangle beadweaving kit

“Tubular Herringbone stitch doesn’t have to always be tubular. In my “Tambourine Bangles,” I show you how working in the round can actually create two flat surfaces, and then how to sandwich the accent beads within these sturdy layers.”

Tambourine Bangle; sideview of purple/green colorway

Tambourine Bangle; sideview of purple/green colorway

For me, this is a perfect example of engineering a design that brings two different types of beads together, and showing it’s worth figuring out how to make it work. To follow are the techniques used to create this design.

Tubular Herringbone Technique
Establish Round 1 by ladder-stitching an even number of beads;

Ladder Stitch, even count of beads, single needle

Ladder Stitch, even count of beads, single needle

Stitch the first and the last beads together to form a ring, exiting up through a bead. Pick up two beads, pass down through the next bead of the previous round and up through the following bead. Repeat all the way around. (fig 3 birds eye view and fig 4 flat sideview – blue thread is the ladder stitch row and the red thread is round 2. Step up, as shown, a very important part of this beadweaving stitch.

Row 2 tubular herringbone weave - birds-eye view and flat sideview

Row 2 tubular herringbone weave

Repeat Round 2 to continue working the tube of beadwork. Always remember to step up at the end of a row so you are positioned properly to start the next row.

As your pattern grows, work with tight tension to encourage the beadwork to form a tube. You may find it helpful to insert a chopstick, small dowel, crochet hook, or knitting needle at this point and work the next few rounds around the armature until the structure is established.

Row 2 repeated around, creating a beaded tube

Row 2 repeated around, creating a beaded tube

As you reach a certain point in the pattern, you can work in your accent beads – like you see in this illustration for Melinda’s bracelet. The decision on when to add a bead can be for aesthetic, sizing, or structural reasons, or all of the above.

Tubular herringbone with accent beads added

Tubular herringbone with accent beads added

The pattern is then continued as before, adding beads to each “spoke.” As you come to the accent beads, the thread is passed through before going to the next “spoke.”

Continue to pass through the accent beads until your “spokes” have equaled the accent bead’s height, then you can pass above the accent beads and continue adding beads to suit your pattern.

Tubular herringbone weave continued above accent beads

Tubular herringbone weave continued above accent beads

Once you complete the pattern stitch the tube’s end together.

These are the basics of working tubular herringbone along with some insight on adding different sized beads into the stitch. This is also a great introduction to creating the “Tambourine Bangle” design. Complete instructions and materials for the Tambourine Bangle can be found in Mastering Herringbone Stitch. The instructions also come complete with all the beads you need in the Tambourine Bangle bead kits, designed by Melinda Barta, available in three different colors.

Please comment on ways you like to combine your favorite beads together, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Beading!blue_tammy

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