How to Bezel Cabochons and Answers to Other Reader Questions
Beading Daily readers are full of questions! I was reminded of this when editor Michelle Mach sent me dozens of your questions this month, ranging anywhere from “How do I hang an 18mm heart pendant? Jump rings don’t seem to work.” (use a pinch or prong bail instead) to “How do I remove a crimp cover without ruining the crimp?” (very carefully, with sharp, pointed wire cutters . . . and yes, you will ruin the cover). There were also comments, including one cajoling me into training for an Iron Man after all!
I only have your screen attention long enough to answer a few questions today, but I promise I’ll sneak the rest of them in from time to time.
Q: I’ve been using Laura McCabe's technique to bezel cabochons. The technique has worked great for large items, but I have been trying to bezel rivolis. I can't seem to get them to come out smoothly, with the beads evenly distributed around the center of the rivoli. Is there a trick I’m missing?
A: Laura is a master when it comes to bezeling, so you’re learning from the best. If you’d like to learn from her in person (well, close to in person!), check out her Beaducation video Crystal Squared Pendant Class where she’ll show you how to bezel until the cows come home. In the meantime, try using size 15° seed beads instead of size 11°s to form your bezel, or start with size 11°s and do the last rounds with size 15°s. You can also put a small piece of double-stick tape inside the beadwork before you pop in the rivoli—that’ll give you a third “hand” while you bead the last rounds. The tape will hide within the beadwork once the bezel is complete.
Q: How in the world can you make flat peyote stitch curve? I really want to make a collar with this stitch, but nothing I have tried works.
A: There are several ways to curve flat peyote stitch, the easiest of which is to simply use graduated bead sizes in each row. Make a couple stitches in a row with size 8°s, then size 11°s, and then size 15°s to get a gentle curve that’s perfect for necklaces. I’ve stitched up a little sample here so you can see what I’m talking about. I used various screamin’ greens so you could see where I made the bead size changes, but most seed bead manufacturers have the same colors available in each of their sizes, so the change in bead types can be as seamless as you wish.
Q: How can you weave bicone crystals parallel to each other, not offset?
A: Double– and single-needle right angle weave are great stitches to use for bicone crystals, and Nancy Zellers’ Crystal Cuff Bracelet is a good pattern to use. Nancy uses round crystals in her version, but bicones work well, too. The resulting beadwork looks like “boxes” of beads. There are other techniques you can experiment with, too, like herringbone stitch, square stitch, and ladder stitch. Just be sure to use very strong thread when you do any type of off-loom beadwork with crystals since they have very sharp holes. Better yet, use size 15° seed beads between stitches to buffer the crystals’ edges.
Do you have other pressing questions of the beady sort? Send them in and I'll answer them in a future post.
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Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!