Our Beading Goals for the New Year
As we head into the New Year, everybody on the Beadwork team is buzzing with exciting conversations about the upcoming issues of Beadwork magazine. We’ve had intense conversations about what new things to offer readers this year: what things you’re less interested in seeing, and what really excites you. We’ve talked about our own personal triumphs and failures in beading over the last year. In one particular meeting, we talked about what we would like to try next and what we might push ourselves to try for the first time. We decided then and there that our New Year’s Resolutions would be to reach a new beading goal this year and try something new! We each picked a stitch and the following is the outcome of our beading goals for the New Year.
Katie Hacker: Netting
I’ve never made a netted collar, but I’d like to try it someday. To practice, I’m thinking of starting with something smaller. I love the way netting can be used as a surface embellishment and am intrigued by Amy Haftkowycz’s Netted Jewel Earrings. They’re cleverly designed with a base of graduated fire-polished rounds stitched in right angle weave. Then, netting crisscrosses across the top to bring it all together.
Nichole Starman’s Avignon Bracelet employs a similar criss-cross effect across the surface of the bracelet. And, the base of the bracelet uses netting stitch as well, so it will be a really great warm-up. It’s a gorgeous look! I like the idea of learning how to use shaped beads with this stitch.
Circular netting is everywhere in beading right now, so I also want to try my hand at this variation of the netting stitch. Regina Payne’s Flower Garden Bracelet features Tilas, crystals and seeds in a beautiful, approachable design. This bracelet can be a little Bohemian or more elegant, depending on the colors you choose. Regina also uses a netting variation in her Royal Countess Cuff.
I’m excited to give netting a try this year!
Interim Managing Editor of Beadwork magazine
Meredith Steele: Chenille
Chenille Stitch is one of the newer bead weaving stitches on the scene, having just claimed its name in the last 5 years or so. So, why hadn’t I tried it yet?! I wanted to try a new stitch for the New Year, so I gave it a shot with the help of the instructions from Marianna Zukowsky’s Ethereal Glow Necklace from August/September 2018 Beadwork and this stitch pro guide from Jean Campbell. I took to it like a duck to water!
Once I understood that it is a combination of tubular netting and herringbone stitches—two of my favorite tubular bead weaving stitches, it all made so much sense. Each round alternates between the two types of stitch. Once you get started, where your next stitch goes is very obvious and easy to do. Pretty soon, an airy, geometric, and symmetrical rope will begin to form between your fingers! I love that it works up faster than denser tubular bead weaving stitches like peyote and herringbone stitch; you really feel like you’re getting somewhere fast. If you’re looking to learn a new stitch in the New Year, try Chenille Stitch!
Technical Editor, Beadwork
Tamara Kula: African Helix
Sculptural beadwork always fascinates me, and a mesmerizing spiral helix fits right into this category. What better technique to learn in the New Year than African helix stitch? With its rungs of panel beads interspersed with swirling piping, this stitch might be calling out to you, too. Carol Cypher’s online workshop African Helix Stitch 101 is the perfect place to start.
Originating in South Africa, this helical stitch was documented and popularized in Virginia Blakelock’s 1987 book Those Bad, Bad Beads (affiliate link). What sets this stitch apart is its unique thread path that never passes through a bead a second time. Because the needle passes under the thread between beads rather than back through them, tiny seed beads or pearls with small holes can easily be incorporated into this stitch.
Carol’s enthusiastic, can-do attitude quickly drew me in, and my initial practice with this stitch created a three-sided, wonderfully swirling sample. I love the effect created by using piping beads that are larger than the panel beads. With Carol’s encouragement to break the rules, I’m already planning to play with this stitch in 2019!
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group
Tammy Honaman: 2 Drop Peyote
True confession time. When I learned how to weave beads using peyote stitch, I was beyond thrilled. I loved how designs worked up and the possibilities this one stitch presented. And I was definitely, and admittedly one of those people who swore they would NEVER work with seed beads! And, I was that person who became hooked as soon as I had a design turn out that I could wear (even if my thread knotted a million times along the way). Beyond that, I was so glad to be learning!
As I learned more and read more and met more artists, I absorbed all I could so I could do my job well. When you’re a projects editor, you must have at least basic knowledge of many things. At the time, that included all sorts of jewelry making – from seed beads to soldering. As I pursued seed beading for personal pursuits, there were things I avoided and things I just went to as my go-to, as they were a known quotient and something I could just enjoy.
Fast forward to my post as Beading Daily Editor and I had to learn a lot of “new” stitches to get back up on the curve. Hubble. Chenille. CRAW. PRAW. (Thank you again, Marcia DeCoster!) So. Another confession – and something that has me looking ahead at what to try next…I’ve never tried the 2-drop peyote method! Can you believe it? I just never have had a reason to try it out. So, for me in 2019, I will be pushing the boundaries, working up a design using 2-drop peyote and likely figuring out what other peyote stitches I haven’t tried, yet. Thank you, Melinda Barta for making this so easy to do. Your expertise, wonderful instructions, and inspiring designs found in Peyote Stitch – Basics and Beyond video and Mastering Peyote Stitch: 15 Inspiring Projects will have me crossing techniques off the list, in no time!
Editor, Beadwork magazine
So — what boundaries will you be pushing into the New Year? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Here are more resources to add to your library as you push your learning to the next step!