Throwback Thursday: Beadwork Magazines from Two Decades Prior Still Inspire

As part of our Throwback Thursday series, the Interweave folks have been reminiscing about what was popular in jewelry when we were growing up. I decided to dive into the archives of Beadwork Magazine for some old-fashioned fun from 1998, the year I graduated from high school.

It turns out a lot was going on in beading in 1998! Herringbone stitch was spreading like wildfire, peyote spirals were everywhere, Lacy’s Stiff Stuff and triangle beads (affiliate links) were new on the scene, and lampwork beads were as beloved then as they are now.

As Beadwork readers know, each issue of the magazine is packed full of stories, tutorials, projects, and creative inspiration. What follows here are just a few highlights from each issue from 1998. To rifle through all the pages at your leisure, get the collection and claim your favorite cozy spot to start reading.

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

Left: Herringbone stitch, which originated in South Africa with the Ndebele tribe, is now extremely well-known. Right: Sylvia Becker’s beaded beads.


Since herringbone stitch is so popular among beaders today, I was surprised to learn it was only just gaining widespread recognition back in 1998. The Winter issue of Beadwork traces the origins of this stitch to the Ndebele tribe in South Africa, whose beadwork traditions go back over 200 years. Plus, this issue features two projects with herringbone stitch: a coaster and a beaded quilt.

The herringbone technique is clearly here to stay. To learn what makes this stitch so wonderful and what you can do with it, check out Melinda Barta’s online workshop, Herringbone Stitch: Basics and Beyond, or her book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch.

Beaded beads and hemp cord are more trends from this issue that still entice us now. This issue features a great pattern for beaded beads by Sylvia Becker, and two fun projects with hemp cord. The article describes hemp as a fiber similar to linen that “starts out rough and gritty but can be woven or knit into a beautifully soft and supple fabric.”

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

Do your chopsticks need a little flair? Whip up a few mini characters with tubular peyote and your choice of embellishments.

My favorite project from this issue is definitely the adorable chopstick toppers. These puppet-like characters are made with tubular peyote and embellished with fringe, loops, and trinkets to give them some real personality. Just looking at the photo makes me want to make some for myself!

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

Judith Durant’s beaded light bulb cover and lamp shade.


The beaded light bulb covers and beaded lampshade captured my imagination right away in the Spring 1998 issue. Judith Durant’s designs are made with Czech round-faceted fire-polished glass beads. She cleverly made the light bulb cover with an open seam that fits over the bulb snugly with a hook-and-eye closure. I can just imagine the little flecks of colored light that would come from such a decoration!

Beadwork magazine

Spiral ropes, beaded tassels, and a loomwork hat band are all featured in the Spring 1998 issue.

Peyote-stitched spiral ropes, beaded tassels, and loomwork are also featured in this issue – all techniques that still engage us today.

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

South African double-facing stitches are used to make these beautiful projects.


The Summer 1998 issue of Beadwork connects us again to the creative traditions of South African beadwork. This time, the magazine focuses on the unique, double-faced scallop, ladder, and chevron stitches of the Xhosa-speaking tribe. Two projects accompany these tutorials: a scallop necklace and an amulet purse. For yet one more amazing stitch from region of the world, don’t miss Carol Cypher’s online workshop, African Helix Stitch 101!

Beadwork magazine

Then: Beaded Perfume Bottles by Sandi Graves. Now: Soda Bottle Needle Cases by Kimberly Costello.

This issue also features elegant beaded perfume bottles woven with netting, circular peyote, and right-angle weave. This delightful design by Sandi Graves reminded me of a current project, soda bottle needle cases designed by Kimberly Costello. I love that that beading can take us in so many creative directions.

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

Left: Netted stone donuts enjoy the spotlight on the cover of the Fall 1998 issue. Right: Bead embroidery techniques create a peacock feather project.


Bead embroidery graces the pages of the Fall 1998 issue, and of course, this decorative beading technique continues to capture our imaginations as much ever. Scatter beading, lazy stitch, and backstitched bead embroidery are taught in this issue, along with a beautiful peacock feather project.

If you’re looking for more on bead embroidery, we’ve got you covered! Be sure to check out online workshops and videos from Kinga Nichols, Sherry Serafini, and Nancy Eha.

Throwback Thursday Beadwork magazine

Left: Sylvia Becker’s Celtic Knotwork Brooch. Right: Sue Von Ohlsen’s Lacy & Loopy Christmas Ornament.

This issue also showcased a gorgeous Celtic Knotwork Brooch by Sylvia Becker, Netted Stone Donuts by Sue Von Ohlsen, and a Lacy & Loopy Christmas Ornament by Sandi Graves. The gently twisting and looping lines of beads create graceful, fluid patterns.

For more blasts from the past, dig out your own vintage copies of Beadwork. You never know when you might find some “new” inspiration from days gone by.

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

Featured Image: Beadwork’s collection from 1998 features plenty of designs still popular today, including beaded bottles, tassels, herringbone stitch, peyote spirals, and more.

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One Comment

  1. Carol B at 7:47 am January 23, 2019

    I have every Beadwork issue from the first one, and I still love them all!!

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