Using Double-Needle Right-Angle Weave to Create Vintage-Inspired Beaded Beads
When I inherited my mom's jewelry after she passed away, a necklace in her collection caught my eye. It was obviously very old (Mom loved vintage jewelry, just like me!) and made from some sort of plastic, either Lucite or Bakelite. A short length of transparent plastic chain, it had several oval-shaped baubles hanging from it that were textured with bright coral "bubbles". I immediately knew that I wanted to re-create the necklace using (what else?) those gorgeous coral-colored Swarovski crystal pearls, and I knew that to achieve a similar texture to the original baubles, I had to use double-needle right-angle weave.
Using double-needle right-angle weave has several advantages for a project like this. Because I wrapped my base row around a wood bead, it was easier to get a perfect fit. I also used tiny size 15o beads for accents between the Swarovski pearls, so having less thread filling those up meant I didn't have to worry so much about breaking any beads (or needles!). Starting a project using double-needle right-angle weave really isn't as hard as it sounds, if you follow a couple of easy steps:
Start by threading a needle on either end of a comfortable length of thread. Pick up four seed beads and push them into the middle of the thread.
Take the needle on the right and pass it through the last bead strung, moving from right to left. Alternately, if you are left-handed or it feels more comfortable, you can take the left needle and pass it through the last bead strung from left to right. Either way, make sure that the needle points are facing each other as you pass through the bead.
|Pull snugly to form your first unit of right-angle weave.|
|As you continue to work, pick up two beads on the left needle and one bead on the right needle. Pass the right needle through the second bead on the left needle, always making sure that the points of the needles are facing each other.|
|Once you have the desired number of units for your right-angle-weave base, you can remove one needle and just continue stitching. Then when you are ready to go back and work the bottom half of the piece, just add a needle to the other thread and stitch away.|
And here are a few tips for working in double-needle right-angle weave:
- Check yourself as you stitch the first row of units. You want to make sure that you don't end up with a row of beads that looks like peyote stitch instead of right-angle weave.
- To prevent your thread from tangling, stash the unused needle in your beading surface (like a velvet pad or cloth work surface), or use adhesive tape to stick your needle down on the table.
- You can keep your tension even by snugging up your beads every few units. At first, don't worry if your stitching is too loose or too tight – in time, with practice, you'll be stitching like a pro!
Using double-needle right-angle weave was the perfect solution for this beady adventure. My necklace came out almost exactly as I had pictured it, and I found myself making right-angle weave beaded beads with all my favorite round gemstone beads!
Want more great advanced beadweaving techniques and projects? Check out the August/September issue of Beadwork magazine for great projects from Sherry Serafini, Carole Ohl and Kelly Wiese, and a special look at the winners of Beadwork's Beaded Earth competition. Even better – renew your subscription so you don't miss out on a single issue!