What Was Your First Beadweaving Stitch?

Whenever I teach a beadweaving class, my students always want to know: what was the first beadweaving stitch you learned? (Followed closely by: which beadweaving stitch is the easiest and best stitch to learn?)

It only took me a few hours to make my very first peyote stitch amulet bag, but it took me over a year to learn peyote stitch!

I wish that there were easy answers to both of those questions. I really do! But, like so many other interesting things in life, my beadweaving path has been full of twists and turns.

When I first learned how to bead, I taught myself how to make amulet bags from a kit that came with a book. Looking back on it, the projects in the book were less than spectacular, but at the time, they were perfect for what seed beads I had access to, and they taught me a little bit about following a beading pattern.

My very first amulet bag was made with peyote stitch, with a couple of tiny loops of fringe on the bottom for good measure. I worked it up from a charted peyote stitch pattern, and I was quite pleased with it. I even made a pair of huge peyote stitch earrings to match! I remember thinking, hey, this beadweaving stuff is pretty easy!

Then I tried to move on to another peyote stitch pattern, and got a rude awakening. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember how I had made that first amulet bag. Every time I tried to start a new piece of peyote stitch, the beadweaving was uneven and lumpy. I couldn't keep the same number of beads in each row. Peyote stitch was, for me, a total disaster.

Some of my very first beadweaving projects made with brick stitch, square stitch, and tubular herringbone.

I moved on to other beadweaving stitches like brick stitch, netting, and right-angle weave, mastering each of them in just a couple of weeks. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the hang of peyote stitch. It took me a whole year and eight weeks of beadweaving classes at my local bead shop to finally feel comfortable using peyote stitch in my beadweaving projects.

Now, I know that my experience may not be typical. Most beaders get their start learning peyote stitch, and most of the beginners in my classes ask me which beadweaving stitch is the best one to learn. I always tell them the same thing: the best beadweaving stitch for beginners is the one you learn first.

Because, really, we beaders are all so different in our interests and talents and skills! I really don't think there's one beadweaving stitch that's the "best" for someone just learning how to bead, but I do think that new beaders should be encouraged to explore and experiment with beadweaving stitches as they learn them. Just because I learned brick stitch in just one sitting doesn't mean that someone else might find it just as easy. The important thing is to bead fearlessly, and learn how to trust your beads (and yourself) to take you where you need to go.

No matter where your beadweaving path has led you, if you're thinking that your next step is to enter your beaded jewelry designs in a competition, now is the time! You've only got a few more weeks left to enter the 2013 Bead Star competition! New for this year, Bead Star is accepting entries made with beadweaving in all categories: Crystals, Glass, Pearls, Metals & Wireworking, Gemstones, and Emerging Artists. Do you have what it takes to be the 2013 Bead Star? You could win an all-expense paid trip to Bead Fest Philadelphia! Check out all the rules and find out how to enter the 2013 Bead Star competition today! (Deadline for entries is May 24, 2013.)

Now I want to know: what was YOUR first beadweaving stitch? What stitch got you started on the beaded path? Which beading stitch would you tell a beginner to work on first? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your stories and thoughts with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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