There are so many different types, sizes and variations of seed beads! And of course there is no limit to the extent of beautiful jewelry you can create using them. In part 1 of this series I explained some of the key points to understand about seed beads when it comes to selecting the right ones for your jewelry project including the differences between types, shapes, sizes and finishes.
Today’s article will outline some of the different techniques you can use when working with seed beads, specifically different types of beadweaving stitches as well as bead embroidery.
1. Peyote stitch
Peyote stitch can be used with seed beads to create all sorts of different beadwork projects. It’s an easy stitch to learn and you can find a free tutorial here on Golden Age Beads. Peyote stitch involves sewing each bead into place to produce a tightly beadwoven fabric. Perfectly uniform cylinder beads such as Toho Treasures or Miyuki Delicas work very well in peyote stitch.
There are many variations of peyote stitch, including flat even count peyote stitch, tubular peyote stitch and diagonal peyote stitch to name a few. Flat even count peyote stitch is probably the easiest to do, as it involves picking up an even number of beads and working with flat beadwork as opposed to round. The earrings in this image below created by Anabel have been made using a form of patterned peyote stitch, with the addition of a beaded fringe.
Netting can be described as a “lace” type stitch. This stitch creates an open lace effect using beads and it’s worked up either vertically or horizontally as opposed to right angle weave for example, which is created by passing through beads in multiple directions.
Beaded netting can be used alongside other techniques to create amazing layered jewelry, such as this layered netted cuff below (by Linda Jones).
3. Right Angle Weave
Right angle weave is a very versatile stitch, where you can use either one needle (single-needle right angle weave) or two needles (double-needle right angle weave). They produce the same kind of finished beadwork but they use different thread paths. To get started using right angle weave stitch, here is another free tutorial for you!
The beauty of right angle weave stitch is that you can easily use bigger beads as well as seed beads or a mixture of both. It lends itself to a lot of different types of jewelry projects and the open “windows” created by right angle weave mean that you can add embellishments easily. This cuff bracelet (also by Linda Jones) has been made using right angle weave stitch.
Herringbone stitch stems from the Ndebele people of South Africa (and is sometimes referred to as Ndebele). It produces columns of paired beads which incline towards each other to create a slight inverted angle.
Each stitch is worked by picking up two beads and passing through two beads, so it’s slightly quicker to create beadwork in this stitch as opposed to peyote. There are many variations of herringbone stitch, including flat herringbone stitch, reversible herringbone stitch and tubular Ndebele. This is an example of a necklace designed by Laura McCabe.
5. Bead embroidery
Bead embroidery is the intricate process of sewing beads onto fabric. In jewelry projects, a beading foundation is often used which is quite stiff and won’t fray. Bead embroidery can of course be created for clothes and accessories too.
Seed beads are often used in bead embroidery and irregular shaped seed beads work well to fill gaps and spaces. You can also add local focal pieces and create a beaded bezel around them using seed beads.
A common stitch to use in bead embroidery is simple backstitch. When it comes to jewelry, bead embroidery can be used to create some amazing statement pieces of jewelry, such as this stunning necklace by Rasa Vil Jewelry.
I hope you’ve found both parts of The Buyer's Guide to Seed Beads useful and that this series will help you create your own seed bead jewelry projects. To be kept updated about future posts like this one, please subscribe to the Golden Age Beads newsletter!