In honour of National Beading Week, tutor Penny Akester has provided step-by-step instructions for creating a Dutch spiral rope which can be used for necklaces or bracelets.
The rope is a super quick and simple introduction to stitched beading – it uses one repeated stitch which allows you to get used to stitching and keeping the tension even, while creating a great bracelet.
Materials for bracelet
Bugle beads – A – approx 10g
Size 11 seed beads – B – approx 5g Clasp
Beading thread e.g. Nymo
Beading Needle size 10
Cut a length of thread approx 1.5m long.
Tip out a small pile of each bead onto your bead mat.
Pick up a bugle bead (A) and a seed bead (B), then two more pairs so that you have six beads on your thread – ABABAB. Thread them down to leave a 30cm tail.
Then stitch through all six again to pull them up into a loop. Tie the working thread and tail together to secure the loop.
Once the triangle is secured, pick up a seed bead then a bugle. Turn the loop around so that you are holding it comfortably, and stitch through the next seed (corner) bead around.
Continue the beading by picking up another seed bead and bugle, and stitching through the next seed bead in the loop.
Repeat this once more – now that you have completed the row, you need to make sure that you stitch into the highest seed bead at the next corner – i.e. the one you added most recently.
Repeat this stitch until you have a length of beadwork long enough to reach comfortably around your wrist, allowing approx 2-3cm for the clasp.
Adding a clasp
Use a clasp with a solid loop (some are split to be able to attach to jump rings etc) as a split would allow the thread to slip through and come loose.
With the thread coming out of one of the seed beads, complete three more rows of the spiral, using seed beads instead of the bugle beads, to taper it to a point. Row 1, use 2 seed beads instead of the bugle (pick up 3 seed beads, and stitch through the next corner bead). On the second row – pick up 2 seed beads, the third, just a single seed bead. This will taper the end of the rope in to a point.
From this point – pick up 5 seed beads, then your clasp, then a further 3 beads. Loop around and stitch down the first two beads (of the group of 5 you just picked up) down back towards the bracelet. Stitch back into the bracelet, around one or two rows of the beading, then stitch back up and around the loop with the clasp to give it more strength. Secure the thread end by stitching around through the beads as much as possible before cutting off the excess.
Use the tail from the start of the beading to add the other half of the clasp in exactly the same way, then finish off all the ends of threads neatly by weaving them through the beads, and your bracelet is ready to wear.
Try different colour arrangements or different sizes or shapes of beads for different effects. You can also do more complicated variations by swapping out the bugles for a crystal or a series of different seed beads. You can also try using different beads for the corner beads – try drop beads, or bicones for different looks.
Using different numbers of sides will also give different looks – instead of a three sided tube, you could try 4 or 5 sides and see what difference it makes to the look and feel of the rope.