In Beading

Sunday morning, our phone rings.  It’s our good friend, Yvonne, offering us two free tickets to a bead show.

I have a tremendous weakness for beads. Jim likes them himself, which makes such an event fun for us both. When we arrived at this particular show, we discover that most of the beads are chunky. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but I will admit a preference for seed beads and those slightly larger.

Probably this preference has its roots in my earliest ventures into beading. When I was relatively young, my mom taught me how to make Christmas decorations by stitching sequins and beads onto felt. This was a perfect project for a child. Unlike many fabrics, felt doesn’t need to be hemmed, so there is no fussy finishing work. Stitching a seed bead into a sequin offers immediate gratification as sequin and bead catch the light and become more sparkly than either are alone.

My childhood fondness for beads never vanished, but it wouldn’t be until college that I would begin to try more elaborate beading projects. I learned how to make brick stitch earrings. Later, in a dusty corner of a toy and craft shop on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, I found a small bead loom. I did a lot of narrow beaded strips, but never did much with these beyond sticking them in an old jewelry box.

Eventually, both my growing income and my greater mobility let me try other beading projects. I did counted cross-stitch beading projects starting with kits from Mill Hill and graduating to my own patterns. I’d always liked woven beadwork, but, frankly, I hate stringing the loom. With the excellent instructions in Suzanne Cooper’s Dancing Light, I taught myself to do even count tubular peyote stitch.

I’ve done quite a few amulet bags using this technique. If you’re interested in seeing one, take a look at the FAQ page on my website ( This wolf was one of the most complicated patterns I’ve done. There’s a tiger in the same book (Wild Things by Valerie Hixon) where I found the wolf that I dream of finding time to do.

(Looking at the FAQ page, I see I need to update the first two parts. I’m done with the Golden Reflections story; it’s called “Like the Rain.” Now I’m working on red penciling my novel Sundial Ring. However, that’s about to change, so I think I’ll wait a few days to do the update).

I also have done some free-form beading. The picture illustrating this is of two small dolls I beaded. They’re only about four inches tall but quite heavy because of the number of beads. Their names are Storm and Rainbow.

Occasionally, I do work in larger sizes. I’ve strung a choker from semi-precious polished stones on tiger tail wire. I’ve made bead strands interspersed with magnetic beads; these can be worn as necklaces or bracelets. I’ve made a wide variety of earrings. I’ve also done bracelets strung on elastic. When my niece Rebecca was five I made her a huge number of necklaces from plastic pony beads strung on hemp twine, so she could adorn herself with relatively indestructible beauty.

But I think seed beads and their tiny relatives remain my favorites. At this weekend’s bead show I got a line on a store here in town that has the best selection of seed beads I’ve ever seen, including a complete line of delicas. Jim bought me the beads I need to do a fabulous Eye of Horus design from Suzanne Cooper’s Adorn Yourself. Then when I’ve gotten back into the swing, well, maybe I’m fated to do that tiger after all.

6 Responses to “In Beading”

  1. Paul Dellinger Says:

    This is another example of someone being multi-talented!

  2. heteromeles Says:

    Wonderful! I like beads too. I’m glad you got a chance to go to the show.

    Did you ever see the World on a String videos? ( They were played on public television years ago, and the first two (at least) are definitely worth buying if you haven’t seen them.

  3. Alan Robson Says:

    I don’t know anything about beading — but it sounds like something Robin would be extremely interested in trying. She’s very fond of “craft-y” things (indeed she’s spending this weekend away with a group of friends who intend to do some communal weaving, knitting, crocheting etc). Do you have any references to web pages etc that I could pass on to her?

    Many thanks…

  4. Hilary Says:

    Those little dolls are gorgeous Jane. 🙂

    I always liked things made out of or with beads. Most likely because I like pretty things, and beads usually are. But the only things I’ve ever made out of beads are earrings and a few necklaces.

    I’m always amazed by the things you can make. 😀

  5. janelindskold Says:

    As in so many things, I’m really quietly old-fashioned.

    I prefer to talk to people or read books rather than look at websites or videos, so I fear I don’t have any recommendations that way.

    I’m sorry, Alan, given that you might not be able to find the books I mentioned in New Zealand.

    I’m pretty excited about this weekend, because I’m going to try one of the new patterns I picked up…

  6. Valerie hixon | Ghyou Says:

    […] In Beading « Jane Lindskold: Wednesday Wanderings […]

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