Monday, April 8, 2013

Lessons in tension.

No not the one that comes from stress, gives us body aches or that crappy headache.  I am talking about thread tension. (Not that I wouldn't love a lesson in how to reduce the tension of life.  Man wouldn't we all!)   I am not sure if this is a problem when stringing but it can be quite daunting when bead weaving.  I have a tendency to bead very tightly.  So much so that I do have permanent mark on my finger from where the fireline cuts me.

This last week I have had the greatest lessons in tension provided by 2 separate and very different patterns.  It has been a real eye opener and frankly has saved me from having to buy stock in band aids.  Which if you have kids you know the only ones you have in the house are usually some sort of character.  Luckily right now the character of choice is Angry Birds. 

The first of these patterns is Hoarders of Beauty by Vanbeads.

As you can see it is using one of my current favorite shapes, gumdrops.  I loved this pattern from the moment Jennifer showed peeks of her brain storm.  What I never expected is that the lesson in tension that this provides is invaluable.  As I worked this piece I noticed right away that if you pull too tight the element becomes wonky and lopsided.  (unfortunately I did not get a picture of it because I was working in the evening and of course reworked it right away to get the look I needed)  I do think you can see from this snippet though that if I had worked it too tight it would not have come out so beautifully.

I can not wait to finish this piece incorporating that beautiful bead from Joanne for last months Component of the month.  This is also a fun and fabulous component to make.  I can see so many other uses for it!  Thank you so much Jennifer for this pattern and lesson.

Now the second pattern that was very instrumental in the tension lesson is Not an Argyle by Sand Fibers. 

Oh my!  I have never worked a flat peyote bracelet before let alone one from a pattern that I have to have next to me.  I had been told that there is nothing sweeter than a peyote bracelet on your wrist and that it feels like butter.  I thought hey I can just whip this baby out.  WRONG!  I am not complaining at all because I am loving the way this is working but TENSION is huge!  I would not have thought that if you bead peyote too tight with delicas it would become rough.  I don't know if you can see it in the picture but the first 10 rows of this is beaded so tight that it feels rough and not nice at all.  However the rest of it is beaded with a proper tension so that the beads interlock but not so tight that they buckle.

Thank you so much Carol this pattern is not only beautiful but I am learning so much.

So do you suffer from tension in beadweaving?  Is tension an issue when using beading wire?



  1. So glad you got one of Carol's patterns! Those are great colors you chose. I have learned that lesson, and also that it depends on the pattern itself as to whether you need to increase/decrease the tension. I'm working on a brick stitch pattern right now that depends on very tight tension. Great post!

  2. Very interesting post! I tend to be a tight I totally get the tension thing. Even if I refuse to play with seed beads ;-)

  3. I love seeing your bead work! Can't wait to see the finished pieces.

  4. Peyote - the one seed bead stitch I know... I didnt have a problem with tension when I did peyote in the past - but I have tension problems. When I TRY to knit - try being the operative word - I get tight in my shoulders, the yarn gets tight... after a while I look like Quasimodo with claw hands. Not good.

    So I put down the knitting and go saw metal - which for me flows and is soothing...


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