Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Exploring Spiral Stitch

It's just been too cold to make beads in my basement, so I have been concentrating on making beaded ropes with spiral stitch.  In addition, I've been exploring texture within the spiral stitch rope and using different clasps.  I thought I'd show you some of my experimentation today!

The very first spiral stitch rope I worked on is in the larger photo - I used an awesome cab by Diana Ptaszynski, and the colors I used were perfect!  I then made spiral stitch ropes to go with my own ammonite cab, my own lampwork heart bead, and ceramic pendants by Diana and Lesley Watt. I love how they all turned out. They were all made using only size 11 beads in two colors, with the exception of the one I made with my lampwork heart - I used one single color on that rope, and although it's hard to see, the beads have a really great rainbow effect.

In this photo above, you can see what pattern you get when you use only size 11 seed beads.  This is pretty basic, easy to stitch up, and fun to do.  You can get a lot done in a short period of time!

I decided I wanted some more texture in my spiral ropes, so for the next two pendants (from White Clover Kiln) I used size 11s as the base row, and used a pattern of a 15, a 15, an 8, a 15 and a 15 for the spiral row.  I also used buttons for the closures this time, instead of toggle clasps. The first button was a sort of flower pewter design that matched the pendant, and the second button was an antiqued copper button that matches the color in the pendant perfectly!

 In the photo above, you can see the texture that the different size beads lend to the design.
These two photos are closeups of the pattern of beads and the texture.  You can achieve awesome looks with this pattern - imagine how many combinations of bead colors you could use!
I think right now, this is my favorite pattern for spiral stitch!

Finally, I used a base row of 8s and a spiral row of 4 11s in this example that was my CoM for February from Melissa Meman.  I love the colors I used, and I love the angelite I used to accent Melissa's wonderful copper clay pendant.  However, the stitch of using 8s and 11s is too loose for me; I maybe have a control issue, because I just can't stand the looseness of this pattern.
The spiral row just doesn't lay nicely on the 8s based on the pattern of three size 8 seed beads and four size 11 seed beads.  This pattern was learned from Jill Wiseman's Beaded Ropes book - I think it would be better if I hadn't followed the directions exactly and instead of going through three size 8 beads whenever I was stitching a new row, I should have gone through 4 size 8 beads.  I think that would have made the stitch tighter.  I'll try that if I ever do another rope in this pattern of beads.

Finally, I made some clasps and bead caps the other day, so I thought I'd show you a photo of them!  I was pretty happy with the way they turned out! These are the bead caps - I made them out of the cutout section of the clasps!  I textured them, punched the holes, dapped them, antiqued with liver of sulpher, and then tumbled for a couple of hours. I love the heft and richness!  I will be making more for sale in my etsy store.

I was clasp deficient, so I made some copper clasps.  I punched them out with my pepe disc cutter, punched the middles out, textured, dapped, antiqued and tumbled.  The toggle bars are made from FREE 12 gauge electrical wire I got from Jason from a job we were doing - I formed them, hammered the ends, antiqued and tumbled these as well.  I love how the hammered ends look.  Two sizes will also be available in my etsy shop too!
And finally, my next project - this clasp held an envelope together on a card Jason got me for Valentine's Day!  It's all the more special because we were in Sint Maarten when he gave it to me (Dutch side).
And here's the necklace I made with it! I used some of my favorite beads, turquoise teardrops, turquoise tubes and freshwater pearls, separated by silver beads.  I used two figure 8 connectors to connect it to the heart. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out! 

Thanks for stopping by today and seeing what I've been up to since I haven't been making glass beads.  Are you learning anything new?

Susan Kennedy
SueBeads Etsy Store
SueBeads Web Site
SueBeads Blog


  1. Your spiral ropes are wonderful and I really like the clasps that you made. I hope it warms up for you soon!

  2. Please make more of the rusty cooper clasps -- I'd like to buy a few. Please make sure you have the sizes listed on your ETSY page. Also, I'd like to see how one of the clasps (especially the large part) should be attached to the item. LOVE your beaded spiral necklaces. Stay warm -- my family lives in Pittsburgh and they are frozen, too.

    1. Hi Paulette - I did have a clasp listed but it sold. I will be listing more tomorrow! You can attach with jump rings or just go around it with beading wire if you're crimping, or if you're using beading thread, attach it by beading through several times to make sure it's secure! You can find that method in beading books.

  3. WOW I see you are truly inspired!!! Gorgeous work!


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.