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Bead Stampede's Blog

Bead Magazine Bridal Jewellery Challenge

Bead Magazine asked us to support the Bead Soup challenge in their upcoming Weddings Special (Issue 54, out on 16 April).  The Bead Soup challenge asks three beaders to create jewellery with the same base pack of beads and supplies, and put their individual spin on it.  If you plan to make your own jewellery for an upcoming wedding, or are a beader who makes jewellery for wedding parties, it’s well worth having a look at this issue. 



We suggest the following types of beads for wedding jewellery or embroidery:



Baroque (Miyuki 6/0s)

Aurora Borealis (AB) or Iris

Silver- or Gilt-lined


24k gold-plated

Sterling silver-plated


Special-finish beads (labrador, matte crystal vitrail,

         crystal medium apricot)

Matte or Semi-frosted



Seed beads (6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s)


Long Magatamas

3.4mm Drops

4mm cubes


Toho Treasure and Miyuki Delica cylinder beads

Fire-polished (4mm or 6mm)

Rizo beads

Spike beads

Teardrop beads






Light-to-medium beige

Light-to medium grey






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Miyuki Has Answered My Prayers

Those of you who read my earlier blog post, The Pick Of The Picassos, may remember that I hoped Miyuki would extend their range of special-finish beads, what I call the Czech-finish beads, to include other sizes, and they have.

We now have in stock in size 11/0:

Crystal & Full Labrador

Crystal & Capri Gold

Crystal Marea

Crystal Medium Apricot

Crystal Sliperit

Crystal Bermuda Blue

Magic Orchid

Magic Blue

Magic Wine

Magic Green

Magic Purple

Magic Apple

These are very glitzy, shimmery and/or iridescent beads, so they are perfect for when you want a little zing to your beadwork.

Miyuki is currently making these available to only one supplier, so their availability may be limited from time to time.  I know that Miyuki will introduce more special-finish beads in this size, and I’m optimistic that these will become a permanent part of the Miyuki range.  We’ll be stocking any new special-finish beads just as soon as we can.

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Free(form) Spirit

I loved freeform beading the moment I first saw it.  I love the artiness of it, I love the visual rollercoaster of it, I love the texture of it.  So, finally, here is my first foray into freeform peyote.  The inspiration behind this bracelet was our new Picasso Tila beads in cobalt, orange and light olive.  I wanted to use these three colours together, so I built my bead choices around them.  I used Karen Williams’ book, FreeForm Peyote Beading: Design and Creation of Original Wearable Art Jewelry, as my guide to get started.

 Freeform peyote bracelet using Bead Stampede beads

The first thing I discovered is that “freeform” is not a synonym for “haphazard”, and that a certain amount of planning, balance and judicious choosing of beads is in order.  I started by selecting a larger range of beads than Karen recommends in her helpful chart relating to same, but as I stitched, I wound up not using all of them.  Less may not be more when it comes to freeform beadwork, but knowing when enough is enough certainly is.  It wasn’t deliberate, but I used six different types of bead for each colour, everything from 6/0s to 15/0s, and I threw in the Tilas and some 4mm Czech fire-polished beads for good measure.  It’s also important not just to mix sizes, but bead finishes, too.  Beads ranged from silver-lined, colour-lined, matte, opaque, transparent, lustered, and Ceylon to Picasso.

I admit that I broke a couple of rules that I’d read elsewhere (I’d broken them before I read about them, so I can’t claim to be an artistic visionary).  One was to avoid a stripe-y effect.  Yeah, well, so much for that – big, fat stripes galore here.  The other was not to transition from larger beads to much smaller beads too quickly.  Transitioning from larger to smaller beads meant that there was a certain laciness in the surrounding area, and it also meant that I got those wonderful bumps and ridges that freeform peyote is known for.  So, that was one “rule” I was happy to ignore. 

By the time I got two rows in, I realised that I had no idea what I was doing, but I’ve never let a little thing like that stop me, so I just kept going.  One of the things that I noticed about freeform beadwork is that it takes a lot more time than “regular” beadwork, which is largely down to the fact that at least every couple of rows or so (if not every row), you have to make a decision about which beads you’re going to use next, and consider what impact they might have on the overall design.  You can spend ages sitting there, staring at your work and wondering what to do next.

I used C-Lon size D thread for the bracelet, changing colours as I changed sections.  I toyed with the idea of using FireLine, but FireLine can be a bit stiff and C-Lon/S-Lon threads have such a lovely drape.  I wouldn’t rule out using FireLine in a future project, though.  The choice would depend on the weight of the beads and the overall effect I wanted. 

I found this project wildly fulfilling.  I loved every bit of making it, and the finished bracelet is much more striking than the attached photos show.  Freeform peyote may well become my favourite type of beadwork. 

Before I switch over to the list of beads that I used, I’d like to say a bit more about Karen’s book:  there is very little information out there about freeform beadwork, which makes it difficult for a newcomer to know where to start.  Karen’s book is a small-ish one, but provides a lot of useful information for getting started.  It's not a project book, it's a technique book.  I’ve cobbled together bits of info about freeform peyote from many websites, so there’s still more that could be said about the topic.  Nevertheless, if you want to take the freeform plunge and don’t know where to begin, take a look at Karen’s book, linked above, and her blog at


Closeup orange segment of Freeform peyote bracelet

The beads used in the orange segment are:

11-0008F Matte Silver-Lined Orange - Miyuki 11/0 Seed Beads

11-0138F Matte Transparent Orange - Miyuki 11/0 Seed Beads

6-0138 Transparent Orange - Miyuki 6/0 Seed Beads

TL-4520 Opaque Orange Picasso Miyuki Tila Beads

8-PF2112 Perma Finish Silver-Lined Ceylon Sunset Orange - Toho 8/0 Seed Beads

Orange Picasso - 4mm Czech Fire-Polished Beads

Orange C-Lon Size D Thread


Closeup of blue segment of Freeform peyote bracelet using beads from


The beads used in the blue segment are:

11-0019F Matte Silver-Lined Sapphire - Miyuki 11/0 Seed Beads

6-0020F Matte Silver-lined Cobalt Blue - Miyuki 6/0 Seed Beads

8-4242 Duracoat Dyed Silver-Lined Powder Blue - Miyuki 8/0 Seed Beads

TL-4518 Opaque Cobalt Picasso Miyuki Tila Beads

11-0028 Silver-Lined Cobalt - Toho 11/0 Seed Beads

15-0003B Transparent Aquamarine Blue - Toho 15/0 Seed Beads

Royal Blue C-Lon Size D Thread


Closeup of green segment of Freeform peyote bracelet using beads from


The beads used in the green segment are:

11-0014F Matte Silver-Lined Chartreuse - Miyuki 11/0 Seed Beads

6-0143 Transparent Pale Lime Green - Miyuki 6/0 Seed Beads

TL-4519 Opaque Light Olive Picasso Miyuki Tila Beads

11-0246 Opaque Yellow-Lined Luster Black Diamond - Toho 11/0 Seed Beads

8-0457 Gold-Lustered Green Tea - Toho 8/0 Seed Beads

Chartreuse (Acid Green) - 4mm Czech Fire-Polished Beads

Chartreuse C-Lon Size D Thread

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Thinking Abstractly

My adventures in peyote stitch continue apace.  Below are photos of my second peyote stitch project, a bracelet using a pattern called Abstract Rhythms that I found on Etsy from Dax Bead Art Patterns.  I’m not so fond of blues, so I tweaked the colours a bit.  I also decided to use some AB finish beads to give the bracelet a bit of sparkle.  

 Abstract peyote bracelet using Beadstampede Miyuki Delica and Toho Treasure beads

Abstract peyote bracelet using Beadstampede Miyuki Delica and Toho Treasure beadsAbstract peyote bracelet using Beadstampede Miyuki Delica and Toho Treasure beads

In choosing this pattern, my goals were to reinforce the use of even-count peyote and to push me out of my comfort zone by trying something new: in this case, doing an open section within peyote stitch.  When I got to the strap ends, I found out that one side of the strap was in odd-count peyote, so it pushed me out of my comfort zone farther than I had planned.  I’m happy to say that these two goals were easily achieved, and my fears about the difficulty of odd-count peyote were entirely unfounded.

The colours used in this project are all Toho and Miyuki size 11/0 cylinder beads (Delicas and Treasures), as follows:

Miyuki DB-0200 – Opaque White

Miyuki DB-0651 – Dyed Opaque Squash

Miyuki DB-0660 – Dyed Opaque Lavender

Miyuki DB-1136 – Opaque Sea Opal

Miyuki DB-1776 – White-lined Yellow AB

Miyuki DB-1780 – White-lined Flame Red AB

Miyuki DB-1784 – White-lined Sapphire AB

Miyuki DB-1788 – White-lined Emerald AB

Toho TT-0046L – Opaque Terra Cotta

Toho TT-0048 – Opaque Navy Blue

Abstraction is my absolute favourite type of painting, so I’m pleased that I can now carry a little abstract art around with me wherever I go.  And speaking of abstracts, my current peyote stitch project is a first foray into freeform work; it’s proving to be a wild (though enjoyable) ride.  Stay tuned . . . .

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You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

After three decades of promising myself that I’d learn peyote stitch, I have just completed my first project, the even-count cylinder bead bracelet, below.

Peyote stitch cylinder bead bracelet


I chose a pattern from a 2006 issue of Step-by-Step Beads, but decided to use very different colours and add brick stitch trim to turn two of the triangles into diamonds.  I really like the added interest that brick stitch edging adds to flat peyote, and I'm looking forward to using this technique in future projects.  I not only found even-count peyote easy to get the hang of, but I really enjoyed the process, too. 

The bracelet is very sparkly and really shimmers in sunlight. The bracelet required fewer than 5g of each of the following beads: Miyuki DB-0783 Dyed Semi-Frosted Transparent Purple, Miyuki DB-0202 Pearl White AB, Miyuki DB-0010 Opaque Black,Toho TT-0163 Transparent Rainbow Aquamarine, Toho TT-0007 Transparent Peridot, Toho TT-0789 Tangerine-Lined Crystal, Toho TT-0191C Crystal/Hot Pink-Lined, Toho TT-0790 Opaque Fuchsia-Lined Crystal

Both the colours (I incline towards understated neutrals, as a rule) and learning a new stitch took me out of my comfort zone, but now that my comfort zone isn’t the comfort zone I had before, I have to get out of my new comfort zone. Try saying that ten times, quickly.

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When Is A Bracelet Not A Bracelet?

When it's a pair of earrings, of course.


Bead Stampede bead crochet earrings


The bead crochet earrings above started out life as a bracelet made from one of Linda Lehman’s many gorgeous bead crochet patterns, Drops Traveling in Reverse, from her Etsy shop Wearable Art Emporium.

I had planned to make the project as a bracelet, per Linda’s design, but about three-quarters of the way through, I realised that I hadn’t strung enough beads for a bracelet and was faced with having to cut the cord, string more beads and then add the new cord in.  No big deal, but I thought that as I was going to have to cut the cord anyway, was there something else I might like to do with the project?  There was.  After twiddling the bit I’d made this way and that, I decided to turn them into earrings, my first bead crochet earrings ever. 


Bead Stampede bead crochet earrings on display head

Materials used were our Toho 11/0 seed beads in Marbled Sandy Pink Luster (11-1201), Marbled Lavender Luster (11-1204), Marbled Dusty Amethyst Luster (11-1203), Marbled Blue Sea Foam Luster (11-1208), and Miyuki 3.4mm drop beads in Violet Gold Luster (DP-1884).  I'm not much inclined to pastel colours, so this project forced me a bit out of my comfort zone.  I also used our  Amethyst C-Lon Micro-Cord for crocheting, sterling silver 8mm bead caps and sterling silver ear wires. 

When the bead crochet segments were finished and the tails of cord woven in, I threaded a piece of flush-cut 20 gauge sterling-silver half-hard wire through one bead cap and into the bead crochet tube.  I made a small loop at the bead cap end of the wire with a round-nose pliers, and repeated at the other end after flush cutting for smoothness.   The two loops were easy to thread onto the ear wires, though the loops of the wire needed to be twisted with flat-head pliers to get the earrings to lay flush against my neck.

The cool thing about using wire as a core for bead crochet is that you can re-shape your work into something it won’t do naturally.  I could quite easily squeeze these earrings longer and narrower, or squish them out to be more circular.

My next project is attempting my first peyote stitch piece:  an even-count cuff bracelet.  Of course, at the rate things are going, I may just wind up with another pair of earrings.

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