FREEFORM BEADED TUTORIAL
Freeform beaded purse by Carla Barrett
Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett
Since I’m still in a beading mood, I decided to share with you one of my favorite tutorials- Freeform Beading, which features the freeform peyote stitch. It is very easy to do, and extremely versatile. You may combine it with quilting and fiber art- like I have shown in my iPhone purse, shown above. You may also create freeform beading as a focal jewelry piece. Recently, I started the freeform beaded piece shown on the left, which will eventually be a necklace. Please note it is still a work in progress.
Below is a bridal necklace I made a few years ago:
Here is another work-in-progress:
Here is the final necklace once the strap was added:
How did I do this? It was actually pretty easy, so I thought I would share the how-to with you. I often will just start beading, then change and keep adding on and working the piece. However, in working with beginning students, I have found the following method works as a good starting point to learn this technique.
Fireline, Beading needles, beads in various shapes, sizes, finishes and colors to match your palette.
To Begin: collect beads in various sizes and colors that blend well together. Pick a focal piece or pieces as well to give your piece visual interest. Below, I have created a bead soup palette that I used for the Waves of Color necklace, shown above:
To begin, take a 2 yard piece of FIRELINE (a braided beading thread by The Beadsmith) and string about a 5-6 inch base row of various beads, taking care to mix sizes and colors:
Next, build off of your first row using any stitch you have learned. In the example below, I used peyote stitch and ladder stitch:
Here is a tutorial for how to do a Ladder Stitch (click to enlarge):
And here is a tutorial for how to do peyote stitch, even count:
Get creative! Just keep building and beading until it starts to flow for you. I still have a way to go, but here is another work-in-progress, followed by the finished piece:
freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett
As you can see by the bottom photo, I felt the first draft was rather boring and needed a bit of bling. That is the beauty of freeform, if you do not like something, just keep going! In this case, I added a tubular Right Angle Weave (RAW) strap and a beaded bezel for the crystal focal point. The end result was much more successful.
Here is another small freeform quilted bag in a different colorway:
If anyone tries this mini tutorial, please send me a picture of your finished project. I would love to see your work!
Back to quilting now… Hugs, Carla