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A beader's life

posted on 26 February 2012 | posted in Blog

I've spent the last four evenings attempting to bead around a wooden egg. As I've successfully beaded around small round glass beads before, and made a couple of beaded bezals for oval semiprecious stone cabochons, I thought this can't be that difficult.

Beaded egg upright

Oh, but it is! An egg is not round and it is even quite difficult to see where its widest part is. You have to increase and decrease the number of beads in each round, whilst still making some kind of pattern. This first one is very much a prototype it's far too lumpy for my liking! Why am I doing this? Because I had the idea of beading around some wooden eggs, attaching key rings and making them available as little Easter gifts.

There will be a huge mismatch between the hours I will (have already!) put into them and the price I will be able to charge, but, once I have mastered the art of increasing and decreasing smoothly I will feel enormous satisfaction.beaded egg on side

I know where I am with knotting and stringing semiprecious stones as you, my dear customers, will (and do!) testify. And, after one year of beadworking I can do flat things and tubular things and even spiral things, so beading around objects is a new challenge for me, even if it does take so much time. And there are a few things I've discovered along the way, which I thought I would share with you:

  • Your thread will make the most enormous knot, just when you are doing a particularly tricky bit.
  • The needle will vanish when you put it down to pull the next length of thread off the reel. Just disappear into thin air, even though you put it just there.
  • Beads jump away and also vanish.
  • An important bead will break as you hope against hope that it will take just one more thread pass.
  • You realise you will need a new piece of thread just before the end.
  • What you imagined would be a striking combination of colours looks horrible when the beads are stitched together and you have to rip it all out and start again.
  • You will find that although you have plenty of the colour you need in size 11, you also need the exact same colour in size 15 and your normal supplier doesn't stock it, so you have to order it from another one and of course, to make it worth it, you have to order lots of other stuff as well. And more thread.
  • Thread zappers are great.
  • You need lots of different trays to keep your projects on as you will rarely be working on one thing at a time.
  • You develop an addiction to beading books (in the same way gardeners - OK, me a few years ago - are addicted to gardening books)
  • You wonder what you could do with those triangular beads,those little bone shaped beads, those long bugle beads, those magatama beads...
  • You spend hours playing around with triangular beads, little bone shaped beads...
  • You decide you are skilled enough now to bead around an egg.
  • You realise you have lots and lots yet to learn.
pyansky eggs
Beaded pysanky eggs by Luba Frankevych
Picture courtesy of Rypan Designs (

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