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Bead weaving: a winter evening project.

Long winter nights and crafts seem to go together. Many of us occupy the dark hours between chores and bed with spinning, weaving, woodworking, etc. Here is a simple alternative that even the kids enjoy: bead weaving.

In the late'60s I bought a small bead loom that consisted of wood, a metal frame, and coiled wire. It worked well, but the size of the finished article was limited, so I made my own simple loom. (See diagrams.) The wooden base is made of pine. I have even carved and stained some that I use in demonstrations.

With the loom constructed, I find that a strong sewing thread works just fine for warping it. This offers you a choice of colors to match your beadwork, and most people have an ample supply of thread on hand.

The materials you will have to purchase specifically for this project are needles and beads. Both can be found in most hobby shops, or ordered from companies that advertise in craft magazines.

When you have everything on hand and are ready to begin, diagram your pattern. We use graph paper, but plain paper and colored pens or pencils work just fine. By drawing your pattern, using dots to represent beads, you will discover if your idea is possible to reproduce on your loom and how it will look when finished. Several times we have had great ideas in our head that just didn't work out with the beads.

Another hint: start small and simple, using only a few colors.

When your beadwork is completed, carefully cut it from the loom, leaving long warp threads. Gently tie off each bead with the adjoining threads. You now have a lovely piece of beadwork that can be hand-sewn on the article of your choice. We generally uses soft leather strips to make bracelets, chokers, etc.

Bead weaving allows creative diversity it's relatively inexpensive, and it can be profitable. It is also just plain fun to do! Try something different this winter: try bead weaving.
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Author:Bakke-McGonigle, Nancy
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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