When you're thinking of getting started with beadwork and searching around the web, you may feel overwhelmed by information overload -- or even a combination of information overload and underload (such as when you find a pattern you like, but the instructions just aren't basic enough, or elaborate enough, for you to follow).
My advice is to simplify things from the start by identifying exactly what kind of beading you'd like to do right now. Most beginners gravitate toward bead stringing or beadweaving. Although there are similarities between the two (and you can combine them to make interesting designs), they really are separate crafts that use slightly different materials and skills.
Bead stringing is just what it sounds like: you string beads, and possibly other components, onto some form of stringing material. If your design needs a clasp, then you also need to finish the ends of your strand.
- For an example, see How to String Beads on Beading Wire.
Beadweaving (or "bead weaving") is the craft of stitching beads together using a needle and thread. It creates beadwork that is more of a beaded fabric than a single strand or series of strands.
- Preview what you need to get started: 10 Essential Beadweaving Supplies
Selecting Your Craft
Even though beadweaving may look more complicated than stringing, in reality strung beadwork can be very complex and beadweaving can be simple. So don't assume that you need to start stringing first if it doesn't interest you. Likewise, there's no need to ever get into beadweaving if strung styles are what you find captivating.
In my next post in this series, we'll take a closer look at beginning bead stringing using two different types of stringing materials. Be sure to subscribe to the free Beadwork email newsletter if you'd like to follow along.
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Are you a beginning beader? What would you most like to learn?