This pattern uses horizontal beaded netting to create a lacy holiday ornament cover. You stitch the netting in rounds, as a circular stitch with simple increases and decreases. Once you master this basic technique, you can mix it up by adding more elaborate fringe and using different combinations of bead styles and sizes.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
1. Gather Your Materials
To make one cover for a standard, three inch round ornament, you'll need the following Miyuki brand seed beads:
- About seven grams of 3.4mm drop beads in gold-lined crystal; I.D. number DP-378 (A)
- Ten 6mm (#2) bugle beads in transparent rainbow crystal; BB3-250 (B)
- About ten grams of size 11/0 round seed beads in transparent matte crystal; 11-7130 (C)
The bold capital letters above are the bead key identifiers. They're used throughout this tutorial to identify particular beads.
You'll also need the following supplies and tools:
- Six pound, 0.008 inch FireLine beading thread in white (the example uses black, which is easier to see in photos)
- A size 10 English beading needle (or similar beading needle of your choice)
- A hobby knife or razor blade for cutting the FireLine
- Size D Nymo beading thread in white or cream
- Beading scissors for cutting the Nymo
- Thread conditioner or beeswax for conditioning the Nymo
- Optional beading supplies of your choice, such as a stop bead or bead stopper for the Nymo, a bead dish, and a bead mat
2. String the Beads for the Top Ring
The pattern begins with a ring of beads strung on FireLine, and transitions to Nymo thread for the netting. The sturdy FireLine creates a strong framework for the cover, and is less likely to get frayed by the jagged edges of the bugle beads. The softer Nymo thread gives the netting a supple drape.
Pull and cut a two-foot length of FireLine, and thread the needle. Fold over about six to eight inches of thread for single-strand beading.
The top ring (which serves as the base ring in the circular netting) contains ten bugle beads separated by sets of two drop beads and one round seed bead. Here is the bead sequence to string:
1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1C.
3. Complete the Top Ring
Pull the ends of the beaded strand together, and tie a square knot. Then end the FireLine thread: Pass through several beads in the ring and cut the thread close the beads. Thread the needle onto the thread tail, pass it through several beads in the opposite direction, and cut that thread close to the beads.
Please remember that you can click on the images throughout this tutorial for larger views.
4. Add the Nymo Thread
Prepare an arm-span (about three to four foot) length of the Nymo beading thread, and thread the needle.
Fold over about six to eight inches of thread for single-strand beading. Pass through several beads in the top ring, and pull the Nymo through until a tail of about six to eight inches remains behind the first bead that your needle entered (or until your stop bead or bead stopper is against that bead, if you used a bead stop device).
Tie a half-hitch knot over the FireLine. Pass through several more beads, pull the Nymo gently taut, and tie another half hitch knot. Pass into the beaded top ring again, and bring the needle out after a C bead. Pull the thread gently taut once more.
5. Stitch the First Round of Horizontal Netting
- For a diagram view of the general thread path in horizontal netting, please review the flat horizontal netting tutorial.
For each stitch in the first round of netting, you'll pick up the following nine beads: 4C, 1A, 4C.
Pick up the first set of nine, and pass through the next C in the top ring. Pull the thread gently taut. Repeat this stitch nine more times, working your way around the top ring. When you reach the last stitch in the round (the ninth), complete it by passing into the next C in the top ring and through the first 4C and 1A in the very first stitch in the round (see the third photo down on the left). This is the step up that occurs at the end of each round, to properly position your needle to begin the next round.
6. Stitch the Second Round
For the second round of netting, make an increase of two beads per stitch by picking up sets of 5C, 1A, and 5C. Treat the A (drop) beads as the link beads that you pass through to complete each stitch. At the end of the round, step up by passing through the first 5C and 1A that you stitched at the beginning of the round.
7. Stitch Rounds Three Through Seven
Place the beadwork over a three-inch round tree ornament. (This is optional, but makes it easier to complete stitches in later rounds.) It does not need to be the ornament you ultimately use for the cover, because the cover is removable.
To keep the ornament from rolling, set it in a cup, on a deep plastic bottle lid, or on one compartment of a space saver jar (I used a 2.5 inch space saver compartment).
Continue stitching rounds of horizontal netting. Stitch the following sets of beads for each stitch:
Round 3: 6C, 1A, 6C
Round 4: 7C, 1A, 7C
Round 5: 8C, 1A, 8C
Round 6: 8C, 1A, 8C
Round 7: 7C, 1A, 7C
8. Stitch the Final Round and the Fringe
Stitch one last round with the bottom fringe built in. For each stitch in this round, do the following:
- Pick up 9C, 1A, 5C, 1A, 1C, 1A, 1C, and 1A, and slide them up against the beadwork.
- Pass back through the third from last C that you picked up (the one right before the first drop bead).
- Hold the small beaded loop that you just created between your fingers while using your other hand to pull the thread gently taut.
- Pick up 4C.
- Pass back through the first 1A that you picked up.
- Pull the thread taut again.
- Pick up 9C, and pass through the next link bead (A) in the previous round.
- Pull the thread gently taut.
Repeat this stitch all the way around the ornament. When you reach the beginning of the round, weave-in to the beadwork and end the thread by trimming it close to the beads.
9. Weave-In and End the Thread Tail(s)
Thread the needle onto any existing thread tails that you haven't yet woven-in. Weave them in and end them by trimming the thread close to the beads.
The ornament cover is now complete!