Use spiral rope stitch to create an elegant beaded rope for a necklace or bracelet. This variation looks like it's embedded with sparkling emeralds.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
1. Gather Your Materials
To make the beaded rope shown in the example you'll need the following quantities of beads per inch of beaded rope:
- About a half gram of size 11/0 Miyuki round seed beads in sparkling metallic gold-lined crystal; I.D. number 11-0234 (A)
- Four 4mm round Czech glass fire polished beads in copper olivine (B)
You'll also need the following supplies:
- White or cream Nymo beading thread in size 0
- Thread conditioner or beeswax (for coating the thread)
- Beading or embroidery scissors
- Your choice of optional supplies, such as a bead mat, bead dish(es), and thread burner
- A size 12 English beading needle
- Two jump rings and a pre-made clasp of your choice
2. Prepare Your Needle and Thread
Begin by preparing about an arm span (or just slightly more) of beading thread. (Note: It's very important to use size 0 thread for this pattern; larger sizes will fill up the bead holes, leaving no space for your needle.) Thread the needle for single-strand beadweaving.
3. Make the First End Loop
Pick up 1B and 7A and slide them down to about eight inches from the end of the thread. Then pass back through the 1B.Hold the beads in position with your fingers while you pull the thread taut to create a loop. You'll use this loop later to attach the clasp.
4. Pick Up the Beads for the First Stitch
Pick up 9A and slide them down against the B.
(Remember that you can click on the photo for a full-size view.)
5. Begin the First Spiral Loop
Passing up from the bottom, pass through the first 4A again.
Hold the beads in place with one hand while using your other hand to pull the thread taut.
6. Flip the First Spiral Loop
Now pass down through the uppermost bead (bead 5) in the "spiral loop," and pull the thread taut.
Flip the loop (beads 6, 7, 8, and 9) over to the other side of the "base strand" of five beads (beads 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The direction you flip the loop over to depends on whether you're left handed or right handed. I'm right handed, so in the photo I flip the loop from right to left.
This is a key step in spiral rope stitch, and you'll repeat many times throughout the pattern.
7. Stitch the Second Spiral Loop
Pick up 5A and pass up through the last four beads on the base strand. (To count these four, begin with the bead that your thread is currently exiting and count downward.) Do your best not to split the thread.
Pull the thread taut and pass down through the uppermost bead in the second spiral loop (bead 10).
Pull the thread taut again, and then flip the second loop to the other side.
8. Complete at Least Two More Spiral Loops
Use the same technique to complete two or more additional spiral loops. After flipping each loop, hold it to the side with your finger and thumb while you stitch the next loop.
Note:For the example necklace shown at the beginning and end of this tutorial, I stitched loops of all A beads until I had two inches of rope completed. This allowed me to conserve fire polished beads, which we'll begin to add in the next step.
9. Stitch a Spiral Loop With a Fire Polished Bead
Pick up 2A, 1B, and 1A for the next spiral loop. Pass up through the last 4A in the base strand, down through the uppermost A in the new loop, and flip the loop, as usual.
Tip: Size 0 nylon thread tangles easily. When you work with long thread, pull it slowly through the beads and use your fingers to straighten out twists.
10. Continue Stitching Spiral Loops
To length the rope, continue stitching sets of five loops each: four loops of 5A, followed by a single loop of 2A, 1B, and 1A. Repeat this pattern to your desired length of rope.
Tip: When you reach the center point of your rope, you can optionally string on a pendant. It can be easier to slide on a pendant now, rather than waiting until the rope is complete.