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Russian Spiral Beading Tutorial

How to Use Russian Spiral Stitch to Create a Spiraled Tube of Beadwork

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Russian spiral stitch is a special type of tubular beaded netting. It creates a soft, slightly elastic beaded rope; but unlike regular netting it also forms a distinct spiral. Russian spiral works up pretty fast once you get started, which makes it a great stitch for beginners. Here's how it works.

1. String an Initial Base Ring

The Initial Ring of Beads
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Begin by picking three sets of three beads each, for a total of nine beads. Each set needs to consist of two smaller beads followed by one larger bead.

Bring the first and last beads together, and make an overhead or square knot to pull the beads into a ring.

The example on the left (click the image for a larger view) uses size D beading thread, a size 12 beading needle, and the following Miyuki seed beads:

  • Size 15/0 beads in lime green; 15-0846 (A)
  • Size 15/0 beads in opaque light cream; 15-0804 (B)
  • Size 8/0 beads in taupe-lined crystal AB; 8-2195 (C)

The beads for the initial base ring were picked up in this order: A, B, C, A, B, C, A, B, C.

Tip: You can experiment with different numbers of starting beads, but the number you choose must be divisible by three.

2. Make the First Russian Spiral Stitch

The First Russian Spiral Stitch
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

To position the needle for the first stitch, pass through the first bead in the ring again (A) and pull the thread taut.

To begin the first stitch, pick up another set of three beads, but this time pick up the larger bead first. In the example on the left, I picked up 1C, 1A, and 1B.

Skip the next two beads in the ring, and pass through third bead (A). Pull the thread taut again.

3. Make the Second Russian Spiral Stitch

The Second Stitch of Russian Spiral
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Pick up another set of the same three beads (1C, 1A, and 1B), skip the next two beads in the ring, and pass through the third bird (A). Pull the thread taut again.

4. Make the Third Russian Spiral Stitch and Step-Up

The Third Stitch and Step-Up
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Pick up another set of the same three beads. Skip the next two beads, but this time pass up through the third bead in the initial round (A) and through the first two beads in the first round (C, A).

This process of passing up through three beads is the step-up that positions your needle to begin the next round. You need to make this step-up to complete every third stitch.

5. Complete the Next Round of Russian Spiral Stitch

The Next Round of Russian Spiral Stitch
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

To make the first stitch of the next round, skip the next two beads in the previous round. (Disregard the beads in the initial ring here; you only want to count beads in the round that you just completed.) Pass up through the third bead in the previous round.

Repeat this two more times, stepping-up after the third stitch to align your needle for the next round. Keep the thread tension as tight as you can. (I gave the thread two or three firm tugs after each stitch.)

6. Continue Stitching to Your Desired Length of Tube

The Completed Russian Spiral Rope
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Continue stitching, one round at a time, always stepping-up through three beads to complete the third stitch. Your beaded rope will begin to grow pretty quickly once you get the hang of the stitch. Whenever you need to start a new thread, be sure to make tension knots (one or more half-hitch knots) to preserve the tension of the old thread.

Tip: You can also experiment with other bead combinations. To create a more geometric beaded rope, try using bugle beads as the larger beads in each stitch.

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