Designing and creating beautiful beaded jewerly is a great source of fun and relaxation for many and its a great way to express one’s creativity. While beadweaving is enjoyable MOST of the time, it can also be the source of some serious frustration! I want to highlight for you the five most common mistakes in beading that designers face and solutions for you to avoid them.
1.) Too Much Thread
Some beading designs require a LOT of thread, especially more advanced projects. Many attempt to start off a project with more than enough beading thread to complete their project, thinking this will save them time in adding new thread. While this sounds ideal, it is not, and can give you quite the headache during the beading process! There are a number of things that can go wrong with this scenario. Extra long sections of thread are more prone to knotting and tangling and you’ll spend ample time undoing knots. In addition, when you use a lot of thread, you will spend a LOT of time pulling the thread through each bead before you can sticth the next bead. Thread that is constantly subjected to being pulled, untangled and unknotted will lose its integrity, weaken, and wear out faster.
How much thread should I use?
The main solution for using too much thread is to use less! Using shorter lengths of thread will be less likely tangle and knot, require less time pulling, and will help avoid wearing out your thread. The idea of adding more thread during a project may seem like an unwanted interruption and a waste of time, but its actually simple and the best solution for all the problems associated with using too much beading thread to begin with. Adding more thread throughout your project is simple and effective. Check out this video for simple instructions to accomplish this and avoid one of the most common mistakes in beadweaving!
2.) Splitting The Thread
Another common error in bead weaving is accidentally splitting your thread. This happens when your beading needle passes through the fibers that make up your thread. Many threads are available – Hana 100% Nylon Beading Thread, Wildfire, Fireline, and so on. All of these threads are comprised of tiny fibers that are woven together to create the actual thread. When a needle passes through those fibers, separating and splitting your thread, it can lead to some unwanted problems! Splitting thread weakens the overall strength and integrity of the beading thread, and therefore weakening the project. In addition, split threads can also cause the beads to lay incorrectly and not flush with the rest of the project. And lastly, sewing through thread can make it difficult to go back and undo bead stitches to correct any issues you find in a row of beads.
How do you avoid splitting beading thread?
Thread splitting happens most often when a beader is trying to correct a beading error and attempts to stitch backwards through a project. Whatever you do, DON’T STITCH BACKWARDS! The correct way to fix an error in a beading project is to first, REMOVE THE NEEDLE and then pull out the thread to remove the beading. Stitching backward almost always end with you sewing through your thread. In addition, when making multiple passes through a bead, try to keep your needle flush to the inside edge of your bead to avoid going through previous stitches. If you do split your thread, tie on a new piece and continue on.
3.) Incorrect Thread Tension
Thread tension plays a big role in the end result of your beaded project. How tight you are pulling the beading thread will directly affect how your project will lay and drape. Incorrect tension, whether it is too tight or too lose, can leave you with a finished project that doesn’t meet your expectations. Too tight thread tension will cause your project to buckle and curl and not lay as desired whereas loose thread tension will bring about gaps and inconsistencies in your work. You will also see more thread between beads and rows of beads.
How do you make sure thread tension is correct?
Achieving correct thread tension requires lots of practice. To help avoid incorrect thread tension, as you’re creating your project be sure to stop throughout and observe how the bead stitches are appearing and how the beads are laying. After each stitch, be sure to pull and tighten the project before moving on to the next stitch. Don’t wait until the end to do this. If you tie off a project with too tight tension, unfortunately there is no way to correct this. With loose tension projects you may be able to go back and fix issues by pulling, or by reinforcing with more thread, however this is not ideal and its best to check your project as you go. Lastly, make sure you are using the correct type of thread for your project. If you need help deciding what to use, check out this youtube video for help!
4.) Attempting Projects that are Too Advanced
You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” This is great advice, even in beading, and your level of expertise should be taken to consideration when beginning a new beading project. You may have the necessary tools and beads for a particular project, perhaps even a pattern with instructions, but that does not mean you are ready for it. There is a good chance you’ll run into a handful of issues if you try to tackle a project thats too ambitious. Advanced stitches and maneuvers are difficult and will likely leave you frustrated and disappointed. You may spend a few hours tackling a difficult project a notice you missed key steps along the way, and then need to undo your project or start over.
How can you become proficient enough for advanced projects?
Practice makes perfect. You will not be able to master advanced beading projects without first mastering basic beading skills and stitches. It is important to be patient with yourself, take up easier projects first, and learn from them as you move on to more complex ones. Stick to your lane – most tutorials will indicate the skill level required and be sure to reference that when choosing your next project. Potomac Bead has a plethora of tutorials on Youtube to teach you everything you need to know.
5.) Not Trying New Beading Techniques or Products
There are so many beading techniques, stitches, and products available to try, leading to endless possiblilities in creativity and beading design. Trying new stitches may be intimidating and overwhelming, preventing you from trying to tackle them. However, not attempting something new will only hinder your growth as a beader and surpress your creativity. As I mentioned above, it is not in your best interest to jump ahead to advanced projects before you’re ready, but it is important to try out new tecniques as you’re ready for them. Try to avoid falling into the negative mindset of not trying something new because it appears impossible.
How should you tackle new tecniques?
Start with the basics! There are many beading stitches and you do not have to learn all of them at once. Start with basic stitches like ladder, peyote, and brick and take time to master them. Find out what you like by trying different methods to see what works for you.
Practice makes perfect, the more you get your hands on more beading projects the more familiar you will get, learn the mistakes and how to avoid them. It takes time to perfect an art, beading included.