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Friday, March 25, 2016

Bead Crochet Question: Slip Stitch vs. Single Crochet

     A prospective student for my Earn Your Stripes bead crochet class on April 16, 2016 asked me about the difference between the slip stitch crochet bead that she knew and the single crochet that I would be teaching.  Here is the answer for anyone else that isn't sure.

                                                     Slip Stitch Bead Crochet
      This is the method that most people in the U.S. learn to make bead crochet ropes.  With this technique, your hook goes under the thread that goes through the hole of the bead; this changes the position of the bead so that the hole goes from horizontal to vertical.  You can see how the beads sit in the photo below of my beginner slip stitch pendant project.

Slip stitch pendant

Because, the thread is mostly encased in the beads, you can use a thinner thread for this type of bead crochet.  Also, there is less thread showing between the stitches than with single crochet.  Designs crocheted with slip stitch will usually spiral.  Judith Bertoglio-Giffin has some wonderful patterns for bead crochet, if you haven't seen her work.  One pattern is shown below.

 Single Crochet With Beads
With single crochet, your crochet hook goes into the chain stitches behind the beads and the beads sit in front of the crochet, like a skin.  The single crochet with beads also involves 1 more step of adding a thread loop to each stitch.
If you compare a slip stitch tube with a stripe pattern to a single crochet tube with a stripe pattern, they look pretty similar, but the difference shows up when you move beyond a simple stripe pattern.

A single crochet tube in a striped pattern looks similar to a slip stitch tube, unless you know what to look for.
     One big difference between the two methods is that single crochet allows you to increase and decrease beads with more ease, which allows you to make 3-dimensional shapes like these below.

Bead crochet beads with bugle beads

Bead crochet pine cones

Another difference is that single crochet allows you to do more complicated patterns, as Brigitte Ilander has done in her book.

With single crochet, you can combine more complicated patterns with 3-dimensionality to get a snake necklace like the one I made for a private client.

Single crochet also allows you to make large pieces that lie flat, like this cuff bracelet, shown below.

So you may have to start with a simple spiral pattern to learn single crochet with beads but once you are familiar with the technique, you open a whole other world to play in.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Earn Your Stripes: Intro to Single Crochet With Beads

Example of how to incorporate a bead crochet tube into a necklace

I was obsessed with exploring stripe patterns for my upcoming bead crochet class.  Now that I have some samples finished, here is the information:


Date:  Saturday, April 16, 2014
Time:  10am-4pm
Location:  Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, New York

Here is your chance to learn single crochet with beads, the bead crochet technique used in my snake jewelry and the multi-patterned necklaces by talented German designers like Brigitte Ilander. 

I know that bead crochet seems challenging so I have made this class as easy as possible. Both projects will use size 8 seed beads and stripe patterns that allow you to tell where you need to crochet the next bead. You will also use white or light-colored thread.

First, we will start with a larger than usual tube so that you can see what you are doing and understand the construction of the crochet . You will turn this larger tube into a cute mini purse that can be used as a decoration or key chain.

Bead crochet mini purses

After that, you will move on to a more traditional-sized tube that can be turned into a bracelet or necklace. Although we will be sticking with easy to follow stripe patterns, there is no reason why the result has to be boring so we will discuss options for turning your bead crochet tube into an interesting piece of jewelry.

Another example of how to incorporate your bead crochet tube into a necklace

Previous crochet experience is required; we will be using the chain stitch and single crochet (double crochet in Europe) stitch.  You don't need to be an expert, but you don't want to be learning crochet and adding beads at the same time.

Bead crochet tubes with stone and glass beads on memory wire

To register for the class visit Workshops.