Albion stitch wave bead

I recently purchased a book by Heather Kingsley-Heath, Albion Stitch Book Two. (There is a Book One, which I don’t have.) It’s a full-color spiral-bound book, with excellently-designed projects based the stitch she’s named the Albion stitch. It looks to be based on an African stitch — Diane Fitzgerald describes in Zulu Inspired Beadwork how she saw the picture of a bracelet on page 66 in Beads: An Exploration of bead traditions around the world by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig, and how she reverse-engineered based on the picture.


Diane has several bracelet variations in both this Zulu book published by Interweave and her earlier self-published one. It’s underneath the second “U” in the picture below, and above her first name.

The Albion stitch is the same as Diane’s Switchback Chain, with Heather adding many excellent variations to bring it out of the flat plane used by the Zulu. The Albion stitch books include how to work this stitch to capture cabochons, to make waves and corkscrews, shape flowers and insects, make free-form vessels, self-supporting geometric shapes, beaded beads, tubular rope, and various flat elements. Heather’s instructions and diagrams are very clear.

I love how stitches are used and evolved around the world! Print publishing and the internet have made our bead world both smaller and larger. See how different the same technique looks between the Albion wave bead and the Switchback bracelet!

SO, here’s the wave bead I’ve made:

It’s really striking. It’s a good-sized bead made with 11s; it’s 25mm pole-to-pole, with a 35mm diameter. I was considering making these for the Bead-around-the-world swap, but it’s too big. At least in 11s! I’ll have to try 15s or charlottes.

If you’re interested in either of the Albion Books, Heather’s webpage is here; she’s in the U.K. In the U.S., Creative Castle in California is where I purchased mine. The books aren’t listed on the website, call and ask.

2 thoughts on “Albion stitch wave bead”

  1. Hi, this great wave bead you made, was it directly described in the book or was it your variation of what you read in the book? I like it so much but don’t feel like buying whole book for just one pattern. Maybe Heather should consider selling parts of the book 😉

    1. Thanks, I like the bead too! This one was just on display in a rock show in Washington state. 🙂 I did the wave bead as described in her book; it’s one of 21 projects. There’s a version without the increases (to make the wave) that makes a nice bezel, for example, and a cuff bracelet that uses the waves like this bead. There’s vessels, flowers and leaves, and butterflies and dragonflies. I checked her website, and while she has other patterns available, I don’t see this one, sorry!

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