Learning bead crochet

I went to southern California last month to visit my friend Sylvia. We had a wonderful time together, and one of the things we did was bead. Specifically, Sylvia taught me bead crochet. I crocheted one bangle with slip stitch with 6s maybe 10 years ago, but that’s it. I have no other experience otherwise with crochet.

So following are some of my non-bead samples done throughout my learning, not including 9-10 yards of a crochet chain.

I did some slipstitch with 8s, but I was having significant problems with tension. I’d pull so tightly that I’d have to use force to get the crochet hook into the previous row. Sylvia moved me up in hook size, and my tension was still too tight. She put a cushioned handle on the hook I was using, so my hand wouldn’t cramp. I crocheted that long chain, to try to get the motion and to decrease my tension.  Sylvia also taught me single crochet, as another tool to have, and to perhaps help me decrease my tension.

The beads are at a slant, which is how you can distinguish single crochet from slip stitch, in which rows aren’t slanted at all. I was having problems with the beads sliding around too much when trying to slide one down when crocheting — these beads just fit onto this yarn, so they only move when you move them.

Here’s some samples in slip stitch with 11s, which I strung and started on my own. The lampwork bead was a gift from Sylvia, and the ropes attempts for something to accompany it.

The first sample is too subtle with the colors but with an excellent start — the white is too close to the gray. The colors are better on the second, but I didn’t start it right. This was also my first attempt at a design other than a spiral.

Now, what I’m going to complete first:

This is with 8s, and Sylvia had this pre-started with maybe an inch of beads as a learning sample. I did a little bit of this early in my learning process, which is almost rigid (on the left), and then I left it to improve my tension and technique. I’m slowly getting better!

Sylvia is an excellent teacher, providing suggestions on how to hold the hook and thread — and then letting me figure out what worked for me. I would like bead crochet to be more natural for me, and to be able to incorporate it into my beading toolbox.

After I complete this bangle, I want to work again on a rope for the lampwork bead above. Sylvia gave me two of the German bead crochet pattern books from Claudia Schumann, and I bought one of Judith Bertoglio-Giffin’s books. So I have no shortage of patterns – nor beads! I do need to buy some thread, though….


Leave a Reply