Saturday, 7 July 2012

Twin bead sampler -- and tutorial input needed

So this is, finally, the twin bead sampler, a round-up of all the little samples and swatches I've been making over the last weeks or months inbetween work, other projects and everything else needed to be done at the same time. Mostly simple designs and variations of those, nothing elaborate or fancy, really.

This post does not include any of the finished or unfinished bits and pieces I've shown earlier. The rest of my twin bead explorations can be found here.

(And if you think the pic above is a mess, with all the new and old samples all jumbled after being poured out of the plastic bag they were kept in, you should've seen what it looked like before I cut all the long thread ends!)

The tutorial

I've mentioned earlier that I want to make a new free tutorial on my blogs after the potato season. So I'd love some input on which design here you would like to see a tutorial for the most. (Preferrably not the "doubled" ones in 2-needle techniques that I haven't worked out good turns for yet or the circular ones that need some tweaking, but it can include the previously shown twin bead lace bracelet.) Every pic has a number and every variation in each pic has a letter to make it easier. Just leave a comment -- or e-mail me if you prefer that.

Most of these designs are pretty easy so they shouldn't be too hard even for a newbie, though some find 2-needle techniques a tad tricky (if possible -- and applicable -- I might throw in instructions for both 2-needle and 1-needle versions).

Twin bead samples

1. This is a close-up of the two bracelets posted before. I'm showing these manily as there will be a variation on the lace (picot) bracelet below. Also, the lace picot design is one of the designs I'm considering doing the tutorial on.

2. This was an early experiment. Basically just a peyote variation that you can see in many twin bead projects. I also tried to embellish it with beads (11/0 seeds, Preciosa and Toho, and 2 mm round metal beads). 

3. Then I also tried some sort of netting (really just like above, but with a seed bead on either side of each twin bead). Both samples are made exactly the same, though the thread tension is looser in the left sample. 

Notice what a difference it makes whether using solid colours or colour-lined beads. Ideally I would've wanted to make all samples in both, but I ran out of solid beads (therefore you'll see some really crude photo manipulation below to illustrate what a design with opaque beads might look like). 

4. My favourite technique turned out to be this one (a) that can be used for a number of different variations. You can add seeds (c) or drops (g)  or even twins (d) to the centre. In g I used Miyuki's mini drops, a perfect size -- and the shape also adds a dimensional aspect to the design. You can also add beads between the twins (e and f) and you can even add a few beads to the outside, though it didn't work as well as I hoped (it exposed more thread, not less!). The variation on the right end (after f) will be further discussed later in this post.

5. This is a few of the variations in pic. 4 made with colour-lined beads instead.

6. Ooops... No letters on this one. On the left  is another variation of the design in pic. 4. In the rest of the sample I've added tila beads to the centre the same way twin beads were added in 4d. On the far left, I've gone back and added more tilas inbetween the ones first stitched. It's tricky to see in the photo, but the tilas are overlapping (think roof tiles). 

7. A crappy manipulation that might show what the fan-shaped design in pic. 6 might look like in opaque beads. It might help if you squint your eyes while looking at it...

8. Remember the right-side end in pic. 4 where the beads changed direction? This is a continuation of that idea where I've tried some different variations. A type of design that probably looks better in solid colours. Which means I made another one of these:

9. Illustration of what pic. 8 variations might look like in opaque beads.

10. Now we're chaning tracks. These are variations of the picot or zig-zag design you can see in the lace bracelet in pic. 1. For b I just added picots to one side and single beads to the other, I then turned and worked a second row on the other side of the picots. 

For a I made picots between each twin, but insead of letting it sit on the edge, I turned it and and ran the second needle through the three beads at the top, securing the picot between the twin beads.

11. This design is stitched in 2-needle RAW and is partially inspired by metal watch bands and partially by the picot variations. On the right side I added additional rows of twins on each side.

12. Ah, this is one of my earlier samples where I tried to make ogalala butterfly stitch with twin and farfalle beads. 

13. More farfalle and twins on the right here. This is basically the same wave design that can be found in the fire-polished bead bracelet in pic. 1. The farfalles made the twist and turn -- so much that I thought it might be interesting to make this without changing directions, i.e. add the farfalles to the same side all the time to make it corkscrew.  

On the left is another RAW design in two layers. [I just realised I've forgotten the sample that inspired this variation. Darn...]

14.  And, finally, a few circular designs. The first design was just three twin beads in a row and then subsequent rows were built on that in a circular peyote type of technique. Looked pretty so-so, especially since I had problems with the thread tension. For my next variation (a) I added seeds on either side of each twin bead. 

The last sample is kind of a variation on CRAW (cubic right-angle weave) that I've been meaning to try -- without twins -- for some time. 


And that's it. Some samples better than others. Some I feel like I could do more will and develop further, others I like just how they are (and I few I probably won't try again). Some I'll redo with solid coloured beads once I buy more twins.

So... what do you think?


  1. These are all very creative and fun -- I think my favorites are in #4. I've been playing with twin beads myself this past week, even manipulating them into a toggle clasp. They are fun to work with, but I found myself creating some wacky thread paths!

  2. I really like the 4th technique, especially the 'g' variation.

  3. I like many of the samples, my favourite being number 11. I see some flowers there. I also like the netting in pic number three. Number six is also a good candidate. The fan-shape is really pretty. I love the colors you've chosen to give your manipulated beads. I think I'll be buying opaque Twins or Duos.

  4. Thanks for your input, everyone!

  5. Nummer fyra är vacker och passar bra för en tutorial. Jag tycker att alla är fina, men kanske inte så givande att ha som tut. De här pärlorna är så roliga att skapa med. Nätet, nummer fyra, ger associationer till en snabb liten väska eller påse. Med vackert foder till.


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