Wednesday, 31 July 2013

More piggy bead samples

I spent the morning taking a few photos of my latest piggy bead samples. Just as in the previous piggy post, it's all about playing around, seeing how the beads behave when strung in different ways and combined with other bead shapes. I did have to undo a few samples that failed miserably and I haven't made anything elaborate or complex, but I hope you still find these pics of interest.

The first sample began with my trying to do the "pearl in an oyster" thing I've seen others do. However, I only had 4 mm fire-polished beads and bicones nearby and I think they are too big. In the case of the fp, I think they're also the wrong shape, really. For more successful versions of this, see my 2-hole bead designs pinboard or the Piggy Beads board where I got several of the pics/links from.

To the left is a small sample of piggies strung the same way as in my first sample (see previous post), but with every other bead flipped the other way.

Natural size (more or less)

Then I got back to my favourite way of stitching Twins and Superduos. It works nicely with piggies too -- though only if you turn the concave side outwards. It will get too crowded the other way around. You can do two rows, as done on the left, but not more. (I keep flipping these samples so the first stitches made end up to the right and the last ones on the left for some reason.)

You might blame my thread tension, but the sample ended up being very flexible and can be bent into an arc as seen below:

My idea is to try and make a whole circle when I get enough beads and add beads to the outer cups. Perhaps also add a bigger bead in the centres. Keep your fingers crossed it'll work out as planned!

I also made a short piece using the same technique, but mixing piggies and 2-hole lentils (from the CzechMate sysem). Never did try mixing it up, making every other bead a lentil instead of separating them into two rows like this. Might have to do that too, though not at all sure if it'll work...

After that, it was time to try something different and I went back to stringing piggies, testing something I thought of already making the very first samples (see aforementioned post and/or photo at end of this post): stringing as usual, alternating the two threads between centre and edge holes, but adding beads to the centres. First I tried 4 mm fire-polished (with bad thread tension as you can see!), then rizos and finally 4 mm bicones. Did try the 2-hole lentils too, but that didn't work at all... Not in my eyes at least.

Don't know about you, but I kind of like this, especially the bicone section. It's a bit like a flower in a lily pad. In fact, once I looked at it, one of my first thoughts were "wonder if I have some tiny flower bell beads to use instead?". Not sure there is anything smaller than 6 mm, though, and that might be too big. We'll have see: do have such flower beads so I can try it out as soon as I rip up these samples.

Changing the direction of the bead string kind of changes the way the sample looks too, in a way, emphasizing the flower/vine shape. Or maybe it's just me.

And, to finish this post off, just to remind you of what the first samples looked like:

(Click here to read more about it.)

Your turn!

So... How about you? Have you tried piggy beads? Have any pics and/or ideas you want to share? I'd love to see it!

Or haven't you got around to playing with this bead shape yet? Haven't found them in you favourite bead shops yet or just don't like them -- or perhaps like them, but have no idea how you want to use them? Unlike 2-hole beads like e.g. twins/superdous and tilas, these beads are fab to just string so don't let the fact that you aren't into seedbeading deter you. And, besides, you don't have to use both holes if that's what's holding you back. Just use the centre or edge hole -- e.g. like Pearl at The Beading Gem's Journal -- and treat them like glass bead caps, fun-shaped lentil beads or glass charms.

If you're looking for inspiration, may I suggest this pinboard? Mostly bead-weaving, but some ideas could work for strung jewellery too. I've got some piggy inspiration on my 2-hole beads pinboard too, but as said above, many of the piggy designs come from the aforementioned board.


  1. Interesting. Most of your samples remind me of flowers and plants. Those beads in the oysters look like buds or seeds, or, why not, cat heads. I've got some piggy beads but didn't have time to try them out yet. Your samples are very inspirational. Milka

    1. Thanks! To think I, as a newbie beader, often thought flowers were too cliché -- but I don't seem to be able to get away from them. I grew up with flowers (as dad loves gardening and I spent much time outdoors as a kid in gardens and nature) and whether I like it or not they're always present in my mind it seems.

      I've got some new piggies now so we'll just have to see if they too will turn into organic shapes and floral designs or if I can do something else with them.


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