Samples Part II
Beadwork August/September 2001
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My email pal, Bobbie Sumrada, sent me images of a few bags of bags from the past with a unique stitch. She gave me some instructions on how to work the stitch but for some reason, I just could not get it. I put it to the side and decided one of these days I would try again. About a year later my pal Tre brought over a how to book from the 1970s, Jewelry and Accessory Designs, Yesterday & Today. In it was a pattern for Le Reticule, a bead crocheted bag along with a photo of the bag. I was very excited about the possibilities and begin working through the instructions. The bag was worked with larger pearl coated 4mm beads however, I decided to try it with size 11/0 and Jean Stitch thread. I was able to work the basic stitch and from it develop some samples. The pattern was worked in the round, which makes it easier to build up the bead loops in stitches than in rows. Once I had worked the stitch in the round, I tried it in rows and worked out a method that works for rows. Since the stitch begins with a loop of beads and then that loop is crocheted down, attached at the loop end, I used the term Swag Stitch as a way to identify it in comparison to bead crocheted loops that hang loose. Evelyn Haertig identifies antique beaded purses that have this appearance as Swag Purses in her book, More Beautiful Purses. I believe this is a good descriptive name.
· Size 11/0 Czech seed beads, Red Copper Lined, Color 1,Copper Gray Lined, Color 2
· Japanese Delicas, Lined Wine AB, #061, Color 1, Transparent Brown Luster #122, Color 2
· YLI Jeans Stitch thread, Brown #4 , color 1 sample, and Cranberry #3, color 2 sample (equivalent DMC Cebelia #30 or #12 Pearl Cotton)
· Medium sized twisted flexible wire needle
· Size 7/1.30mm to 9/1.40mm steel hook
· Sewing or embroidery needle
ch chain stitch
sc single crochet stitch
sl st slip stitch
rep from * repeat all stitches between one star to the next as many times as indicated.
A letter b is added to any stitch with beads included
Example: bch-bead chain stitch and bsc-bead single crochet stitch. bss is used for bead slip stitch.
The letters blp are added in parenthesis to any stitch that include more than one bead in that stitch
Example 1bsc (5blp) means a bead single crochet stitch and the beads added are worked in a loop of 5 beads.
Swag Stitch vs Bead
Beads crocheted with this stitch usually run vertical whereas in bead knitting the equivalent stitch usually runs horizontal. The name Swag identifies this stitch from bead crocheted loops that hang loose.
Bead Single Crochet: Place the hook in the stitch. Pull up a strung bead next to the hook, and put the yarn over the hook, pulling up a loop and capturing the bead, Then put the yarn over again, bringing the hook through both loops on the hook to complete the sc stitch.
Bead Slip Stitch: Place the hook in the stitch. Pull up a strung bead next to the hook, and put the yarn over the hook and then bring the hook through both loops on the hook.
Bead Loop: Follow the instructions for a single crochet or slip stitch, pulling many beads up on the hook instead of just one bead.
Beads are added before you start to crochet. You can string beads directly from a twisted wire needle to crochet thread; the eye collapses as the beads pass through. Pre-string approximately 1 ½ yds of beads at a time. When beginning and fastening off, leave 3 thread tails to stitch in or carry beginning thread.
Block flat samples to prevent curling. Set the iron for medium weight fabrics (polyester). Lay the sample on a ironing board with the beads face down. Place a damp cloth over the sample. Set the hot iron on the cloth and gently press the iron a couple of times. Remove the iron and cloth and let the sample dry. Once it is dry, move the iron over the back side of each sample again to flatten the thread edges.
Tips: Keep bead loops taut when you yarnover behind them so there is not extra thread hanging between the beads on the loop and the piece you are working. The number at the end of the rows/rounds is the total number of stitches/loops of beads in that row or round.
Chain Building (Rows/Rounds)
In these particular samples, a ch5 provides the height required to reach the 6th and 7th bead in a loop and is joined at the end of the round with the hook front to back so the chains do not show in front. If your beads are smaller, you may need to make ch3 or ch4 instead of ch5. The ch5 should set straight from the beginning point to the placement between the bead loop center.
Swag Stitch - Circular Flat worked in
(Czech on left, Delica on right)
Take hook under both stitch halves for round 2 and under the back half of the stitch for rounds 3 through 6. Round 4: Each ch of ch3 works into the previous ch, then connects to the next bead loop with a sl st. Round 6: Same as Round 4 however a bead is included in each ch for embellishment.
Swag Stitch Circular Flat Rounds
Swag Stitch - Flat worked in Rows
(Czech on left, Delica on right)
Take hook under back half of stitch in each row.
Swag Stitch Flat Rows
The ch1 between the bead loop stitches in the sample with rows keeps each row with the same number of bead loops. If you want the row to increase with bead loops, make a ch2 or ch3 between each bead loop for an increase on the next row. Working circular flat, increase by ch2 or ch3 to keep the piece flat. Keeping a ch1 between the looped stitches in the round will form a circular shape. In rows or rounds, you can make one side of the loop longer than the other for a decrease and increase in width of the swag stitch. Samples that are crocheted in rows can be turned to look horizontal instead of vertical.
Resources For Bead Crochet
Borin, Lydia F., Beadwrangler's Hands On Crochet with Beads and Fiber, ISBN 1-891302-01-9, $14.95, Hooty Owl Media, December, 1997
Durant, Judith and Campbell, Jean, The Beader's Companion, ISBN 1-883010-56-X, $19.95,Interweave Press, 1998
Cunningham, Jewelry and Accessory Designs, Yesterday & Today, The Royal-Craft Library, Cunningham Art Products, Inc., 1971 (out-of-print)
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