Heather's beadwork never fails to provide some innovation that I've not tried before. She is both a scholar of bead history as well as a perfect ambassador for national beading week, always providing new direction and working hard to spread the message of beady goodness around the world. Here she gives us the Magic chain which will be a great way to show off her beady peeps which is her contribution to this years national beading week. Enjoy! Marcia
National Beading Week July 29th-August 6th.
A simple idea to share the bead love has grown into an international success. National Beading week was started by the Beadworkers Guild in Britain. The aim was simple, to support our local bead stores, beading group and each other. How? by having a beading party, a bead group day, a special in store class, or just invite the curious to sit and bead.
The Guild invited ambassadors to help spread the word, bead artists and store owners came up with fun events, free patterns, bead alongs, competitions and ask an expert bead clinics.
Last year there were bead bombings complete with beaded bunting, parties, fundraiser days for favourite charities, ‘bring a beginner’ days and lots and lots of sharing the fun and bead love via social media.
This year the ambassador designers will be creating new designs, and you can find links to them on the National Beading week website, but here’s the thing... we need you to join in! Show and share your freebie creations, share with the world how you’ll be celebrating this special week of bead love too.
access to the free goodies is here: www.nationalbeadingweek.co.uk
To get the party started early, try the Magic Chain links.
We’d love to see yours, so there is a suggestions list and pictures at the end of the how to, to get your beady muse going.
Start with a chain of bigger links it’s easier to handle and see to the technique working.
You will need size 8 seed beads in four colours. (A,B,C,D)
Beading thread Fireline 6lb or K.O, One G.
Beading needle: size 10
Step 1 Pick up 8A and 8B. Secure the beads in a ring and bring the needle out between A and B.
Step 2 Step 2 Pick up 8C, 8D.
Step 3 Pass the needle through the centre of the ring of A and B beads then pass through 8C.
Step 4 Pull the thread really tight so the C and D ring of beads closes up snug.
If thread tension is an issue pass through the ring of C and D beads again pulling tight as you go, (making sure that thread passes through the hole of the A and B ring again).
The ring of C and D beads should sit like a link in a chain, with only a tiny bit of thread between them where two rings meet. If the threads can slip between the beads of either ring, the optical illusion of separate rings will be lost.
The ring of C and D beads should sit like a chain link with only a tiny bit of thread where the ring joins the A and B ring. This is what creates the optical illusion.
Next steps, add more chain links alternating A and B rings with C and D rings.
With links of two colours you will need to hold the beadwork in the same direction each time, otherwise the colour sequence will reverse itself.
Now you have the basic technique, it’s time to play. Yu can make links using any combination of beads, all sizes of seed beads, crystals, o beads, pearls, etched glass beads, drops etc.
To keep track, just decide the combination for the first half of the ring and repeat it for the second half.
Mix ring sizes, small and large to change the scale of your Magic Chain.
Try new to you colour combinations and see what happens.
Mix bead finishes like matt and shiny, metallic and opaque.
African inspiration mix with black and white size 8 links, brightly coloured links of size 11 seed beads and links of brightly coloured size 8’s and 3mm and 6mm czech crystals.
Beachcomber combination, links of cream size 8’s and 11’s with size 15 silver beads alternate with links of size 8 and 11 beads and size 8 demi beads in dark copper.
And the perfect accessory for your Magic Links chain (here worked in size 11 seed beads with 16 beads per link) is this years NBW free pattern from Heather,
bead yourself a rainbow nation, or just one little pal in your favourite colour.
If you love Heather’s vintage look rainbow, materials packs are available.For the Beady peeps pattern click here.