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Beadlooming

I guess the type of jewellery I’m most know for is my woven bead bracelets. These were the first pieces I made for selling. It started when I was mooching around Etsy looking for some summery jewellery. I loved the friendship/boho bracelet style of these but I didn’t fancy any of the patterns I saw. No problem! I’ll make one! Ha! What was I thinking?? So I bought a loom kit. You can pick these up pretty cheap if anyone wants to try this.

Cicee Beadloom starter kit

They come with a handy pack of multicoloured beads and these are what I used to learn with (until the kids got hold of them and now they are in the hoover). Setting up the loom is fairly easily but first you need to decide on the pattern and most importantly how many rows. You’ll then need to warp your loom according to your pattern - basically how many rows you’ll need. The beads sit in between the warp threads so make sure you add an extra warp thread to your row count.

Then you’re ready to start!

The basic theory is that once you have threaded the beads onto your needle and thread, you trap the warp threads in between the beading thread, going through the beads and under the warps then back through the beads over the warp threads. Easy! You can check out my instagram highlights for videos of this.

For me I find the the weaving process very therapeutic. I love seeing the piece grown. A lot of people have told me I must have loads of patience to do this but I really love it. It quietens my busy mind and keeps my hands busy. And the weirdo in my loves the feeling of rolling the beads through my fingers once they are in place! I also now only use Miyuki Delica beads as they are all uniform in shape and fit nicely together.

Anyway, this is now. It took me many nights to get to this calm, meditative point. Because I’m self taught it took me a while to work out how to get the finished bead textile of the loom. At this point I did give in and google it. There are many theories on how to to do this, and believe me I’ve tried them all. I weaved in my ends - they just fell out and the whole thing fell apart. I tied the ends in  knots - they didn’t hold and the whole thing fell apart. So my current way of finishing these bead textiles off is to tie the warps all along the edge then glue along the edge to hold it all in place. This is then hidden inside the slide tube end so it’s never seen but is super duper strong. I think eventually I’ll try one of the looms where its a continual warp thread so I won’t even have to do this - added to the to do list! Just to clarify I’m no expert in this so I’m sure there are better ways than mine to do this. I would love to hear them if you want to share.

So all the frustration finally paid off and now I could focus on what patterns I wanted to make.

This is the first pattern I ever did.

Cicee Creative | First beadloom design

And to this day it is still one of my best sellers. When I first made it I had some lovely bright pink flowers in the window and they were the inspiration. It reminds me of little pink flowers all in a row. I’ve since gone on to do a daisy version of this too.

The only change I've made to original method of making these is now they all come on adjustable fastenings. I started off making them in different lengths to fit small, medium and large wrist sizes. This was time consuming and also meant they couldn't be gifted very easily. 

So here is where I'm at to today. I'm still learning and adapting and I'm sure these bracelets will evolve again but they will always be one of my favourite pieces in my handmade jewellery collection.

Thanks for reading!

Catherine

P.S You can view my woven bead bracelets by clicking here


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