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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Beaded Anklet Remake

The best way to grow as a beader is to take on challenges where one can figure out how unfamiliar stitches go together while bringing a cherished memento back to life.

My friend, Naomi Smith, was looking for someone who would tackle the following: "A lady reached out and wants a remake of this beaded anklet. This anklet has sentimental value so she’s retiring the old one and will wear the new one."

Original Anklet

I took up the challenge. Naomi and I selected 11/ Czech seed beads in matching colors to the original. Next I sketched out the pattern on a slip of paper.

Mosaic Pattern Sketch

To me it looked like a mosaic (Peyote) pattern which I knew would be a unique start. I tied on a colourful stopper bead and proceeded to pick up the first beads. Since it's a tricky start. I even used a needle in the first row so I could keep the rows straight.

Mosaic Start

I found the 'V' pattern skewing! There's no way this would allow me to add the star fringe and picots!! My Beading Circle friends suggested I try using the brick stitch instead to recreate the pattern in the bracelet.

Comparing Mosaic v. Brick

Every brick stitch begins with a ladder stitch. On my third try, I got the base pattern right!! 1 White (W), 2 Teal (T), 1W,  1T, 1W, 2T, 1W, etc.

Next I figured out the way to get the second row to sit centered on the previous row and was happy with the stubby 'V' taking shape.

Adding Second Row in hand

The idea of the brick stitch is to pick up a bead and pass the needle through the edge thread of the previous row. By returning back up through the new bead, it secure sets the new one into place. This is wonderful for pictorial patterns and gradual 'V's. I like working in hand. Here is a link to a YouTube tutorial for brick stitch

Pulled Second Row in Hand

The magic is happening! 

Third Row

Super satisfied that the beads were falling into place and the pattern is matching up to the original anklet. I didn't finish off any rows until after the fringe trim was complete.

4th Row Added in Hand


Once I had the desired length, I folded the beadwork in half. Then, tied on a stopper bead a wingspan (1.5m) from the bobbin thread and put the bobbin and rest of the beadwork into a ziploc. (An oversize bobbin flip cover would probably be more graceful!) 

Starting at the very centre of the beaded band, I worked my needle and thread down the centre of the brick-stitched beadwork. Upon emerging I started to create the star fringe. I found it best to seamlessly make the stars as you bead the fringe trim from the centre out. 

First I picked up the sequence of seed beads to drop down the star. Then 10 White beads for the centre of the star. Once the circle was formed, I could make five points as I went around.

Adding First Star in the Centre

The last star point is set when you insert the needle up the strung beads. Continue up through the brick beadwork in the direction of work. 

Finishing Centre Star

There are two seed beads between each fringe along the lower edge. Come out from the third bead away from the previous fringe. Pick up 2W, 2T, 2W for the string and 3T for the picot. As you turn around and insert the needle ups the string of 6 beads, a picot is formed. Tension is important here. If you pull the fringes too tight as you're working, they shoot out sideways; if too loose, they sag. 

Fringe in Progress with Bobbin in Ziploc


Pick up 2W, 1T, 2W, 1T, 1W, 3T for the string and top point of star.  String 10W more to start the centre of the star.

Star in Progress

Form a circle by going through the first white bead. String 3T, 1W for first point. Turn around through the first teal bead. 

Start of First Star Point

Tighten for a white tip. 

Tighten Tip

String 2T and pass through the second white circle bead. Repeat 3 times for a total of four points. To complete the star, string 2T and go up through the string of seeds suspending this star.

Finishing Last Star Point


Once all the fringe trim was completed, I lined up the old and new beadwork to study how to finish off each end. Remember, I never secured anything because I did not know how my new beads would come together. I had to finish off each row individually, add and bead or two, weave in the ends. From the outside edge rows I strung on beads for the closure loop. I mimicked the previous loop exactly and reinforced it with a few passes of thread inside. For the button closure, I was not thrilled about recreating a beaded bead. Luckily, there was an oversized bead sitting in the ledge of my beading table! I added it and reinforced it a few time.

Finishing Ends

When I went to test the closure, I added a few stitches across the loop to tighten it when the large bead goes through. This is always tricky! Ideally, you want a bit for friction so the bracelet wears well. Since this was an anklet, it has to wear well!

Lastly, I needed to transfer the dragonfly charm from the old to the new anklet. This was loaded with memories. You could reproduce beadwork, but not the charm!

Reproduction Finished

Sunday, Nov. 22nd we drove through the first snowfall to Erin, ON to personally returned both anklets to Marjorie Wells. The original was a gift from a friend. Marjorie wore it all the time in sandal-weather. There was a lot of wear and tear and many repairs. The dragonfly was added three years ago in commemoration of her husband after the minister told a beautiful story of a dragonfly when trying to make sense of a dear grandfather's passing to children. The dragonfly is integral to the story, while the original beaded anklet is laid to rest in Marjorie's Memory box.

The Old and the New

Now that I had firsthand experience with the pattern building possibilities of the brick stitch, while perusing on Facebook a gorgeous bracelet beaded by Olya Kril, a bead artist in Ukraine, caught my eye. I complimented her and asked which stitch did she use to get this amazing result. Mosaic? or "like bricks"? 

Olha confided that she was inspired by a Pinterest posting. The best way for her to achieve pleasing results was by the brick stitch.

When she linked to her inspiration photo on Pinterest, I laughed. This was a pattern to the Peyote stitch using Miyuki Delica beads from Japan. What a small world!

Moral of my story: Test out techniques for achieving the mosaic look. For Olya and myself, the brick stitch work best with Czech seed beads. Seems like cylindrical beads work well for wide Peyote patterns.