Thursday, March 13, 2014

Waltz rope and Polka Dot beaded beads instructions

I've talked a few times this week about my "new" technique for stitching a rope using Super Duos and seed beads and how it's very similar to other designers' ropes.  It's not exactly like theirs, though, so like I mentioned yesterday, I now feel comfortable writing up my instructions.  However, I don't feel comfortable charging for those instructions, so I'm making them available for free right here!

The other designers who have Super Duo/seed bead ropes are Diane Fitzgerald and Doris Coghill.  There may be more, but these are the only two I know of right now.  Doris Coghill's is part of her "Twin Lariat" design.  Diane Fitzgerald has her "Twin/Super Duo Bead Chain" posted on her website as a PDF, which also includes a flat chevron chain and a beaded bead.

The main difference between their ropes and mine is that my technique "steps up" like even peyote, and theirs does not.  That makes their ropes spiral, and mine does not.  There are a few other differences, but that's the main one.

Okay - now that my disclaimers are finished, on with the instructions!

Here are the Waltz rope (as a bracelet) and the Polka Dot beaded beads:

There are essentially three steps (with some sub-steps): the beginning, the middle, and the end.  From those steps, you can make the full rope and both of the beaded beads.

Materials list:
  • Super Duos (SD)
    • 6 for the small Polka Dot beaded bead
    • 9 for the large Polka Dot beaded bead
    • Lots and lots for the rope - about 15 grams will make the 8.25" bracelet shown above
  • Seed beads (seed) - I'm using 15/0s here, but you could also use 11/0s
    • Very small amount needed for the beaded beads
    • About 1.5 grams will make the bracelet shown above
  • 6 lb. Fireline or the thread of your choice
Tools list:
  • Beading needle
  • Scissors
  • Beading mat or other surface
Rope and beaded bead instructions:
  1. The beginning:
    • Pick up 3 SD and 3 seed, alternating (SD, seed, SD, seed, SD, seed) and slide them down the thread, leaving about a 6" tail.
    • Stitch through the first SD to form a circle and pull tight.

    • Circle around 2-3 times to secure.  For beaded beads, keep circling until it feels firm.  Finish up after passing through an SD.  Stitch through that SD's other hole to step up.

  2. The middle:
    • Pick up 1 seed, 1 SD, and 1 seed and stitch through the empty (top) hole of the next SD.

    •  Repeat twice and pull tightly.

    • For beaded beads, circle around 3-4 times to firm it up.  If it's still loose, keep circling.
      For ropes, circle around once.  Technically you could skip this step, but I find it too loose if it's not done.
    • With the thread exiting an SD, stitch through that SD's other hole to step up.

    Small Polka Dots:  Do step 2 once.

    Large Polka Dots:  Do step 2 twice:

    Waltz ropes:  Repeat step 2 until the rope is close to the desired length, taking into account the length of your clasp.  This is how it looks after step 2 is done three times:

  3. The end:
    • Pick up 1 seed and stitch through the hole of the next SD.

    • Repeat twice, pulling tightly so the SDs meet in the middle.  Circle around 2-3 times to secure.  For beaded beads, keep circling until it feels firm.

    • For Waltz ropes, add a clasp (see below).  For all, weave in both ends, tying a half hitch (overhand) knot to secure, and trim.

That's it!  Three simple steps, three SDs per row, and you have a Waltz or Polka (Dot)!

Note:  If you use 15/0s for the beaded beads, you may not be able to put them on a headpin.  You should still be able to stitch with them or put them on a thin beading wire.  Use 11/0s if you want to put them on headpins or on a thicker beading wire.

Here are the two Polka Dot beaded beads using 15/0s and 11/0s, respectively, and with the 11/0 beads on a headpin:

Adding the clasp:

There are probably a zillion ways to add a zillion types of clasps, but here's how I add a snap clasp:
  1. Pick up 2 seeds, the loop of one end of the clasp, and 2 seeds.
  2. Stitch across the rope.  If your thread is coming out of a seed, stitch through the SD across from it.  If your thread is coming out of an SD, stitch through the seed across from it.
  3. Circle around until you get back to where you added the clasp and stitch through everything again at least once more to secure, then tie a half hitch knot, weave in, and trim.

I hope you enjoyed these instructions!  There are lots of possibilities for multiple colors and embellishments that I'll be exploring.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at

To see what classes I'm teaching, visit my Creative Pursuits website for a current list.  If you'd like to know how I am as a teacher and what my tutorials are like, please check out my Why you should take a class from Traci Otte blog post.

To see what design tutorials and kits I have for sale, either visit me at the Madison Art Glass and Bead Show in March, the Bead&Button Meet the Teachers Reception in June, at the Milwaukee Bead Show in October, or on Etsy.
Happy stitching!

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