Friday, October 28, 2011

Totally Twisted - The many varieties of spiral beadweaving.

Galaxy Twist Pendant
Here is my latest challenge entry for the EBW Team's November challenge "Totally Twisted".  I call it Galaxy Twist!  I am absolutely in love with twisted and spiral stitches.  They allow for fantastic color and texture play in a design and are seriously fun to work.  Fully half of the items I have in my Etsy shop right now have either a twisted or spiral rope element.  So when this month's theme was announced, oh yeah, I was IN!  The real challenge was to try and do something a little different.  Here are some of the examples of the many different spirals I use in most of my creations:
Fall Hues Cellini Spiral

I love the texture of the cellini spiral.  This stitch is a type of sculptural peyote that produces an elegant helix in the form of a self-supporting beadwoven tube.  I've been trying to find the the correct origin of the term Cellini Spiral and have come up with this explanation.  (if you know of another origin for the term, please share!!)  Benvenuto Cellini was among a group of artists in the Renaissance Mannerism period who utilized the figura serpentina, an upward snakelike spiral movement to be equally admired from all sides.

I've made many of these and they are one of my most popular pieces.  It's basically a tubular peyote stitch, but you use a variety of sized of seed beads to create the corkscrew effect.  In this case I used a green and matte orange size 15 bead, green and orange size 11 seed beads, light sage green and matte topaz size 8 seed beads and size 6 iris bronze seed beads as the spine. 

Olive Jade Leaf Pendant Spiral rope

One of the first and easiest of the spiral stitches I learned is simply called a spiral rope.  I guess it most likely falls into the catagory of netting stitches.  It uses a core bead that is visible throughout the rope and the spiral beads that spiral around that core.  I often use two colors of seed beads for the spiral for a nice contrast.  Another one of my favorite tricks is to use a "spine" color in the middle of each spiral stitch either to match or contrast the core.  The gives the piece lots of movement.

Seastorm Twisted Herringbone Rope

Here is a more traditional twisted tubular herringbone rope.  In contrast to a tubular peyote spiral rope, the herringbone looks more twisted than spiraled.  I learned this stitch earlier in the year and it quickly became one of my favorite go-to ropes for my necklaces.  It works up very fast and offers many design options from color combination to width.  This one is 6 beads around. 

Coral Snake Tubular Peyote Spiral

I created this sweet necklace with size 13/0 charlotte (one cut) czech beads.  The tiny size of the beads makes this a very delicate necklace.  Tubular peyote lends itself perfectly to a spiral design.  The stitch is pure peyote, it's just a matter of where you place the beads.  Hard to believe it's the exact same technique as the funky chunky cellini spiral. 

Blue & Copper Russian Spiral

One last example of a spiral that I've done is this Russian Spiral rope.  I had been wanting to try this stitch for quite some time but for some reason I have a hard time wrapping my head around written directions.  I finally found directions that were simple enough for me to follow and I created this piece as my first try.  It's kinda hard to see the spiral effect the way I did it, but it's there.  It's a variation of a netting stitch.  There are two other similar stitches that I have not been brave enough to tackle, Dutch Spiral and African Helix.  Maybe someday!

And that brings my to my Totally Twisted challenge entry "Galaxy Twist".  From the twisted rope to the twisted spiral and edging on the pendant, this piece is totally twisted!  The pendant focal is a fabulous raku pottery piece by This blue and green galaxy design on a background of stars is captured in bead embroidery with a peyote bezel and a twisted edge. The necklace rope is a fun and funky twisted herringbone. I've used two different size beads to create the great corkscrew effect in the rope. The seed beads throughout are these fantastic Picasso firepolished czech seed beads in navy and turquoise that have a beautifully marbled finish. To add more twist I used Miyuki 10/0 twisted hex beads in metallic bronze with a sassy sparkle.  The pendant measures 2.5" across and is backed with white felt. The necklace is 22" long and is finished with a peyote spiral toggle and loop.

Please visit our team blog, between the 9th and 15th and vote for your favorite entry. 


  1. These are really wonderful pieces. I just wish I had touch capabilities on this computer b/c these seem so touchable!!

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  3. These are pretty necklaces! I hope to learn how to make necklaces like that! I've only recently come across a store near me called D & I Beads, their website ( drew me in, they mentioned something about a sprial bracelet, so I'm excited to learn a new hobby! Thanks for the pictures, they inspire me to try my hand at beading!