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Beaded berries stitched bracelet

Gather a handful of beaded berries for a bountiful bracelet

What says “summer” more than fresh, ripe berries? This wristful of beaded beads boasts three varieties: strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The entire bracelet is made with variations of Ndebele herringbone, reinforced with ladder stitch.

SUPPLIES  

Bracelet 9 in. (23 cm)

  • seed beads
  • 4 g 3 mm drop beads, color C
  • 2 g size 6/0 in each of 3 colors: A, B, and C
  • 3 g size 8/0 in each of 3 colors: A, B, and C
  • 6 g size 11/0 in each of 5 colors: A, B, C, D, and E
  • 2 g size 15/0, color D
  • 5 g size 15/0, color E
  • clasp
  • nylon beading thread, size D
  • beading needles, #12
  • 5–6 mm dowel (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 1
Photo a

Ropes
1. On 2 yd. (1.8 m) of thread, pick up four color A 11/0 seed beads, leaving a 10-in. (25 cm) tail. Sew through the A 110s again to form a ring, and continue through the first A 11/0. Snug up the beads.

2. Pick up two A 11/0s, and sew through the next two A 11/0s. Repeat once, and step up through the first A 11/0 added in this step. Working in tubular Ndebele herringbone stitch, pick up two A 11/0s per stitch until the rope is 6 in. (15 cm) long. 

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make two more ropes, one using color B and one using color C 11/0 seed beads. Add two or three graduated segments to each rope as follows: After completing 1⁄2–1 in. (1.3–2.5 cm) of tubular herringbone, stitch the next round the same way, but substitute 8/0 seed beads for the 11/0s. Stitch a second round of 8/0s, a round of 60 seed beads, and two rounds of 8/0s, and resume stitching with 11/0s (photo a). Space the graduated segments along the ropes so that they will nestle together. 

4. Align the tail ends of the ropes, and use two of the tails to stitch them together. Secure the two tails in the ropes with a few half-hitch knots, and trim. Do not secure the working threads or the third tail.

5. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a 1-in. (2.5 cm) herringbone segment using B 8/0s. If you want a larger bracelet, you can make this segment longer. With the tail, pick up three B 11/0s and half of the clasp, skip the next B 8/0 in the rope, and sew down through the following B 8/0. Sew up through the next B 8/0, pick up a B 11/0, and sew through the clasp half and the middle B 11/0. Pick up a B 11/0, and sew through the remaining B 8/0 in the rope. The B 11/0s form an X, with the clasp secured in the center. Retrace the thread path, secure the tail, and trim. Do not secure the working thread. Repeat to make a second 1-in. (2.5 cm) herringbone segment for the other end of the bracelet, and attach the other half of the clasp. 

Beaded cones

1. On 2 yd. (1.8 m) of thread, pick up four color D 11/0 seed beads, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. Sew through the first two D 11/0s again, and snug them up to form two stacks of two beads. Working in two-bead ladder stitch, make a ladder 14 rows long. Sew through the first and last pair again to form a ring. You may find it easier to work around a dowel or other form.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 2
Photo b
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 3
Photo c

2. Pick up four D 11/0s, and sew down through the next stack. Sew up through the next stack, pick up four D 11/0s, and sew down through the following stack. Repeat around the ring, and step up through three D 11/0s to complete the round. Continue stitching in two-drop tubular herringbone for three rounds.

3. Pick up four D 11/0s, and sew down through the next D 11/0. Pick up a D 11/0, and sew up through the top D 11/0 in the next stack to make an increase (photo b). Continue around in tubular herringbone, adding a D 11/0 between each pair of stacks. Step up through three D 11/0s. Repeat for a second round, but pick up three D 11/0s instead of four to make seven points around the edge. Step up through the first point bead.

4. Pick up three color D 15/0 seed beads, and sew through the point D 11/0 again to make a picot. Pick up three D 15/0s, and sew through the next increase D 11/0 (photo c). Pick up three D 15/0s, and sew through the next point bead. Repeat around.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet FIG1
Figure 1

5. Weave through the beadwork to exit the ladder ring at the other end of the tube. Work a round of two-drop tubular herringbone using D 11/0s. Work another round of tubular herringbone, but only pick up one D 11/0 per stitch. Step up through a point D 11/0 (figure 1, a–b).

6. Pick up a D 11/0, a D 15/0, and a D 11/0, and sew through the point D 11/0 your thread is exiting and the first new D 11/0 (b–c). Pick up a D 15/0 and a D 11/0, and sew through the next point D 11/0, the D 11/0 from the previous step, and the two new beads (c–d). Continue stitching around in right-angle weave. Sew through the seven 15/0s to form a ring (d–e), and secure the working thread, but do not trim.

7. Make a second cone to match the first. 

Beaded berries stitched bracelet FIG2
Figure 2
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 4
Photo d

Berries

Strawberries

1. On a comfortable length of thread, pick up an A 11/0 and two color A 8/0 seed beads, and sew back through the A 11/0. Pick up an A 11/0, and sew back through the second A 8/0. Pick up an A 8/0, and sew back through the last A 11/0 added. Continue until you have six beads of each size, exiting through the last A 8/0 (figure 2 and photo d). Sew down through the first A 8/0 and the last 11/0 and up through the first A 11/0 and the last 8/0 to form a ring. 

2. Work a round of tubular herringbone using A 8/0s. 

3. To stabilize the round, reverse direction, and sew down through the last 80 added and up through the previous 8/0. Repeat around, and step up through the first 80 picked up in this round.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 three times, using color A 6/0 seed beads in the first two rounds and A 11/0s in the last round.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 5
Photo e
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 6
Photo f

5. To stabilize and fill out the berry, add three rounds of A 11/0s: Weave through the beadwork to exit an A 6/0 in the second-to-last round. Pick up an A 11/0, and sew down through the next A 6/0. Pick up an A 11/0, and sew up through the next A 6/0 (photo e). Repeat around the berry, then reverse direction to add A 11/0s in the skipped spaces. Weave down to exit the bottom of the second round of A 6/0s, pick up an A 11/0, and sew up through the next A 60, through the A 110, and down through the next A 60. Repeat around the berry.

6. To add the seeds, weave through the beadwork to exit the first A 11/0 added in step 5. Pick up a color E 15/0 seed bead, and sew through the A 11/0 directly below in the same direction, forming an S with your thread. Repeat with a second E 15/0, sewing through the A 11/0 directly below (photo f). Sew up through the next two A 6/0s, and repeat around the berry. 

7. Weave through the beadwork to exit an A 11/0 in the round made in step 1. Pick up an A 11/0, and sew up through the next A 11/0 and down through the following A 11/0. Repeat twice, sew through the three new A 11/0s, and pull them snug. Secure the working thread and tail, and trim.

8. Make three to five strawberries.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 7
Photo g

Blackberries

1. Using B 11/0s and 8/0s, follow step 1 of “Strawberries,” but form the beads into a ring when you have five of each size.

2. Work two herringbone stitches, using two color B 6/0 seed beads per stitch. Sew up through the last B 8/0, pick up a B 6/0, and sew down through the previous B 6/0 and the B 8/0 directly below it. Sew up through the next B 8/0 and the new B 6/0. Weave through the beadwork so that there is a thread bridge between each pair of 60s. Exit by sewing up out of a B 6/0.

3. Repeat step 2 twice, using B 8/0s for the first round and B 11/0s for the second.

4. Stabilize the berry by adding B 11/0s between the pairs in each row, as in step 5 of “Strawberries.”

5. Finish the bottom of the blackberry using B 11/0s, as in step 7 of “Strawberries.”

6. Make 10–16 blackberries.

Raspberries

1. To create the base for the raspberry, follow steps 1–3 of “Strawberries,” using color C beads. Repeat steps 2–3 once more, using C 11/0s. 

2. Embellish the four-round base as in step 5 of “Strawberries,” substituting drop beads for the 11/0s. Embellish the entire base of the berry. 

3. To fill in the berry with more drops, exit a drop bead in the second round. Pick up a drop bead, and sew through the next drop bead in the center round. Pick up a drop bead, and sew through the next drop bead in the second round (photo g). Continue around the base, then embellish the other half of the base the same way. If your rasp-berry still looks bare, add additional drop beads as needed between existing drops. Secure the working thread and tail, and trim. 

4. Make two raspberries.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 8
Photo h
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 9
Photo i

Sepals

Strawberry sepals

1. On 24 in. (61 cm) of thread, pick up 10 color E 15/0s, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. Sew through the beads again to form a ring, and continue through the first two beads. 

2. Pick up six E 15/0s. Skip the last bead, and sew back through the fifth E 15/0 picked up. Pick up three E 15/0s, and sew back through the first E 15/0 picked up in this step and the next two E 15/0s in the ring (photo h). Repeat around the ring to make a total of five small leaves.

3. Pick up four E 15/0s, and sew through the fourth E 15/0 in the first leaf made in step 2. Skip the next two beads, and sew down through the seventh E 15/0 in the leaf. Pick up four E 15/0s, and sew through the ring to the base of the next leaf (photo i). Continue around the ring, secure the working thread and tail, and trim.

4. Make sepals for each of the strawberries.

Blackberry sepals

1. Follow step 1 of “Strawberry sepals.”

2. Pick up four E 15/0s. Skip the last bead, and sew back through the third E 15/0 picked up. Pick up an E 15/0, and sew through the first E 15/0 picked up and the next two E 15/0s in the ring. Repeat around the ring to make a total of five small leaves, secure the working thread and tail, and trim.

3. Make sepals for each of the blackberries.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 10
Photo j
Beaded berries stitched bracelet 11
Photo k

Raspberry sepals

Follow the directions for “Strawberry sepals,” substituting E 110s for the E 15/0s.

Assembly

1. Slide a beaded cone over the joined ends of the ropes. Use the remaining tail from step 4 of “Ropes” to attach the cone to the ends of the ropes. Since it is difficult to see the beads inside the cone, there is no set thread path, but you should sew through both the cone and the ropes at least four times. Gently tug on the cone to make sure it is secure. Secure the tail, and trim.

2. Using the working thread from a 1-in. (2.5 cm) herringbone segment, sew through one of the right-angle weave D 11/0s on the top of the cone (photo j). Sew through the next two beads in the cone, exiting the next D 11/0 in the round. Sew up through the next B 8/0 in the rope, and down through the next B 8/0. Repeat to secure each 8/0 on the end of the rope to the cone, retracing the thread paths as necessary. 

3. Weave through the cone to exit a single D 11/0 at the top of a pair of herringbone stacks. Using this round of D 110s as the base ring, follow steps 2 and 3 of “Strawberry sepals,” substituting E 11/0s for the E 15/0s, and sewing through one bead on the base for each leaf (photo k) to make seven leaves. Secure the working thread in the cone, and trim.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 12
Photo L

4. Twist the three herringbone ropes together, and use one of the working threads to stitch the ends together. Holding the ropes to keep the twist in place, sew through the ropes, stitching them together every 1⁄4 in. (6 mm) by exiting a bead in one rope, sewing through the nearest bead in the next rope, and sewing back through the bead in the first rope again (photo l). The twist will loosen once the ropes are released. Secure the working thread, and trim. 

5. Follow steps 1–3 to finish the other end of the bracelet as you did the first.

Beaded berries stitched bracelet 13
Photo m

6. Secure a comfortable length of thread in the beaded ropes. Decide where you would like to attach the berry clusters. Pick up three to seven E 15/0s, an E 11/0, and a sepal, and sew into the top of a berry (photo m). Weave through the berry to exit a bead on the top, and sew back through the sepal and the Es and into the rope. Repeat to attach the rest of the berries. If desired, you can stitch leaves on the stems and along the ropes at the base of each berry cluster, as in “Sepals.” Secure all the threads, and trim.

Tip!
The shape of your beads plays an important role in the shape and size of your berries. Although Jill and I both used Japanese seed beads, her beads were wider and mine were taller, making her berries plumper than mine. I thought this made a significant difference in the blackberries, so I eliminated the second round of 80s to get berries that were smaller and rounder.

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