Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Sprial Rope Chain
Spiral bracelet image

This is a beautiful and impressive stitch, but easy to learn and relatively fast to work up. Color combinations like silver core beads with black outers or gold and dark purple, as shown above, are particularly striking. This stitch makes an excellent strap for an amulet bag, a nice braided necklace, or a striking bracelet, among many other uses.


Size A Nymo™ is recommended, as the outer beads take some stress.
#12 or smaller beading needle
Two or more colors of Delicas or 11/0 or larger seed beads

Begin with 3 ft of size A Nymo(tm). You can use a shorter working length, but know that this stitch eats up a lot of thread quickly. There are instructions below on how to add a new thread. The beads used in the core should have large(ish) holes, as the thread must make several passes through them. Delicas and size 11/0 Czech or Japanese seeds tend to work best. Choose two contrasting colors, or a light and dark of the same hue, one for the core, and one for the outer beads. Lastly, use a thread color that matches your beads best. The thread does tend to show slightly in this stitch, at least in my experience.
1) Load on four core beads and three outer beads. Bring them down near the end of your thread, leaving about a 4 inch tail. See Figure 1 below.

2) Bring your needle back through the core beads only, from behind, and pull the beads into a closed loop. See Figure 2. Be sure you pinch the tail thread tightly between your fingers, up against the beads, to keep them from slipping off. You'll need to hold it for several stitches.

3) Load one core bead and three outers. Again from behind, bring your needle into just the top three core beads, as well as the core bead you just added (making 4 beads total). Pull snugly so that the outer beads touch the core, and slide them over so that their sides touch the first set of outer beads. See figure 3.

4) Repeat step 3 until your chain is as long as you want it. Keep in mind that the core stitch "moves up" one bead per pass. You are always going to go into the topmost three beads plus the newly-added bead on each pass (4 beads every time). It will take 6 to 8 repeats before you begin to see the spiraling effect. You will have to hold the tail of the chain for several repeats or the thread could pull through. Weave the tail and your working end back into the chain when you are done.
Add new thread by leaving a few inches of your old working thread at the top, and securely weave in a new thread one to two inches below the stop point up to the top, leaving a tail where you began. You can weave these tails back in later to hide them, too. Snug tension on this stitch doesn't seem to distort it, as it can on brick and peyote stitch. But then, maybe you pull harder than I do, so use your best judgement.
This stitch lends itself well to a "freeform" version, similar to freeform peyote. You can randomly substitute larger beads, gemstone chips, crystal beads or small seashells in place of a set of the outer beads. Also, you can use smaller beads than 11/0, but remember that because of the number of passes the thread makes, you'll have to use accordingly thinner thread. This could make longer pieces weaker.
Ending this piece can be done with adding one more round of three outer beads only--no more core beads at this point--then moving up through the topmost two core beads and adding two outers, move up to the topmost core bead and add one bead, etc. It usually takes two or three single beads at the top to fully fill it in, so you'll go through that last core bead 5 or 6 times total.. Then you can add a larger bead to the top and string a loop of 9 or 11 seed beads, to which you can add a clasp. Here is a work in progress in which I am just about to add this loop. Note, if you can see them, the white threads along the piece that indicate where I ended and added thread. See below.

If you have a question, e-mail me using the address (reproduced in text format only) found on this site's home page: HOME. I'll get back to you as quickly as I can.

All images and instruction format are ©Deborah Walker, 2000 and may not be reprinted or reproduced in any form, save for personal educational purposes, without express written consent of the author. These instructions MAY NOT be used on other web pages, nor may they be copied in any manner or distributed in classes without prior permission and payment of a fee to the author.