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Beading Calisthenics: Five Finger Stretchies

Posted by learntobead on April 21, 2020

Beading Calisthenics

Beading requires a lot of mind-body coordination. That takes work. It is work.

Calisthenics are exercises you can do to improve and tone your mind-body coordination when bead weaving.

You have to be able to get from your fingers to the needle to the beads, back along the thread to the needle to the fingers, hands, arms, eyes, mind. And then again. And again. Over and over, one more time. You need to get into a rhythm. All these working parts need to be working. No time for cramping. No time to get tired. No time to lose concentration.

A rhythm. Needle, pick up bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead….

I noticed that different instructors had various techniques and strategies for maintaining this rhythm. Yes, music was involved sometimes. Othertimes simple meditation or creative reading and discourse. Some people had some stretching exercises that they did. Others tested themselves before proceeding with their big project. Still others did small things to reconfirm their learning.

Throughout this Series, I introduce some of the beading calisthenics that I experienced along the way. If you want to gather materials up so that you can follow along with these calisthenics, here’s the list.

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR 
 ALL THE CALISTHENIC EXERCISES
 (SUPPLY LIST):

notebook, pencil
 1 tube each of Japanese 11/0 seed beads in gray, 3 different colors of orange, black, white, any other 4 colors
 1 tube each of Japanese 8/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
 1 tube each of Japanese 6/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
 5 gray-scale colors of delicas or 11/0 seed beads
 Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in black
 Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in yellow
 two toggle clasps
 .018” or .019” flexible cable wire
 assorted 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads in various coordinating colors, including grays and oranges in your mix, as well
 big bowl and a bowl-full of assorted beads
 Size 10 English beading needles
 Bees wax
 scissors
 beading dishes or trays
 any kind of graph paper
 work surface or pad
 colored pencils
 a few clasps, (toggles are easy to work with)
 some crimp beads
 crimping pliers

BEADING CALISTHENICS #1: 
5-Finger Stretchies

This exercise is used to prevent your fingers from cramping. Often, when beading, you are holding your hand and fingers in a very tight, controlled, sometimes unnatural or uncomfortable position. You should stop periodically, and do 5-Finger Stretchies. This is a wonderful exercise which relaxes the muscles in your hands.

Take one hand and hold it arm out, palm forward. Your arm is parallel to the floor. Your palm, fingers up, is perpendicular to the floor. Tighten every muscle in every finger, and pull each finger inward and downwards towards the point they meet the palm, but don’t touch the palm. Picture making a claw with your pulled back fingers.

Squeeze the tension, release. Squeeze, release. Squeeze, release. Do this rapidly, perhaps 4 squeeze/releases a second. Do this for 10 seconds.

Now do this with the other hand. 10 seconds.

Do this a couple times with each hand.

Then return to your beading.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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