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Beading Calisthenics: Tight / Tighter /Tightest /Loose / Looser / Loosest

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 #5: 
Tight/Tighter/Tightest/Loose/Looser/Loosest

Attention To Tension

The goal here is to learn a little about managing thread tension.

Pick a favorite bead weaving stitch, such as Peyote, Brick or Ndbele (Herringbone). Plan out how to make a flat length of the weave, about ½” wide and 6” long. You can also do 6 separate pieces about ½” wide and 1” long.

For the first inch, keep a tight tension. For the 2nd inch, make the tension tighter. For the 3rd inch, make it even tighter. For the tightest tension, you might even want to reinforce your stitching, by going through each bead again and again with your thread.

For the fourth inch, try to get a tension a little looser than you typically use. Then the next inch, get even looser. For your final inch, make this the loosest of all.

Now pick a stitch like the Chevron Stitch or the Right Angle Weave Stitch. Work it for a length of 3–4”. These stitches start out very loose.

What different kinds of strategies can you employ to tighten the tension? — Reinforcement? Reinforcement after each small segment of stitches? Or Reinforcement after you’ve completed the whole piece? Changing the type of stringing material you are using? Stitching over a solid form, such as a dowel, pencil or straw or vase or ball? Adding additional beads at key joints? There are these and lots of possibilities. Try them out.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Best Way To Thread Your Needle

Bead Stringing With Needle and Thread

Beading Threads vs. Bead Cord

Turning Silver and Copper Metals Black: Some Oxidizing Techniques

Color Blending; A Management Approach

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Color Effects of Threads

Wax, Wax, Wax

When You Attend A Bead Show…

When Your Cord Doesn’t Come With A Needle…What You Can Do

Duct Tape Your Pliers

What To Know About Gluing Rhinestones

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

How Does The Jewelry Designer Make Asymmetry Work?

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

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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