I saw a neat bracelet on pinterest that I wanted to try. It can be found over here at Lima Beads.
I used materials I had on hand, and this is how mine turned out.
The only problem is that I wanted to make these for gifts, and 3 hours to finish one wasn’t going to fit the bill. Here’s the basic idea of how I did the ladder stitch with hemp, in case you want to try it that way. There are 3 strands- a top and bottom that are the sides of the ladder, and the bead strand that forms the rungs of the ladder. The bead strand must go through the bead hole twice- I found it easiest to push a loop through the bead and put the top strand through the loop, then wrap around the bottom strand and repeat with the next bead.
I developed the following method that cut down the time to make one to more like one hour- much more do-able for gifts, or to make myself a few more. It looks very similar and moves along a lot quicker (at least it did for me!) These are pretty heavy with all those glass beads, but I definitely like them.
You’ll need: a button (shank, 2 hole, or 4 hole- any will do), around 50 beads-various sizes, several yards of thin hemp cord (or other string material of your choice- I also tried one with waxed linen, but didn’t like the way it turned out as well), a scrap of wood about 2 feet long, and 3 nails.
The “loom” acts as another set of hands and speeds up the process. To make your “loom,” pound 2 nails about 1 inch apart on one end of the loom. The nail placement for the other end depends on the length of your cord/bracelet.
To determine the length of your cord: wrap it 4 1/2 times around your wrist, then fold the cord in half to double that length. Cut. Cut a second piece of cord that is 3 times that wrapped length. (For example, if my 4 1/2 times wrapped cord measures 25″, then my first piece of cord should measure 50″ long and the second piece should measure 75″ long.) Add a bit of length if you’re unsure.
Take the first piece of cord and thread it through the button holes. The button will sit at the half way point of this cord. Line up the two ends, then tie the cord together about 1/2″ below the button with a simple overhand knot.
The second cord will thread through the button holes as well. This cord only has a short tail that comes back to the working side from the button- Just enough to tie another overhand knot- but this time it goes around the first cord. It will be VERY long at this point. That’s okay.
Put your cords on the loom. The space between the button and the knot goes over the single nail. The two short strands tie off to the two nails on the other end of the loom. The long third strand stays free.
Start threading your beads onto the long cord. Begin with small (short) beads to gauge up from the knot. Continue threading bead on the strand. Be aware of how tall the beads are in comparison to the two next to it- you can accommodate a variety of sizes, but it works best to gradually increase or decrease. A couple of shorter ones can go next to a tall one.
I do 15-20 at a time. Do however many you’re comfortable manipulating for each sequence. Secure the extra tail with a twist tie. Leave a bit of extra space between the last bead and the extra tail, as you will use up length from the cord as you wrap/weave.
Start wrapping/weaving. One bead will stay between the two strands on the loom. The long strand with all the beads on it wraps around the top and bottom strands. Wrap around at least once. More for wider beads. You want the wrapping to stop at the center point of the next bead. Once you’ve wrapped sufficiently, put the next bead between the 2 strands on the loom and start wrapping your bead string around the other strand on the loom. This is where the weave concept of over/under comes in. If I came over the top strand with my last wrap, I go under the bottom strand to start my wrap under the bead. Repeat until all beads are used, You will probably have to let out some length from behind your unused beads as you progress. Here’s the process in pictures:
I like to add a small knot in at the end of a bead sequence before refilling my bead string, but it’s not necessary. Wrap, weave, refill, repeat until you get close to the end of your loom.
Tie off the extra on the end, and do a series of knots and spaces to allow for an adjustable/fits several sizes bracelet. Or just do one hole at the length that fits you.
If you ended up too short and need an extender, it’s very simple. A scrap of hemp cord with an overhand knot, then thread it through the last loop you were able to tie in your bracelet. Pull the knotted tail through the loop, and it will tighten down around your last loop on the bracelet. Tie knots for spaces to make it adjustable if desired.
Here’s some close-ups to compare the ladder stitch with my modified method. The aqua beads are done in the ladder stitch (top and bottom shown), the blue beads are done with the modified wrap (top and bottom look the same with this method). See the picture above about gradually increasing/decreasing bead size for another comparison.
Admire your handiwork!