How can I teach myself to bead/sew?

How can I teach myself to bead/sew?

I’m glad you’re reaching out and looking for ways to get creative and get in touch with your traditions. Being from the Zuni tribe where we are known for our needlepoint and inlay work and pottery, I don’t know much about beading, so I’ve asked some friends.

Here’s what they recommend:

How to start

It depends on what Tribe you’re from and the type of bead work and colors that are used, so my best suggestion is to start by asking your family, your parents, and your grandparents about beadwork. In some Tribes, you can’t learn unless you ask. 🙂

I learned how to bead when I was in high school and it was my mother who taught me the flat brick stitch – you can use one or two needles. I learned later how to do peyote stitch and the rope design. There are different techniques when it comes to beading. My suggestion would be to look up beading videos on youtube, this is where I learned to make the bigger “blinged” out earrings with banding. These are step by step videos and they are very informative and helpful.

Where to buy (patterns and beads)

I bought beading books from Michael’s and Joann Fabrics when I was learning how to bead. This will give you new beading ideas and patterns. There are also patterns you can search for online. You can buy beads at your local bead store. These people are very knowledgeable in the supplies they sell so don’t be afraid to ask or let them know what kind of project you are working on. Shipwreck beads and Fire Mountain Gems are also great online bead stores with awesome supplies and deals – they carry everything you need from needles to beads.

What to look for

Size “O” or “OO” beading thread, thin beading needles (long or short) and size 11 or 12 seed beads or delica beads. Beading books for basic designs and ideas.

Keep it Tradish

Always keep in mind that when you are learning to beadwork or start a new product you must do this with a clear mind, otherwise your frustrations will affect your work and you will find yourself poking yourself with the needle or getting knots in your thread.

Beading is a form of relaxation and a great stress relief, if you aren’t in a good mindset your beadwork will show it.

Best of luck!

Auntie Manda

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