This article is a step-by-step narrative explaining the technique for adding a beaded netting fringe to almost anything! Add a splash of color or "dress up" items such as clothes, knickknacks, elements of home dÃ©cor, or gifts â€“ all you need is a needle, thread, seed beads and complimentary accent beads!
We all have things around the house than could use a little pizzazz. With some thread, seed beads, and complimentary accent beads, you can add your own flair to anything from candlestick holders to tablecloths to window treatments! For this article, I’m using a scarf as my example, although the technique can be easily adapted to almost anything.
This green scarf is one of two kits I purchased back in October 2009. I was enrolled in a class at the Innovative Beads Expo in Edison, NJ, taught by Bead My Love's Meg Fillmore to learn how to do this. The other was a black velvet scarf that was given to my mother as a Christmas gift that year. This one was the one I started in class, and it is currently sitting on top of the Photo-in-a-Box I have set up on a folding card table in the back corner of my office/studio.
Luckily for me, I was the only person enrolled in Meg's class that day, so I received personal attention ALL DAY. Needless to say, I learned a lot...possibly more than I would have in a group setting. ;) The kit included a silk scarf, hand sewed by Meg's mother and business partner Moggie Moyer, as well as the materials required to add the fringe. That day, I learned to how create the beaded fringe. The same process is also used to create the beaded netting adorning the Bead Society of New Jersey's Bottles of Hope for cancer patients, and I’ve also seen it on beaded glass ornaments.
It's really pretty simple, although the explanation will probably confuse you without looking at the above close-up picture. The hardest part is keeping the spacing equidistant when placing the initial row of seed beads across the edge of the scarf. This is necessary so that the finished product looks neat and even. Also, the number of seed beads placed on the edge must be equally divisible by the number of desired rows in the fringe. For example, if you want five equally distant seed beads between each row, you will have to space the beads so that there is a total number divisible by five along the edge, and also so that they cover the entire edge of the scarf evenly. Once the initial row across is set, you start adding sets of seed beads -- we used five, but that may vary depending on the design and the size of the beads -- separated by one larger accent bead vertically until you’ve reach the desired fringe length. To end the first row and alternating rows thereafter, add one more accent bead and three seed beads to the thread. Pull the thread back up through the accent bead, but NOT through the last three seed beads. This will create a triangle of seed beads at the end, stopped by the accent bead. Add another set of seed beads and an accent bead, creating the second row upward out of the bottom accent bead. The next set of seed beads is joined to the first row by going through that row's accent bead instead of adding a new one. Add another set of seed beads, an accent bead, and more seed beads. Connect these to the third accent bead from the bottom of the first row. Keep going upward, alternating between adding an accent bead to the second row and going through the first row's accent bead. Once you reach the top, count the number of initial beads desired to keep the spacing even, and pull the thread through that bead. This creates a triangle at the top of the fringe. Start the third vertical row from that same bead, continuing down vertically until you reach the first accent bead of the second row. Connect the two strands, and continue with another set of seed beads and an accent bead, which will eventually connect to the fourth row. The diamond pattern is created by attaching neighboring rows at alternating accent beads. To finish the third row and alternating rows to follow, add another set of seed beads followed by an accent bead, a focal bead, another accent bead, and three more seed beads. Again, pull the thread up through the accent and focal beads, which create the trio at the end of the dangle, and continue back up to the scarf. Rinse and repeat until you've finished! ;)
If you wish to add the beaded netting or fringe to a three-dimensional object rather than to a flat surface, the idea is the same with two minor differences: (1) The first row is created using a ladder stitch to create a collar that will fit around the top of your item. For example, in the case of a glass bottle or an ornament, it will create a circle around the opening. (2) If you prefer not to have dangles hanging off your item, you will start decreasing the number and/or size of the beads used as you near the bottom of the item. That will make the netting tighter and easier to bring the sides together in a small, tight circle on the bottom of your piece.
Upon completing both scarf kits, I created two pairs of dangling earrings using a simplified version of the fringe and the accent beads from each scarf -- a straight line consisting of one set of seed beads, an accent bead, a second set of seed beads, another accent bead, the focal bead, and a third accent bead with the three seed bead trio ending from the scarf fringe. Mom got the ones that match her scarf as part of her present, and she loved them so much she wore them all the time! She has since asked me for another pair in tones to match a specific blouse she has, which I made for her a while ago. Mom does not have pierced ears, so she never wore dangling earrings before the ones I made for her...you don't see a lot of clip earrings anymore, much less dangling ones. I like to think I've updated her sense of style a bit. ;) The green pair of earrings was purchased by a friend in Texas.
In addition to the scarves and earrings, I’ve personally used this technique on a bracelet – using wire instead of thread to create a fringe-like diamond pattern bracelet with a three strand slide clasp – three Bottles of Hope, and a Crystal Geode paperweight. Once you’ve mastered the technique, it is really very versatile.