Discover quick fixes for common mistakes made when bead weaving.
No matter how experienced a beader you are, you will make mistakes. And, that’s expected and okay because you’re human.
Inevitably, you’ll pick up the wrong bead, add in an extra one, stitch in the wrong color and do any other number of errors.
I’ll walk you through how you can fix the most common mistakes that you’ll encounter while bead weaving.
How To Fix Common Bead Weaving Mistakes
Adding the Wrong Bead Size Or Color
It’s easy to stop paying close attention to your beadwork projects as you get comfortable working on them. That’s when you’ll find that you’ve picked up the wrong bead color or size.
You have two options here. First, you can rip out the beadwork that you completed so you can take out the incorrect bead.
The second alternative is to completely ignore it.
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I can practically hear your thoughts. You’re thinking that you’ll never be able to forget it’s there because the mistake is so glaringly obvious.
But, you know what?
It’s obvious to you. Most people — depending on the complexity of the pattern and how many colors and sizes you’ve used — will never even notice anything is wrong.
There’s even a name for this incorrect bead being left in place. It’s called a spirit bead.
Native Americans intentionally added an incorrect bead to their projects as an act of humility. Thinking that a person could make something flawless would be an affront to their gods as they were the only ones who could achieve true perfection.
So, as I mentioned before, it’s important to remember that you are only human and give yourself some grace when you make a beading mistake. Easier said than done, I know.
Adding An Additional Bead
Maybe the pattern instructed you to add one bead but you accidentally picked up two instead. Unfortunately, you only noticed once you completed your project or you were so far along that you just didn’t want to rip out all that work.
You can try breaking the extra bead.
This is something you need to do very carefully, otherwise you may end up cutting your thread. And, you definitely don’t want that!
Grab a pair of chain-nose pliers and grip the bead from the outside edges where the thread would pass through. Squeeze the pliers gently until the bead breaks.
Next, go back and reinforce that area to tighten up the thread as it will most likely be loose in that spot.
Removing Bead Weaving Stitches
If you decide to undo your work so you can correct a mistake, it’s important that you do it the right way.
The wrong way is stitching backward through the beadwork with the needle still attached to the thread. No, no, no, no, no!
I can’t say it emphatically enough. All this will do is create knots in your thread or you’ll end up splitting the thread.
Instead, what you should do is remove the beading needle and then pull the thread out from the beads. This is the safest way to remove bead stitches.
Once you’ve removed the mistake, you can attach your needle again and continue beading from there.
Splitting Your Beading Thread
Beading thread e.g. Fireline is made up of several fibers woven tightly together. So, it’s entirely possible for your beading needle to separate those fibers.
Split thread is weak and if you leave it in your beadwork, your jewelry might break over time.
If you do end up splitting your thread, remove the stitches the correct way up until the point where the thread has split. Leave a tail long enough to weave into the beadwork. Tie a few knots and end the thread there. Then, continue beading with a new piece.
For some reason, beading thread just loves to wrap around itself to create knots. Here are some simple ways to prevent tangled beading thread.
If you do find yourself with knotted thread, you have a few options.
First of all, don’t yank on it. You want to avoid making the knot even tighter. If it’s loose enough, use your fingers to gently work it free.
However, if the knot is tight already, carefully insert your beading needle in the center and wiggle it to try to loosen the knot.
Your third choice applies if you find a knot a good distance away from your beading project. Cut the beading thread just below the knot, weave the tail into the thread and tie it off. Then, add a new piece.
Finally, if your bead holes are big enough and the knot is really tight, continue beading with the knot in place.
I’ve done this before when working on projects that didn’t require several passes through the same beads and the bead holes accommodated the knot so it didn’t impact on my ability to continue as usual.
Making mistakes is a part of bead weaving — not one that most people like, but it happens. These simple tips should help you out if you need to address any of the common issues that beaders face.