Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Bracelet a Week: Unusual Flowers

Nepal Chain Bracelets

Some of the most interesting bead stitches are also the least commonly used ones. Peyote, herringbone and brick stitch are so versatile that they show up everywhere, and the ones that don’t have much room for adaptation get left behind. This week, I thought it would be fun to play with one of these not-so-useful techniques.

Nepal chain is a very easy and very pretty beading technique that hardly ever gets used. Like other flower stitches, such as daisy chain, there isn’t much that you can do with it besides make a chain and put a clasp on the ends. Still, it’s so adorable that it’s a wonder that it almost never appears either in beading books or our designs.

The stitch creates a very simple chain of flowers on a zig-zagging vine. It’s very tempting to pair it with classic flower colors, and I almost went with a tulip inspired palette of green, red and yellow. However, I didn’t want to make something that was so obvious. I thought it would be more fun to see if I could use color to make a cute stitch look more sophisticated.

Nepal Chain Stitch Variations

The first palette I created was still nature-inspired. I started with matte olive and added purple and indigo for the flower shapes. It could be wisteria, or grape vines, and although pretty, it isn’t exactly ‘cute’. With only two colors for the buds, I used a simple two by two pattern.

Nepal chain works up really quickly, and is quite fun to do, so I decided to keep going. And of course, I snapped some pictures so that I can share a tutorial for the stitch next week. For the second bracelet, I chose a fiery palette, with black for the vines, and flowers in red, orange and mauve lined topaz.

With three colors to work with, I used an alternating pattern. Because each flower is added to the opposite side as the last, adding three different colors in the same sequence creates a zig-zag pattern. When you look at the chain at an angle, the flowers are paired up on the diagonal.

Beaded Button Clasps

What’s interesting about the two bracelets is that the first one still looks like a flower chain. The red and black bracelet doesn’t much resemble flowers, even though the shapes are exactly the same. The vines along the center of the chain aren’t anchored to a central core, but when green is used, the flowery effect is still there. Take away the natural colors, and it’s just a very clever bead stitch.

I also experimented with a new button style that I really like. I wanted something that was flowery but sturdy. The looped edging reminds me a little of bachelor buttons. I think I’ll be using them a lot in the future.

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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  1. I love this design! I can't decide which color combination I like better.

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE! What a cool stitch I have not seen it before. I love your button too it is so pretty and unique all in it self. Maybe you should do a whole bracelet with them. Just sayin! LOL

  3. Can I just cut & paste what Kristen said? I have never heard of this stitch before either & totally love it. Can't wait for the tutorial! Love both the bracelets and and LOVE how different they look just based on different beads & colorways. WTG, Mortira!

  4. I love Nepal stitch, it's so dainty looking if you go the flower color route, but not so dainty in the colors you used. They look really good. And I love you button clasps!

  5. I think it looks great, I love the purple version best!


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