Branch and coral fringe are two versions of the same technique, and one of my personal favorites for creating unique pieces with lots of personality. By changing the colors, lengths, and patterns of your fringe, you can recreate the look of all manner of natural shapes - like feathers, pine boughs, and sea life.
We’re going to take a look at the very basics of branch fringe and coraling, worked in threes. You can always adapt these fringes for longer lengths at each step, but threes create lush, uniform embellishment with no guesswork. For clarity, each component of the fringe is also grouped into threes - the base beadwork or trunk, the basic fringe or limbs, and extra fringes that we’ll call branches.
How to Weave Basic Branch Fringe
Starting from an existing piece of beadwork, pick up any length of seed beads in multiples of three. This will make up the trunk portion of your fringe. Next, pick up seed beads in multiples of three, to make the first limb. Add one more bead at the end. This will be the tip of the fringe. If you’re working with a specific pattern or color palette, remember that this second bead addition will appear separate from the trunk section.
Skipping the last bead added, pass through all of the beads just picked up, plus the following three beads in the trunk. Pull your thread snug, and you’ve got the first limb of your fringe.
Pick up another group of three or more seed beads +1 and slide them down to the beadwork. Skip the last bead added, and pass back through all of the beads in the new branch, plus the next three beads in the trunk.
The limbs and branches will rest every which way as you stitch. When a full fringe is complete, you can gently nudge them into the positions that you like - alternating from one side to the other, for example.
For variation, you can increase or decrease the number of beads in each limb, add accent beads, or include daisy chain stitches or leaf fringes to all or some of the limbs.
How to Weave Basic Coral Fringe
Coral fringe is worked in the same way as branch fringe, but with extra additions of beads. Start by picking up seed beads in multiples of three to reach the desired fringe length. The finished strand will be a few millimeters shorter, especially if you are using a stiff thread like Fireline.
Pick up four more seed beads. Skip the last bead added , and pass through the other beads just added, and the next three beads in the trunk. Pull snug.
With coraling, you can make limbs of varying lengths, with a different number of branches on each. To start, pick up seven seed beads for the limb, and four seed beads for the first branch. Skip the last bead added, and pass back through the remaining branch beads, and the next three beads in the limb.
To finish this section, pick up four branch beads, skip the last bead added, and pass back through the next six beads, and the following three beads in the trunk.
Notice how the original branch added at the end of the fringe is now higher than the new fringe, because the new limb is longer. You can work this into your pattern, or make the first few stitches short. Whenever longer limbs are added, they will hang past the previous ones, which can make for some wonderful organic looks.
When you’ve added new limbs and branches along the trunk, you’ll have a lovely strand of fringe. To make it even more lush, increase the number of beads in the limbs - in a pattern or at random. You can also work in extra limbs. Instead of picking four branch beads, pick up seven or more beads for a new limb, and add branches as usual.
Copyright 2013 Inspirational Beading
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