Beaded ropes and spiral patterns go together like turquoise and coral, but we always seem to stick with the most obvious stitches. Tubular peyote and twisted herringbone get a lot of time in the spotlight, which means that other really fun techniques often get overlooked. Russian spiral is one neglected stitch that we’ve already covered. Today, we’re going to visit its neighbor, Dutch spiral.
Another variation of peyote stitch, Dutch spiral is worked with three sections, each with a different bead color or type. It’s a lot easier to get started if you’re already comfortable with tubular peyote or flat peyote, and it helps to think of it as peyote with an increase or bridge. Essentially, it increases the number of beads picked up during the final stitch, to create a loose section of beads. Because tubular peyote has a natural spiral shape, this extra section curves around the beadwork.
For a basic rope, you’ll need size 8/o seed beads, and 11/o’s in two colors. You can also use Delicas in the peyote section for a stronger contrast between the spiral and the core of the beadwork.
To Weave a Dutch Spiral Rope
Pick up an 8/o seed bead on a comfortable length of thread, and slide it down to the end, leaving an 8 inch tail. Stitch back through the bead again and pull snug to lock it in place.
Pick up three peyote beads (or Delicas) and three spiral beads. Pass through the 8/o bead and pull snug to form a ring. Pick up one 8/o bead, and stitch through the following peyote bead in the ring. Pull snug, so that the new 8/o rests between the two beads.
Pick up one 11/o peyote bead, and pass through the next bead in the ring. Do not skip any beads here, the way you would with a regular tubular peyote start. Pull snug, and add another peyote bead to the next one in the ring.
Pick up one peyote bead, and three spiral beads. Stitch through the 8/o bead added at the beginning of the round, and pull snug. Make sure that the new beads are resting over the first round below it. Here you can gently pinch or push the beadwork to begin a more tubular shape, which will become more defined as you work the next two or three rounds.
Add one 8/o bead with peyote stitch, stitching through the raised bead from the previous round, and repeat with your core color for the next two raised bead. Just as with tubular peyote, you always pick up the same bead as the type your thread is exiting. To finish the round, add one peyote bead, and three or more spiral beads. Always remember to pick up one bead for the core before adding your spiral beads, to keep the core growing in the spiral pattern.
Continue stitching in this sequence, increasing the number of beads in the spiral section as desired. For a symmetrical rope, decrease in the same pattern when you reach the center point of your design. You can add or subtract beads from your spiral pattern gradually, or one with every row, creating very different looks. The fewer beads you have in the spiral section, the tighter the rope will appear. More beads create a fringy swag look with lots of space between the rows. Either way, Dutch spiral is always softer and slinkier than regular tubular peyote, even when using stiff threads like Fireline.
One of the best things about Dutch spiral is that you can add almost any kind of accent bead to your rope - because the spiral section is loose, there’s more room for embellishing. Drops are a favorite, but almost any shape or style of bead will do. Longer spiral sections make room for bugles, and you can even incorporate focal beads right into the rope at the center point. Drops, daggers, or magatamas can also replace the 8/o beads for a really textured rope.
Have you tried Dutch spiral? Do you like to make your ropes tight or extra loopy?
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