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The simplest form of bead work is, of course, the strung chains. How we loved, as children, to make necklaces of beads or berries! To be allowed to string beads was one of the compensations for a rainy day. It still has a fascination for many of us. Women all over the world have felt the charm, and curious and beautiful are some of the chains they have made. Some have used beads of gold, silver, and semi-precious stones; others beads of shell, amber, and coral; while others still make chains of wooden beads or string beans or berries.
Black-eyed Susans — the tiny scarlet beans tipped with black that tourists bring from Florida — may be pierced and strung and make gay chains.
It would seem strange to be able to pick beads for a chain in one’s own garden, yet that is what is done by two girls on Long Island. They have a plant on which grow Job’s-tears. These tear-shaped seeds, ranging in color from pearly white to black (there are brown ones, too), make attractive muff-chains.
The gray ones are strung with cut-steel seed beads, two between each of the Job’s-tears, and the brown in the same way, using gold beads to separate them. But beware, if you raise Job’s-tears, of using them in their natural state. They should be boiled like chestnuts before stringing, for a tiny grub is often found in them, and he may at any time make a meal of the silk on which the beads are strung, or appear on your muff inopportunely.
Of the seed beads No. 0 are most used for these strung chains, with here and there a large Venetian bead in colors which harmonize with the body of the chain. The simplest are strung on a single strand of purse-silk or dental floss about two yards long. Fan-chains may be shorter — about a yard and three-quarters.
Other chains are made with two strands, which are strung for a few inches with seed beads, then twisted like a rope. A large bead is slipped on, to hold the twisted strands, and a few inches more are strung with seed beads. This continues the whole length of the chain.
In finishing, the ends are tied with a firm knot. When chains are simply intended for ornament they are finished with more or less elaborate tassels, and in calculating the length of silk or floss enough should be allowed for them. One such chain is made as follows: Pale-yellow Chain
To be continued in Part 2: Strung Chains: The Pale-Yellow Chain
Reference Used: Copyright 1904 by Doubleday, Page and Company Published May 1904 (in public domain due to expiration of copyright)
White, Mary. How to Do Beadwork Complete with 100 Illustrations (Kindle Location 38). . Kindle Edition.
re-written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
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