No announcement yet.

Sidestitch tension blues

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sidestitch tension blues

    Well, I tried my first piece of side stitch this weekend and it turned out OK but I had lots of trouble trying to keep tension on the work without distorting the shape. Does anyone have any tricks on keeping good tension on the threads?

    Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.

  • #2
    I'm doing well but don't have much of a life either as I'm also swamped with projects, mostly ribbonwork. Post a pic of those 13/o sidestitch side tabs when you finish 'em. Will ya, pretty please?

    I have some experience with this type of beading though I would not consider myself an expert. I've done a couple pairs of earrings and am nearly to the second split in a paxe hair drop.

    I've developed my own method for keeping my sidestitch weaving organized. For work larger than earrings, I tack my work up onto a wall at about eye level. All my threads hang straight down with no weight attached to them. To keep the threads in the proper order, I tape a piece of bent cardboard to the wall lower down. (Bent like a little shelf.) The cardboard has a hole punched (with a paper punch tool) in it for every thread. Thus, if I have 24 threads, there will be 24 holes in my cardboard piece. The holes are arranged in a staggered row so that the threads aren't spread out too far horizontally. After I weave each warp thread, I move that thread into the hole that was occupied by the previous thread so that all the threads shift continuously over one position as weaving progresses. This piece of cardboard also makes it a snap to tell where I left off and it keeps my threads from tangling.

    I adjust the tension after completing each new row of beads. I just pull downward on sections of the threads until everything is nice and tight and even. If you are just beginning a piece of beadwork, this will be rather difficult until you have a stable base of several rows of beads. One thing that is important: once you find a method of tension adjustment that works, use it consistently. Don't start with one method and then switch to another. If you adjust after every three rows, don't alter from this. Always do it after every three rows. This might not sound like that big a deal but it is. Any lack of consistentsy will show up in your work. Also, be really careful not to pierce any threads with your needle as you are weaving as this will make it hard to adjust tension in that spot since the threads won't be free to move as they should.

    If I need to clarify anything I've said, just let me know.



    • #3
      Sorry for the late reply here but I just got back from my holiday vacation and I am finally getting a chance to get caught up a little.

      Thanks for all the good tips here. I finished the first earring and for a first piece I think it turned out pretty well. The tension thing is going to take some getting used to but I think I can figure it out. I probably shouldn't start learning something new using 13/0 cuts but I figured, hey, why not....

      Zen Garden of Beads huh? Sounds like my kinda place. Finally, a use for all those nice beads you cull out because of their odd shape.......

      I'm a little confused about organizing the work with the cardboard. It seems like with that method, you'd have to move every thread every time you finished a row, shifting them all to the right or left. Does it work that way or am I missing something?

      Thanks again for the the input. I'll keep you up on what is going on.

      The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.


      • #4
        With the cardboard arrangement, you move each "warp" thread to the next hole right after it has been woven. The shifting of threads is continuous and happens naturally anyway as you weave, even without the cardboard. Then, after a row is completed, the right-most (if you are right handed) thread becomes the next weft thread. The cardboard spacer simply keeps the threads separated and untangled. I don't use it for earrings but it does come in handy for larger projects with longer threads. I can try to post a photo of what I am so poorly trying to describe....


        • #5
          I've seen the light!

          Sat down last night with a little section of side stitch and I think I understand what you were so clearly trying to explain. I think that method will work great. It seems like it is similar to what I was thinking before though. As you weave a weft thread, you put it into the outer most hole, then when you weave the next thread it goes into the hole that was vacated by the previous one, essentially shifting all the threads to the left or the right when you are done weaving an entire row. Slick....

          Well, thanks again for the fine input. I'll post a picture of the earrings when I get the other one done.
          The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.


          • #6
            Hi, I'm new here and I have been doing diagonal weave (side stitch) for over 20 years. Depending on what you are weaving tension an be controled in several ways. When I make earrings almost always in 13 cuts, I use masking tape on a lap desk. I always use cotton thread and bee's wax. The wax is another way to keep your work tight and to keep your thread from tangling. Nymo is a no-no because it remembers its curl from the spool. It tangles just terribly. Make sure that you have enough extra thread to work with when making small projects. Having enough thread to get your fingers around is very improtant.

            Make sutre the thread that you use is big enough to fill the holes in the beads. It the thread is too fine your work will slip and get wobbly looking.

            Skooting up the beads every few rows is a good idea too. Just push with your thumb nail and pull at the same time with your fingers. It sound strange but give it a try.

            I work out my designs on graph paper so I can put all the beads on the threads before I start weaving. The weight of the unused beads holds the threads straight. Mind you that when I make a paak'xee I start out with over 12 feet of thread. I thread up almost all of the beads before I start. As I thread the beads onto the threads I hang each thread pair from the cieling from push pins. I begin the weaving while they are still attached to the cieling and later remove them and tie the end that I am not weaving to a chair. I can adjust the tension just by pushing the chair with my foot.

            When I am making anything large such as a paax'kee, I divide the beads and weave from the center down and then turn the work and weave the rest of the beads from the center down. When I am doing something like this I tell everyone in the house to stay out of my way because when the theads are 6 feet long and have about 60 beads strung on them and I "fling" them, just stay out of my way or some body is going to get hurt.

            Having the beads on the threads on in advance helps save time and helps develop a rhythem to your work. I can just weave away without looking while the videos keep playing. Putting the beads on as you get to each row is cumbersom to me and encourages thread tangling.

            Hope some of this helps.

            By the way beautiful hair tie.



            • #7
              Oooo, I almost forgot the most important way to really get into diagonal weave. I was taught by the Ho Chunk (Wisconsin Winnebago) to weave from left to right . I hold all the theads in my right hand sort of squeezing them between my last three fingers and my palm. The "warp" thread, the thread pair furthest to the left, I hold between my thumb and index finger. I push up the number of beads that will make the next row to just above my thumb.

              Then I work as follows: push up one bead, separate the threads on the warp pair with the fingers on my left hand, reach through the opening and grab the next thread pair, push up a bead, make an opening with my left hand, grab the next thread pair and pull it through and so on and so on until I use the last thread pair in my right hand, push up one more bead and then thighten up the beads.

              Working with the threads in your hand instead of letting them lay on the work surface gives you more control over the tangles and the tension. I like this technique because it can be very portable. You can put it down without worring about releasing the tension and then pick it up again and just start where you left loom. I hate to do loom work.



              • #8
                Thank you Sally for sharing your expertise. I have the bias weaving article you wrote for Threads magazine several years ago and have found it very helpful. Its the only article I've ever seen that describes the technical details of the stitch. :Thumbs


                • #9
                  Hi Matt,

                  You are a good friend to want to make a matching set of beadwork for your friend. I hope that once you get going on the weave that you like it as much as I do. Actually, I am obsessed with it. I did write another article whihch came out in Beadwork last June/July. I did it with 4mm cube beads and no design. I wanted to get more people interested in diagonal weave because it is a dying art. Its for a bracelet that takes two hours to do even if you have never had any experience with the weave. I actually use a clipboard to hold this project.

                  The polyester thread has never worked well for me except in the size 30. I used Mettler thread in size 30 with size 11 Japanese beads for a paax'kee. Otherwise I use size 40 (quilting or hand sewing) for beads as small as 12 and delicas, then I go to a size 50, which is regular sewing machine thread. I like the colored cotton that mettler makes because I can have it match the predominent color of the beads in the project.

                  I'll try to post some pictures after midnight.

                  Let us all know when you make the matching set.


                  Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

                  Related Topics


                  • Mariposa
                    I Broke A Thread On My Loom While Beading
                    by Mariposa
                    Hello friends! please help me here!:wall: i COULD JUST KICK MYSELF TOO! I made a mistake on my beaded belt and I needed to take the beads out, so i cut it, and accidently I got one of the warp threads (I think thats what you call it). I have beaded 15 inches of this "to be" 30" belt,...
                    02-21-2002, 09:37 AM
                  • pgowder
                    Peyote Techniques
                    by pgowder
                    I'm curious as to how others start and end thier peyote or gourd stich, begin new threads, fix broken beads, and what types of materials they are using.

                    For example, I just started using invisible thread to bead with and it is working great.
                    02-27-2000, 07:43 PM
                  • docat
                    The Amazing Beading Heddle that YOU can make
                    by docat
                    I had never used a beading heddle, but a lot of traditional beaders used a heddle. I can see a few advantages. One thing, you wouldn't have to have a needle. You could thread the beads through some stiff sinew or thread.

                    You wouldn't have to worry about dropped rows.

                    12-25-2012, 01:31 PM
                  • LummiGirl
                    Hello Fellow Beaders
                    by LummiGirl

                    Hello all. I know this isn't the proper forum to be using to make my first introductions, but since I will be reading posts here primarily, I wanted to say my greetings here.

                    I have been beading for almost a year and a half now, and I love it. I do all sorts of...
                    05-30-2003, 10:52 PM
                  • jen_lee34
                    Beaded Hair Barrette
                    by jen_lee34
                    I am new to I am an amature beader. I love making earrings. My daughter is a fancy shawl dancer. I have made her earrings. But now I want to make the hair barrette for the back of her head. And would like to know if anyone could tell me how to get started. Do I bead each bead...
                    04-12-2006, 04:53 PM



                  There are no results that meet this criteria.

                  Sidebar Ad