The Bead Crochet Jig

9 03 2011

A Bead Crochet Rope Bracelet

When I learned to make bead crochet ropes a few years ago, I found it to be beyond frustrating! In my class, the instructor (Stephanie Riger – a wonderful jewelry designer and friend), made it look so easy… but I was totally unable to create the starting base rows. I was not the only one – Stephanie is a great teacher, but she had to create the first few rows for many of us. Once started, it took a while to learn the technique, but I didn’t find it too difficult to learn the basics, and now I can zip thru it! But the first few rows continued to be difficult – alot of rework, much frustration, and ripping out the first few rows. When I was asked to teach classes in bead crochet, I knew there had to be a better way to make the first few rows, so that it was easier and faster to get to the fun part!! So I did a lot of experimenting and prototyping, and finally came up with the Starter Jig.

So why is it so frustrating to start bead crochet ropes??

Close Up: Bead Crochet Starter Rows

Just look at it… to start, you crochet a ring of beads, and then add stitches thru the ring. This is 2 rows of bead crochet rope (5 beads around), done in size 6 beads. It can be difficult to tell where you would put the crochet hook, and where the next stitch should be, especially for someone learning. Although I tried to straighten it out for the photo, this is a real mess of thread and beads. So how does the jig help…?

Using the Starter Jig creates a stable base

Creating bead crochet ropes is the same technique, whether you use the Starter Jig or manually create a starter ring. It’s the first few rows that are so frustrating, because there is no structure. Using the Starter Jig, you are able to easily stabilize the first few rows, so that you can position the crochet hook, and add stitches in the correct orientation. Once you have about 2 inches of beads, you remove the jig, and continue crocheting and finishing off your project.

Comparing the Starter Jig

In this photo, you can compare what 2 rows looks like when on the Starter Jig, or when done in a manual bead ring. For reference, I also show the same pattern of beads after about 2 inches – if this was a “real” project, the rope would be ready to be removed from the jig.

When I go to shows and events, I am able to demo the jig, showing customers the benefits: it’s easy to use, the starting rows are stable, and when you remove the jig, the starting rows are clean and neat (no more ripping out starter rows!). But I can’t always be there, so I created a mini display with a few pieces in process.

Demo Display

You can see the 3 comparison items shown above, and also a few sample pieces showing the ropes using varying size beads. Personally, I think people are a little crazy to use the tiny size 11’s (shown on the jig at the right), but alot of people asked if it could be done, so I had to try it out, and it works just fine…

One of my favorites!

I make most of my bracelets in size 6 beads, but I also like using size 8’s which are a bit smaller. This bracelet has been a favorite of mine, even though I no longer have it… the beads are vibrant, and the center focals and silver endcaps accent the pattern beautifully.

If you’re interested in buying a jig (it comes with an emailed 20+ page pdf tutorial, with over 50 photos), please CLICK HERE to visit my Etsy store (or you can click on my Etsy menu, in the right side), and check out the section on tools.

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15 responses

12 11 2011
bboran

I purchased your jig and LOVE it. I had never done bead crochet and and i was actually successful with my first one i tried. I do have a question though. On one site i noticed you had a CD that was available that also included showing how to do a 6 bead round with your jig. Is that available for purchase separately? Also i am using s lon cord with size 8 seed beads and the hook you included in your kit. My thread is showing a lot. Is it suppose to? I tried using jeanstitch and i had a lot more trouble because the tube was so flimsy so i really rather work with the thicker cord. Any suggestions?
Thanks so much

14 11 2011
Dax58

I’m so glad you like the jig – I’m always happy to hear back from customers! I looked for your invoice to send you the 6-bead around PDF, and could not find it (you probably used a different email associated w/Etsy). If you send me a convo thru Etsy, I’ll be happy to email you the file at no cost. As for thread… I use the same thread for size 6’s and 8’s – it is C-Lon Standard Bead Cord found on this page: http://www.store.jewelsinfiber.com/nylon.html . I’ve also used a slightly thinner cord by C-lon for 8’s – it makes the rope a little less tight, and the thread is less visible – it is called C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord (also called C-Lon Tex 135) found here: http://www.store.jewelsinfiber.com/nylonclc135.html . The Standard weight is .5mm, and the Fine weight is .4mm -it doesn’t sound like much difference, but it is!! Good luck – hope this helps!

11 03 2012
Sharon

I have a knitting spool that resembles your jig. Is it possible to just purchase the instructions without the jig?

11 03 2012
Dax58

Hi Sharon – the knitting spool you have is probably not usable for bead crochet – the jig has loops (not pins) that the crochet hook actually has to fit thru. I checked every knitting spool kinda kit available, and they are not workable (I’ve got a patent pending on my jig, so I checked out all similar items). I do not sell the tutorial without the jig – I’ve had some instances where folks thought they could make the jig… I used to teach classes with this jig, and at one time, I had my students fabricate the jig – never again!!

30 09 2013
Dax58

Sharon – I know it’s been a while, but I wanted to let you know that I now sell a DIY tutorial – it has directions for making a jig (two styles, depending on your fabrication skills), as well as the full tutorial. This may be of interest to you – it is downloadable files only….

8 02 2013
Beading tales 2 « Inga Duncan Thornell

[...] 2. don’t even attempt this without the jig from Studio Dax [...]

9 02 2013
Dax58

Thanks so much… glad you find the jig helpful!

3 08 2013
carmen

y cuanto costaria que me lo mandaran a mexico

3 08 2013
Dax58

Carmen, cuesta alrededor de $ 11 para el envío – por favor pedir a través de mi tienda en: http://www.etsy.com/shop/StudioDax
¡Gracias!

10 09 2013
Lynn

Hello, I’d been crocheting bracelets for a while and loved the results but had the same problem you did. I would purchase a jig, but here’s my other problem: I have so much trouble finishing it off! Going back and forth between the two ends, I completely lose my place. Any suggestions? (I’ve since switched to kumihimo — but you need a clasp with those, which changes the design.

30 09 2013
Dax58

Lynn… I always have a problem with the continuous rope and the “seamless” connection (never looked seamless, no matter what I did!), so I just add end caps on the rope, and usually put a bead between them. It makes a nice focal design, and doesn’t require any bead matching. I provide complete directions for ending the rope with this technique in the tutorial that comes with the jig, but here are the basics: just end the rope with a slip stitch all the way around, so the beads are secure, and slide an end cap over each end (you should make sure to leave a “tail” of about 8″ at the side you started). Then you need to use a needle (make sure it has a blunt end, like a tapestry needle), and thread each side back up thru the other side… you can put a bead with a larger hole in between the bead caps if you want. You can also use this technique with the kumi if you like… Good luck!

30 09 2013
Keith L

It works! Even a man can use it! Seriously though, it certainly made the mysteries of starting bead crochet much more understandable! Thank you!

30 09 2013
Dax58

I’m glad it works for you… my goal was to create a genderless jig and tutorial!!!

25 04 2014
Ana

Can you use the jig for using different number of beads per row or always the same amount?

28 04 2014
Dax58

Hi Ana – the basic jig that I sell works for 5 or 6 beads around… I also sell another jig with 7 loops that can work for 7 or 8 beads around (this is a special request jig). Also, I sell a downl only tutorial, showing how to make both the wooden jig (like the one I sell), and a wire jig – the wire jig can be made with more loops, to accomodate larger jigs. Both the wooden jig, and the tutorial, include full instructions on use. If you are interested in making ropes with more beads around, the tutorial may be a better option for you.

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