Branched fringe techniques

Posted by Anna Draeger
on Tuesday, January 03, 2012

In the February issue of Bead&Button magazine, I covered some beaded edging techniques in Bead Soup, p. 11.
The techniques described in the magazine were very basic, but there are many variations that can be created
after learning those basics. One of my favorite variations of simple fringe technique is branched fringe, which
provides a full edge of beadwork using the simplest form and seed beads, a look of foliage if you
incorporate seed bead leaves, or a glamorous lush piece if you include crystal or pearls in the fringe and make
multiple branches on a longer base. On about 12–24 in. (30–61 cm) of thread, try out each type of branched
fringe to get the hang of it, and then spruce up the edge of a strip of peyote, or you can even use them between
beads on a single strand of beads. Make sure to check out our Online Beading Basics or Videos if you need
any help with techniques like adding or ending thread or other stitching basics.

Basic branched fringe:

1. Pick up six seed beads, leaving a short tail. Skip the last seed bead picked up,
and sew back through the next two seed beads (Figure 1).

2. Pick up three seed beads, skip the last seed bead picked up, sew through the next two seed beads,
and then sew through the first three seed beads picked up in step 1 (Figure 2).

Any size seed beads will work for this fringe, but 11/0s or 8/0s would be good to practice with.
You can dress up this basic branched fringe by using multiple colors or sizes of seed beads
or by using small drop beads (sometimes called "fringe beads") at the ends of each branch.


Foliage branched fringe:

This fringe is similar to basic branched fringe, but you start with a longer initial branch and incorporate
leaves into the branches for a nature-inspired look.

1. Pick up 12 seed beads, leaving a short tail. Skip the last seed bead picked up, and then sew back
through the next seed bead (Figure 3).

2. Pick up six seed beads, skip six seed beads on the initial branch, and sew through the next three
seed beads (Figure 4).

3. Make a second leaf: Pick up nine seed beads, skip the last seed bead picked up, and sew back
through the next seed bead. Pick up six seed beads, skip six seed beads on the new leaf, and
sew through the next seed bead. Sew through the first seed bead picked up in the initial branch
(Figure 5).

You can make smaller or larger leaves by changing the initial number of seed beads picked up,
increasing or decreasing the number of seed beads for each side of the leaf. Try using one color for
the "branch" and another color (or multiple colors) for the leaves.


Fancy fringe:

1. Pick up 17 seed beads, a crystal, pearl, or other accent bead, and a seed bead, leaving a short tail.
Skip the last seed bead, and sew back through the accent bead and the next three seed beads. Make
a second fringe: Pick up three seed beads, an accent bead, and a seed bead. Skip the last seed bead,
and sew back through the accent bead, the next three seed beads, and the next two seed beads on the
initial branch (Figure 6).

2. Make a short fringe: Pick up three seed beads, an accent bead, and a seed bead. Skip the last seed
bead, and sew back through the accent bead, the next three seed beads, and the next two seed beads on
the initial branch (Figure 7).

3. Continue making short fringe until you sew through the first two seed beads picked up in the initial
branch (Figure 8).

Change the degree of glamor by how many crystals, pearls, or even small gemstones added to each
fringe. Change the length of each initial fringe and the lengths of each branch off of the initial fringe
to add interest.

Have fun trying out these techniques, and please don't hesitate to contact me using the link below with
questions about fringe, edge techniques, or anything else beady!

Take care,
Anna

 

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