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Back at Christmas I was given an Amazon gift certificate and went on to buy some jewelry making supplies such as a bead loom.

I thought it would be fun.

It collected dust for a few months before I decided that I would try it out for this month’s technique blog post.

I have to say one thing.

It’s hard!

I would watch videos like these:

Looks easy right?!

Alas, trying to string the damn loom was hard!

Stringing the bead loom

Stringing the warp threads on the loom was insane. You have to get all of those threads tight and in each straight row running lengthwise from one end of the loom to the other.

Your thumbs start to ache and you will likely need to swear at least once. You may even need to try stringing the bead loom a couple of times before you get it to a point that you can start putting the beads on.

Lesson 1: Start small with a new technique. Don’t do 26 threads do 6.

Ok, it’s strung.

Next step was to tie on your stringing thread and pick up your first beads.

I chose a pattern that looked easy:

Ice Cream Swirls Bead Loom Pattern

And really it is. If it was peyote stitch. See Lesson 1 above.

I was half way through the pattern when I realized that I had started the pattern in the middle because I got excited and didn’t look at it thoroughly before starting.

Lesson 2: Take a good look at your chosen pattern and start at the beginning.

Luckily the pattern I chose was easy enough to continue anyways.

As for technique.

Ok, seriously, my first attempt was full of a lot of lessons.

I sucked on my first try.

Naturally, after picking up peyote stitch quickly I expected to pick this up quickly too.

How hard can it possibly be to get the needle and thread under and over the warp threads…

It’s hard!

Here I learnt 2 lessons in the first few rows.

Lesson3: I should have done my first bead loom project with a larger seed bead like toho seed beads rather than miyuki delicas.

Why?

Well it turns out that the delicas were so small that I had to pull them tighter, in turn pulling my warp threads closer together than originally strung.

This created a challenge.

I then had to keep that tension throughout the whole project to keep the width consistent.

I failed at this.

Consistant tension on bead loom

Also the delicas being smaller have a smaller hole to pass the needle through which makes it harder to ensure you got the thread over the warp threads on your pass back.

Lesson 4: There are two ways to fix a missed warp thread mistake.

The first is if you get to the end of the row and realize to you missed a bead in that very row, you simply remove your needle from the thread and using pull the thread out of the top pass you made and do it again.

Now if you miss a bead and don’t realize it for a few rows then, if you used a thin enough thread, you can pass back through the rows you completed until you reach that row and just pass through it again then end your thread and add a new one where you left off or pass back through to wear you left off.

And the ending goes to…

Well, honestly, not me.

When I went to move my bracelet up by loosening the pegs at the ends I just couldn’t get my warp threads to tighten again and sit properly on the left side at the bottom so I got frustrated and gave up.

loose warp threads on bead loom

Lesson 5: PATIENCE! You must have patience for a new project!

So I pulled it off the loom.

I then was better able to see all of the holes in my piece. The rows weren’t sitting snug together and so I started trying to move them up in to place. Then again I got frustrated and left it for now.

wholey bead loom project

Lesson 6: Practice. There’s no way I would have gotten this perfect on the first try, it just had too many moving parts. But I do intend to do it again but with a smaller pattern and larger beads 😉

So tell me, have you tried using a bead loom? What was your first try like? Do you have any tips or tricks that would make my next attempt or someone else’s first try easier?