Chapter 2 Beaded Fringe

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 INTRODUCTION TO FRINGE

Fringe can be the most important part of your piece. It can make or break it. The use of graph paper can be helpful in visualizing and laying out your design ideas. The fringe can consist of seed beads and/or bugle beads. The use of bugle beads can be a real eye-catcher in earrings and neck-chest pieces. The fringe is an integral part of the Gourd stitch (Chapter 7). The use of porcupine quills can be very eye-catching. ==

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 DESIGN

Let’s talk a little about designing the fringe and how to work it so that it looks like what you have on graph paper. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because when you buy a hank of beads, you will often get some misshapen beads in with the good ones. Therefore, before you start, make sure you remove all the warped and misshapen beads so that all of your beads are the same size. Use colored pencils to help you visualize the colors in your design. Anything can be accomplished with careful planning and plotting on paper in advance.
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 STARTING

I usually anchor my piece to the surface of the work table with double-stick tape, leaving enough room to work the fringe comfortably. If I am adding fringe to an earring, I just hold it in my hand.
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 BASICS

Use the zig-zag method described in Chapter One to attach the threads which will be used for fringe. Work your way down to the outer edge bead where the fringe will start. This outer edge bead can be either a seed bead or a bugle bead.Pick up the beads on the needle just as you have the design laid out on paper. Watch carefully as you progress. It is very easy to skip a strand or repeat one if you are not alert. On a small piece I use only one thread and needle. For larger pieces, I always anchor the piece with tape  and use multiple threads and needles, one coming from each bead that will have a fringe strand attached. But what to do with all those threads? I start near the top of the main piece and work my way down with as many zig-zags as possible for each thread. I never pass the needle straight down through the piece as this puts more stress on the fringe thread and is likely to pull right out. I always end in the same manner, working toward the top of the piece. I use scissors that are small and sharp. This allows me to cut the thread very close to the bead it is emerging from. I do this by folding the piece where I end so that the top of the bead is exposed. Then I cut the thread as close to the bead as possible without cutting the other threads.
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 U-SHAPED

For this fringe an even number of beads on the outer edge of the main body are needed. Attach the thread to the main body of the piece, working your way to the outer edge bead. Pick up the number of beads desired for the outer (and longest) loop. Pass the needle up through the opposite outer edge bead on the main body of the piece. Now pass the needle down through the adjacent outer edge bead so that it is in position to start the next loop. Continue in this manner until finished with the two center beads on the outer edge of the main piece. Work the needle back up through the main body of the piece, ending next to the darkest bead.
U-Shaped Fringe
Figure 2.1
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 STRAIGHT

Pick up 30-40 beads with the needle for a long fringe (less for a shorter one). Pass the needle back up through all the beads except for the last one that was picked up. Now pass the needle back up through the outer edge bead of the main body and down through the next bead so that the needle is in position to start the next strand. Keep repeating this process until finished adding strands. Work the needle back up through the main body of the piece, ending next to the darkest bead.
Straight Fringe
Figure 2.2
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 CIRCLE

Attach the thread to the main body of the piece. Work your way to the outer edge bead. Pick up the number of beads desired for length. Now pick up 6 to 8 beads (more for a larger circle) and pass the needle back up through the others and back up through the first outer edge bead so that the needle is in position for the next strand. Keep repeating this step until finished. Work the needle back up through the main body of the piece ending next to the darkest bead.
Circle Fringe
Figure 2.3
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 LOOPED

Attach the thread to the main body of the piece working your way to the outer edge bead. Pick up the number of beads desired. Pass the needle back up through the same outer edge bead of the main body. Now pass the needle down through the next outer edge bead so that the needle is in position for the next looped strand. Continue in this manner until finished. Work the needle back up through the main body of the piece ending next to the darkest bead.
Looped Fringe
Figure 2.4
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 GRADUATED

This technique can produce a very pleasing effect. Graduated fringe types include V-shaped and Angled. This extra embellishment can be incorporated into all of the styles described in previous sections of this chapter (with the exception of the U-shaped fringe). To create a graduated fringe, one extra bead (or more) is added to each strand so that the second strand is slightly longer than the first. When two or more beads are added at a time, the effect can be quite dramatic.
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 V-SHAPED

To create a V-shaped graduated fringe, an odd number of beads on the outer edge of the main body of the piece is necessary. After the middle fringe strand has been attached, start decreasing the number of beads for each new strand by the same amount as you were adding to each new strand up to and including the middle strand.
V-Shaped Fringe
Figure 2.5.1
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 ANGLED

For a right-angle or left-angle graduated fringe, add or subtract the extra beads for each consecutive strand but don’t change after the middle strand as in the V-shaped graduated fringe. For this style, the number of beads on the outer edge of the main body of the piece can be either even or odd.
Angled Fringe
Figure 2.5.2

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