Russian Spiral Rope Stitch Tutorial

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    Russian Spiral Stitch Tutorial

    Russian spiral stitch variations
    Changing the beads results in interesting variations with the Russian spiral stitch. Lisa Yang

     Russian spiral stitch is a special type of tubular beaded netting. It creates a soft, slightly elastic beaded rope; but unlike regular netting it also forms a distinct spiral. Russian spiral works up pretty fast once you get started, which makes it a great stitch for beginners.

    Tubular netting bead stitches are variations of tubular peyote, so it may be easier to learn Russian spiral if you are familar with even count tubular peyote or odd count tubular peyote stitches. The rope created with...MORE Russian spiral can be thick, but is still very flexible compared with other beaded rope stitches.

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  • 02 of 11

    Russian Spiral Beaded Rope Materials

    Russian Spiral Stitch Materials
    Materials for a Russian Spiral: two sizes of seed beads, thread, needle and scissors. Lisa Yang

    To make a Russian spiral, you will need at least two different colors and sizes of beads. Once you are comfortable with the basic stitch, you will find that a wide variety of beads will work with the Russian spiral stitch including a variety of crystals, bugle beads, and assorted size and shape seed beads.

    For this example, I am using size 8 Miyuki beads and size 11 Czech seed beads, a size 11 Tulip brand beading needle and 6 lb. Fireline beading thread. You can use Nymo, Wildfire or any other...MORE beading thread that you are comfortable working with, however, I prefer to use a thread with more body like Wildfire or Fireline with this stitch.  The rope is naturally flexible and I find it more difficult to maintain tension using a thread like Nymo.  If you use Nylon thread, it may help to condition your thread.

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  • 03 of 11

    Stringing Beads for Russian Spiral Stitch

    Russian Spiral Stitch Instructions
    Start by making a loop with the beads. Lisa Yang

     Russian spiral is worked in sets of three beads. Each set consists of two smaller beads followed by one larger bead. Begin by picking up three sets of three beads each, for a total of nine beads. If you are following my example, pick up two size 11 beads and one size 8 bead and repeat that two more times.

    Pull the beads into a ring by stitching through all of the beads a second time. To position your needle to start stitching, go through the first size 11 bead so your thread is exiting between...MORE two size 11 beads.  The beads will pull nicely into a circle after you stitch through the first size 11 bead.

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  • 04 of 11

    Adding Beads in Russian Spiral Stitch

    Russian spiral stitch tutorial
    Add beads for the first group. Lisa Yang

    Pick up a set of three beads, starting with the size 8 bead and then two size 11 beads.  Skip over the next two beads in the ring (a size 11 and 8 bead) and stitch through the third (the size 11) bead.  Pull your thread taut.

    As with most spiral bead stitches, the first couple of rounds will tend to be floppy and go out in a circle as opposed to upward into a tube.  Do your best to keep the beads stacked on top of each other and maintain tension.

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  • 05 of 11

    Adding the Second Group of Three Beads

    Adding beads to Russian spiral stitch
    Add another group of beads. Lisa Yang

     Each new stitch will consist of a set of the same three beads.  

    To continue, pick up a size 8 bead and two size 11 beads.  Skip the next two beads from the prior row in the ring and pass through the third bead.  Pull the thread taut to maintain tension.

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  • 06 of 11

    Stepping Up in Russian Spiral Stitch

    Russian spiral stitch tutorial
    Get into position for the next row by stitching into one bead to complete the row and the next two beads to step up. Lisa Yang

    We are going to repeat this process one more time to finish the row and then do a step up.  

    Pick up another set of the same three beads. Skip the next two beads, and stitch up through the third bead in the first base round to complete the second row.  Then go through the first two beads that you added in the second round.  In the picture, you can see my needle is going through all three of the beads needed to do the step up.

    This process of passing up through three beads on the last stitch int he...MORE row is the step-up that positions your needle to begin the next round. You need to make this step-up to complete every third stitch.

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  • 07 of 11

    Begin the Next Row of Russian Spiral Stitch

    Russian spiral stitch instructions
    Starting the next row of Russian spiral stitch. Lisa Yang

    Pick up your next group of three beads.  Skip the next two beads from the previous row, and stitch into the third bead.  At this point, you should start shaping the beadwork into a tube. The first two rows will typically spread out, but once you start the third row, you can push the rows up and start having them form the tube.

    Note that it can be confusing to differentiate the beads on the previous row from the beads two rows before because they are very close together.  If you are working with...MORE the same bead sizes as me, you will notice that for each stitch you will be stitching through the first size 11 bead after the size 8 bead on the prior row. Once the tube starts to form, I always find it easiest to look down at the top of the beadwork to identify the next bead to stitch into instead of looking at it from the side. 

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  • 08 of 11

    Russian Spiral Stitch Tube

    Russian spiral stitch tutorial
    The spiral becomes more defined as the tube takes shape. Lisa Yang

     Continue stitching, one round at a time, always stepping-up through three beads to complete the last stitch on the row. Your Russian spiral beaded rope will begin to grow pretty quickly once you get the hang of the stitch. 

    Whenever you need to start a new thread, begin by weaving it several rows before and securing it with a half hitch knot.  Once you have added a couple of more rows with the new thread, you can switch the needle back to the old thread, tie one or more half hitch knots and...MORE weave the old thread into the beadwork you made with the new thread. This provides a smooth transition and the most secure ends.

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  • 09 of 11

    Russian Spiral Color Block Variation

    Russian Spiral Stitch Tutorial
    Changing colors every few rows of Russian Spiral stitch. Lisa Yang

     Changing the types and colors of beads has a big impact on the look of the Russian spiral stitch.  On this tube, I just changed the color of the 11/0 seed beads from sea green to light blue to navy and it makes a color blocked effect.

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  • 10 of 11

    Russian Spiral With Three Colors

    Russian spiral stitch rope
    Russian spiral stitch sample with 3 colors. LIsa Yang

     A Russian spiral made with three colors gives a spiral and dot effect that looks much more complicated to make than it is.  In this example, I just changed the color for one of the size 11 beads.  For example, the pattern for each new stitch is a size 8 silver bead, then a size 11 matte white bead and a size 11 light blue bead.

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  • 11 of 11

    Russian Spiral Over Wire Bangle

    Russian Spiral Stitch Bangle Bracelet
    Russian spiral around a wire frame bracelet to make a bangle. Lisa Yang

     Making a bangle bracelet with Russian spiral stitch is straight forward.  You just need to stitch the ends together when it is the proper length. Since the stitch has a good amount of give or stretch, it can roll on most size wrists. 

    For this bracelet though, I stitched around a wire bangle.  It was very easy to do and gives me the option of adding some charms to the bangle, plus it does not pull at the thread when you are putting it on and off since the bracelet expansion is in the wire, not...MORE the beaded part..  The adjustable bangle bracelet is from Nunn Design.

    In addition, this example uses a Miyuki 1.8 mm cube bead in place of the Miyuki size 8 bead and two different shades of blue Czech size 11 beads. 

    Russian spiral is perfect to make rope style necklace chains for bead pendants. To finish Russian spiral, make several passes through the top rows and add a beaded loop to attach a clasp. Reinforce with multiple thread passes before weaving in the tread ends. Toggle clasps work well for both necklaces or bracelets.  You can also sew the ends together to make a slip on bangle bracelet or necklace.