Let’s talk a bit about Spiral Rope, OK? We’ve had a couple of people asking about it lately, and since it’s such a nice versatile stitch, maybe it’s time we have a little lesson.
The most important thing in spiral rope is this: The core beads must have holes large enough for all the passes of the thread. Remember that. There might be a test later.
The second most important thing is this: You can use any size, shape, or number of beads for the outside stacks, and you can change them at any time while you’re working. I know, confusing. It would help if we had a nice graphic, but my skills in that area are less than zero.
So let’s just start doing it, trust me and follow along. Grab a couple of colors of size 8 rounds and let’s do this. (Calm down!!! You can change beads later, this is just so you can learn how to do it!)
Step 1. Start with a nice long wingspan of your favorite thread, this stitch uses up quite a bit of it and we want to be able to get a bit done before we run out. You don’t really need a stop bead, either. Just wrap the 5-6 inch tail around a finger. The tail end is the bottom.
Step 2. Decide which color is your core color. Pick up 4 beads. Pick up 4 of the other color too.
Step 3. Put the needle through the 4 core beads again, the same way you did the first time, (bottom to top) so that the 4 outside beads form a loop beside the core. Push the outside beads to the left. (OK, you can do it either direction, but be consistent.)
Step 4. Pick up one core bead and 4 outside beads.
Step 5. Put the needle through the TOP 4 core beads and pull it tight, so that the outside beads form a loop again. Push the loop toward the first stack. Yes, you skip the bottom core bead this time.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your rope is as long as you want it to be. Make sure you keep each new outside stack from getting caught in the previous outside stacks. It’s easy to fix if you catch it before the next stitch. To get the needle in between the core beads, bend the core over your finger.
It’s pretty hard to pull the thread too tight with this stitch, and it has to be really loose before it causes problems, so tension isn’t a big worry here. If your outside stacks are taller than your core, you get a big floppy loop around the outside. If your outside stacks are shorter than the core, when you pull it tight the core begins to twist around, and shows more. They are totally different looks. Experiment. Use 11 rounds and triangles on the outside. You can use 11’s on the core for a more delicate look, or cubes in the core.
To change thread, you can tie a knot in the middle of an outside stack and later weave in the tails. Do NOT let the knot end up in the core, it will make it difficult or impossible to get the needle through.
Any other stitches you want to hear about?