Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tutorial: My 1st Beadweaving Stitch - The Triangle Weave

The techniques I employ in jewelry making often cycle - I started with beadweaving and often return to it, but I've also explored loomwork, kumihimo (Japanese braiding), wire wrapping, knotting & macrame, and of course your basic bead stringing.  All of these techniques can make gorgeous jewelry depending on the thought that goes into the design and the proficiency of the execution of the design.  Practice and planning are key to any successful piece.

A triangle weave collar style necklace variation:  
This necklace sports an embellished edge as well as decorative fringe elements.

Sometimes, however, it's nice to return to an old, familiar technique that doesn't require a lot of planning or practicing to create a lovely piece of jewelry.  For me, that's beadweaving.  More specifically, the triangle weave, which was the first beadweaving technique I learned over a decade ago!  I was taught by a Native American instructor and have always thought of this stitch as Native American in design, but it's been employed in various forms around the world.

I learned the basic, single row triangle weave with seed beads.  My first necklace has survived the years and I occasionally still wear it:

 The basic triangle weave (single row):  My 1st necklace with this stitch! (above)
& a close-up of the basic weave (below)

I like this look - it's both form-fitting and comfortable.  The gaps between the edge beads allow the necklace to curve to fit your neck perfectly, like a 2nd skin.  It can be made short, like a collar (12-13 inches) or choker (14-16 inches) and possibly as long as a princess (17-19 inches).

An embellished triangle weave collar style necklace: 
The clear beads are the basic stitch, while the blue beads form the embellished edging

I learned that embellishing the edge (filling in the gaps of the basic triangle weave with another seed bead) results in a stiffer necklace that doesn't curve to sit nicely on the neck - so if you like the embellished look, I suggest adding an adjustable closure (lobster clasp and chain is an easy solution) because an embellished triangle weave necklace needs to be worn high on the neck as a collar or choker to look really good - or it makes for a great bracelet!

 Another embellished edge triangle weave collar (above) & example of adjustable clasp (below)

I've put together a tutorial showing how to complete the basic triangle weave, as shown in my first necklace.  Following my tutorial are several other tutorials showing how to make a 2nd row of triangle weave and another technique for a different look.  I've also included some stunning examples of what can be accomplished with the triangle weave simply by changing up the beads you use in your design!  Many people prefer to use long beads, such as bugle beads, in place of 3 seed beads or incorporate crystals and other glass beads for a completely different look.  Once you get the hang of the stitch, play around with other beads to create your own unique jewelry pieces!

PZ Designs Basic Triangle Weave Tutorial:  Single Row, No Embellishment

Please click on the above image for a larger version!

Additional Tutorials:

Beading Daily:  Learn Triangle Weave - use bugle beads & add a 2nd (or 3rd!) row

 Beading Daily Tutorial

Bead Jewelry Making:  Triangle Weave - use seed beads singly for a different look
           Example of a finished piece using this technique: Black Triangle Weave Bracelet

 Black Triangle Weave Bracelet

 Triangle Weave Band

Around the Beading Table jeweler Deborah Roberti seems to enjoy using the triangle weave in her designs.  She has several more tutorials for purchase that also feature the triangle weave, such as the Geometric Obsession Bracelets.

 Geometric Obsession Bracelets

Around the Beading Table:  Hana-Ami Motif - similar to the Beading Daily tutorial, but create wheels with the triangle weave instead of rows.  

 Hana-Ami Motif

These wheels can be combined in various ways for stunning designs!  

 Crystal Wiggles Bracelet - Hana-Ami Motif Option

Several examples are shown at the end of the tutorial, and here is another:  Pinwheel Bracelet.

Pinwheel Bracelet - Hana-Ami Motif Option

I'd also like to showcase the work of jeweler and artist Laura Shea, who regularly uses the triangle weave:

(also available as a kit)

Stained Glass Triangle Cuff - embellished (double layered) triangle weave

While I love the triangle weave for its ease and nostalgic memories, it looks like I've got some exploring to do with this stitch!  I hope you have enjoyed reading and learning about this weave and that you try it out for yourself.  As you can see, some very extravagant designs can be accomplished from this simple and easy stitch!

Happy Creating,


  1. So I have never made a piece of jewelery in my life but now I need to make a necklace for a costume! I think this tutorial will be able to help me and it makes it seem pretty easy. Here is the necklace I am looking to make:
    Any tips? I would definitely have to make modifications; do you have any other tutorials that would be better suited for this piece? Thanks in advance!

    1. my apologies for not seeing this way sooner! hope you were successful. I'd actually have made this one on wire to keep this shape. Memory wire for the collar and eye pins for between. my tutorial is for a much smaller triangle choker!


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