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Beaded Easter egg

Embellish a wooden egg with heirloom lace

Netted seed bead chains stir my imagination and make me see beads everywhere, even in my dreams. Perhaps I am inspired by the net’s flexibility or the variety of patterns that can be created using this stitch.

The idea for these eggs came to me after I made a netted amulet bag.  I saw how netted strips could be added to each other and decided to try making a beaded version of a Fabergé egg using the technique. To display the eggs at Easter, I put them in an antique glass basket as a centerpiece. They can also be hung from ribbons as Christmas decorations. I even know a few egg collectors who enjoy them year round.

SUPPLIES

  • 1 Tube each 110 seed beads, 3 colors
  • Nymo D or Silamide to match main
  • bead color
  • Beading needles, #10 or 12
  • Beeswax or Thread Heaven
  • Wooden egg 1 3⁄4 x 2 1⁄2 in. (4.4 x 6.4cm),
  • painted or varnished
  • Acrylic paint or spray polyurethane

INSTRUCTIONS 

Start by making a strip of netted chain joined into a ring. Attach three additional strips of netting and bead a medallion for the top. Slip the netting over a painted or varnished egg and complete the beadwork by adding another medallion at the bottom.

Beaded Easter egg f1
Figure 1

Wide netted strips

1. Place a stop bead about 6 in. (15cm) from the tail of a 5-ft. (1.5m) length of waxed thread. Make the first strip of netting as follows: a. Pick up 4 color A beads, 3 Bs, and 1 C. Skip the C bead to turn the work and go back through the next bead (FIGURE 1a).

b. Pick up 2 Bs and 3 As. Go through the bead closest to the stop bead (FIGURE 1b).

c. Pick up 3 Bs and 1 C. Turn (skip the C) and go through the next bead (FIGURE 1c).

d. Pick up 2 Bs and 3 As. Go through the center bead (connector bead) of the previous 5-bead sequence (FIGURE 1d).

e. Pick up 3 Bs and 1 C. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 1e).

f. Pick up 2 Bs and 3 As. Go through the center bead of the previous 5-bead sequence (FIGURE 1f).

Beaded Easter egg f2
Figure 2

2. Repeat from 1c to 1f until the chain has 24 points on one side and 23 on the other. After making the 24th point, turn the work and follow the directions below to join the netting into a circle.

a. Pick up 2 Bs and go through the connector bead at the beginning of the chain (FIGURE 2a).

b. Pick up 2 As and go through the connector bead at the end of the chain (FIGURE 2b).

c. Pick up 3 Bs and 1 C. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 2c).

d. Pick up 2 Bs, remove the stop bead, and tie the two thread ends together using a square knot.

3. Take the thread through several beads to hide the ends before cutting.

Beaded Easter egg f3
Figure 3
4. To make the second and third strips of netting, follow the pattern in steps 1 and 2 with this exception. Connect the second strip to the first and the third to the second by picking up a C bead from the edge of a finished strip. Replace the instruction in step 1c, above, as follows: Pick up 3 Bs and go through a C on the finished strip. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 3).
Beaded Easter egg f4
Figure 4

Narrow netted strip

1. Place a stop bead about 6 in. from the tail end of a 5-ft. length of waxed thread as before. Make the narrow strip of netting that cinches in the wide strips as follows:

a. Pick up 1 A, 1 B, 1 A, and 2 Bs. Go through any C bead on the edge of a wide strip to connect this netting to it. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 4a).

b. Pick up 1 B, 1 A, and 1 B. Go through the bead closest to the stop bead (FIGURE 4b).

c. Pick up 2 Bs and 1 C. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 4c).

d. Pick up 1 B, 1 A, and 1 B. Go through the center bead (connector bead) of the previous 3-bead sequence (FIGURE 4d).

e. Pick up 2 Bs. Go through the next C on the wide strip. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 4e).

f. Pick up 1 B, 1 A, and 1 B. Go through the center bead of the previous 3-bead sequence (FIGURE 4f). 

2. Repeat this pattern until you’ve connected this strip to the last C bead on the wide strip.

Beaded Easter egg f5
Figure 5

3. Complete the circle as follows:

a. Pick up 1 B and go through the connector bead at the beginning of the chain (FIGURE 5a).

b. Pick up1 B and go through the connector at the end of the chain (FIGURE 5b).

c. Pick up 2 Bs and 1 C. Turn and go through the next bead (FIGURE 5c).

d. Pick up 1 B, remove the stop bead, and tie a square knot (FIGURE 5d).

4. Hide the ends as before.

Top medallion

Arrange the bead colors in the medallion as you like. The color sequence given in the following directions is only one of many possible variations.

Beaded Easter egg f6
Figure 6

1. Start with about 3 ft. (.9m) of waxed thread. Make the medallion as follows:

a. Pick up 12 beads, alternating between Bs and Cs, and move them to about 8 in. (20cm) from the end of the thread. Tie a square knot to form a ring and go through the next bead (FIGURE 6a).

b. Pick up 3 As. Skip one bead in the ring and go through the next bead. Repeat until you’ve made 6 points. Go through the first 2 beads along the first point to begin the next row (FIGURE 6b).

c. Pick up 5 Bs. Go through the second (center) bead of the next point. Repeat around the ring. Go through the first 3 beads of the first 5-bead point to begin the next row (FIGURE 6c).

d. Pick up 7 Bs. Go through the center bead of the next point. Repeat around the circle.

e. Go through the first 3 beads (not to the center) of the first 7-bead point (FIGURE 6d). Pick up 3 As. Skip one bead and go through the next 7 beads. Repeat around the circle (FIGURE 6e). Make a half-hitch knot to tie off the thread, go through several beads to hide the end, and cut it.

2. To attach the medallion to the narrow netted strip, start with about 3 ft. of waxed thread and tie on a stop bead.

Go through any C bead on the edge of the netting.

Beaded Easter egg f7
Figure 7

a. Pick up 2 Cs and go through the next C on the netting. Repeat one time (FIGURE 7a). If 2 beads seem too crowded,try using 2 skinny beads here. One bead is usually not enough.

b. Pick up 3 Cs and go through any point on the edge of the medallion. (If the point of the medallion seems too far from the netting, try 2 beads on each side of the point.) Pick up 3 Cs, skip a C on the netting, and go through the next C (FIGURE 7b).

c. Repeat until you’re back at the stop bead.

3. Before you knot the thread, slip the beadwork over the egg to make sure the beads you just added lie flat. If not, remove the stop bead and carefully pull the thread out. Replace the stop bead
and try again, adjusting the bead counts until the medallion fits smoothly over the egg’s top.

4. Once the medallion is attached and you’re satisfied with the way it looks, run the thread through the beads again and add beads in the remaining spaces. Remove the stop bead, knot the threads, and hide the ends.

Bottom medallion

1. Place a stop bead 6 in. from the end of 3 ft. of waxed thread. Close up the netting with a medallion as follows:

a. Go through any C-bead point on the bottom edge of the netting. Pick up 2 Cs and go through the next C.

b. Continue until you’re back at the stop bead. This should cinch in the bottom so it fits snugly against the egg. If the beads don’t sit correctly or if too much thread shows, try increasing or decreasing the number of beads added between points. (The number of beads between points can vary slightly.) 

c. Go through the beads along the ring again to reinforce them. When you reach the stop bead, remove it and tie the threads, but don’t cut them. 

2. Make the bottom medallion, following the directions for the top. You may have to adjust the number of rows (usually by omitting one) to fit the space.

Beaded Easter egg f8
Figure 8

3. Attach the medallion to every fourth point along the netted strip. If your medallion is too small to fit the opening, but not small enough to require another row of beads, try this alternative: Run the thread through one or more beads on the netting edge and have it come out of the bead right before a point bead. Pick up 1 bead, go through the middle bead of the medallion’s last row, and pick up another bead (FIGURE 8). Repeat at every fourth point along the netting. When the medallion is attached successfully, knot the thread and hide the ends.

4. Optional: Add beads to fill in the gaps between C beads where the netted strips are joined. The upper and lower rows usually take 2 beads between Cs; the center row usually takes 3.

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