Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Conway Beads

One of the things I love about Gwen Fisher is the way she uses beads to create complicated mathematical shapes.  Her Conway Beaded Bead is a perfect example.

The tutorial is aimed toward experienced beaders.  Gwen designed the Conway bead using tetrahedrons and triangular prisms made with a modified cubic right angle weave (or, in this case, tetra right angle weave?).

Gwen gives instructions for two different bead sizes, but suggests trying the larger size first (with good reason).

Not one to go the easy route, I started on the smaller one.

The first step gave me a bit of trouble because I couldn't visualize the shape or the beaded structure.  Gwen's illustrations and photos were very helpful and I followed her thread path, confident that she wouldn't lead me astray.

Step 2 was easier and, after the third step, it "clicked."

After that, it was (mostly) smooth sailing.

If you try this pattern (and I highly recommend that you do), remember that the first few stitches are fiddly, but it gets much easier (and faster) and you progress.

The next bead went very quickly.   The bigger beads were easier to work with and I had the pattern down.  Gwen mentioned in her blog post that the design is intuitive and she is totally right.  I was able to do the second without double checking the pattern.

I even made a small one using size 15 seed beads.

These little beads are fun to make and, once you get the hang of it, they work up very quickly.

I might have a problem.

You can find the tutorial for the Conway bead here.  You can find more of Gwen's patterns on her etsy shop and you can find other designs by Gwen and Florence Turnour on their website, Bead Infinitum.


  1. Oh my - these are absolutely gorgeous! I will, however, live vicariously through your designs - no way I could ever even attempt this! LOL! Lovely!

  2. How beautiful!! I don't think I would have the patience or the eyesight to make these.

  3. Very cool. These look like so much fun! Love the teal and gold combination. Thank you for sharing your experience and the link... definitely will try this pattern for myself.

  4. they are beautiful! The word Tutorial is used differently in beading/jewellery circles than anywhere else. In the sewing/quilting/crochet/knitting/embroidery etc community, a tutorial is free!

  5. Gorgeous! I bet the one with #15 beads was a challenge. Does that first one use O-beads? I just got a package of those and am going to have to try them. I have yet to get one of Gwen's patterns, but it might be in my future. Making beaded spheres is so addictive. I just finished making about a dozen using the ornate beaded bead pattern shown on you tube: I used small drops in one of the spheres and it came out great. I'll take pictures of them and put them on in a couple of days, come take a look if you have any interest.

    1. The #15 beaded bead wasn't too bad, since I had made several prior to trying it. It was a bit hard to see those tiny holes, though, especially toward the end.

      I've been having fun with beaded beads also. They are addictive. I love the video you shared and can't wait to see the ones you made.