Lesson Five: Scallops
Scallops are another add-on technique that can be built on top of any base technique, though it’s most commonly used on the Basic Frame. A Scallop is basically a Loop-Back that attaches to the petal. It creates a scalloped or serrated edge on a leaf or petal.
Unlike most french beading techniques, scallops cannot be worked from the spool. You will have to cut wire every time. I find a bead spinner to be very handy while making scallops, since you will be adding and removing beads frequently. You also do not want to pre-string all of the beads onto the wire before beginning.
For this exercise, use 24 gauge (.5 mm) wire and size 11/0 seed beads.
A pattern that uses scallops will look something like this:
Make 1: 5 row Basic Frame, 10 bead Basic Row, RB PT.
- Measure and cut 2 ft (~61 cm) of wire.
- Add scallops at 5, 7, and 9 on each side. (These numbers are called Scallop Counts. They are bead counts that tell you where to place each set of scallops.)
- Reduce to two bottom wires.
- Construct a Basic Frame using 10 beads for the Basic Row. Wrap rows 2-5 with a round bottom and pointed top.
- Count 5 beads down from the top of the outer row on the left side of the petal. (If you wrap basic frame rows counter-clockwise, you’ll start scalloping on the right side of the leaf instead of the left.) Lay the next row against the petal and measure out the beads needed to reach that 5 bead mark without going above it. The new row of beads should be right at or directly below the 5-bead mark. Notice in Photo 2 that my new row of beads is below the 5-bead mark. Adding another bead to this row would put it above that mark, which you want to avoid.
NOTE: When measuring out the new row of beads, if the new row is right at the scallop count, you’ll get a scallop that is more round than a scallop where the new row is a little bit below the count. But you don’t always have a choice. Beads don’t always line up exactly the way you want. Choose whichever is closest to the count without going above it.
3. After measuring out the beads for the next row, slide all of the other beads back onto the spool. Measure the working wire to approximately 2 feet (61 cm) and cut from the spool. There should be no beads other than the new row on the working wire.
4. Pinch the new row of beads flat against the side of the leaf, and use your thumbnail to mark the 5 bead scallop count. This helps hold all the rows in place while pulling on the wire, and guides the working wire between the correct beads. Insert the end of the working wire into the back of the leaf, between the two outer rows, right at that 5 bead count. (Photo 3)
5. Continue holding the new row and your thumb marking the 5-bead count in place while you pull the working wire all the way through to the front of the leaf. (Photo 4)
6. Pull the working wire all the way through to the front, then bend it to the side, securing it right below the 5th bead. (Photo 5)
7. Add more beads to the working wire – enough to reach the bottom wire. Push them all the way up the wire so they are as tight against that outer row of beads as possible. You don’t want too much wire showing at the tops of the scallops. Measure the beads carefully. (Photo 6)
8. The second row in the scallop should fold nicely around the edge of the first row. If you use too few beads, the rows in the scallop will buckle up on top of each other. If you have too many beads you will have a large gap between rows of beads. Too few or too many beads can also push the bottom wire out of alignment, which causes a lop-sided leaf. If the bottom wire does start to lean, straighten it before measuring or wrapping rows. Wrap at a 90 degree angle at the bottom wire to continue the round bottom shape. (Photo 7)
Notice that there are two rows of beads on the same side of the Bottom Wire. Normally, rows will alternate sides. Traditionally, French Beading artists would simply wrap the next scallop right up the other side, but as you can see in Photo 8 this leaves an awkward gap between rows on the right side of the leaf. To get rid of the gap, I will teach you a little tip that comes from my friend, Suzanne Steffenson.
9. If there are any beads on the working wire, remove them and put them back in your bowl or spinner. Insert the end of the working wire into the back of the leaf between the two rows in the scallop. Pull the wire through. (Photos 9 & 10)
10. Pull the wire all the way through to the front and bend it over to the right. It should now be exiting between the two rows in the first scallop instead of beneath them. (Photo 11) This is called re-positioning the working wire. You will only need to do this when there are two rows on the same side of the bottom wire.
11. Scallop counts are usually a mirror image. So unless stated otherwise, make the scallop on the second half of the leaf match the first. The only exception is the mirror image of the first scallop. I like to make my first scallops somewhat even with each other. However, since the outer row on the right side of the leaf is higher up than the outer row on the left side, using the same bead count will put the mirror scallop up higher. I find I usually have to adjust the bead count by 1, sometimes 2 beads, just with the first scallop on the second side. (Photo 12) You can see here that I counted 6 beads down, rather than 5, to keep the scallops at the same height.
12. Set the scallop. (Photo 13)
13. Add more beads to the working wire and fold them close down the side to make the second row of beads in the scallop. Wrap at the bottom wire to complete the scallop. (Photo 14) You will not need to re-position the working wire after the matching scallop because there are not two rows of beads on the same side of the bottom wire.
14. The second scallop count is 7. Count 7 beads down from the top of the first scallop. Measure the beads in the new row to meet that point and remove any excess beads (Photo 15).
15. Set the scallop just below the 7 bead mark. Add more beads to the working wire and fold them back down the side of the leaf to the bottom wire. Wrap at the bottom wire and re-position the working wire. (Photo 16)
16. Make a matching scallop on the right side. (Photo 16)
17. The third scallop count is 9. Count 9 beads down from the top of the previous scallop, measure the beads needed and remove any excess beads. (Photo 17)
17. Complete the scallop, re-position the working wire, then make the matching scallop on the opposite side. The finished leaf is shown in Photo 18.
Using French Beaded Scallops With Other Base Techniques
Winged Scallops are an easy modification of regular French Beaded scallops which create a sharper and longer tip on each scallop. It can also be used to create a look similar to a loop-back.
To make a winged scallop:
- Set the scallop as normal following the scallop count in the pattern.
- Add more beads to the working wire, but instead of folding straight down around the side, bring the wire up. (Photo 21).
- The pattern should tell you how high to make the wing. For this example, let’s use 5 beads. Count 5 beads up the working wire, then bend the wire sharply back down, creating an extended tip on the scallop. (Photo 22)
- Pinch the tip closed then fold the scallop down the side of the leaf as normal. (Photo 23)
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