Advanced Course

Lesson Two: Spokes

This lesson is now available as a free downloadable PDF in the shop! 

With this add-on technique, extra Spokes made of twisted working wires are added in the middle of rows to make another axis that the next rows will wrap around. This is very useful for making flower parts that have lots of points along the edges. While it can be used in conjunction with many Base Techniques, I will demonstrate it used with the Basic Frame technique. Don’t confuse this technique with the Spoke Frame, which I will be teaching in a future lesson in my Advanced Course. 

Most designers have their own way to write patterns. Some use shorthand and some do not. But, no matter how the pattern is written, you should be able to pick out the same information. It should tell you what base technique you’re using, which row to put the spokes in, about how far up in the row to make the spokes, and how long to make the spokes. A pattern that uses Spokes will look something like this: 

13 row Basic Frame, 1″ (2.5 cm) BR, PB PT.

  • Add one 1″ (2.5 cm) spoke each in rows 6 and 7 (2 spokes total), spacing them approximately 1/2″ (1.27 cm) from the bottom wire. 
  • Wrap rows 8 & 9.
  • Add one 1″ spoke each in rows 10 & 11 (2 spokes total), spacing them approximately 1″ (5 cm) from the top wire.
  • Wrap rows 12 & 13. 
  • Reduce to two bottom wires. 

Translation: Use the Basic Frame base technique. The Basic Row is 1 inch long, and there will be 13 total rows with a pointed bottom and pointed top. You will make four spokes total – two in rows 6 & 7 approximately 1/2″ from the bottom wire, and two in rows 10 & 11, approximately 1 inch (5 cm) from the top wire. Each spoke needs to be approximately 1 inch long. All of the rows after the spokes will wrap around each spoke at a 45 degree angle to make a point, just like wrapping at a top or bottom frame wire. After making the leaf, tie off the working wire and clip it close, leaving two bottom wires. 

For this lesson you’ll need approximately 3 grams of size 11/0 seed beads and several feet of 24 gauge (.5 mm) copper core wire. 

  1.   Construct a Basic Frame following the pattern above. Then wrap rows 2-5 with a pointed bottom and pointed top. 
  2. For row 6, measure out 1/2″ of beads to start the row. Then measure approximately 2 inches (5 cm) of bare wire for the spoke. (Photo 1)

Note: Some patterns will tell you how long to make the spoke, and others will tell you how much wire to use to make the spoke. If it tells you how long to make the finished spoke, you will need to double the measurement when measuring out bare working wire. 

French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 1
French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 2

3.   Fold the length of bare wire in half, then twist the two sides together tightly against the beads below (Photo 2). Make sure there is no bare wire showing between the beads and the spoke. 

4. Feed more beads down from the spool, then wrap the row at the Top Wire. For row 7, fill it in with beads, then subtract the last 1/2″ (1.27 cm) of beads and move them back toward the spool. Measure another 2 inches of wire, fold and twist to make the second spoke. Bring more beads back down from the spool to finish out the row. (Photo 3)

5.   As you wrap rows 8 & 9 around the leaf, wrap at a 45 degree angle at each of the spokes, plus the top and bottom wire as usual. (Photos 4 & 5)

French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 3
French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 4
French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 5

6.   Make two more spokes, one in row 11 (Photo 6) and one in row 12. Both should be spaced approximately 1 inch (5 cm) from the top wire, using the same length of wire for the spoke as before. 

7.   Wrap the last two rows (12 & 13) around, wrapping around each spoke and the top and bottom wire. Once finished, clip the top wire and all of the spoke wires to approximately 1/4″ (6.5 mm) (Photo 7)

8. Carefully fold the trimmed top and bottom wires to the back of the leaf. (Photo 8)

French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 6
French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 7
French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 8

Photo 9 shows the finished leaf. 

Just for kicks and giggles, try using spokes in conjunction with Continuous Wraparound Loops, and Continuous Basic Frame

French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
PHOTO 9

© 2019 Lauren Harpster / Bead & Blossom. The images and written instructions are copyright protected. This tutorial may not be printed and distributed for personal gain or teaching classes, but feel free to print a copy for personal use. The images may not be uploaded onto other websites. If you would like to share the tutorial, please do so with a link! 

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