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Beading Your Device

Gepa of SunDragon

by Gepa of SunDragon


It all started when I attended my very first event (a fighter practice on Sunday where upon I was greeted with open arms by the friendly Barony of SunDragon.  On the trip home I mused about how impressed I was that the Baroness had time to chat with me and make me feel at home.  I wanted to come up with a small token of appreciation.  Something I hoped might be “period”, I thought of glass beads and devices and put the two together.  I made the first beaded device for the baroness at the time, Her Excellency, Baroness Deborah Inis Glas.  Memories of beading wooden beads flitted through my head as I made this token of appreciation and I brought it to my second SCA outing a week later.  In fact it was two events in one day, the Chocolate Revel and a fighter practice.  I left the Chocolate Revel early to attend yet another fighter practice.  Wherein, I was asked to present my gift in court.  Thanks to having just attended the Chocolate Revel, I had some idea as to what they were talking about and how to act. 

Soon afterward, on the evening of their majesties, Rex Phelan’s and Regina Mariana’s, investiture, I was called before them.  I had paid my “taxes” in the form of gifting two beaded devices.  After having received their personal devices in a gift basket from the Barony of SunDragon, they wished to commission me into designing and coming forth with the nineteen devices of the known world (to be used as gifts at Estrella War.) I was quite taken back, for I had only been in the known world for about a month.  Having left their majesties, with a comment equivalent to, "Allow me to try the simple ones first," I went back to my table, and all those present assured me there would be enough help in the Barony of SunDragon for me to be able to do as their majesties requested. 

With such assurances, I set out to make the designs by copying the devices onto a graphed piece of paper, then tracing over the devices and redrawing them so that each block upon graph was a bead.  Once that was finished, copies were made of the devices, of the pattern, and of the counted lines, beads were bought and counted, "thread" was measured, directions and contact information given, as well as Hershey's "hugs" and "kisses" were placed in nineteen separate packages and ready to pass out at the Masque Ball.  Most of the packets were taken that evening, and the project was well underway.
Thanks and praise go to the many patient beaders, who tried to figure out the brief directions given.  A workshop was given the first week of December open to any who might need help before the holiday celebrations began to commence.
How to graph your device.

Use ¼ inch graph paper and draw an outline of a shield.  Use the shield below as a guide.   If your device is saved on your computer, use the computer screen as a light board and maneuver the size of your device to fit inside the confines of the outlined graph paper.  You may have to shift the placement a tad.  The more complicated your device the harder it will be; it is nearly impossible to get an exact rendition of your device.  Draw on the graph paper lightly with a pencil.  Use your copy of your device as a visual guide while you plot the beads upon the graph paper.


After graphing out your device the following materials are then needed.

  1. Beads, in corresponding colors and be sure to have more than enough on hand as not all beads are useable and some are lost.  Glass seed beads in size “6/0” were used (sometimes the size is referred to as “size E”).
  2. Thread, for this project clear fishing line 8 pound test was used you can also choose black or you can buy regular fishing line at 12, 10, 8 or 6 pound tests.
  3. Scissors or something to cut the "thread"
Optional Materials:
Needle, since you are using fishing line you should be able to string the beads without a needle, however, it does come in handy when threading loose ends through your project.  I have found what is called a "big eye" needle.  The entire center is the "eye" and the two ends are pressed together.  Great for beading these devices; but not so great in a regular sewing project. 

Needle Threader, sometimes the fishing line can be too "clear" to see well enough to thread without this aid.

Thimble, personal preference, I do not use one.

Each kit received both these sets of directions as some people are graphically oriented and others are not.

For the populace of the Kingdom of Atenveldt, I offer the following graph and chart of Atenveldt’s device.
Below is a graphed design for the Kingdom of Atenveldt
Note: The seed beads used are not exactly round but rather more oval in shape, which means your finished project will have a more elongated look than the graph will show.

Kingdom of Atenveldt’s Charted Device

37 Rows – 33 Columns –

1054 Beads total:  731 Blue  - 188 White – 135 Yellow
Kingdom of Ateveldt graph

The directions are simple.

  1. Cut a length of line that is manageable for you (1 yard works well for me).
  2. Tie an anchor bead at one end to prevent the rest of your beads from slipping off. (I really dislike the game “pick up 100 beads from the floor”)
  3. Row 1 - follow the chart from left to right - string (using a needle or not) all the beads on row 1.  According to this chart it is 33 blue beads for row 1.  See #1 in diagram below.
  4. Row 2 - follow the chart from right to left – To begin this row string one bead then loop up through the last bead on the row above and come back through the first bead of the second row making a complete loop. (I have since found out that this is called a square stitch.) See diagram #2 below.
  5. Now string the next bead in that row.  Go up and loop the string through the corresponding bead in the row above then come down and pass the string through the bead you just added.
  6. Repeat #5 until the second row is completed.  See the rest of the diagram below
  7. Row 3 – follow the chart from left to right - To begin this row string one bead then loop up through the last bead on the row above and come back through the first bead of the second row making a complete loop.
  8. Repeat until the row is completed.

 *NOTE the first three rows are the hardest as your string continues to change in tension and beads shift.  Hang in there! 

Design continued