Beading with Herringbone Stitch

A Beadwork How-To Book
By Vicki Star
Interweave Press, $21.95, 2001
(800) 272-2193 or www.interweave.com

The arrangement of the book is the usual format with an introduction by the author that is really interesting. Vicki Star gives us an insight into how she looks at beadwork. For her beadwork evolves and I take liberty to say that is similar to process. So much of beadworking is seen as project oriented. By this I mean, classes are generally featuring a project to finish in a certain time, that should look like a set example, rather than a process of learning the stitch or combing several processes. I really like that Vicki states in her introduction that she has, “a drawer full of what I call false startsÑbeadwork that didn’t go quite the way I wanted. I always learn from these false starts . . . ” Reading the beginning of the book can be an eye opener for what follows. Vicki is willing to share her exploration of the herringbone stitch. What more could we ask her to do?

There follows a brief beading history and overview of the Ndebele tribes, beaders, and some meanings that the colors have for the beaders in the tribes. There are some wonderful pictures of the type of decoration used in Botshebelo. There is a short section on what came from the introduction of such things as safety razor blades.

The next section is the how-to section of the book. This part of any book has a supply list. I thought the pictures and explanation of what Vicki has in her beading box was really interesting and well thought out. I appreciated this section more than usual in a book. Under techniques there is a nice explanation of the structure of the stitch and how to get started. In fact there is more than one way to start and to turn. This was very good as different starts can produce different results and different turns are the same in producing different results. Techniques covered are Flat, Tubular, Increases within the work and at the edges, Decreases the same, Circular and Arc Herringbone, as well as finishing the work.

The next section of the book contains projects, which include a card case, kaleidoscope, mini vessels and Fuchsia Earrings. The projects cover the techniques and can be reproduced as seen or even embellish with your own way of doing something.

There is a gallery of wonderful work by various artists, graphs and resource guides. This is a nicely written book, well presented and makes me want to learn and add Ndebele or Herringbone Stitch to my repertoire when I’ve never wanted to before. I like this book a lot.