Free Russian Spiral Tutorial – Wrangling a Six-Color Spiral

Hello, my dear beady friends!

I’m almost ready to come back from my Etsy hiatus – at the moment, I’m expecting to open back up on February 1st. But. in the meantime, I wanted to share a quick photo tutorial on doing a Russian Spiral in six colors. The Russian Spiral is a super easy stitch that you can find free patterns and tutorials for all over the internet, but I wanted to share my tips for using six different colors and keeping them all straight as you go.

So, first you’ll want to gather your beads. You will need three colors of 11/0’s and three colors of 8/0’s. I recommend bright colors that you can easily tell apart for your first attempt. I would also recommend pouring them out in a circle on your bead mat. Make sure you alternate between 11/0’s and 8/0’s around your circle.

To start, I want you to pick up one of your 8/0’s and go around your circle, picking up two 11/0’s from each 11/0 pile and one 8/0 from each 8/0 pile. Your needle should have one 8/0, two 11/0’s, one 8/0, two 11/0’s, one 8/0, and two 11/0’s.

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Great, now slide them to the end of your thread (you can either leave a tail to add your clasp later, or don’t leave a tail and then add thread later to attach your clasp) and go back through the beads, pulling them into a circle. Tie the circle off and then go through your beads until you are coming out from between two 11/0’s.

Awesome! Now, look at what color the next 8/0 is in the direction that you are going. My next 8/0 is the orangey/terracotta color and it is followed by two berry 11/0’s (because I’m stitching counter-clockwise). So, I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s.

Quick Tip: Every time you pick up beads during a Russian Spiral with 8/0’s and 11/0’s, you’ll pick up one 8/0 and two 11/0’s. Big, little, little. Big, little, little. Try to keep that in your head. 

Then, I’m going to go through the first of the two berry 11/0’s after the terracotta 8/0.

I’m going to let the new beads lay flat against the circle, making a sort of wing. Then. I’m going to look ahead and see what my next two colors are. This time, I’m going to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s.

Again, I’m going to go into the terracotta 11/0 directly after that cream 8/0, making  a second wing.

Awesome! Once more, I’m going to look at what colors I’m moving toward – this time it’s the purple 8/0 and olive 11/0’s, so I am going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s and go through the first of the two 11/0’s after the purple 8/0.

So, that is our first round. Now we need to step up. To do this, I’m going to go up through the terracotta 8/0 that I added as my first wing and then go through the first berry 11/0 immediately after it. When I pull, my three wings are going to curl up into a basket/bowl shape. You’ll want to hold in it your fingers from now on, encouraging that bowl shape, instead of leaving it lay on the mat.

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Alright, so now we’re going to look ahead again and pick up the colors that we are moving towards. Since I’m coming out of the berry 11/0’s and moving counter clockwise, I’m going to need to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s. Then I’m going to go through the first of the two terracotta 11/0’s after the cream 8/0.

This time my wing is going to layer on top of my piece, instead of along side it.
Looking ahead, I’m going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s and go through the first of the two olive 11/0’s immediately after the purple 8/0.

Again, I’m going to look ahead and see the next 8/0, which is terracotta. So, I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s and then go through the first of the two berry 11/0’s after the terracotta 8/0.

Now, we need to step up. Go through the next 8/0, which is the cream one this time, and then the terracotta 11/0 right after it. Then we’ll be in place to begin the next round.

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Quick Tip: Pay close attention to what colors you’re picking up. You can’t just go around the circle on your bead mat because the step-up makes you skip a set of colors. Always look ahead to what color you’re stitching into and choose that set. The color of the 11/0 you’re stitching into should be the same color as the 11/0’s on your needle. 

Alright, let’s do one more round. Looking ahead to the next colors, I am going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s. Then, I am going to go through the first olive 11/0 immediately after the purple 8/0.

Looking ahead, our next colors are going to be terracotta and berry, so I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s and go through the 11/0 right after the terracotta 8/0.

Our next colors are cream and terracotta, so I am going to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s and go through the first of the two 11/0’s immediately after the cream 8/0.

Then (second pic), I am going to go through the purple 8/0 and the olive 11/0 immediately after it to complete our step up.

Alright!  That’s at least three rounds right there, so I think you get the idea. After a nit more time, you should end up with a six-color rope like this!

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Russian spirals are very versatile and a common stitching technique so there are free resources for it all over the place. And, you can get a totally different look just by fiddling with the sizes of beads you’re using. Jill Wiseman has a great video here that uses only one color of 11/0’s and three colors of crystals. Fusion Beads also has a great free pattern here that uses 8/0’s and 15/0’s, instead of 11/0’s.

Have you guys had any experience with the Russian Spiral? Got any favorite versions? Let me know in the comments!

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One Response to Free Russian Spiral Tutorial – Wrangling a Six-Color Spiral

  1. Pingback: Trying to work out the logistics of copyright RE: crafting. This is not legal advice… – Exploring the magic that is the right brain

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