Superduo Duets are exclusive to the Beadsmith. If you are already familiar with Superduo beads, then you are going to love these. The bead shape and size is identical, but the appearance is defined by a clever two-colour coating. So each individual bead is coated half in one colour and half in a contrast. As a result, when you use the beads in projects, you can create ‘colour texture’ and patterning that is sophisticated and can be subtle or have real impact. Take a look at the photo to see the individual beads and note their colouring. I’m going to move on to talk about how this works in design.
Designing with Superduo Duets
As you can imagine, this two-coloured finish has really interesting design potential. I had a chance to experiment with the Superduo Duets before they came to market, so I want to share some of the ideas I explored and the things I learned.
I have always loved the way Superduos look in Herringbone weave, so one of my first experiments used the Superduo Duets to add a new dimension with the colouring. I made a simple bangle (although it was anything but simple to design!) and the colouring just adds so much interest. Compare the two photos below. In the left hand photo you can see a close up of the bangle with the Superduo Duets. In the right hand photo, you can see an earlier beginner’s herringbone bracelet design just made with ordinary beads (these are actually Twin Holes, but it works just the same with Superduos – read this blog to find out why if you want to know!). Just imagine how brilliant the simple bracelet will look using the Duets: if you match the edging seed beads to the outer colour in the Duets, then a simple design is given much more statement with the subtle two-tone colouring.
My next step was to try something a little dimensional. I am a big fan of using Superduos in spiral stitches to create layers. So for this Cellini spiral design, I used the colouring of the Superduo Duets to allow me to create a Right Angle Weave embellishment. The Duets get a little lost in the middle, but I chose seed bead colours to enhance the colours on the Duets and the resulting spiral has a lot of impact. If you want to try your own, then this pattern shows you how to create a Cellini spiral with Superduos. To get the same embellishment that I used, you’ll have to get a copy of my spiral ropes booklet!
Those of you who know my work well will know how much I love Peyote stitch. So, my next move was to use the Superduo Duets to create pattern detail in simple Peyote shapes. I made a necklace combining a couple of geometric shapes. By using the Duets alongside traditional Superduos that matched one of the two-tone colours, I was able to incorporate a pattern into the work. The thread path remains just as basic, but the Superduo Duets allow the pattern to simply ‘appear’ in the beadwork. This design idea has a lot of potential to be followed using different beading techniques, so I’m not done with it yet!
One other idea that is worth mentioning: if you use the Duets so that they are viewed ‘flat’ rather than ‘side on’, then you can create reversible jewellery.
Tips for using Superduo Duets
Any new bead type will have certain things about it that dictate the way it is used. The Superduo Duets are no exception. So I want to offer you a few tips to bear in mind as you use these beads. It will save you a whole world of frustration!
Firstly, as with traditional Superduos, check both holes are free before you use the bead.
Secondly, in order for the colour patterns to work, you need to pass through your Superduo Duets in a particular order, so watch that as you work. Obviously take care to work out which side you need to enter first, but also keep a check as you are working to make sure that the pattern is emerging as you want.
Thirdly, in a related note, take care that the Superduo Duets do not twist around as you pull them into place. With any bead it’s common for the thread to twist, so the bead may end up sitting in a twisted position. This is not ideal for any project, but with the Duets it is particularly bad as it will change the colouring and spoil the pattern. So just keep an eye out and correct any twisting as you go.
Patterns using Superduo Duets
Now comes the bit you’ve been waiting for: the patterns. You have your pack of Duets all ready and waiting, so here are some ideas for using them. Bear in mind that they will also work with any existing Superduo projects and you can have some fun discovering how to use them to add great pattern effects. I’m going to share with you the links to the two patterns that I mentioned above. The bangle can be found here. The necklace can be found by following this link. I have a third pattern for a bracelet which uses the colouring to create a stripe along the length. It’s a lovely place to start if you are new to the Duets and you can find the pattern here.
There are going to be more patterns to come from me, so check back here regularly to see them!…oh, and have fun with your Duets.