There is a myriad of variations that can be made from one beading pattern, allowing beaders to put their individual stamps on recognizable beading designs. Use different beads and findings–—clasps and closures—and you have a whole new piece. The Russian leaf is one of those patterns that can be easily adapted using whatever beads you have on hand.
The Russian leaf is made with a diagonal peyote stitch, a variation of the traditional peyote stitch, of which instructions are found in most bead magazines. Determine the shape of the leaves you want. Although the beading pattern is the same, the rows will start differently for different shaped leaves.
For example, for leaves with one pointed end, begin by stringing an even number of beads to create the first two rows in peyote stitch based on how wide you want the end of the leaf to be. Then create the decrease needed to shape the leaf by stringing the next to last bead on both ends of the row. Repeat as necessary to shape the leaf to a point.
For leaves that are pointed on both ends, start with a two-bead row and increase by adding beads to both ends of the row gradually, until you get the desired width, then decrease.
Use Russian leaves in dangle earrings, stringing several together in different sizes. Make a Russian-leaf charm bracelet by creating several different sizes and colors of leaves and attach them to a chain bracelet using jump rings, which are small, metal hoops of wire. Create a Russian-leaf necklace by attaching one large leaf to a chain with a jump ring and adding several smaller leaves to the jump ring. Create a Russian-leaf brooch by attaching the leaf, either with glue or wire, to a pin base, which can be found at beading shops.
Beading allows you to create jewelry to match the season or even your handbag. Small beads, also known as seed beads, can be used, and they are available in a variety of colors and finishes, such as metallic.
Use a beading needle and thread to string the beads together. Both can be found at bead stores. Regular sewing needles are too bulky to fit through the holes on seed beads, whereas beading needles are long, thin and have an elongated eye to accommodate the thread. Beading thread is stronger than thread used for sewing, especially nylon beading thread. Many beading enthusiasts also use wax to coat the thread to make sure it glides through the beads.
Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.