My Headpiece

I beadstitched a headpiece to match my new regalia. While I have used lazy stitch in the past to bead (barrettes mainly), I’ve never used that stitch for something this big. I had a bit of trouble along the way – not enough beads in the colors I started with for one. Two – I didn’t have the technique down pat,  And, three, it took forever (in my mind).

A couple of years ago, I bought some beautiful cream and chocolate beads from a bead store in Salem, MA. I didn’t have a project in mind when I purchased them but they were so pretty and perfectly matched to each other that I had to have them. And of course, I had to use them for this project.

One of my favorite patterns is the vase pattern from my ancestors’ Nipmuc wood splint baskets.

photoI decided to use this design in my headpiece (also called a crown but I don’t really like that name.) I chose the colors of my regalia from a bead soup mix at Bead Fiesta in Sterling, MA. The bead soup combined turquoise, chocolate brown, cream, and copper. The combination called my name so I naturally bought cloth to match.

crown beginningI started with the cream and chocolate beads but quickly ran out of the cream.  I called the bead store in Salem but they didn’t sell those beads anymore. I really wanted to fill in the circle around the vase with those luscious cream beads. I tried every store -bead and craft- but no one had the exact bead. So I substituted with a close color.


Then, I ran out of the turquoise beads and ended up sending my daughter to Natick for the correct beads. The night before the pauwau, I edged the headpiece with the chocolate and prayed that no one would notice how uneven my beading was. I definitely need more practice with this type of beading. Here is the finished headpiece –

photo (2) and a side view –


So lessons learned?

1. Always make sure you have enough beads to complete a project.

2. Make sure you practiced a technique enough times to make a quality object. I was very disappointed in the way my headpiece turned out.  I felt sure that people would point out the flaws at the pauwau. Of course, no one did!!

Anyway, I think it will be awhile before I tackle another headpiece like this. Meanwhile I’ll keep practicing on barrettes and medallions.

Until next time–



Busy Beader

I was a busy little beader gearing up for pauwau season. I made a headband for a dear friend from size 8 delicas. My loom has interchangeable spring coils to accommodate different size/type  beads. This was the first time I’ve loomed with beads that large and I was happy to see how fast it went. Here are some pictures but I neglected to photograph the completed project. Duh!!!!

1787_10200154693449975_1800712087_nThe headband tells the story of our different Nipmuc communities coming together as one using ceremony as the uniting force – specifically the pipe ceremony.

photo (1) You can see the pipe in this picture. I alternated men and women for both sexes are equally important in our community. I also used two different color people, white and green, to symbolize different bands of Nipmucs.

The headband was gifted to our pipe carrier. The bowl of the pipe he carries was made from cumberlandite – a very special stone that exists in only one place on this earth, Cumberland, Rhode Island. Cumberland is within Nipmuc traditional territory. Imagine a stone that only exists here in Nipmuc country!! I wanted to add the stone in some way to the headband. Keep in mind that the pictures you are seeing are of my final design. I tried a few different designs before I settled on this one.

photoWe used my Dremel to cut, shape and polish the stone and set it at the center of our ‘community’. I’ve never told a story in beads before and I’m not quite sure if the headband’s recipient actually understands the message I tried to convey….but he is a good sport and wore the headband at the Hassanamisco pauwau.

I think I will continue to tell stories through my beadwork – well, at least I’ll try.



Blog at

Up ↑