Beadschool Video Tutorial – Techniques: African Helix

Morgan Le Fay version in Antique Pink with Amethyst Rivoli and 24K Gold Charlottes

Beadschool Video Tutorial – Techniques: African Helix

Video Tutorial with Melanie de Miguel.

In this video tutorial I demonstrate African Helix stitch. It’s a fabulous structural stitch, that can be used on its own as a necklace rope or bracelet, or, as you can see in my Morgan Le Fay necklace, as an element within a piece of beadwork. The overall effect of the rope produced by African Helix is of spine beads gently spiralling around each other, exactly like intertwined helices, separated from each other by core beads; most beadworkers choose a different colour of spine beads from the core beads, as it makes it much easier to see where the thread needs to go for each stitch. However, in my Morgan Le Fay necklace, I’ve used the same colour spine and core beads as I wanted more subtlety in the structure. In other pieces I’ve made, I’ve also tried varying the bead sizes, using two size 11º seed beads for the core and two size 15º seed beads for the spine, which worked really well – so for each stitch you pick up 2×11ºs and 2×15ºs. I’m certain there are plenty more variations you can come up with.

The spiralling tube formed can be quite solid if you work it with a firm tension, or softer and more pliable with the tension toned down a little – it’s up to you once you get to know the stitch.

Although it’s a spiral which doesn’t have an end point, you just stop stitching when you’ve got the required length of rope. You can then weave back into the spiral, finishing off the thread with a few half hitch knots along the way for security. I personally would then cover the ends of the rope with bead caps which you’ve either bought or made yourself, which make it look nice and tidy. Alternatively you can run the needle around only the core beads of the last four stitches and pull it up tightly; this mirrors the start of the rope and leaves it tidy.

In this video I’m wearing:

Morgan Le Fay necklace in the Golden Shadow/Crystal Copper colourway (…).

Morgan Le Fay Kits are available in Swarovski Crystal CAL/Padparadscha, Golden Shadow/Crystal Copper, Jet/Light Siam, Antique Pink/Amethyst – for more information follow the link to the Morgan Le Fay page in my Gallery. They’re not in the shop yet, but they will be available at the Great British Bead Show. Email me for further information.

Crystal Finger Candy Ring:…
Instructions available upon request – email me.

Link to my website:

Find me on Facebook: Beadschool Mel –

Link to my Bead Blog and list of suppliers:…

Materials used:
Nymo thread Size D – Stitchncraft
Size 12 needle – Stitchncraft
Miyuki Size 11 seed beads – Stitchncraft


Comments (2)

  • Debby Reply

    Thanks for the African Helix tutorial. That was very helpful.

    March 10, 2014 at 2:24 am
    • Melanie de Miguel Reply

      My pleasure – it’s quite a tricky stitch at the very start but gets easier after about 8 stitches.

      March 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm


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