I had some fun experimenting with African Pondo Stitch. I made two different bracelets one with size 8 seed beads and the other with 4mm Czech Fire Polished beads and they look quite different. However the stitch is exactly the same, the difference is only in the beads used. African Pondo Stitch is a unique stitch. It looks at first like it might be right angle weave, but the thread path is quite different. The result is a sturdier fabric than right angle weave too. Pondo stitch also creates a lovely picot edge as part of the thread path as you stitch along. The edging wasn’t added later.
African Pondo Stitch is still used in African today. If you Google Pondoland you will see some beautiful beadwork worn by its inhabitants. African Pondo Stitch is also known as African Circle Stitch, which is more descriptive of the thread path, because you circle back through the beads in the previous row to anchor each new unit. You work in a diagonal fashion, which is also different than right angle weave. If you want to learn this stitch Aimee Hansen has a graphical tutorial. Or if you live in the Houston area, I’ll be teaching a live class for learning this stitch in April. See Beadoholique Bead Shop Calendar for location and time.
I used a beautiful Bead Smith Elegant Elements clasp on the fire polished Pondo Stitch bracelet. I really like this clasp. Its workings are smooth and easy to put on and off. I am always looking for beautiful clasps for wide cuff style bracelets. This one is definitely one I’ll be purchasing more of. Its a great size, looks great, works smoothly and easily, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The only complaint I would have is that the connecting loops were too small to put a thread guard through. Bead Smith if you are listening make your loops large enough for thread guards. I personally like thread guards – I used them in the size 8 seed bead version of the bracelet where I used a slide bar clasp. I think thread guards make a nice professional looking connection to the clasp and protects an area of the bracelet that gets a lot of wear and tear.
I feel somewhat alone in this preference for thread guards though. I don’t see many pictures on the web of other artist’s work that include thread guards. I wonder why that is? I think they look nice and ensure that your work will last a long time. Maybe I am wrong. Many pictures don’t show the clasp at all so I don’t know if they use thread guards. Oh well it wouldn’t be the first time that I followed the path less traveled. But hey – I’ve gotta be me (I hear Sammy Davis Jr. in my head when I say that).