The August/September issue of Beadwork magazine featured a Russian spiral necklace by designer Wendy Lueder called Sunset Spiral. It called for 18 seed beads and crystal bicones (Swarovski’s) per circular row. Published designs can always be altered to suit the magazine reader’s desires. Not wanting 18 beads/bicones per row, I changed my Russian spiral to 9 beads/bicones to make the necklace easier to bead. Adding the magnetic clasp allows for the necklace to be put on and removed quickly.
One Friday afternoon I wore this necklace when a friend and I drove to the Foley (Alabama) Outlet Mall to look for shoes. We decided to walk around the Mall’s one-mile perimeter for exercise. Occasionally we stopped in one of the stores if something piqued our interest. In one shoe store an elderly lady greeted me as I went up and down the aisles. The blond-grey haired woman was very tidy, simply dressed. She looked to be in her late 70’s or early 80’s. I was quick to assume that the poor thing needed to work to supplement her social security. Then she stopped me and asked me about my Russian spiral necklace. She spoke easily and clearly, happy to talk about her own hobby making beaded crochet necklaces. She had never heard of the Russian Spiral stitch and was eager to try it. We could have talked for an hour but other customers came into the store. It was clear to me that she loves her job and loves interacting with people. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would have assumed the worst, that she was down and out and needed extra income. In fact, it was clear this job kept her vital and alive and she enjoyed talking to her customers.
In hindsight I should have given her my necklace as a gift and feel bad for not doing so. Then again I think she has the spunk to teach herself this easy stitch, especially if she’s mastered bead crochet, a stitch that can be frustrating to even start.
She made my day, a contact made through a shared love of handmade jewelry. I hope to see her again.