Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bracelets of the Day - Russian Snake & Lakota Chain

These two simple little patterns were a couple of the very first bead weaving stitches that I learned. I can't even count how many versions I've made of these, especially the Russian Snake pattern. Although they both look nearly identical, the weaving methods are completely different. Russian Snake is a lot more versatile than Lakota Chain, which is a traditional Native American weaving pattern. Lakota Chain is limited to either 11/0 or 8/0 seed beads for the centers of the motifs. With Russian Snake, you can use pretty much any large accent beads from large seed beads, to fire polished beads or pearls, etc.

This was one of my first Russian Snake bracelets:

The beads I used were from Walmart. I had a heck of a time picking through them to get ones that were close to the same shape and size.

I don't have this book, but this is where both Lakota Chain and Potawatomi Weave came from. If you recall, Potawatomi Weave was the very first beading stitch that I learned. I posted about that pattern on February 10th HERE. The book is called "Indian Bead-Weaving Patterns" by Horace R. Goodhue. It's available on Amazon HERE.

This was one of my very first Lakota Chain bracelets:

I don't know the origins of Russian Snake other than that there are quite a few traditional Russian beading patterns that are popular, such as the St. Petersburg Chain. I found the free pattern that I use on the Jewelry Tales website HERE. I make mine slightly different than Cynthia suggests. I tried her method several times and was never happy with the outcome using that many seed beads. Here's what I do differently:

A) In step 1, I pick up 14 seed beads instead of 16.

B) In step 2, I skip over 4 seed beads across the top instead of 5.

C) In step 3 and onward, I pick up 11 seed beads instead of 13.

D) Cynthia doesn't mention this in the pattern but I strongly suggest that you weave back through the entire bracelet again at the end to pull everything neatly together. Otherwise the beads will be very loose and messy-looking. I don't usually do this but I probably should also go back around through all of the center beads again as well to tighten them up. Allow an extra motif or two if you do this because the bracelet will shrink quite a bit.

I haven't made any changes to the pattern that I use for Lakota Chain. I've seen a couple different patterns for that one but THIS is the one that I use. You can also see a variation of Horace's original pattern HERE. I haven't tried that one because the other one was much easier to follow. I don't have any more photos of my old Lakota Chain bracelets but here is one that I made the other day to refresh my memory of how it's done:

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (11-457D)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (8-457D) - for the jump rings
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Hybrid Opaque Red Picasso" (8-4513)

Here are few more examples of Russian Snake:

I made these more recently so I've got the bead info on them:

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Antique Silver - Nickel" (11-464A)
  • 6/0 seed beads Toho "Silver-Lined Amethyst" (TR-06-26/c)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Chocolate" (11-461)
  • 4mm druks "Green Luster" (from an assortment called "Opaque Brown Luster Mix")


  1. Beautiful and clever. I'll have to try it.

  2. Ohhh! Finally found you.. would follow, however I don't know how. Love the bracelets.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Judi. Look down the right side of my blog for the "Follow me by email" form.

  3. Replies
    1. The Lakota Chain links seem to be dead but the link to the Russian Snake pattern still works. Russian Snake Stitch