Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No. 14 beadwork


tambo said...

Are you doing beading now, too? Have any tips? I'm starting a project - a bag - that'll have beading and I'm a complete novice.

Lynn Viehl said...

I only do beadwork on art quilts because I don't have to wash them; the glass and crystal beads and threads I work with are fairly delicate and don't stand up to much handling. If you're going to bead a project that you intend to put in the washer or handwash, select beads and beading thread that are sturdy.

I use a flannel or a beading board to lay out my bead pattern first to get an idea of what the beads are going to look together. Sometimes I do a smaller, practice piece like a bookmark or Christmas ornament to see how well the bead colors work together.

Needles are important. I use long quilting needles with small eyes because I'm clumsy with flimsier beading needles and bend them out of shape fairly quickly. You have to test out your beads on the needle you intend to use before you start the beadwork to make sure they can pass over the eye.

I don't put long stacks of beads on my threads; I try to keep it to a maximum of three beads at a time before I do an anchor stitch. This makes the work go more slowly but the beading is more secure.

Watch your seam allowances. If you're working on panels that you plan to sew together later, clearly mark your seam allowances first so you don't bead into the sewing area. I used that purple quilting pen that fades away in 24 hours or a piece of tailor's chalk, depending on the fabric.

Work at a table with a flannel cloth on it -- beads bounce and roll, and it helps stop them from landing on the floor.

Those are all the tips I can think of. :)

Shawn Hansen said...

Having failed with Gulliver, the Lilliputians rethought their operations and began exploring tie-downs made with reinforced materials.

tambo said...


I have some Indonesian batiks that I'm turning into a funky little triangular bag. It's not for regular use, exactly, more just a hang-around catch all artsy piece, but I want it to be cute.

Thanks again for the tips!

Dawn Montgomery said...

I'm fascinated by the technique, but I'll stick with the basics for a bit longer...LOL.

I am such a sucker for shiny beads against fabric. It really is lovely.