...building on the instructions contained in Beadwrangler's Medicine Pouch Jewelry.
Stitchery Samples using Trading Cards Quilt Art magazine issues include a variety these card examples. Originally they were made for trading. One person would make a card and send it to a friend. That friend would make another and send it back as trading cards. Not everyone wants to trade, however, the idea is perfect for small stitchery samples you can save and use as a reference. They are supposed to be 3 1/2" by 2 1/2"; you can make them any size you like. Keep them small so you do not have to spend excess time making them.
Here are a couple of cards my friends Tre' and Diane made me. For my trade, I made one and am finishing the other, however, I do not plan to make anymore cards for trade because my time is limited.
Fabric is ideal as the background. You can add embellishment that works with the fabric background colors. The piece will need a backing to keep it stiff. I used Fun Foam, which can be cut in any shape and is fairly thin. You can also use a stiff piece of cardboard or buckram fabric. Don't make the piece too thick or it will be difficult to finish the edges. Cut a piece of fabric big enough that it overlaps the backing. Do not put the backing on until you have finished your embellishment on the front. You can stitch on beadwork pieces, such as those in my Beadwork Samplers, or work beadwork directly onto the fabric. You can add thread stitchery and embellishment just as you would on quilts and other fiberarts. Don't overdo it or you will overwhelm the fabric background. Once you have finished your embellishment, set the backing onto the fabric on the wrong side of the fabric. Use white glue to attach the fabric to the backing, cutting excess fabric off so there is only a thin fabric edge around the backing. Let it dry. To make the back look nicer, you can then use a piece of heavy card stock, one that is a soft color, cut it to size and glue it over the back so the fabric edge does not show. Use a pen to write down the type stitchery used, techniques and sign the date you finished it. You can make several of these cards and use them as references for techniques. You can also take old greeting cards you received, cut a piece that fits the back of the card and use it instead of card stock. You can work a whipstitch around the card edge as finishing but it is not necessary. People who use sewing machines easily finish the edges to look more professional compared to those of us who hand stitch the edges. You can make these cards with your children or grandchildren and let them pick the fabric and help you put the card together after you finish the embellishment. Have fun.
Yarn and Bead Combo
I made a necklace with my focus on a
variegated yarn. I crocheted some of the
beads, used netting and knotting techniques for some of the beads, pin weaving
for some sections, wrapped wooden beads, embellished one wooden bead with bead
stringing and peyote, and then made bead crocheted beads as a final
element. I strung these beads altogether
and added a yarn chain stitched strap with a button and loop closure. Every element in this necklace was fun to
make and I learned a great deal about combining fiber beads. This piece evolved from my Fauble and Bauble
classes I teach at the Crochet Guild of
Bead Embellished Mini Baskets
I have been cleaning out my bead and fiber room and was pleased to find a small bead embellished basket I created 9 years ago. Baskets are available in all shapes and sizes. You can find baskets at stores handling crafts, flower arrangements, specialty and import shops in addition to one of a kind handmade baskets. After seeing Marcie Stone's little embellished pine needle basket in The New Beadwork(1992) by Kathlyn Moss and Alice Scherer, page 84, I was inspired to embellish my own little basket. I couldn't make a pine needle basket, however, I could go on a basket hunt. I found several little baskets about 3" tall and 2 1/2" wide at a local craft store. Like all bead and fiber lovers, I could not just buy one basket, I had to purchase 7. You never know when you will want to bead more than one basket. These baskets were dyed a variety of colors and I picked a mauve basket for my first experimentation. When choosing a basket, make sure it has enough spaces between the reeds (basket fiber) so you can work your needle through them and back out for beading. If you want to cover most the basket, choose a small one; if you want only a small amount of bead coverage, you can choose a larger basket and leave more open areas with the basket showing.
To start the embellishment, use a sharps needle size 11 or 12 and Silamide thread. Beading needles are too long and will bend when trying to work the needle from inside to the outside of the basket. String about 60" of thread on the needle and knot the ends together so you have about 30" on each side. Cut off the excess thread past the knot and use clear nail polish or Fray Stop on the thread knot. Take the needle through a space in the basket near the top edge, then take the needle between the doubled thread on the needle so it forms a loop attached to the basket. Now string on about 5 beads, lay them flat on the basket and take the needle through another space, then bring the needle back up through the 3rd bead of the original 5 beads and through the last 2 beads strung.
This is a bead backstitch and any number of beads can be added; example, 2 beads at a time and take the needle back through one bead, or 3 beads at a time and needle through the last 2 beads or 7 beads and needle through the last 4 beads. This will keep the bead strand flat on the basket. String another group of beads and repeat the process. Work about 5 vertical rows of beads divided up between the circumference of the basket. Do not make straight lines, keep them crooked, switching to the left sometimes and to the right other times as you work a vertical line. Then you can work between one line of beads to another on the basket with peyote, brick stitch or any other beading technique to fill the area on the basket. Leave some areas open to see through the basket and cover others. String larger beads, 4mm-8mm, as accent beads. Each time you run out of thread, stitch through some of the beads on the basket, back and forth until it is taut before cutting the thread and stringing new thread onto the needle. Make sure you leave enough thread each time to stitch back through the beading.
Set the 10" yarn piece horizontally at one end or the other of the board and use tape on each end to keep it flat. Then take one of the yarns for the tassel, set it in the center of the 10" yarn and begin wrapping it vertically around the board, leaving about 8" at the top to be work ed into the tassel head. After you wrap the yarn 10 times or so, cut it off, again, leave an 8" tail at the top. Then repeat this process with each of the other yarns and threads until you have a very thick piece around the board. Take the tape off one end of the 10" yarn piece and bring that end towards the center and over the wrapped yarn. Take the other tape piece off and do the same, then make a knot with the two cut ends. Use scissors to cut all the tassel thread and yarn at the opposite end on the board so they are all loose. Now you should be able to pick up the tassel from the loose 10" yarn ends. The tied yarn piece should be right in the middle of the cut threads and yarns. Fold the cut tassel ends so they meet and the tied loose ends are at the top, making a doubled tassel.
Take another 10" piece of yarn and tie it about 2" below the place where the yarn was originally tied, wrapping around all the loose yarn pieces. This makes a knob at the top of the tassel. The tassel should be bulky and all the cut ends hanging together. The top end can now be embellished and stitched, covering the tied yarns. Look at tassel books and magazine articles for ideas on embellishing both the top and bottoms of tassels. You can even string 6mm or 8mm beads onto some of the yarn ends to give the tassel weight. Tie a knot below each bead with the yarn. Get friends together and make tassels, then have a beading session follow. It is great fun and everyone's tassel will look different. Our tassels were on our chapter board and looked lovely. You can make very short tassels or long ones, thick or thin. Experiment and have fun.
Buckram for Embroidery
Draw Designs on Buckram
Leather Shapes for Stitchery
Twisted Bead Fringe
Let's experiment with a small piece of fabric, ultrasuede or leather, which we will call the fiber piece for our sample and use the edge as the area to attach the fringe. Use size 11/0 seed beads for your experiments. Cut about 40" of Silamide thread from the spool. If you do not have Silamide, try very thin sewing thread that is also plied and about equivalent to size A beading thread. Thread the needle with a beading or sharps needle. Make a knot at one end of the thread and leave it single thread, not doubled. Take the needle through the edge of the fiber piece and back out anchoring the thread knot. Take the needle through the fiber piece in one small stitch to be sure it is taut and will not come loose. Now string on about 50 seed beads. Next you are going to twist the thread with the beads on the thread. Take the open of the thread next to the needle between your thumb and forefinger and twist the thread until it begins to tighten up or the threads began to separate from each other. If the thread begins to separate, that means you need to twist in the opposite direction. Once you know which way to twist the thread, lay the fiber piece out flat on a table and the thread straight from it. It is a good idea to use a piece of foam core board and a t-pin or straight pins to hold down the fiber piece the first time you try this. This gives you both hands to work with rather than one holding the fiber piece.
Begin right next to where the last bead is strung on the thread. Put the thread between your thumb and forefinger and twist as far as you can in the direction that twists. You are actually making about a half circle twist each time. Each time you complete a half twist, you will make another from the beginning spot. Do not let the thread loose or you will lose the twist. It helps to use your other hand to hold the area with the beads taut while working. Make about 40 continuous twists and the beads should begin to twist on the thread. To see how much twist you have, take your other hand and put it in the middle of the 50 beads while taking your needle up to the area on the fiber piece where the bead strand began. The beads should twist together automatically.
Now you are ready to attach the fringe to the fiber piece. Hold firmly to the twisted area next to the beads, take the needle and pierce the thread above the first bead strung on the fringe. That's right, you are taking the needle right into the thread the beads are strung on. Pull taut. Then take your needle into the fiber piece and pull taut again. Piercing the thread holds the twist in the thread. Now make a tiny stitch in the fiber piece, bring the needle back out and you are ready to make another fringe. If you let the thread loose next to the needle before you pierce the thread, you will lose the twist in the thread. Use your other hand to hold the edge of the twisted thread while inserting the needle through the top of the thread. This first fringe strand is actually 25 beads long when doubled. Try making a few others in various lengths.
Once you are comfortable making the twist in the fringe, cut off
longer pieces of thread, double it and knot the end. Fringe needs double
thickness for strength but it takes more time to twist. I found 50 twists
for 100 beads of size 11 on Silamide thread to look good. Make more
samples with doubled thread and try longer lengths like 200 to 500 beads.
After you have twisted both threads, you will need to pierce the thread where it
comes out of the fabric to hold the twist just as before. If you want
each twisted fringe to be exactly the same as all the others, you will need to
count how many times you twisted each time you make each fringe to keep them
identical. You can add twisted fringe to beaded beads and other items once
you get used to the steps involved. I do not count my twists unless I am
making a specific project that requires it. My freeform items end out with
various amounts of twist in each fringe. If you have extremely long
fringe and you want it to last for many years, then you need to do all the
extras of tacking at various points along the fringe to keep the twists in.
The Bead Society of
Here is a look at one of my little experiments with twisted fringe that took me approximately 3 to 5 minutes to make each twisted fringe. Play, experiment and enjoy before you decide to sit down and make fringe that is 8-10" in length and require more laborious detail to complete. If you put larger seed beads such as size 8's on thinner thread like Silamide, you will need to add more twists because of the bead weight.
All the antique beaded purses I cataloged with twisted fringe have a plied thread that was easy to twist. Some of these purses were over 100 years old and still had their twisted bead fringe in perfect shape. I found a few purses did have tacked threads at intervals on the fringe, but most were just twisted and had held. Experiment adding twisted fringe to the middle of a beaded object and pouring out of the middle; make twisted fringe for doll hair; gather another beaded thread and take it through the open ends of all the twisted strands and attach it again to a beaded piece. Let me know what ideas you came up with. Send me a photo or image and we will show our viewers your creation. Enjoy experimenting and learning new techniques!
Mixed Media and
Stitchery as a Guide
I have a piece I am working on right now that has a Shadra beaded portion, a bead crochet medallion, beaded Vine Waves and bead crochet pieces. I will be backing the medallion with leather and putting buckram in between to make the medallion more firm. Then I will stitch the other pieces to the medallion to form a mixed media necklace. If I have any areas or ends that need hiding, I will use stitchery to embellish it. If you have leftover samples of one kind or another, save them and combine them to create new art. I use sharps needles and beading thread for most my basic stitching and silk, rayon, linen and pretty cotton threads with sewing and other thicker needles for special embellishing.
Mixing Beading and Bead Crochet
Brick Stitch - Building
a Foundation on Fabric
Beading on Fabric
You can also experiment with fibers by purchasing clothing and fabric pieces at thrift stores to practice on or some of your old clothes that no longer fit or are soiled. You can cut the clothing into little squares and toss the rest of the material. Then store them in a place that does not get dusty. Do not store them in closed plastic containers or baggies, fiber needs to breathe. A cabinet with doors is perfect. The fiber can be layered on top each other and still breath. Also, when fabric is stored in containers, they will eventually get an old stinky smell to them. I wash any fabrics I bring home in Ivory dishwashing soap and dry them before putting them away. Soon as you stick your needle into the fabric and begin to bead, you will quickly see which fibers work well and which do not. Keep a lists of the fiber content on the labels of the fabrics and you will soon know what works. After experimenting with various fabrics, you will pretty much know just by feeling the fabric, how well it will bead up.
Some silk fabrics are ideal for beading, others will form runs next to where you stick the needle. Silk, like many other fibers can have a soft, smooth or textured finish. Most all fabric types are made in various textures. Most polyesters, linens and cottons can be beaded. Some very sheer polyesters will also run. Rayon's are great for beading but can also run depending on the fiber blend. Fabrics used for swimsuits make unique beaded pieces and the patterns are usually diverse. I took an old bikini top and stitched the two pieces together to make a bag. Then I beaded it up. Old bikini tops can become designer beaded bags. They are usually already lined and have no edges to stitch under - perfect!
You can also purchase small amounts of designer fabric like fancy brocades at couture and specialty bridle and trim shops. A brocade that is $30 a yard will only be about $7.50 for a 1/4 of a yard. Some shops will let you purchase as little as an 1/8 of a yard. If you are beading a hatband, belt, vest or other embellishment for wearable, it will not take much fabric. Also, beading a small piece to fold over and make a bag takes very little fabric. A 1/4 yard of fabric could make four or more small beaded bags and as gifts would include designer fabric.
Beading with Bugles and
The Thread Breaks
Loosen Up - The easiest way to loosen up is to get some big cheap yarn at a craft store and a big tapestry needle. Try making netted loops around your finger. Take a length of yarn and tie a knot so it fits taut but loose on your big finger. In other words, don't cut off your circulation by strangling your big finger. Take a tapestry needle over and down past the yarn piece on your finger and back out. Then take the needle through the space between the needle and the yarn, making a loop. Continue making loops around your finger until you come to the other end. You should have about 5 or 7 loops. Then take the needle through the first loop you made and make a loop in it so you are building a tube. After a few rounds of loops, you can take the tube off and continue working it. Watch how the loops look, are they becoming tiny and tight, then you still need to practice loosening up. Are they uniform in shape and can you see space between each loop? They should be uniform and you should be able to see an opening in each loop. If you will practice once a day either with netting on your finger or on a rounded shape like a cone yarns comes on or a long empty thread spool, you will eventually loosen up. When the netting makes nice uniform loops and you can see between each loop, you are a success. Then go back to beading and see if your thread has less breakage.
If you are primarily a fiber person and are thinking about beading
on fabric, check out all the new beading books and my reviews at my