One of things I set out to teach my self this year was bead embroidery. I actually started last year but it still counts. Last december I made my self a quick fabric cover for my diary and the sat down to make a bead soup.
Undoing my bead soup and making decisions
This was a mistake, apart from one tiny area, which I forced myself to do, I stuck to one colour of bead per motif I stitched. This obviously meant I ended up sorting m bead soup as I went along. My colour choices came from the larger beads and the silver roses that I found in my stash. It’s hard to descibe my process, I knew i didn’t want it to be too bright but also that just using pale greys and blues wouldn’t work. In the end there ended up with a mix of grey, pale blue, deep blue and silver. I tried also to get a good mix of different coatings, matt, shiny metallic ect. to keep it interesting.
In terms of teaching myself I had a quick google for tips and techniques, but mostly I found people telling me that I needed specific backing, and needles and thread. But that’s not really how I work – maybe my work won’t last quite as long, but that’s ok I can make more. While I’m sure these things help, I’m pretty sure they aren’t necessary. Pretty much the only useful tip I found was to keep things a little looser than you think, especially when doing curves – so I kept that in mind.
And then I jumped in and got going. I started with the placement of the roses, and then the strip of flowers at the edge. Then I just went from there. I really enjoyed doing the concentric circles but tried my hardest not to just do those.
Because I had no plan, I made sure that I jumped around, rather than beading from one particular point outwards, in order to make it look reasonably coherent at the end. I also tried to repeat techniques, with different colour beads for the same reason.
I was concious that I was going to be using this as a diary, so it would be living in my handbag, and therefore the beading needed to be reasonable flat and well secure. About half way through, I had added most of the accent beads but pretty much all I had done with the seed beads was flat circles or lines. So I started trying to come up with ideas that wouldn’t be too ‘flappy’ but would still add texture. Instagram was a great inspirition, and I had fun just trying things.
Different bits of texture
I was expecting this project to take all year but actually I’ve enjoyed it so much. I think this one of my favourite new techniques, and yes I’ve already started my next project. In general I think in the future, sturdier fabrics will be a good bet. For the diary I used a very thin cotton because it was what I had, in this case it was okay because it was already on the diary, but it wouldn’t have coped if it had been free. I also made good use of my frixion pen to act as a guideline – I figured it it would all be covered up so it didn’t matter.
My next piece is a purse and I’m looking forward to be able to add even more texture. I also went shopping so have some new shapes to play with – Lets see what happens.