This year, I have made two new years resolutions... the first is to learn bead embroidery, the second is to write more tutorials (and particularly, to finish the two I have had on the go for bloomin' ages!).
But bead embroidery is the theme today... it's something I've admired for a long time, but never had the courage to give it a try. Thanks to some gentle persuasion from a very good beady friend, I've taken the plunge! I didn't need to add much to my stash to get going with this... just some Stiff Stuff, some glue, and some ultra-suede. Thanks to a de-stash sale on Etsy, I managed to buy enough ultra-suede to last a life-time for $5, and I bought some Stiff Stuff from RB Beads. I already have a glue gun, although I'm not sure how suitable it is for this purpose, but it'll do for the while... I've also invested in some tacky-glue, which seems to work pretty nicely too!.
So, on to my first attempt. I decided to keep it pretty free-form, and bead around a small chrysocolla cab, and add some 4mm semi-precious beads in too.
Nancy, my bead embroidery mentor, suggested that I add another row of 11s around the outside to make it easier to finish off, which I did, and finishing off something so wiggly would have been difficult!
Finishing off was something that I couldn't get my head around until after Christmas. My boyfriend and sister bought me books on bead embroidery. I got The Art of Bead Embroidery: Technique, Design & Inspiration by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini, and Bead Embroidery by Yukiko Ogura. (My other sister bought me the Bead & Button Right-Angle-Weave Stitch Workshop book... but I'll leave that for another day!) The books are very different, as they focus on quite different techniques. The first, is written from two different points of view - each showing how they work certain techniques, and what materials etc they use. It's full of project ideas from each author, and has a totally inspirational gallery at the back. The second focuses on individual stitch techniques, showing how to make flowers, leaves, different lines, raised, textured bead work etc. Both books are beautiful, and I am very grateful to have received them... I just need to find the time to play with all the techniques, and the inspiration to make beautiful things with the techniques.
Do any of you readers do bead embroidery? I'm curious to find out any hints and tips etc, Is it better to embroider on stiff stuff or ultra-suede? Ultra-suede feels very floppy - should I use an embroidery frame to keep it tight when I'm sewing?
I'm full of so many questions about this beautiful art - I suppose the only real way to answer them is to dive right in, and have a good old play! Wish me luck!