I’ve been trying some new things to work on that I could do easily and fairly quick. Right, haha.
I had seen some crochet and bead earrings online I wanted to try. I used the same Aunt Lydia’s variegated cotton thread that I used on one of the scrubbies I posted about recently.
It turned out out to be a little fiddly, but I got the hang of it and was pleased with the results. I especially like the variegated thread since it makes it easy to wear with several colors. My favorite ocean like colorway. Here they are lying flat.
But then I thought they would nice hanging. So I scoured my house for something to hang them on.
Can you see the beading?
I keep pulling out my felt scraps and wonder what I can do with them. I had some prefelt leftover from making business cards covered with throwsters waste to add a little bling and just enough to make two earrings. I cut out two squares and played around with how to use them. I like dangling earrings but not too big. Since it was prefelt I didn’t want to add beads on it and weigh it down.
So, I used a head pin put a few beads on it then attached the prefelt around it just sewing it closed in the back. And finally attached the hooks. They aren’t perfect but they are handmade.
I started another round pair with beads, but got frustrated and put it aside for another time.
I still have piles of scraps. I’ll have to play with them some more and figure out what else I can use them for. Unfortunately, many pieces are too small to match and are odd shaped. What have you done with your scraps lately?
Mary Stori is a new forum member, but has extensive experience in quiltmaking and fiber art. She introduced herself to us in January as “‘ a wanna be felter living outside of Asheville, NC. For the past 25+ years I’ve traveled the national and international quilting circuit as an author, lecturer, workshop leader, cruise host…..bla, bla, bla. The focus of my work began with wearable art, fine hand quilting, whimsical and highly embellished quilts.”
She attended a class with Chad Alice Hagen a few years ago and is now “hooked.” Her focus went from quilts to felt. But one thing hasn’t changed — her love of embellishments, particularly beading which she has authored several books on. So, with her permission I have put together some of her tips from her blog on beading.
I’m often asked how I organize my beads……this method works well for me.
First of all……you won’t use them if you can’t find them, so take the time to gather them from all your hiding places, organize them, and then put them in a convenient place…no matter how many or few you have.
A location away from sunlight, heat, and excess moisture is best.
Because there are no closets in my studio, my teaching materials are stored in a large walk in closet in a guest room nearby. The bulk of my workshops in recent years have focused on beading techniques or projects that incorporate beads. Therefore, I purchase a LOT of beads in bulk from a distributor for my classes. They generally come as strung kilos, which I repackage into kits and store in boxes and plastic bins.
Above is my own personal stash…… One entire side of the closet is fitted from floor to ceiling with shelves…and almost all are used to store my embellishments. I could consolidate them if the space was needed for other things, but as it is now, I’m easily able to walk in and quickly find what I’m looking for without having to dig through dozens of items stacked on top of each other.
I like to use plastic fishing tackle boxes, or embroidery floss containers. Beads are stored by style and color in see-thru plastic tubes or small bags. Here you see some seed beads.
Besides using beads, I utilize many other embellishments, trinkets, charms, buttons, found objects into my work. This unit has plastic pull out containers with large divided sections which are more suitable for these items. It too goes on my shelves in the closet.
If tubes or small bags aren’t handy for you….try storing beads in small containers such as film canisters, pill bottles, or metal breath mint cases. If you glue a bead to the lid….you’ll always be able to quickly know what’s inside!
Another big key to beading……is making your environment comfortable during the task. A table top or floor model Ott light will save on eye strain. As will a pair of ‘cheater glasses’. I always tell my students that one of the biggest secrets to successful beading is ‘spacing’….and the ability to see the bead and to judge the placement of the needle into the fabric is vital.
Many people are unaware that beads may not necessarily be colorfast. For instance, this beautiful blue bugle bead below may appear as if it’s blue glass. Not so……it’s clear glass that has been dyed or painted blue. Often the color remains secure on the bead, other times not. So…..if you think there’s a possibility that your project will be washed, become damp, or even require high steam for pressing…..take a few minutes and test your beads for colorfastness.
Most of the time, there isn’t a problem, but for that heirloom project….you’d be devastated if during a final steam pressing, the bead color ran into your fabric. The pricier beads may be just at risk as the less expensive ones…..you can’t tell by looking.
Here’s how to test:
– Fill a shallow dish with hot sudsy water….drop in a few beads….let it sit for 15 mins.
– Remove them…rinse and let dry on a paper towel.
Note….sometimes color will be visible in the water, other times….the color will slowly eek out as it dries. As you can see….this blue bead has run…..red is another color I check carefully.
Don’t let this scare you…….we are all aware that colorfastness can be an issue with fabrics……now you know that beads carry the same risk. Even if the bead color doesn’t run….sometimes the fancy coatings……that make a bead’s surface shimmer with various affects, (like rainbow) can dissipate……and the bead will lose its luster.
I’ve tested very, very few beads that I decided not to use……or that I’ve used with caution……beading is worth any effort….hopefully with this hint….all your projects will continue to shine brightly!
I’m a stickler for good quality construction…..for me it’s not all about fast, rather…it’s about great design that has been executed to the best of my ability. If precautions aren’t taken, beading can cause fabrics to distort. Therefore, I ALWAYS secure my work in a Q-snap frame. The only exception is when I’m beading the bindings/edges of my quilts.
Q-snap frames are simply PVC tubes which come in a variety of sizes. This one is 11″ x 11″, my choice for smaller projects. The work is attached using clips that snap over the frame. Though you could use a round embroidery hoop…..I don’t because it pulls the fabric diagonally which can stretch the bias. I’ve found it’s best to keep the fabric ON GRAIN by using a square or rectangular frame when beading.
As for felt, unless the felt is super thick and sturdy, I always secure fabric (of any kind) in a Q-snap frame for beading and embroidery. However, I generally avoid using the plastic clips…….instead I attach the material using muslin sleeves or pin the fabric around the frame to avoid damage to the fabric and beads. There’s nothing more unattractive than distorted, stretched out wool!!!
However, as the beading design develops, requiring repositioning of the fabric, I avoid using the clips in places where they could damage the beads. Instead, if the piece is large enough as it is in this sample, I wrap the excess snugly around the frame, and secure the layers together using straight pins or by thread basting. This keeps the fabric on grain, and well stabilized to assure good thread and fabric tension.
My ‘artist’ inspired piece is now in the beading phase…. The piece is attached to an 11″x17″ Q-snap frame…note I used 1 clip at the top, where it didn’t interfere with the beads.
I also want to mention that I’m beading through 2 layers only…..the quilt top which has been stabilized with batting. This approach will hide and protect the threads once the backing is added later.
You can find more information on Mary’s website and blog. She’s also the author of “Beading Basics,” “All-in-One Beading Buddy,” & DVD – “Mary Stori Teaches You Beading on Fabric” & “Embellishing With Felted Wool”
Do you remember the coppery bronzey felt piece I posted about last month? I cut that up recently and started to make a glasses case and purse out of it. I have so many cut out or part made up items at the moment, I think I’ll be working on them all year 🙂 I did actually finish the glasses case though. This is one side of it:
And this is the other side:
I used some gorgeous hand dyed cotton perle 5 from Rainbow Girl on etsy. The variegated colours work perfectly. I also managed to do quite a lot on the purse. I managed to sew it all together already.
I still need to choose the right button, which always takes forever, and sew the buttonhole.
I’ve also been working on a Fimo tutorial the last few weeks. Taking photos has been harder than ever, it’s been really dark, stormy and rainy, which is nice but not great for taking phtotos inside. We did get a few really bright sunny days, so I worked on the opposite side of the house to the sun and managed to get a lot done, or so I thought. When I downloaded the photos, what looked good when I set up a shot, didn’t look good once hands were in the photo! I thought Monday would be perfect for working outside, it was bright but cloudy, but also really windy, so back indoors. I did get quite a few good photos all in all, including this one, which captures perfectly my attempt to get rid of the dent I caused when I released the camera from the tripod without holding it first!
And here’s a sneaky peek at one of the other pieces I worked on:
I’m nowhere near finishing it yet, but when I have, I’ll put it for sale on etsy, it won’t be expensive, but I want to put as much in it as possible, so if anyone has any ideas, suggestions or requests, if it’s something I know about, I’ll do my best to include it 🙂
I really don’t have a huge amount to blog about at the moment, but I have added to my tree project in my mixed media course. I”ve added some more stitching with some leaves and flowers in straight stitches and French knots and I did try to be very clever and create a picot stitch, ( on the right up the trunk ) I haven’t done one of them before but I want to do a vine going around and up the tree and in a 3d kind of effect, so this is my first attempt at that stitch and while I thoroughly enjoyed how it works I will more than likely take those few out and re-do. That was just a bit of practise, I’ve also added a spider web and the dreaded spider ( sorry zed ) he’s a friendly one lol. I know that its out of proportion but that’s ok to !
I am really enjoying this and although nothing is perfect and its not supposed to be, I’m loving how its all coming together. I still need to add more foliage and I’m not really sure what to do with the background but it does need something, maybe a shrub or to in the far distants. I’m just taking my time with this project and as things come to mind I’ll be adding them in !
I’ve also been working on another little note book cover , adding stitches and beads and I think I’m getting the hang of it more now. I made this sheet of felt a while ago and I’m cutting it up to make 3 covers , can I tell you how hard it was to cut into that sheet lol I struggled, held my breath, closed my eyes and made the first cut, let out a big breath and i’m OKAY !!!!
This one has lots of added silks, threads and sari ribbon !
This is the first of the 3, I’ve added stitches and beads and also a couple of my very own hand made beads. I think I’m getting a lot neater as I go and the reason I’m doing these are all in practise for my so called album cover that I still haven’t picked up again lol Once I feel that these covers are good enough I might even put them on Etsy lol it’s a long shot but we’ll see 🙂 otherwise i’ll save them for gifts !
I havent added any stitches on the back and i’m not sure i will either, I’m fairly happy with the way this turned out and i can only improve “right”
So thats it for me and i’d love to see what everyone else is working on !!!
Her work is so beautiful. I’ve never really wanted to learn about beading before but since getting into more of the mixed media side of things it’s made me more interested in the beading process, of course not on the scale of Robins though , just enough to try to work into my pieces. Robin has been beading for a long time and she has written a couple of books, she has now put out her first book as a free book for anyone to read, so since I was following along I thought I’d take the time to read it. She explains her methods of beading and basically works free hand with no pre conceived ideas, or nothing set in stone. So having read that I thought I’d give a small piece a go, mind you I don’t have thousands of beads to choose from so I started this little one with one of Zed’s hand made buttons and went from there.
It definitely helped to read her book as I was under the impression that I should have some sort of design in mind before I started, but I actually found it so much easier not to. This is only a small piece I know but reading her book gave me the courage to have a go !!
I’ve also made a couple of small note book covers, inspired by Zed once again, and I wanted to do something else with my flat pieces of felt and not just wall hangings. The first cut was the hardest I must admit, spending all that time rubbing and rolling the felt only to cut it up in the end. These 2 covers were made with the one piece and then cut in half so I had the 2 different colours in each cover.
I then embellished with embroidery stitches learned from the TAST 2012, so I used Blanket, Fly & Cretan stitches and then added some beads in too.
I did not have any success with creating skeleton leaves so we’ll leave that for another day lol
I hope everyone’s had a productive week and I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.