Monday, June 4, 2007

Bead Questions

OK, this is not for my journal - I was just playing and it brought up some questions.
1) The first "row" I did on this small embroidery was the one along the top - to define the arch shape. After attaching the beads using the backstitch, I went back through the whole "row". The next row is just inside that one. Should one also go back through all the beads in the second row - this would seem to pull them away from the first row. I haven't done bead embroidery for awhile and so can't remember how I did it before. I ended up anchoring the second row to the first, but I don't really think that is the solution. On any "row" of beads, if there is a curve to it, do you avoid going back through all of them?

2) If using the backstitch, will you get a better defined shape if you do a 2 forward, one back instead of stitching on more beads at once, like a 3 forward, 2 back? I know in embroidery, if the line is relatively straight, you make your stitches all the same size, but then when you get to a sharp curve you "slow down" and make the stitches smaller - is there a similar idea in bead embroidery?

3) This is sort of a big question. I've done lots of different projects in the beading magazines - some peyote, some square stitch, etc. But I am master of none and I don't have a good overview of what stitch is best used for what application. Some stitches seem better for a square shape, some are better for a vessel, etc. I'd like to combine some 3-D beading with my bead embroidery - so, for instance for a flower petal - what is the best stitch to use?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Happy Beading......
~Lin Moon


Lois2037 said...

When I bead, I use a LOT of curves. I generally couch the beads to the shape (back stitch would work well, too), which I lay out like you did your arch shape. I cozy up the next row to the first, couch (or back stitch) every 2nd or 3rd bead, and then I go back through all the beads. The couching keeps them to the shape, and going through the beads tends to help them to lie smooth. I usually sew down 6 or so beads and couch every 2 or 3 beads. I like really sturdy beading!

flyingbeader said...

Lin, when I do curves like you are describing, I use smaller amounts of beads with each stitch sometimes only putting on one at a time to get a nice look. So in this case, if I put on one or two beads at a time, I'll go back into the set of beads put on previously and go through them in addition to the set I just put on. Make sense? Watch your tension though because you can pull too tight & cause everything to bunch up. I don't like to couch ever, but that is just me. After you are finished with the whole row, you can then go back through all the beads in that row & with a slight tension, make then straighten up into a nice tight line. Hope this works for you. Private me if you want more details. I have a tutorial I can send you that I use for beginning embroidery classes. dot

The bad Liz said...

1) I don't usually go through the row again - it makes some of my beading pucker. I just eyeball how many beads I need for the line, then couch them down (it could be 8 beads or it could be 50)

2) I guess I don't have enough straight lines to answer this one. I use couching most of the time....

3) Flower petals? I would think about peyote or herringbone.

Robin said...

Lin ~ You see? There's as many answers as there are beaders... not one RIGHT answer. It boils down to what works for you, practice, and expectations. One thing I gave up on quite early (in my 20 years of bead embroidery) is the notion that it needs to be perfect. The human eye is built to connect the dots, to put them in a line. This helps us to see an "imperfect line of beads" exactly as it was intended to look.

Well, for all that, I still have my 2 cents to offer.

1 & 2) I generally backstitch in groups of 5 beads through the last two. However, when working with a tight curve, I use fewer. To smooth the line, I go back through it, but don't pull it tight at all. Just the thread in there aligns the holes and smooths the line. That could the the problem with the second row in pulling away from the first... yes that would happen if you pulled the thread tight when going back through the line of beads. In general, I find it more satisfactory to work from the inside of the curve out. The lines tend to hold together much better that way. Sometimes you can't do it inside > out. If a stubborn line won't go where I want it to go, I may use a couching stitch or two to "move" it over. Your overall tension must be a tad loose, or when you couch, you'll make it pucker.

3) Depends on how large the petal will be. There are so many ways to do a flower petal, some flat, some slightly raised, and some dimensional. Could you be a bit more specific about what you want?

Lin Moon said...

Thanks for all your helpful comments - when I thought I was "cheating" to get the beads where I wanted them, I was just combining everyone's technique into one!

About the flower petal - I'm thinking something pretty basic: picture a round flower center embroidered on fabric and then some sort of triangular petals surrounding it. I want them to be pretty flat, then I can make them dimensional by the position in which they are anchored to the fabric. I hope that makes sense...

Denise said...

I'm like Robin, I prefer to start from the inside and work my way out. You could draw the lines lightly on your material and bead the lines then fill them in with a different type of stitch - like boucle. Or you could start small and work around a line of beads to make the petal larger and larger as you increase your row of beads.
Hope this helps.
Cheers, Denise