Let me start off by saying I don’t think anything I’m doing is terribly original & ground breaking. But I do like to bead (most of the time – there are exceptions) and for me this is the easy way.
Supplies: #10 beading needles, this chart calls for Mill Hill Petites and the only needle that can go through the majority of that size bead is a #10. If you are using seed size or larger and/or Delicas a #28 tapestry works the majority of the time with those beads. Your chart (I bead in sections, I don’t save it all for the end except on small projects, once all the cross & back stitching in a section is complete I bead). Return address labels (use the ugly free ones charities send you in the mail with your name misspelled). And a pen for marking the symbol used for each bead. Beads of course and thread (we’ll talk about that in a second). The lurking cat who is going to DIE if she isn’t fed RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, is optional.
Turn up the short side of your mailing label about a third. Draw the symbol for the bead on it, dip label into CORRECT pack of beads. If your project is likely to be a long term one where you may put the project away while you work on something else go ahead and write the beads’ number under the symbol. But for quick projects the symbol is all you need. Notice that I didn’t cover the sticky part of the label entirely in beads, there’s a reason – I’ll show you. BTW, save your breath about “Oh NOES!!! Acid from the glue!!!” if it bothers you that much go buy acid free stickers, but seriously this isn’t something you need to worry about.
All my little beads lined up and ready to go.
Now here’s why I leave some of the sticky exposed, it sticks just enough to my q-snap felt buffers or the fabric itself. Why? Because now I can flip my work to get to the back and those bead stickers stay in place. I don’t have to waste time moving them around.
Threading those obnoxiously small #10 needles. Lick the floss. Do it, you know you wanna. Squeeze that end between your nails and give it a little pull to make that thread flat. Then put the thread between your thumb and index finger with just the tiniest little bit exposed.
Then you PUSH the eye of the needle on to it. Just a little bit will come through, but it’ll be enough for you to grab and pull through the eye.
Now let’s talk thread. For most of my projects I use thread that matches my fabric. It does not have to be perfect! Close is good enough. You’ll see when you get a look at my finished beading. I use a single strand of thread.
I do use invisible thread on occasion; but it is a massive PITA to use. Next time I use it I’ll do another mini-tut about using it, but right now I can tell you you’ll need Thread Heaven, a lark’s head knot, scads of patience and very good lighting.
First stitch, I’ve come up from the bottom left like I start all my stitches, I run the tip of my needle through a bead, as I lift up the bead pops off the label while the label stays put.
Bead on the thread, needle going down in the top upper right to complete a half stitch. About attaching beads, there isn’t a right or wrong way. There is a consistent and pleasing to the eye way or a willy nilly take no pride in your work way. Just like all your stitches are crossed in the same direction, so should your beads all lay in the same direction. If you choose to attach using a full cross that’s fine. I use a full cross on almost half of my projects. When stitching a Mirabilia and using Mill Hill beads, 99% of the time I use a half cross, it makes it easier to make the beads fit. But when I’m stitching a Chatelaine and using Delicas, I use a full cross. Please note, this piece is a round robin piece – sometimes on these you’ll see a mixture of half and full cross used. This is the only time I make an exception to the rule. When stitching on these I tend to go with what the majority has used, usually that is the half cross.
This is a shot of how I naturally stitch, I have a floor stand and stitch two handed. My left hand does all the movements above the fabric and my right hand does all below fabric movements (when not busy taking photos).
The back! Ahhhhhhhh…. run………… hide………. 😉 For shortish distances I will carry my thread. This works because it can’t be seen. 1 because is it on the back, 2 the stitching already in place hides it, 3 the thread matches the fabric and doesn’t show easily. But this carry is a bit too far for me, where my needle is placed is where the next bead is to be.
So I just run my needle through some of the stitches. This is also a good thing to do if you have to attach big heavy beads (8’s) or crystal cubes or treasures. It helps the thread provide a more solid attachment for the beads and makes it less likely to droop and wiggle.
All done! This bit of beading took me approximately 15 minutes to complete. And that was with stopping to take pictures and I was slowed down by having to talk to my Mother on the phone too. And notice that you don’t notice the thread that was used for attachment of the beads.
When you’re done or taking a break? You can just toss the bead labels into your drawer until next time or until you clean up. Speaking of, I just roll the beads off the label back into their packs. The beads don’t stick to each other and the labels have only ever removed the teensy bits of gold from just one color of Delica and then I only knew it was happening because I saw the gold on the label – the beads I couldn’t tell, they still looked perfect.