The Missy Method To Better (Or At Least Easier) Beading ™

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.

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23 Responses to The Missy Method To Better (Or At Least Easier) Beading ™

  1. Annette says:

    The label trick is *inspired*!! And even though I stitch in-hand, I can see holding the labels between my fingers to make them easy to reach.

    My current trick is to use a sticky-box thing and rest it on my chest LOL

  2. Sharon says:

    Thanks so much for that, that is a great idea. I too stitch with just one thread but I thought I was doing it wrong. What do you do with beads that are all out by themselves with no stitching around them? What do you do with the “thread ends”? I have done a number of different things but none work all that well.

  3. doris says:

    Nice! Thanks for sharing, especially the label idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

  4. Cheryl says:

    i use a Tacky Bob, but very similar concept. I bead the same way you do and with thread that matches the ground fabric. Invisible thread is the most evil stuff invented and I simply refuse to consider it!

    GREAT tutorial!

  5. Valerie says:

    Invisible thread = evil. I just FINALLY invested in thread heaven. I may have to try that combo one day.

    I’ll also have to try beading with just floss…I never have! And I like your address label idea. The tacky bob works but it’s too sticky!And kind of inconvenient.

  6. Amanda says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing and for all your pics too! I bead the same way as you do but never thought to use a sticky label!

  7. *LOVE* the address label idea! I have one of the Tacky BOB boxes, but I like the idea of being able to mark the label with the bead symbol. I’m definitely going to have to “borrow” this idea. 🙂

  8. Melissa C. says:

    I follow all the same tricks except for the label thing – BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to bead just so I can try it. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Brigitte says:

    The label part is such a good trick. I always had the respective beads in little lids of jam glasses for example, but this sticky label trick is so much better. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jenna says:

    Well done! I love the labels, since I hate my tacky BOBs. I find that they readily and consistently pull the finish off of my beads. Not good. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anne S says:

    Have to agree with everyone else – GREAT idea to use sticky labels … I use a Tacky Bob and find it a bit ‘over-sticky’ at times too 🙂

  12. Reba Scott says:

    I *LOVE* the idea of using the address labels! Ingenious!!

  13. JenJen says:

    Very cool – how long have I been stitching now and never thought of using a sticky label! DUH!

  14. Autumn says:

    I never thought of the label either. I just hold about 5 or 6 beads between pursed lips and nobody better talk to me or pinched fingers if I AM talking. I hate invisible thread too. It’s stretchy and slippery and just not worth using in my opinion. I’ve stuck with plain DMC and I’m happy with that.

  15. Michelle says:

    This is a big help – the tip of using the labels – because I have LOST my Tacky Bob. Other than that – your method is exactly like mine. I always use full crosses though, but that’s just me. Granted I’ve never beaded a Mirabilia though – just a Chatelaine.

  16. beritbunny says:

    Missy, this idea of the labels is inspired! I’m totally making a mental note. 😀 And a bookmark.

  17. LisaBC says:

    Labels are a smart idea. I think I’ll borrow that one from you. Thanks!

    My beading involves lurking cats who also need to be fed. right. now.

  18. Siobhan says:

    Great idea for the labels! I usually just pour the beads into a small area and hope too many don’t roll away as I work. 😉

  19. Rachel says:

    Never thought of using sticky labels! I just leave the beads in the package, open on the table, and pray they don’t get knocked over!! I have also only ever used invisible thread for attaching beads until this RR. Using floss is so much easier, I think I will be officially converted to using floss from now on. And thank you for the sneak peak of my RR and using it for demo purposes 🙂 !

  20. MarieP says:

    I found your tutorial informative and very amusing…You made me laugh with: “willy nilly take no pride in your work way” 🙂
    I love the idea of using the return address label, very clever of you. I do not use beads that often but this was certainly helpful…Thanks!

  21. Little Cat says:

    Great tutorial! I have only beaded one project and used that awful plastic invisible thread. Hard work! I will definitely be trying your way on my current project (Magnolia). The only thing that worries me a little is that just one piece of thread might be too weak to hold the beads for years? Have you every had a problem with a single thread snapping and the beads coming off? Also I stitch on aida – will this make a difference?

  22. Measi says:

    That sticky label idea is brilliant, quite frankly. I don’t trust those Mill Hill packages to stay closed (or, in my case, explode open because I pull a bit too hard), so everything’s in screw-top little jars, labeled in permanent sharpie. They’re deep enough to keep everything contained.

    HOWEVER… I’m going to try the sticky labels and see if that goes faster.

  23. Pingback: Annette's Acre » Ten on the Tenth – August

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