Hi Everyone! I hope you enjoyed Lynn's post yesterday about beading! If you did, you're in for a treat today, becasue she is back for a second day to show you some beading basics. Today, Lynn shows you the ins and outs of how to sew the beads on your quilt. Thank you again to Lynn for her willingness to share all this great info with us and for taking the time to write such a clear tutorial. Enjoy! --Mama Pea
It’s Lynn again, aka Alamosa Quilter, finishing up my beading tutorial guest post for Stephanie.
Today I’m going to show you some beading basics. To start, thread your needle with a double length of thread. Knot the ends with a single quilters knot.
I am using some white beading thread on solid black fabric so that things will show up better in the photos. I should also mention that I took these photos on a partly cloudy day. The clouds were moving fast and playing peek-a-boo with the sun so the colors look a bit different in some photos than in others.
Starting half a needle length from where you want to begin beading, insert your needle between the layers and pull the knot between the layers. Then go up to the top of the quilt.
Take a very small stitch (that will be hidden underneath your bead(s)). This gives some added security to your initial knot. I put a bead and the needle next to the stitch for scale so you can see what I mean by “small.” If I was using black thread this stitch would be pretty much invisible even before it gets covered by beads.
Now come back up to the top of the quilt just before your little stitch, so that the beads will cover your little stitch.
Then load up your needle with beads. The number of beads you load at one time depends on how far you are going and what stitch you are doing. For this first stitch we are just going to lay them straight. I loaded about 10 beads on my needle.
Lay them flat on the surface and gently tap them back towards the starting point to make sure that there is no loose bead thread sticking out the back.
Put your needle straight down at the end of your beads. You don’t want to put the needle in at an angle because it may negatively affect how your beads lay.
Bring the needle to the back of your project.
Come back up a few beads from the end, right in the middle of the line of beads. I generally come up about 1/3 of the beaded length from the end. In this case, about 4 beads from the end.
Pass the needle through these last couple beads again.
Pull your thread through and you have just sewn your first line of beads.
Load up some more beads and I’ll show you how to get a curved line of beads.
Lay the beads on your surface in a curved shape.
When you are happy with your curve, put your needle straight down to the back at the end of the last bead in your curve.
In most cases, this will cause your beads to jump up from the surface as the ones in the above photo did. Never fear! You are going to couch them into submission. Force your beads to lay back down on the surface and bring your needle up on one side of the beaded thread at the top of the curve.
Pull the needle up and put it back down on the other side of the bead thread.
Pull the needle and thread back down to the back. The little couching stitch should be hidden between the beads.
To do a loop of beads, just bring the last bead around to the first bead and go back down to the back as close to where you came up as you can. Then couch the loop down. You may need to couch it in a couple places to get them to lay the way you want.
Due to the way they are made, bugle beads can be sharp on the ends and there are often a few damaged ones in every purchased package. In the photo below I drew arrows toward the two damaged ones I poured out. You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it to be able to see the damage.
Because bugle beads usually have sharp ends they can cut your thread over time. To use bugle beads safely, you should always place a seed bead at the beginning and end, to protect the thread.
Load up a seed bead, a bugle bead, then a seed bead on your needle. Lay them flat on your surface and put the needle straight down to the back at the end of the line of beads.
Bring the needle up between the bugle bead and the last seed bead.
Take an extra stitch through the last seed bead.
Again put the needle straight down to the back of your work right at the end of the bugle bead line.
The last stitch I will show you is how to make beaded fringe.
Come up from the back of your project where you want the top of your fringe to start.
Load the beads you will make your first strand of fringe with on your needle. I used a blue bead on the end for clarification since this bead is the key to making fringe.
Lay the beads flat on the surface of your work, but separate the end bead (the blue one) from the rest.
Put your needle back through all of the beads, except the last one (blue one).
Pull the needle through all the way along with all the excess thread. You may have to fiddle with the beads a bit to do this, but be patient, it will all work out.
Insert the needle back into your fabric right where you came up to begin the fringe.
Pull the excess thread to the back and you’ve made the first strand of fringe. It will stand up.
Or lay flat.
Repeat the fringe step as many times as you want to make fringe. This looks great hanging down off the bottom of a quilt. You can make the individual strands as long or as short as you like.
So that’s it for stitches. Now how do you finish? Take your needle and excess thread to the back of your project. I will show you two ways to finish depending on whether you are going to back your project or not.
If you are beading on just your top and batting (or felt or flannel or some other layer) and will back your work when you are finished then you don’t need to worry about hiding knots. Take a small stitch, just through the batting layer.
Pass your needle through the loop of the stitch.
Pull the thread tight creating a little knot stitch.
Then clip your threads leaving a generous 3” or 4” tails.
With these tails, tie a knot.
I usually do this twice. The beading thread is kind of like thin dental floss and has a tendency to misbehave. After you have spent all that time beading, you definitely don’t want the threads to come loose and beads to go every where. Then clip the ends about 1/2” from the knot.
Put your backing on and finish the edges as desired and you’re done!
If you have already backed and bound your piece and you are beading as a final step, I still take a very small knot stitch on the back. Actually I do two of these. Then knot your thread near the fabric and put your needle between the layers. Pull the thread to hide the knot between the layers and then clip your threads.
When beading as a final step you can travel between the layers to hide some of your stitching. For added security you may want to stop and tie off then restart in a new area instead of traveling very far. This way if the beading stitches come loose in one area later on, the problem will be contained and easier to fix. If you do travel, be sure go through the last couple beads twice and take a small knot stitch on the back at the end of the first beads, travel between the layers to the next area, then take a small stitch (up to the top and then back down to the back) that will be hidden beneath the next beads before continuing to bead. This will minimize the damage should your threads get cut later.
Whew! That’s all I have for you today. Happy beading!