Saturday, 25 January 2014

Textile Beads

This post will end with the first 'how to' of a series ( please scroll down if that's your main interest ), but, before I get to that:

Why am I making textile beads?

The absolutely honest answer is that I enjoy stitching them and I like the results of my work. 

In an attempt to justify the time I have spent this week there are some other factors:

- Lynwoodcrafts' brooches continue to be my best sellers. I had a very limited selection of other jewellery items.

- I have a huge collection of all the yarns, thread, fabrics I might expect to need - the possibilities for shape/colour etc are endless.

- Small beads lend themselves to the use of re-purposed fabric, this will always be mentioned in the listing where used. I am committed to the recycling of all textiles used in my household - one way or another!

- My customers tell me that they buy from me for one of two reasons. The item will be a gift ( I hope a wider range of jewellery might appeal to gift shoppers), or else the purchaser is treating herself (most of my customers are female) to an unusual item she won't find elsewhere.

There are many, many jewellery  sellers on all the main craft selling sites. I hope my unique items will have an appeal which will set them apart. I shall, of course, continue to make and offer for sale Lynwoodcrafts' range of other embroidered accessories - purses, pincushions, notebooks, bookmarks etc. - when I can tear myself away from these beads!

These are the items which I have listed so far:
Milliebead Pauline Skidmore
Minifelts The Owl & the Pussycat
Little crafting bird D K Crystal Designs

The first four items all include 'felt pinwheel' beads. These are quite simple, so, as this post is already quite long, I'll begin the 'how to's' with these.



You will need:

- At least two colours of felt (I have chosen three) - small strips (about 1cm x 12 cm of each colour per bead)

- Matching thread

- usual pins/needles/scissors etc.

Lay your felt pieces one on top of the other, one edge alligned, and roll tightly to see what effect the colour combination  has. Changing the order of the felt colours makes quite a difference to the overall colour balance - try swapping them until you have a combination you are happy with.

Cutting through all three layers at once, cut a strip about 1cm wide and approximately 12 cm long (this can be adjusted slighlty to give different bead diameters).

Leaving the outer (bottom colour of the stack) at full length - trim each end of the upper layer(s) by about 3 mm.

Roll the stack tightly - 'swiss roll fashion' and stick a long pin through to hold. Using matching thread, oversew the edge of the roll. Then take a long stitch right through to the opposite side of the bead (12 o'clock). Making a stitch of a few milimeters come back to the join (6 o'clock). Then stitch through the bead to '3 o'clock' in the above picture and from there to '9 o'clock ' and back to the join '6 o'clock'- finish off. Be careful not to pull these long stitches too tight or the shape of the bead will be distorted. 

To use the bead, stitch the beading thread through from join to the opposite side - this way the join is most likely to be hidden by a neighbouring bead!

Have fun! The next 'bead recipe' will be the knitting pattern for the spherical bead shown above. I am busy making several in different yarns to show you some of the effects possible.

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