Monday, March 28, 2011

Beading Tutorial

You were right.  All those followers who posted that they wanted to learn about beading, were justified.   I was taught by a native elder and never had a need to look in a book or try and find information.   I was surprised by the number of you who requested this, until I went and searched the internet for information.   There was no specific lessons or methods on how to learn to bead.   Then I realized why you all asked for it. 

I will teach you what I know.   I am by no means an expert, but I do put beads on almost all my quilts.  As for the actual purchasing of beads.   Well, you can spend close to the mortgage of your house on beads, and they are beautiful.  You won't have any problems finding places to order beads.  In Canada, we have a chain of stores called 'The Dollar Store'.   I think it is self explanatory.  I have no doubt the quality of the other beads is way better.   But I use my beads purely as embellishments on my quilts, and not in a heavy way, so these work perfect for me.

I should also apologize for my photography.  I was having a heck of a time with the lighting when I did this.  If you still need further clarification, email me and I will do a retake=)
Let's get started.  There are thousands of different types of beads out there, all different shapes.  For this tutorial, we will start with the basic seed bead.  If you can understand how to bead this, then you can take this knowledge and apply it to any shaped beads.

5" square of fabric, white or cream fabric
5" same size piece of batting
5" backing
seed beads
slim needle

Let's clarify some stuff.   There are special beading needles, long and thin and a bit flexible.  I have used them and they work fine.  I have no problem with my plain craft needles, you just have to make sure it is thin enough to pass through the holes of the beads.   I have a few of these needles, and have them set aside to use just for beading.  Mostly cause I would misplace them otherwise=)

When I do bead on an actual quilt, I do it at the very end.  After my quilt has been assembled, quilted and bound.   I find this nice, because I will often stitch quilting lines right on my quilt so I know where to put my beads.  

For this tutorial, we will just use a small sample size.   Take your pencil and draw a design on your top fabric.   This is what you are going to bead.   I used a marker, just so you could see it better.  For your first try, don't make tight little circles or curves, but nice long smooth curves. 

Make a quilt sandwich, and hoop it, or pin the edges so it doesn't shift.  I didn't do either as it didn't seem to shift on me. 

As for thread, there is beading thread out there, that is strong.  I have used it, but I just use my normal thread that I use for quilting.   Thread your needle, and make a small knot in the end.

On the backside of your quilt/sample bring the thread through and give a tug till your thread is buried in between the batting and backing. 
The knot has disappeared inside the quilt.
Bring your needle up to where you want your first bead to go.  For the start, lay 2 seed beads on the line of your quilt where you would like to start,  so you see where they should lay.  Usually at a corner or 'end' of a line.

Thread the 2 beads on your needle. 

Push them back to the end of the thread so you can see where they lay on the fabric.   This tells you where you need to push the needle down to the back.   Go right beside the bead, not squeezing it in, or that will cause it to buckle, and not leaving a space or you will have thread showing. 
Bring the needle straight down to the back.

To strengthen and get your needle ready for the next beads, bring the needle back up between the first and second bead and run the needle through the first bead again.  By the first bead, I mean the bead that is going to be beside the next set of beads you string on.   The one that is leading the way on your drawn line. 
Now I will put on 3-4 beads at a time.  I lay the beads down on the fabric so I know where the needle needs to go into the fabric.

Bring the needle straight down again to the back, and come up again between the first and second bead and send the needle through the first bead again.   Then put another 3-4 beads on.

  Basically you are always coming up to so you can rethread the first bead of your string of beads.  You just want to pull the thread so it is snug... not too tight and not loose.

Continue on in this manner.   When you are coming to a corner, just put on enough beads to get you to the corner, so you can alter directions easily.  

Finishing off beading... put on your last bead, run the needle and thread through again, so the needle is now at the back.  Then bury the thread in the backing and you are done.

To make a loop/flower petal, I put on 10-15 beads.  Make a loop with the beads so you can see how big the loop will be and bring the needle back down at the starting point.  This is where you came up the first time.

This causes a loop to raise off the fabric, therefore it needs to be tacked down.  Bring your needle up on the insde of the loop, in the centre of it.

Then going over the beaded petal, bring the needle down on the outside of the loop.  This will grab the string of bead and anchor that thread down.  I will often tack it down in other spots along the loop too if I am afraid it will shift or move.

You are going to make a small stitch between two middle beads and bring the needle back down, grabbing the thread holding the beads together.  This will hold your loop down.
Congratulate yourself!  You have just created a lovely beaded design.

This quilt has 13  leaves in the background all outlined in seed beads.  I can't show you a better picture as it sold last year.

I will do better with the photography next time!
Let me know what you think of this tutorial.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, you have till March 31st.

12 comments: said...

Thanks Jackie! : )

jlk said...

Those beads are so pretty!

Sarah Vanderburgh said...

I think it's a great tutorial, Jackie. Your wording and finger placement really helped me. Now I know how to add beads:)

Mama Pea said...

Great tutorial! Thanks! Funny! I just got a friend to do a guest post on my blog about beading! It will probably post sometime next week! haha. Just so you know, I already had that in motion before I even read this or your post where you said you'd do this! LOL. Great minds!

scottylover said...

Thank you! That is just what I needed to see!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Your pictures and text made everything nice and clear - just what I needed! Now I feel like I'm ready to try a beginner's project!! Can't wait to see more, if you have them planned! Thanks again!
Jacque in SC

Brooke said...

Oh My Goodness!!! You are amazing!

Nancy Sue said...

Awesome tutorial! Looks like fun and your description was perfect!

Westend Quilter said...

Excellent tutorial! I'll refer to this when I finally start embellishing - going to have to start sometime..the projects are piling up! For me, the photos make the difference, in a positive way, so thanks.

Kristen King said...

Great tutorial Jackie! :) Now I want to bead!

Unknown said...

Thank you!! Stupid question, but I'm assuming you always put on the beading first, and then put the front, batting, and back together, and hand quilting is all you can do, right? Machine quilting would tear up the beads?

Unknown said...

Thank you!! Stupid question, but I'm assuming you always put on the beading first, and then put the front, batting, and back together, and hand quilting is all you can do, right? Machine quilting would tear up the beads?