Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bangles and Beads!

Cuff bracelets, in about 1953, when I was in the 8th grade, were a necessary thing for accessorizing the well dressed young lady - so I had my share of them in assorted metals, including copper, silver, and some mysterious metal that gave me a rash and/or turned my arm green. I wanted an ankle bracet too, but my mother held those in the same low regard at the time as pierced ears. Until I discovered the wonderful beads and metallic ribbon and other shiny things in recent years, I would never have considered designing something of this sort in needlepoint - but these have been really entertaining to put onto canvas and stitch, as they do glitter and sparkle!! I remember that a few years later the fashion trend changed - I was in high school - to "bangle bracelets" and charm bracelets. These rattled and clanged and jingled and made lots of interesting noise, which drew attention from our peers in the classroom. Also from our teachers, as I had one with no taste and no sense of humor, who insisted that we leave them in our lockers before we came to her class. Imagine that. Anyway, the subject of this post is not fashion in past years and another life, but is to be a brief bead tutorial, as I have had questions about that - and also have seen some rather strange instructions regarding putting the beads over a hole in the canvas and not on the stitch. I use the beads exactly as I would a tent stitch, and this incorporates them into the body of the needlepoint fabric that is created. They can be placed as accents, or as a technique I discovered by accident, whereas the surface looks beaded solid, but isn't. You can see on this close-up that the background, worked in YLI ribbon floss, is stitched in basketweave, but only on the warp threads - leaving the weft (with the little "dips") bare. When the beads are placed on the weft stitches, the surface appears heavily beaded - and it really takes surprisingly little time! You can also see in this close-up the little burgundy beads I placed in the space in the gold "picot" edge. To do this, I use the old fashioned long, skinny beading needle and the little wire threader that I normally find at craft stores. Tapestry needles are too thick and too short for easy beading. I use cotton floss in the same color as the background or the bead - in this case, I used the Sundance seed beads - size 14, color 250, which is crystal clear. By using the same color floss as the background, the bead takes on the aqua color also- but with a nice, subtle "frosty" look. It's quite pretty, and more effective here than using an aqua bead. Cut a piece of floss about 16" long, and separate off two plies - then thread the needle one ply at a time. Come up under the stitch to be made, grab a bead with the tip of the needle, and go back down over the stitch as a tent stitch. Then come back up again and separate the floss to go around the bead, and go back down once again - and this anchors the bead nicely so it won't wobble. (in addition to its being placed into the "dip" of the weft) Except for the petals on the flowers (YLI Ribbon Floss in Black Orchid) and the background, this bracelet and earrings are worked totally with Sundance seed beads and Kreinik metallic ribbon!


Sue in western Washington, USA said...

What a smart cookie you are! And you've been busy!

When I was young I had the impression that having pierced ears was a bad thing too - not that I would ever have the courage to have my ears pierced! But it's interesting how things get a bad reputation and then it turns around some years later. How wonderful that you were given your grandmother's diamond studs!

Allison Ann Aller said...

What a neat technique with the beads! Thanks for the drawing, it is very helpful.
Judy, you should have been a teen in the '60's. It would have driven your mother absolutely crazy.

freebird said...

That is a really beautiful bracelet. I've got to bookmark this page for reference but I think I am such a beginner (I have made several miniature oriental rugs using basketweave and continental stitch only) that I think I could use a whole series of lessons instead of one like this.

My mother thought pierced ears were terrible and wouldn't let us have them. I went to a friend of my sister's and their dad pierced them with a needle and a bar of soap! My mom was pretty mad about it but Dad ruined it for her as he told us she liked to wear ankle bracelets when she was young!

Ira said...

Very impressive. Thank you for great pictures. I will try to use different color threads with clear beads.
You can use my tutorials as you want. I will happy. I share them for using.
You needkworks is great. I was grow up on canvas work. I love them so much.
Thank you for visiting my blog.