Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bead Sprinkles for the Cookie

At this point, these Shamrocks look rather flat and uninteresting and I wonder what I'm doing. I think the idea of doing cookies began when I was looking for "Shamrocks," and images of plates of cookies with icing decoration popped up on my screen.

There was one that was a kind of medium dark green, and completely covered with what looked like solid sugar sprinkles with an outline of a lighter green line of icing. The best way, I decided, would be to do it with beads in my little "beaded solid but really isn't" technique.

This came about totally by accident about five years ago when I was doing plaids, and one day was weary of stitching weft. I decided to try doing the weft bands in beads, and to my astonishment, it looked like solid beading. The warp stripes had already been stitched - where I stitch vertical bands of color in basketweave, but using only the warp stitches, and leaving the weft stitches bare for horizontals. (You can see this "warp only" basketweave effect on the shamrock in the first photo).

The gingham heart is the piece I was working on when I found this new technique that has served me well for a long time and for many projects.

Another project in which I used this was the bracelet and earring phase. I have shown these before a long time ago, but dug them out to make a point.

I think I'm going on and on about what amounts to a designer's evolution of discovering methods and technique and useful "special effects" accidentally. Happy accidents!!

Back to the cookie! The next thing to consider was the kind of beads needed to do the "sprinkles." The first time I "saw" sprinkles was when I was designing four-way-bargello eggs a while back - a year or two back, and had embellished with beads. They suddenly looked like sugar sprinkles!

For this Shamrock, I knew that colored beads wouldn't look quite right, so resorted to my very favorite effect - the clear beads (Sundance #250 size 14) applied with the same color DMC floss as the background.

I used the plain ones rather than the hexagonal, as I wanted shine but not sparkle. There is a definite difference. The sparkle of the hex beads is more like ice.

The detail of the March Birthday CQ shows the plain clear beads attached with yellow floss and looking like water drops. "Ice" was on December. The bit of aquamarine jewelry you can see was made with aqua beads worked with basketweave as usual - it even works in very small spaces!

Now - back to the Shamrock, and the amazing change with just adding the beads! There is a strange looking diagonal effect which is due to the angle and the light I used - haste is the enemy of perfection. It doesn't look this way in real life, but just appears to be a solid coating of clear sugar sprinkles with green showing through. Amazing!!

In the detail, you can see clearly the effect of the diagonal tent stitch (basketweave) worked on every other row- which means it lands only on the warp stitches (the "bumps.")
Then the beads are inserted on the weft stitches, which are little dips. This way, the beads don't clump and wobble and look crowded and messy.

Also, in the case of using clear beads with colored floss on a painted canvas, by doing the warp stitches in color instead of beads, you get stronger color for the whole piece, whereas it would be too light and frosty looking (washed out) if no colored stitches were showing.

That's all for this evening. It's now time to go steal candy out of the basket by the front door in between rings of the doorbell. Little spooks and goblins are beginning to arrive!!


Anne Stradal said...

Thanks for the cookies on Halloween!

Rachel said...

That's a lovely instance of how designers evolve the effects they want from the stitches and materials to hand!

LIZ said...

Thanks for showing us your technique. Love the cookies!