It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished my Sun Star Brooch tutorial. This is my first bead embroidery tutorial, and has evolved over a number of years from a bezelled RAW ring to it’s current huge embroidered flamboyant form, with a centrepiece hand painted cabochon. It plays to my ongoing obsession with Czech etched beads, particularly the larger sized seeds and absolutely amazing daggers.
It uses a variety of bead embroidery techniques, including back stitch, bezelling using circular peyote, seeding and edging to make a statement brooch or pendant, and would suit beginner bead embroiderers comfortable with a needle – it’s an ideal project for beadweavers or embroiders looking to try out bead embroidery as it covers key basic techniques which you can then go on to try out in your own designs. If you already have some bead embroidery experience, then this makes a lovely quick project – I can do one in an evening (although to be fair I have had quite a lot of practice and am a bit naughty about letting the glue dry properly).
The thirteen page tutorial contains a full materials list, with suggestions for colour schemes, and every step is fully illustrated with a detailed diagram showing thread paths etc, with photos to show you what you are aiming for. And of course every step is also written out clearly for those of us who prefer written instructions.
Once you’ve mastered the basic brooch, there are possibilities for variations which I hope to explore here over the next few months, so watch this space. I’ve already worked out that you can add extra rows of embroidery around a smaller central cab if you can’t find a 30mm one:
How completely gorgeous are those capri rose etched beads?
And the advent of 2 holed daggers opens up some new ideas……..
The lovely Gill Goldfinch runs Whitstable Bead ‘n’ Banter, and rather excitingly is hosting a Bead in of my Baroque Tape Measure for International Beading week.
I’ve donated the patterns for the day to support the event and International Bead week, so if you fancy going along all you have to do is book in with Gill, and pull together the beads you need using the requirements list here (or if you’d rather, you can buy a materials pack from my Etsy shop here, where I also sell hard to get 2.8mm drops, and robust Hoechtmass tape measures).
The Bead-in is on Wednesday August 1st and runs all day (10-4pm) at The Horsebridge, 11 Horsebridge Road, Whitstable CT5 1AF. Please let Gill know in advance if you would like to attend so they can plan for the right numbers – you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a lovely chance to get hold of the pattern for free, and more importantly to get together with some friendly other beaders to enjoy a day of beading ‘free of domestic distractions’ (which sounds particularly attractive to me as I type with a 4 year old running riot).
More details of this and other events and activities being run for International Beading Week can be found here. As well as meet ups and classes, there are lots of activities you can join in at home, including Jean Power’s legendary Summer Beadalong – even if you can’t get to a meet up the feeling of beading with other beaders across the world from the comfort of your own home is very uplifting, so have a look and join in!
Regular followers will know that for a while now I’ve been playing with Pebeo paint effects, and working out how to use them to make my own cabochons. Attempts to make successful resin pieces are still ongoing (and not going well), but I’m pleased to say that after a lot of experimentation (lasting over 6 months) I’ve got a stable technique for using clear glass cabochons. I’ve spent a couple more months playing with the results, and making sure they are easy to work with and wear well, and now I’ve built up some experience with them I’ve put a subset up for sale in my Etsy shop.
Most are domed, so have that lovely magnifying effect, although some including the large 30mm squares are flat tiles. All have flat backs, making them suitable for bead embroidery as well as beadweaving. They come in a range of colours, and are sold both singly and in sets, and I’m happy to take commissions for sets or the larger individual ones (40 & 50mm). I’ll hopefully be putting together some tutorials very soon to give you some ideas as to what to do with them, starting with my awesome brooch etched dagger brooch.
If you’re chomping at the bit though, and have some beading experience, then for a beadwoven bezel try doing an MRAW start in 11s with 32 repeats. Then add one row of 11s using peyote, and one using 15s. Sit the cab in front side down, and finish off the back with 2 rows of 11s and 2 of 15s. And then embellish, embellish, embellish!
Those of you that follow me on Facebook or Instagram will know that recently I’ve been playing with Pebeo paints and Liberty fabrics to make my own cabochons. It’s been an interesting diversion, and it’s still got a way to run as I hone the processes and get used to the paints. It’s quite satisfying to be able to sit down and play with colours so quickly, never quite knowing how they will turn out but not having had to commit too much time. I’ve had to try lots of different processes and materials, and source a whole new set of supplies, and now I’m getting good results I’m even beginning to use the finished cabs in my beadwork.
Anyway, once I’m happy with the process I’ll share it here so you can play too, and hopefully I’ll also make some of the cabs available in one of my shops (perhaps with some instructions for bezelling?). But in the meantime here are some pictures of my experiments so far.