Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When Beads Go Bad

Wiggly Beads Make Horrible Fringe!

Last fall I stitched Leigh Design's "Portal to Immortality" from her new Illuminations series.

The piece has fringe under the tiger screen that I wanted to bead.  I used size 11/0 round gold beads in a row packed tightly together and attached with tent stitches to create the fringe.  It looked so bad I didn't even take a photograph!  I decided the beads were too large so I removed them and tried again with size 14/0 hex beads.  This time I attached the beads with cross stitches every other stitch to space them out and keep them in line.  As you can tell, the "keeping them in line" part failed miserably!  I even went back through the vertical row of beads with one long thread to try and pull them into shape.  It didn't help.


Looking at the beads again I decided that they were the right size but that I needed to use something other than cross stitches to tame them.  For my next attempt I attached the beads with tent stitches, again skipping every other thread.  They were much straighter but I still went through the entire row again with one long thread to straighten them.  Success!

Third Try's a  Charm
The moral of the story is that you must have the right size of beads for the effect you want and if you cannot keep them straight, try another stitch to attach them.  For beads, persistence pays off. By the way, here's the finished Tiger Illuminations.

Good luck with your bad beads!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright December 29, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks for the tips, Jane. I remember this canvas you stitched. Very elegant. I love beads but they can be a challenge.

  2. Thanks, Wendy. It was a great design and a very interesting stitch, too.

  3. I also find it depends on tastes and the design. For instance, I often like using slightly small beads and seeing the painted canvas, but some mothers might not like that thinking they were too small... you have to try things and not be afraid to try a different style/size of bead or technique to attach them -- sometimes even the bread used to attach them can make all the difference. I am happy to hear I'm not he only one who goes through these trial and errors!

    1. Using a different thread is a very good point, Anne Marie. I have rarely done this but it might fix a problem—you never know! Beads are very tricky things.