Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beaded Pattern Couching

I should subtitle this blog entry something along the lines of "Robin Made Me Do It," except that implies I did something wrong, egged on by a partner in crime. But it is Robin's fault that I used beaded pattern couching on the mermaid's tail.   She emailed me suggesting it might be a great way to bead the tail on the mermaid just when I was pondering how to put beads there.

You see, Robin is doing a class for the Columbus TNNA trade show.  (Robin teaches and does stitch guides at Amy Bunger's shop, as well as producing Amy's DVD series.)  TNNA puts on classes for the shop owners who come to the show so that they have new and fun techniques to show their customers when they get back home.

Robin is teaching a Needle Deeva heart with fall flowers and a pumpkin canvas with beaded pattern couching on it.  Robin sent me this photo of the test she did for her heart.  Wouldn't it make great scales on a mermaid's tail?!

Here are the list of the TNNA classes for shop owners to browse.  You can see Robin's Needle Deeva heart on page 19.  Robin says there are maybe seven spots open in her class, by the way, just in case you are in the business and going to this trade show.

The photo of Robin's piece isn't great, but you can see a better photo in Amy Bunger's June newsletter, just out yesterday.  Click on the June newsletter link and the PDF file will open for you.

Robin told me to check out the March/April 2010 edition of Needlepoint Now where beaded pattern couching is used by Brenda Hart for a large purple flower.  Unfortunately, the photos in the magazine don't tell you how lovely this must be in person.  Here's the back cover that shows Brenda Hart's project.

For those who don't subscribe, beaded pattern couching is easy.  First, you lay down long stitches with your base thread, then couch them down with a pair of beads.  Robin had suggested I try Flair and since I had some dark green Flair in my stash,  I was ready to try the technique.  The photo of the mermaid shows my pattern couching underway.  I first wondered how I was going to lay down straight lines on the horizontal for a curvy tail, but then the light bulb went on--I could do vertical rows!  And so I did.

Step two is to couch down the base thread (Flair in my case) with two beads.  I had some Toho size 11 lemon-lime colored beads in my stash and also some lovely gold Sundance beads, so I used those.  In most cases I used two lemon-lime beads but occasionally I used one gold and one lemon-lime bead for the pairs.  The mermaid's tail is covered in dark green and gold spots.  The dark green Flair shows between the beads as you skip a row in the couching, so that took care of the dark green spots.  All I had to do is occasionally toss in a gold bead and it looked a great deal like Melissa Shirley's painted canvas.

When it came to the fan tail, I had to use either a ray of stitches or curved stem stitches with my Flair, but once I laid down a stitch or two, it was easy to couch them with my beads.  Occasionally I just used one bead to fit the space of the tail.  I think for a first attempt it looks pretty good.  This is definitely easier if you have a regular square or rectangle to fill, but you can angle your beads a bit by sinking your sharp beading needle in places other than canvas holes to make curves if necessary.  This photo shows how it turned out.

As you can see, I also finished tent stitching the fish.  It has a stem stitch smile (in red Elegance I used for her bra straps) and a few peach colored beads here and there to add sparkle.

By the way, everyone loved Cowboy Day so much yesterday, that I used a design of someone you might run into in a Western saloon for today's Canvas of the Day (one of the Leigh Floozie series).  You can see the rest of the series at the Needle Works online newsletter on their website.  Just click on the link and enjoy.   If you love cowboy boot canvases, you should explore the Webstore which has plenty of them, the shop being in Austin, Texas and all.

As Pat said yesterday, YeeHAW!

[Jane rides off into the sunset, needlepoint clutched in one hand and reins in the other....]

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at