Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

A Stitch in Time

Posted by Elizabeth Hamilton on Oct 14th 2013

The old warning against procrastination is “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine”.

But when it comes to bead embroidery, a stitch in time saves nein. A good summary of beadwork in general would be “stitching takes time”.

This clutch took over 240 hours… and I put the pro in procrastination. No wonder I love beading!

For the September box haul, I decided to challenge myself and make quick embroidery projects. To that end, things started off pretty slowly. The horn focal was the first object I wanted to tackle.

I knew I wanted to use a snippet of glazed leather I had sitting around as a contrast to the smooth horn, while being another animal product. This is certainly not for the vegan at heart! And I must have been feeling fall, since my bead choices remind me of leaves fluttering to the ground. Not that it was fall-ish yet when I made this. My leaves are just starting to color up.

Vintage chain with a peyote stitched loop and toggle was the perfect pairing for my strap, and I chose to forgo a decorative edge.

Since that was not fast enough, it was bracelet time! I reached for the green moonglow beads and brass loop for my primary ingredients. I had some slatey blue moonglow cabs, so I set one into a clasp blank and used the other inside the brass finding. Blank clasps show up in the “other clasps” part of the “clasps” section from time to time, and I order each time a new style pops up. Another spot they hide is under “bezels” in the findings section. The gold painted wood beads were from a box last fall, and they were the right tone to go with my findings. A little netting, and we’re done!

There’s a certain satisfaction to completing an item in a day. And since I had time left over that Saturday, I tackled the strand of graduated heishi and other brass finding from my box. This time the finding was a vintage brass bezel. The brass button is from one of the show hauls.

I couched the heishi strand into a coil around my brass center. Couched? Fancy-talk for stiched it down between the beads. I’m a backstitcher when I do bead embroidery, and couching has seemed a little cheaty to me, but here, backstitching wouldn’t have resulted in the tight coil I got with couching over strung beads. But it is stitched, not glued- that would have been really fast, but it would have felt like cheating. If you look closely, you can see a bit of Nymo holding down my outer row.

The edging is elongated picots, and I sanded my brass cuff blank to give it some extra character when the light moves across it.

Couching is the perfect way to stitch down cup chain. If you've been watching Facebook, Suzanne’s been posting progress photos of a cup chain and Bakelite necklace she’s been working on.

I liked the idea of using the plastic drops from the box for earrings; they are much easier on the ol’ lobes than glass. I used two as cabochons, and the rest for their original drop purpose. At first they didn't want to behave and sit in position nicely. For these earrings flopping, tremoring dangles just wasn't what I wanted. So I lashed them together in addition to stitching them to my Ultrasuede. I did however want some shimmer from crystals, so the earrings include a wee bit of hematite cup chain.

Here are my keys to quick embroidery: keep it simple, and keep it small. Those concepts are in constrast to the typical Go Big or Go Home world of beading…but they sure do save t