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Beading Lesson from Alice Hall

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Posted on March 08 2012

Needlepoint Beading on Canvas-Part 1

Beads are being used more and more in needlepoint now a days. Part 1 of this blog pertains to the materials used and Part 2 will be about the stitches used. alice_hall_bestitched_needlepoint_storeCommon Bead Types: Round (shaped like small doughnuts). Most common are Sundance beads size 11 & 14 and Mill Hill Seed Beads (#11) and Petite (#14).  Tube beads are called Delica, more consistent in shape and more expensive. Hex seed beads are a round type bead that has six sides.

When to use which size bead?

On 18 count canvas, seed (#11) beads work well for most areas. When beading a large area or the entire canvas, use petite (#14). On 13/14 count canvas use seed bead #8 and see beads #11.

When to use which size needle?

The most commonly used sizes are 10 or 12, (there are also smaller sizes 14 & 16).  Remember the smaller the needle number the larger the needle and its eye.  I use #10 for most beads. Needles come in two lengths, short-approximately 1 ¼ “ by John James, long 2 ¼”‘ to 3”. I prefer the short for single bead or small bead cluster attachments and long for strung rows of beads. You will need to decide which length suits you.

Which thread to use?

Color rule of thumb is to match the color of the thread to either the bead or the color of the canvas area to be covered. Types of thread: Nymo is a beading thread-use 1 strand; 2 strands of silk or cotton. There is a nylon thread, but it can be more challenging to work with. Nymo is the strongest, but it is a little thicker and can be harder to thread into smaller needles. It is available in a good selection of colors. Silk is stronger than cotton and 1 strand doubled in the needle works well. It also has a nice range of colors.

Why wax the thread?

Waxing the thread helps with threading the needle. It coats the threads so if there is a sharp spot in the hole of the bead it is less likely to cut the thread. Waxing also makes the thread more manageable. The traditional wax is real pressed bees wax. Thread Heaven is available, it is synthetic. I prefer the natural bee’s wax.

How to hold the beads securely so you can stitch.

Beads are like Mexican Jumping Beans. They roll, they jump and just plain have a mind of their own.  The Tacky Bob is a 4” square thin box with sticky surfaces on both interior sides. There is also a new wooden magnet disk, approximately 2 ½” across, with a sticky top that attaches to the canvas. So, now that you have your canvas, beads, thread, needles, bee’s wax and sticky surface…our next blog will tell you how to attach the beads to the canvas. Until next time, Happy Stitching! Alice Hall

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5 comments

  • blog: September 09, 2016

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  • Margaret Payne: September 09, 2016

    Very good discussion of the beads. I always wondered about the delica beads—I didn’t know what they were.

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  • The Girls: September 09, 2016

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