Friday, November 30, 2018

Tansy Beetle - Textile Art Box

There are quite a lot of very talented embroiderers in Instagram and one of them is Kate Tume also known as Mother Eagle Embroidery. She makes beautiful bead embroidery pieces. Currently, she is working on projects around the disappearing natural world, and lost species. My favorite is her Extinct Icons series which you can check out here.
Saint Sultan by Kate Tume
For the past year she has been producing a line of textile art boxes. The first one was of a beaded stag beetle. Now I'm a fan of beads but not bugs. The beetle was a little too hairy for me so sadly I had to pass. In September, she released two more beetle kits: Tansy beetle and Ghost beetle. Still not a fan of bugs but the colors on Tansy beetle were so pretty (Ghost beetle creeped me out). So after seeing it multiple times on Kate's Instagram feed, it grew on me and I decided to order it.

 The kit came in beautifully packaged. 100% plastic packaging free, and entirely vegan friendly.

If you want to have an idea of what comes in the box, check out the video below of my un-boxing.

(click on the post to see the video below)

I'm still trying to figure out how to merge videos, so for now here is part 2 of the un-boxing. All the beads came individually packaged in tiny envelopes with numbers on them to make them easy to identify while stitching.

(click on the post to see the video below)

The kit came with everything for me to start, except scissors and something to hold your hoop so you can use both hands to stitch. It's an excellent starter kit for those wanting to try beading.

The fabric that came in the kit is a twill fabric. It has a nice weight to it so I didn't feel the need to back my fabric.

I started this kit immediately after finishing Mr. Blue. In fact I put in the felt padding Saturday evening.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

Sunday morning, I woke up early eager to start putting in some beads. I'm in love with the colors of the cupped sequins. I'm happy to say I have a bunch left to play with.

The head of the beetle is partially covered with an iridescent vinyl. It's stitched down the exact same way you would in goldwork but so much easier to pierce than leather. I put in lines of holding stitches to keep it in place while I was couching.

I was really speeding through stitching the beetle, but this is where things started to go wrong. See, I had noticed that I didn't have the same number of sequins in the first row as the model in the picture. I put it down to my not crowding the sequins, because I did start exactly where I was instructed to. However, when I saw the amount of beads I was expected to use to cover the head, alarm bells started going off.

I contacted Kate (love social media!) and she pointed out exactly what I had noticed: I was one sequins short on my first line, which is why I have bigger head area to cover. I knew this but at the same time, I knew I didn't make a mistake when I transferred my center line. So I went back to the cutout and did a comparison between my beetle and the actual instructions, to discover the center line in the instructions is longer than the one in the cutout. Mystery solved!

Future kits will be corrected, but in the meantime Kate offered three solutions for my problem: she can send me more beads, I could unpick and restart, or I could unpick just the head replacing it with beads from my stash. I went with option one as I don't mind if my beetle's head didn't match the model exactly. So now Tansy has been set aside until the extra beads arrive. Pity, I was so close to finishing.


  1. It will look lovely when you've finished, and you have helped the designer to pick up something which may confuse people!

  2. Wow, that is so nice. Good when a designer is willing to help and correct an issue.

  3. What a gorgeous beetle and well done on working out the issues with the head. Glad the designer was so helpful too.

  4. Interesting piece! I'm not a bug fan either, but this is so pretty.

  5. She is a very interesting artist. Thank you for the links to her works. The beetle looks beautiful--looking forward to seeing it completed.

  6. What a lovely piece, and it’s good to hear the designer was so willing and appreciative of your help and pick up on the instructions.

  7. Your beetle will be totally unique as well! I'm glad to hear you could sort things out withe the designer. It would have been a shame to unpick everything!