Monday, September 19, 2016

Hana Beaded Fob Finished

I didn't get much stitching time this weekend except for Sunday, but I still did very good. Sunday morning I sat myself down, determined to finish stitching the stems on the last row of flowers. I want to apologize in advance for the pictures. They're kind of blurry and my camera had a hard time focusing. Everything was too shiny.

The stems are stitched by couching down beads. Sounds easy right, but very finicky. You start by using a double threaded needle coming out right under the center of the flower.

The instructions say to thread 8 beads on the needle, but I ended up using 7. With 8 beads, my stem would have been too close to the flower next to it. Once the beads are threaded, I pinned the needle to the side, making sure the thread is taut and won't move around while I'm moving the beads around.

Here is the tricky bit: you want your starting bead to be right up against the center. If you bring your needle too high up and there won't be space for the bead, too far down and you'll end up with empty spaces. Once that's figured out, another needle is threaded with a single thread this time. This will be used to couch down between beads. To help with that, I would push the beads up as tight as I could with one hand while poking through the fabric with the other hand and couching down. I'm horrible at two handed stitching (strictly a righty), but with this project I'm forced to learn how to use both hands.

The second part of the stem, we come out from the bottom and use the same technique. I threaded 7 beads again instead of 8 for things to be consistent. That and I couldn't possibly fit 8 beads on this tiny stem. Again where you come out from your starting point is important.

I found that I could only fit 3 beads on the bottom leg so I had to make sure not to come out too far from the stem. If I came up too far down, there would be an empty space between the bead from the first part of the stem and this second one.

Once the first 3 beads are couched down, it's just a matter of squeezing down the last 4 beads. It's a very tight fit.

As I write this post I've noticed I wasn't very consistent with my stems. That's what happens when you take too long of a break between stitching sessions :( I started off with 8 beads and then went to 7. Afterwards, I started with a combo of 3-4 and ended up with 4-3 beaded stems. Also, some of them are very crooked. My only consolation is that the center one looks pretty good and that's what everyone will really look at, no?

Since I was already set up, I decided to keep going and stitch the last step of the fob. The final step is a scattering of stitched black beads. It's essentially a seed stitch. The same procedure applies: don't stitch too closely together, stitch in random directions.

I personally find my brain doesn't work like that. I never know if it's random enough or my brain is using a pattern that only it can see :P When I was done though I was pleasantly surprised with the effect. It looks pretty good and the effect is stunning.

I've learned a lot with this small project and now I can apply all that to my next challenge: stitch the same pattern for a matching scissor case. So it will be a while before Hana is cut out and finished into a fob. The current goal is get it done before April in order to submit it at my first members exhibit at the EAC Seminar. Wish me luck!


  1. I think the result is stunning. Well done!

  2. This is gorgeous. Looks like a technique I need to try.

  3. I'm a strong right-hander too, and I can assure you that working two handed does become easier, and more accurate.

    I think the piece looks lovely, and the "seed stitch beading" looks pretty random to me!

  4. it looks beautiful and I think you will be the only person who ever notices any wonk on the stems! I am rubbish at random, my brain doesn't like it at all. I do stitch two handed though. Stitching with just my left takes too long and i'm impatient.

  5. The result is shining and beautiful!

  6. Beautiful work, needs a lot of patience.

  7. I love this project! I've really enjoyed seeing you bead it and think you should make me one for my next big birthday, you've got ten years LOL