Niki.Tasha – Lesson 9 – Miscellaneous

I have just read your initial answers to my questions again.  You have the opportunity to work on a short artist’s statement and a bit of a biography.  While you are looking around your community, your country, your home and clothes closet, decide what you like and why.  You know,  I love the colour ??? and it’s because ????  I love that texture rough, smooth, scaley, … because of its softness, its strong feel, …  Have I explained myself?

Right now just be aware of your surroundings, what you like, what you dislike and why.  Do you associate some colours with memories of childhood?  Does a fragrance thrust a picture in your head from another time? 

I wonder if the difference between artists and everybody else is the awareness of their surroundings and the things that remind them of another time.  Use your 5 senses (touch, smell, vision, taste, hearing) and soak up everything you can.  All this can also bring ‘home’ back to you when you get to Canada:  you will be able to visit in your mind.

If you find unpleasant memories showing up, that’s okay, too.  All this can be edited and made into something.

I personally think that the world is already full of ugliness:  why on earth would I want to add to it by making an ugly piece of jewellery?!  But, dark smelly places like dungeons, back allies and the like can be interpreted through your artistry into something of value.  In so many places around the world human life has no value:  who cares that a 9 yr old in Thailand is turned into a prostitute?  I care.  Let’s make life worth living – Let’s make something beautiful.

Niki, do you carry a picture in your mind that, when you think of it you can feel the breeze on your cheek, the smell of the earth, the calmness of spirit?  You might, without realizing it.  My picture is one I took in Algonquin Park (al-gon’-kwin), a large nationalpark in Ontario on a fall morning.  Everything about that day was special:  I had just left a friend living in Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) and was travelling in my mother’s car on the return journey to my parents’ home.  The air was perfectly still and mist was rising on a pond by the side of the road.  I could smell earth and wildflowers and leaves.  The water on the lake was like a mirror and on the far shore, surrounded by evergreen trees, was a maple tree.  It was blazing red and it’s reflection could be seen in the mirrored water. 

Whenever I get crazy (who, me!?) or bogged down, I think of that day and that tree and my spirit is regenerated. 

Do you have such an experience?  Being able to put it into words helps when you sit down to write your biography and your artist statement.  Your biography:  who I am, and my credentials.  Your artist statement:  what inspires you and the intended reaction to your work.

We have lots of time to get the bio and statement into words.  For now, just look around and savour your experiences.

You will have questions, well you better have questions.  Anybody reading this is welcome to join in with their comments and questions.  Learning is a collaborative effort:  I will be learning from you just as you will be learning (I hope) from me.  Just ask them here, in this blog.

Hope your family is settling down again after your niece’s accident.  How lucky she is to have such a close family all her own.

…………..Helene

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Niki.Tasha – Lesson 8 – Peyote Stitch My Way

Hiya, Niki;  here is my alternative Tubular Peyote Technique.  You will note that much of my method is the same as the traditional technique written out in Lesson 7.  I know a picture is worth a thousand words and I will add pictures once I figure out my new designing software.  I promise. 

These instructions relate to the designs offered in Lesson 5.  So, let’s begin.

1. Cut a length of thread 2 yards long.  Thread your needle and pull both needle and thread through the Thread Heaven® or beeswax a couple of times.  Then, stretch the thread as you run the needle and thread through one hand several times.  The friction creates heat and that helps settle the beeswax or Thread Heaven deep into the thread.

2. Put 1 bead on the thread and pull it through, leaving a tail of about 12 inches from the end.  Run the needle through the bead a 2nd time.  Be sure not to pierce the thread already run through the bead.  This is the ‘stop bead’ which will help keep all your beads on the thread and it should be able to move easily along the thread.

3. String 84 beads on the thread.   Check and double check your count.  This design is an even number peyote technique and these 84 beads make the first 2 rows. 

4. If you are right handed, Niki, you will be working from right to left.  But, if you are a leftie like me, your needle and ‘working thread’ will move from left to right.  …  Add a bead on your ‘working thread’:  the thread coming OUT of a bead and THROUGH the eye of the needle, and run your needle through the next bead, the 2nd bead from the end that’s not got the stop bead on it.   Add another  bead on your needle, skip a bead and run the needle through the next bead.  Continue in this way, adding a bead and running your working thread through every 2nd bead, until you return to the stop bead.   Do not include the stop bead in any of your patterns:  its a bead working independently of the design.  Carefully smooth out the beads and make a knot:  I prefer a surgeon’s knot and the version I found at Florida Sportsman is, by far, the best way of making this knot that I have ever seen.  Be sure the stop bead remains free from the circle of beads.  The knot you use is up to you as long as it doesn’t pull free and is not bulky.  Do you know the square or reef knot or the surgeon’s knot?

Square or Reef Knot:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_knot

Surgeon’s Knot:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surgeon%27s_knot  or http://www.floridasportsman.com/HowTo/knots/surgeons_knot/  I prefer this version for its simplicity.

Niki, you may now remove the stop bead if you wish:  I prefer to keep it because it will indicate the beginning and ending of the original row.  That helps when working your pattern.  It also acts as a weight on that 12 inches of tail thread which helps keep it out of the way of your working thread.  Please don’t cut off the tail:  you will be using it later.

5.  You have now completed the 3 foundation rows.  You recognize that the Peyote technique is a diagonal stitch pattern:  the beads take on a zipper appearance with one bead up and one bead down.  On all future rows the beads you add, one at a time, will fill in the spaces between each ‘up’ bead.  At the end of each row in the Tubular Even Count Peyote Stitch Technique the needle will go through the last bead of the row AND the 1st bead of the next row:  this positions your working thread to begin filling in the blanks of the next row.

NOTE:  Following either of the 2 patterns offered in Lesson 5, only 1 portion of the design has been graphed.  It is up to you whether or not you repeat the design on the backside.  Your stress level will be lower if you work the back in one solid colour.  Once you get the hang of things, you can add a 2nd full design on the backside or mix things up any way you like.

Ending and Beginning a Working Thread:

6.  Don’t work your design until you have run out of thread.  Allow at least 4 inches of working thread to use in ending the thread.  Run your needle through beads, one at a time, in a downward diagonal line.  Every 3 beads run the needle through the bead immediately above the bead your needle has just exited.  One at a time again, run the needle through another 2 or 3 beads.  Double back as before until a) you run out of working thread, or b) you are satisfied that the thread will not work its way loose. 

NOTE:  Some beaders add a discreet overhand knot or 2 during their finishing a thread.  A small dab of glue … is added by some beaders with steady hands.  I have had great success with my method without the knots and the glue (my hands shake too much).

7.  Your 2nd and all other threads need not be nearly as long as the first one.  I like to use a thread 3 1/2 ft in length.  Leaving a tail of about 3 inches long, run the needle through your beads in an upward diagonal manner exactly the way you did to finish a thread.  You will double back several times and check to ensure the thread is not going to work its way free … tug on the working thread.  Bring your needle up in the exact same spot on the row as where you stopped adding beads.

8.  Continue working until you run out of pattern.  The last row must be even all around – don’t end in the middle of the row.  If you have lots of thread left in your needle, don’t cut the thread off. 

9.  The designs I listed in Lesson 5 have no colour notations.  It is your choice what colours to use.  As mentioned, if you add your favourite colour as the basic, you will enjoy the process a whole lot more.  Keep a balance of bright shiny beads and flat matte beads.  The play of light on the different bead finishes adds to the design.  Remember, a little goes a long way. 

I hope you enjoy your first project, Niki.

GLOSSARY: 

Tubular Peyote Stitch:  A technique in which a hollow tube is created by adding a bead in the space between 2 beads of the previous round.

Stop Bead:  A bead through which the needle passes twice  to keep all the beads on the thread.  After the first 3 rows it acts as a weight to help identify  and keep the long tail away from the working thread.

Working Thread:  The thread going from a bead and through the eye of the needle.  It becomes evident once some beads are added.  ‘Working Thread’ becomes a helpful shorter term when describing a complicated needle movement.

Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproducted or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 7 – Peyote Stitch

Peyote Lesson 7 - Art Deco Design

Peyote Lesson 7 - Art Deco Design

There are many good books that can give you the instructions of the Peyote Stitch.  My favourite is a small, spiral bound book by Judith Durant & Jean Campbell:  ‘The Beader’sCompanion” , printed by Interweave Press, Inc. ISBN 1-883010-56-X.  Here is a link to Amazon.com where you can pick up this great little book and at a reasonable cost to yourself.  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Beader%27s+Companion .  There is also the ‘New Beader’s Companion’ at this same site.

In this and the next lesson, Niki, I will give you 2 different ways to start the peyote stitch tube:  the generally accepted way and then my way.  You can try both and decide for yourself which you prefer; you may even make a 3rd method which would be the Niki.Tasha way.

1. Cut a length of thread 2 yards long.  Thread your needle and pull both needle and thread through the Thread Heaven® or beeswax a couple of times.  Then, stretch the thread as you run the needle and thread through one hand several times.  Believe me, this really helps cut down the kinks and knots as you are stitching.

2. Put 1 bead on the thread a tail of about 12 inches from the end and run the needle through the bead a 2nd time.  This is the ‘stop bead’ which will help keep all your beads on the thread.

3. String 84 beads on the thread.   Check and double check your count.  This tube is an even number peyote pattern and these 84 beads make the first 2 rows.  The beads must be held loosely on the thread.  The slack will be taken up in the next step.

NOTE:  You must ensure the beads have lots of room because they will shift as you add the next row.  Calculating how much space to give these beads comes with practice and I admit I have never been able to figure out just how much slack is needed.

4. Run your needle through the 1st two beads, from right to left, beside the stop bead to create a tube.  … If you are right handed, Niki, you will be working from right to left.  But, if you are a leftie like me, your needle and ‘working thread’ will move from left to right.  …  Add a bead on your needle, skip a bead on your tube and run your needle through the next bead.   Add another  bead on your needle and skip a bead, and run the needle through the next bead.  Continue in this way, adding a bead and running your working thread through every 2nd bead, until you return to the beginning.   Slip your needle through the first 2 beads of the row just finished. 

Niki, you may now remove the stop bead if you wish:  I prefer to keep it because it will indicate the beginning and ending of the original row.  That helps when working your pattern.  It also acts as a weight on that 12 inches of tail thread which helps keep it out of the way of your working thread.

5.  You have now recognized that the Peyote technique is an offset pattern.  Following either of the 2 patterns offered on the last post, only 1 portion of the design has been graphed.  It is up to you whether or not you repeat the design on the backside.  Your stress level will be lower if you work the back in one solid colour.  Once you get the hang of things, you can add a 2nd full design on the backside or mix things up any way you like.

Ending and Beginning a Working Thread:

6.  Don’t work your design until you have run out of thread.  Allow at least 4 inches of working thread to use in ending the thread.  Run your needle through beads, one at a time, in a downward diagonal line.  Every 3 beads run the needle through the bead immediately above the bead your needle has just exited.  One at a time again, run the needle through another 2 or 3 beads.  Double back as before until a) you run out of working thread, or b) you are satisfied that the thread will not work its way loose. 

NOTE:  Some beaders add a discreet knot or 2 during their finishing a thread.  A small dab of glue is added by some beaderswith steady hands.  I have had great success with my method without the knots and the glue (my hands shake too much).

7.  Your 2nd and all other threads need not be nearly as long as the first one.  I like to use a thread 3 ft in length.  Leaving a tail of about 3 inches long, run the needle through your beads in an upward diagonal manner exactly the way you did to finish a thread.  You will double back several times and check to ensure the thread is not going to work its way free … tug on the working thread.  Bring your needle up in the exact same spot as where you ended.

8.  Continue working until you run out of pattern.  The last row must be even all around – don’t end in the middle of the row.  If you have lots of thread left in your needle, don’t end and cut the thread off.  Jump to Lesson 8 – Bottom’s Up.

6.  The designs I listed in Lesson 6 have no colour notations.  It is your choice what colours to use.  As mentioned, if you add your favourite colour as the basic, you will enjoy the process a whole lot more.  Keep a balance of bright shiny beads and flat matte beads.  The play of light on the different bead finishes adds to the design.  But, a little goes a long way. 

I hope you enjoy your first project, Niki.

GLOSSARY: 

Tubular Peyote Stitch:  A technique in which a hollow tube is created by adding a bead in the space between 2 beads of the previous round.

Stop Bead:  A bead through which the needle passes twice  to keep all the beads on the thread.  After the first 3 rows it acts as a weight to help identify  and keep the long tail away from the working thread.

Working Thread:  The thread going from a bead and through the eye of the needle.  It becomes evident once some beads are added.  ‘Working Thread’ becomes a helpful shorter term when describing complicated needle movement.

Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproducted or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 6 – Amulet Bag

It is my hope, Niki, that you will have all the bits and beads you will need so you can begin beading on the weekend.  I forgot to mention it in my Lessons 5 and 6, that it would be a good idea to have a mixture of texture.  If you have shiny beads, and 1 colour that is a matte finish.  If all the beads are shiny people can’t see the subtleties of the design. 

I don’t know what your weekly schedule is like, how much time you have to call your own.  But I do know my own schedule:  I will be carving out some evening time after dinner to get beading on this project.

An amulet bag has been used by our First Nations since before recorded time.  It is a small pouch on a leather cord worn around the neck and inside the personal totem or good luck charm was carried.  

Making an amulet bag gives you a good opportunity to think about yourself:  how you would describe yourself in 30 seconds or less.  Sometimes the answers are along the lines of ” I am the supervisor of x number of people” or “I have 6 children.”  That tells somebody of what you do but not what you are.  Reflect on your likes and dislikes, how you want people to remember you after you leave.  Consider what influences you:  is it Nature in all its glorious colours that inspires you?  Is it the texture of something that draws you to it? 

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?  If you were a flower, what flower would you be?  If you were music, what would you sound like?  Asking questions like that helps define who you are.  And it helps determine what your personal totem is.  I have a sister who is a peacock and a bird of paradise flower.  But her totem is a teddy bear.  My older sister’s totem is a horse, a thoroughbred.  Me?  I am a rubber duckie.  What is your totem? 

You live in a land of such ancient culture and such diversity of landscapes; both physical and cultural.  Canada is a young country by any standard and the greater population is gathered in its southern areas.  The culture of our First Nations goes back before written history but so far we have learned very little of their past, in all its richness.  Instead, we choose to think of 1867, the year of our confederation, when we became known as the nation of Canada, as the ‘beginning’ of time.  Personally, I think we do ourselves an injustice not to honour our First Nations.

This amulet bag is made of 11/o Delica cylinder beads.  It will use over 2,600 beads in total.  Print the pattern and take it with you when you choose your beads.  The person in your bead shop should be able to guide you.  Do yourself a favour:  do not substitute any of your beads with seed beads.  Seed beads vary more in their bead size and will give a bumpy texture to the surface of the amulet bag.

We will work this pattern from the bottom upwards.  Peyote Stitch, also called the Gourd Stitch, is stitched in the hand in a tubular fashion.  Once the main tube is complete we will close the bottom with a few extra rows of beads.  We will also be beading the flaps that will close this amulet bag.  And, finally, we will bead a thin strap so the peyote stitch amulet bag can be worn.

Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 5 – Colours

Art Deco Amulet Bag

Art Deco Amulet Bag

glass bead artisan jewelry, a spot to keep a talisman

glass bead artisan jewelry, a spot to keep a talisman

There are all kinds of websites that dedicate some space to defining the meanings of colours.  In Lesson 4 – Colour, we discussed colour theory and we explained cool and warm colours.  In addition to the theory, is the ‘feeling’ or reaction one has with colours. 

The warm colours of yellow, orange and red are gregarious, optimistic and aggressive.  The cool colours of violet, blue and green soothe ; they have a calming effect.

Black, brown and gold, ‘neutrals’ of the fashion industry, are warm colours.  White, grey and silver are cool neutrals.

Blue suggests strength, hence the executive blue suit.  It is peaceful:  the Madonna is depicted as a woman wearing blue.

People are trying to ‘green’ the world: green is the colour of the environment when it is healthy.  Hospital corridors are painted a light green tint.  Green suggests growth. 

Yellow was the colour of royalty in ancient China.  Yellow is cheerful, joyful.

Red:  outgoing, passionate, hot.  In China, red is a lucky colour.  When a bit of white is added, you get a pink tint.  Little girls in Canada wear pink. 

Purple is the royal colour:  an extremely costly dye to make, in the western world purple was reserved for royalty.  In the Catholic church, purple is a sacred colour and worn by bishops.

Gold, a warm colour,  and silver, a cool colour, are 2 precious metals.  Yellow or red gold, the colour of riches and of tradition.  As part of the marriage tradition, it is customary to offer wedding rings made of gold. 

Black is the colour of power and aggressiveness.  Limousines that are black are used in funeral processions in the western hemisphere.  It is a sober colour.

White once was considered the colour of bad luck.  It is also the colour of purity.   In olden days, a woman’s bridal dress was her best frock which was most often made of silk and either black or some other dark colour.  It was  Queen Victoria who started the trend of bridal dresses of white.

In the business world, there used to be a formula for the colours one wore to work.  On Monday you wear your power suit, black.  You want the symbol of authority, the colour black, at the start of the week.  On Tuesday the colour of choice was dark blue; still an authoritative colour but without the aggressiveness of black.   Wednesday is the apex of the workweek:  fewer mistakes are made on a Wednesday.  Wednesday was the day for grey.   Brown, the colour of earth, an approachable colour, is worn on Thursday.  The weekend is just one day away so it’s okay to loosen the reins of business.  Finally, Friday, a day of celebration:  when the whistle blows at the end of the shift we will be on our own time.  TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), people wear beige or any other tint [remember, a tint is the colour made when white is added to a Hue.]

When you look at your design and you can’t say exactly what is missing, but that something is missing, add a bit of black.   Interior decorators use this trick to ‘ground’ a room. 

When you pick the bead colours, Niki, that you will use in the first project, start with your favourite colour.  I believe, and I am not alone in my belief, that you can never have too many beads and you will always enjoy the pieces you make using your favourite colour.  You must pay attention to the colour values:  Hue= saturated, pure colour;  Tint= the colour you chose but lighter, by adding  white to the Hue;  Tone = the colour you chose but darker, with black added to the Hue.

Copyright © Helene Turnbull  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and rettrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 4 – Colours

Good afternoon, Niki, let’s talk colour.  I have broken the 4th lesson into 2 parts:  the theory [ Lesson 4 ] and the real use of colour [Lesson 5].

There is a helpful tool called a Colour Wheel.  I did not include it in the list of tools in Lesson 2 because it is not necessary to have one to understand colour theory.  It is very useful when designing something and colour seems to be an obstacle:  kind of like writer’s block but with colours.  If you go further in design, you may want to purchase one.

Pure colour is called a Hue.  When a prism is held up to the light it refracts a ray of sunshine into the colours of the spectrum:  the Hues of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, violet.  Colour comes from sunshine.  A single white ray of light is broken into many different colours so it would make sense that when you add all those colours together you should get the original white.  Instead, you get the colour of mud.

The 3 primary Hues are red, yellow, and blue.  Some artists add green as a primary colour.   They are primary because they turn into other Hues when added together – for example, red and yellow make orange, red and blue make violet, and blue and yellow make green.

The Secondary Hues are those that occur when 2 primaries are mixed together.  All the variety of colour depends on how much of one Hue is used to make another colour.  If yellow and red make orange, then more yellow and less red will make the Hue yellow-orange.  If blue and red combine, the colour is violet:  when more red than blue is mixed together the resulting Hue is maroon. 

A Tertiary colour is that which is made when 2 Hues next to each other are added together:  a Primary Hue and a Secondary Hue.  An example of this would be mixing primary red and primary yellow to get a Secondary Hue orange which, when mixed with Primary red makes the Tertiary red-orange.  Another example might be mixing Primary Yellow with Primary Blue to get Secondary green.  Secondary green and Primary blue join to make Tertiary blue-green.

So far we have been mixing Hues.  Let’s talk about putting 2 Hues side by side without mixing them together.; now we are talking about Complementary Colour Harmony.  If you choose the Hue ‘red’ and want to pair it with another Hue, choose ‘green’ which is directly across the colour wheel from red.  That is a Direct Harmony.  Each Hue  will intensify the impact of its Direct Harmony:  green will look greener and red will look redder when paired together.

A Split Harmony occurs when choosing, for example, ‘red’ as the start point, and adding yellow-green and blue-green.  The yellow-green and blue-green are on either side of the Hue ‘green’.   A Split Harmony is made.

A Triad Harmony occurs when ‘red’ is joined by ‘yellow’ and ‘blue’; the other primary colours.   

There are cool colours:  violet, blue, blue-green and green.  And there are warm colours:  red, orange, yellow and yellow-green.  As well, each Hue can be both cool and warm.  For example, blue on the Colour Wheel is cool but that side of the blue which is closer to the red on the Wheel is considered a warm blue while the side of the blue closest to green is considered a cool blue.  Using red as the main colour, the red closest to blue is a cool red and the red closest to yellow is a warm red.

 Harmony means agreement; a happy balance.  If you choose only cool colours the work can appear cold and out of balance.  But if you choose a balance of cool and warm colours, then the work ‘works’.  Choose a warm red and a cool green and the piece will be a Direct Harmony that is in balance.

Analogous Harmony is any series of Hues that are beside one another:  putting red-violet, violet , blue-violet, blue into your work would be one Analogous Colour Scheme.   Red, red-orange, orange, and yellow organge is another Analogous Colour Scheme.

Finally, for this chapter on colour, we add black and white to any Hue.  If white is added to a Hue, the new colour is called a Tint.  Adding black to the same pure red Hue results in a Tone.  For example, pink is adding white to red and is a red Tint.  Maroon is made by adding black to red and is a red Tone.

When you can’t figure out what colour to use, retreat to your colour wheel and start with the basics of colour theory to jumpstart your design.

Copyright ©2008 Helene Turnbull.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 3 – Needles

Needles!  I have so much to say!

Once upon a time needles were an important part of a housemaker’s kit.  They were hard to come by then and were housed in elaborate needlecases; sometimes made of silver or gold and sometimes of wood and whalebone.  A valuable gift for  a sailor to give the sweetheart he left on shore was a needlecase with etching, called scrimshaw, and made of the ivory of the whale. 

The Japanese silk embroideries use special needles to hold the silks as they are used to embellish, for example,  an obi.  These needles were handmade by a Master in Japan.  This work 10 years ago were in danger of disappearing when the aging Master died:  there were no apprentices.  At least, that is what I was told.

Needles are made commercially with steel wire which is extruded through numerous machines until the wire is of the desired diameter.  Next it gets cut into lengths of the different sized needles determined by its end use; eg. quilting, hand sewing, embroidery, beading to name a few.  A hole is stamped out at one end and the other end is made into a point.  The needle is ready for packaging and it’s time for you to decide what needles will work best for you and your beading.

There are blunt needles of different thickness and length that are used by needlepointers.  The higher the number identifying the needle size, the smaller the needle is.  An 18 needle is used for needlepoint canvas with very large holes, while a 26 needle is fine and used for petitpoint, a very delicate silk ‘canvas’.

There are differing sizes of needle for surface embroidery like crewel work which are sharp.

And there are needles for quilting which are also sharp.

There are long needles made of flimsy twisted wire and a wide eye.  They are very easy to thread but are a poor choice when multiple passes through the same bead are required.  You could use this style of needle when you are picking up many beads.  Similarly there are long needles made with extruded steel.

For beading, as for any sewing,  the size of needle is determined by its ability to pass multiple times through a single bead AND open a large enough hole through the other strands already inside the bead so the thread may pass through WITHOUT tugging or forcing or breaking the bead.

Like the women in olden times, we find a needle and use it almost exclusively for everything.  For my petitpoint embroideries (1,600 stitches to the square inch)  I like a quilter’s No. 12 needle.  I make my own personal adjustments:  my petitpoint and my beading require small, blunt needles so I round off the sharp point with a few passes on a special stone I have.  What makes this stone ‘special’ is that it comes from the beaches of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  it has been worn smooth by the ocean’s waves.  I picked it up prior to a beading class I was teaching and I dulled the points off the needles I was to use in that class.  I brought it with me when I moved back home, 3,000 miles away.

I keep my  No.12 quilting needles in its own needlecase to keep it separate from my many other sizes of needles.

Now, the larger the eye of the needle, the larger the thread can be.  It is the eye of the needle that opens a hole in the fabric large enough for the thread to pass through.  The thread could be thick wool or fine silk.  And the fabric can be linen canvas or beads being sewn together.

Niki, when you visit a sewing store, take a look at the needles for sale and you will see the many different needles; one for each special use you might need.  You will have to find your own favourite needle; but, for now get a short and fine needle with a small eye:  your beading supplier would be able to guide you.

I have given you a couple of choices for Canadian bead shops:  the people at both shops are wonderfully helpful and both shops ship internationally.

http://www.beadfx.com/catalogue/needles.php

http://www.nlmglassarts.com/seedbeads.php?page=sym11Del&PHPSESSID=212191c6302b81fd2a36da798c1be371

 

© 2008 HelenE Turnbull

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