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Beading Threads and Needles

Threads

Beading threads are used to stitch the beads in place on your fabric or into bead woven forms. When used for bead embroidery, the thread is used double, with a knotted tail. When used for bead woven stitches, the thread is used single, unless the directions state otherwise.

  • Silamide comes either on a card, or on a spool, which makes it easy to cut off the desired length.
  • Nymo and S-lon come on a small bobbin.

Thread Holders

  • The June Taylor thread holder can be used for a spool of Silamide, which also has a convenient place for your scissors and needles.
  • An unused lipstick holder, makes for a great storage case for loose bobbins. Pull a short length of thread, close the lid and cut off the length needed.
  • A T-pin can be used to hold the bobbin onto a pincushion, pull the thread off as needed.

Needles

Beading needles are fine and thin and most commonly found in sizes 10-13. The needles come in long and short lengths.

  • Use a refrigerator magnet to keep your needles organized while working on a project
  • To store your needles, cut an empty plastic bead tube, to fit the size of your needles.

Happy stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

Friday’s Favorites: Fall Colors

14 3/4″ x 13 3/4″

Batik Galaxy by Christen Brown

This piece started with the a group of batik fabrics in dark mustard, teal, and cranberry/rust. The cranberry/rust fabric reminded me of the red ring around Mars, so I created a galaxy in the center of the piece, using a wholecloth reverse applique technique. The copper and antiqued brass finishes of the celestial-themed charms added an extra color element. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

11 1/4″ x 12 7/8″

Umbria by Christen Brown

This piece started with four printed fabrics in rich browns, rust, and cranberry colors. I found a variegated perle cotton that picked up all of those colors. I then chose the remainder of the embroidery and embellishments to match the thread. Embellishments include vintage shell buttons, copper charms, and glass buttons that are sprinkled around the fiber and metal leaf trims. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

17″ x 16 3/4″ (close-up)

Autumn Ribbons by Christen Brown

The base of this piece started with a linen napkin, and added bits of vintage lace that I hand-dyed with Colorhue dyes. I then added in loads of rust, orange, and brown flowers and leaves that I hand-stitched from Hanah silk bias ribbons. I used techniques that can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing. The embroidery was worked with perle cotton, Wildflower threads, and silk embroidery ribbon, using many of the stitches that can be found in my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.

24″ x 23″ (close-up)

Harvest Quilt by Christen Brown

The base of this quilt was strip-pieced using Hoffman cotton batiks, in rich autumn colors of rust, umber, cranberry, maple, and olive. The embroidery stitches are worked in perle cotton #5 and #8, Wildflower threads, and cotton floss. This piece was featured in the gallery section of my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.

Enjoy! Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Embroidery Samplers

If I could pass on one important thought, it would be that practice just makes sense. Perfection is not something that I strive for, but I myself feel more confident when I understand the stitches that I am working on.

My book Embroidered and Embellished, by C&T Publishing is divided into four chapters, each chapter includes 20 stitches and 2 projects. I grouped the stitches according to the type of stitches and the materials that were used in each of these chapters.

At the beginning of each chapter I have included a sampler which utilizes all of the stitches included in the chapter. I used the above embroidery template (page 89) as a guide, and embroidered the design around the guide.

The Embroidery Journal Project above, is from my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T embellishing. There are instructions in the book for making this little journal on page 43. Each page is 10″ x 6″, with the embroidered sections worked on each 5″ x 6″ half. You can refer to the samplers in the Visual Guide for the stitches to use, or use the samplers at the beginning of each chapter.

In my class The Embroidery Corner, I taught a 17 week course on embroidery. Each week, working with one stitch family, the student practiced their stitching on a 6″ piece of fabric. Here are some of my examples:

For a book that includes over 500+ stitches, see my book Hand Embroidery Dictionary, by C&T Publishing. If you would like to make a sampler of your own, you can download the free PDF lesson, Sampler Roll of Stitches.

I am confident that you will agree that by allowing yourself the time to learn and experiment with a new technique will never be a waste of time. You are worth the time that it takes to prepare for your journey into embroidery. May that be a long enjoyable journey, and may your needles fly!

Happy Stitching, enjoy~Christen

Bead Embroidery vs Thread Embroidery

I love to embroider, which I am sure you can tell. I have two books that are specifically focused on embroidery. In the Hand Embroidery Dictionary there are over 500+ stitches, both traditional stitches and unique stitches that I developed for the book. In my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, I offer you both traditional bead embroidery stitches as well as unique techniques that accommodate the special characteristics of the different bead shapes and sizes.

Below, I show you how various forms of thread embroidery can be adapted to bead embroidery and bead woven stitches. The use of beads in the bead embroidery and bead woven stitches certainly do bring a surprisingly visual and dimensional aspect to the work.

Here is an example of two crazy pieced sections of fabric. The first is worked in traditional thread and silk ribbon embroidery stitches, along with embellishments such as tatting, rosettes, charms and buttons. In the second piece, you see traditional stitches translated into beaded embroidery, with the stitches worked in seed beads in sizes 6°, 8°, 11°, and 15°. Embellishments include lace, larger beads, charms, and buttons.

This is an example of a sashiko pattern, the first is embroidered with perle cotton; the second is embroidered with 11° seed beads.

Here is an example of the cross stitch worked in perle cotton, and size 11° seed beads.

Here is an example of two brooches, worked in similar design. In the first I embroidered the Brazilian rose, and traditional leaves and French knot stitches in perle cotton; with a couched cord frame. In the second, I embroidered the a rose with size 11° seed beads, and added in bead woven leaves, and charms; with a beaded couched cord frame.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

Friday’s Favorites: Autumn Jewels

These are a few of the small wall hangings and wreaths that I have made. The first was featured in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, with the ribbonworked flowers attached to a wire base, embellished with vintage buttons and charms. The second was a class that I taught at my store, with the flowers and leaves made from French wire and woven ribbons, embellished with vintage buttons and charms. The third features a dragonfly that I taught at my store, embellished with silk and woven ribbonwork flowers and leaves.

Here are two neck-pieces that I have created. The first is entirely made from ribbonwork flowers and leaves from the Petals and Posies series that I taught at my store. The embellishments include vintage velvet ribbon leaves, and a sprinkling of vintage and new buttons. The second is a version of a class that I taught at my store, Entwined Treasures. The base begins with a silk cord base, and is embroidered and embellished with beads, ribbons, charms and buttons.

Enjoy this harvest of treasures! Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Spiders and Webs

This time of year brings to mind spooky things, and to me the spookiest is running into a spiderweb and wondering if you are wearing the weaver of that web! We have quite a colony of orb weavers in our garden, and I am amazed by the intricacy of these woven wonders.

Ugly Bug Ball, by Christen Brown

The base of this piece is a cotton twill fabric. I pieced and stitched the web using a vintage embroidery ribbon, and rickrack trim. The web holds a host of ‘’ugly bugs’’ stitched mainly from old sewing notions and vintage glass and hand-blown glass beads. This can be seen in my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New.

Spiders Hide in the Dusk, by Christen Brown

The base of this piece is a cotton batik, that I machine quilted, and then framed with a rayon cord. The embellishments include vintage glass and shell buttons, glass seed and larger beads. The webs, spiders, and button flowers are worked in bead embroidery stitches. This is a project in my book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching.

If you know my work, you know that I sneak a spider and a web into many of my crazy-pieced creations. I am in awe of the beauty of those delicate structures, and I try to capture that beauty either with beads or threads.

Charlotes Webs, by Christen Brown

This project started with the reproduction cigarette silk print in the center, whom I named Charlotte. The center section was crazy-pieced with tiny and tinier pieces of precious silk scraps left over from a few other projects. Satin ribbon was machine stitched randomly to create sections for the vignette embroidery which was worked in silk embroidery ribbon, woven ribbon, perle cotton and beads. Additional embellishments include vintage buttons and glass charms.

As much as I love to look at the webs, I am deathly afraid of real-life spiders! When I embroider the spider, I try to create a more whimsical version to somehow confront my fear! It works, until I run into a web, and then wonder…

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Thank you for looking, and Happy Stitching to you all! ~Christen

National Lace Day

October 1, 2022

I LOVE to work with lace, and have acquired a wonderful stash, many of the pieces were given to me by thoughtful family members and friends. A variety of techniques are used to create lace, by hand or machine, from natural or synthetic threads or yarns. The hand-made techniques use simple tools, such as a needle, wooden bobbins, crochet hook, tatting shuttle, or knitting needles, and I tend to collect these, but all lace is welcome in my home!

9″ x 10 3/4″

Creme de la Creme by Christen Brown

This is a collection of some of my favorite little scraps of lace, trims, doily bits, and pieces of a collar and cuff. I collage-pieced these bits onto a background of dupioni silk, then hand-stitched the pieces in place. The vignettes are comprised of silk ribbon embroidery floral components, groups of buttons with silk ribbon embroidery stitches, charms and other beaded components. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

23 1/2″ x 19″

Girly Girls by Christen Brown

This entire collection of doilies, napkins, small serving place mats, and lace bits was given to me by friends and family members. The kid glove belonged to my grandmother, and my mother stitched the oval floral pieces. The earrings came from both of my husband’s grandmothers, and the jacquard ribbon from his mother. I collage-pieced and hand-stitched the base first, then added in the larger components, and ribbonwork flowers. The embroidery is worked with perle cotton, and beads. I also added in vintage buttons, jewelry bits, perfume vials, and and a safety pin with tea themed porcelain charms. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Photo by Felix Mayorca

Pearl’s Delight by Christen Brown

I stitched this simple jacket from a fun paisley print that I had found in a $1.00 a yard bin many, many, years ago. Every inch of the base is covered with bits of vintage machine made, tatted, and crochet lace that had been given to me by my friend Jeri. The sections of lace are embellished with ribbons, mother-of-pearl buttons and charms, freshwater pearls, glass beads, and glass pearls that came from an old necklace that belonged to my grandmother. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Here is a collection of some additional pieces that can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 30

Question: Are you looking for inspiration, a little kick start, or just some eye candy? I have a few books that may help you on your creative journey, may that be a long and happy one!

Here is a re-cap of National Sewing Month 2022:

  1. September 1, 2022– Question: When did you first learn to sew, and who was your teacher?
  2. September 2, 2022– Question: How do you design a project, do you start with a plan or do you let the materials tell you what and where they want to be?
  3. September 3, 2022– Question: What type of piecing do you like to do?
  4. September 4, 2022– Question: When you choose a fabric, what are you drawn to, do you like to work with solids or prints, or hand-dyed or batiks?
  5. September 5, 2022– Question: Do you like to recycle old clothing, or use something in an unexpected way?
  6. September 6, 2022– Question: What type of embellishments to you like to work with on your projects?
  7. September 7, 2022– Question: Do you plan out every detail, or do you approach your work with serendipity?
  8. September 8, 2022– Question: Do you like to make and sew your own jewelry and adornments?
  9. September 9, 2022– Question: Did you know that the wooden spools that you have in your stash may be 50-100 years or older?
  10. September 10, 2022– Question: Do you have a favorite pincushion, or two?
  11. September 11, 2022– Rustic Americana, In Memory of 9/11
  12. September 12, 2022– Question: When you design a project, do you sometimes think, hmm I like that, but I want to try it in another colorway or design?
  13. September 13, 2022– Question: Do you plan out a project, with bits and pieces of paper lying around the workroom with your notes, or do you use a dedicated book to keep track of all of those ideas?
  14. September 14, 2022– Question: Do you name or title your projects, and how do you choose those names?
  15. September 15, 2022– Question: Do like to work with felt?
  16. September 16, 2022– Question: What sewer does not have a favorite pin or needle keep?
  17. September 17, 2022– Question: Do you sew functional forms for the home, or do you like to create whimsical additions?
  18. September 18, 2022– Question: Do you like to crazy-piece, but sometimes find the sections so small, that it is hard to embroider every seam?
  19. September 19, 2022– Question: Do you like to embroider over a pattern or print?
  20. September 20, 2022– Question: When you embroider a piece, do you like to use free-form images or do you use stencils?
  21. September 21, 2022– Question: When you create a strip-pieced base, do you embroider the seams, in the seams or over the seams?
  22. September 22, 2022– Question: What sewer hasn’t heard of the Sunbonnet Sue?
  23. September 23, 2022– Question: Do you sew functional forms or do you like to create fabulous frivolities?
  24. September 24, 2022– Question: Do you like to add lace to your creations?
  25. September 25, 2022– Question: When you are working with a group of fabrics, how do you decide what colors to use for the embroidery stitches?
  26. September 26, 2022– Question: What kind of sewing machine did you learn to sew on, and, what kind of machine do you sew on now?
  27. September 27, 2022– Question: When you see a hanky used in a project, do you ever think of Rhett Buttler’s comment to Scarlet: “Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.”
  28. September 28, 2022– Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that?
  29. September 29, 2022– Question: When you buy a charm pack, do you often find that there are prints that you think, hmm, how did those get included in here?

I hope that you have enjoyed this month, and have found some inspiration within these pages.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 28

Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that? Well I think if you are a sewist, quilter, artist or designer, the answer is YES!

17 1/2″ x 16 3/4″

Eastern Influences by Christen Brown

This piece started with the small scrap of fabric that I used for the center. It had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project to come along. The printed fabric that I used in the border, was one of those fat quarters I purchased, and then held onto for years. Sound familiar? Additional fabrics were a machine embroidered cotton, and plain black cotton, that were left over from other projects. Glass seed beads were used for the embroidery, along with vintage bugle and hand-blown glass beads, and nail heads. Vintage buttons are sprinkled throughout, along with large glass beads and charms. This piece can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 25

Question: When you are working with a group of fabrics, how do you decide what colors to use for the embroidery stitches? Here are a few ideas.

10″ x 10″

Victoriana by Christen Brown

This crazy-pieced square started with a rayon print, and 6 different silk fabrics that matched the colors of the print. I chose silk embroidery ribbon, perle cotton, buttonhole silk, cotton floss, and seed beads in those same colors. I used 7mm silk embroidery ribbon and silk bias ribbons for the ribbonwork flowers. Each section of fabric is worked with a combination of the colors and components.

15 3/8″ x 15 3/8″

Melted Crayons by Christen Brown

Tiny bits of precious silk fabrics were crazy-pieced onto four foundation squares and strip-pieced onto four border strips. These blocks and strips were bordered with black silk fabric, satin ribbon, and rayon cord. I chose to work each of the border rows with black buttonhole twist, then the decorative and detail stitches with a variegated Valdani perle cotton. Vintage and new button details were stitched down with perle cotton and rayon floss. This piece can be seen in The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen