Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Bead Embroidery – Online Class – Just in Time!


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One of the delightful things about convalescing is the complete lack of guilt when it comes to sitting around, watching instructional videos on embroidery techniques.

I admit, I’m a sucker for online video classes. I like to watch people teach their Thing, when it comes to needlework. But I don’t always have time to just indulge in watching classes. So, yeah. I’ve been rather a sloth lately, and I’ve been indulging, guilt free! Not a bad deal, eh?

Ok, so…with Christmas coming up and ornaments on the mind, it was easy to get sucked into a bead embroidery class. I love adding beads to embroidery! They sparkle! They shine! They add texture! They’re just fun!

And once you get the hang of adding beads to various stitches, to adding single beads and lines of beads, to adding specialty beads and sequins – well, you’re set for stitching up all kinds of blingy, beady stuff – all of which is perfect for embroidering Christmas ornaments.

So, today, I thought I’d review Bead Embroidery taught by Myra Wood on Craftsy. Here’s my take on it, with pros and cons, in case you’re interested in adding another dimension to your embroidery pursuits!

Bead Embroidery Class Online

Before we start, I have to tell you right off that any Craftsy links I provide here are affiliate links, which means I get a tiny kickback to help support Needle ‘n Thread, if you go through my link. Just so you know! The kickback doesn’t influence my review – I’m still going to give you pros and cons.

So, Bead Embroidery with Myra Wood on Craftsy…. I would guess some of you have already taken this class, because it’s been available for a while. It never really caught my eye – not like the Goldwork Class (reviewed here) and the Stumpwork Class (reviewed here). Those two classes are right my alley.

Bead embroidery is more of a side trip for me. I love adding beads to embroidery, but I’m not a “bead embroiderer.” The embroidery is always first for me, and I see beads more along the lines of an accent, rather than the total focus of the embroidery.

The nice thing about this class is that you can take it in either direction. You can go all-out, with full-fledged, total bead embroidery, or you can use the techniques to accent your embroidery with beads.

Bead Embroidery Class Online

What will you learn in the class?

The class focuses on a project that’s finished into a drawstring bag, so you’ll go through the whole bead embroidery process with a specific design, and all the finishing involved in making the drawstring bag.

I like classes that focus on a specific project, and I consider finishing techniques as icing on the cake. So this approach was a real plus in my mind. Obviously, you can apply the techniques learned in the class to all kinds of other projects, just as you can use the drawstring bag finishing instructions for making drawstring bags that aren’t necessarily bead embroidery.

The class is divided into eight lessons. The first lesson covers supplies, tools, materials – fabrics, bead types, hoops and whatnot. Every stitcher has Favorite Tools – just remember, you aren’t obliged to use the specific tools that a teacher recommends, but it’s a good idea to see why a teacher recommends certain tools.

Lessons two through seven cover instructions for adding beads to embroidery, from adding single beads (of all kinds), to working specific embroidery stitches with beads, sequins, and the like.

Bead Embroidery Class Online

Myra teaches you how to use beads to create vines, lines, flowers, leaves, petals…

Bead Embroidery Class Online

…some more complex than others, and some quite simple but very effective.

When it comes to the embroidery stitches with added beads, or the embroidery stitches made entirely out of beads, there are many good ideas here!

There was one little glitch in the stitch instruction part, in the part about fishbone stitch with beads. If you’re a stitch junkie and you really get into specific and accurate names for stitches, this might bother you. The technique is excellent – it’s a great way to add beads down the spine of a leaf – but the stitch itself isn’t really fishbone stitch. It’s fly stitch. She mentions that it works up just like fly stitch. That’s because it really is fly stitch, only it starts with a straight stitch before going into fly stitch.

I only mention it, because I think some of you will notice… But the technique itself is nice, no matter what you call it!

Bead Embroidery Class Online

Several sections I really love: Lesson 6 on bugle beads and sequins – lots of really good information there, if you’re ready to expand beyond seed beads; and Lesson 7, on accent beads, which ends with some bead embroidery inspiration. Myra shows off some of her creations that are superbly encrusted with beads and embroidery, and she talks about how they were finished, or what types of pre-finished items she used.

I think this information will come in quite handy, especially for those who are looking for fun and different ways either for making things out of embroidery projects or for embroidering on pre-made, already finished items.

The last lesson, Lesson Eight, is devoted entirely to the finish work on the pretty little drawstring bag.

I find Lesson Eight mesmerizing. I could watch this lesson several times in a row, and enjoy it each time. I could even put it on mute and enjoy it.

Have you ever watched someone with beautiful penmanship, write? It’s addicting. And watching someone sew on a machine or iron affects me the same way. I don’t know why.

A Trilogy worth Exploring

If you have already taken the Goldwork class and the Stumpwork class on Craftsy, I’m thinking Bead Embroidery will complete the trilogy, especially for those who are looking to incorporate mixed techniques in their own embroidery projects.

If you want to go beyond the basics with bead embroidery – to really encrusted stuff – you might enjoy Bead Embroidery: Beyond the Basics, with the same instructor. I haven’t taken it yet, but it’s on my list! (Update, October 2016 – I’ve taken the class – it’s terrific! As good, if not better, than the first one, because you get into the mysterious realm of adhering Big Things to fabric in a decorative way. I loved this class and learned a lot!)

Or All the Craftsy Classes?

Update, 2018: Craftsy is now part of a program called Blueprint, which gives you access to all Craftsy classes for as long as you’re subscribed, at a fixed low monthly price. You can try a 7-day free trial here. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in running through all their hand embroidery classes!

Hope you have a jolly Wednesday, and I will see you on Friday, with something really knotty. Just a silly idea I had, involving French knots. It seems to be working! And I can’t wait to show it to you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small kickback for any purchases made through those links, at no extra cost to you.


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(18) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    I love bead embroidery in fact I’m incorporating beads into my fabric journal for my niece who is getting married in August 2016. I just completed a beaded netted fringe that I learnt from RSN Bead Embroidery book that I have so this course would be a great way to learn more about bead embroidery, but which one should I take, should I go for the Bead embroidery or Beyond the Basics, hmm, I will have to think on that. Thanks for sharing Craftsy on-line classes with us and for letting us know they are available, great stuff. I look forward to something really knotty, that sounds interesting. I send my good wishes to you.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Don’t worry Lorraine, they’re always having sales. If you miss this one, just wait a couple of weeks and the next discount event will come up. =) I’m guessing they’ll be having a Boxing Day/January Sale too….

  2. I’ve never done full bead embroidery because it almost seems like too much of a good thing. I do adore beads and tend to add them even when they’re not called for. Nothing like a bit of sparkle and texture to jazz up a piece and make it look more complicated than it really is. 🙂

    I noticed in the Craftsy project she’s using beads that are more unique than typical Mill Hill beads – rounds, ovals and bugle. Did she mention how to access the others like the leaves and flowers? I never see those at the standard craft shop.

    Happily (or sadly because I love beads) I discovered a small bead shop not far from me that carries such specialty items like that and more! But for most people, it seems like they would have to find a bead source online, look at pictures, order and wait. I personally like to see them in person to decide if I like the way they look and then pick just the right one. 🙂

  3. To me it is a drawback that the Craftsy books are not for download – you have to remember the password etc. I much (!) prefer the way I can download your books to a file on my computer that are easily accessible any time – especially when I want to do a quick review of a stitch or other comments on threads and their use etc.

    1. When you create an account with Craftsy, you can click the box that says “remember me,” and you won’t have to remember user names or passwords to log in. I love that.

  4. Hi Mary, thanks for the review about the Craftsy bead class, I loved your review of the stumpwork class and just had to have it!! My only problem is that I have to keep putting all these great new techniques onto my “to-do” list until I have finished several of my current projects (a minor problem I know…) I will enjoy reading about your knotty project soon. Best wishes, Ann.

  5. This class looks fascinating. I’m like you, and tend to use beads to accent the embroidery, not to be the focal point of a piece. But that could certainly change. I’ve seen some people in my EGA groups that have the most beautiful beaded items. I love Craftsy classes, so I better load up on my wish list while they are still on sale. Thanks for the review!

  6. G’day there Mary,
    This is great, thanks. A Christmas prezzie to myself, from you!
    And the silly knotty idea? Will be onto it. Love your ideas, silly or knot silly!
    You’re very much in my thoughts, with love. xx
    Although I haven’t been participating much lately I still read every post.
    Cheers, Kath

  7. Hi Mary! Thanks for that. =)

    This course is on my Craftsy wishlist and I hope to look into it more seriously late next year (when I’ll be able to get the specialist beads I’ll need at the local Knitting and Stitching Show early December). I’ve bought 3 others – the stumpwork one (where she uses the same technique as me for cutting etc. I checked that bit out first!!!), the goldwork which I bought the one thread I lacked for at the Show the other week and the one on creating texture, which I hope will help me actually USE some of my other cotton threads. I’m getting tired of hoarding and not using this stuff.

    On a more personal note: My apologies for my tardiness in getting to you on this one, but I was so sorry to hear of all the health hassles you’re having. I do so hope that your journey to a cure is as smooth as can be hoped and don’t worry at all if you have to go offline for a while – you come first!

    Lots of hugs from lil’ ol’ England. xx

  8. Coming from the world of cross-stitch, I can honestly say… There’s no such thing as too many beads!

    Of course, I might be slightly crazy (big surprise, hah).

    Glad recovery is going relatively well.

    -Monika in Mobile

  9. Oh I’m glad you’ve found something lovely to watch whilst you convalesce, Mary. 🙂 I think having beautiful things to look at and being able to learn something new at your own pace is vital for wellbeing. I have had to cope with a very different kind of long-term health issue, and the joy of watching others create and learn by observation, even when I couldn’t participate gave me a great deal of pleasure. Your blog has been one of those happy places for me. You have been in my thoughts the last few weeks, and I send my best wishes for your gradual recovery … and many more beautiful things to look at whilst you convalesce. 🙂 I did enjoy reading this post, looking through the gorgeous photos and watching the video intro on Craftsy. It is nice to step outside your usual needlework routine from time to time and try something new. And I don’t think any embroidery stash addict can easily resist the lure of sparkly stuff! I have just moved house, and recently rediscovered my little stash of beads whilst unpacking yet another box. I did look at them and think ‘I must find something to do with these, because they’re too beautiful to hide in this box!’ So … a timely suggestion Mary! Thank you, it will go on my wish list (and I will remember to purchase through your link when I do). Sending sparkly hugs! 🙂

  10. Although I already do a fair-ish amount of beadwork, I figure I can always use a refresher, so I’ve enrolled in the class. (You do earn when we sign up through the links here, correct, Mary?)

  11. Oh I do love me lots of bling! (and yes, I know that’s definitely not proper use of the English language!!). I don’t make too many things that don’t have some beads included somewhere.

  12. Hi if I want to learn beed embroidery for some projects like decorating some neckline etc.. do you recommend this class or the bead embroidery Sampler book ?

    Class or book which is better in content please suggest..

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