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