>One Bead at a Time


The last few days have been a struggle for me. I get crazy beading ideas, and I spontaneously try to accomplish them, and I usually fail- more often than I blog about, believe it or not!

I was trying to bead the white portion of my DeLorean‘s headlight beams. I thought it would look cool to stitch on a few different colour blue & white seed beads randomly one at a time. Turns out it is tough to stitch one bead at a time through many layers of felt! I broke two beading needles, and severely bent another two trying to do this kind of bead embroidery!

beaded 2008 Delorean time machine bead embroidery pop art Boston artist car Einstein dog
I actually like the look, but this took me WAY too long to do. I used ice blue silver-lined beads, and matte white half-bugle beads. You can see how far I got in the photo below…

beaded 2008 Delorean time machine bead embroidery pop art Boston artist car dog
I stitched a few more beads, and all of a sudden, the thread started to pull the felt, and the tension was not consistent. Some beads were loose, and some beads were tight. Then, there was some thread that didn’t pull all the way through the felt, and all I could do was cut it… I got so frustrated that I ended up ripping out all of the beads I stitched! Talk about wasted time! :/ I was pretty frustrated, but I tried not to be discouraged. So I cut another piece of thread, and started beading some spirals in the middle of the headlight:

beaded 2008 Delorean time machine bead embroidery pop art Boston artist car Einstein dog

I think the size of the felt is really intimidating me- it’s sort of like a blank canvas. But, I’m gonna try to stop thinking about it, and just do beadwork…

beaded 2008 Delorean time machine bead embroidery pop art Boston artist car dog Einstein(Semi-bead-embroidered Back to the Future DeLorean time machine.
19″ x 6.5″. Click to enlarge.)

15 thoughts on “>One Bead at a Time

  1. >OMG You’ve got the patience of a saint! Each work of art looks more complex than the last! I don’t know what a Delorean is, so I’m curious to see what the end result looks like!

  2. >I’m glad I’m not the only one…I think it’s good to share the less successful creative attempts. I don’t always know what it is at the time, but I always learn something from the experience.Your Delorean is really coming along.

  3. >My dad used to stitch leather a lot and used bees’ wax to help glide the flow of the needle and pliers to pull them through the other side. I have used pliers myself when stitching thick denim (I do embroidery and tapestry when the mood takes me) but unfortunately I think the wax would dirty your lovely clean felt. Good luck.

  4. >Well, what’s a beading experience without hitting a few snags, right? Always something new to learn and sometimes mistakes lead to bigger and better things. I have no doubt that this will turn out great in the end!Kathy V in NM

  5. >How beautiful! I’ve gotta give you alot of credit. Beading takes alot of work, patience and time. Thanks you for sharing this with us. I LOVE anything to do with Time. Had to throw that in. *HUGS*Angela

  6. >Mary! Thanks for all of that info! And, I think there is a curved needle, but I don’t know if it is a beading needle which will pass through seed beads… I should investigate that!

  7. >Even though it is our mistakes that teach us the most sometimes, it’s still frustrating to go through that process when you’re trying to manifest the images and ideas in your head. Hang in there, your piece is evolving so beautifully!Is there such a thing as a curved needle and would that help for the “one bead at a time”? Just a thought…

  8. >Layers are always a problem for needles and thread, I think. Beading through all the layers is frustrating as the wear on the thread going through that many layers with each up and down is terrific. I’m sure you know that most poly-felt is sort of sharp at the micron level and that wool felt has little tiles that are sharp in the natural world. These raise havoc with the materials we work with in bead embroidery. I found when I make a core of felt to bead through in a a circle of rolled up felt it works better, as I have tension across from the bead I’ve just tied in so I have half the wear on each needle thrust because I’m beading on two sides of the fibers each time I go through. I think I explained that badly, but I hope you can figure out what I mean. Write me if you want more.We all waste time when trying stuff on the fly, but it is how we learn. Don’t be hard on yourself. I’ve spent months on failures and learned a lot from each one.

  9. >Thanks for the comments! :DDenise, I tried going through only the first layer of felt on this, and that really didn’t work when I was stitching one bead at a time… I can do it for regular backstitch, but for some reason, I have always stitched through all the layers in the past…

  10. >Hi! Do you always go through the whole thickness of felt? I would suggest that you only go through the first layer, perhaps into the second and back out. When I bead on quilts, I go through the material and into the batting but not all the way through. It works well, you can achieve a good tension and you aren’t frustrated with going through all the layers.Oh and I love the random bead and the spirals! Can’t wait to see what you do with these headlights!Cheers, Denise

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