Well, here we are… The final installment! I do hope you’ve had fun and I hope you have some lovely beadwork to show for it.
Please leave a comment and let me know how you got on. I’d also love to see photos of your projects.
As ever, if you need to re-cap on the previous days, just follow this link!
Today, our two French beading projects meet again. So, I want you to scroll down and follow the instructions for the strawberry.
I am going to show you how to create multiple flower heads on a single stem…
Decide on how you are going to group your flowers and/or berries. When I originally made these, I was creating my strawberry pot plant. (If you want to take this project further, then you can get the pot plant pattern here. You’ll learn how to add leaves and make two more sizes of strawberry.)
So, I grouped my flowers and berries in sets of three: some with three berries (mix the sizes), some with three flowers and some with a mix of flowers and berries.
Take your first group of three.
Use your stem tape and embroidery thread to cover the top 3” (8cm) of the stem on TWO of your elements.
Take the third element and begin binding the stem with the stem tape. When you have bound the top part, add in your other two elements and bind to the bottom of all the stems.
Cover the stem tape with your embroidery thread.
Planting and arranging flowers
I want to finish up by talking a little bit about ‘planting’ your French beaded flowers and making arrangements.
I have one general rule that applies to both and will help you save a little on materials. If the bottom of your stems is never going to be seen, then you don’t need to bind all the way down.
Particularly when you are planting your flowers, the bottom of the stem is going to be stuck in oasis. So, covering it with embroidery silk is not necessary. Just make sure you have bound to the point that will be visible.
Now, let’s start with the arrangements. If you want a lovely display, then you can treat your French beaded flowers like any other fresh or silk flowers…
With just one difference… The French beaded flowers are a lot heavier. So, I have found that creating tall arrangements can be tricky. What tends to happen is the weight ends up at the top (where the beaded flowers are) and this can lead the vase to topple over. If you are facing this problem, then there are a few solutions…
- Fill your vase with something weighty. Glass marbles or even beads are good for this. However, I made one arrangement for my Mum where I actually used little lead pellets to create the weight I needed!
- I have several books on Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). These are great because the arrangements rely on just a few flowers. So, play around with heights in your vase. Try to concentrate the majority of flower heads (or the heaviest flower heads) just at the top of the vase opening. Then create height with one or two lighter flowers.
- Choose your vase carefully. If you pick something that has a wide base and a narrow top opening, this will help to stabilise your arrangement.
Begin by choosing your pot and filling it with dry oasis. You can then simply push the stem(s) of your flowers or plant into the oasis.
You can spend some time thinking about how to create an attractive covering for the top. Small pieces of gravel can be glued on the top of the oasis to give the effect of stones. (Remember to keep these in scale with your plant!)
Or, you can use something like reindeer moss (again, glue it on) to give the effect of grasses.
I know a lady who has mixed coffee grounds with glue to create the effect of soil… Lesley, if you are reading this and don’t mind, please leave a comment at the bottom to tell everyone a bit more detail about your technique!
So, basically, the key is creativity. Think about the natural effect you want to achieve. Then look around you at other craft materials and work out how to use them. There are no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’. So, if you have another interesting method, then please share it in the comments!
I hope this week has opened up a whole new set of possibilities for you and your beads. Whether this has been your first attempt at French beading, or just a chance to try a new project.
Hopefully you have been taking advantage of this week’s sale and gathering up a few new French beading patterns. Just think what all your friends will say when they come to your house and see all your fantastic beaded flower arrangements!
Well, on this final day, I thought I would continue your design journey and leave you with something to take forward beyond National Beading Week.
But before we start, I just want you to remind yourself how brilliant you are for making it here. Whether you realise it or not, you have learned a huge amount this week. You may be focusing on all the things you found tough or which didn’t go right first time. Well, stop that right now!
Just following this and actually doing some beading every day is a huge achievement in itself.
Whatever bits are causing you to struggle, just remember that it all gets easier with time. You are just starting out and nobody just ‘gets it right’ from day 0. So, be proud of what you have achieved so far and keep hold of the enthusiasm to take your beading forwards.
Of course there are many beading techniques and you are just starting to get to know one of them. So, before you get overly ambitious and want to try ‘everything’, take a moment to begin exploring what you have just learned.
Spiral stitch can be created with lots of different combinations and permutations. So, I’m going to give you a few ideas to try.
As with yesterday, I want you to focus on making small samples. That way, you will get to try lots of combinations and find out what you enjoy.
The first combination
Let’s start simple and try mixing the beads up.
What happens if you make the basic spiral (this was the day 2 stitch) and use size 11 seed beads for the core (the (A) beads) and size 8 seed beads for the spiral (the (B) beads)?
The second combination
Now, let’s try another version of the embellishment. So, this was the section you made on day 3. You will keep to the technique you know (so adding your beads, then passing up through the top 4 beads in your core), but I’m going to give you a different bead sequence.
Stitch 2: Use 1(A), 3(B)
Stitch 3: Use 1(A), 1(D)
Stitch 4: Use 1(A), 3(B)
Keep repeating this sequence…
The third combination
Now, you’ve started to think about simply changing bead sizes and sequences, how about changing the bead counts?
The technique remains exactly the same, but you can make a spiral staircase with different numbers of beads.
So, start by picking up 5(A), 4(B). Pass through all the beads again, then on through the 5(A).
*Pick up 1(A), 4(B) and pass up through the top 4(A) in your core AND the (A) you have just added.
Keep repeating from *
Do you begin to see the stitch structure? We’ve gone from a 4-bead, 3-bead sequence to a 5-bead, 4-bead. Do you see how you can play around with this to try different sequences?
What Happens next?
I want you to keep on experimenting with different beads and different sequences. This way, you can make endless spiral ropes.
That means endless pretty bracelets and necklaces! It also means, you can find a special pendant – or bead a pendant – and use a spiral rope to hang it.
Trust me, all your friends will be asking, ‘how did you do that?’ and only you know the simple little tricks to making something different every time!
If you have aspirations to make and sell your own jewellery, then you have just learned a fabulous technique for doing just that. I hope you have also learned how to try some different colour combinations. So, with this, and the different design ideas from today, you can create you own jewellery range right now.
That’s not bad for a week’s work!
Well, here we are… Well done for making it to day 7!
You should have a pretty good flower right now. So, it’s decision time… What are you going to do with it?
If you still need to add your third leaf, then start by doing that. If you’ve decided to leave it with just two leaves, no problem… read on!
The flower makes a lovely brooch. So, if you like the sound of that option, just add a brooch back finding to the back. I don’t have a special technique for doing this. Personally, I prefer to stitch findings in place if I can, but glue is also an option. Just make sure it doesn’t spoil your beads.
Pendant or Necklace
If you want to turn your flower into a pendant, you have two options. You can attach a split ring to the leaf tips to hang some chain. Or you can bead your favourite beaded rope so that it extends from the flower or from the leaf tips – the choice is yours.
So, if you want to make really good use of this beadalong, you could pop back up and start from day 2 (this link will open in a new window), making the spiral rope from the beginner’s bracelet project.
If you are doing that, then you can begin stitching your rope direct from a leaf (or the flower). So, instead of adding the clasp and beads step from day 1, just start at step 3 and then continue. Bead the rope as long as you need.
This necklace can sit at any length. So, the choice is yours! What are you going to wear it with? This will help to determine the right length for you. I made mine 16″ in total, which sits at a lovely length on me. You can see my completed necklace below!
Thank you for coming on this little beading adventure with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
I also hope I have managed to convince you that it’s not so hard to make time to bead. And when you do, you can get a project completed just by taking it in manageable stages.
So, now you know my writing style and how I lay out my patterns, it’s time to continue committing to making time to bead.
I have another special offer to get you started…