Beaded Flowers

Nancy Eha 2004

   
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Add sparkle and dimension to your crazy quilt projects by constructing beaded flowers. Use them alone, or combine them with embroidery and ribbon work for a layered look. They are fun and so easy to make!

Materials:

I use Silamide thread as it is much stronger than other nylon, cotton, polyester or silk thread. To increase the durability of the thread, I use Silamide doubled. Use a neutral or color close to your bead color, not the fabric color. With some beading stitches the beading thread will show, so matching the thread with the bead color will help camouflage the thread.

A size 12 Sharps (short needle) or size 12 beading needle (long) is needed to pass through the holes of small size 11 or smaller size 14 beads used in the examples.

The larger the bead number the smaller the bead is. By using smaller size 14 beads you can achieve finer detail and smaller petals than by using size 11 beads. Size 11 is the most common size used in beading.

You can not position hoop parts on top of beadwork, so I don't use a hoop. Be careful with your thread tension and a hoop will not be needed. However, watch the length of your thread stitches on the wrong side of your work. If you need to take a stitch 1" or longer to the next area to be beaded, knot off and cut the thread before moving.

Here are two types of beaded flower petals: rounded end and pointed end.

For the round end petal use an even number of beads so when completed the rounded end has a bead at it's mid point. A bead will keep the midpoint round, instead of having a thread space between two beads at the rounded end.

When constructing a pointed end use either an even or odd number of beads. Both will work because the beaded point you construct will be the mid point. Note in the illustration that the needle passes through one bead at the point a second time before the beads for the second half of the petal are added. Experiment with passing the needle back through more than one bead for an even larger point.

Now for making variations. As previously diagramed the beaded petals are connected to the fabric only at the point of the first bead. This will give your flowers a full somewhat fluffy look.


By attaching the petals to the fabric with a hidden thread stitch at the mid point of the petal, you can control where the petal lies on the fabric.

And by overlapping a short line of beads at the rounded end of the round petal, you can add more dimension to the petal. By changing the color of beads use for the overlapping beaded stitch, you can give your petals a stripe of a new contrasting color.

When making beaded flower petals start by making the flower center with the beaded stop stitch.

Use the flower center as a guide to where to place the petals. Put a large bead followed by a small bead on the needle and drop both to the fabric. Note that the needle passes through only the large bead a second time. For both speed and accuracy, pass the needle through the fabric to the wrong side of the fabric as you pass through the large bead a second time. Now you know the basics of creating beaded flowers. Here are some challenges to experiment with. Have fun as you Bead Creative!

  • Create beaded leaves using the same petals and variations diagramed in this article for flower petals. Just substitute bead colors to emulate "leafy" colors.
  • Bead two circles of petals around the flower center; make the outer circle's petals larger. Anchor neither.
  • Bead two circles of petals around the flower center. Anchor down only the outer circle.
  • Bead two circles of petals around the flower center. Make the inner circle of round petals, the outer circle's petals larger of pointed petals.
  • Chose a pressed glass flower bead for the flower center using the beaded stop stitch, then form beaded petals around it.

Resources:

A myriad of beading stitches and techniques for use on Crazy Quilt projects can be found in Nancy Eha's book: Off The Beadin' Path. Check out the chapter Crazy Beading for techniques developed to replicate Crazy Quilt embroidery stitches with beads.

Nancy teaches beading workshops extensively across the US, her teaching schedule is on her website.

For more photos of Nancy's beadwork, workshop schedule, and to purchase Off The Beadin' Path, beading supplies, and kits, go to: www.beadcreative.com

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