Category Archives: Beads

Bead me up, Scotty

Fabric beads. It’s a thing. I hadn’t even heard of the concept until a friend recently said she was thinking of running an online workshop on how to make them. My brain lit up like the Blackpool illuminations, and I hit the glorious mazes of pinterest and instagram to find out what I’d been missing.

I’d recently tried making fabric-covered wooden beads but absolutely hated the process — too fiddly, I wasn’t in a glue mood, and didn’t like the messy end result. Experiment aborted.

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But the stitchy-type beads – ah, much more my style. I found some soft thick black fabric, cut a piece roughly 14cm by 6cm, rolled it up like a seasoned pot smoker*, stitched the edges neatly into place, then wrapped it with some burgundy cord, glittery ribbon and little gold beads. Stitched all that into place as I went, using black thread,

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I made three and they didn’t take very long. A most enjoyable process, potential to use up scraps and all sorts of odds-and-ends, and I think the possibilities are endless. I think I’ll turn these into something that will go round my neck. Any other suggestions?

* Fyi  I don’t smoke dope, but that may change as our Level 3 Lockdown continues…. Just saying.

DIY bead tassel

I love tassels. You can make them out of pretty much anything you have lying around, and they can be as fancy or simple as you like.  I made a black and white one this morning for Jane, who is coming round later today to pick it up.

Finished!

Finished!

What you need for one tassel:

1. one large bead with a big hole (this will be the tassel head)

2. a selection of beads in various sizes and shapes

3. a 16cm length of soft cord (you can use ribbon if you prefer)

4. a sharp needle with a narrow eye (I used a #7 crewel needle)

5. strong thread (I used Gutermann topstitching thread)

6. scissors

Beads and cord

What you do:

1.  Cut a short length of thread and fold it over the cord.

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2. Push the thread up through your big bead and pull it out at the top, the cord with it.

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3. Pull the cord up until the loop is about as big as you want it. Leave approx 1.5 cm of cord stub sticking out of the bottom

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4. Thread your needle and knot the end. Run it through the stub and wrap the cord round it a couple of times to make it really secure.

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5. Trim the stub if it’s got a bit fluffy.

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6. Make the first length of beads: thread them on (in the order of your choice), using a little seed bead as the last one.

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7. Skipping the last bead, take your needle and thread back up through all the other beads back to where you started.

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It will look something like this:

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8. Make a couple of stitches through the stub to secure the thread nicely, then start a second length of beads.

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9. Add as many lengths of beads as you like (depending on whether you want your tassel to be slender or chubby), and vary each length slightly.

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10. When you’re happy with how it looks, secure the thread tightly in the stub and carefully trim off any messy bits.  I also like to dab on a bit of clear nail polish or fabric glue, just to make extra sure the thread won’t ever loosen. Push the head down firmly and knot the cord if you wish.

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And that’s it! If anything is unclear, please let me know.

To give you some more ideas, here are some of the tassels currently in my home:

Hanging on the key hooks at the front door

Hanging on the key hooks at the front door

Very simple tassels that Alex made when she was about 6; they're on the key to the linen cupboard

Very simple tassels that Alex made when she was about 6; they’re on the key to the linen cupboard

Multi-coloured tassel with a silk flower pinned on top, on my trusty old brown leather handbag

Multi-coloured tassel with a silk flower pinned on top, on my trusty old brown leather handbag

A tassel on a long piece of black and gold cord that I sometimes wear as a necklace. Modelled by you-know-who.

A tassel on a long piece of black and gold cord that I sometimes wear as a necklace. Modelled by you-know-who.

And if you don’t have the materials to make your own tassel, or if you want someone else to have the fun of making one, I’ve finally got around to making up more kits for bead tassel keyrings and listing them on etsy again.

Back soon x

Bead me up, Scottie

Remember when the beading craze hit, about 10 – 15 years ago? I was running a needlework shop at the time, and twice a week the wonderful Caroline Smith used to come in and give beading workshops. I went a bit bead crazy myself, and still have a trillion beads stashed in various places. Even if I’m not making something with them, they are SO PRETTY to look at…

So, I made a couple of beaded sugar bowl covers. They can also be used to cover milk jugs, you know – when you’re serving tea to your friends in the garden in summer and you don’t want flies to go in? The beads around the net circle hold it down so it won’t blow off.  It’s a bit Victorian, I suppose, but that whole style made a big come-back.

I don’t know where mine are now, but here are some that a friend of Nicola’s made (so you get the idea):

And here is another one, now put into use as a decoration for a paper lantern light fitting:

All it needed was a bit of glue, some fray-stoppa and a pair of very sharp herb scissors!

To be continued…

Wire artists

Yesterday I took photos of what Godfrey and Zenzo make. They have new stock (the motivational words with coloured beads),  which has much more impact than my pics show.  There are many wire artists in and around Cape Town (all over South Africa, no doubt) who make beautiful things, but somehow G and Z come up with new ideas all the time and their stuff is just that little bit different.

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(If I had half their energy and focus, I could set up my own pavement shop…)

To be continued…

 

 

Baxter Food and Goods market

Karen suggested we sign up as vendors at the Baxter Food and Goods Market, which started up a couple of months ago in the grounds of the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch. So we did. Our debut is this Sunday, but now that winter is here the market will be set up in the theatre foyer — which is vast, so vast in fact that, if they don’t get some music and some good-food smells going to fill the space, we will feel like a very small clutch of bats in a very large otherwise empty cave.

The Baxter is affiliated to the University of Cape Town and is situated in the heart of student land, between Main Road and Middle Campus. Consequently, we have surmised that bigger and more expensive items like blankets, shawls, large mirrors, etc. will not be successful, but that smaller items like earrings, necklaces, flower brooches, scarves, and little frames will be. So, a couple of new items have been strategically added to our packings:

And if nothing else, I had an absolute ball sourcing and/or making these goodies!

Incidentally, it is Mother’s Day this Sunday 13 May – is it the same in other countries?

To be continued…