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June 03, 2015

Combining Bead Embroidery and Brick Stitch Beadwork

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Who knew when I started dabbling in bead embroidery that it would bring me back to my favorite beading stitch - brick stitch?

As I mentioned in my post on Getting Started with Bead Embroidery, my previous bead embroidery works involved covering stains on clothing, not making jewelry.

Here's my latest bauble.  It is a flat shell cabachon, glued to stiff felt backing, with a back stitch bead embroidered bezel (sand color).

To my surprise, brick stitch is the way you finish the edges of the felt. And once you start adding brick stitch - no reason to stop at one round, so I added a second with a one bead picot.

Here's my cabachon freshly surrounded by 11/0 delica beads and trimmed.  I'm a little disappointed in this one - there is a small gap of about 1 bead towards the top and it bugs me.

Here's a look at the back. Just a knot and some nice neat little back stitches. Back stitch is the main stitch used for bead embroidery.

I learned the best technique for how to make the knot for bead embroidery at Robin Atkins website. It's a little difficult to follow the explanation, but worth the time to figure it out. My knots take hold in the backing every time and I have full control over their size and placement on the thread. Yup - that's a big deal.

And a little more information about using back stitch for bead embroidery. Every tutorial or technique instruction I read is the same basic stitch but with a different number of beads.  Some say to add 4 beads and stitch back through the last two and then add two more beads, some others have you add two beads and stitch through the last one, and add one more, etc.

I'm going to tell you to just figure out what works for you, based on the size beads you're using and the project.

I have found that with larger beads, it's better to start by adding two beads, back stitch one and add one from then on. With smaller beads like the 11/0 cylinders in this project, I added 4 beads, back stitched 2 and added 2 from then on.

Backstitch seems to be like all other techniques in beading - just try a few different ways and you'll decide what works best for you.

And finally - a miracle happens.  Well, not really - some brick stitch happens.  Starting with the green size 8/0 beads, the pendant is brick stitch.

Unfortunately, when I get in a groove, I don't always take pictures.  I will try to do that today since I started another project - but if you don't mind watching videos - this one on adding a picot edge shows the technique of finishing the edge and back of the bead embroidery.

Although it is often referred to as adding an edge - the stitch used to add that edge in bead embroidery is brick stitch.

Here's another look at the back.  I didn't add an ultrasuede back to the pendant or change my thread color so you can see all of the stitches.

Here's the project I was working on last week with a nice neat looking finish, but you can see the thread bridges between the beads that are characteristic of brick stitch.  This is where you stitch to add more rounds.

At this point, you may be wondering why it matters what stitch it is.  I find it a bit of a revelation because up until now I wondered how the bezel around the stone in earrings like these by Miguel Ases was done. And now I know!

One other really nice feature of the brick stitch edge is that it adds a 3-D effect to the finished item because the bead embroidered bezel is set higher than the brick stitch border.

I'm hoping to finish some bead embroidery tutorials later this week as well as post some finished projects. And I've got to try a design similar to those Miguel Ases ones.  Boy are they beautiful!

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