Bead Embroidery

Q: I saw a bead embroidery purse with a device on the front that was something I want to try. The beads looked like they were sewn on in neat rows but I can't figure out how it was done.The only thing I can come up with is wasted canvas which I've never used. Has anyone else used this method - either the canvas or just some other method of keeping the rows straight? It almost looked like the piece had been woven on but I saw the thread underneath attaching the fabric so I know it was sewn on.

A: If the fabric was even count then sewing in rows would work. I have seen instructions on the web for sewing beads on cloth, but I don't recall the URL. Anyone know which site I am referring to? I know that in addition to sewing beads one by one on cloth, sometimes people string a few beads, then couch, putting a stitch between each bead. Aida cloth works well to keep beads in line. About 14 count for size 11 seed beads, 18 count for 13/0 (Charlottes). You can also make neat rows of beads, laying on a diagonal, if you work single half crosses with only one pass through the beads. The secret to neatness here is the size of the thread count of the fabric in relation to the size of the beads. The fabric I used in the butterfly designs above was 25 count, stitching over two threads. Using 11/0 seed beads, this puts approx 12 beads per inch, and is just about right without too much distortion. Zweigart has just introduced a new evenweave fabric, called Janina, that is 22 count, and stitched over two threads will give you 11 beads per inch, which is a little more comfortable if your design is very large. I use beads in practically every piece of stitchery that I design, and sometimes I suggest using one method of stitching them down over another, depending upon how I want the bead to lay in relation to the stitched pattern. Also, I usually recommend attaching the beads with thread that matches the fabric, as opposed to thread matching the beads. By matching the fabric, the beads show up and almost appear to be attached "invisibly".