Sometimes as you begin to couch the rows of beads will kinda of grow, expanding ever so slightly as the thread adds some bulk to the line.

You might be able to tell that one of these here needs to die.

Now, don't panic this is easy. I mean how do you think you're going to do this? Undo possibly hundreds of stitches -don be silly!


Poke at the beads a bit and see which one is the beast candidate, beds, no matter how even they look, are all differently sized, a thinner one may be all you need to make the room, kill a larger one and you might have a gap, so pick the right one.

Use your needle to pull them forward and look how the rest sit, When you find the one that "needs killin" stick a straight pin or even your bead needle through it.


Grip the bead with needlenose pliers.

Try to go ALONG the thread not across it. - song the needle if you can like shown, otherwise you could cut the thread with the glass shards, but that is what the needle is for, to protect the thread form being driven down on by the pliers and the glass, as well as help you get at it.

You may at some point have to grip it the other way, along the rounded sides of the bead, at an angle from the needle, in that case just be careful.

When you go to snap the pliers shut and crack the bead off cup your free hand or lay a cloth/kleenex over the work. The glass WILL fly. I've had it shoot in my eye before, so covering it's escape route is good idea. You could wear goggles, but you'd look silly, just keep a scrap of cloth in your kit for this, much easier.


More tips:

  • The only real problems is tension.
  • Always use a hoop and keep the material as tight a possible. (Bouncing quarters tight)
  • Always work from the center of your design to the outside, doing the other ways could cause your piece to "bowl" or pucker. Fill in areas the same way.
  • Don't pull the string until you turn blue, most of the time and firm tug to pass the crack of the beads is usually enough. This is something you learn in time. Pulling too much will make your piece bow upwards, convex... with practice you'll learn, and you're piece will flatten. Practice make perfect, you ought to see my first pieces.
    * TIPS: (or stuff I learned the hard way)
  • Use good beads. Buying Czech beads will help immensely, the cost is actually the same as the cheapo Taiwan beads available in crafts stores. Czechs are more uniform, the cheapos are odd in size and shape and sometimes color within the same bag. 8 or 10 grams of cheapos are like 99 cents at your craft store. 40 gr., or there abouts, of czechs are like $2.99.
  • Never use ink to draw designs, use pencil, always, use colored pencil even, NEVER USE INK, it will bleed and make you curse the heavens.
  • Always follow your drawn lines. If you bead line falls a bit short fine, but don't over shoot it, it will widen after the couching is done, and you may find you even need to remove beads from one end that is now too long and wants to draw up on you.
  • Always make sure lines of beads lie flat to begin with, no bowing of the lines, this will make your job easier from the start.
  • Use either beading floss or the premium sewing threads that are 100% long grain polyester, usually the more expensive ones. Not much more expensive, but they are worth it. Regular thread like Coats and Clark will fray on you sometimes in as little as three passes. I can work a good thread the very end god willing.
  • Use thread to either match the beads or the material. Matching the beads will result in a more solid look, matching the fabric will give you a more mosaic look.
  • To wash pieces before (to remove pencil lines) or after attaching to garments I suggest a fabric wash sack . For small items merely tossing them in a sock and tying the top will work to protect the machine as well as the beads. For garb I say spend a few bucks (or use scrap material) and make a muslin or T-shirt drawstring bag, just shove the it in and knot it, throw it in and wash it. This is to mainly make, sure the beads don't grind on the metal sides of the washer.
  And that's it! How hard was that?
Go to the Design Progression page and get some insight step by step and tips to working your design.
Copyright 2000 Jen Funk Segrest (Elspeth Grizel of Dunfort) http://www.medievalbeads.com