HNW - beaded mosiacs

Grey Saje jesa at
Thu Aug 31 10:42:39 PDT 2000

Good Morning and warm greetings,
   HLCiard and LMorgana,

Perhaps I can help a bit here. I've been working on embroidery
and beadwork for over 30 years now and one of my specialties
is Byzantine embellishments on costumes, etc.  Please feel
free to ask any questions you or off and I will be
delighted to help in any way I can. :-)
    To start.....I don't work with aida cloth at all and although I
always try to work with natural fibres (linen, silk, wool, cotton), 
some of the best beadwork can be done on an uneven weave. So 
I doubt you need to be held to the even-weave fabrics unless that
is what you really wish to do.
   For a beaded picture I would try to use the sturdier types of
fabrics - canvas is one of the best. The seed beads are small and
light, I know, but it is absolutely amazing how heavy they become
once they are worked together in solid patches on fabric. The backing
fabric must have the stability to support the project.  I have often
used tapesty/upholstery fabrics for this work as well. It has the
stability and often has the geometric patterning (mathematics) to
work the design on without making you crazy. :-)
   Try examples of 1" squares of beads for the fabric to check for
density and attractiveness. I find I often use size 8 in seed beads,
but will also use the tiny Japanese beads if the project calls for it.
Unlike cross-stitch, for tapesty beading you don't match the bead
size count to the fabric count.
   You need to use beading needles rather than embroidery needles
and I'd advise beading threads (such as Nymo) for security. You can
use double stranded threads if the object is not to be ever worn as it
won't have the wear and tear......but after all the work - I tend to err
on the side of security. If you can get true *linen* thread - it is
to use and so authentic as well....., but again you will need the beading
needles as the holes in the seed beads are not always even.
    To attach the beads I run the thread through each bead individually
- twice actually, and then knot each bead on the backside, before going
on to the next bead. It is a lot of work, but worth it. I have experimented
with several different ways of attaching the beads and I find the
method the most satisfactory and even.  Some people like to couch down
a short length of beads, but I find the beadwork a little uneven that way,
and it always leaves a small opportunity for something to catch in the
little loops of beads (hope that makes sense).  Particularly, if you are
working on beading for wearing.....the security is most important.
    Most patterns can be used....I used celtic charted cross-stitch
all the aren't working the beads in the time-honoured
cross-stitch are more filling in the spaces instead. (Even if
is only with one bead of a colour to shade a nose/or rose.  I tried to
follow a cross-stitch pattern to be more economical with beads but found
that there were too many spaces of cloth showing beside the beads, instead
of the glorious carpet of solid beads I was looking for.  YMMV.
    A recently finished project of mine was beaded tapestry work for a 
Byzantine costume.....headpiece, sleeve cuff bands, 2 clavi front and back,

segmentae, large round collar, pouch, toes of shoes, embroidery pincushion,
and beaded fringe on veil......I didn't do a full mosaic of beads, as I
used the
background of the fabric to accentuate the beads and I also used tons of
fresh-water pearls, but the gold seed beads alone came to over 37,000
It weighs a lot and hasn't even been sewn to the backing fabric of the
costume prepared for the heaviness and the long hours.  
    However........I adore it and it feels glorious.......<vbg>
    OK......I've talked for too long........please feel free to ask
Also......there is a new list available in the SCA on Egroups for those
in Byzantium.......costuming, studies, sharing, etc.
      SCAbyzantine-subscribe at
    Hope this has been of help.    My regards,   Zhenia

  **Three candles that illume every darkness:
           - truth, nature, knowledge.**
> Greetings everyone,
> I am new to this list and interested in pursuing a new embroidery medium.
> Can anyone give me advice on using seed beads on aida cloth or evenweave
> make a full cover beaded mosiac piece?
> I would be a complete beginner on this project but I have been doing
> stitch for several decades.
> What size bead for what count of cloth?
> How to make stitch to attach beads?
> Has anyone done anything like this?  I am thinking of doing a Byzantine
> picture of maybe Theodora or Christ. Also I would like to use my charted
> Celtic patterns to do a huge Egyptian-type collar to wear over my court
> tunics, and detachable cuffs.
> Can some cross stitch patterns be used?  I know I cannot do half stitches
> with the beads but some of my knotwork patterns would be suitable.
> Also I am a complete dolt when it comes to even simple mathematics -
> studies, language, and art are my strong points. Any advice or
> formulas for changing or adapting sizes in patterns would be much
> appreciated.
> Thanks for any advice.
> THLady Ciard O'Seachnasaigh, scholar, poet-laurate, artisan, illuminator,
> costumer, embroidress
> Ansteorra, Barony of the Steppes (Dallas, TX)

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