For the last several years, I have been exploring how my favorite beadweaving stitches can be integrated with bead embroidery. The first step was to use some off-loom stitches as embellishments. From there I moved on to using peyote, square, and right angle weave to attach embroidered components together. So what was next?
Well, it seems so obvious now in hindsight: transform beadweaving stitches into embroidery stitches! But of course!
So I spent several months figuring out how to create bead embroidery motifs from all my favorite stitches, motifs which could surround and enhance my cabochons and accent beads, and many of which can also be used in a free-form style. Then I spent the next year figuring out how to mix and match them for even more design possibilities. The result was my e-book, Bored By Back Stitch, and today I want to share an excerpt with you, featuring the St Petersburg Chain used as an embroidery motif :-)
1. St Petersburg chain is a complicated stitch to learn, but oh so worth it! Once you master the rhythm of the pattern, you'll wonder why is seemed so hard at first. You can start with a bezeled or unbezeled focal of any size. I am showing this component bezeled; since it is a rather small component, the bezel adds considerably to the design.
2. Back stitch a row of size 8/0 seed beads around the bezel. I added 28 of them, but the exact count is not important for this stitch. These will be called the base beads.
3. Work in whichever direction is most comfortable for you. I worked clockwise as viewed from the top. Exit one base bead. Pick up six size 11/0 seed beads and loop the thread around to pass upwards through bead numbers 3 and 4 a second time. Keep the stitch tight down against the base bead. This maneuver will be called making a “flag” from now on. Pick up two size 11/0 seed beads, a size 8/0 seed bead, and a size 15/0 seed bead. Stitch back down through the size 8/0 and through five of the size 11/0s below it. Pass through the next base bead and up through the two unattached flag beads.
4. Pick up four size 11/0 seed beads and make a flag. Pick up two size 11/0 seed beads, a size 8/0 seed bead, and a size 15/0 seed bead. Stitch back down through the size 8/0 and through five of the size 11/0s below it. Pass through the next base bead and up through the two unattached flag beads. Repeat Step 4 around. If your stitches begin to get too crowded for your liking, you can occasionally skip a base bead. I like it a bit ruffly, myself.
5. For the final stitch: pick up two size 11/0 seed bead. Stitch down through bead numbers 4 and 3 of the first stitch added in Step 3. Stitch back up through the two size 11/0s just added. Pick up two more size 11/0 seed beads, a size 8/0 seed bead, and a size 15/0 seed bead. Stitch back down through the size 8/0 and through five of the size 11/0s below it. Pass through the last base bead, stitch through the fabric to the back and take a few small stitches to lock in place.
6. If you wish to make a small component, you can now clip the foundation fabric into a circle, attach a small piece of backing fabric, and use edging brick stitch all around the outside of the piece, stitching through both layers of fabric with each stitch. Leave the thread long after the last stitch so that it can be used later to join pieces together and add finishing decorative stitches to the brick stitched row.
7. After you've mastered the different stitches individually, you're going to want to try free form designs and mixing the stitches together. In this piece (above), I moved from a peyote bezel to RAW to African helix, and finally into St Petersburg chain stitch.
You can find all of my e-books, including the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story, at the link above!
Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.