Bead embroidery is an extraordinary technique which turns seed beads into statement jewelry. It is not a difficult technique as it requires just basic sewing skills.  But the rewards are great as sewing just a few beads at a time eventually leads to spectacular designs.  Might I add, it is also addictive once you get started!

I received for review the latest book on this technique - Textured Bead Embroidery by Linda Landy. The author came up with 12 original projects which aims to show how different beads can be used in bead embroidery designs to give them greater dimensional effects.

 Nearly half the book was devoted to covering the Basics as well as a very useful Bead Directory.  The basics included a roundup of the materials needed.  She also mentions new products on the market like Beadsmith's beading foundation besides the tried and true, Lacy's Stiff Stuff.  Another cool tool is the Beadonit board - a soft board surface with padded roll edges.  It has one great feature - run your hand over the beads on this board and they will miraculously settle hole side up! Neat!

The basics section does cover all a beginner needs to know. The illustrations are very clear on how to do things - even simple things like how to make a quilter's knot. She also teaches how to make a weaver's knot which helps when threads become too short.  Good tip!

Bead embroidery become much more fun when beads other than seed beads are used or are grouped in creative ways.  Her detailed technique section demonstrates how to cluster, how to use triangular and hex beads effectively so their unique shapes are visible, how to overlap and how to introduce support rows when adding dagger beads.

The Bead Directory section was one of the most useful sections of the book. Linda not only explained what each type of bead was but the best ways of using them.

One unique approach the author made was to use beading foundations in a 3D fashion.  The Iliean pendant is just one example.  The book comes with a bonus CD full of the templates needed to help cut out the foundation pieces.

Linda has a distinctly different style of bead embroidery especially in the use of dagger beads. Several projects utilize them in unusual ways.

  I particularly loved the way she used layers of dagger beads in her cabochon bezel work.

She was also very clever with spike beads. The spikes on her Take a Spin cuff are stabilized with seed bead garlands.  This particular project also makes brilliant use of a Chicago screw set which is essentially a screw going into a matching post with internal threads (shown in the how to page below).

The book ends with spectacular collar pieces and a section on how to make a collar template and how to personalize your pieces. The author includes many tips on the creative process - balance, color, proportion and so on.

It is a good guide book suitable for all skill levels. But more importantly, it also teaches and encourages beaders to really fly with your own designs.


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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