Sunday, July 10, 2011

Noah's Peacocks from Kelly Clark

I spent my Sunday afternoon working on my second pair of animals for Kelly Clark's Ark, Noah's Peacocks.  (I had to do something while I watched the Cubs lose to the Pirates.)

As I usually do, I started by Googling photos of peacocks and peahens to see what effect I needed to create.  Since the animals are small pieces, I can go all out on the main characters.

Most of my time was spent beading, using four different colors of Sundance beads.  I am working on a beading class, so I tried a few different threads and techniques to stitch the beads.

For the threads, I tried Splendor in lime green to intensify the color of the lime green beads, one strand doubled through a beading needle.  I also used YLI invisible thread, also doubled through a beading needle.  For other pieces, I have used Sundance beading thread.  The net:  they all have their place.  Using a silk thread (or a colored beading thread) allows you to manipulate the color of the beads you are using.   (From what I have read and heard in classes, silk is preferred over cotton floss.)  The advantage of a clear beading thread is that it can be used for all colors of beads, obviating the need for a different color thread for each bead.  Some say the nylon threads stretch over time, but I have not experienced that.  However, if I were stitching a piece that would get a lot of use, like a purse, I would use beading thread, like that offered by Sundance.  I love using beading thread when I can because it is so easy to use (nylon thread can drive you nuts).

On the peacocks, I used the "lasso" technique, I went through some beads twice, and I went through some beads only once.  I have come to agree with the experts at Sundance that the "lasso" technique is seldom required.  Its purpose is to keep the eye of the bead from showing and further secure a bead.  However, even if I went through a bead only once, if I used a tight tension and adjusted the bead angle with my needle, the beads stayed in the proper position.  Also according to the Sundance experts, if you are concerned about truly anchoring a bead, going through it twice is more effective than using the "lasso" technique.  I also stitched some of the tail "eyes" by anchoring the first bead, a middle bead and an end bead by going through them twice; the rest were only stitched to the canvas with one pass-through.  Basically, you should use the technique that makes you most comfortable with the end results.

If you are truly worried about losing a bead from a finished piece, you should stitch under the bead with the appropriate colored thread before beading.  I'm not that paranoid...yet.

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