Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons on Threads






New Lessons

Thread Lesson #7

Beads and Embellishments

This is where I need a constant reminder about restraint.

Why am I adding Beads and Embellishments to my lessons on Threads when they aren't threads?

Convenience. Where else in these lessons can I fit them?



All through these lessons I've argued for a bit of restraint -- in choices of stitches, in choices of threads. We all have our compulsions and here is mine, here is where all restraint flies out my window. I have 'The Bead Disease' (too many, quite simply I can't resist them).


I remind myself all the time about restraint. Some of the time these reminders work; sadly all to often they don't. This lesson is both a reminder about restraint and at the same time some of the ways I've justified using too many beads.


My Cautionary Note

I will begin with my typical cautionary note: so beads are wonderful; before you leap for them and apply them to every part of your canvas, stop and ask yourself:

Are they necessary to enhance the design?

Would the design do just as well without them?


How to decide your answer:

put them on

take them off

put them on again.

Better with or without them?


OK, that's out of the way, now let's look at beads for needlepoint

One of the ways I get around the restraint issue is by using tiny beads. They seem to fit in with the stitches more gracefully. I've bought and often tried to use large beads, but most of the time these large beads look like an afterthought, not an integral part of the design and I end up discarding them. (As an aside, I started making fobs to use the larger beads I couldn't resist buying).


Seed Beads

I like  8/0, 11/0, 14/0 and 15/0 seed beads because they blend in with the stitches well. They add a little accent but don't overpower the design. 8/0 are the largest, 15/0 the smallest. They come in a vast array of colors and textures and run the gamut from high quality to terrible quality.


Avoid cheap seed beads, particularly cheap gold seed beads. Before I knew better, I bought some gold seed beads and used them on a project only to discover that they not only tarnished but bubbled up in a rusty little cluster. Now that I know better, I try and buy gold and silver seed beads with what they call 'permanent finish'. But one must always ask: how permanent is 'permanent'? Who knows.






My World of Needlework


New Lessons


In 2015 I wrote a series of lessons for the beginner, intermediate and advancing needlework student.


I always intended to add to them but the year had a way of getting away from me, and here I am, a year later.


I'll do the best to add to my lessons as 2016 progresses.


If you have any topic you wish I would write about, please email me and I will see what I can do:


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Beginning Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

An Overview of Needlepoint


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Intermediate Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Advancing Students


Coming Soon in 2016

Lessons in Design

So I have to ask, is a bit of tarnish all that bad? DH makes a good case for the appeal of the faded tarnished look and I have bought into his argument for a long time. Backing up his argument,  I have a charming little 19th-century 'dressed print' of an actress embellished with trims that have faded and beads that are tarnished and I must admit, the faded look adds much to the charm of my little print.


New and shiny has its charm, but so does faded and tarnished in the mists of time.



I have a passion for pearls, always have. People say that the world divides women into two categories: those who like diamonds and those who like pearls. If this is so, I definitely belong to the category of women who like pearls.


I remember the day years ago that I found my first Chinese freshwater pearls. Yay! I got to throw away plastic pearls and use real ones! In the many years since I found my first Chinese freshwater pearls, the Chinese oysters have produced abundant supplies and I have been a willing consumer.


Many of the pearls I buy are slightly irregular in shape, and I have grown to like this look: plastic pearls are perfect in shape, so to my eye, the slightly irregular shape is a dead giveaway that the pearls are real.


The important part of pearls is their luster, something you learn to assess if you look at enough pearls. If I have to choose between perfect shape and good luster, I opt for the latter.



I have a prejudice against plastic because of cheesy crafty plastic beads. I remember ordering a kit that looked wonderful in the photo only to discover the effect was totally ruined by cheesy plastic beads. Cheesy plastic diamonds and cheesy plastic pearls. Oh my.


But who can resist some of the vintage sequins that are plastic? I can't.


I'm conflicted.


Now the marketplace is producing plastic gems in beautiful colors that look good. I still can't quite bring myself to replace glass gems with plastic ones, but as time marches on, maybe I will change my mind.


Vintage Stuff

This is my downfall and I blame Marcie Stone for getting me hooked on vintage stuff.

Vintage Swarovski jewels, vintage montees, sequins,  nailheads, seed beads and bugle beads, and I ask myself, what is the appeal of this vintage stuff. It's the same appeal as the little dressed print I described above: the faded and tarnished look of yesteryear, the colors, the shapes, the tiny imperfections, who knows exactly, but I am hooked on it. Thanks, Marcie.


DH describes it all by referring to brass planters (DH is a gardener) He doesn't like brass that is too shiny; he much prefers mellow and a bit pitted with age. I like the same.

Deco Lady, my design using almost my complete range of favorite beads: seed beads 11/0 and 14/0, pearls and vintage jewels. No sequins.


The design shows me at my most unrestrained.

Below: a recent shopping spree.

Beads to replenish my Elizabethan designs and

Pearls to finish several kits for October's E-Week.