Bring on the Beads!
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Hello there, lovely!

I’m so happy to have you here with me today. It’s a wonderful day for stitching in my neck of the woods – drizzly and cool. Fall is definitely in the air. Last time, we chatted about stitching the grass on my “Tuscaloosa” canvas and today, it’s all about the beads!

That’s right – it’s time to add some bling!

Have you ever done any beading on your needlepoint projects? It’s actually not nearly as hard as it might seem. But it’s super-important to have the right tools and materials. So, what are they?

First, of course, is the beads.

Glass seed beads are what I most often use on my needlepoint – and they’re what you’ll likely find in your local needlework shop.

They come in a variety of sizes, but size 11 and size 14 are the most common. I recommend using size 11 on 13/14 mesh needlepoint canvas and size 14 on 18 mesh canvas.

Here’s a handy little tip – the smaller the bead, the smaller the mesh canvas you should use it on.

And beads are just like tapestry needles and needlepoint canvas – the larger the number that’s assigned to the item, the smaller (or finer) it actually is.

For example, size 24 tapestry needles are smaller than size 22 tapestry needles and 18 mesh needlepoint canvas is finer than 13 mesh canvas. Sooo – size 14 seed beads are smaller than size 11 seed beads. Make sense? Terrific!

Moving right along…

you’ll also need beading thread. The thread should be fine enough to easily glide through your beads more than once. Why’s that? Some of the beading techniques require you to make multiple passes through each bead to secure it to your canvas.

Nymo waxed nylon thread is made especially for seed beads, but you can also use silk or cotton embroidery floss. Be sure and “pop” or pull the Nymo thread tautly after you cut it to relax the kinks. That’ll also ensure that your beads will lay more smoothly on the canvas. If you decide to use cotton thread, I recommend running it through a cake of beeswax before you begin stitching. It’s a whole lot easier to work with if you’ll just do that one little thing. 😉

And, of course, you’ll need beading needles.

Beads have tiny little holes, so you’ll need to use beading needles instead of standard tapestry needles. Beading needles are quite slender and the eye is typically the same diameter as the shaft, so you don’t have to worry about that pesky eye not fitting through your beads.

Beading needles come in a variety of sizes and lengths, but my all-time favorite is the size 10 Bohin beading needle. Here’s a picture for you.

Bohin's size 10 beading needles are my all-time favorites!


Definitely one of the hardest things about using beads on your needlepoint projects is keeping them under control. My go-to gadget for corralling the little buggers is actually one that I made.

Here’s a picture of my portable bead case…

Make your own portable bead case!

Click here to get my FunSheet for how to make your own beading case. 🙂

I’m going to bead the word “Tuscaloosa” on my canvas. Here’s a picture of it BB (before beads).

All that's left to do is stitch the cloud! Hooray!


I’m using the “lasso” technique to secure the beads to my canvas. Here’s a picture of my canvas with the bead stitching in progress.

Making progress on adding beads to my Tuscaloosa canvas by Kathy Schenkel Designs.

After I finish beading “Tuscaloosa”, all I’ll have left to do is stitch that little cloud in Wisper and finish up Denny Chimes.  Then, I can check this project off my list.

Be sure and keep an eye on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page for a “grand finale” picture – before I send my ornament off to the finisher.

And if you’re looking for the best place to find terrific needlepoint tutorials, click here to check out Serendipi-TV, the official YouTube channel for Serendipity Needleworks. Be sure and subscribe so you don’t miss anything. 😉

Until next week, happy stitching!


Stitch with a smile!



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  1. Anne

    October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Lasso technique? Is that like couching a string of beads?

    • Ellen Johnson

      October 24, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Hi Anne!
      Thank you for your question. It’s actually a two-step method of attaching beads to a canvas. You’re working with a doubled thread when you use the lasso method to attach beads. First, you come up in a hole as though making a tent stitch, then slide a bead onto your thread, all the way down to the surface of your canvas. Next, take your needle to the back across one canvas intersection, as though making a tent stitch, so there’s a bead on your canvas with a tent stitch running through it. (Hope that makes sense!)
      Come up again in that first hole and then take your needle to the back of the canvas in the same second hole that you used in step one, pulling it slowly through to the back. Right before you snug the stitch down – this is the “lasso” part – split the two strands apart so that one strand goes around the left side of the bead and the other strand goes around the right side of the bead. That last little step is what keeps the beads from being so floppy on the top of your canvas. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.
      Have a wonderful Wednesday!


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