Organizing Your Beads While Bead Stitching (5/25/2011)
Often, new bead stitching students have difficulties organizing their beads on their work surface, especially seed beads, so they can work most efficiently. I’ve been teaching mostly beadweaving for several years and have watched students struggle with this. As I’ve worked to help them, I’ve come up with some tips that have helped my students, and may help you too.
1. If you are working with a repetitive pattern, put your beads in the order you are using them in the pattern. It will help speed up your work and keep you from getting confused as to what bead to pick up next.
2. If your pattern assigns numbers or letters to the beads, and constantly refers to them that way in the instructions, then write the numbers or letters on little slips of papers or stickers and label your piles of beads. This really has helped a lot of my students. Also, write those letters or numbers on your seed beads tubes so if you have to clean up before you finish your project, you’ll remember which ones were which later.
3. Don’t keep any beads out on your work surface or mat that you aren’t using at the time. Go ahead and put away any seed beads you aren’t going to use in your project anymore or you won’t need for a while so you don’t clutter your work area. There’s no sense in confusing yourself or risking mixing up beads if it’s not necessary.
4. If you are really using a lot of different seed beads, you may want to use a ceramic bead dish which has a lot of different compartments to separate the different seed beads. Again, you can make little labels or use stickers to mark each seed beads to keep track of it’s designation.
5. Don’t be afraid to go ahead and dump out a good sized pile of beads. If you are going to be using a lot of seed beads, I find it faster to “stab” into a big pile of beads, rather than trying to individually pick up one at a time. It’s really not hard to pick up a lot of seed beads using a scoop when it’s time to clean up.
Hopefully these tips will help you organize your beading work surface and alleviate some of the frustration you may have with your bead stitching projects.