Work-in-Progress.  Alms Giving Banner

When I joined my quilting group 18 months or so ago I was approached by a couple of ladies who were looking for volunteers to help at a church banner group. The aim of the group was to (surprisingly) make banners for their church. As I was fairly new to the area, and it is always nice to meet new people, I agreed to go along and found I quite enjoyed  helping the ladies who were learning on the job. After a while I decided that in the quiet times when they didn’t need any help I should be making a banner myself so opted for one on Alms Giving for Easter. On the dress of one of the figures I wanted to decorate the edges of the wrap and the sleeve caps with gold and I chose beads to do this. Putting individual beads on is very effective but there is a knack to putting them on in a row as they have a tendency to not stay in line! Here is how I do it:

I chose Delica seed beads because they have flat edges and sit neatly next to each other (size 11).  I used a size 12 beading needle and Nymo thread the same colour as the background.  I used wax (thread magic) to coat the thread.

  1. Thread the needle with waxed thread and tie a knot.
  2. Bring the thread up from the back to the front of the fabric where the row is to start.
  3. Add 4 seed beads and lay these along the line you are are following. Take the needle straight down through the fabric at the end of the last bead.
  4. Bring the needle back up between the 2nd and 3rd seed bead and back through the 3rd and 4th seed bead.
  5. Add 4 more seed beads and repeat the above.
Line of seed beads stage 1.

You will see that the line of seed beads does’t sit neatly as they have room to move from side to side (image to the left). To correct this you need to fill the central holes of the seed beads so that there is no room for movement.  To do this you need to take the needle and thread back through the row of beads as many times as possible, anchoring the thread at each end before going back through again. This makes a very firm row of beads which sit neatly next to each other (image below and left).

Please Note…. Seed beads can break easily if you use too much force so take care when filling in the central holes and don’t force that last row!


There are easier ways to bead a decorative line!

There are other easier ways to add rows of beads and it is easy to decorate along a machine stitched line e.g. a quilting row. The example below is a border of beads. The pattern is difficult to see but it is a picot pattern where you have 2 seed beads sitting side by side with a 3rd one on top. To do this you need to start a thread at the beginning of the machine stitched row, anchoring it with a quilters knot or back stitch. Add 3 seed beads and take the needle under the next stitch along and back up through the last bead added.  Add a further 2 seed beads and, again, take the needle under the next stitch along and back up through the last bead added.  Continue this way along the line. You can gently push the picot of beads to one side or the other or let them stand straight (as below).


A row of seed beads above the top purple line.  These sit in groups of 3 in a ‘picot’.

The next example is more of a weave and the seed beads are rounded rather than flat sided. It simply uses a line of machine stitches through which to weave beads.  In this example I have added  3 beads then taken the needle under the next stitch along.  I have then threaded 3 more seed beads and taken the needle under the next stitch along but in the opposite direction. It is more of a weave than the Picot example above. If you are going around corners you need to just be mindful of working the thread so the corners can always be shaped in the same way (see below)


Corners always need to be treated the same way so some ‘tweaking of the method may need to take place in this area.






Next month I will be talking about freestyle ‘Soup Mix’… a fun and relaxing way to work with beads.


Happy Beading 🙂