Hooked on beads


Lavender bag pink

After tatting a million versions of my own pattern, I sat down to make this a few weeks ago, missed off  a ring and ended up with a more open wreath shape than I was expecting. I stuck with it though, and I think it’s fine (not perfect, but fine). I added the beads to this as I stitched it, which in some instances, I think I prefer…

White lavender bagThis is my own pattern tatted correctly this time – you can see how much tighter it is, and again I added the beads as I stitched it. This is tatted in size 80.

mini cushionBoth of these are made with envelope backs, and both have a little strip of fabric across the opening, which I quite like. I think I like this method for lavender bags actually, but it does take a bit more time – and you have to make a little cushion of the lavender to go inside. I was really tired when I sewed these together though and managed to completely confuse myself. I made such a nice neat hem for the inside piece (the one under the coloured one), so tiny – and then stitched it on back to front so the hem is inside and the rough edge faces outside! You win some you lose some.

bagsI think they look fine though.  I worked on the pattern so much there’s actually another two to come in different colours! I just need to stitch them first.


I’d always thought that certain methods of using beads wouldn’t be possible as I like to use size 80 thread, and the beads that work best with it are tiny. Certain methods — like you can see in the picture here — require you to pull a loop of thread up through a seed bead, with a hook. How on earth do you find a hook small enough to go through a seed beed? The answer? By accident.

hook(Excuse my gluey finger – I’d previously been doing some DIY). I bought this hook from Jane Eborall. To be honest, when I bought it I don’t think I’d really grasped *quite* how small it was. If you try and look at it when it’s in your hand — really look at it — you go cross eyed! It’s absolutely weeny. It’s so tiny that when it arrived I wasn’t that  sure I’d use it, which is a massive shame, as I really like it. As a day to day hook it can split the thread, but I was thinking about beads recently and suddenly it hit me! I HAVE A HOOK THAT MIGHT WORK! And lo and behold, it is *perfect*. So, thank you Jane – thank you for emailing me when they arrived in your shop, and thank you for knowing what I needed better than I did!

Now I just need to work on some patterns with beads – but I feel like a whole new world has opened up! There is of course a downside — tiny tiny beads don’t mix that well with bumpy train rides, which is where I tat the most. But I’ll work on that.

Have a great weekend!







13 Responses to “Hooked on beads”

  1. They both look great and I am in complete agreement about the beads. They really add that special finishing touch to the tatting.

  2. HI there! This design is lovely.

    Would you be interested in sharing it with the Online Tatting Class? I would be happy to have you guest teach it as well. Let me know.
    Georgia Seitz

    • Hi! Thank you so much for asking – I’m very flattered. I haven’t actually written the pattern down as yet (I just carry a completed motif in my bag and work from that) so it’s not really shareable. If I do get a chance to do it I’ll let you know.

  3. Those are gorgeous! I’ve got some teeny vintage hooks if you need a back up!

  4. They are absolutely gorgeous!

    You manage to turn a ‘mistake’ into something so completely gorgeous!!!

    And they smell nice!

    Very nice

    Win win!

  5. 8 janed

    The “mistake” (which looks lovely to me) being more open could probably take some embroidery like you did before (https://occasionalcrafter.com/2013/02/09/1253/) should you decide to do it again 🙂

    I do like your addition of the fabric strip to the envelope backs – I’ve still not given this a try. Maybe the next batch I do!

  6. Beautiful work. It’s so delicate! I’m also looking for a really small hook. Now I know where to look.

    • Thanks! I think it’s knowing what to look *for* actually. I’d never realised what kind of size would work, but yes, for a size 10 seed bead, a 0.4mm hook will work.

  7. Very pretty I love the look of tatting but I don’t have any practice… 🙂

  8. Just started reading your blog and I am enjoying it so much. I can’t believe you are using size 80 DMC. When I use it I must pull my stitches too tight because mine makes a much smaller motif. Your stitches in your pictures are so detailed and mine turn out sooo tiny! I have been tatting for a few years off and on. I am also a quilter and do most any kind of hand work. I have just found your wonderful world of handwork on pinterest and I am totally addicted. in fact I should been in bed right now but I am enjoying your site so much I think I may not be able to go to sleep. There are so few tatters that I know that practice the craft that I do it all alone. I live way down in Texas.

    • Jane – thank you so much for your kind comments!
      I wish I could say that I use size 80 because I’m such a brilliant tatter – it’s actually just because that’s the only thread I could find when I started 🙂 Is the thread you’re using also DMC? Sometimes different brands can vary the thickness a bit, it could be that your thread is thinner?

      I’m not sure how much you know about the online tatters, but there’s quite a few about. http://www.intatters.com is a good place to start looking (and you’ll see a lot of people better than me!).

      I also tat alone – but there are so many people online it never feels like that. Now you can say you tat with me.

      I’m a would-be-quilter, so please don’t look at any of my sewing photos too closely 😉

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