Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday WIP: Beaded Button

Today's WIP is my project from Larkin Van Horn's Beaded Button class last weekend at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium. I will give a little review of the class as well as show some of the class projects.

If you are unfamiliar with Larkin and her work, you can watch a free vid-cast interview with Bonnie McCaffery. After watching the video, I knew I wanted to take a class with Larkin at Symposium.

I purchased Larkin's book, entitled Beading on Fabric. It is a delightful instruction manual on beading stitches, as well as photographs of her gorgeous quilts, spirit figures, garments, and buttons. Highly recommended!

During the class, we stopped about every hour for guided stretching exercises designed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, finger fatigue, fanny fatigue, and I guess every other kind of fatigue. It felt so good ! I am considering purchasing a timer for my sewing/quilting areas to remind myself to stretch.

For only a five-dollar kit fee, Larkin provided a 2-part snap dome button, a bobbin-size spool of Nymo beading thread, a John James #11 needle, a packet of assorted beads coordinating with a fabric square, some muslin and a piece of batting. We also got a sheet of instructions on the five basic stitches for beading: seed stitch, back stitch, mossing, couching, stacks, and fringe. I was able to utilize all of these on my button except for fringe.

Larkin is a "fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants" gal, and does not preplan her button designs. She uses a focal bead in the center and just divides the space into different visual areas, and fills in. Since I was trying to use many of her examples during the lesson, my own button design is less than artistic. What do you think? A bit flashy, perhaps? Actually, the button is only a little over an inch in diameter.

The reason it is still a work-in-progress is because I have not been able to snap the back on yet. I will ask DSH (Dear Sweet Husband) to use his stronger muscles to do this for me. When the beaded fabric is mounted on the button form, the edge should be a little more round.

Here is my friend Holly's beaded fabric. Isn't it cute?

My table-mate Liz from Pinehurst made her button in the same black and gold colors as mine. Even though there were only three basic colors of bead kits, everyone's looked unique.

Luckily for my group, Larkin also brought her small quilts to show us. As always, the photographs in her book and on her web pages do not do justice to the texture, color, and design of these small but lovely works of art. But take a look...and take a class from Larkin if you ever have the opportunity!


Vicki W said...

That looks like a lot of fun!

roxanestoner said...

Larkin came to Alaska for our Fiber Festival and was a hit with her "Incrustations" (her word for over embellishment with beads). So fun. She makes beautiful things.

Unknown said...

Those beaded buttons are gorgeous! I am still drooling over the bags in your previous post, too! :)

Lynn Majidimehr said...

I really like her beading classes! One year I took several of them, and got hooked on making those beaded buttons for a whle.