Sunday, December 30, 2012

Buying Soutache Braid & Supplies

Yesterday i was asked about the differences between polyester and rayon soutache, it can also be a rayon/cotton blend. So I'd like to share with you the Soutache Braid in my supplies.

Earlier this year Bead & Button magazine featured Soutache from Amee Sweet-McNamara at ameerunswithscissors. This was one of our Beading Babes challenges so I took the opportunity to have a play with Soutache. Now I'm near Brisbane in Australia, we've lost the old style haberdashery shops.

I managed to get some braid at my local fabric store. They had 2 sorts - a very soft braid from China and an English one which was firmer, wound tighter. See how sloppy soft the outer one is? It's also very stretchy and kinks easily

I made some ear rings following Amee's tutorial video Here

I was hooked. Next step I bought a whole pile of Soutache from Amee's website, picking colours mainly from the imported list but some from the domestic list as well. (She explains the differences and metallic which is a whole pile of more fiddliness)

I went ahead and made the pendants featured in my blog banner using imported colours. I had played around with some other practice pieces in the blues which I had planned to stitch together in a necklace, but after using the new stash my fingers just didn't like what I had purchased locally. (I've still done nothing with them)

This is the new stash see how it frays and you can easily see the V so you can line them up the same?
I put a dab of fraycheck on each cut end to stop the fray. This is polyester

The domestic one is firmer tighter not as easy to make out the V there's a string in each side. This one is polyester/rayon mix the actual width and thickness is different to the other one
Now this is one I purchased from an online bead supplier here in Australia. There's no information on which country it originates from or the thread type. It has the inner thread is tight and hardish 

 I used it to make a ribbon necklace to hang a soutache pendant from

When you take 3 colours from the same brand and line them in same direction, they sit together nicely between your fingers making it easier to start stitching. The thickness is same, they 'slot' together. They will also sit in a nice curve which helps your flow (remember narrow stitches inner curve, longer stitch on outer)

Here's a mix of brands, I find it's more fiddly to fit them together, making sure they're in the same direction

So which Soutache braid do I say for you to buy as a beginner?

Be aware of which countries it is convenient for you to buy from e.g. taxes, shipping etc I know some U.K. people prefer to buy from UK because of this.

Next - Is there a bead artist or someone you know whose work you admire? Usually they have found the brand they like to use. This can be a good starting point.

Otherwise buy enough for a project from several suppliers, the pendants I've made are around 3 metres/yards each of the chosen colours. You'll soon discover which feels better for you to work with. Also as a beginner, I would stay with the same brand for a project, until you get a feel for what you are doing, then you'll know how to handle a mix or metallics. And the cost? I've seen it from lots of places, that work out between 15c and $1 per metre and even at the higher cost this is not an expensive technique. So as always choose quality braid which gives the result you are aiming to achieve. And what do you use to stitch it with? Any of the nylon threads of your choice - nymo B or D, One G, K.O

Originally the braid was stitched as a decoration on military clothing. Today I don't know what purpose the manufacturer has in mind, is it traditional decorative clothing, jewellery, binding seams? Who knows? When I search the net and see the gorgeous pieces made in Russia, Israel and throughout Europe, the lovely curves and colours, I'm hooked. Mind you I have to finish my pieces with familiar bead embroidery techniques, ultrasuede edge stitching etc as that's my training.

Remember the debate with beading thread? Do you use nylon or fireline, nymo or KO?
So which Soutache braid do you prefer? Soft, hard, narrow, frayable, non-frayable the choice is yours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What threads do you use for beading?

Every beader you talk to seems to have a different preference for threads to use for beading.

As a beadweaver I was taught using fireline, and the discussion on whether to use nymo or fireline began. I recently took part in a Beading Babes challenge project which included the Soutache project in Bead & Button by Amee Sweet-McNamara. This project introduced me to nymo B. I found this thread really nice to work with but it can fray easily. My next Beading Babes project was a bead embroidered cuff. For this piece I explored threads using the nymo B, some One G, K.O., and Silamide. There's a range of prices amongst these threads but what I found was:
  • they are all nice to work with 
  • they all fray
  • silamide and nymo b are hardest to thread, the end splits open
  • KO is easiest to thread the end doesn't split at all
  • they all have a range of colours to suit threads and fabrics. 
I have since also used nymo D
Lately I've been using the KO a lot. I have found the end doesn't part when you're trying to thread it, it takes alot of unpicking before fraying, it doesn't fray bad where needle eye sits, it feels nice in hand

So my preference -
  • I still like fireline for Beadweaving, although it tangles, I feel it holds the shape better.
  • For Soutache I love KO
  • For Bead Embroidery any of the nylon threads.  I now have a selection of threads I need to use up. But will probable stay with KO for new purchases even though it's heaps more expensive than nymo
So what thread is your preference?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soutache Supplies & Yazzii

At the weekend I went to the local craft show in Brisbane. The lovely lady from Yazzii was there so I stocked up on a few pieces. This is what I got for my Soutache Supplies.

As you can see there's loops to tie the braid onto, then a plastic cover, this is double sided there's 2 of them plus some additional zipped areas

Then I got this one

It's got cabochons and beads I've bought specifically for Soutache. this travel one folds and fits into the larger one

And then because soutache looks great hung on ribbon I got a stash of silk ribbon and cotton cord so to store them I got this piece

I also got a few others for project organisers and for my ipad.
I've been keen to get a few of these for awhile, they are well made, there's heaps of styles to choose from, would suit a variety of crafts and most importantly keeps my braids and ribbons clean.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Longreach and Winton Holiday 2012

I've just had a little holiday away with my partner. We went on The spirit of the Outback train to Longreach with a tour package that included Age of the Dinosaurs in Winton, Stockmans Hall of Fame, Quantas Founders Museum and The Strathmore Station just outside Longreach.

 Sunset cruise on the Thompson river with dinner and bush ballads.

The Age of Dinosaurs and looking from there across to Winton

 Strathmore Station where we had a tour around the paddocks and a lovely morning tea
 Longreach railway station
 Lots of displays at Stockmans Hall of Fame

 telephone exchange display
 bullocks in the show

 flying doctor display
 statue made from mechanical pieces springs, shockies etc
 747 display at Quantas Founders Museum

 business class

On the platform 6.30 am ready for return trip

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project 6 Beading Babes

This week is the reveal of items we've been making in project 6 of Beading Babes. I've only succeeded in completing Soutache

I worked on a few tutorial/practice pieces, as you can see I still haven't put the 3 blue pieces together in a necklace or finished the harp ear rings to go with them. I also did the extra tulip shape from B&B website and the initial shape in mag but I didn't a pair of each. The braid I used on these I bought from a local shop. By the time I got this far I had received my order from and was itching to try it out. I really loved the feel of this new braid, great quality and it sat together nicely. So here's my new pieces.

I also attempted the Ripple Effect Cuff by Sherry Serafini.
I actually finished this side, then started the second. As every beader knows its all about tension.So by the second side I'd settled into a softer tension which then meant I pulled it all out, back to just the centre piece. I then did some freeform beading which I enjoyed more but doesn't fit with the centre piece so it will come out as well. So back to ripples and creating a variation of it.

 There were 2 other designs a bracelet and necklace which I never managed to even look at. Anyway there has been lots of fabulous creations for all the designs and I'm sure we all learnt heaps, I know I did.
To see more about this please visit either or

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sarah's Bling Box

I have 2 grand daughters, whilst they love bling they've not learnt yet how to be gentle with it. So I've decided to start a bling box each for them to give to them in about 15 yrs or so. I figure if I add a piece or two each year it'll be full.
Anyway Miss Sarah turns 2 shortly so this is the first piece for her box, it's also my first play with twin beads from a tute I found online

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oracle Card Readings

Pop over to my friends blog at
Tania has some amazing insights in her readings, follow her blog or facebook page to find out more

Sunday, September 9, 2012


"Olivia" from Creating Glamorous Jewelery With Swarovski Elements

Yesterday was our beading meet day. The challenge was "Olivia". There were lots of lovely colours and sparklies, pinks, greens and a gorgeous orange one which I can't wait to see finished. Here's mine. I didn't have any tear drop beads so mine is bicones, rondelles, and fire polished crystals.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sparkly Wheels

I've been playing with Sparkly Wheels from Beadwork June/July 2010
 I chose to insert rivolis before closing the back

 There are lots of deisgn ideas you can do with these