October 01, 2008
I finally finished my first embroidered cuff. I planned to make a rather geometric pattern, but when I started working I was drawn to a freer pattern. I worked on one section at a time, without much planning. (Some photos of the work in progress are here and here).
To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about the result. It didn't come out the way I saw it in my mind.
BUT, I got a lot of satisfactory by the fact that I managed to finish it, and more important – I have learned a few important things about bead embroidery and gained some experience. I've learned a few things about myself, too; One is that I need to be more patient and stay positive when dealing with unexpected major problems in my work (and stop to scare my family with my frustration screams..) Another one is to really accept a compromise when I decide to make one, and not think about it over and over again after it has already been done; To practice a lot more, just as I did when I taught myself beadweaving- to start with small projects and progress gradually (did I mention patience?...;) So, all in all, it's an accomplishment for me, regardless the imaginative cuff I had in my mind… :)
I finished the body a while ago, but then faced the challenge of sewing it to a genuine leather backing - it was so hard to pass the needle through the leather - my size 10 beading needle was not good for this (I actually broke two of them by trying).
I had to use a special thick needle for leather works. The thick needle did pass trough the leather (though not easily), but it was too thick to pass even trough 6/0 seed beads holes. So I had to take separate steps: first connect the two materials and then stitch rows of beads to cover the connecting points. Step 1 caused my fingers to feel numb for a few days. I didn't succeed in using a thimble to help me push the needle through the leather, so I used my bare fingers. I still have this ugly distortion on my thumb – it is now acts as a reminder for me, to find and buy Ultrasuede in a few colors for my next embroidery works… Step 2, the diagonal rows on the edges, actually added about 15 mm to the final width of the cuff. I didn't plan to make a 2.4 inch (6 cm) wide cuff, but I couldn't think of another way to finish it. And I just had to finish it! ;)