Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

31 October 2018

Goldilocks and the Green Beads

I sometimes spend way too much time fussing over finding the 'just right' embroidery result. Hence, I call myself 'Goldilocks'! True to form, my latest Goldilockian adventure concerned some green beads on Wild Child.

Green bead filling on Wild Child leaf using two different shades of green. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

I'm working on the four leaves along the left and right sides, on the bottom half of the purse.

Bottom half of Wild Child prior to filling leaves with green beads. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

The two leaves at the bottom have been drawing most of my attention lately. In the original design, both sides of the leaves are filled with para (pairs of beads stitched down like seed stitch). The lighter side has light green beads and the darker side has dark green beads. Makes sense, right? I decided that I wanted to try filling only one side of the leaves with beads--the lighter side--and see how I liked the contrast between beads/no beads.

I couldn't make up my mind how I wanted to stitch the green beads, so I tried a couple of different ways. The first attempt was using light green beads on the light side, which is close to how the original was stitched. I made a slight change, however. I clustered the beads nearer the central vein and then spread them out as I approached the outer edge of the leaf. I also went from pairs of beads to single beads. It looked pretty.

Lower left hand leaf filled with pairs and single green beads (para), original filling. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

However, Goldilocks said, 'Hmmmm, too light' and I moved on to the leaf on the right hand side. This time, I tried using the darker beads and then mixed in the lighter beads to shade the filling. As on the left leaf, I clustered the beads around the central vein and spread them out towards the edge. I quite liked the effect of the shading and I also liked the use of the darker beads.

Lower right hand leaf filled with pairs and single green beads (para) in a shaded manor (original filling). (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

Goldilocks had a different opinion and commented, 'Nice shading, but you're not shading with beads anywhere else on this piece so how does that work?' Unfortunately, I had to agree with her although I didn't want to.

I ripped out both sets of beads. By the way, I had couched down all the para pairs on the light green side and ripping out couched beads is not fun! The only good part of it was that I learned that I don't need to worry about the beads coming loose in other two-bead para areas. They are very well set in place. Fortunately, I hadn't yet couched the para on the darker set of beads and they came out easily.

I had a little bit of help with the stitching, emphasis on 'little'. This was a very rare occurrence. He doesn't usually hang out with me when I'm stitching and we may never see him here again!

Black cat helping with bead embroidery

The next thing I tried on the leaves, hoping to please Goldilocks, was using only the dark green beads on the light side of the leaf and only single beads. The para groups seemed a little clumpy and I wanted more space between the beads, although I was still going to group them more closely towards the centre and have them disperse as they approached the leaf edge.

Lower Right Hand Leaf with its final filling in single dark green beads. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

The beads are still clumpier than I would like, and they aren't dispersed evenly enough.

I also finished off the filling on the little bits of side leaves that are above the two green leaves on the bottom. I used single light green beads. Very little of these leaves is visible, so I wanted a simple, unobtrusive filling.

Here are all the green leaves with their beads on the bottom portion of the purse:

All four lower green leaves filled with light or dark green beads. (Wild Child Japanese Bead Embroidery by Mary Alice Sinton)

The green beads on the lower leaves are good enough, but not 'just right'. Goldilocks is going to have to be quiet for now.


  1. Your assistant Jack has beautiful green eyes - maybe he was trying to give you some inspiration for your leaves? 😄 I know exactly what you mean about the Goldilocks feeling, and the funny thing is that other people can't see where you're going and don't understand why it isn't quite "right"! I really like your current solution, I think the para was too clumpy. The blending was very pretty and you may not have blended with beads but you have with your threads and it kind of echoes that? Maybe if you take a step back for a while and tackle another element the "just right" solution will come to you!

    1. I was also struck by how Jack's eyes matched the beads! It seemed appropriate that he should show up on the blog for Halloween. :-)

      I agree with all of your comments (and I thank you for them, too). It's always problematic when you have an idea in your head of what something should look like, but then it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned. That doesn't mean it's bad, just different. I often find that if I walk away for a while and then come back, things look fine. I'm hoping that's the case with the leaves. I don't want to stitch them again!