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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tricks to making blueberries!

It was a slow week on Fantasy Remembered - until I discovered a trick or two for making the blueberries! Each blueberry is made with a large plastic bead, covered in floss. Sounds easy, right? Simply take a length of floss, strip* all 6 strands and recombine, thread the needle, go through the hole of the bead, around, through the hole again, etc., until the entire bead is covered.

But, oh by the way, try not to let the threads twist as you do this!

As I made the first couple of blueberries, I struggled a bit, until I figured out two invaluable tips:

#1. File the bead first!

Ok, that sounds dumb, but these beads are made in a mold, which can leave a ridge down the middle of the bead. The very first blueberry I made looked like it had a seam right around the fattest part of the berry (and unfortunately, I didn't take a picture). I knew I'd always hate it if I actually put this berry on my piece. When I moved on to the next berry, I tried to take a smoother bead, but this one also had some rough areas. My solution was to pick up a nail file and gently buff away the rough spots. (The emphasis is on "gently" because you don't want to make a flat spot on the bead - the berries are supposed to be round!) I eventually discarded the first berry made.

#2. Find a third hand!

Hanging on to the tail of the thread with two fingers while slowly wrapping the floss around the bead and keeping the threads from twisting eventually gave me a cramp in my hand! I needed to figure out how to hold the tail another way.

Aha! The wedding ring! Using a tapestry needle so I wouldn't puncture myself (!), I ran the thread under my ring toward my palm, then wrapped it around my little finger.

Then I passed the thread back under the rings, this time away from my palm, trapping the tail of the thread under it. I wrapped it once more around the rings to make sure it was secure.

This technique worked wonderfully, and I was able to finish making all the blueberries, without having to deal with hand cramps.

The finished cluster of blueberries:

Now I've just got to put leaves on the raspberries, and I'll be through "session 3" of the instructions for this piece!

* If anybody wants a tutorial on stripping floss (since I couldn't find one on the web with pictures), please let me know by leaving a comment!


Cindy said...

Very cool! Those blueberries look awesome :)

Jeanne said...

Thanks, Cindy!

Becky K in OK said...

I love your blueberries. Matter of fact, I like real ones too! Great job. I'm impressed.

Sweet Sue said...

So lovely, you've got quite a talent:)

Sweet Stitchin...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what shade number of floss did you use ? and what did you do to finish them or attach them to the fabric?



Unknown said...

I love blueberries They are my favorite. The ones you have made look wonderful. I am wondering do you knot your threads.