In what seems like a lifetime ago already, I was the editor of Beadwork magazine. At Interweave in 1997, Linda Ligon played Spanky, I was Darla, and we said “Let’s have a magazine!” Much like the sewn-together blankets that comprised The Little Rascals’ stage sets, we cobbled together those first few issues with moxy, lots of elbow grease, and crossed fingers. Fast-forward to today and you’ll see that current editor Melinda Barta has fostered Beadwork to become the best bead 'zine out there. It has truly matured into a sophisticated force of creativity. Are you a subscriber? If not, take a minute and sign up.
When we first started photographing pieces for the magazine, the designers who had good finishing skills quickly became my heroes. Close-up photography showed every tiny tail, visible knots, and raveling bits of thread––all of which screamed SLOPPY in the resulting photos. Now, with macro digital photography, it’s even more important to make sure your finishing skills are perfected.
One major point of issue is cutting the thread properly once you’ve finished stitching. Want to know the best ways?
Here are my tips:
If you’re stitching with nylon thread, use sharp, pointed embroidery or surgical scissors to neatly trim it against your finished piece.
|Use the fingers of your nondominant hand to pull the thread tightly away from the beadwork while trimming it with the scissors’ points as close to the beads as possible. After cutting, the tension will make the thread end pop back into the beads.|
If you’re stitching with braided beading thread, which can be tricky to cleanly cut, use a thread burner. This battery-operated tool with a thin wire tip has become my absolute favorite tool. Once activated, the tip instantly heats to a ridiculously high temperature so it will cut through thread in an instant.
|Use the fingers of your nondominant hand to pull the thread tightly away from the beadwork to create tension. Turn on the burner and wave the tip across the thread, close to the beadwork. The tension will cause the thread end to pop back into the beads.
Note: I find it works well to steady my cutting hand by placing my pinky on my holding hand.
Another bonus with using a thread burner is that the heat makes the end of synthetic threads ball up and melt a little, creating a tiny knot that will further secure your work. Want to perfect your finishing skills? Stay in the know with a subscription to Beadwork magazine.