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Free Motion Machine Beading

ThreadKoe | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

In a post to Rekha, I described a technique for machine beading, and I couldn’t remember where I saw it. Well I found it again. It is on the Bernina USA site. There are some free projects and video clips, and this was one of the video clips. Thought you might like to know. Cathy


  1. jjgg | | #1

    could you possibly post a link to it? the bernina site is very hard to navigate and find something specific (there is so much there)

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #2

      This is the link for the site, enjoy. Sorry I did not think to post it earlier, my train of thought had no caboose today. Cathy http://www.thequiltshow.com/bernina/7.html

      1. jjgg | | #3

        Thank you for the link, I'll have to try this, but I do love hand beading things, it's so soothing to the spirit to just sit and bead (or do any hand sewing for that matter)

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #5

          I bead. I make the netted Christmas ornaments. I also do the brickstitch earrings, netted necklaces, and things like that. I prefer to do the more complicated stringing. This pic is not good, a work in progress, but I thought you might like to see it. Cathy

          1. MaryinColorado | | #15

            Very nice!  I wouldn't be able to do it because of arthritis in my hands, but I appreciate your beautiful work. 

          2. sewelegant | | #18

            I cannot remember all you have written about what you have sewn recently, but it seems, in my mind, I have placed you among the more prolific ones!  Maybe not... because you mentioned the arthritis in your hands.  I too have been buggered by that!  (Do you suppose our hands have worn out?!)  I started having problems in my late 40's and now I cannot grip anything securely.  I think I have and then it will drop!  So I use a lot of big handled helpers and my awl is a biggie so that is what I will use with the beading.  I would love to do all the handwork I enjoyed so much in the past, but there is always something new to catch my fancy and the computer is IT nowadays.  My fingers will lock up a bit, but one needs to take a break anyway.  I'm sure you have found many ways to work around your arthritis too.  I think our weather here is pretty arthritis friendly, anyway more so than where you get the extremes.

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            Sewelegant, and Mary, I sympathize totally, as I have battled with arthritis off and on since my teens. Not fun, but with treatment I have managed to adapt. Tweezers and awls for guiding, and longer, finer needles so you do not have to force them make short work of a lot of handwork. I also use a lot of thread conditioner. I cannot sit and work for long periods, so I break it up into short sessions, and that helps. Washing dishes by hand warms up the fingers before sewing, knitting or beading also. I am lucky to have mostly been in remission for a long time, but know it will be worse as I get older. It is my knees and hands that are the worst. Cathy

          4. rekha | | #20

            Thanks for the URL on the technique and sharing the pictures of rather intricate bead embroidery. Resourceful as always.

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #21

            Thanks. How is your blouse progressing? Cathy

          6. rekha | | #22

            I haven't been able to use my hands for some days now, so nothing is progressing.

            I am waiting for the hand surgeon to tell me what he is going to do with it on Sept 15.

            Any more bike rides?

          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #23

            Hand surgery? Not Fun. Mind you they can do amazing things now. Two years ago they took some of the tendons in my daughters hand that worked and used them to give her more function in the fingers that did not work, and they loosened up some tightened muscles and tightened up some loose muscles. Gave her a lot more movement in her hand. Went from a pincer grip to a cup grip. Vast difference in function. She was so happy when it was all over. Well worth the discomfort.The weather here has finally turned nice. Have been taking the bikes for short trips in the evenings. Have toured around the local area mostly. Hope to take the bikes to Kingston on the weekend. My Aunt and Uncle have their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Then it is only a short trip from there to where 2 of my girls live, so we will go visit them the next day. Then home again. By car a 6 hour round trip. By bike, who knows because we sight see a lot. tee hee.

          8. rekha | | #24

            What had happened to your daughter's hands to warrant surgery?

            How long did it take between surgery and her feeling comfortable with the hand?

            I guess the end result you describe about your daughter is probably also on my plate.

            Any exciting photos we can have a peek at on your motocycling jaunts?

            Questions, questions, questions.....

          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #25

            Car accident when she was 4. Left her with partial paralysis on left side, primarily arm and hand, and leg. With intensive physio,over many many years, you can hardly tell when she walks, but the arm and hand are another story. I cannot tell you much about the discomfort part because her sensations are all screwed up. It was uncomfortable because her nerves were affected in weird places. That took about a year to settle down. But that was because her nerve endings were a mess to start with. She has a brachyoplexus injury. The nerves in the neck and shoulder were affected, as well as some central nervous system, due to a brain injury. But she is doing just fine now.
            Post surgical physio took a year. It takes a lot of work to get the fingers retrained, but she did it. Good thing she is stubborn. It actually took her less time than the dr expected to get results, but that was only because she was very determined. She still has to do self determined physio daily.
            I actually do not have pictures of my jaunts, as I forget to take my camera. Silly me. Will have to take it next time. Will post them when I have some tho. CathyEdited 8/25/2008 10:07 am ET by ThreadKoe

            Edited 8/25/2008 10:09 am ET by ThreadKoe

          10. rekha | | #26

            What a stoic young woman your daughter is!

            I don't make a good patient because I am ill so rarely as to require attendance, my frustrations get the better of me.

          11. Ocrafty1 | | #27


            Been a while since I've been here....we took a vacation on our new bike...to the Canadian side of Niagra, on to the Kankamangas Hwy in Conn., over to Portland, ME, up to St. John's, Nova Scotia, back through Eastport and York Harbor, ME, back thru Penn...did you know there is  PA Grand Canyon...its gorgeous!....and home to Indiana.  Over 3400 miles in 9 days.  It was wonderful!!! 

            Now that we're back, I'm working on another wedding (I posted a question under Knife Pleats, with link to a pic of what the bride sort of wants), as well as finally getting to start on the Salsa dress for my ballroom dancing client.   We're supposed to go on a short trip and do the " Tail of the Dragon" in TN, in 2 wks., so I have to get busy...(I don't even have the satin cut out yet for the wedding gown...but the lining is ready to use as my pattern and then be sewn together. I like to do the lining first and get it to fit perfectly; then use it as my pattern for the fashion fabric.)  All of them need to be done before Sept. 14th  

            I have problems with "arthur" and fibro, as well.  I love to crochet doilies, using size 30 thread.  Like you, I can only play for a time, then must take a break.  Old age is definitely for the mature.....most young ones couldn't handle it.  The special ones..like your daughter...are rare treasures indeed!


          12. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #28

            I am so jealous! Our bike trip to the East Coast has been pushed back a year(possibly 2)due to rainy weather. DH ended up working all summer. The grass kept growing! We had planned on touring West next year tho. Want to put a gravestone up for my Mom in B.C., and possibly tour down into Oregon. The last time I went, DH couldn't go. We have a pair of 83 Yamaha Maxim 750s that we love to tour around on. I think we may upgrade before a really long tour like that tho. Our one weekend in Vermont was rained out. We wanted to tour Mount Mansfield, Oh Well, another time I will have that chance again. I posted a thought on your bride's dress. Hope you get it all worked out. Have heard something about the Tail of the Dragon but will look it up. What are you riding? Cathy

          13. Ocrafty1 | | #39

            DH bought a new Harley Street Glide back in Jan., but didn't pick it up until Mar.  He was afraid he'd want to be a ding bat and ride it in the snow.  We bought the tour pack and it has 2 saddlebags, so we had quite a bit of room for carrying stuff. We also bought a new seat with more padding for me. I'd have never made it on the one it came with...I lost all my natural padding 4 yrs. ago. (I weigh about 110...LOL) We were really lucky and only got rained on once, and we found a place to pull over.  The weather was great for the rest of the trip.  I got quite a suntan.  We were on the bike between 8 & 10 hrs./day most of the trip...a couple we rode 6 and one day we rode almost 14.  I can't wait to do it again.  DH had me plan the route and with the help of a friend who used to live in ME, it was GRAND!!  DH was so impressed that he wants to go back next yr.  We also had planned a trip out west....I've never seen the Grand Tetons, so that may be where we go in 2 yrs.  We try to take a short jaunt every weekend if we can...usually within 50-70 miles one way. 

            I had a 54 Pan head back in the late '70's...after my first husband died.....a red chopper with a twisted chrome front end...Oh, to have that bike back.  It wasn't the lifestyle I wanted for my daughters, so I sold it and got away from that mess.  Harley riders are much different now....LOL.  Gotta go, DH wants me to look up something about coins on the internet.....

          14. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #40

            My DH used to have dirt bikes, and used to do stupid things on them. When I got pregnant, I asked (made) him give it up. He always thought I hated bikes. He was rather dumb actually as all my friends and family knew I liked them! He just never asked the right question-no way I was getting on the back of one! I finally 'fessed up about 2 years ago, gotta keep some secrets for later in a relationship. We have been married for 24 yrs. His face hit the floor when I suggested that we get bikes, because I always wanted to learn to ride. He takes his to work, and I put on more miles than he does! We often will take a short tour for a couple of hours in the evening. Another plus for country living. Cathy

          15. Ocrafty1 | | #41

            LOL, we have to keep these guys on their toes!!! (tee hee) DH knew that I'd had a bike; actually he had a 750 Honda when we got together. But he was STUPID when he rode it.  The last time I rode it with him, he was doing over 90 on a local hwy!  I was livid!  We were just dating, and for him to put my life in that kind of danger...and I was the only parent of 2 little girls....well, that was just over the top!  I slugged his shoulder and told him I'd never ride with him again, and got a ride home! That was 26 yrs. ago, and he's grown up a little since then. He rides much safer now, having a $26K bike makes a little difference....he's gonna be paying for it for a L O N G time!  I was a little nervous riding with him at first, but after the trip we took, I trust him on it more.

            Well, gotta go work on that wedding gown........"Hi, ho. Hi, ho...Its off to sew I go!"  Keep your fingers crossed!  This gown is really a chalenge... If you wanna see what I'm trying to do, check out the link on the "Knife pleats" forum.  I just got the satin cut out yesterday and the wedding is the 14th of Sept.: AND I have to cut out the matron of honor dress...and I have a "Salsa" costume to start...all due the same day..........and I know we're gonna want to ride this weekend!...............


          16. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #42

            That's no hill for a stepper. (Another of my mom's sayings, along with "It'll never be seen on a galloping horse".) I have faith in you Ocrafty1.

            Edited 8/27/2008 11:06 am by JunkQueen

          17. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #44

            Have been following your post closely. Don't forget, all work makes Jane a dull girl. tee hee. Ride Safe, shiny side up. Cathy

          18. rodezzy | | #29

            Wow, what a trip.  On a motor bike?  What an adventure that must have been.  I never get to do great stuff like that.  If my spirit is to come back, I want to do all of the things that I dreamed of doing. 

          19. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #30

            One dream at a time Rodezzy! I always wanted to ride a motorcycle and was a little afraid to. I learned, and it has been the best! You have wonderful quilty friends and travel with that. I wish I could do that. I have a jar of change (actually several now) that are being saved towards my embroidery machine! One small step for woman...Cathy

          20. rodezzy | | #31

            I do extremely little traveling with the quilt ladies.  I've been on two trips with them in the past 6 years.  On a tour bus.  That's no adventure.  That's a shopping trip.  I want some real adventure.  One dream at a time.

            Edited 8/26/2008 1:59 pm ET by rodezzy

          21. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #32

            I wish you'd come down to Houston for the Quilt Show. I'd love to have your expertise beside me as I wander through the Exhibit Hall. That probably doesn't sound like a "great adventure", but it'd sure be fun!Last year I spent a whole day visiting all the booths. I felt so privileged seeing some of those wonderful artistic quilts. My favorite was a black and white one that I saw immediately upon entering the Convention Center. It was stunning.

          22. rodezzy | | #34

            Is it the International Quilt Show?  That's the show I worked in March in Rosemont, IL.  Sandra and I have worked hanging the quilts for the past three years.  I believe it is the same show.  They were from Houston.  Now I can't remember every quilt since then.  But it is a wonderful venue to see what's going on with quilts in every medium.  Love it!

          23. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #38

            Yes, the International Quilt Show. None of my friends have an interest in the show, so I drive down alone and spend the day. I really should go down and spend several days so I won't be so tired. I am not a quilter, but I can appreciate the artistry and love seeing what is currently being done. I took a lot of pictures of the "Art to Wear" creations. Then the vendor booths also offered a huge array of interesting goods.

          24. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #33

            Where would you like to go? What would you like to see? How would you like to travel to get there? My trip to Oregon was for my Great Aunt's Birthday Party Reunion. I wanted to visit my Parents in BC. I put my girls in the van and drove across Canada. By myself, with three kids under the age of 12. I could barely afford it, but it was the learning experience of a lifetime. We spent the summer out west, day tripping, touring the cheapie tourist spots and just looking around. It was the trip of a lifetime for all of us. Cathy

          25. rodezzy | | #35

            I want to go the the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Disney in California, I don't even know what all.  There are so many things to see in the USA.  That sounds so scary.  I don't know if I could do that.  Drive off somewhere just like that.  I've thought of it often.  But I'm a chicken to be the only adult.  So much can happen.

          26. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #37

            I found a lot of people in the service industry keep an eye out for singles and women with children. Everywhere we went, someone seemed to be willing to help. Even when we got the keys locked in the car by accident, there were people who were willing to go out of their way to help and keep us safe. In Winnipeg, we ended up having trouble getting a room due to a big conference. The staff of one hotel escorted us to another hotel they found for us, and helped check us in. This was not even in their chain of hotels. Angels do walk on earth. What keeps you safe at home in your own neighbourhood, keeps you safe on the road. You could always try a small bus tour to get your feet wet, there are all kinds. Cathy

            Edited 8/26/2008 3:21 pm ET by ThreadKoe

          27. sewelegant | | #43

            I can't seem to get started each day until after I visit Old Faithful to see how things are going there!

            http://www.nps.gov/PWR/customcf/apps/stream/stream.htm?parkcode=yell    (they stop this little video after a few minutes, but you just click the play button again and it will stay on) this is almost as good as being there!  You can almost smell the pine trees.

            http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/oldfaithfulcam.htm   this is the still camera version;  if you look in the top left of the picture you will see the time of the next eruption (prediction, but usually pretty accurate give or take 10-15 min.)


          28. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #36

            In the mid-1960's, we were newly weds. My DH and I quit our jobs in Texas, loaded all our worldly possessions that would fit (and left the rest) in a U-haul trailer and moved to Miami, Florida, to the chagrin of both our families. We had no jobs and knew absolutely no one there. We had an absolutely wonderful time, fishing and sight seeing, and exploring a world we'd never been exposed to before. Even though the reality of sick and infirm parents we needed to care for eventually brought us back to Texas, we never regretted the decision we had made to move there. It was fun while it lasted.

          29. Josefly | | #45

            Have you done "Tail of the Dragon" before? (I've been wondering why this beading thread was so long; just got 'round to reading it.) I can't imagine what it's like to do it on a bike. My husband and I drove it last summer as we returned home from a car trip to Missouri. I've never seen so many curves crammed into a 20-mile stretch of road. Just wanted to mention Cade's Cove, a wonderful national park with a road that lets out onto the "Tail". A very pretty place to spend some time. Have a good time on your trip.

          30. Ocrafty1 | | #46

            Thanks for the info.  No, we haven't done "Tail of the Dragon" before.  Our son, who has a Yamaha, and some of his friends had planned doing this ride on their bikes, but due to work and school constraints they were unable to go.  He is so jealous!  He did download a video of the "Tail" for us to see.  I'm looking forward to it.  When we were in VT., there is a section of Hwy 17 that has 11 miles of 10 degree S curves that was absolutely gorgeous...We just took it slow on the Harley.  I'm not sure what route we're taking to get there.  Someone else in the group is making those plans.  Speaking of the 'group......'

            I HAVE TO VENT !!!!!  

            I am more than a little upset about the dates for this trip....We were supposed to go on the weekend of the 6th, but one of the guys' wife refuses to let her dog stay with anyone but her neighbor, and he wasn't available that weekend.  She will not even leave it with her vet.  So everyone had to change their plans...for a DOG! We already had hotel reservations and everything!  Our son's best friend is getting married the weekend that we're going now, and he's in the wedding and wearing a tux....This may be my one and only time to see that kid in one....as well as having to miss this very special wedding. We've known the groom since her was in 2nd grade. (DH is not into weddings and would have gone, but isn't the least bit upset about missing it...a guy thing, I'm sure.  :^(

            I know that some people are very close to their pets, (I don't have that problem..LOL), but I swear, the first time that woman calls that dog her "child", or calls herself "Mom" to a dog...I'm gonna tell her that human children all USUALLY have 2 legs, not 4.  I know that sounds mean, but I think if her dog is that important to her, she should have stayed home with it and not made the rest of us change our plans for 2 weekends! There are 12 of us going.  I usually get along very well with people, in fact, I'll go out of my way to accomodate nearly everyone, but this just threw me over the top! 

            Don't think that I'm not an animal lover.  12 yrs ago, we rescued 1 of 35 horses that had been mistreated and neglected beyond belief.  It took us over 2 yrs. of intense daily care and cost over $5K, by the time we got her healthy. (3 trips to Purdue's vet school for surgery...someone had shot her with a BB gun; probably to see her run; and they were imbedded in her muscles....)  We've had 9 dogs dumped at our farm over the last 20 yrs. and have kept all but 2....Our newest arrived last Sat. and he's a darling, 'Benji' type dog...(We named him Augie Doggie)...Its just that I don't think it was very "adult" of her to impose her feelings and fears for her dog on so many other people....She must be a very selfish/spoiled person..and I've already made up my mind that I'm not gonna like her (extremely unusual for me!)  If that makes me 'not such a nice person', then so be it.......OK, Done venting...I feel a tiny bit better....Maybe now I can go and sew on that wedding gown...without having to rip out seams....LOL!

            Thanks again for the info!















          31. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #47

            The perfect bike trip: planned around stops at every fabric, beading and craft shop for the women to shop. While the men go....do whatever else while we shop! tee hee. Cathy

          32. Josefly | | #48

            I hear you! It's too bad the plans were changed. I know it would be very disappointing to me to have to miss the wedding. I hope it doesn't spoil the trip for you.

      2. sewelegant | | #6

        Thank you for this site!  One problem... I went to the bernina site and searched all over but they refused to acknowledge any info about machine beading!  Could you tell me how to type in the proper words or where to look?  I have really enjoyed cross stitching with beads but the arthritis in my hands has almost eliminated that and I think this would be a doable alternative.  Thanks.

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #8

          Sewelegant, did you click on the link I provided in a later posting? It takes you directly to a little video that shows the technique. The videos are on the Bernina USA site. http://www.thequiltshow.com/bernina/7.html Here it is again Cathy

          Edited 8/18/2008 8:48 pm ET by ThreadKoe

          1. sewelegant | | #9

            I did click on your link to the video and it whetted my interest so I was trying to find those projects you mentoned and that's where I had problems.  Thanks.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            Oh, sorry, the Bernina site is difficult to figure out. I have problems navigating it myself. I think I started out looking for something else and stumbled across the videos. There are quite a few there tho, enough to amuse one for a while anyhow. Which project in particular were you interested in? If you ar interested in the free projects go to the sewing studio. Click on the Blue Headings in the text. There is one called Free Projects in there somewhere. When the next page comes up, it is a search page, but you can do a general search from there using the drop down menue. Cathy

            Edited 8/19/2008 9:21 am ET by ThreadKoe

          3. sewelegant | | #11

            As my daughter who is my computer guru likes to tell me:  "Just Play With It"

            OK.. will do, but thanks for the insight.  I was just wondering what the projects for the beading looked like.  On the video it looks like one could make any kind of design he wanted on a flat piece of fabric.  I'll have to go back and check it out some more.  Thanks.

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #12

            Ok, I see what you are getting at. The video is a technique. You are looking for an actual project. I did not see an actual beading project using the technique. This technique could be used to embellish a garment, or a scarf. I am going to embellish the underbust part of an empire waist dress. It can be used to further embellish an embroidered motif. If you want an actual project, I can help you there. What type of project would you like to do? Cathy

          5. sewelegant | | #13

            Thank you, Cathy, it's kind of like my other collections... I get interested and collect all kinds of patterns and fabrics, etc. but usually don't get around to actually doing a specific project until later.  I am making a jacket from the Safe-T-Pockets collection.  It will be out of a sheer polyester print.  Lots of flowers and I thought it might be nice to embellish it.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #14

            It certainly would be a good technique to embellish something like that. Cathy

  2. victoria0001 | | #4

    Thanks for the link to the machine beading by Bernina.  It was really inspirational and it looks like it might be a great idea for making Christmas scarves or similar type gifts.  I'm definitely going to try it and I do have quite a good variety of beads sitting idle. 

    It would be great fun to try this technique on ready-made clothing as well.  You've opened up a whole other challenge!!  Thanks again.

  3. woodruff | | #7

    There used to be an artist/instructor named Patricia Rodgers (with a 'd') who produced a couple of videos in this vein:

    "Beading by Machine and Free Motion Machine Embroidery"

    "Cutwork and Needlelace"

    I have viewed the first one at a sewing store that rented instructional videos, and the woman was a genius! Her stuff was beautiful, not at all kitschy. The production values were a little low, maybe, but you could clearly see what she was doing and how. I think the beading video might be fifteen years old now and it's difficult to find. From the links I found to her name, it looks as though she might have been an instructor for the Sulky company itself at one point.

    This appears to be a current link to a source that sells her beading/embroidery video:


    Edited 8/18/2008 3:39 pm by woodruff

  4. MaryinColorado | | #16

    The book "Secrets for Successful Sewing by Barbara Wiland (excellent instructor), Rodale Press, has several techniques for machine beading that are excellent. 

    Serger Secrets, also Rodale Press, has excellent instructions for beading with your serger.

    Hope this helps!  I know it's not videos, but very clear precise info with photos.  Mary

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #17

      I have done beading by machine before, using a couching technique. Prestrung beads, sequins, rhinestones are zigzagged onto the fabric. I have even used a blind hemstitch to do this, when I wanted swags. There is a book I have on Machine Beading and Embellishment, but it is packed away and I do not remember the author. I like the new technique because I can scatter or group beads now. Thanks for the compliment on my ornament. It is a lot easier on the hands than you think. You scoop the beads onto a long needle from a pile. It is more an eyesight problem for most people, as I have arthritis, altho not too bad yet. Cathy

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