By Edith Nepean

Beadwork as a Fine Art - The Skill and Patience of a Bygone Generation - Some Delightful Suggestions for Modern Workers - The Loom and How to Use It

It is only a little bead bag lying on the table, but it is one hundred years old!

The colouring of the beads is exquisite, and as fresh and brilliant as ever it was; the design is bold and artistic. The delicate fingers which fashioned that little bead bag no longer ply the needles, but the beautiful work remains to pay tribute to that past age. One can only dimly realise the long hours of patient planning and counting of the minute beads as they were threaded on the yards of cotton before the knitting was begun.

A butterfly pattern. This design is also admirably suitable for a coiffure bandeau in metallic beads

A butterfly pattern. This design is also admirably suitable for a coiffure bandeau in metallic beads

At this period beadwork seemed to have become something of a fine art; but, no doubt, with the rush of modern life, it proved too tedious an occupation for the woman who was slowly feeling her wings.

The well known Greek key pattern

The well-known Greek key pattern. A simple but effective device for a coiffure bandeau, that looks well in scintillating and silver beads and taking more interest in the outside world than her grandmothers had done before her. To-day we may copy the wonderful designs; and although we may take but half the trouble, the result will be no less effective. Instead of being compelled to use knitting needles of the very finest make, we now can use a little loom. As savages we loved beads, and as civilised people we still do and shall continue to do so. The fascination of beadwork is irresistible, and, when once under the spell of its charm, it is only laid aside with difficulty.

But, for some, beadwork has another attraction. As much as thirty pounds profit has been made in a year by an enthusiastic amateur. One beautiful " dog collar " was composed of a design of emerald green shamrock on a groundwork of gold beads. It was made to fit tightly around the throat and fastened with an old gilt clasp - the keen beadworker is always on the look-out in old curiosity shops for these relics. Another necklace was shaped and rested almost like a festoon on the neck. Fashionable wide bandeaux, to suit the requirements of the modern coiffure for the evening, are also among bead novelties. They are strikingly effective when composed of scintillating beads, having the old Greek " key pattern " woven in the centre in bright silver beads. A long chain about half an inch wide, ending with a small bead bag, both chain and bag having a design of forget-me-nots or moss roses, is a useful novelty for the bridge player. The ubiquitous " vanity bag " can be made up by jewellers, if preferred, with clasp and chain of gilt or silver.

Bags to match any costume, collars to match favourite jewels - all these lie within the scope of the artist in beadwork. They are not cheap baubles when made of fine beads. The most beautiful beads undoubtedly come from Venice, but beads of glorious colour and of all sizes are to be bought at most art needlework depots.

A flying stork in beadwork, a design at once bold and original

A flying stork in beadwork, a design at once bold and original

When once the mastery of needle and loom is acquired, the worker need not restrict her ideas to the text-book of patterns, but her ingenuity and skill may be allowed a free rein, and exquisite dress trimmings for evening gowns can be made.

Looms can be bought for so small a sum as two shillings, and special needles for threading the beads are sold, needles so fine that they look almost like hair. No. 16 is a useful size. To set up a loom for a pattern of seventeen beads, eighteen threads are necessary. Cut the threads into strips to the length required. For a long chain, about two yards of common reel cotton - No. 200 is a good number for the cotton if the beads are fine. The finer the beads, the more costly and elegant the work.

Knot the threads together, and fasten around the large reel or drum at the end of the loom. Stretch and spread out the eighteen threads between the notches resting on the upward supports of the loom. Fasten the ends securely around the little pegs at the other end of the loom.

As the pattern is woven, the threads may be relaxed gradually from the pegs, and stretched across the notches, whilst the completed pattern is rolled around the reel on the loom. Thread a needle with cotton, fasten with a knot on the left outside warp thread. Thread the first row of beads according to the chosen pattern. Pass the beads on the needleful of cotton underneath the warp threads, being most careful to see that the beads are well pressed up through the warp threads by the finger. This method keeps the beads on-the upper side of the warp threads, otherwise the warp threads will show through when the design is completed, betraying bad workmanship.

Pass the needle back through the beads, which should be resting between the warp threads. The beads now will be secure and firmly anchored in their correct place. The needle is once again on the left-hand side of the loom, and it should be drawn through between the first and second warp thread, and the operations repeated as before.

In chains or necklaces having an edging, pass a bead on the needle and leave it outside the first warp thread (do not pass the needle through the bead when working back from left to right), and proceed with the pattern beads as before. On reaching the right-hand side, slip a bead on to the needle and leave it also outside the warp thread. In this manner a little edging is formed. Repeat for each alternate row.

A conventional treatment of the fleur de lis, that would make a handsome collar or border

A conventional treatment of the fleur-de-lis, that would make a handsome collar or border

An edging can also be made after the work on the loom is completed by sewing the beads on to the edges. This takes twice as long, and is no more effective.

A loom for beadwork

A loom for beadwork. By the aid of this inexpensive little machine the finest and most elaborate results can be achieved Patience and good taste are the chief requisites necessary on the part of the worker

Buckle tor a tailor made hat of brown silk braid and moss green velvet buttons

Buckle tor a tailor-made hat of brown silk braid and moss-green velvet buttons. Such buckles require very workmanlike stitching. Tailor's canvas of the stiffest kind should be used for the foundation, and the braid should be strained tightly over it; the join should be effected at one of the corners, for braid is apt to spread and fray unless quickly and carefully handled

Handsome slide of net

Handsome slide of net, embroidered with gold-lined ribbon; a tinsel edge of severe design is used as a finish, and lace motifs are placed at the corners. The slide, which measures 8 inches, is used at the waist line on an evening gown, and forms the single touch of colour on a handsome violet chiffon overdress, worn with mole-coloured soft satin slip. A slight note of dull gold, such as this buckle affords, can do no wrong. Should the ornament seem too garish, it is easy to veil it with a single or double fold of chiffon

Buckle of dark grey straw

Buckle of dark grey straw, made by twisting the plait over buckram stiffened with wire. The rose-printed chiffon is threaded through the buckle with excellent effect on the grey straw toque. Large wired bows of the chiffon give a very pretty and smart winglike effect, which will be found effective and eminently becoming. This feature will prove a decided change after the feathered wings, of which everyone has by now grown somewhat tired