Memories by Margaret Lee
8th December 2023
For bead embroiderer extraordinaire, Margaret Lee, Christmas is about family and friends as well as the Christmas Star symbolising the birth of Jesus, and the festive celebrations represented by tinsel, sparkles, baubles, and fairy lights.
It was these three elements and a souvenir candle from Finland in the shape of a snow crystal, that served as design inspiration for her beaded table centrepiece Memories that features in our latest book The Design Collective | Christmas.
For Margaret, the central circle represents the unbroken bond of family and friends around the festive table with the surrounding flame-shaped elements symbolising the warmth of love and friendship.
The snowflake design in the centre represents the Christmas Star and is purposefully stitched with metallic threads instead of beads to allow a stable area for a pillar candle or a vase of flowers.
The corner designs incorporate Christmas baubles and small flower and leaf patterns symbolising traditional seasonal decorations. The gold baubles in the corner designs are painted onto the taffeta with metallic gold acrylic paint.
Finally, what is Christmas without fairy lights? Margaret has cleverly incorporated them around the edge of the design using gold lustred beads in green and gold.
The beads are stitched using the Japanese style of bead embroidery, which uses two needles. One needle holds a doubled thread and is used to lay the beads down and the second needle, containing a single thread, is used to couch the line of beads in place.
This wonderfully festive design is stitched on scarlet silk taffeta, lined with felt and finished with an adhesive vinyl backing.
Glass beads have been part of the history of cultures from around the globe and date back to around 2400 BC. They often represented power, wealth, and spirituality and have been used as adornment as well as currency.
For many years Italy monopolised the glass seed bead industry, first in Venice and later in Murano. By the 19th century bead production relocated mostly to Bohemia and today the best beads are manufactured in the Czech Republic and Japan.
Margaret chose a dazzling array of beads including fire-polished, glass, cut, and seed beads in colours ranging from bronze to green to rose gold, as well as brick red and transparent lustre.
This is a true celebration of the Christmas spirit and will become a family heirloom decorating the festive table for many generations.
Make Your Own Memories
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Memories by Margaret Lee is a centrepiece table mat sumptuously worked with Japanese-style bead embroidery.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Memories includes everything* you need to re-create this festive mat: Fabric (with pre-printed and hand-painted design), adhesive felt, adhesive vinyl, sewing threads, embroidery threads, beads and needles.
*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.