Tambour Lace

Tambour lace and beading tools and books.

Tambour lace and beading

There are special Tambour hooks but an ordinary crochet hook works well through the net. Use a really fine one, the finer the better, but remember you do not want to split the thread. It is best to have the hoop on a stand because you really do need two hands.

Another question – Do you use ordinary crochet hooks, or are they special latchet hooks? I have a quilting lap hoop which I can use for starters.  It is on a U frame, and the base sits on the lap, so I have both hands free, as I know you have one hand above and one below.

I have a “tambour” hook – made up one which I think came from some kind of weaving machine – the hook is far flatter than a normal crochet hook but is not a lachet hook. You could use an ordinary fine crochet hook though and as far as hoops any one that will hold the net firmly is OK – have often wondered if the sit on kind would be good as it would leave the hands free. I like to use the snap together ones for net based laces as it gives a good working area and they do not seem to lose tension like some others – years ago we had a demo/talk by a lady who did tambour beading and she used a frame like a large picture frame which she whipped the fabric to and then it sat on top of another frame on legs to give enough clearance to work through with one hand above and the other below to transfer the beads into place – worked it from the wrong side!

Tambour beading is done ‘wrong’ way up but Tambour lace and embroidery are done ‘right’ way up. Tambour embroidery is good fun.

Certainly looks challenging – the design is outlined on the wrong side of the fabric then you are supposed to set the beads by feel!!!!!  Think I would get a stiff neck trying to see the underside to make sure they were sitting properly particularly if using irregular shapes – I think from memory the beads were threaded onto the working thread which was then picked up and “crocheted” through the fabric.  The lady who demonstrated for us had worked for one of the big London fashion houses or designers.

There are 2 excellent books on the subject of French embroidery beading by Maisie Jarrett, an Australian teacher who died a few years ago. Maisie lived in the Highlands (above Wollongong ). She only used French glass beads which she imported for her students and we were told that Maisie was a very strict and formidable teacher but knew her subject intimately. Both books cover the techniques using both a needle and the ‘French frame technique’ (with a tambour hook).You have to be careful to keep your hook in the loop otherwise one wrong move and it all comes undone as chain (tambouring) is easily pulled out! I have tried it briefly but found it requires practice, practice, practice just like tallies. I have picked my copies up second hand. French Embroidery Beading: How to Bead, 1991 and Embroidery Beading: Designs and techniques, 1992 (reprinted 1995). Both published by Kangaroo Press.