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Well, it has been a long time since I have posted.  I have been so busy.  Also, I have to say that as a Mom, I feel guilty if I spend too much time on my beading rather than chores around the house.  I feel that as long as my husband is working all day, I should be too.

Anyway, I finally bought a piece of fish leather to try and embroider.  Fish leather is an interesting new material.  It is fish skin from fish that are made into food, which is tanned and dyed like any other skin.  It even smells like regular leather, and not like fish!

I bought this piece of leather dyed blue with an opalescent sparkle.  It was a large piece, and the picture shows the half that was left after I cut off a piece for my cuff.

P1010951This piece of fish leather is very textured, with a paper-like surface.  Other fish leather I have seen seems to have a glossy surface without the texture, but still with the scale pattern on it.

Sewing through the fish leather was a lot harder than sewing through the backing I normally use (usually Nicole’s beadbacking).  However, it is much thinner than cowhide leather, and can be sewn with a regular needle.  I used a #10 beading needle.  A heavier needle might have been better.  I think with the remaining piece I will make a much less complex design.  The one I made took far too many passes of thread, and consequently, too many hours to sew.

Frolicking Frogs cuff

Frolicking Frogs cuff

The other material that I used for the first time is soutache braid.  I used the rayon type.  This is not how soutache is generally used in jewelry making, but I like the different texture it provides.  It was a bit diffucult to work with the ends of the soutache, because they ravel.  I put glue on the ends and then tucked them under the leather and sewed them.  I won’t do that again, though, because then I couldn’t trim the edges of it.

Speaking of edges, the edges of this fish leather were a bit more delicate than felted bead backing.  So, this edge technique worked well because it covers the edges well, and allows the needle to go in from the edge a bit further.  I felt like the edges might tear through if I got too close.

Soutache braid - rayon

Soutache braid – rayon

Here is what the rayon soutache looks like.  It looks kind of like a ribbon, but is not made like one.  It is as if you wound thread in an S-shape around two ropes until you covered the ropes.  That gives it the shallow area in the middle where you put the sewing needle.  It is generally used on its side, though I used it flat here.glossy red fish leather

So, would I use fish leather again?  Yes, but with a much less complex design.  I would like to try the glossy next time, like this glossy red sample at the right.  I get the impression that the glossy is usually smaller, but I may be wrong.  I still have a lot to learn about fish leather.

glossy red fish leather