Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stitch story

Do you know Geneviève Liebaert?

If you know chenille stitch, then you should know her, because she is the
Chenille ropes
designer who invented this lovely technique. But I don't think that many of you do know her.

The 'Chenille spiral', which is the original name of this creation, is
a lovely design and the variations suggested by Geneviève in her little tutorial, recommending the use of other seed bead sizes and/or types, consequently are her designs. The frontier between technique and design are a bit unclear sometimes. And techniques can normally not be copyrighted - they can be protected if the process is really very complicated, with specific step-by-step intstructions... Where the level of complication lies or how many steps are necessary to make a technique eligible to be protected is a mystery...

Back in the days where 2 huge francophone fora were counting more than a thousand beaders connected every evening, sharing their tips, patterns and designs with fellow beaders for free, Geneviève was one of the best, most talented designers, admired under the name Sereine. She wrote her tutorials for all to use for free, but asked for credit and a little "thank you" on her blog. It was all for the love of beading. Free doesn't mean that there is no copyright. She didn't want her work to be used by shops to sell beads, but of course shops benefited massively from her inventiveness and patterns, because the number of seed bead weavers increased drastically during these days of beadevolution. However, not only did Sereine's work get used without credit or thanks, but some, when asked, pretended that the design was theirs, and some even sold her patterns in their shops. After many hopeless attempts to "educate" them a bit, Sereine stopped beading. That day, we lost a treasure of a designer in the battle of good against evil.

She took her tutorials away from her blog, but left them on the forum "Ile aux Perles". Sadly, that website got destroyed several years ago in a mega cyber attack on the American servers where it was hosted. Because there was no backup, years of knowledge and designs had gone in an instant.

Sereine's website and blog still exist, but are not updated anymore. There are very little tutorials written by her still visible on the Internet, and if it wasn't for those who saved a pattern and re-hosted it, like the one linked to above, there would be no trace of her work.

Chenille stitch, however, became very popular, and this thanks to Sara Spoltore, who mentions that she thought of it herself, but she credits Sereine (aka Geneviève), as the first inventor of it, which is class. But now, when people make a Chenille rope, it is the one who posted the latest video gone viral who is thanked...  Below is Sara's video.

For those who wonder, Chenille means caterpillar in French, but it is the result of a brilliant Belgian beady brain. If another beader had invented this rope in another corner of the world, this rope would probably not have kept the name it had initially been given, so somehow, there is a bit of legacy.

Beadwork made with
Albion Stitch
For that is what happens with techniques. They one day are invented by brilliant persons, become popular, and in the end the persons who developed it are forgotten... It lasts only as long as the names of the inventors are mentioned.

If the stitch isn't given the name of the inventor(s), only the name of the technique will be remembered, like peyote stitch, which is the name of the stitch created by Native Americans to create beautiful adornments for their celebrations involving the use of a cactus of the same name.

"Ndebele stitch" which is still used for herringbone stitch, reminds of the tribe where the stitch was invented initially, but this tends to be forgotten.

Beadwork made with
Hubble stitch
The origins of Right Angle Weave are forgotten. It seems to be attributed to
Africa, but I am inclined to think that it is originating from Asia, somewhere in China, seen that there are extremely old beadwoven soldier's coats made with bamboo beads in musea there, made with this stitch.

Zulu stitch and Pondo stitch still have the name of their native tribes in Africa. St. Petersburg stitch is clearly mentioning that it's origin is Russian.

For how long will people remember that Hubble stitch was created and
developed by Melanie de Miguel? That Albion stitch was invented by Heather Kingsley Heath? That Gerlinde Lenz created and developed "Rautenstich" (Diamond Weave)? Will people remember them as English, or European, or German? If I am not mistaking, Albion is an old name for the Island of England, so that might well help finding back its origin in the future... and only the future will tell. It is my wish that many will remember their names.

Beadwork made with Diamond Weave

And that is why I wanted to write this post: to honor all inventors of beading techniques which bring us so much creative joy, and to say


for your gift to planet bead.


  1. Thank you for writing this! I've wanted to try chenille stitch for awhile now, and it's nice to know who to credit with its creation. :-)

    1. I'm glad that you appreciate this. I'm sure that Sereine would appreciate.

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  3. Nice article, Cath, and very much appreciated. You forgot the Indespiral :) The 'Mother' of all increasing and decreasing Tubular Peyote Stitches. Like Geneviève, my 'technique' started out 'free.' It wasn't until it was being used to sell product on Russian sites that it became a problem for me. Then, a couple of Italians took credit and published it in books, then the Korean site, and then the big knife in back was the publishing of the design in the Lark book with someone else taking credit for it. Your sad story of Geneviève could also be mine. I know probably no one cares about where I am now, but bitterness consumed me and made me unhealthy, so no longer share my ideas. Not everyone can be perfect and respond in a perfect way. The internet and unscrupulous beaders have won. Just wanted it to be called indespiral and some people cannot even have the courtesy to do that, let alone give any credit or even ask... And I always wondered what had happened to that forum in France, too...

    1. Hi Aleta, good that you added your comment. I chose Geneviève's example because her work has nearly completely disappeared and she has been part of my beading 'past'... I think that the number of people knowing that indespiral is your special technique is bigger than you can imagine. I also think that, after a while, people stop crediting the original conceptors of a technique because they think that after having given credit many times "everybody knows by now". I hope that this article will contribute to create more awareness. Sending much love to you, and wishing wells. Your work is so beautiful, so please don't stop creating!

  4. Thank you Cath Thomas for sharing your knowledge and educating us while honouring the original creators of these techniques. They sure do bring me great joy when trying my hand at it. God bless them all and you as well. Happy Creating!

    1. Thank you for your comment, and blessings to you too, Melani.

    2. It's especially neat knowing that the Hubble Stitch was created by my namesake, Melanie de Miguel. How cool is that! I love her video tutorials on YouTube. So comprehensive. ;)

  5. Merci :-) J'ai énormément aimé perler, j'ai aimé partager aussi et j'ai eu la chance de rencontrer quelques très belles personnes grâce aux perles!
    Mais c'est vrai qu'il y a beaucoup de personnes peu scrupuleuses, comme chaque fois qu'il y a moyen de faire de l'argent. Ainsi va la vie! ;-)
    Je voudrais aussi féliciter Aleta: son point est si joli! vraiment...
    Bonne journée à vous!
    Geneviève Liebaert

    1. Merci d'avoir fait un petit tour sur mon blog et pour ce joli commentaire, Geneviève. Je suis contente que mon post vous plaise. J'ai pensé qu'il était temps que votre histoire, bien que très résumée ici, soit connue de ceux qui profitent de votre talent.
      J'ai moi-même un problème avec un monsieur en Australie qui dit à tue-tête que c'est lui qui a inventé ma façon de connecter deux fils Fireline en faisant fondre les deux bouts, tandis qu'il connaît ce truc par une de ses amies françaises. Toute la France sait que c'est de moi, mais j'attends toujours que quelqu'un le lui rappelle. Quand je le lui ai rappelé, il m'a quasiment traité de menteuse. Ah... la gloire, ça fait faire de ces choses.

      Bonne soirée à vous,

  6. Hi Cath, just want to thank you again for being so gracious and having this conversation. Hopefully others will think first about where ideas come from and give some credit. We can only hope. I still create with beads and things, but not so anxious to show on the world wide web. yet, anyway. And thank you, merci, Geneviève! for your nice comment :)

  7. As someone who has really enjoyed designing with Chenille stitch, I an thankful to know where, and from whom, it originated! I have bent the thread path to several purposes, and love how it combines elements of tubular netting and what I think of as two drop peyote. I wonder if Genevieve ever did any of the color placement I like to do with the path? I also wonder if she ever did the stitch flat. I have seen two different versions of that. Thank you for the education! I think I will add her name to my tutorials that use the stitch, so that others will know as well.

    1. I'm glad that you appreciate the article, Marsha! Thank you for hopping by :)
      I don't remember seeing work by Geneviève involving color placement like you do. Also, your use of triangle beads makes it quite innovative. There still are many possibilities to explore.

  8. Another thank you, as above, for putting together this article. When I found Sara's Youtube vid I tried to research the origins of the Chenille stitch, starting from Sara Spoltore's mention of "Sereine" but got nowhere. More memories of "huge francophone fora" would be interesting and much appreciated.


Your comments are welcome!