As I've mentioned before, I go to stitching classes run by Embroidery Now and this Saturday we did the beginning elements of Tambour work. It's completely unlike any other kind of embroidery I've done, and uses an implement a bit like a crochet hook, except the hook is very fine. There's an example at the bottom of this page. The action is quite simple - once you've got it! You have to punch down through the material holding the hook away from you, get the thread on the hook, twist the hook anti-clockwise, pull up pressing the smooth edge of the hook away from you so it doesn't catch on the material, twist hook away from you again, and pull the thread tight. Once you get going (get the 'knally', as my father would say) then you can go like a sewing machine.
This is one of these techniques where it really benefits to have a teacher, since it's very difficult to spot what you're doing wrong. Having someone standing by and coaching you, and coming back again when you've got in a complete tangle is brilliant. It can be used for applying beads, and there are various different ways to do this, one of which I think I would use any time I wanted to apply beads, since it made them lie on the material in a very upright way. I think I'll try to do some more of this, and it I do, I'll post up a picture.