Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cheap Beads Rant

Did I mention to avoid cheap beads? Oh yes, indeed! I started a project and realized that I was into a container of beads that I purchased on my initial bead buying adventure. Did I know anything? No? Do I still know anything? Well perhaps a few things. Miyukis Delicas ToHos Czechs and Chinese Beads and probably many more I have yet to learn about. Do not use Chinese made beads if you can avoid them. Some areas you have slim pickens, I know.

When it comes to seed beads there are so many in a container in a store you cannot visually see the uniformity or lack there of until you start to use them. Wow. Back to my project I started last night. A black and white African Helix bracelet for my niece, Kelly. Good thing there are thousands of beads in the container as I have to pick each bead and the majority are a mess. They are so pretty, black and shiney. Yes, they are Made in China beads. I am going to pick out the good ones and then throw the rest away when I finish this bracelet. Or maybe I will cut the inch off, discard the whole darn thing and go buy a Miyuki black bead and start over.

The idea of starting a new bracelet makes me hesitate. Starting an African Helix is a little cumbersome. Trying to hold the starting ring of beads in place, thread the five beads on the Fireline and then fishing the needle through between the correct beads and snugging it up seems to take 3 hands no matter how experienced you may be. Do not lose heart it you are just learning this pattern. It takes a little concentration to get started. The pattern though is simple and besides you only have to run the Fireline through the beads once.

A note on Fireline. I learned about it on a Yahoo Group called Seedbeaders 101. It is not a real talkie type of Group but within the archives there is lots to learn. Fireline is a fishing line and it comes in pound (lb.) of test strength. There is 40 lb. down to 4 lb. and probably many more. I bought 8 lb. as it was the lowest I could find at the local WalMart. It has worked well even with 15/0 beads. However a pattern that would require many passes through the beads would not work with 8 lb. I am in search of 4 lb. and figure when I return to PA, where the fishermen are after tiny trout instead of FL big fish, I will find the lower pound Fireline.

French Wire, Thread Heaven, NYMO, Fireline and Beewax

I started beading with NYMO which comes in alphabetical sizes. "A" being the smallest and "D" much stronger, larger. There is probably larger than "D" but I have not seen it. It is a Nylon blend. It does best with a "Thread Heaven" Bees Wax thread protector/conditioner. The nylon is several strands and it will separate and catch on dry hands. The protector will help. I did read somewhere not to use Thread Heaven if you use the Thread doubled instead of single in a project. I have not done anything on a doubled thread so what do I know.

Wow. I sure sound like a know it all when I reread this. I am a beginner! Off to Bead!


jessicamae3 said...

I think it is for the best you threw the beads away, I'd hate to see you get lead poisoning!
Great POST!!!

Q said...

I second your daughter. :) Throw away those beads. I'm in the NE where they fish for smaller trout and can look for the 4 lb Fireline - if you'd like.

Thanks for the really informative blog post - I learned a lot!