Thursday, February 23, 2017

Czech 1-hole beads

It is time for the next installment of seed bead education.  I'm  going to change the focus to Czech beads.  There are a couple of different categories to cover, so stay tuned for as I cover a couple of different entries.  Curious?  Okay - I have divided them into  1-hole, 2-hole, and "other"- which cover an assortment of beads not included in the 1- or 2-hole categories.  As I have stated before, Czech beads are known for their unique shapes and unusual finishes. So let us start with 1-hole beads.

Dragon Scales

Dragon Scales
Dragon Scales are semi-diamond shaped flat beads that are made from pressed glass and measure 1.5x5mm.  When they are strung with other beads, they add a little extra dimension to your work and also dangle nicely as fringe. 

Farfalle Beads

Farfalle Beads
Farfalle beads are pressed glass beads that are rectangle shaped with a hole in the center.  The ends are slightly wider than the center - almost like a peanut.  They measure 3.2x6.5mm.  This allows them to lay nicely against each other when placed perpendicular to each other.

Lily Petals

Lily Petals
Lily Petal Beads are exactly what you think they would be - petal shaped beads with a hole going through the thinner top portion of the bead with a slight curve to one side - a very slight kidney shape.  They measure 4x6mm and make great accents to fringe.

Minos Par Puca

Minos Par Puca
Minos Par Puca beads are cylindrical shaped beads with a hole that runs horizontally through the middle of the bead.  They measure 2.5x3mm and work well in conjunction with the Arcos Par Puca beads, which will be discussed in a later post.

O Beads

O Beads
O beads are round doughnut shaped beads with a center hole.  These little slivers of glass measure 3.8x1mm and can be used in multiple designs.  They can add a touch of a different color, provide contrast, or be used as spacers.  

Pellet Beads

Pellet Beads 

Pellet beads are cylindrical shaped with a hourglass shape. Their slight center indentation allows them snug up against each other when strung. They measure 4x6mm and have a single hole running through the center of the bead horizontally.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Beader's Wish List

Tis the Season!!  Time to dream a little and remember what it was like to make your list for Santa as a child.  But now that we are a little wiser, we have more modest wishes -
  • A few pretty beads
  • A good light to see by
  • A good work space 
  • A comfy chair
  • A little free time to bead
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa with family and friends. Enjoy yourself, don't put any undue pressure on yourself, and immerse yourself in whatever makes you happy! [Hopefully that will include a little beading as well - LOL] 

Thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to seeing what the new year will bring!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Part 2: Japanese Bead Shapes

Everything you wanted to know about seed beads ...
In Part 1 of this series, I covered a few beading basics - focusing on general information and the various materials. This blog will delve a little deeper into shaped Japanese seed beads. Since there are a lot of them, I'm going to stick to the shapes that I currently carry.

Bugle Beads:
Straight Bugles
Twisted Bugles
Bugle beads are tube shaped. Just imagine a straight plumbing pipe - a long, hollow tube with flat ends - that's the basic shape of a bugle bead. Bugles come in 3mm, 6mm, 9mm and 12mm lengths, to name a few. There is also a twisted variety (6mm and 12mm); the outside is rotated so that it looks more like a spiral tube, but the inner hole is still straight.

4mm Cubes
Cube beads are exactly what you think they are - square beads that are very close to being the same measurement on each side.  They have a single hole going through them, and can give a chunkier look to a project depending on what size is used. Cubes are also very easy to stitch with because of their flat sides. Currently, cubes are available in 1.5mm, 1.8mm, 2mm, 3mm, and 4mm; depending on the manufacturer.

Drops and Magatamas:
Long drop
3.4mm Drop
Drop beads are teardrop shaped, with the hole located in the top, thin area of the drop. This allows the larger "drop" end to stick out a little further generally than other traditionally seed beads and adds texture. There are two varieties of drop beads - regular (2.8mm or 3.4mm) and long (3x5.5mm). Regular drop beads are the normal teardrop shape, while long drops are exaggerated, with a larger drop area.  They give the same effect, just with a little more oomph!!

Long magatamas
Magatamas are a variety of drop beads. Regular magatamas, measuring 4mm, are a slightly larger teardrop shape. While long magatamas, measuring 4x7mm, are more comma shaped as opposed to teardrop shape with a slightly off center hole. You may also hear them called fringe beads because they are frequently used in fringe and other edge work techniques.

Berry Beads:

Berry Beads

 Berry and/or Peanut beads (depending on the manufacturer) beads are both the dumb bell shaped beads with a hole in the narrow center section of the bead, and measure 2.5x4.5mm.  When strung they nest together; they are also ideal for making beaded beads because they lay flat against each other

Tila and Half- Tilas:
Tila Beads
Half-Tila Beads
Tilas and half-Tilas are very unique Japanese seed beads. They are tile shaped and have two parallel holes with a slightly domed side and a flat side. Tila beads measure 5x5x1.9mm, while half-Tilas measure 5x2.3x1.9mm - half the size of a regular Tila. These beads have flat ends and lay nicely against each other.

Sharp Triangles
Triangle are three-sided beads that have a single center hole. They are available in two varieties - either regular or sharp. Regular triangles have slightly rounded or softer edges while sharp triangles have a pointed, more defined edge. Both triangle varieties are available in size 11, 10, 8 and 5.

I hope that you find this informative and hopefully not too overwhelming as you continue your seed bead adventures.  Please stay tune for the next installment on Czech bead shapes that have one hole.

Happy Beading!!!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Everything you wanted to know about seed beads but were afraid to ask! (Part 1)

You are hooked - you caught the beading bug and you just cannot stop.  You make beautiful items, follow patterns, make up your own, or a combination of the two.  But there are some beading terms and topics that you are just not sure what they actually mean.  Today's blog and the next will hopefully clear some of these questions up for you.

Why does the manufacturer matter?  Who are they?
Each manufacturer has distinct characteristics associated with them.  There are two main countries of origin - usually either Japan or the Czech Republic.  Japanese seed beads are known for being uniform in size, shape and color.  There are two primary manufacturers - Miyuki (the oldest manufacturer of seed beads) and Matsuno, and a third is becoming increasingly popular called Toho.  Czech seed beads are known more for their finishes and shapes rather than the uniformity of their beads.  They have some incredibly beautiful finishes, but you need to be wary of a galvanized finish ...  it may rub off with normal wear and tear. 

As an added bonus, there has recently been an agreement to have Japanese manufactured seed beads sent to the Czech manufacturers to be treated with some of their unique finishes.  This will create the best of both worlds - uniformity in size and shape plus incredible colors.

What is a Delica bead?
A Delica bead (also called a cylinder bead) is a seed bead manufactured by Miyuki.  It is considered extremely consistent in size and shape.  It does have a more cylindrical shape than a regular round seed bead; and creates a more flat beaded piece.  The other characteristic that is notable is the larger hole which always more thread passes than other seed beads.

What do the sizes mean in round seed beads?
Round seed beads come in different sizes (6/0, 8/0, 11/0, 15/0) and many people wonder what they mean.  It is actually much easier than you think.  Each number is the quantity of beads that fit on one inch of beading thread.  Size 6/0 have 6 beads, size 8/0 have eight and 11/0 have 11 beads.  

You will also discover beads, mostly shapes other than rounds, that will be listed as 1.8mm or 3mm.  This will be the actual circumference of the bead. But do not be afraid, you can also use them in all of your beadweaving techniques.
What size needle should I use?

There are as many different sizes of needles as there are beads. The general rule is to use the size needle that is closest to the size of the bead. For example, when using size 11 seed beads, use a size 11 needle. This allows your tension to be consistent as well as easy multiple thread passes. 

That ends our mini lesson for today.  I hope you will find these information useful in your continuing beading adventure. Next time I will discuss different shaped beads as well as  beads with multiple holes.

Happy Beading!!!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Matte Metallic Khaki Iris is the "New Black"

Since the very beginning of my beading adventures, I have been in love [I mean in love] with any bead that has the Matte metallic khaki iris finish.

Friends and customers often joke with me about how many of my jewelry samples contain that one bead color. My reply is always - "Matte metallic khaki iris is the 'new black'." Of course the next question is usually - "why"?

Just a few of the yummy shapes that are available in Matte metallic khaki iris.
First, just look at the beads themselves ... they are a little brown, a little gold, a little purple, and a little green ... which I feel makes them a very interesting neutral bead to create with.

Second, you can combine them with lots of colors ... green, burgundy, gold, bronze, orange, copper, etc. And each time you get a spectacular finished piece.

Third, they come in every size and shape in the Miyuki seed bead line. Yippee! And I could still go on and on.

When Miyuki released the new Tila beads in Matte metallic khaki iris, I just about lost my mind! I immediately made a bunch of very simply bracelet with them. Below are two of my favorites that I have actual written patterns.

My Peaks and Valleys Bracelet - gold and green combination

My Art Deco Crowns Bracelet - gold and burgundy combination
But, I feel my "pièce de la résistance" is my version of Jill Wiseman's Fireworks Necklace, where I decided to use chartreuse, red, orange and coral accents on a netted base of [you guessed it] Matte metallic khaki iris.

I affectionately call this my 'Carmen Miranda' necklace. Plus it was a lot of fun to make!
I hope I have spread my love of this beautiful bead color. If I have, please leave a comment below to be entered to win a sample container of various shapes and sizes of Matte metallic khaki iris beads. The winner will be randomly picked on Tuesday, September 6th.

Contains approximately 40 grams of various sizes and shapes!

Good Luck and Happy beading!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Top 10 To Dos to Enjoy and Survive a Bead Show

BeadFest Philly is coming up in a few days, so I wanted to share with you my top ten to-do list for getting the most shopping and enjoyment out of attending a large bead show.

1. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. It's very hard to enjoy shopping for pretty items when your feet are hurting.  If possible, wear layers of clothing ... your never know what temperature the hall will be, and it can vary drastically in different areas.

2. Bring water and a snack. Being hydrated keeps you from feeling too tired and a few calories will keep you focused on your shopping.

3. Grab a friend or two or three. Shopping is always a lot more fun when going with like-minded friends.

4.  Always pick up the show guide [and/or look at the vendor list online]. You can decide who you want to see or how you want to work your way through the market. My normal plan of attack is to seek out certain booths if I have a project in mind or am pressed for time. Otherwise, I take my time and go aisle by aisle.

5. Watch a demo or do a make-n-take. These are two fun ways to see and try something new. Check out these BeadFest Inspirational Playground offerings for only $5 a session.

6. Bring a list of materials needed for upcoming projects. Lots of times you can easily find hard to get items and a few can't live without goodies.

7. Pace yourself ... have lunch and do a goodies purchased show-n-tell with your friends. I find that it's almost as fun as shopping and lets me see other things I might have missed.

8. Plan to do a couple of laps around the venue, if you have time. I find that when I first walk around, I can easily become sensory overloaded and have trouble making sound decisions. So take a stroll, look things over, and mark in your show booklet the booths you definitely want to go back to and explore further.

9. Be open to new ideas ... it could be a new technique, or new bead shape, or maybe a new material all together! Large shows like BeadFest offers the best opportunity to see various techniques and lots of different products without having to hunt far and wide. Something new may reach out touch your creative side ... so be ready to embrace it!

10. Enjoy yourself ... talk to vendors, talk to strangers, ogle pretty jewelry and unusual beads ... you get the idea.  I can't think of a better way to spend the day then with good friends and lots of beads.

You can check out the all BeadFest information by clicking this link.

I hope to see you all at BeadFest.

Happy Beading!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Beads At A Fiber Show - What?!?!

This week I am going on a really long road trip ... packing up the van full of beads and supplies and hitting the road.  Where am I going?  Well, I am going to a little town northwest of Chicago called Schaumburg, Illinois.  Why would I choose such a lovely location?  The answer is easy, it's the location of Stitches Midwest!!

Now, many of you may have no idea what Stitches Midwest is, while others of you are drooling just thinking about it.  Stitches Midwest is a convention for fiber artists ... knitters, crocheters, weavers ... you get the idea.  Think of Beadfest for knitters on steroids!!  Any type of yarn, fiber, supplies, books ... you can get practically anything you need (or don't need just want!).

Picasso finish size 6 hex cut beads

So, why would I, a bead vendor, be going to this event?  It is actually a very good combination. There are many ways to use beads in knitting and crocheting and lots other techniques.  If you think about it, I bet you can name many ways these two things can be combined.  Picture beaded bags, beaded fringe on bags or clothing, beaded scarves, beaded shawls, macrame decorations. Many designers and teachers have incorporated beads into their projects, and the classes are an excellent place to learn more about these combining beads and fibers.

I have to admit, when I was first approached about vending at a Stitches event many years ago, I was skeptical. But I decided to take a chance, besides I love to knit and I could shop at the same time if I was not busy!  So off I went with my little car packed to the roof to the Atlantic City Convention Center.  I got into the lined of vendors and I realize I was being laughed at by everyone in their giant trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, and big rigs. Oh well, I thought.

So I set up and prepare for Market Preview Night.  The Stitches events always open for a few hours one night early for the attendees that are already there.  It was like those films you see of Walmart on Black Friday!!!  People rushed in, walking quickly to places they wanted to see and to get the lay of the land.  I started writing up orders like a fiend and did not stop until they closed the market.  It was unreal!!  Once I dragged myself back to the hotel room, I added up my sales for the few hours of the market.  I could not believe it!  I had made more in those few hours than I had ever made at a weekend bead show!!!!

Lovely cotton gima yarn

As the weekend progressed, I sold out of more and more beads.  Once people saw what they could do with seed beads, there was no stopping them!  When I packed up to leave, I had half the amount of containers than I had brought with me.  It was the greatest feeling.  Also, needless to say - I never got to shop for yarn!!!  But I was okay with that.

So, I am leaving for my road trip, plan on having a good time, and to take advantage of a relationship that works great together - yarn and beads!!