Sunday, November 29, 2009

Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types & Manufacturers

I was reading a post today on the Beading Daily blog when I came across this Handy Guide to Jewelry Making Terms posted by Jean Campbell. I thought "Wouldn't it be nice to have something similar on seed bead weaving?" So I sat down and wrote a few pages on seed beads - from seed bead finishes to needles & threads to stitches - and included a list of links on the web. (Thank you for the inspiration Jean!) So, without further a-do, here is my first post of four: Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types, and Manufacturers.

Basic Seed Bead Finishes
· Opaque: Solid colored glass
· Transparent: Clear glass in colors
· Matte: Etched glass
· Luster: High shine surface often with a silver or gold hue
· AB: Aurora Borealis - A rainbow effect on the surface of the glass
· Rainbow: Same as “AB”
· Iris: A mixture of glass beads, often opaque, metallic, or AB
· Metallic: A metal surface coating over an opaque or transparent bead
· Dyed: Glass that has been dyed a secondary color
· Galvanized: A colored surface coating with a metallic appearance
· Ceylon: A high shine surface coating
· Pearl: Opaque glass bead with a pearlized surface
· Lined: Color that has been applied to the interior surface
· Satin: A translucent glass with low luster
· Opal: A translucent surface lined with silver or gold
· Stripe: A bead made with a variety of glass colors

Seed Bead Sizing (listed largest to smallest currently used)*
Seed beads used for weaving are sized from the largest (~6/o) to the smallest (~22/o). The most frequently used sizes in bead weaving are 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 15/o. Below I've listed what's commonly available from the different manufacturers.
· Japanese Beads: 5/o, 6/o, 8/o, 11/o, 15/o
· Czech Beads: 6/o, 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 16/o
· French Beads: 10/o, 11/o, 14/o
· Venetian Beads: (sizes variable from specialty suppliers)
· Chinese Beads: 11/o (some larger, smaller)
· India Beads: 6/0, 11/o (some larger, smaller)

· Note: There are no sizing standards between bead manufacturers. Ex. A Czech 11/o is not the same size as a Japanese 11/o.

Seed Bead Types
· Rocailles: Beads with rounded edges and round or square holes.
· Cut: One or more flattened surfaces
· Charlotte: One cut in size 13/o
· True cut: One cut in sizes other than 13/o
· Hex cut: Six sided bead
· Drop: Shaped like a teardrop
· Farfalle: Double teardrop shape
· Triangle: Triangular in shape
· Bugle: Long, thin tube shape – twisted or straight
· Maco: Super thin, short bugles
· Cylinder: Cylindrical (can) in shape: Delicas, Treasures, Aikos
· Square: Shaped like a square

Seed Bead Manufacturers (past and present):
· Czech Beads: Jablonex - Ornela
· Japanese Beads: Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno
· French Beads: Bovis Beads (past)
· Venetian Beads: The Society Veneziana Conterie
· Chinese Beads: Ming Tree
· India Beads: Onam International

Links to more information on the web:
· Beading Daily's Info Links
· Delica Finishes
· Fire Mountain Gem's Encyclobeadia
· 7beads Info
· Ask Anna
· Dancing Glass
· Bead & Button Info on Seed Beads
· Seed Bead Sizing
· Caravan Beads Images
· European Bead Sources

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Bead Knitting Links

I've been looking for more information on knitting with beads and came across the following webpages:

Deanna's Vintage Styles: Kits for purses, jewelry, and beaded buttons

Alice Korach's Bead Knitting video: from

Hook and Needles: Great links including pattern generators

Bead Merchant: Bead knitted kits and PDF patterns

Lacis Knitting Needles: Steel, wood, and bone

Arhyonel: Antique beaded purses, patterns, and frames

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Maricot Necklace

Nancy Peterson of NLP Bead Design was a recent winner in Beadweaver's Lark Book Giveaway. She received a few hanks of metallic charlottes and went to work creating! Check out her lovely Maricot Necklace by clicking on the title above. Be sure to check out her blog too - if you see something you like, Nancy also sells her patterns. Beautiful work Nancy - thank you for sharing!!!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Knitting with Beads

A few years ago my sister-in-law, an artist, gave me a kiln. It was an old, electric kiln that had been rarely used. Along with the kiln came instructions, scribbled upon with notes on use, in crooked handwriting from the original owner. I dusted it off and placed the kiln in my garage for future use. My plan: to merge my past with my present - ceramics with beads. Unfortunately, as so often happens, my plans never came to fruition and the kiln sat, alone, neglected in my garage.

Time passed. Then one day last spring I was chatting with a friend whose mom had recently moved to our town. Turns out her mom was a potter. She used to help run the Torpedo Factory on the East Coast and had given up her kiln as she moved across country to L.A. and then Redding. Ceramics were her calling but she'd gotten away from it..."Would your mom want my kiln?" I asked. "That would be so fabulous! How much do you want for it?" my friend asked. I replied "No price - free. A gift - it was a gift to me". A few days later I got a call from my friend's mom. "How much do you want for your kiln?" "It's free" I replied. She struggled getting her mind around it. "Really, it's free. A gift to you." "Allright" she said, "But I'll have to repay you somehow". The conversation then wandered to what I was working on. "I'm trying to teach myself to knit" I said. "Knit? Really? I knit! Can I teach you?" "Well, gosh, uh, yeah, actually that's a great idea, you wouldn't mind?" "No, I'd love to." And so began a new path for me.....I knitted and pearled, pearled and knitted, practicing until I got it right. I met with my teacher (and now friend) every few weeks to show her my progress and learn something new. I tried all different needle sizes and yarns, created little samples of stitches. And then one day.......I added beads....

I love bead knitting. I love the fabric. I love that there is a whole world of design to explore using this lovely medium. And I love that it adds another technique to my repetoire. Until recently I've been bead knitting using size 0 (2mm) knitting needles. But last week a package arrived in the mail, completely unexpected. In it.....a set of size 0000 knitting needles to use with tiny beads a la my friend Louise. Wow! Oh, and a bar of chile chocolate - the best! Life doesn't get much better :)

What have I been bead knitting? Well....mostly simple straight knit stitch with beads. I've made some scarves and a few bracelets - "Sketches" as David Chatt calls this kind of work. My mind has been racing with ideas on what I can do with this technique. I'm still trying different yarns and threads to work out some of the issues I've come across - such as how to prevent the weave from stretching under the weight of the beads.

Yesterday, I opened the December edition of Bead and Button magazine to guessed it....two wonderful articles on knitting with beads! The first, by Ann Dee Allen, is an excellent step by step instruction of how to bead knit. The second explores the work of bead knitting artist Nancy VanDerPuy. Both are worth taking a look at if you're interested in exploring this medium.

I thought I'd add some other sources for bead knitting instruction. I've used Julia Pretl's Bead Knitting DVD and instructional booklet and found it to be very helpful. Julia's knit stitch is slightly different from the one illustrated in Bead and Button. Included in Julia's book is how to string on your beads according to a pattern.

Check out these links for more on Bead Knitting:
Bead Knitted Bags Julia Pretl
Knit One: Bead Too Judith Durant
Knitting Beaded Purses Nancy VanDerPuy
More Beaded Purses Nancy VanDerPuy
Nancy VanDerPuy's website Technique info
Bead & Beaded knitting Style differences
Bead Knitting with Wire
Contemporary Knitting Art Inspirational

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