I've been steadily working away to prepare for the upcoming Festa Botanica. I think I've worked my fingers to the bone! In the meantime....I still have two more articles to go on beading and bead supplies. Here is the third article in the series - this one on beading needles. You can view the first two articles in my archives by clicking on these links: Thread Basics and Seed Bead Basics. And as always, feel free to write in and share information if you'd like!
Types of Needles used for Seed Bead Weaving
• English Beading Needles (listed largest to smallest)
• John James: size 10 long
• John James: size 12
• John James: size 13
• John James: size 15
• Thomas & Sons: Size 16
• Japanese Beading Needles
• Tulip Company of Japan: Zohata and Tenrai
• Twisted Wire Beading Needles: soft; good for stringing larger threads and beads
• Big Eye Needles: needle splits open to allow easy threading
• Needle length varies depending on the manufacturer, the type of needle, and its use. Needles as long as 3-5 inches are useful for loom weaving; shorter needles are commonly used for off-loom weaving. Very short needles are useful when you have a limited amount of thread to work with (John James “Shorts” or cut the end off a twisted wire needle).
• Convenience Packs: John James needles are often packaged with 4 needles to a pack in a variety of sizes for convenience.
• Bulk Packs: Most needles are available in bulk packaging of 6 or more needles all of the same size. John James come in 25 needles per packet; Thomas & Sons come in 4 needles per packet; Japanese needles come in a variety of packaging depending on the size.
Needle Sizes & Use
• The larger the bead, the larger the needle. As a general rule, the John James needles will work on similar sized beads (a sized 10 needle will work with a size 10/o or 11/o seed bead). Japanese beading needles tend to be larger in diameter than John James and are designed for working with larger-holed Japanese beads.
• Choose your needle according to the size of the bead and its hole and the thickness of the thread.
• When you must work a number of passes through a bead, try switching to a smaller needle (especially if you get stuck) or using a thinner thread.
• Never, ever, pull a needle through a bead using pliers. You will weaken the bead and it may break (if not now, eventually).
Links to more information on the web:
• Beading Needles: Everything You've Wanted to Know!
• Bead Cats Needles
• Barbara Elbe's Needles
• Japanese Needles