Saturday, January 16, 2010

Introduction to Miyuki Seed Beads


Delica and other Miyuki Seed beads are very addictive!

Now that I've gotten the disclaimer out of the way - let's talk beads.


As a teenager I fell in love with cross stitch. As I continued on in life, getting married, having kids, I just did not have the time to do the kind of cross stitch I would like to do. It was very time consuming. I still could not resist some patterns and have had many unfinished projects along the years.

About 10 years ago I really got into beading and jewelry making. I fell in love with beads. I all but gave up cross stitch. It just was not as fun as beading. Around the same time, I was looking for a unique gift for a Disney fan who has just about every type of Disney character that there is. I found an adorable pattern for a character - during his black & white era. It was black and white with all shades of grey. I sent all the way to England for the pattern. Even had to exchange the currency to get the pattern. I tried to do it in cross stitch and again failed to complete the project. It was just too much work. The entire picture is filled with stitches, there is no blank canvas. Then about 4 years ago I decided that there had to be a way to do this pattern in beads.

Thus the adventure begins

I found a great book several years ago. It has over 500 pages and is a very exhaustive guide to beads. There are four major parts to the book, each part in itself is a book with several chapters in each. The book provides an introduction to beads, tools and techniques. It gives very detailed instructions on how to do each technique with step-by-step photos and illustrations along the way. It is the most complete and informative bead book I've ever found. The dust cover recommends that this is an invaluable reference for every beader and I agree!

In the Complete Guide to Beading Techniques section off loom and loom weaving are reviewed. Chapter 2 in this section is very detailed about looms and gives very easy instructions for working on a loom. I used these instructions to teach myself how to do loom work. I started out with an Indian loom, much like one children use. The book showed how to complete sections or columns of a picture and then how to sew them all together.

With my loom at the ready, I just had to find beads for my picture. The pattern calls for black, white and four varying shades of grey. So off I went to my local hobby store and I bought the beads for my project. It was very frustrating though to work with these beads, there was no size consistency. I discarded more beads than I was able to use and the pattern was still coming out uneven.

I did not like the way the beads were working in the pattern, so I splurged and went to the local bead shop. These beads were three times as expensive, but if they would do the trick, I really wanted to do this picture. So I got home and found that even the more expensive beads were not consistent in size either. I was very frustrated and searched online to find a more uniformly designed bead. That's when I stumbled across Delica beads by Miyuki.

Delica beads come in four sizes, 8/0, 10/0, 11/0 and 15/0. By far the most popular is size 11/0. There are over 900 colors in this size, so it is very easy to find just the right color for every project. Now that these beads were working so well for my project, I returned the expensive beads and reinvested in Delicas. In all there were six panels or colums that I had to sew together to create the picture.

It turned out a lot nicer than I had ever imagined it would. I ended up outlining the character so that he would pop out even more from the back ground. I found Pebeo Cloisonne outliner and it worked very nicely. The instructions say that you have to bake the product, but if you let it air dry, it is certainly hard enough for this purpose.

The story continues....

I will never cross stitch again. Beading is just so much more fun and much, much faster than cross stitch. It is so exciting to watch the progress along the way as you take little piles of beads and create a unique one of a kind piece of art. I can't wait for the next project!

Happy Beading!

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