Tools of the Trade

Thread:
First off I can't say enough about using the righ thread. That said, Coast and Clark, while being a FINE machine thread, has no place in a bead tool box. It simply can't handle being drug through glass over and over. Glas beads while they may appear smooth, have microscopic teeth almost, the poly/cotton simply can't handle it.

Use only 100%nylon NYMO brand style beading thread, which come in copious colors and thicknesses, or use the more expensive sewing thread in your local fabric shop, those european ones of 100% long grain polyester.

They usually price at $2 or less for a under 200 yards. The brands I use are Molnyke or Mettler Metrosene. the 100% poly stuff last SOOOO much longer, you'll thank me later. Trust me, I've had Coats and Clark break after three stitches, I'm trying to teach you to not make my mistakes.

I very rarely break or fray using them like I did when I used Coats & Clark.The thread goes a long way so just bite down and buy it, it'll last years, and most times you can use it to the end of the string.

Finger stickum AKA Sortkwik:
Threading needles, pulling thread and rolling knots -after you are doing hours of it can make your fingers all sore, and especially if you are licking them all the time to manage your thread. This paper sorting helper can be gotten any ANY office supply store and should be in every bead box.
Hardwood ruler:
Never eyball a straight line, soetimes pulling the fabric as you have to will sckew straight lines, keep redrawing it with a stiff ruler. I use a six inch as it fits better in my box.

Mechanical Pencil:
ALWAYS use pencil, never ever use a pen, it can and will most probably bleed.

In time if you can draw it with a mechanical pencil, taking in to coinsideration bead widths, then you can bead it.The eraser also works somewhat on cloth if the mark is ligh enough.

If you have colored cloth use a colored pencil, so it will wash out.

Fine tip scissors:
If you say really change you mind on a finished section that is partially or even totally secured down, do not despair, just hold the scissors against the cloth and clip across it, under the beads like you were trimming hedges. It will cut the securing threads, and keep your lacing stitchs intact, and you can literally peel off the beads like a bandaid. It's cool. DONT use a Seam Ripper unlless your a VERY sure hand, one false move and you'll cut the fabric as well as the thread.
Thimble and rubber needle puller:
Sometimes pulling a needle through can be tough, hole sizes can vary. Both these help, putyou thumb over the bead in question HARD and pull or push the needle through. Putting pressure on the bead seems to help keep the bead from cracking, if it does, don't despair, tack down the thread that went through and then out a new one in and wthen quickly lace it to the beads to either side.

Needles:
Well duh! But unlike my thread rant, I DO prefer coats & Clark bead needles (they have a yellow tab). They are only 80 cents or so for 4 needles in two sizes at Walmart or most fabirc or craft stores.

They BEND, and don't break, and that'sa GOOD thing. Always save the bent needles, they come in handy and are oftimes more comfortable and easier to use.

British needles, while highly acalimed seem to be more brittle, I once used a pack of 20 on ONE medallion . They just kept snapping. But if you DO want to buy Brit needles, I like PONY over JOHN JAMES. They bend more. A pack of 20 brits come in a little envelope and go for about $5.

More often then not you will lose needles by breakage at the eye. I sometimes pitch them for losing plating at the tip, it just feels odd popping though the fabric that way.

Copyright 2000 Jen Funk Segrest (Elspeth Grizel of Dunfort) http://www.medievalbeads.com