Tools of the Trade

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Thread:
First off I can’t say enough about using the right 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. Glass beads while they may appear smooth, have microscopic teeth almost, the poly/cotton simply can’t handle it.

For woven work, try to use only 100%nylon NYMO brand style beading thread, which come in copious colors and thicknesses.

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For fabric based work, use the more expensive sewing thread in your local fabric shop, those european ones of 100% long grain polyester (my preference if doing fabric based beadwork).

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They usually price at $4 or less for a under 200 yards. The brand I use is  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.

Thread Conditioner:
Traditionally beeswax was used for bead threads, but it’s the modern day and there are better alternatives. Beeswax is heavy and it will gunk up fine fabric, maker thread tacky and stiff, clog teeny bead needle eyes and bead holes. Instead, use something called “thread heaven”, available at any sewing store. It’s a silicone soft wax type material but leaves thread supple an silky and won’t leave a nasty residue in your needles.

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Hardwood ruler:
Never eyeball a straight line, sometimes pulling the fabric as you have to will skew straight lines, keep redrawing it with a stiff ruler. I use a six inch as it fits better in my box.

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

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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 light 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.

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Thimble and rubber needle puller:
ThimbleSometimes pulling a needle through can be tough, hole sizes can vary. Both these help, put you 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 then quickly lace it to the beads to either side.

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Needles:
Well duh! But unlike my thread rant, I DO prefer coats & Clark bead needles (they have a yellow package). But, I am not sure they are even made anymore, luckily I have a old collection of the I’m still working through.

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Otherwise your real only other choices are British needles, while highly acclaimed seem to be more brittle, at least to me. 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.I like them best because they BEND, and don’t break, and that’s a GOOD thing. Always save the bent needles, they come in handy and are ofttimes more comfortable and easier to use.

shoppingshopping-1A pack of 20 of either comes in a little envelope and go for about $5, much cheaper than buying 4 in a pack in the long run.

More often then not you will lose needles by breakage at the eye. I often pitch them for losing plating. Loss of plating can damage delicate fabrics and cut thin threads, so don’t use a damaged needle.

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