Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Beginner Series: More About Seed Beads (Part 3)

Hexagon (or Hex) Seed Beads

Hex seed beads have a six-sided cylindrical shape. I believe they are produced by almost all seed beads manufacturers, but so far I've only used hex seed beads from Matsuno, Miyuki and Toho.

Like the cylinder seed beads, the hex beads have a hole larger than the round seed beads. Their only problem is that their cut at the bottom and at the top is not clean. And this irregular cut lets the beads with sharp and irregular edges that may damage your thread.

In the pictures below you can see clearly the shape of the hex seed beads. Also, note the irregular cut in some of them:


Photo Credit: artfire.com

Photo Credit: tamarascottdesigns.com

Photo Credit: hautehobby.com

But despite this problem, I really like the hex seed beads - especially the size 8/0. They are great to create texture on your beadwork. I do am more careful than usual when working with these beads (for example, I pull the thread more slowly to avoid rubbing it against the sharp edges and I don't use my tension too tight) and I use strong threads with them.

Size

Their size is classified in the same way the round seed beads are, but the hex seed beads are bigger than the round and cylinder beads.  The most common sizes are: 15/0, 11/0, 8/0 and 6/0 (remember that the bigger the number, the smaller the bead).

I took a picture to show you the difference in the size between the hex seed beads and the round and cylinder beads. In the first needle you see  ten hex seed beads from Toho. In the second needle there are ten round seed beads from Toho. And in the third needle there are ten delica beads. All the beads are size 11/0 and they're in the same color: black matte.


Cost

The hex seed beads are sold in packages or tubes ranging from 8 to 30 grams. The price is similar to the price of the round seed beads and it vary with the color and finish.

And here is a variation of hex seed beads created by Miyuki. They're called twist hex seed beads and are available only in size 10/0:


Photo Credit: General Bead

That's all I have to talk about hexagon seed beads. If you have any question or information to add, please fell free to use the comment section below. :)

And to inspire you, here are some designs using hex seed beads:

Photo Credit: HandFast Design

Photo Credit: LiTelleJewery (etsy)

Photo Credit: beadaholique.com

Photo Credit: artfire.com


Photo Credit: Wescott Jewelry

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pattern Review: Beaded Bracelet Russian Frost

Today I want to show you my version of the Russian Frost bracelet designed by Svetlana McDaniel. You can watch the tutorial HERE.


I don't recommend this tutorial for beginners because it's a very intricate and detailed work. I had some difficult to understand a few parts of the tutorial. You need to pay attention to all the steps to know exactly where you should pass your needle.

To avoid mistakes, I first watched the whole video and I wrote down the instructions with my own words. Then I got all the materials I needed and sat down in front of my computer. I worked following the video and the instructions I wrote.

I also think that I made my job more difficult by choosing a mixed color of seed beads instead of working with one single color. But I have to say that I'm very pleased with the result. The bracelet is beautiful and it worth all the work!



The tutorial is divided in two parts. In the first one you'll learn how to make the center of the bracelet. In the second one you'll learn how to make the bands and how to attach them to the center piece.

Without the clasp, the size of the bracelet is 5.5" (14 cm). And with the clasp I used, its finished size is 6 3/4" (17 cm). If you want it larger, you can add a chain of jump rings at the end, or you can create four motifs (or more) instead of three in each band of the bracelet.


Here's the list of materials I used (and the quantity of each one):

- Darice glass pearls 4mm, burgundy (68 pearls); local store (Michaels)
- Darice glass pearls 6mm, burgundy (6 pearls); local store (Michaels)
- Czech seed beads 11/0, color: mix vineyard (8 grams); store
- C-lon thread, size D, purpe (17 feet or 5.2 meters); store
- wire guardian, silver plated (02); ebay

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Bead Haul at DiMarca Online

Today I want to show you my latest purchase at the store DiMarca Online.

DiMarca is an internet supplier of beads based in France. This is the second time I buy beads from them and I'm really happy with their service. They have a great selection of Czech seed beads - and Toho and Miyuki as well, but my focus were the Czech beads.

And I think the prices are similar to other online stores in US where I'm used to buy (even with the euro currency being higher than the dollar). Some Czech beads are even less expensive there. And once in a while they offer 10% or 15% off at the whole store - you need subscribe to their email newsletter to be informed when that happens.

They ship worldwide and it's charged a flat rate of € 2.95 per shipment to any country. It took ten days to receive my package.

Now here's my purchase:



This time I bought mainly Miyuki seed beads with Czech coating (also known as Miyuki hybrid seed beads) and some Czech beads.

I think it was at the beginning of last year when Miyuki launched a collection of round seed beads in the same colors of the Czech beads (rullas, superduos, bricks, etc.). DiMarca was the first store I saw selling these beads. But because they're a bit expensive (the price is similar to the duracoat galvanized seed beads), I didn't buy them right away. And that was my mistake because the beads got even more pricey throughout the year! LOL

But they're really beautiful. If you like the Czech beads colors, you'll be happy with these seed beads. I took some pictures to show you the colors (click at the image to see it larger):




I'm very excited about the full labrador color (in the last picture above). They don't have the yellow hue you see in the duracoat galvanized silver beads from Miyuki or in the permanent finish galvanized aluminum from Toho.

Another color I really love is the California Gold Rush. I bought them in the normal and matte finish.


I only bought beads in size 11/0 and 8/0 because they're my favorite sizes, but you also find the Miyuki beads with Czech coating in size 15/0. And there are much more colors available (although it's hard to find all colors in all sizes in one single store).

And in the pictures bellow you see some Czech beads I bought: round beads in full labrador color, O-beads in silver satin color, and rulla beads in chalk pink lumi color. I took a picture of the Miyuki seed beads in the chalk pink lumi color to show you that it's the same color used in the rulla beads.


I also decided to buy some spike beads. I got two sizes: 7x17 mm and 5x8 mm. I never worked with spike beads and I thought I should give a try. But I have no idea what to do with them yet.


And here's a free package of Preciosa crystals that I received (everyone who spends € 55 or more will receive a surprise package with Preciosa crystals).


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