Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Thread, Two Thread, Red Thread, Blue Thread

Is Dr. Suess in the house? Oh, that's right he was talking about fish. No fish here, just some comments about which thread to use.

Hopefully, the chart on the right shows up well enough to see the way different colored threads affect the look of the beads. This chart was an item Diane Fitzgerald used in her class on Gingko Leaves. I hope she doesn't mind that I am showing it here. I was amazed that with opaque beads, the thread made that much difference.

These four little swatches were worked in peyote stitch with the color of thread noted to the side, all using the same yellow opaque bead. The swatch marked red looks like it rusted, the blue looks like an olive that has been in the martini too long, and the purple just looks muddy. The cream makes the beads glow.

Now I'm not saying you can't use a darker thread or a different color, just as long as you know what the finished item will look like. You may want to create a new color or cause a color shift in the work, especially if it enhances the beads around it. Also, if you can't find the right shade of a particular color bead, this is certainly one way to do it. The caution is be careful not to dull the work.

Another good example of thread color making a difference appears in an article by Australian beader, Jill Oxton in her Cross Stitch and Beading Magazine, Issue 58 where she shows on Page 22, two samples of a beaded picture of a Sugar Glider (small Australian marsupial) that are strikingly different. She used silver and black thread in one picture and all black thread in the other. The one with all black thread looks dull and lifeless. The other one sparkles and animates the little fellow very well.

I know that Fireline is a favorite of many beaders because of it's strength and tendency not to split or fray, but since it only comes in two colors, Smoke and Crystal, just look at what adding other colors to your work may do. Recently I tried a new thread called One G. It's as if they put all the best of the colors in thread (Nymo, Silamide, Conso, etc) together in a more Fireline-like product. It is a bit more expensive, but to get good results using color, this is a great new product. And I hope that the more we use it, the quicker the price will drop.

One thread I frequently use is Power Pro. It is another fishing line like Fireline, but for me it doesn't seem to tangle as much and I find it easier to undo when it does tangle. It does require sharp scissors (Fiskars) to cut it cleanly and because it is braided, it is hard to get through a needle smaller than a Size 10. I flatten the end with pliers (or more often than not, with my teeth.)
It too, only comes in two colors, Moss Green and White for beading, but the fishing stores and manufacturer have other colors available, including blue, red and yellow. I also think it ties firmer and stays in place better since it has a bit more texture.

An example of using Power Pro or Fireline to its best advantage went into this bracelet. Because of the weight, I needed the base to be very secure.

Another note for beaders looking for bargains, both Fireline and Power Pro are much cheaper if purchased from fishing stores rather than bead stores. The quantity spooled for beads is much smaller and we all know that packaging smaller quantites makes products cost more. It is another way to look out for our environment.

No matter which thread you choose, always give the finished look your first consideration in making that decision.

Tip for today: Threading needles - have you tried needling the thread?

Pinch the thread between the thumb and forefinger and pull it so the end of the thread just begins to disappear. Then, pinching your fingers slightly tighter, push the eye of the needle over the thread. For the longest time, I couldn't do this and realized I was letting too much thread show. Now I can do this successfully about 98% of the time. Try it.
Bead on,

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