I am a Miyuki Snob

I am a stubborn, unrepentant Miyuki snob (who isn’t being paid for this post – I promise). The kind of beadweaving that I do requires the seed beads that I use to be consistent, not only within a given tube, but across their assorted finishes and sizes. The structure of most of my patterns require beads that snap together like perfect building blocks.

Most people would shrug and say, “Geez, Sam. That’s fine. Just be sure to use Japanese seed beads.” But they would be wrong, I tell you! Not all Japanese seed beads are created equal. I bring before you two bracelets made from the same pattern (my Tracery Trinket pattern), with the same Silky beads (Chalk Luster Light Green), but different seed beads.


The bracelet on the left uses silver Miyuki beads. Note that they make crisp corners and sharp diamond shapes, as intended.

The bracelet on the right was made the exact same way, but the lines are far less streamlined and the whole thing looks a big more jumbled.


Here’s another pattern (my Diadem bracelet) with the same issue, The one on the left has nice, smooth seed beads that sit in their rows as requested.

On the right, however, the seed beads are obviously inconsistent in size. It doesn’t upset the lay of the bracelet too much, but it is noticeable.

Both of the right side bracelets are Toho seed beads and both of the left side bracelets are Miyuki. While both are consistent enough to work with, the Toho seed beads are always larger than the Miyuki seed beads, even though all are supposed to be round 11/0’s. My frustration with Toho’s slight engorgement is that it keeps certain patterns from coming out properly. And when the results are compared side-by-side, Toho just doesn’t cut it.

That being said, I do own several tubes of Toho beads. You may well accuse me of hypocrisy, but I must defend myself. Until now, Toho beads have been the only brand of the two to carry Picasso finish seed beads in 11/0’s. And I, as a completely devotee of Picasso beads, have softened my staunch snobbery to allow these Toho beads into my stash.

Darn you beautiful beads!

However! My boss (who owns Beads Direct USA) has let me in on a secret – Beadsmith is finally making Picasso finish Miyuki 11/0’s available!  She said we’ll be buying a whole bunch the moment they are available to us. I am utterly overjoyed and look forward to having a seed bead stash entirely stocked with Miyuki beads. My Miyuki snobbery will know no bounds.

So, what about you guys? Do you have any brands that you are snobby about? Any particular tools or favorite suppliers? Leave a comment below and we can all be snobs together.

Update 6/12/15: Linda Genaw of Crafty Inspirations by Linda (a wonderful blog you should ALL be following) wrote her own post about her trouble with Toho beads and it has lots of gorgeous example photos. You can find here post HERE.

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11 Responses to I am a Miyuki Snob

  1. Linda Genaw says:

    Hi Sam. I tend to agree with you. I generally prefer Miyuki seed beads as well. Not only are Toho’s 11/0’s larger than Miyuki’s, their 15/0’s tend to be VERY irregular and poorly shaped. They’re also more cylinder-shaped, instead of rounded like Miyuki’s 15/0’s. However, there are too many Toho colors that I don’t want to live without. And, I have quite a few patterns that actually work better with Toho’s 11/0’s because they’re kind of “plump”. Sometimes Miyuki’s 11/0’s are just too tiny. Their metallic colors are great but their regular colored seed beads are often a little too small.


    • samwescott says:

      And you always have to consider whether the designer of a given pattern used Toho’s instead of Miyuki when designing the pattern. If that’s the case, Miyuki’s may be too small! It’s utter chaos. *throws hands up in air*

      But, goodness, don’t get me started on Toho 15/0’s. Utterly useless.


  2. Suzanne Feld says:

    This is the best example of Delicas vs. regular seed beads that I’ve seen. I can’t wait to share it with my beading friends who also think I’m some kind of Miyuki snob because I insist on using Delicas whenever I can. Unfortunately I’ve had some patterns where Delicas are too small and the only bead that fits is a regular seed 11, so I brace myself for lots of hunting among teeny beads to find the same size/shape ones.


    • samwescott says:

      Actually, Suzanne, I am not talking about Delicas at all in this post. I am comparing Miyuki brand round seed beads to Toho brand round seed beads. Delicas are an entirely different shape that, personally, I only really use when doing Peyote stitch. But it’s nice to hear that others can be just as picky as I am! :D


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  6. Vicki says:

    I am a relatively new header and I haven’t yet reached the point where I can design my own patterns but I use both Myuki and To go beads. Some patterns I have used work better with one kind versus the other. Since I have a variety of each brand i use both. I just try not to mix them in a pattern.


  7. Judy says:

    What kind are the large center beads in all your examples? I don’t think I have ever seen beads shaped like this.


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