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.
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.